On many occasions one might run across some description of the Hellenic gods with some aspects being a dark face of the god. This seems to be related largely with an idea that the gods and nature possess duality, and therefore many get stuck on the idea of light and dark, male and female, sickness and health…everything with opposite forces. Even in Hellenismos there is a belief that beside Zeus there are two containers from which he equally distributes bad things along with the good. However, it seems to me that this idea of a “dark aspect” is by its nature flawed for a few reasons.
For one, nature in itself does not possess distinct duality. There is really nothing within nature that truly dark, with the exception of perhaps a Black Hole which devours all light. I have seen photos of our own planet, which via special photography, even when turned away from the sun still show the light from the sun, while being intensified on the side of impact, spread around the circumference of the planet. Which also includes the aurora borealis from the solar flares which can be seen in the night sky. This is not, of course, including the fact that the moon acts as a mirror which reflects the rays of the sun, or that our sun itself is a star like all those which light up the night sky. At most we can probably say that with the absence of the sun’s direct light, while interfering with our visibility as a diurnal species, makes us more aware of the subtle lights that are always around us.
Just as there is no real division of light and dark in nature, there is also no good and bad. Storms, earthquakes, torrential rains, bacteria, disease. These are all part of nature and have no good or bad quality assigned to them. Here is where we must distinguish between what is preferable for our happiness, and what is just a necessary part of nature. Which brings me to my second point. Our ideas of good and bad are established by comfort and preference rather than any established truth in nature. But because that these are based on our happiness and what pleases us, it means that the perception itself is flawed. Things that we enjoy aren’t always good for us, and things that make us unhappy and struggle are often necessary. Therefore it seems like this idea of the jars of Zeus which distribute good and bad to the lot of men, it is a metaphor to the even distribution by nature and necessity.
So then what is darkness? It is not a natural condition but a spiritual and mental condition. Nature, and therefore also the gods who are beings who live within and abide by the laws of nature, cannot be dark..it is infused with life-producing light. Therefore the gods too are divine beings of light (which makes sense when compared to how marble and gold has been historically used in the depiction of the gods) and generally speaking cannot be dark as the highest expressions of the functions of nature. Darkness would then be that which is contrary to nature and to the gods. For example ignorance and superstition has been depicted as being dark places of the mind which rules people by the instrument of fear, and is by its nature unreasonable and contrary to the forward progression and evolution found within nature. Similar instances can be associated with unreasonable actions, such as murder, for the sake of greed. When people are inflicted with this kind of internal darkness, it has nothing to do with the gods (though it is sometimes embodied as a being which the gods fight against) but is entirely opposed to them and draws to itself the consequences. Therefore Apollon, as a god who sends the plague against violators as a vehicle to bring awareness of the situation to the forefront, is also the god who dispels it once people have realigned themselves. It can be said that by sending the plague the god is far from being dark, but being an illuminator of the darkness that has come into the minds and therefore actions of the people.
Therefore darkness is something that we most be conscious of within our selves and manifesting within our societies (often because of corrupted people in positions of power). We are responsible to check it and remove the influence in order to restore harmony and balance with nature. The gods and nature however are not dark.