Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Bonds Are Distintegrating of Themselves

"For indeed, it is man that has created the gods, whereas the power that created the universe is none other than the will that operates in man himself and in man alone has achieved the consciousness of its kingdom, power, and glory.

Zeus, it may be recalled, had taken offense when Prometheus had tricked him at the time of the offering of a sacrifice. The Titan, having slain a sacrificial bull, filled the stomach of the beast with meat for himself and his people, wrapping the bones deceptively and attractively in juicy fat; and when he presented these two packaged portions to the king of the gods, bidding him choose the one he desired, Zeus, deceived, took the portion wrapped in fat. Opening which, and finding nothing but bones, Zeus became a god of wrath, and to such an absurd degree that he withheld from mankind the precious gift of fire. Whereupon Prometheus, man's savior, stole it - according to one version, from the workshop of the lame god of fire and metalwork, Hephaistos; but, according to another, from the hearth of Zeus himself, on the summit of Olympus. Prometheus carried with him a hollow stalk of narthex, which he ignited at the blaze, and then, waving the stalk to keep it burning, came running back. Still another version relates that Prometheus plucked his fire from the sun.64 But in any case, Zeus took upon him an extreme revenge. For he caused Hephaistos to nail the boon-bringcr to the highest summit of the Caucasus, drove a pillar through his middle in the way of a stake, and sent an eagle to eat his liver. What is torn away of the liver in the day grows back at night, so that the torture goes on and on. And yet, the punishment, presently, will end; for, as Prometheus knows, there is a prophecy that one day his chains will fall away of themselves and the world-eon of Zeus dissolve.

The prophecy is the same as that of the Eddic Twilight of the Gods, when Loki will lead forth the rugged hosts of Hel:

Then shall happen what seems great tidings: the Wolf shall swallow the sun; and
this shall seem to men a great harm. Then the other wolf shall seize the moon,
and he also shall work great ruin; the stars shall vanish from the heavens. Then
shall come to pass these tidings also: all the earth shall tremble so, and the
crags, that trees shall be torn up from the earth, and the crags fall to ruin;
and all fetters and bonds shall be broken and rent.... The Fenris-Wolf shall ad-
vance with gaping mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the
upper against heaven, - he would gape yet more if there were room for it; fires
blaze forth from his eyes and nostrils. The Midgard Serpent shall blow venom so
that he shall sprinkle all the air and water; and he is very terrible, and shall
be on one side of the Wolf.... Then shall the Ash of Yggdrasil tremble, and
nothing then shall be without fear in heaven or on earth.

The binding of the shamans by the Hactcin, by the gods and their priests, which commenced with the victory of the neolithic over the paleolithic way of life, may perhaps be already terminating - today - in this period of the irreversible transition of society from an agricultural to industrial base, when not the piety of the planter, bowing humbly before the will of the calendar and the gods of rain and sun, but the magic of the laboratory, flying rocket ships where the gods once sat, holds the promise of the boons of the future. "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest has not heard that God is dead!"

Nietzsche's word was the first pronouncement of the Promethean Titan that is now coming unbound within us - for the next world age. And the priests of the chains of Zeus may well tremble; for the bonds are disintegrating of themselves."

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, Penguin 1977, pg. 280-281.

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