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The Mythology of the Greeks and Romans


Carl Theophilus Odhner

Professor of Theology and Church History, Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn, Pa.

Edited by William Hyde Alden and William Whitehead


The Academy Book Room, Bryn Athyn, PA. U.S.A. 1927

Copyright, 1927, by The Academy Book Room Reprinted 1975, 200 copies Reprinted 1978, 500 copies



The mythological studies of Carl Theophilus Odhner explore the application of Emanuel Swedenborg's "Science of Correspondences" to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman myths. Swedenborg, 18th-century scientist, philosopher, and theologian, attributed to the world's myths a consistent inner content of spiritual meanings, veiled in symbolism. His own exegesis was confined primarily to the Testaments; but he demonstrated by profuse examples that the same interpretive key might be used to discover a common origin and a harmony of hidden meaning in all of these survivals of an ancient wisdom.

Mr. Odhner himself wrote at the turn of the century, when secular scholarship in these fields was relatively primitive. Republication of his explorations has been put off for a number of years because of doubts as to their accuracy in some areas of fact—especially in his often undisciplined etymologies—and instances in which patient scholarship appears the victim of his far-reaching search for grander patterns. The hope has persisted that the suspect elements might be amended, and from time to time various men have begun revisions of the text; unfortunately the press of other duties has kept these efforts from completion.

But Odhner wrote from a unique combination of strengths, and his works show it. He possessed a broad command of Swedenborg's teachings, a wide knowledge of history and ancient languages, and a joyous appreciation of the imagery in Bible and in myth. What seems passé or naive today, his sometimes overreaching enthusiasm, his tendency to scoff at secular scholars, mars only the surface of these warm and vibrant studies.

Today a reawakened interest in the world of antiquity—new archaeological discoveries, the decoding of antique inscriptions, and new psychological perspectives—have produced a whole great secular literature on the meaning of myth. In the face of this new material, Odhner's penetrating explorations, inspired and guided by the revealed wonders of genuine correspondences, may be more valuable than ever.

The reprinting of these books does not deny the hope of new work being done which will more accurately answer to modern knowledge. It simply expresses the conviction that, until a better way is opened, our students should not be deprived of the dramatic introduction to the wonders of the ancient past that may be found on almost every page penned by this dynamic guide.

Bryn Athyn, Pa., 1978                 Aubrey C. Odhner


THE ancient Greek accounts of the origin of the world and of the gods have been recognized by many of the older interpreters of Mythology as bearing a striking resemblance to the Scriptural stories of the Creation of heaven and earth, the Golden Age, the Fall, and the Flood. Though this comparison has inevitably suggested itself, no attempt has been made to follow it up systematically and in detail, nor could this have been successfully accomplished without that universal mathesis, that master-key which fits into every door,—the Divinely revealed Science of Correspondences.

In the absence of this guiding star, modern interpreters have attempted to establish the science of Comparative Mythology on a purely materialistic basis, but the result has been an unsatisfactory, unsystematic and ludicrous jumble of contradictory hypotheses, devoid of all religious, ethical, and artistic elements. According to the "physical" interpreters of the evolutionary school, the ancient Greeks were entirely destitute of any spiritual ideas, nay, even philosophical and moral conceptions were quite foreign to them. They were mere nature-worshipers, and all their beautiful myths were nothing but different phases of the apotheosis of dead matter. Everything was a sun-myth, or a moon-myth, or a cloud-myth, not to speak of earth-myths and mud-myths. The Greeks themselves compared this form of thought to Pegasus with his wings bound, and chained to a plow.

In the New Church alone we are able to recognize the intimate relation between Theogony and Theology, between Mythology and Religion. Here we can realize that in the presence of Mythology we stand before a noble classical temple, the home of the Muses, the cradle of all art, poetry and culture; to us alone has been given the key, and if we enter into the inner recesses we shall find ourselves in a sacred adytum which strangely resembles the interior of a temple of the New Jerusalem.

An effort was made, some years ago, to bring the light of the New Church to bear upon the mythology systems of ancient Canaan, Babylonia, and Assyria (see Appendix II). It is our purpose, now, to make a similar effort in respect to the Pantheon of Ancient Greece and Rome, reviewing in a general way the most obvious correspondences which are there presented. The Writings of the New Church contain numerous references to this Mythology, with direct interpretations which to us are authoritative. Our own interpretations, though based upon the Divine Revelation, are offered only in the way of suggestion.

Mythology, being the science of ancient religions, is a sacred science and must therefore be handled with reverence and care. Two things are needed for its interpretation: correspondences and rational doctrine. Without correspondences Mythology will never open up its buried temples and treasuries, but correspondence is merely the key; within are labyrinthine passages and chambers where unguided imagination may easily go astray. A guide is needed and this guide we have in the systematic theology of the New Church, which is one with the Doctrine of the Ancient Church, and which not only points the way but at the same time warns against false interpretations. But with both the key and guide at hand we may safely explore the labyrinth, and our journey will then serve most important uses. It will place our mind in communication with the celestial and spiritual heavens of the Lord's Ancient Churches. It will store the imagination with noble and beautiful images, the representative ultimates of heavenly thoughts and affections, and, above all, it will show that the Religion of the ancients is one with the Religion of the New Church, teaching the same Divine truths, inculcating the same lessons of moral and spiritual good, and leading the mind to the worship of the same and only supreme God, the God of the Ancient Church who is the Lord of the New Church.

C. Th. Odhner


MYTHOLOGY, in its most proximate sense, means the science of the collected religious myths, or legends, handed down to us from the gentile nations of antiquity. It is that part of the history of mankind which treats of the various conceptions of the Divine held by the Human Race in ancient times. It is, therefore, the study of ancient Theology—and from this, of ancient History, and as such affords one of the most interesting as well as noble and useful studies of human life. Man is a man solely from the reception of the Lord and according to that reception; for the Lord is the One Man. The study of the life of mankind is, therefore, simply the study of the various degrees and qualities of the reception of the Lord by mankind during its successive ages. Mythology especially affords such a study, for it treats of nothing else than of the Religion of the Ancients, veiled in numerous diverse forms; all of which are so many different paths in which we may wander from the East or the West, the North or the South, to the wonderful, beauteous temple of the Ancient Church. Many before us have entered upon this study, have wandered in these paths, but, because these are dark and mysterious and labyrinthine, and because the wanderers had no other guide for their footsteps than their own intelligence, they have never yet found that temple of wisdom. But the men of the New Church who are blessed with the Divine Truth of the Lord in His Second Coming, have not only learned that such a temple exists, but are gifted, also, with an unerring guide toward it; with a lamp for their feet and a light on their path.

"Well, therefore, may we enter upon this our pilgrimage to the Temple of the Lord's Ancient Church. Our wandering will carry us through distant lands and hoary ages, full of wonders and mysteries; through scenes of shadow and of light; through dark and ancient forests, in which strange and hideous animals roam; and through pleasant fields filled with lofty temples, pyramids and cities; through regions peopled with demons, and through tracts inhabited by gods. Without a heavenly guide no man can, unharmed, pass through these forests and deserts and fields; but, as Swedenborg, on his visit to the ancient heavens and hells, was accompanied, protected, and guided by an angel sent from the Lord so also may we, unharmed and unbewildered, pass through all that is false and evil in the ancient world, and at last reach our goal; for our guide and protector is the Lord Himself in His Heavenly Doctrines. And we will there find the doors of the temple of the Ancient Churches wide open to us; we will be able to enter in and be instructed in the wisdom of the ancients; we will find the Lord alone worshiped there in His Word, before which we may prostrate ourselves together with the men of the Lord's Ancient Churches. When pursued in this manner, with this guide, the study of the ancient mythologies will prove of wonderful benefit.

It will illustrate, as if by magic pictures, the operations of the Lord's Divine Providence in the universal history of mankind, revealed in the Word. It will shed a great and new light over the ancient nations, their worship and customs, mentioned so often in the Letter of the Word. It will confirm and illuminate in our minds the important Doctrines revealed in the Writings concerning the development of mankind, and make more rational and complete our understanding of the many references to the ancient mythologies, which are found so abundantly in the Writings, as illustrations of the Doctrines.

This study will further widen our intelligence in general, by preparing planes in the mind, into which the angels of the Ancient Churches may inflow, and bring new illustration, and a stronger sphere of those loves in which they were: the love to the Lord and the love to the neighbor. It will serve to humble the pride of us of the twentieth century, in showing us that the worldly wisdom of this age is but as darkness to the light of the ancient wisdom. It will show us also the origin of those falsities and evils which have destroyed the first Christian Church. We shall hence be able to see more objectively those hells from which they have sprung, and that the same idols and false gods which destroyed the Ancient Churches are, even at this day, ruling in the Christian world, and are therein worshiped. Thus we shall be able to shun the false and the evil of the ancients, and to collect and use those treasures of good and truth which lie buried in the ruins.

And, finally, it will beautifully confirm this Doctrine, that the New Church is to be the Crown of all Churches that have been, because the Revelation, given to it by the Lord, is the Crown of all previous Revelations. In the New Church, decay and idolatry will be impossible, for there, one visible God is acknowledged and worshiped in the Glorified Human of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Origin of Mythology and Idolatry

Before entering upon this study, it will be necessary first to learn from the Doctrines the origin of Idolatry and Mythology, for otherwise we will ever be groping in darkness, like those of the Old Church who have studied this subject. They have looked at the legends of the ancients from themselves, from their own point of view, and with their self-intelligence. Hence they have regarded this subject objectively and from without, and hence their failure to find in the Mythologies anything but an utterly confused and confusing mass of names, stories and superstitions, which have proved of but little genuine value. But in the New Church all things may be seen from within, because from Divine Revelation. Hence New-churchmen are better able to place themselves in the states of the ancients, and to regard their religious ideas from a relatively subjective point of view; as, for example, a man of the Ancient Church, grounded in the Science of Correspondences, would have looked upon the various representative images around him.

In order to fully understand the origin of Polytheism and Idolatry, we will first briefly review the history of mankind from its earliest ages, with respect to its conceptions of the Divine.

The Most Ancient Church

A revelation of the Lord to mankind has existed in all ages, for without Revelation from Him the human race could have no conjunction with Him; and without this conjunction with Him, who is the only Esse and Life, man could not receive being, and life thus could not exist.

The very first idea that was possible for man to receive concerning God, from Revelation from Him, was that He was, and that He was a Man. For in the Human form He first appeared to these first men, teaching them that they and everything were from Him, and that He was Life, Love, and Esse itself. These Eternal Verities were all expressed in that wonderful name by which the Lord was known to the Most Ancient People: the name of Jehovah. That this name of the Lord is the very most ancient of all Divine names we find distinctly taught in numerous places in the Writings, as in Arcana Caelestia, n. 1343, Apocalypse Explained, n. 1116, and True Christian Religion, n. 19. It is, indeed, stated in Genesis iv, 26, that, in the time of Enos "men began to call upon the name of Jehovah," but concerning this we learn in Arcana Caelestia, n. 440, 441, that "the invocation of the name Jehovah did not actually commence at this time, as has been sufficiently proved by what was said above in reference to the Most Ancient Church, which more than any other adored and worshiped the Lord. Here, then, by calling upon the name of Jehovah, nothing else is signified than the worship of a New Church, after the former Church had been extinguished by those who are denominated Cain and Lamech."

This worship of the Lord in a Human form under the name of Jehovah constitutes, therefore, the primary of the worship of the Most Ancient Church, which fact must be borne in mind, in order to understand the subsequent origin of polytheism.

Another universal characteristic of the men of the Most Ancient Church was that peculiar faculty of Perception, with which they were endowed. This Perception was with them a sort of internal sensation of delights and undelights, from which they knew whether a thing was good and true, or the opposite. By means of this faculty, which only those have who are in celestial love to the Lord, the Most Ancient Church had also open communication with heaven, and hence the internal sight and perception of this people was such that it made even inanimate things appear living, so that they saw in all things the images of the life of heaven (A. C. 3702, 3887). Hence the Most Ancients saw something representative of, or representing, the Kingdom of the Lord in natural forms in all and single things of the universe; but they never clung to the natural objects themselves with their eyes, and still less with their minds, but these things were to them only the means for thinking concerning the spiritual and celestial things of the Kingdom of the Lord (A. C. 2722).

This open communication with the spiritual world, and this perception with the most ancients, of the spiritual and celestial representatives and correspondences in the natural world, are also most important principles to bear in mind when studying the origin of idolatry.

When, in subsequent ages, the Most Ancient Church declined and fell, in consequence of an arising and increasing love of self, the will and the understanding, which formerly were one, were, with its descendants, separated into two faculties; hence the former faculty of Perception perished, and men were instead gifted with a Conscience, formed from a reception of the Lord's Commandments into the understanding.

The Ancient Church

Thus arose a New Church, represented in the Word by Noah and his sons. This Church was in possession of a written Revelation, consisting of Doctrinals handed down from the Most Ancient Church, and also of Historical and Prophetical Books, like our Word. Prom this Revelation the men of the Noachic or Ancient Church knew that God was One, that He was a Divine Man; and by this Church also He was called by His most ancient name, Jehovah. As to this it is stated in Arcana Caelestia, n. 4692, "All those who were of the Ancient Church, and did not separate Charity from Faith, believed that the God of the Universe was a Divine Man, and that He was the Divine Esse. Hence, also, they named Him Jehovah. They knew this from the most-ancients, and also because He appeared to many of their brethren as a Man." Many of them knew, also, that the Lord was to come into the world in an ultimate Human, to conquer the Hells, and make the Human in Himself Divine. This, then, was the primary of the Divine Worship in the Ancient Church.

It was said that the men of this Church, instead of Perception had Conscience—that is, instead of an internal sight and sensation by interior immediate influx from the Lord, they had to be taught mediately, or by external scientifics what was good and true, and then do this by self-compulsion, contrary to the affections of their unregenerate will. Hence, also, they did not any more immediately perceive the representatives and correspondences in the natural world of the internal things of the Kingdom of the Lord, but had to receive instruction as to these things from their fathers, who, again, knew them from the traditions of the Most Ancient Church. Thus they knew that all things of the universe represented and signified spiritual things, and hence, and because they highly venerated what was from the Most Ancient Church, they held representatives and significatives, holy and Divine. '' Still, they did not worship external objects themselves, but by external things they were reminded of internal things, and hence, when they were in their representatives and significatives, they were in the holy of worship" (A C. 2722.) These were, therefore, to them the means of worship, hence the science of Correspondences was in the Ancient Church the Science of Sciences. This Church was, therefore, pre-eminently a representative Church, and the more simple among them were highly delighted in forming to themselves sculptures and images of various things by which they were constantly being reminded of the celestial and spiritual things which they represented.

Knowing that the Lord was a Divine Man, they thus delighted in being reminded of this Universal Truth by forming human images, representative of the various Divine attributes and qualities of the Lord. So they also expressed these various attributes and qualities of the Lord by various names and epithets, correspondingly as we speak of the Divine Providence, the Divine Omniscence, Omnipotence, the Divine Esse, Existere, etc.

It was also customary among the Ancients to add something to the name of Jehovah, and thence to record some of His benefits or attributes. Examples of this custom we find very frequently in the Old Testament, such as Jehovah Zebaoth, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom. Under all these various names and representative forms, only one God, the Lord Jehovah, was worshiped and venerated.

Not only did the men of the Ancient Church love thus to represent Divine qualities, but also all spiritual and celestial things flowing from the Divine. Thus they made various images of old men, virgins, and boys to represent wisdom, the affection of truth, innocence, etc.; further, horses, oxen, calves, lambs, yea birds, fishes, and serpents to represent the various affections and qualities of the spiritual and of the natural man. These they furthermore placed in groves and gardens, and on mountains and hill-tops, besides in their temples, courts, and houses, and this because of the various states and faculties of the internal man to which these places correspond.

Thus their worship, and even their daily life, was throughout representative, and this to such an extent that the very mode of their writing was of this character, as abundantly appears in the hieroglyphics of Egypt.

Knowing, then, these fundamentals of the worship of the Ancient Church, we shall be able to explain the historical origin of the Polytheism and Idolatry which subsequently arose in all those kingdoms in which the Ancient Church had flourished, viz.: in Canaan, Syria, Assyria, Egypt, and hence in most countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and probably also in America.

This will explain, however, only the external origin of idolatry. The internal origin is to be sought in the spiritual states of men. Spiritually considered, idolatry is in general the worship of external things instead of internal things, and such a state always arises in a Church when charity is separated from faith.

Idolatry is, therefore, twofold: interior and exterior, the one prior to the other and the other consequent upon the prior. Interior idolatry is of three kinds: love of self, love of the world, and love of pleasures. The idols are the conceits and cupidities of man.

When the former love of the Ancient Church, which was love of the neighbor, began to be turned into these three idolatrous loves, external idolatry soon followed. A general descent into externalism universally took place which can be traced by various channels into the various phases of idolatry of which we now have a knowledge.

In general, then, we must make a distinction between Polytheism, or worship of many gods, and Idolatry, or worship of images. These are generally found together, but instances are also found where many gods are worshiped without external images. Such a Polytheism is, for example, Protestant Christianity, which worships three gods, while professing not to worship idols as do the Roman Catholics. Another instance is that of the Persian worship of the sun and of fire, and, with many American Indians, the worship of spirits.


Polytheism arises in every case from separating the Divine Attributes into different Divine Persons, as has been done by the First Christian Church. In the Ancient Church, as was said, the Divine Attributes had their various names and representations, but still only one God was worshiped. But as the Church grew more external this was forgotten, and their posterity began to consider each Divine name as the name of a separate Divine Person.

Concerning this we read in Arcana Caelestia, 3667 :

"From ancient times they designated the Supreme God, or the Lord, by various names, and this according to the attributes, or according to the goods that were from Him, and also according to the truths, which are manifold. Those who were of the Ancient Church by all these denominations understood but one God, namely, the Lord, whom they called Jehovah, but after the Church had descended from good and truth, and at the same time from that wisdom, then they began to worship so many gods as there were denominations of the one God, even to such a degree that every nation and at last every family acknowledged as their god one of these."

Another cause of Polytheism was the custom of adding something to the name of Jehovah, as may be seen from Arcana Caelestia, n. 2724:

''Thence it came that those who placed worship in the name alone, acknowledged so many gods, . . . hence, also, the nations began to be distinguished by the name of the god whom they worshiped."

Again, it will be found that the worship of many gods arose from a perversion of the habit of personating spiritual and intellectual things, "as it were conversing together, such as Wisdom, Intelligence, Sciences, etc., and also to give names to these, which signified such things; the gods and demigods were nothing else" (A. C. 4442.)

Another cause may be seen in the universal custom of venerating kings, saints, or living men, who were thought to incorporate and represent in themselves Divine qualities and attributes.

It was, also, the habit to give the names of historical persons to these spiritual things, in order that sacred narratives might thus be composed in an historical form (A. C. 4442).

'That they distributed the Divine into so many persons, was because, from what was insown, they saw God as a man, and they, therefore, regarded as persons all the attributes and qualities of God, and thence also virtues, affections, inclinations and sciences" (A. E. 1118).

"Many gods of the Gentiles were no other than men, such as Baal, Astaroth, Chemosh, Milcom, Beelzebub, and at Athens, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Apollo, Pallas, and others; some of whom they worshiped first as saints, afterward as Divinities, and lastly as gods. That they also worshiped living men as gods is evident from the edict of Darius, the Mede, in Daniel vi" (T. C. R. 292; A. E. 955, 1118).

As to the adoration of kings, see Arcana Caelestia, n. 5323.

An example of the gradual rise of Polytheism from these causes is found in the worship of Shaddai, as described in Arcana Caelestia, n. 1992:

"The interpreters render Shaddai 'the Omnipotent,' or 'the Thunderer,' but it properly signifies 'Tempter,' and after temptations, 'benefactor.' The word Shaddai itself signifies 'vastation.' . . . The origin of this worship was from the nations in Syria; hence He is not called Elohim Shaddai, but El Shaddai, and in Job only Shaddai. The worship of Shaddai had this origin, that with those who were of the Ancient Church, spirits were very often heard, who rebuked, and afterward also [other spirits] who consoled. The spirits who rebuked were perceived at the left side under the arm; angels then approached from the head, who ruled these spirits, and moderated the rebuke; and because they [the men] did not think anything that was said to them by these spirits to be Divine, therefore they named that rebuking spirit' Shaddai,' and because consolation, also, was afterward given, they called him ' God Shaddai.' "

This God Shaddai was the family god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was worshiped also in Assyria under the name "Sedu," and, perhaps, the Egyptian "Seti" is derived from the same source.

Another example is the name Adonai, "my Lord," whom, it is stated in Coronis, n. 51, the ancients worshiped as the Lord who was to come. This god was worshiped throughout Syria and Phoenicia as Adon, and from this source comes the Greek fable of Adonis. It may be, also, that the name Odin, the supreme God of the Scandinavians, is to be traced thence. Another name of the Lord was Baal, which means simply master. Prom this comes the god Bel of Babylonia, the various Baalim of Phoenicia, Apollo of Greece, and Balder of Scandinavia.

From the changes of the name Jehovah, further, many names of heathen gods arose. Thus we know distinctly from the Doctrines that the name Jove is derived from Jehovah (T. C. R. 275; De Verbo 15 S. S. 117). Prom this name probably arose also the names Ea or Hea of Babylonia, Iao of Phoenicia, Iacchus and Io in Greece, Janus and Juno in Rome; the Egyptian moongod, who is known under the various names of Aah, Ioh, Hoh, Hih; the Sanscrit Yah, and Yagernout, the Japanese Jakusi, the Fannish Ju-mala, the Scandinavian Jafur and Jalkr, the Keltic Hu, the Sclavonian Jaga—Baba, Jutrbog, and Iawinna, and—if we are liberal—the Caraibean Houjou, the Polynesian Jamae, and the American and Mexican gods Jawas, Jeouinnou, and Jukateuctli.

Other examples as to this origin of Polytheism we find enumerated in the Writings in the cases of the Cherubim and Theraphim and Dagon.


This, then, leads us to the consideration of Idolatry, or the worship of images, which, as we shall see, arose from the following causes:

I. From the habit of representing by external objects the various things of the Church; thus not only Divine Qualities and Attributes, but also the various affections, faculties, virtues, and sciences of man.

II. From the open communication with the Spiritual World which many of the Ancient Church still retained. When the love of the Ancient Church turned from love of the neighbor to love of self and the world, communication was given with evil spirits, who inflowed into the minds of the men. Hence arose first a perversion of the Doctrine of Correspondences and Representatives—that is, the magi or wise of the Ancient Church perverted the correspondences and turned them, for the sake of selfish ends, into such magic arts as to gain power over the minds of men. From this perversion arose, also, a gradual obliteration or forgetting of the true science of Correspondences, while, on account of the great reverence which the ancients had for everything which was old or from their fathers, the representative images and rituals still were considered holy, and at last were worshiped as in themselves Divine. Hence, "those whose mental sight depended upon the senses of the body, and who still wished to see God, formed for themselves, as idols, images of gold, silver, stone, and wood, that under these, as objects of sight, they might worship God, while others, who rejected artificial images from their religion, formed for themselves ideal images of God in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and in various things upon the earth" (T. C. R. 11).

Hence then came the worship of the planetary bodies, which we find in all the Ancient Mythologies, as well as the grosser forms of idolatry, such as the worship of images of beasts, birds, fishes, serpents, and trees.

A very complete historical view of this gradual rise of the worship of idols and statues is found in Arcana Caelestia, n. 4580.

"The statues that were erected in ancient times were either for a sign or for a witness or for worship; those which were for worship were anointed, and thence they were considered holy, and by them also they had their worship. Thus, in temples, in groves, in woods, under trees, and in other places. This ritual derived its representation from this, that in most ancient times stones were erected on the boundaries between the families of the nations, so that no one should pass over them to do any evil. And because stones were there on the boundaries, the most ancients, who in the single things which were in this earth saw corresponding spiritual and celestial things, when they saw these stones in the boundaries, thought concerning the truths which are the ultimates of order; but their posterity, who beheld less of the spiritual and celestial and more of the worldly, began to think in a holy manner concerning these only from the veneration from the ancient time, and at last the posterity of the Most-Ancients, who lived immediately before the flood, and who did not any more see anything spiritual and celestial in terrestrial and mundane things, as in objects, began to sanctify these stones, by pouring libations upon them, and anointing them with oil; and then they were called statues and retained for worship. This remained after the flood, in the Ancient Church, which was representative, but with this difference, that the statues served them as means for reaching internal worship; for infants and children were instructed by their parents what these things represented, and thus they were led to know holy things, and to be affected by those things which they represented. Thence it was that the statues with the ancients, in their temples, groves, and woods, and upon hills and mountains, were for worship. But when internal things altogether perished, together with the Ancient Church, and when they began to hold external things holy and Divine, and thus to worship them idolatrously, then they erected statues for their separate gods."

Thus far, then, as to Polytheism and Idolatry. But Mythology includes also the knowledge of the various theological doctrinals which were held by the ancient gentile nations, and these also ought to be included in the study of mythology, for without a knowledge of them the Pantheon of the ancients will be found lifeless and unmeaning. And to these doctrinals the New Church alone possesses the key in the knowledge that is given it concerning the ancient Word, from which the ancient theology was derived; and, further, in the knowledge of the Correspondences, according to which the Ancient Word was written.


