Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hoopla in the Heavens

I sat in my car, this morning, waiting on a certain work assignment, surrounded by welcome rain and enjoying Boorstin's "The Discoverers." I stopped short at a fascinating paragraph.

Somewhere in extant Babylonian literature that I somehow missed on my journey through it, is the story of how El, the great god, grew jealous of the bright lion that passed nightly across the sky, and smote it each day as the morning began.

The lion, of course, would be the planet Venus, the "morning star," which vanishes each day as the light returns.

Boorstin believes the Hebrews borrowed that myth, giving the smiting power to their own God and converting the sky-lion into The Light Bringer (Latin: Lucifer) who is made synonymous with Satan.

As in the famous Isaiah passage (chapter 14) from the Bible:

"How art thou fallen, O Lucifer,
son of the morning!
...For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven ... "

I really don't want to get into a discussion about the reality or non-reality of The Evil One. But it is curious that in the Hebrew world, the aforementioned planet and associated sky-being, would be masculine and horribly evil; and if not so despicable in the alleged Babylonian original, still an affront to deity.

Whereas in the western world, the same celestial phenomenon was considered Feminine and delightful -- Venus/Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.


Janice Thomson said...

I make the suggestion that Aphrodite,(and I quote from Robert Browning's famous My Last Duchess: "she had shall I say?...a heart too soon made glad."
In this sense she would be looked upon really as a woman of loose morals and even evil perhaps for causing strife between husbands and their wives. The underlying theme of both religions actually are saying the same thing for Love and Hate/Evil are just different aspects of the same coin.

Janice Thomson said...

I should qualify that last statement a bit further. In philosophy one comes to understand that the reason one lies, cheats, steals, prostitutes, or whatever so-called sin, is because one actually loves it - it is a bond that has to be broken and a bond is none other than an attachment which presupposes a love for the sin one is committing.

Ela said...

very interesting information, from both, You and Janice.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

And Venus was an essential core of life, religion and death, in the West.

Wonderful consideration; isn't it interesting to see the different ways that cultures view the world that we all share, and the heavens that all of us look up to?

BTW, I *LOVE* Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Nice addition to your post.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore