I felt compelled to make this post because every so often there arrives a discussion about heterosexuality and homosexuality (or homoeroticism) in connection the gods, which seems to be something of a futile exercise in itself. This is because we are confusing the divine nature of the gods with human biological nature. We cannot assume that the physical attraction that we feel for others, whether hetero or homosexual, has anything to do with the attraction between the gods and the soul. For the soul itself cannot be expressed as either female or male. I think that the closest accurate description of the human spiritual condition is not unlike the hermaphroditos which is both male and female at once containing the feminine receptivity to higher beings, and masculine penetration/influence to others that are not higher. And this of course relates to the soul experiencing incarnations as both male and female.
Naturally the feminine receptive nature of the soul to the gods is not unknown in myth as we are presented with the image of Psyche representing the soul being acted upon by Eros. This is also presented in a number of myths were some princess or another is raped and issues a product of the union with the god in question. It therefore seems that the fertilization of the soul and reproduction of union is represented by the feminine character of the soul. It is that which produces some fruit of the soul, some development through union. This doesn’t conflict with other myths of love whereas typically the masculine heroic character in myth represents the companion-follower of the god. Of course this is largely referring to male deities. With the goddesses in seems to be a slightly different scenario in which the soul is typically fully engaged into a companion persona that is often addressed in nonsexual terms whether the individual is male or female. In such cases we have, for instance, the chaste male and female hunting companions of Artemis. There have been those who have attempted to put erotic spins to such companionships with such goddesses, but these, with the exception of Aphrodite who is the goddess who delights in the erotes, seem to be something of a stretch as many of the goddesses are noted as refraining from romantic engagements. Especially in the case of goddesses such as Artemis and Athena. However, it does often seem that such union did occur between the favorites of certain goddesses and gods that were closely connected to them. Hera’s favorite Io becomes the lover of Zeus. Callisto in some alternate versions as presented by Apollodoros in his The Library was embraced by Zeus in the form of Apollon, suggesting that perhaps such was not uncommon (and seems to also be supported by myths of Daphne, Apollon’s first love, and her close association with his twin). These are all, of course, just speculations…I must clarify this, everything in this post is just personal speculation and belief that I am sharing.
Naturally then one type of love in myth does not orientate a god or goddess, nor trump another love myth. Such an example is one I can appreciate as follower of Apollon in the myths of Kyrene and Hyacinthos which I talked about in an earlier post. And the fact that Hyakinth was honored by the inhabitants of Kyrene does not suggest anything to the kind that there was a conflict of views herein. Rather that these myths of love are just that, expressions of love, and divine love knows no gender. And aside from my prattle above I think that is the most important thing. It is the high and pure love sanctioned by Aphrodite Ourania, the divine love which enacts change and development in the spiritual rather than physical propagation and lust. And that I think renders arguments of whether a god fits into sexuality based boxes quite moot.
And I as a follower of Apollon admire both Kyrene and Hyakinthos, who both express divine love of the soul with Apollon.