Greek and Roman Mythology


In the beginning, before heaven and earth were created, there existed a primeval egg, a "rude and undigested mass," an inert weight in which "the discordant atoms of things inharmonious were heaped together:" heat and cold, land, sea and air, being mingled in wild confusion. This primordial mass of heterogeneous matters was known to Hesiod and Ovid and all the ancients under the name of "Chaos," a word derived from the Sanscrit root "Cha," to yawn, to gape wide open, whence, in English, we have the word "chasm." Thus in the Graeco-Roman Chaos we find the same conception as in the Chaldean Tiamat, the Hebrew Tehom, the Scandinavian Ginungagap, viz., an immeasurable abyss, as the scene of the subsequent Divine work of creation.

When it is known that all ancient theogonies were derived from that part of the Ancient Word which is preserved in the opening chapters of Genesis, and when it is further known that the story of Creation in that Word deals not with the natural conformation of the visible heaven and the habitable earth, but with the spiritual creation, that is, the regeneration of man, and, in the internal historical sense, with the establishment of the first Church of God among men, it will be easily recognized that by "Chaos" is meant the original state of man, before his regeneration; historically it depicts the crude and almost animal condition of the first men created upon earth, the Pre-adamites, who, though furnished by the Creator with the seeds of all possible human development, yet, in the beginning, like all babes, were in a purely corporeal and sensual state, of themselves unable to distinguish or discriminate between good and evil, truth and falsity.

"To this discord God and bounteous nature put an end." What "God" was this who existed before all the known gods of the Pantheon? To this question Ovid answers, '' the Artificer of all things," "whoever of the gods He was,"—in other words, the one and only real God who had become '' the unknown God'' in the declining days of the Ancient Church. He it was who first of all brought out of Chaos the '' ample-bosomed earth,'' personified as "Gaea, the great mother of gods and men, which was expanded wide above the "gloomy Tartarus." Next out of Chaos "Erebus" and "Nyx," evening and night, were born.

Gaea, the earth, signifies the external man in general. Tartarus is the sensual proprium, Erebus and Nyx are the "darkness" and "thick darkness" reigning in that proprium. Thus the Theogony repeats in substance, and very nearly in form, the opening verses of the Ancient Word: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was empty and void, and thick darkness was upon the faces of the abyss."


"Love then arose, most beauteous of immortals." not the winged, mischievous Cupid, the son of Aphrodite—for Aphrodite herself had not yet risen from the sea,—but Eros, Love, in the original sense of Divine Love, the "Spirit of God moving upon the faces of the waters." Nothing further is said in the Theogony of this Eros, but his creative power is suggested rather than described, for now "from Nyx arose Ether and Hemera," Light and Day, even as, according to the Ancient Word, "God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light. . . . And the evening and the morning were the first day." By the first revelation of Divine Truth from Divine Love the work of spiritual creation commenced; the first men began to be formed into a Church of God.

The Latin fable, related by Ovid, describes at length the successive days of creation, resulting finally in the creation of man and the glories of the Golden Age, but the Greek myth of Hesiod passes at once to the birth of Ouranos, the starry Heaven, first-born of Gaea and direct ancestor to all subsequent generations of gods.

It is self-evident that Ouranos personifies the first or Most Ancient Church, the Church of Adam or the Golden Age, which was a Celestial, i.e., heavenly Church. The name itself is derived from an archaic root oor, cognate to the Hebrew or and ur, signifying "Light" and "Flame," and to the Sanscrit wri, whence we have the Greek horao, to see, the Latin verus, and the German wahr, true. It was the one true Church, the Church of heavenly light, truth, insight, and perception.

But little is known of Ouranos as an individual deity, though many are the accounts of the Golden Age, depicted in glowing words by the classic poets. "We learn, however, that Ouranos finally married his own mother, Gaea, and by this union he sealed his own doom, for out of it sprang, first, a proud and wicked race, the "Titans," and later on, a generation of hideous monsters, the "Cyclops" and the "Hundred-handed," all of whom conspired together and effected the downfall of their heavenly parent.

This whole story simply describes the gradual downfall of the Most Ancient Church in the days when "the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men," that is, when the men who had been gifted with celestial perceptions and loves, deliberately went back and profaned their truths by conjoining them to the earthly affections of the sensual nature from which they had risen and advanced. This back-sliding, this profanation of the celestial state, is fitly represented by Ouranos marrying his mother Gaea. Henceforth we find Gaea, the earth, cursed as the mother of a race of monsters with whom she plans for the destruction of her heavenly son and spouse.

The Titans

"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare to them; they became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Gen. 6:4-5). Such were the descendants of the fallen Celestial Church, each succeeding generation becoming more and more wicked, until the last posterity became so monstrous that the world has never since looked upon the like of them, nor ever will again.

The fall of mankind was gradual: the first states were by no means so bad as the last. The first posterity of Ouranos and Gaea were twelve proud and powerful beings called Titans, (a name which, according to some, signifies "earth-born;" according to others "strivings," "those who were stretching out,"—to do violence). Some of these Titans, such as Oceanos, Themis, Mnemosyne, and Japetos with his son Prometheus, were relatively good, as were also the first posterities of the Most Ancient Church, and these afterwards made common cause with the Olympian gods in the war against Chronos. This seems to indicate that there were side-lines, descended from the first posterities of the Most Ancient Church, tribes or nations which remained in a relatively good state and which afterwards united with the subsequent Ancient Church, represented by Zeus and his associates.

But the later-born Titans were of a more and more sinister and over-bearing nature, and Ouranos, ashamed and fearful of his wicked offspring, thrust them out of sight in a cavern of the earth. This suggests the feelings of guilty shame of Adam and Eve, when after the fall they sought to cover up their nakedness. The sinner is unwilling to look his evils in the face, but tries to cover them up with the excusatory reasonings of merely natural and apparent truths. At first, also, there is some effort to control and restrain the brood of hellish "strivings,"—new-born Titans,—awakened by the indulgence in sin.

But the decline goes on. In the subterranean cavern the Titans are joined by the later and still more terrible offspring of Ouranos and Gaea,—the Cyclops and the Hundred-handed, who represent the later posterities of the Most Ancient Church, —the monstrous "Antediluvians."

The Cyclops were terrible giants having but one round eye, (cyclos—round, ops—eye),—a most graphic representation of the Antediluvians who, descended from celestial ancestors, were still spiritually "one-eyed." Their will and their understanding were still but one faculty, as was the case with their celestial ancestors, but now both will and understanding were evil. The understanding, filled with perversions of truth, at once excused and confirmed every vile lust arising from the evil will, and the will at once assented to every profane persuasion of the understanding.

The "Hundred-handed," (Centimani, Hekatoncheires), were monsters surpassing the wildest imagination. They each possessed a hundred hands, and their legs were in the form of enormous serpents,—a fearful picture of the power of evil unrestrained. Each evil love, at first apparently harmless and respectable like the earlier Titans, after a while grows into a Cyclops, one-eyed, seeing nothing but its own fell purpose, which it excuses and confirms by every imaginable reasoning; and later on, thus nourished and comforted, it takes possession of the whole man with a hundred hands, progressing quickly by the aid of direful persuasions.

These correspondences of the Titans, the Cyclops, and the Centimani are no vain imaginations of our own but are firmly established by the following account of the Antediluvian hells, described by Swedenborg in the work called Coronis, no. 38:

The hell of those who were of the Most Ancient Church is the most atrocious of all the hells, consisting of such as in the world believed themselves to be as God, according to the deceitful utterance of the serpent, (Gen. iii:); and deeper in that hell are those who persuaded themselves that they were really gods, from the fantasy that God had transfused His Divinity into men, and, thus, that there was no longer a God in the universe. In consequence of that direful persuasion, a deadly stench exhales out of that hell, and infects the adjacent places with so baleful a contagion, that when anyone approaches, he is first seized with a delirious madness, and presently, after some convulsive motions, he seems to himself to be in the agonies of death. I saw a certain spirit near that place lying down as if dead, but on being removed thence he recovered. That hell lies in the middle of the southern quarter, and is surrounded with ramparts, on which stand spirits, who with the voice of a stentorian trumpet call out, "Approach no nearer!"

I have heard from the angels who are in the heaven above that hell, that the evil spirits there appear like serpents twisted into inextricable folds, as an effect of their vain devices and incantations, by which they allured the simple to assent to their being gods, and to believe that there is no God but they. The ancients, who couched everything under fables, described such persons as the giants who assaulted the camp of the gods, and were cast down by the thunderbolts of Jupiter, and were thrust down under the burning mountain of Aetna, and were called Cyclops: they also gave to their hells names such as Tartarus, and the pools of Achaeron; and the deep abysses there they called Styx, and those who dwelt there they called Lernean Hydras, etc."

This identification of the Cyclops and the Giants with the Antediluvian Nephilim, is of the utmost importance to the correct interpretation of the Greek Mythology. We have here a definite statement by Divine Revelation, from which we are able to determine beyond peradventure that Ouranos and his children represent the Most Ancient Church, while Jupiter and his generation refer to the Ancient Church after the Flood. Or, as Ovid testifies: "After Saturn was cast down to dark Tartarus, the world was under Jupiter, and the silver race succeeded." Without this definite clew it would be impossible to establish any systematic spiritual interpretation of the bewildering and often contradictory legends and genealogies of the Greek Pantheon.

We may now return to the history of Ouranos and the Titans, of whom the youngest and most wicked and cunning was named Chronos or Saturn.

Chronos or Saturn

Angered at the imprisonment of her children, Gaea induced her youngest-born, Chronos, to overthrow his father. As Ouranos one night descended to his treacherous spouse, Chronos armed himself with a sharp sickle, and cruelly mutilated him. But from the drops of blood, flowing from the wound, there arose a two-fold offspring. Prom that which fell upon the earth there arose a race of Giants and also the Furies.

The former were enormous ogres, all hairy, breathing flames and storms, with loud cries and dreadful hissing, hurling glowing rocks against heaven. The Furies were three fearful sisters, having pale, contorted faces, flaming eyes and clawlike hands, in which they carried scourges made of biting serpents. The Giants fitly represent the last fearful profanations of the Antediluvians, and the Furies their eternal punishments.

But the blood which fell into the sea gathered around it the white sea-foam (aphros), out of which arose the loveliest and most beautiful of the goddesses, Aphrodite or Venus

Astarte. This wonderful myth suggests the thought that when celestial conjugial love was lost in the Most Ancient Church, a remnant of that love was preserved among the gentiles— and spiritual conjugial love arose in the new or Ancient Church.

Having overthrown his father, of whom nothing further is related, Chronos now released his imprisoned Titan brethren and with them ruled supreme over the world. It is evident that he represents the last period of the Most Ancient Church just before the Flood, at the time of the final Judgment upon it. Hence we always find his frowning, sinister figure armed with the fitting symbol of a Sickle,—sometimes circled by a serpent biting its own tail,—and a Sickle always signifies "judgment" and "the end of the Church." In later ages, from the general significance of this symbol, Saturn came to represent'' old father Time,'' and also '' Death, the harvester,'' and finally he was looked upon as the benevolent patron of the harvest, but this was after the true correspondences had been forgotten.

The dying Ouranos had prophesied that "crooked-counselled" Chronos would himself be served with the same fate that he had meted out to his father. Fearing this end, Chronos devoured all his children immediately after their birth. Does not this suggest that everything of innocence, every newborn perception of good and truth, was profaned by the Church which existed before the Flood? As soon as perceived, it was at once swallowed up by the love of self, that is, was perverted by being applied to the puffing up of self-conceit and the excusatory confirmation of evil. Thus no new good or truth could any longer come forth from heaven to earth, and mankind would have perished in spiritual death, if the Lord in His Mercy had not now established a new Church upon the earth. Rhea, the sister-wife of Chronos, finally gave birth to a last son whom she quickly hid away in a cave on Mount Ida, while to her devouring spouse she gave a stone, wrapped up in swaddling clothes.

The story, in its literal form, has humorous as well as gruesome features, but within is hidden the pearl of spiritual truth. The birth of Zeus, or Jupiter, represents the coming of a new Divine Revelation, the Ancient Word, for the upbuilding of a new dispensation, a new Church, the second or Ancient Church, the Church of the Silver Age.

This new Word, however, was not in form an internal Revelation such as was with the most ancients,—the men who had "the Word of God written upon their hearts." The Divine Truth could no longer be communicated in the form of celestial perceptions, (for these would at once have been perverted or "swallowed up") but it was now necessary to hide the Divine message under the sensual appearances of a literal sense. It is this literal sense which is represented in our story by ''the stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes," which was given to Chronos to devour. In other words, the perverted Church of the Antediluvians was permitted to fall upon the letter of the Word, which they could pervert to their heart's content, while the internal sense, the Divine Truth itself,—the young Jupiter,—was safely hidden from their knowledge. Thus it was in the days of Enoch, "who was not, for God took him." And it is the same in our own days, when the Heavenly Doctrine of the Internal Sense is being miraculously hidden from the Old Church, while the theologians and "the higher critics" are freely permitted to fall upon and devour the mere letter of the Word.

