Apollon and His Disdain for Murder

I have been seeking some comfort at Apollon’s shrine this evening. Today something rather shocking happened to me, that I never would have expected, to have been told that I secretly harbor feelings of approval of murder. This is largely due to a sharing in which I communicated (not as concisely as I had hoped) combined ideas of my disgust for murder and the disgust I feel for expressions of hate delivered under the veil of humor. While murder has a greater moral compass as it something unforgivable and a door that is impossible to  close once committed as it is so grave of a pollution that even the gods have been known to not abide the fouled hands of one who has slain another, for me it is intricately tied to social injustices as a whole in which one feels the right to degrade and cast down the value of another. That one’s worth is greater than another. There are varying levels of harm from the social injustices that may not always lead up to the most vile of them which is murder.

Apollon as a god who measures out equality and harmonically enjoins all things in life directly opposes injustices one imposes on another. To support any such, for me, is in breaking with what I feel I follow in my devotion for him. For he holds none above the other, none is given the right to take away from another in any manner, much less in terms of life. Murderers Apollon was known to cast off to foreign lands where they may benefit their homeland from afar in expiation for what they committed. Perhaps the only exception in which we find Apollon endorsing the act of murder was through Orestes, as a means of concluding the murderous line of kin-slaying in that family that no longer generations of shades would drive the Erinyes to torment their descendants. Even then he could not “save” Orestes, nor completely absolve him. Apollon does remove the stain of murder, he will not touch it for all of his disdain for it. This is evident in the play Aclestis in which Apollon challenges Thanatos to not take life which is not ripe for it. Naught but nature should remove life in Apollon’s charge. For Apollon, for all that he strikes quickly and can bring death by plague (in its manifestations) he does so by the designs of nature. It is rare for Apollon to slay in a fit of anger. Usually it is in cool calculation such as in the Iliad where he acts much as a general leading the troops under the command of his father, or accidentally as in the case of Hyakinthios in which we find nature is subject too to chance and fate. He is not a god who delights in carnage of men, but prefers to pluck them off at their end of their days.

In my worship, to honor Apollon is to take offense at murder, at the heedless disposal of life. It also develops greater offense to that which harms and degrades the life of others, which may not be instanious death by any means but can be punishing in extremes that can potentially foreshorten the life (such as in noted cases where extreme case of bullying and rejection for superficial reasons have caused cases of suicide, particularly among teens, or the spread of racism and hatred causes excesses of violence and hate crimes). To treat the human rights and dignity of another with outright callousness and disregard for their welfare is abhorrent. An abused child may not die, but it will make me weep bitterly. A woman raped and living life suffering in fear wrenches my heart. A man or woman beaten bloody for who they love (whether this be homosexual or biracial as was a big issue too in times not too distant) is grievous to me. And as important as these physical abuses which can lead outright to murder are, so too are the mental abuses regardless of how insignificant they may start. As someone who has comforted someone who has cried their heart out because they were meanspirited harassed….yes my eldest daughter who was mercilessly tormented by fellow students when we, a lower income family, temporarily stayed with my comfortable middle class income mother and she had to go to school with the better-off kids. She begging not to go back with tears running down her face after winter break was over. What mean-spirited humor pricks with wounds just as deep if invisible and can be utterly life destroying in so many ways. And in how many ways do we allow these things to touch our lives and the lives of our children, and how too does that pass on to them and continue these cycles of abuse, despair, and even untimely death.

I cannot say no to one without saying no to all of the others with all of the best of my ability to recognize them. I denounce murder and its siblings and cousins racism, classism, bullying in many forms. O Apollon, lord of reason, equal measure, and compassion, may your light ever guide me and bring some comfort when faced with these social ills that mankind brings, that songs of despair become the birthrate of generations to come. Let no life be taken so unvalued and unworthy and cast down before your eyes. Hail to your my lord, my king.


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