Sex and the Gods

I know I have talked of this before but it seems that this issue like to rear its head every now and then, and when it does it makes me want to reiterrate these points. In fact I am going to be more blunt in this post than I have been in the past, just because I am tired of hearing the argument.

There seems to be a mistaken belief that is floating around that the Hellenic gods champion, patron or are linked to specific sexual identities. Therefore you end up having some members of the LGBT community celebrating certain gods as homosexual deities (examples of this would be Dionysos, Apollon—especially in regards to the Hyakinthos myths, and Artemis, among others), and then you have some heterosexual screaming their heads off that such and such a god isn’t homosexual, and at times even aggressively ignoring the myths (and associated festivals) in which a god appears to be having a homosexual (or in reverse for the other side of the fence…heterosexual) relationship when this was never an issue for the ancient Hellenes. It really is a sign of the modern culture in which we can be so obsessed with sex-identity that we feel a need to *claim* gods as being a part of our own sexual identities.

Yet when it comes right down to it, it doesn’t make sense on either sides of the fence. The gods don’t possesses biological bodies, they don’t possesses chemical hormones, they don’t literally have forms in the way that we think of it….therefore claiming any specific sexual orientation is rather ridiculous. The gods love, they experience attraction through Eros, and the love and union is going to be carried out on a spiritual level. The soul can’t be said to be strictly female or male, for which I think hermaphroditic images is more closely related to our spiritual existance. Truly though when you get right down it to the souls are aligned, in relationship to the gods, with having a receptive nature (therefore being symbolically feminine as we see in the myth of Psykhe) because we desire to receive the union with the gods. Otherwise I must say that we have no spiritual sexual orientation, and we possess many lives in which we may experience life as male or female, and probably a variety of sexual orientations over the course of our lifetimes.

As such to ignore male or female loves of the gods (depending on your stance) is just a matter of cutting off the nose to spite the face. Those of Kyrene, who celebrate the nupitals between the nymph Kyrene and Apollon were known to celebrate in the Hyakinthia. It is a testimony that the gods were not divided upon lines of sexual preference, and I really don’t see why it should be such an issue today that people feel the need to do so. The myths in which the gods love mortals (regardless of the biological gender of said mortal in myths) are those which worshipers should take in delight and reverence because they serve as messages to our own souls. The gods love humanity.

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2 thoughts on “Sex and the Gods

  1. I do wish to make a note about this… I think part of the reason this appropriation of Gods as “homosexual” is that it is part of a natural process to try and see how the Gods relate to our modern world. And unfortunately identifying as homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual or whatever, is a necessity. because else the non-heterosexuals are overrun and overlooked, and made second-class citizens. And I think there is a need to try and figure out which Gods are linked to this and are relevant to us in that way.

    This does not mean however I approve of certain Gods being called “homosexual” Gods or anything… If anything the Gods in myth appear either bisexual or asexual, if you want to use modern terms for it. But it is crucial to realise the ancients did not make these rather silly distinctions that however are so vital for our modern society. And if anything, I think a God of Homosexuality would be Ganymedes, though I’m not sure if one can really regard him as a God or as having been gone through the “proper” proces of apotheosis. Alternatively one can look into the later Roman-Hellenistic cult of Divus Antinous, though I don’t think myself that being an Emperor’s lover and drowning in the Nile makes one a God (not that I look down upon people who do accept Antinous as a Divus).

    Personally I feel that the best way to go at it is to simply male sure to include festivals celebrating the homo-erotic aspects of certain Gods, like the Hyakinthia for example, in ones worship.

    • I agree with you completely. There is a difference of course in identifying with gods who you may feel represent a certain likeness (for which we also have bearded Aphrodites and bearded Artemises that rather bend the gender rules)…and I think that this is truer to the fact that most humans have something of a bisexual tendency. I just object to gods being classed specifically as a homosexual god because that ignores other myths that must be recognized.
      This is why I am strong advocate for celebrating the festivals and rituals that express various kinds of relationships…because they are all important. In fact Hyakinthia is one of my favorite rituals 🙂

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