The genuine doctrine of the Ancient Word was in the beginning received by a very few persons, and the Ancient Church, like every new Church, grew very slowly and unknown to the world, yet steadily increased in the knowledge and understanding of the new Revelation. This fact is strikingly represented by the story of the guarded childhood of Jupiter, in the cave on Mount Ida,—a name which, in all the ancient tongues, signifies knowledge and insight. But as soon as full grown, young Jupiter attacked and dethroned his cruel father, and compelled him to vomit forth all the children whom he had devoured.*  This means that the goods and truths which had been perverted, misunderstood and thus remained ''undigested'' with the perverted Church, were now freed from their perversions and restored to their true use and value in the new Church. Thus also at the present time, the truths and goods of Science, Philosophy, and Ethics have been misunderstood and perverted by the fallen Christian Church, but all will nevertheless be restored to their true use in the Lord's New Church.

* The stone, which Rhea had given Chronos to devour, was also disgorged, and was placed by the conquering god at the foot of Mt. Parnassus—a significant myth suggesting that the letter of the new revelation became the foundation of all science and intelligence in the Ancient church. (See A. C. 4966.)

The Chronides

Having set free the Chronides, his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and his sisters, Vesta, Ceres and Juno, Jupiter by the aid of them and their adherents entered upon a long and fierce war, first against Chronos and the Titans, and afterwards against the Cyclops and Giants, who vainly piled Pelion upon Ossa in order to scale the Olympus and restore the old order or rather disorder of things. This represents the assaults of what was then the Old Church upon the New, by the accumulation of false reasonings against the newly established Truth. But they were all finally struck down by the thunderbolts of Jove, and were cast down into Tartarus where they were imprisoned forever in adamantine chains and placed securely under Mount Aetna and other volcanoes. It is their vain efforts to break loose that cause the earth to tremble and the mountains to vomit forth fire. (Compare the "great misty rock," under which the Antediluvians are imprisoned. A. C. 1266; S. D. 3358.) Thus the final judgment overtook the Antediluvians. The imaginary heavens of the perverted celestial Church were cast down and turned into that first, deepest, and most direful of all the hells, which is described in the Coronis n. 38. But out of the celestial angels and spirits of the Most Ancient Church itself there was organized that first inmost and supreme heaven which in Greek Mythology is signified by Mount Olympus. (Compare De Verbo 7, where three mountains are spoken of, Olympus, Helicon, and Pindus. Of these "Helicon by correspondence signifies the superior heaven," while the hill known as Pindus signifies "the heaven below it.")

In the inner sense of the Graeco-Roman Theogony, Ouranos and his offspring stand for the Most Ancient Church in its purity and in its subsequent decline, while Zeus and the rest of the Olympian gods stand for the second or Ancient Church. In this new Church, though as a whole it was of a spiritual instead of celestial character, there were still three degrees or three generally reigning principles, both of truth and of good, and these are represented by the three sons and three daughters of Chronos and Rhea, who now divide the universe among them.

According to our understanding of the representative character of each of these six divinities, they arrange themselves in the following order:




Celestial        Zeus or Jupiter Hestia or Vesta
Spiritual Poseidon or Neptune       Hera or Juno
Natural Hades or Pluto Demeter or Ceres

Jupiter, reserving for himself the supreme rule over heaven and earth, represents the inmost or celestial degree of Divine Truth in the Ancient Church, that is, the celestial sense of the Ancient Word. Neptune, who, with his chariot and horses, ruled over the sea, stands for the spiritual or intermediate degree of Truth Divine, that is, the spiritual sense of the Word in the natural; and Pluto, who ruled over the riches hidden in the earth and over the kingdom of the dead, represents the ultimate degree of Divine Truth, or the literal sense of the Word, which by itself is dead.

Associated with these three gods or degrees of truth, were three goddesses, who represent corresponding degrees of good, or affections, or general forms of the Church. Vesta, the virgin goddess of the sacred fire, is the mythological name for celestial good, the love of the Lord, the celestial Church. Juno, the queen of heaven in the Ancient Church, signifies, as we shall show, spiritual good, the lover of celestial truth, the spiritual Church, or Church specific. And Ceres, the patroness of the fruits of the earth, stands for natural good in general, good works, and the Lord's Church universal.

We regard it as more than a coincidence that Jupiter married, not Vesta, but Juno; that Neptune at one time united with Ceres, and that Pluto took for his wife Persephone, the daughter of Ceres. That is, the truths of the higher degrees were conjoined with the goods of the lower degrees, according to the universal law described in the following teaching:

The heavenly marriage is that of good with truth and of truth with good; yet not between good and truth of one and the same degree, but between good and truth of an inferior degree and of a superior; that is, not between the good of the external man and the truth of the same, but between the good of the external man and the truth of the internal, or what is the same, not between the good of the natural man and the truth thereof, but between the good of the natural man and the truth of the spiritual man; it is this conjunction which constitutes a marriage. It is similar with regard to the internal or spiritual man; there subsists no heavenly marriage between the good and truth of the spiritual man, but between the good of the spiritual man and the truth of the celestial man, for the celestial man is in a superior degree. Neither does the heavenly marriage subsist between good and truth in the celestial man, but between the good of the celestial man and the Truth Divine which proceeds from the Lord. (A. C. 3952.)

This, therefore, leaves celestial good alone unmated to any finite degree of truth, but conjoined to the Divine Truth itself, and on this account Hestia or Yesta, supreme among the goddesses, remained a Virgin. And this, again, is another proof that the Mythologies of the Ancients are not mere heaps of confused legends, but an exact and well connected system of rational Theology, in complete correspondence with the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem.


The first-born child of Saturn and Rhea was Hestia or Vesta, the virgin deity presiding over the sacred fire of the temple and over the household altar, the family hearth. She alone of the gods and goddesses possesses virtually no personal history; the only incident told of her is that, when Apollo and Poseidon both sought her hand in marriage, she placed it, instead, upon the head of Zeus, and vowed perpetual virginity; she, the supreme representative of celestial good,—superior even to celestial truth, was to be conjoined to no inferior degrees of finite truth, for her virgin heart was an altar devoted exclusively to the sacred fire of celestial love,—the love of the Lord, the love of Truth, infinite and Divine.

In the proper sense, these are virgins who are in the love of the Lord, that is, the celestial, and thus those who are in the affection of good. (A. C. 3081)

The Celestial Church, being in love towards the neighbor from love to the Lord, is likened to a virgin. (A. C. 2362.).

Her name, in Latin Vesta, and in Greek Hestia, or, in its archaic form "Festia," was formerly explained as coming from the root Sta, as referring to the fixed and established position of the domestic hearth, upon which flamed the fire which represented this divinity; but we much prefer the later etymology of the learned Max Muller, who has shown that the name was derived from the Sanscrit root Vas, (with the feminine ending ta), meaning "to glow" or "burn." (Chips from a German Workshop, II, p 137) It was from this root that the Greek name for the hearth, (hestia) was derived, and it is interesting to note that our English word "feast" comes directly from the same origin, the feast of Hestia being anciently celebrated annually in each family by a special meal, in a reunion around the hearth.

The statues of Hestia are extremely rare and of comparatively recent dates, her worship being conducted without any images at all, longer than that of any other divinity, the altar alone with its sacred flame being considered sufficient to evoke the idea of her presence. Her chief temple, the one in Rome, never contained her image. The few Greek statues and bas-reliefs represent her as a chaste and stately virgin, with a veil covering her head and shoulders; she is sometimes holding a lighted torch or lamp in one hand, and a sacrificial bowl in the other; more often she has no symbols whatever, but simply points upward with her hand and finger. The chief characteristics of her images are those of simplicity, tranquillity, and repose; as Plato says, ''Hestia alone stays at rest in the house of the gods.'' (Phaedro, 247). This is as it should be; simplicity and tranquillity are the marks of celestial love.

The worship of Hestia is found in hoariest antiquity, and was well established among the Pelasgians, the common ancestors of Etruscans, Greeks, and Latins. An ancient Homeric hymn says that "to her was given to sit in the centre of the mansion, receiving the first and choicest portions of all offerings; she is honored in all the temples of the Gods, and she is to mortals the most venerable of the goddesses." In Olympia the altars of Hestia and Zeus were in the inmost sanctuary, and the invocations were addressed, and the sacrifices offered, first to Hestia and then to Zeus. And no deity received such universal homage as she, every domestic hearth being regarded as an altar of Hestia, where the father of the family offered his daily sacrifices and prayers when conducting the family worship. Thus we may see that the love of the Lord, the celestial love, was recognized as the supreme and at the same time the most universal of loves in the Ancient Church.

As the hearth was the center and altar of every household, so the Prytaneum, (pyr-taneum), or altar to Vesta, was the central shrine of every city and village in Greece and Italy, and the safety of the city was regarded as depending upon the conservation of the sacred fire which must be perpetually burning there. This custom has been explained by the interpreters of the Evolutionist school as originating in the preciousness of fire and the difficulty of producing it (by rubbing two sticks together), and the consequent ''political economy'' of having a central fire perpetually burning for the accommodation of all the households. But this does not explain the reason for the still more difficult custom of carrying fire over land and sea from the sacred fire in the mother city, when a new colony was founded. Is it not evident that something more than mere economy was involved, and that there was a sentiment, a religious feeling in regard to fire, which can be explained only by the correspondence of fire, as meaning love, and in this connection the supreme of all loves, the love of the Lord, upon which depend all other loves, the love of the Church, the love of the country, of the community, and of the domestic bonds?

The Worship of Vesta was especially honored in Rome, where, she had a famous temple and was served by the College of vestal virgins,—the most sacred institution in the city. This, also, is consistent with the Roman character, which was of a celestial rather than spiritual nature. There is the same difference between the Greeks and the Romans, as, in Greece itself, between Athens and Sparta; the Athenians were intellectual, philosophical, of the spiritual genius; the Spartans, and in primitive times the Romans, were more devoted to the cultivation of moral virtue, sublime patriotism, the good of life,—in other words, they were more of the celestial genus. In Athens, and in Greece as a whole, the love of the world reigned in the later days; in Sparta, and afterwards in Italy, the love of dominion, which is the perversion of the celestial love of the Lord. We may thus see the internal reason for the special worship of Vesta by the Romans. There was also an historical reason: the founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, were the sons of Rhea Sylvia, a vestal virgin, beloved of Mars. The meaning of this myth will be explained in connection with the account of the god of war.

The vestal virgins, six in number, were chosen from the loveliest and noblest of the Roman maidens, and the service was an honor eagerly sought for. They entered the service when between six and ten years of age, and were bound to it for thirty years, after which time they were at liberty to marry if they so chose. If in the meantime any vestal violated her vow of chastity, she was buried alive in the execrated field called "campus sceleratus," while her paramour was scourged to death in the Forum, but during one thousand years of Roman history only eighteen cases of this fearful punishment were recorded. The daily duties of these priestesses consisted in watching and feeding the sacred fire by day and night, and keeping guard over the '' Palladium,'' a most ancient statue of Pallas, which was said to have been brought by AEneas from the burning Troy; this was considered the holy of holies by the Romans, and was never shown to the eyes of the "ignobile vulgus." The extinction of the sacred fire was regarded as the sure precursor of some dreadful public calamity, and a heavy punishment fell upon any vestal who by carelessness allowed it to go out; in this case it had to be kindled anew directly from the sun, by means of mirrors and burning-glasses.

The sacred fire and the vestal virgins are frequently mentioned in the Writings of the New Church, as in the following passages referring to the perpetual fire of the Israelites:

In order that the Divine Good itself might be represented, it was commanded that there should be a perpetual fire upon the altar: "The fire shall burn upon the altar, and shall not be extinguished; the priest shall kindle upon it wood at each sunrise; for the fire shall burn continually upon the altar and shall not be extinguished." (Levit. 6:12, 13.) It was very well known to the ancients that fire was a representative of the Divine Love, as may be manifest from the fact that this representative emanated from the Ancient Church even to remote nations which were in idolatrous worship, it being a known thing that these instituted a sacred perennial fire, and appointed virgins to keep it who were called Vestals. (A. C. 6832.).

The perpetual fire on the altar represented the perpetual and eternal Love, that is, mercy of the Lord. (A. C. 2177.)

From this representation of the Divine Love, there was, among the religious institutions of the Greeks and Romans, a perpetual fire, over which the vestal virgins presided. This worship of fire as sacred, they derived from the Ancient Churches which were in Asia, in which all things of worship were representative. (A. E. 504.)

The number of the vestal virgins being restricted to six, is also of interest, in view of the fact that this number signifies not only labor and combat, (as it does in many places in the Word), but also the marriage of good and truth, (A. R. 610), that is, "the holy of faith, because it relates to twelve and three, whence is the genuine derivation of the number six." (A. C. 737.) For "the number six comes forth from three and two multiplied together; and three signifies all things as to truth, and two all things as to good." (A. R. 245.) The six vestal virgins, therefore, represent all the affections of good and all the affections of truth, serving and guarding that seventh, supreme and most holy celestial affection, the love of the Lord, which is represented alike by Vesta and by her sacred fire.

