Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
Long before TV Weather people told us ‘bout the weather, people just made up their own reasons why weather things happened the way weather things happened. Being that they had a different God for everything ya could imagine, it only seemed right the reasons for weather changes must’ve been due to the actions of some of those gods.
With the sun being the key to life on Earth, it’s not at all surprising when even the most ancient civilizations’ religious lives included some form of god for the sun. The ancient Greeks were no different than those before ‘em. Their gods ranged from the good guys, the benevolent fellers, the good gods, to the evil, the monsters and mean spirits that controlled the elements, the bad guys that walked on the dark side. I bet they even wore black hats back. Those evil Greek gods in black hats, walking on the dark side. Ya sometimes wonder if they’re not democrats.
The sun god, Helios was a fine-looking feller and had a pretty cool hat too, a brilliant shining crown of fire, upon his head. He drove a chariot pulled by four fiery winged horses, named Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon. They ran across the sky, from east to west they went, every day, with Helios shining his light upon the people of Earth as he passed ‘em by. Wow! does that sound like our sun to this very day or what????
But the really good story ‘bout Helios was what happened when he got done work for the day. After Helios reached the end of his shift, he dived into the bowl of a golden cup just below the ocean in the western land of the Hesprerides, and was carried back home every night to his golden palace. Now that golden palace was just east of the River Okeanos. It was there in the golden palace where Helios rested and got ready to go back to work first thing in the morning. When Helios awoke, the sun came up tomorrow.
There’re all kinds of stories ‘bout Helios and how he sometimes conflated with Apollo. Now if you’re not familiar with the word “conflated” it simply means two combined into one. It’s sorta like two for the price of one at the grocery store. Two things become one. Some think that’s what happened to the democrats and republicans in Washington D.C. Those two becoming one and all.
Apollo was the most popular of all Greek gods. Apollo was kinda like the “Pretty Boy Floyd” of the Greek gods. Sometimes Helios would conflate with Apollo just so he too could do the “Pink Floyd” thing. To this day Pink Floyd has a massive following. The power of Apollo and Helios conflating. Shew…..Pink Floyd.
One time, as described in Homer’s Odyssey, the gods killed off Odysseus’ whole crew after they ate all the cattle that belonged to Helios. Now how cool is that? Ya get to be the sun god, ride a really cool chariot, get to wear a neat hat, and raise cattle as a hobby. Sweet! ‘Course the down side of the job is ya gotta work 7 days a week. The good side is, ya only work days, never nights, or midnights. Good sides and bad sides of everything, even Greek gods.
I remember reading one time ‘bout Zeus, the war god, got so mad that he killed Helios’ son after Helios had let the kid drive the horses one day. Helios was just teaching his boy to drive much like our own fathers taught us to drive cars. But the difference was when the kid lost control of the chariot, he didn’t hit a tree. The chariot turned upside down. Remember that bright hat Helios wore, well, it spilled all out and scorched the Earth. Boy was Zeus ever mad. The kid didn’t have a chance. Zapped by Zeus.
Now Zeus was a really cool god if ya like meanness in your Greek gods. Ole Zeus was the god of war, and he was always looking for a big fight. He’d even settle for a little fight if he had to, like killing Helios boy just to have something to do on a hot, hot summer, dog day afternoon. It was not like the kid turned the chariot over on purpose, but Zeus, nooooo. Give ya an idea of how tuff Zeus was, he carried lighting, yes real live lighting in his hands. It ya look up tuff in the dictionary, ya may find a picture of Zeus holding the lighting. Zeus was tuff stuff.
Today we no longer use those Greek gods, thank God. But there was a time, back in the day so to speak, they had their time in the sunshine of life. It was a time when Helios went to work and the sun came up tomorrow.
We now understand how the sun works and how we ride this big blue marble, this thing called Earth, round and round we go. While the sun, itself, is moving around the Milky Way in such a pattern, that from here on Earth, we get the feeling that the sun is standing still and so are we. It’s kinda hard to realize that the whole Earth is moving through space at an amazing speed of 67,062 miles per hour.
In addition to that forward motion, the Earth is revolving on its axis at one full turn every 24 hrs. When our own little spot on the Earth is pointed directly at the sun, it’s noon, and when our spot is pointed directly away, it’ midnight. It’s the Earth’s rotation that makes the sun come and go, not the winged horses pulling the chariot. But the story of the horses with wings is still kinda cool.
In ancient Greece most everybody believe in a geocentric universe, or an Earth-centered universe. Somewhere round the Third Century BC a Greek astronomer, a feller by the name of, Aristarchus of Samos, proposed that maybe the Earth revolved around the sun. he’s lucky they didn’t lynch ‘em on the spot for having such dirty talk. If ya fast forward some 4500 years or so a feller by the name of Nicolas Copernicus was able to gain some credence for a heliocentric, or Sun-centered, model for the universe.
Nicolas Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer who just so happened to come along at a time when it seemed the Earth was almost starting over, and for sure starting anew with ideas which just seemed to bubble up from everywhere. The arts and sciences seemed to blossom out of nowhere after a time on Earth that is described as the Dark Ages. People became open to new ideas and ways of thinking. This was after a time when a very large number of the people on Earth had died from disease such as plague. It seemed the Renaissance was a new beginning for life on Earth as we know it.
It was in this period of Renaissance, that along came people such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and Galileo Galilei, to be known in history simply as Galileo. He made a telescope, looked at the stars and confirmed that the Earth did in fact revolve around the sun.
For his discovery, Galileo was given a choice by the Catholic Church, cut out such crap talk or go to hell. Galileo thought he was right. The Catholic Church promptly kicked his ass out of the “good ole boys club” and many, many, many years later the Catholic Church said ‘bout Galileo, “ Uh Oh” and invited him back into the church. Way too late to matter for Galileo one way or the other. I’ve often wondered ‘bout the Catholic Church’s decision to undo the matter of kicking Galileo out of the church.
There are some things ya just can’t fix once they’re broken. Humpy Dumpy and excommunication are two things that come to mind right up. Like Galileo really cared or not, hundreds of years later if he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Seems to me it was all up to God and Galileo. I’m sure they worked out the details of the deal, and the Catholic Church, at the time of the deal making, the Catholic Church didn’t have a horse in the race, they’d kicked the guy out. The telescope was right.
And so it is on this very night, as I walk my telescope outside and into the darkness, plug into the laptop computer, push the buttons, and stand mesmerized as my computer takes control of the telescope, it then turns my telescope upward into the heavens and points to the same magic spot first seen by Galileo. I’m looking at his original observation point, way up there in the night sky. His telescope was right. Galileo, a friend of the EastWing. We stargaze together, just a several hundred years apart. I saw what he saw, only better, ‘cause my telescope is bigger. My telescope is also right.
Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From the EastWing, Old gods & Weather, Sunshine & Chariots, Zeus & Lighting, Copernicus & Galileo, The Catholic Church & Uh Oh, Seeing the Magic
I Wish You Well,