Tomorrow I am painting my statue of Poseidon that I sculpted. I want the statue ready for when I have the Poseidonia feast in my household, which had to be put off until next week. I love Poseidonia. Unlike Christmas, there are no gifts exchanged, just a sharing of good food and sharing among family. There is a certain significance welcome with Poseidon in the winter months, not for being a liminal season appropriate for a very liminal god, but also when we consider what an important food source the sea provided during the winter. This is true even among Natives in Alaska who still spend the summer months when fishing is fair to dry salmon for the long winter ahead. Not only does the sea provide fish which easily preserve for times where there is less plenty in food, but also provides the rich salt which acts as a preservative. In many ways it is an appreciation for the bounties that we have received throughout the year that even when it is dark and cold, even when the sea tosses and is generally unfriendly as is the weather, that we can enjoy in good cheer that which the gods have provided.
It is perhaps this relationship that Poseidon enjoys during the winter months with concepts of food and plenty that can illuminate his relationship with Demeter a bit more as well. As a goddess of growth the generation of grains and other vegetation foodstuff, she likewise provides during the months and growth and harvest that see us through the lean times. In many ways they have a kind of “marriage” of provision, of sustenance of the body and soul. It is no wonder that Artemis was seen also in the Peloponnese as Despoina, daughter of Poseidon and Demeter which is complimentary to her very nature as a nursing and nurturing goddess, a huntress, a provider of food and nourishment. Or even Apollon too, lord of herds whose fleece not only warms the flesh against cool weather but also feeds men by their sacrifice. Concepts of the sacrifice of sheep certainly would explain why Dionysos, a god who himself was sacrificed for the wealth of the vine was a babe of the lambing season when we find the year turn into Anthesterion in February, or that Apollon himself was said to have been born too in that same month as lord of herds and the maturation of the food stuffs among vegetation and beast for the harvest. This may have also been the season of Poseidon’s birthday, despite the height of his festival during the Poseidonia. It would make sense for myths in which Poseidon was hidden among sheep, where the cries of lambs would disguise his own noises.
It is with the height of his celebration in the winter that we find it compliments and addresses his spring birth, that he is ever providing and ever kindly, even for as much as the sea takes in its own sacrifices. And although he may not be the image of rampant fertility as we find with Zeus and his torrential rains, he strikes me of as being the very image of generousity and charm in many ways. A dangerous but loving god, Poseidon who is builder of walls that shield us from the worst that the elements have to offer.
It is in that spirit that during the Poseidonia I give thanks to the lord of the riptide, lord of currents and tidepools, the ever providing lord Poseidon.