Compare with this the wedding ceremony in Heaven, described in Conjugial Love, n. 21, in which "six virgins stood at the side of the bride, because the number six signifies all and what is complete."

Hestia or Vesta, the virgin goddess, is also known as the guardian of chastity, and this is because

Virgins are so named from the conjugial which resides in chaste virgins, and this term, therefore, means those who are in innocence. (A. C. 3081.)

And true virginity, genuine innocence, pure chastity, are to be found only in celestial love, love to the Lord, the supreme love of Divine Truth.


Readers of Swedenborg's Writings are familiar with the references to "Jove,—so named perhaps from Jehovah." (T. C. R. 9; in D. S. S. 117, and De Verbo 15, without any "perhaps"). This suggestion is certainly worthy of consideration, though it is scoffed at by modern philologists who insist that Jupiter means simply "father Zeus," (ueu-pater), and that the name Zeus itself is nothing but the Greek form of the Sanscrit Dyaus, god, whence is derived the Greek theos and the Latin deus and Jovis. But since the members of the New Church know from Divine Revelation that "Jehovah" is the most ancient name of God, may it not be reasonable to suppose that the Sanscrit Dyaus is itself derived from Jehovah? Moreover, it is an incontestable fact that the names of many, if not most of the Greek divinities, are derived, not from the Sanscrit but directly from the Hebrew, through the Phoenicians,—as, for instance, Helios from "El," Apollo from "Habaal," Astarte from "Ashtoreth," Bacchus from "Ichus," Adonis from "Adonai," etc. And in the Assyro-Babylonian Pantheon we find as the supreme god "Era" or "Hea," who under the name of "Iva" is represented as holding a sheaf of thunderbolts. It seems more likely, therefore, that Jupiter or Jove-pater was derived from Iva-pater, (Jehovah, the father), rather than from Dyaus. And it is also admitted by the philologists that the Latin Jove in the more ancient Umbrian dialect is Iuve, which is almost identical with the sacred Hebrew name.

As to the historical origin of the worship of Jupiter, we learn from the Writings that

Many of the gods of the Gentiles were nothing else than men, such as Baal, Ashtaroth, Chemosh, Milkom, Beelzebub; and at Athens and Rome, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Apollo, Pallas, etc., whom they first worshiped as saints, afterwards as divinities, and finally as Gods. (T. C. R. 292.)

And in the same work, (n. 159), it is said that these gods were originally monarchs to whom, after their death, Divine worship was extended. Thus also, among the Greeks, there was a legend that Jupiter was a most ancient king of Crete, and the cave in which he was born and the tomb in which he was buried were exhibited for long ages by the Cretans.

The ancient divinities were thus originally great prehistoric individuals, archaic kings, queens, and heroes, venerated ancestors of races and nations, who in very ancient times were regarded as representative types of various Divine attributes. In later times, after the spiritual religion of the Ancient Church had degenerated into nature-worship, these representative characters came to be looked upon as personifications of material elements, phenomena, and forces, as is graphically shown by Swedenborg in the True Christian Religion, n. 178.

Suppose the Faith is that Nature is the creatress of the Universe. It would follow from this that the Universe is what is called God; that Nature is its essence; that the Ether is the supreme God, whom the ancients called Jove; that the Air is a goddess, whom the ancients called Juno and made the wife of Jove; that the Ocean is a god below these, who after the manner of the ancients may be called Neptune; and since the Divinity of Nature reaches to the very centre of the earth, there must be a god there also, who, as with the ancients, may be called Pluto.

There is a certain basis, therefore, for the modern materialistic interpretation of mythology. The gentiles, in their more degraded states, did, worship the powers of nature; they did identify Jupiter with the ether, Juno with the air, Neptune with the ocean, Pluto with the bowels of the earth, etc. etc. But the fallacy of the interpreters is that they regard these degenerated conceptions as the original ideas, originating in the gross nature-worship which the doctrine of Evolution postulates. Pantheism was a perverted development of the ancient Monotheism, as was known to many of the ancient Sophi and philosophers.

The ancient Gentiles acknowledged Jove as the supreme God, so called perhaps from Jehovah; and they also clothed with Divinity many others who composed his court; but the wise men in the following age, such as Plato and Aristotle, confessed that these were not gods, but so many properties, qualities, and attributes of the one God,—which were called gods because in each of them there was Divinity. (T. C. R. 9.)

King of heaven and earth, supreme dispenser of justice, guardian of political order and peace, tutelary deity of hospitality, of compacts and of oaths,—in short, the personification of Divine Law itself,—all gods and demons tremble at Jupiter's omnipotent nod. Seated upon his ivory throne in Olympus, with the earth for his footstool, he holds in one hand the eagle-crowned sceptre and in the other the figure of winged Victory, while lightnings play about his awful brows, and Fame and Fortune hover about his knees, and Hebe, goddess of eternal youth, presents to him the cup of living nectar.

Such was the supreme god of the Ancient Church, as, in derivative and gentilized forms, this Church existed among the Greeks and Latins,—a spiritual Church, in which the intellectual side, the love of truth rather than the love of good, predominated. Hence around Zeus we find the emblems and symbols of the Divine Wisdom rather than those of the Divine Love,—the oak tree, the eagle, and the thunderbolt, truth eternal, rational and Divine.

The Oak signifies to eternity, for it grows to the greatest age. (A. C. 4552.)

An Eagle signifies the Rational, because it flies high and from aloft takes a wide view of the things which are below. Such was the significance of an Eagle in the Ancient Church. (A. C. 3901.)

Lightnings and thunders, in the Word, signify Divine truth as to enlightenment and as to understanding (A. E. 273.) The "voices of thunders" are Divine truths which illustrate and perfect those who are in heaven, and terrify and devastate those who are in hell. (A. C. 7573.)

Victory, Fame, and Fortune, (i. e., the eternal blessings of Divine Providence), follow in the wake of all-conquering Truth, and Hebe, the affection of Divine Truth, gives eternal youth to those who are willing to drink the nectar of the water of life.

In Homer and the earlier poets Zeus uniformly exhibits a dignified and moral character, like that of a grave but good-natured and affectionate father. But as the decline of the Ancient Church went on, men began more and more to invest their idols with their own passions and evils, and thus Zeus in the later writers appears as a most unfaithful husband and as an unjust and revengeful despot, who strives in vain to avert the fate which Destiny has appointed for him as it did for Saturn and Ouranos. He is represented as knowing that his reign also would pass away; that he would be supplanted in the Olympus by his youngest son, the tempted, conquering, glorified Hercules. It is a more or less shadowy myth, but appears again and again in Aeschylus, Ovid, Seneca, and the Sibylline books, and it certainly seems like a prophecy of the Coming of the Lord in His Human, when the Divine Truth itself was to take the place of the types and figures of the ancient, representative churches.

The many love-affairs of Zeus with earthly maidens gave rise to many ludicrous as well as scandalous conceptions and stories among the later Greeks, but even the modern naturalistic interpreters recognize that "his infidelities lose all their grossness if we recognize them as allegories which typify the great generative power of the universe displaying itself in a variety of ways." How much more so, then, when we come to see that the plural connections of Zeus, like the polygamous marriages of the patriarchs and kings in the Old Testament, could represent or typify the relations of the one all-loving God with the various forms of religious faith as existing among different Gentile races. There can at any one time be but one true and spiritual Church on the earth, with whom the Lord is conjoined in a spiritual marriage. This genuine or specific Church was among the Greeks represented by Juno, the only legitimate spouse of Jupiter. But though the Lord loves the visible Church, He loves also the various forms of the Church Universal, as existing among the good in all religions, in all lands, and in all the earths of the Universe. And when the Church specific becomes perverted, when Juno becomes a jealous and rebellious wife, the Lord comes with a new Divine message to those Gentile nations in which there remains some simple and innocent love of the Truth, and in their virgin soil He then implants the seeds of a New genuine Church.

But when thus coming with a new revelation, He cannot at first manifest Himself such as He really is, as the Divine Truth itself, but must necessarily clothe Himself in various appearances of external good and truth, accomodated to the simple states of the receptive Gentiles. These appearances are represented by the various disguises of Jove in approaching the earthly maidens who were the objects of his love. And then, for those maidens, there generally began a period of tribulations and persecutions, inflicted by jealous Juno, by which is represented, the persecutions and temptations which the New Church must suffer from the Old, perverted Church.

Thus to Europa, the Phoenician princess, Zeus first appeared in the guise of a beautiful white steer who ran away with the maiden and landed her on the shores of a new continent to" which he afterwards gave her name. By this is probably signified that civilization and religion were first introduced to the Gentiles in Europe, from Asia, by means of the Phoenicians, and that the new truth won its way among them by appealing to their love of genuine external good.

A steer or bullock signifies Divine Truth accommodated to the natural or external man. (A. C. 10026). It signifies also the good of charity and of innocence in the external or rational man. (A. C. 10021.)

Hence, therefore, we have the myth that letters and civilization were first introduced into Greece by Cadmus, the brother of Europa, who founded Thebes and. in whose honor the Academy was founded at Athens. (Compare the Hebrew Cadem=the East.)

On the other hand, to Leda, -who became the mother of Castor, Pollux, and Helen, Jupiter came in the shape of a snow-white swan. This beautiful bird of the water represented love truly conjugial, but in the lowest or natural region of the mind, even as the bird of paradise represents the spiritual, and the turtledove the celestial degrees of conjugial love. (C. L. 270.) This story would seem to signify that, to some of the earliest Greeks, civilization was introduced by means of true teachings concerning a natural orderly conjugial life, from which was derived on the one hand the mutual charity which is represented by the fraternal love of Castor and Pollux, and on the other hand that natural conception of conjugial love, which is typified by Helen, the beautiful queen, who became the prize of the contest between the Greeks and the Trojans. The latter, perverted Asiatics of the fallen Church, sought to destroy that priceless love among the Hellenic Gentiles, but the new nation, after long and severe struggles, regained it and with it the leadership of civilization. (If any of our readers should consider this a far-fetched interpretation, let him consider the present struggle for conjugial love in the New Church: how the beautiful truth concerning this love first appeared to us above the waters of our former sensual conceptions; how it has been well nigh lost to the New Church by the practice of "mixed marriages," and how it may be restored by marriages within the Church, in spite of the desperate opposition of ancient fallacies and prejudices.

To Dame, the priestess imprisoned in a brazen tower, Zeus came in the form of a golden shower, by which may be represented a new influx of Divine Truth, among Gentiles previously fettered in the bonds of ignorance and falsity. The son of Danae and Zeus was Perseus, who, in his victory over Medusa and the setting free of Andromeda, seems to be another ancient prophecy of the Messiah, who, begotten by the power of the Highest, was born of an earthly maiden, conquered the hells, and redeemed the Church.

But the other stories of the loves of Jupiter will be told and explained in connection with those of his children, such as Apollo, Diana, and Bacchus, who for their mothers had mortal women.


Supreme among the goddesses, as wife and sister of Zeus, stands Hera, the Juno of Roman Mythology. Her Greek name signifies simply Lady, or Mistress, (Hera, the feminine of Heros, as in old German Herrin is the feminine of Herr). The Latin name, Juno, is traced by some to the Greek Dione, the feminine of Dis, or Zeus; by others it is said to be a contracted form of Jovino, an ancient name of the feminine counterpart of Jove.

The marriage of Hera with Zeus was regarded by the ancients as by eminence the hieros gamos, the "sacred marriage," or as it is termed in the Writings "the heavenly marriage," between the Lord and the Church. And since all conjugial love flows from this heavenly marriage, Hera, as the bride and wife of her Divine husband, was regarded as the great tutelary deity of the sanctity of marriage, (Hera Gamelia, Juno Pronuba), and as the patroness and protector of all married women, (Juno Matronu, from matrimonium). She also presided over childbirth and was invoked by women in labor. As men used to swear by Jupiter, so women affirmed by Juno, and the name of "Junoes" was applied to the familiar spirits attendant upon women. The month of June is fittingly named after this marriage-goddess, being that time of the year when heat and light are conjoined in equal degrees and universal nature celebrates its nuptials.

In her more primitive aspect Juno is a noble representative of that spiritual good which loves celestial truth,—in other words, the Lord's genuine and specific Church, in heaven and on earth, as it was in the best days of the Ancient spiritual Church. Beautiful, majestic, with a dignified, matronly air, broad forehead, and large eyes, ("cow-eyed Juno"), the queen of heaven stands as a type of the chaste and faithful wife. Clad in flowing robes, with a diadem on her brow, she holds a sceptre in the one hand and a pomegranate in the other. The significance of the sceptre is self-evident. The pomegranate, on account of its multitude of seeds, was regarded as the symbol of marriage, the seminary of the human race. It signifies also the cognitions and perceptions of good and truth, (A. E. 403), and likewise the spiritual sight of an orderly mind, well filled with living truths, because this fruit is "pellucid even to the center." (T. C. R. 403.)

