Apollon and the New Year

Apollon is Hyperborea, dwelling among the blessed in his never dying, eternal, garden. To imagine this is to see the god in his eternal, changeless, ageless face. Like a flower that never yellows or wilts, ever in its vibrancy of youth and beauty. In some way this seems to be a strange vision for a god who is a god who presides over the passage of time, particularly the flow of the seasons for he, himself, is without season of life. He is not typical of other gods of fruition and harvest which are often characterized by themselves undergoing cycles of dying and birth. But the distinction that should be made here is that he is not the god that is traveling through the passage of the seasons giving his own vitality to the growth. He it outside of it, he is the steward of the passage of life and death for which he is adequately named the Destroyer. He is not a slain god, nor does he bare the mysteries poignant of a slain/sacrificed god. His journey to the other world is independent and on his own power and means rather than transported by an outside agent (ie slayers, guides, abduction etc), in fact he has more than once served the purpose of being the action upon the slain vegetation god. In some mythic variations he is responsible for the death of Adonis, and he can be viewed as a slayer of Dionysos in his position as reaper of the vine as the vineyard harvest begins with Karneia.

He directs the passage of time as we understand from the Orphic hymn in which he conducts the movement of the seasons, even as he himself expresses the season of growth and fruition (or rather that his particular power holds particular sway at this time of the year as opposed to the power of fertilization and sowing of seed that is particular to the season of Pan. As such he provides the necessities for the sustainment of life (through light, harmony, healing, purifications, provision of plenty etc), as well as the passage from life for which he is, as we see for example in the Iliad, the embalmer kindly wrapping the body in linen in respect of the life that once was contained within, the perfumer who anoints the flesh of the deceased to ease the passage of the soul in preparation of its journey, and the guardian of the cemetery where he guards the place of rest, the physical connection of the deceased to the living world. Here too then we see he provides for the soul of the living.

This certainly makes him an appropriate god at the Noumenia every month as the month renews again and a new cycle begins, and for the introduction of the New Year (regardless of what time of the year one celebrates). The Celebration of the New Year commonly on the Noumenia following a particular stellar or solar occasion (ie the Athenian New Year being the Noumenia after the Summer Solstice) would have been naturally presided over by Apollon regardless of whether he was among us or in his Hyperborean garden. This fulfillment of beginning and ends at once and the keeping of the passage of time in his vigilance and under his caretaking for the furthering of life and abundance, including the guardian of such (but as averter of evil and as protector of the tomb) is reasonable that aside from his domestic worship as Apollon Noumenios he is also the god before the road/door. We can understand something almost Janus-like in his nature (although lacking  an aged face), and with the new year we can see his presence as one that is purifying and bestowing blessings for a prosperous new year.

Lord of the doorway, lord of keys, turner of time, lord of life (both protector and destroyer), hail to Apollon in the new year’s dawning.


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