The constant attendant and swift-footed messenger of Juno was Ibis, the personification of the Rainbow, by which is signified the Doctrine of the Church or "interior Divine Truth, such as is the Word in its spiritual sense,'' when reflected in glorious appearances upon the clouds of the literal sense, {A. E. 595). This Doctrine, also, is the messenger or message of the Church to the outside world, and, like the Rainbow, forms a covenant or connecting link between heaven and earth.

The peacock, of all birds, was especially sacred to Juno, and represents the same as the Rainbow, but in multiple form, the iridescent eyes in the peacock's feathers representing so many beautiful ideas of intelligence concerning spiritual truths. The same, probably, was originally signified by Argus, the hundred-eyed watchman of Juno.

Later and perverted conceptions of the Church and of marriage among the Greeks depict Juno as a haughty, jealous, and rebellious wife, violent-tempered and bitter-tongued, constantly quarreling with her spouse and relentlessly persecuting the unfortunate objects of his love. These changed conceptions tell the tragic story of the decline and perversion of conjugial love in Hellas and Rome. At first the wife occupied a most honorable position by the side of her husband. Later on the reverence for the wife was so misdirected as to lead to her total seclusion within the sacred precincts of the home, away from the public gaze. Upon this followed a deterioration of her general culture and intellectual development, which gave the highly intellectual husbands a quasi excuse for seeking the more fascinating companionship of the heterae,-—beautiful and vivacious harlots, for whom a liberal education was provided in the temple-precincts, with a view to financial profits for these "sacred" institutions.

Henceforth Juno assumed the representation of the Church Specific in a vastated state, when the genuine love of the Lord has departed and its place is filled by the love of dominion over the souls of men. Jealousy of her supremacy now becomes the chief characteristic of the visible Church, which regards with bitter hatred every manifestation of the Divine Love for those who are "outside the pale."

This hatred for the Gentiles has existed in every declining Church, and was especially exemplified by the Jewish contempt and arrogance which are depicted and reproved by the Lord in every page of the New Testament. To a Jew all Gentiles were unclean things, mere dogs, scarcely fit to pick up the crumbs from their masters' table. Hence also came that first struggle in the early Christian Church over the question. "Is the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles also?"

It is the same in the Roman Catholic religiosity, with its arrogant motto: "Extra ecclesiam nulla salvatio," whence arose the doctrine of universal damnation for all who do not possess "the only saving faith." And it is the same in the Protestant churches, as is evident from their contemptuous and conscienceless treatment of all who do not carry about them the blessing of a proud white skin. We think the angry jealousy of Juno will be exemplified anew when the center of civilization and the balance of world-power shall begin to shift from the white to the colored races,—when the "yellow peril," and the "brown" and "black," shall have become direful actualities.

The spiteful cruelty of Juno is illustrated by the story of Io, the daughter of the river-god Inachus, to whom Zeus first revealed himself under the covering of a cloud, and whom he metamorphosed into a beautiful white heifer in order to protect her from the jealous persecutions of his spouse. But Juno, suspecting the guise, placed her under the surveillance of Argus, who possessed a hundred eyes distributed around his head. To set free his beloved, Zeus finally dispatched his messenger, Hermes, who killed Argus with a stone. Juno then sent an enormous and persistent gadfly to torment the unfortunate heifer, who, goaded by its cruel stings, fled wildly from one country to another, wandering in tortures all over the earth, until finally she found refuge in Egypt where Zeus restored her to her womanly form and beauty, and where she gave birth to Epaphus, the founder of Memphis and of Egyptian civilization.

This well-known story, when interpreted spiritually, is typical of the trials of every new Church. Io, the maiden, is the affection of truth among those who are in a gentile state, to whom the new Truth is revealed at first in a cloud of sensual appearances, and who are to some extent protected by their state of simple good, (the cow). Nevertheless, they are still kept in bondage under the Old Church, by its false reasoning and self-intelligence, which are represented by Argus.

He who (denies spiritual influx) may be compared to a crab which walks backwards, and his rational sight may be compared to the sight of the eyes of Argus in the back of his head, when those in his forehead were asleep. Such persons also believe themselves to be Arguses in reasoning. (Influx 9.)

The man who reads the Word under the auspices of his own intelligence, believes himself to be a lynx and to have more eyes than Argus. (T. C. R. 165.)

To those thus spiritually bound, the Divine Word then comes as a deliverer, here typified by Hermes or Mercury, the messenger who "brings word" from his master, but this time in the form of a stone, i. e., truth destructive of falsity. But though now set free from the dominion of the Old Church in general, false reasonings still infest the New Church which now enters upon a period of temptations, represented by the torments and wanderings of poor Io.

Flies signify falsities of the sensual man, thus falsities of every kind. (A. E. 740.) Bees, in the evil sense, signify false reasoning, because the rational gathers what belongs to it from scientifics falsely applied, as bees obtain their store from flowers. (A. E. 410.) "Stings in their tails" signify skillful reasonings from falsities by which they persuade and thus inflict injury. (A. C. 6952.)

It is significant that Io finally found "refuge in Egypt," i. e., victory in temptation by means of the letter of the Word. It may be that the story of Io refers to the early establishment of the Ancient Church in the land of Egypt.


Among the sea-gods of the ancients there was a trine of Divinities who succeeded one another as monarchs of the briny deep, viz.: Pontus, Oceanos, and Poseidon. Pontus, whose name signifies "the deep," (compare fundus, bottom, and profundus, deep), is said to have been an elder brother of Ouranos, and

seems to represent the first state of the Celestial Church, which was a state relatively simple and natural. He was succeeded by Oceanos, the first-born son of Ouranos, who was one of the most amiable of the Titans, and who, in the first great world-war, sided with Zeus and the Olympian gods against Chronos and his "saturnine'' crew. As the first-born of the Titans he represents the first posterity of the Most Ancient Church in its decline, who were in a state still relatively good and honest. And it may be that he represented also those in the Most Ancient Church who remained in a state of simple good and who afterwards united with the new Ancient Church. However this may be, Oceanos seems to have cheerfully yielded the trident to his nephew, Poseidon, with whom afterwards his personality merges into one.

In Poseidon we find again a sea-god as the first-born of his generation, a fact which is surely significant, indicating that in the Ancient Church, as in every general dispensation or individual regeneration, the first state was one of simplicity, a faith formed from the appearances of spiritual truth in the natural sense of the Word. But in order to appreciate this, it is necessary to understand the significance of the Sea, of which Poseidon, or Neptune as the Romans called him, was the presiding genius.

As Zeus, the god of the highest atmospheres, represents celestial truth, so Poseidon represents truth of the spiritual-natural degree, that is, spiritual truth accommodated to the natural apprehension of man. All collections of water, whether in the form of fountains, rivers, or lakes, correspond to the collection of truth in the natural mind of man, or of the Church in general, Thus fountains and wells correspond to the inmost perception of truth in the natural mind; rivers, to the leading principle or doctrines of truth; and lakes,—especially the greatest of all lakes, the universal ocean,—correspond to the complex or great est collection of all truth, which is the all-receiving, all-embracing Word of God as it exists in the natural world.

Waters signify truths, especially natural truths, which are cognitions from the Word. (A. R. 50.)

The Sea signifies the generals of truth, such as is the truth in the ultimates of heaven, and with man in the natural man, which is called scientific truth; because in the Sea there is a gathering together of waters, and by waters are signified truths. (A. E. 275.)

The Seas signify the cognitions and knowledges which are in the ultimates of the Church, in special the cognitions of truth and good, such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word. (A. E. 518.)

The Sea signifies the Divine Truth in ultimates, thus the Word in the letter. (A. E. 876.)

When, with these teachings in mind, we stand on the shore of the limitless ocean, we are impressed anew with reverential awe at the majesty, the all-embracing infinity, the unmeasured profundity, the irrestible force of that Word of God, of which the ocean is the mighty symbol. When reading the Word we find ourselves in the presence of the Infinite and Eternal—arcana within arcana, depth beneath depth; we cannot fathom the fulness of its meaning, but everywhere we perceive the voice of our Maker like the gentle murmur of the waves or the breaking of mighty billows. "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. The God of Glory thundereth; the Lord is upon many waters.'' (Ps. 29:3.)

As we are able to see only the surface of the ocean, so, in this world, we necessarily can grasp for the most part only the surface-meaning of the Divine Word, that is, its literal sense. But as the surface of the sea is broken by the waves which reveal its nearest depths, so our understanding of the sense of the dead letter is vivified by the genuine truths which continually appear even in the natural sense. On the other hand, as the sea lends itself to destructive storms as well as to useful navigation, so the fallacious appearances in the literal understanding of the Word, when moved by the influx of evil affections may easily lead to false reasonings, doubts and spiritual controversies, in which faith will perish unless its doctrinal ships be built of the stout, safe beams of spiritual rational truths. "The tumult of the sea and of the waves," (Ps. 65:7), signifies the disputings and ratiocinations of those who are beneath the heavens, and who are natural and sensuous." (A. E. 706.)

To the Ancients these correspondences were well-known, and therefore they pictured to themselves the Divine Truth in the natural sense of their Word, as Jehovah sitting upon the Sea; or as David sang: '' Thy way is in the Sea, and Thy path in many waters," (Ps. 77:19). And later on they named this conception of God, Poseidon, or Neptune, whom finally they worshiped as a distinct divinity, the great God of the waters.

Like Zeus, Poseidon is represented as strong and majestic of aspect, wearing a crown of sea-weeds, holding in his hand the trident or three-pronged sceptre. Seated beside his wife Amphitrite, in a chariot made of glistening sea-shells, he is drawn over the waters by fiery steeds, and in his wake follows a host of trumpeting Tritons and Nereids, graceful sea-nymphs, gamboling dolphins and other creatures of the sea.

The trident, being a sceptre, signifies the power of Divine Truth, but being the sceptre of Poseidon, and having three prongs, it signifies the power of Divine Truth in the ultimates of the Word, in which the three degrees of truth, celestial, spiritual, and natural, are together simultaneously, each powerful, each rational and "pointed." He who runs may read the symbol.

As the eagle with Zeus, and the peacock with Hera, so the horse is always and especially associated with Poseidon, and he himself even bore the surname of ''Horse-Poseidon." He is said to have created the first horse by striking the ground with the trident, in the same manner as he produced the fountain on the acropolis of Athens. The winged steed, Pegasus, was also produced by him. The modern interpreters confess that "it is difficult to give a reason for this connection of Neptune with the horse,'' especially in view of the well-known aversion of sailors to the use of this animal; various reasons are given, as that the horse was first introduced on board a ship, into Greece, or that the horse is on land what the ship is at sea. But the Writings of the New Church explain that

The signification of a horse, as the Intellectual, was derived from the Ancient Church to the wise men round about, and also to Greece. Hence it was that when they described the god of the sea they gave horses to him, because the Sea signifies science in general. And when they described the birth of the sciences from the Intellectual, they pictured a flying Horse which with his hoof broke open a fountain, where were seated the virgins who are the sciences, [the Muses], Nor was anything else signified by the Trojan horse than an artifice of their understanding for the destruction of walls. Even at this day, indeed, when the Intellectual is described, it is a common custom, derived from these ancients, to describe it by a flying horse or Pegasus, and learning by a fountain; but hardly anyone knows that a Horse in the mystic sense signifies the understanding, and a fountain, truth; still less that the gentiles derived these significations from the Ancient Church. ( A. C. 2762.)

As Poseidon, therefore, represents the Divine Truth in the natural sense of the "Word in general, so his chariot signifies the Doctrine by which this Truth is conveyed, and his horses the understanding of the Word in the letter. The same is signified in the prophet who says of Jehovah; "Thou didst walk with thine horses through the Sea, through the heap of great waters.'' (Hab. 3:15.)

The wife of Poseidon, beautiful Amphitrite, whose "graceful green hair encircles all the earth,'' is said by some to personify "the calm and sunlit aspect of the sea;" to others she signifies the shore which everywhere embraces the ocean, but to us she stands rather for the love of the Word in general, as her handmaids, the water nymphs,—Oceanides, Nereides, Naiads, etc.— certainly signify the affections of the truths of the Word.

The only son of Poseidon and Amphitrite was named Triton, who always precedes his father as trumpeter and herald, and whose body is depicted as half man and half fish,—a very ancient conception which ranges all the way from the Babylonian Oannes, the Assyrian Nin, the Philistine Dagon, to the Northern mermen and mermaids. As to Dagon we are told that his image was "devised like a man above and a fish beneath, because a man signifies intelligence, and a fish, knowledge, and these make one." (D.S.S. 23.)

Nereus, or Proteus, was another divinity of the sea. He was mild and peaceful, distinguished for his wisdom and love of justice, and moreover enjoyed the gift of prophecy and could assume any shape he chose. He was known as "the old man of the sea," and his name may be compared with the Hebrew nahar, river. The simple but genuine wisdom of life, derived from the letter of the Word, suggests itself as his significance.


Demeter, in Latin, Ceres, the daughter of Saturn and Rhea, was at one time married to her brother, Zeus, by whom she became the mother of Persephone. By her other brother, Poseidon, she is said to have borne the winged horse, Orion, which is but another name for Pegasus. As her younger sister, Juno, represents the Church Specific, so Demeter represents the Church Universal; or as Juno, the queen of heaven, represents spiritual good, so Ceres, the patroness of agriculture and the fruit of the earth, represents natural good. And genuine natural good is the mother of natural intelligence on the one hand, (the horse), and of the natural affection of truth on the other, (Persephone).

The most prominent event in the history of Ceres is the rape of her daughter, Persephone, by Pluto, which evidently signifies the separation of the affection of truth from natural good in the Church universal, whence results that sadness and mourning and lack of spiritual progress and increase which are characteristic of the gentile nations, and which are depicted by the woeful mourning of Ceres for her lost daughter, for whom she sought in vain in her roamings through all regions of the earth, while the soil itself everywhere refused to yield its increase.

The name "Ceres" is explained by philosophers as coming originally from the same root as the word Terra, the earth; and it is also identified with the ancient German "Hertha," the goddess of nature, from which name, again, comes our English word "earth;" and if we go far enough back we shall find all this connected with the Hebrew Eretz, the earth. The Greek name "Demeter," on the other hand, is derived by some from "gemeter," the "earth mother" or mother earth; by others from "di-meter," the "god-mother," the great mother of the gods, identical with Gaea, Rhea, Cybele, and Ops. In any case she still represents the Church in its widest sense, the Church universal, which is diffused throughout all the earth, and all the earths.

The fact is that Ceres, in the Ancient Church, occupied the same place and to a great extent held the same attributes and meaning as Gaea in the Most Ancient Church, and as Rhea or Cybele in that Church in its decline; that is, as modern interpreters put it, "personifying not the dead matter which composes the earth, but the passive productive principle which pervades it.'' This passive and at the same time living ''principle'' is the receptive and at the same time reactive power inherent in the earth, which, on the spiritual plane, is the same thing as that receptivity of spiritual life from the Lord which constitutes the fundamental or most universal characteristic of the Lord's Church with all mankind.

The bewildering multitude of heathen gods and goddesses will be greatly reduced and simplified when we realize that many, nay most of them are simply so many different names for the same spiritual principles, regarded in different aspects or planes, and by different ages and nations. Thus the Phrygian goddess Cybele, whose worship later on spread throughout Greece and Italy, is clearly the same as Ceres; like the latter she is the goddess of nature or of the earth; like the latter she is called "the great mother,'' who has taught agriculture to mankind, and who is roaming through all the earth, grieving and seeking for a lost love. The Roman goddess, Ops, or ''Wealth,'' is another form of Ceres, the ''Bona Dea,'' who gave fruitfulness to the earth, and who was especially celebrated on the first of May, which was indeed named from her.

Demeter and Ceres were, however, the most honored names under which the goddess of the standing corn and the harvest, and of agriculture and common civilization in general, was most universally worshiped. She it was who first taught uncultured men how to plow and sow and reap, and she is represented as continually travelling over the earth, teaching these most useful arts to distant nations, often accompanied by Persephone and Bacchus. Her worship was therefore universal among the ancients, especially among farmers and the simple country people, by whom fanes were erected in her honor in every village. Virgil thus describes her rustic sacrifices:

To Ceres chief her annual rites be paid
On the green turf, beneath a fragrant shade,
When winter ends, and spring serenely shines;
Then fat the lambs, then mellow are the wines,
Then sweet are slumbers on the flowery ground,
Then with thick shades are lofty mountains crowned.
Let all the hinds bend low at Ceres' shrine;
Mix honey sweet for her with milk and mellow wine;
Thrice lead the victim the new fruit around,
And Ceres call, and choral hymns resound.

Her annual celebrations, the Cerealia, included the peculiar custom of hunting a fox to whose tail a torch had been attached. This curiously reminds us of the story of Samson in the Bible, who caught three hundred foxes, and, turning tail to tail, put firebrands between the tails and, setting them loose, burnt up the "standing corn" and vineyards and olives of the Philistines. (Judges 15: 4, 5.) The Roman custom and the Hebrew story may have the same original meaning, expressing the antagonism of genuine natural good for the falsities of faith alone. (See New Church Life, 1893, pp. 179, 180) It is self-evident that Ceres, as the patroness of the corn and the harvests, represents genuine natural good, or good works on the natural plane, such as are to be found not only among the intelligent members of the Church itself, but also among the simple in the Church and among all gentiles throughout the earth.

In form the representatives of Ceres resemble those of Juno,—fair, matronly, and majestic of aspect, but with a milder and often somewhat melancholy countenance. She is clad in flowing robes and wears upon her head a wreath of the ears of corn. In one hand she holds a staff, and in the other sometimes a bunch of poppies, sometimes a sickle, or a sheaf of grain, or a cornucopia from which a wealth of fruit and flowers is falling upon the earth,—the noble personification of genuine natural good, or good works, in the Lord's universal Church on the earth.


In the division of the world between the three sons of Chronos, the rule over the "lower world," that is, the interiors of the earth and the kingdom of the dead, fell to Hades or Pluto, who is somewhat difficult of interpretation owing to the variety of aspects under which he may be considered.

His name, Hades, or more properly Aides, signifies "the invisible one," being derived from "a" not, and "eido," to see— referring either to his renowned helmet which conferred invisibility, or else to the invisible realm over which he ruled. The name Pluto is probably connected with the Greek word ploutos, meaning ''wealth,'' referring to the mineral riches hidden within the bowels of the earth.

As an individual, Pluto is represented with a majestic aspect like his brothers, but with a more stern and gloomy countenance, -—dark, heavily bearded, and with tightly closed lips. On his head he wears a peculiar crown on which is represented the crescent moon and under this an inverted crescent, with its horns pointing downward. In one hand he holds a key, and in the other a two-pronged sceptre. At his side is the helmet of invisibility, which on one occasion he lent to Minerva who again bestowed it upon Perseus when this hero went forth to slay the Gorgon. At his feet sits the three-headed dog, Cerberus. These symbols will be of assistance in the interpretation of Hades in his threefold aspects.

First, as the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, and as one of the three world-rulers, Pluto must represent one of the three universal degrees of Divine Truth in the Word of the Ancient Church. Now, if Zeus represents celestial Truth, or the celestial sense of the Ancient Word, and if Poseidon represents spiritual Truth, or the genuine sense within the natural sense, it follows that Pluto must represent the most ultimate degree of Divine Truth, the natural sensual degree, or the merely literal sense of the Word, the "letter which killeth," the dead letter.

As such we find Pluto as the god of the interiors of the earth, in which, as in the letter of the Word, there are inexhaustible mines of wealth, invisible on the surface but obtainable to those who ''dig,'' i. e., investigate. As such also we can understand the meaning of the key, the two-pronged sceptre, the composite crescent on his crown, and helmet of invisibility. The key here signifies the Word closed as to its inner meanings. The two-pronged sceptre,—each prong of which is a little flame,—seems to signify the power of the Word in the letter, with its twofold correspondences, ranging from opposite to opposite, each word having both a good and an evil significance. Compare in this connection the angel with the flaming sword, (or "sword of a flame"), guarding the way to the tree of life,—by which is signified the Word in the letter, which can be turned and twisted so as to confirm either truth or falsity. The double crescent signifies faith derived from the letter of the Word, which may turn upward to heaven or downward to hell. The helmet of invisibility also points to the literal sense which at times makes the spiritual sense invisible, that is, incomprehensible. Cerberus, in the best aspect, signifies the same letter, which acts as a guardian over the internal sense, preventing profaners from entering in.

Secondly, in his character of judge of the dead, Pluto not only represents the judgment which is passed upon every one after death, but also the World of Spirits or that intermediate world in which the judgment is effected, as well as the general state of spirits when first entering the other world,—a state of sensual appearances derived from nature and the literal sense of the Word.

Here again, we see the fitness of the composite crescent, turning upward and downward, and of the key which opens the gates of heaven and of hell. Cerberus, also, represents the guards which are set at the gates of heaven and of hell, preventing the unworthy from entering heaven or from passing out of that "bourn from which no traveller returneth." It is evident that in this aspect of Pluto, the Greeks borrowed liberally from the Egyptian conception of Osiris, the judge of the dead. In fact in later times, he was distinctly identified with the Graeco-Egyptian Divinity Serapis, (Osiris-apis), and the emperor Julian, (the "apostate"), states that an oracle informed him that Pluto and Serapis are the same divinity.

Thirdly, when, in the decadence of the Ancient Church, the love of the world made the idea of death a fearful and intolerable thought, the conception of Hades was perverted into a conception of hell and damnation. Pluto now became identified with another divinity, Plutus, the god of filthy lucre, the love of the world and of riches, for the sake of pleasure and dominion, and it is in this aspect that Pluto is referred to in the Writings of the New Church.

Those, with whom the love of the world and of riches make the head were called Mammons by the ancients in the Church; the Greeks called them Plutos. (T. C. R. 404.)

Swedenborg describes one who said he was Pluto, being one of those called Plutonics, who have the phantasy of seeing immense treasures of gold. (S.D. 4428.)

Certain avaricious monks are like the infernal gods whom the Ancients called Plutos. (A. R. 752.)

Those who love to rule, especially those whose religiosity demands that they are to be worshiped as deities, are compared to Plutos in hell. (D. P. 139; compare A. R. 792.)

It may be suggested that the myth of the three brothers, Zeus, Poiseidon and Pluto, is a more or less indistinct echo of the ancient knowledge of the three sons of Noah,—Shem, Japheth and Ham. Shem represents the genuine, spiritual, and internal Church and seems to fit in with the idea of Zeus. Japheth represents the external Church among those who were in simple good, and corresponds well with Poseidon. And Ham, whose name means "black," and who represents the external Church corrupted by the love of the world, may well be identified with the black-visaged, forbidding figure of Pluto, in his evil aspect.


As the daughter of Ceres, and as the wife of Pluto, this goddess appears in a twofold aspect; as a beneficent deity, virginal and smiling,—and as the queen of death and of hell, stern, pale-faced and sable-robed. Her name has been variously interpreted, some say it signifies '' one who showers food;'' according to other authorities it means "light-destroyer," or "death-bearer," (from phero, to bear, and phonos, death).

The story of the rape of Persephone was a favorite theme among the ancient poets. Light-hearted and merry, the youthful daughter of Ceres was gathering flowers in a meadow, when suddenly Pluto appeared in his chariot drawn by four coal-black horses; he strikes the earth with his two-pronged sceptre; an abyss opens and he disappears with the wildly crying maiden, who now becomes the queen of the nether world.

Torch in hand, her despairing mother seeks for her beloved in every land. Distressed by grief, she forgets her function as fructifier of the earth; year after year no harvests appear, until finally Zeus, to save perishing mankind, commands Pluto to yield up Persephone. But as the latter, before her departure from Hades, had eaten some seeds of the pomegranate, she is bound to return for a time to the realms of Pluto, like Eurydice in the story of Orpheus. It was finally arranged that she is to spend three (according to other accounts, six) months with her mother above the ground, but the rest of the year with her gloomy consort below. Hence, when each year Persephone reappears on earth, all nature rejoices with Ceres, and gladly yields its increase; while, when again she disappears, the skies weep and all nature mourns during the dreary winter months.

As the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and plentiful harvests, Persephone clearly represents, in the natural sense, the coming of spring and renewed vegetation. Her emblems, in this connection, are ears of corn and a cornucopia, and as such she is often depicted as the consort of Bacchus. But as the melancholy queen of Hades she represents winter, and she is now depicted as partly veiled, holding a pomegranate in one hand and a torch in the other. A black cock is also among her emblems.

Persephone, as a maiden and the harbinger of spring, fitly represents the youthful natural affection of truth, while Ceres, the goddess of harvests, represents good works, or natural good in the Church universal. In this light, the story of the rape of Persephone becomes the story of the Ancient Church, and of every Church, in its decline, when the affection of truth is separated from good works by means of Pluto, the merely literal understanding of the Word,—a process which we may see illustrated in the Roman Catholic Church, where external good works remain, though deprived of the affection of truth, the love of spiritual things. In this Church the clergy have usurped for themselves the wine of the Sacrament and also the reading and interpretation of the Word, just as Pluto violently carried away Persephone, while to the people is left the bread alone, and external good works as the sole means of salvation, (Ceres left alone). As in the Christian Church, so also in the Ancient Church, this spiritual rape was committed by those "plutonics" who are represented by Ham and the sons of Ham, the Church of Babylon.

The ever-recurring reappearance of Persephone represents, on the other hand, the fact that the affection of truth, or the love of spiritual things, is bound to reassert itself in the Church after every state of spiritual winter, as it did in the Christian Church at the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, as it has done in the New Church after the establishment of the Academy, as it does periodically in the life of every regenerating man. "For during all the days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.'' (Gen. viii: 22.)

As the queen of Hades, seated beside her husband upon an ebony throne, with her face veiled like Isis, and in her hand the pomegranate and the torch, Persephone would seem to signify, in a good sense, the Divine Mercy which tempers the stern decrees which would be meted out to all, were Truth alone to reign. Nevertheless, justice must be done: the good rewarded and the evil punished, as symbolized by the pomegranate and the torch. The cock, also, signifies judgment. As Pluto, here, is identical with Osiris, so his wife, Persephone, is identical with Isis, the veiled goddess. One Greek writer, Archemachus, in fact identifies her with the Egyptian goddess. The veil may refer to the inscrutable decrees of Providence which judges not as we would judge.

In the opposite sense, however, Persephone when separated from her mother, and as the queen of hell, strikingly represents the state of the affection of truth when separated from good works and conjoined only with the fallacies of the- merely literal sense of the Word,—a state of faith alone, gloomy and forbidding, "light-destroying" and "death bearing" to the souls of men.


Among the numerous Divinities who constitute the second generation of Olympian gods, Ares or Mars, the first-born son of Zeus and Hera, possessed the undisputed primogeniture, even though he did not in actual importance rank with such gods as Apollo, Mercury, or Vulcan. As the first-born son, Ares must relate to some principle of truth or faith, rather than to good or charity; and as it is truth that fights against evil and falsity, it is not surprising to find in Ares the great god of war. It is the same in all other mythological systems: the first-born of the supreme god is always the war-god. Thus in Babylonia and Assyria, the fighting divinity was Merodach, first-born son of Ea; and similarly Thor, the first-born of Odin, among the Northmen.

The names of Ares and Mars are admittedly of an unknown origin. Ares has been compared with the Greek words arren, male, areta, valour, aristos, best, and the Latin arma, weapons, the primitive notion of "goodness," according to the evolutionists, having been that of manly prowess in the arts of war. The name Mars, also is supposed to be related to mas, masculine, but all this is mere guesswork. We, therefore, venture to suggest that "Mars" is but a "memmated" or strengthened form of "Ares," and that the latter, like so many other names of Greek Divinities, is of Semitic origin, derived from the Hebrew Ari, a Lion, the fitting symbol of all those qualities which are represented by Ares: strength, courage, and fierce love of battle.

As the first state of faith with man may turn either to genuine faith, fighting for the authority and purity of Divine Truth, or to faith-alone, fighting for self-exaltation and the love of dominion, so also Ares is represented by the ancient poets and artists in two very different aspects. In his more noble form he is described in one of the Homeric hymns as a "sun-god, who makes courage and valor to stream into the hearts of men;" as "the god of the golden helmet, shield-bearing, clad in armor of bronze, strong and untiring;" and in this character also the sculptors have represented him as the model of a classic hero, youthful, vigorous, naked, and beardless, sometimes splendidly armed with shield and spear, cuirass, and a helmet crested with a winged lion, or with a lance in one hand and winged Victory in the other; or, unarmed, with Victory in the one hand and a branch of olives in the other,—the noble picture of a true warrior who

does not love war, but peace; even in the war he continually loves peace. He does not go to war, except for the defence of his country, but when war has commenced, he is the aggressor, when aggression is defence. (Doct. of Charity, 105.)

That in other statues he appears fierce and terrible does not militate against his good character, for the Divine Truth always so appears to those who are in falsity and evil. Even in a just war, no mercy must be shown to the enemy, "for the end is victory, and thus the common good, and in this end there is the mercy of salvation for many." (S. D. 4346.)

In the supreme sense, therefore, Ares or Mars is simply the ancient name for Divine Truth, militant and victorious, even as the Lord Himself in this aspect is called a "Hero," a man of War," and "a Hero of War," because by His Divine Truth He conquered the hells and forever protects His Church.

On the other hand the War-god is often represented as the personification of wild rage and blood-thirstiness, the love of fighting for the mere sake of fighting and slaying. As such he bears the appellations "impetuous," "blood-stained," "man-slaying," "town-destroying," a gigantic monster "roaring as loud as nine or ten thousand men," and covering with his body seven hundred feet of the ground. In the Iliad he sides with the Trojans, and is frequently worsted by the calm strategy of Minerva ; in this story he seems to represent the spirit of faith-alone, the cruel faith of the Old and vastated Church, of which Troy is the type in the struggle with the New Church among the Hellenes. As the genius of fury and destruction he is now seen accompanied by evil demons such as Deimos, Terror, Phobos, Pear, Eris, Strife, and Bellonia, the furious goddess of battle, whose altar was the only one on which human sacrifices were offered.

Whether in his good or evil aspect, Ares is always associated with Aphrodite, who sometimes figures as his legitimate partner, sometimes as his paramour. This conjunction of Courage and Beauty was a favorite theme among the classical artists, and inspired some of the noblest productions of ancient art, as, for instance, the Venus de Milo. In its proper and original meaning this represents the important truth that the prize of conjugial love can be won only by manful combat against evil and falsity, and therefore we read that of this union were born two lovely children, Harmonia and Cupid, Order and Heavenly Love. But in later days this beautiful myth was perverted into a scandalous tale, reflecting the corrupt state of Greek morals in the time when Faith alone was united with adulterous love.

Among the Greeks in general, except with the Spartans, Ares was held in small honor, though the Areopagus, or Hill of Ares, in Athens, was anciently named after him. Courts of justice were held here in the open air. But by the Romans he was called "Marspiter," "father Mars," and was worshipped as, next to Jupiter himself, the chief protector of the Roman state, (in whose honor they named the first month of their new year, Martius.) This was but natural, since he was regarded as the father of Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of the city. This myth, also, is evidently representative, and fitly describes the essential elements which made up the national character of the Roman people. In its best aspect this character was begotten of Mars,—the love of fighting for what was then regarded as Divine truth, viz., law and order in the State; and it was conceived by Rhea Sylvia, the vestal, that is, the love of stern virtue, self-sacrifice, and sublime patriotism. Such was the character of representative Romans of the olden days, from Lucretia and Brutus, the Horatii and Pabii, Cincinnatus, Manlius and Virginius, down to the Gracci and the younger Brutus. Afterwards these celestial characteristics, being perverted, produced the infernal love of universal dominion, a love which was inherited from the heathen Empire by the "Christian" Church of Catholic Rome.


Hebe, the goddess of youth, was the daughter of Zeus and Hera and sister of Ares. Her name, like the Latin Juventas, means simply "Youth," including particularly the age between fifteen and eighteen years. This was the period which among the Greeks was fixed as the age of '' Hebe,'' and with this may be compared the teaching that

those who die as infants, grow up in heaven, and when they reach the stature in which, in the world, are youths of eighteen years, and virgins of fifteen years, they remain in it. (C. L. 444.)

As goddess of eternal youth, it is she who greets the apotheosized heroes on their entrance into Olympus, presenting to them the cup of Nectar which immediately restores them to the first bloom of youthfulness and beauty, and endows them with immortality as the reward of victorious combats. And since we know that "growing old in Heaven is to grow young," (H. H. 414), we find that Hebe constantly waits upon all the gods at their Olympian banquets, pouring out for them that same elixir of eternal life, from which each day they quaff unending and ever-renewing youth.

When anyone first comes into the eternal life, he is among the angels, and therefore seems to himself as it were in the flower of youth. (A. C. 187.)

Those who are in mutual love, in Heaven, continually advance towards the springtime of their youth. (A. C. 553.)

In Heaven they are continually brought by the Lord into a more perfect life, and at length into the flower of youth. (A. C. 4676.)

By the artists Hebe is always represented as a charming young girl, her light garments adorned with roses, and on her head a wreath of flowers. In one hand she carries the amphora of nectar, and with the other she presents the cup of eternal youthfulness. Like Ganymede, she is often seen playing with the royal eagle of her father, a picture which brings to mind the beautiful words of the thanksgiving:'' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; who renewest as an eagle thy youth." (Ps, 103 : 2, 5.) For it is by the Nectar of Divine Truth that the angelic intelligence is daily advancing more and more into the innocence of wisdom.

Modern scholarship has established that Hebe is but another name for the original Greek conception of Aphrodite, a Venus, chaste, virginal, and heavenly, the ''Venus Ourania.'' For Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera, as Aphrodite, in the most ancient legends, is the daughter of Zeus and Dione,'' but Dione is simply the feminine of ''Dios,'' or Jove, and thus identical with Hera. Moreover, like Aphrodite, Hebe is called "the most beautiful of the goddesses," (as by Pindar), and in many passages she is called ''Dia,'' the regular epithet of Aphrodite. The evergreen Ivy, also, was sacred to both goddesses, who are essentially one and the same.

This brings us nearer to the inmost significance of Hebe, and to the very fountain of eternal youth, the conjugial of good and truth, or the Heavenly Marriage. As in the mere natural sense, marriage is the source of a perpetually renewed and youthful mankind, so is the spiritual marriage the source of a never ending succession of new truths and new goods from the Lord,—new conceptions, perceptions, ideas, and affections to all eternity. Thus also in Heaven

those who are in love truly conjugial return to their manhood and youth; the husbands become young men, and the wives young women. As such continue to grow young more interiorly, it follows that love truly conjugial continually increases. The reason that man thus grows young in heaven, is that he then enters into the marriage of good and truth." (A. E. 1000.)

There is a legend that Hebe at one time slipped in an awkward manner in the company of the gods and spilled her nectar, on which account she was dismissed from her service, and a beautiful youth, Ganymede, was carried from earth by the eagle of Zeus, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. It seems, however, from a later passage in the Iliad, that she was restored to her office. Ganymede seems to have been merely a male Hebe, and Hebe herself is sometimes called ''Ganymeda.'' Nevertheless, the myth seems significant, and calls to mind a similar story in the Eddas about Iduna, the goddess of youth among ancient Northmen, who "keeps in a box the apples which the gods, when they feel old age approaching, have only to taste of, to become young again. It is in this manner that they will be kept in renovated youth until Ragnarok."

Once it happened, however, that Iduna and her apples were carried away by Loki, the cunning and malignant spirit of mischief, who for a time was permitted to dwell among the gods in Valhalla. "The gods, being thus deprived of their renovating apples, soon became wrinkled and grey; old age was creeping fast upon them, when they discovered that Loki had been, as usual, the contriver of all the mischief that had befallen them.'' and so, under threats of condign punishment, they forced him to return Iduna and her apples. (Mallet, Northern Antiquities, pp. 421, 460.) Swedenborg, also, relates the following real occurrence in heaven:

On a certain occasion two married partners were present with me from heaven; and at that instant the idea of what is eternal in marriage was taken away from them by an idle, disorderly spirit who was speaking with craft and subtlety. Hereupon they began to bewail themselves, saying that they could not live any longer, and that they felt such misery as they had never felt before. When this was perceived by their co-angels in heaven, the disorderly spirit was removed and cast down; whereupon the idea of what is eternal instantly returned to them, and they were gladdened in heart, and most tenderly embraced each other. (C. L. 216.)

One of the most beautiful myths of the ancients represents "blushing Hebe" as given in marriage to Hercules, after the latter has finished his twelve "herculean" labors and had immolated his tempted natural life upon the funeral pyre of self-sacrifice. The story of Hercules is the chief of the numerous legends from the Ancient Word which foretold the coming of the Messiah, the future Redeemer of mankind, and his marriage with

Hebe not only reveals the fact that the ancients possessed a knowledge of marriage after death, but also represents, in the supreme sense, the Divine and eternal marriage of the Church with her Divinely-Human and glorified Lord. This marriage became a favorite theme with the artists of the ancient world, who perceived, but did not yet clearly understand, the meaning of this noble legend.

Something needs to be said, in connection with Hebe, about the Nectar and Ambrosia which constituted the drink and food of the gods. The origin of the word Nectar is unknown, though some have compared it with naegateos, "new-made," which recalls the words of the Lord: "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matth.26 : 29.) By common consent the ancients regarded Nectar as being some kind of heavenly wine, unobtainable by ordinary mortals, of extraordinary fragrance and power to restore and preserve life forever with the fortunate few who were vouchsafed to taste it.

The name of Ambrosia, the food or meat of the gods, has been compared with the word ambrotos, immortal, and has been traced, without a shadow of uncertainty, to the Sanscrit a-mrita, the elixir of immortality, which again is derived from the privative a, not, and ran, (Latin mori), to die. What the ancients who knew correspondences, meant by this heavenly food, may be evident from the words of the Lord in John: "I am that bread of life. . . . This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever." (vi : 48-51.) And in the Apocalypse:

To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the hidden manna, by which is signified hidden wisdom, such as is possessed by those who are in the Third Heaven. (a. R. 120.)

To those who conquer in temptations there is given the delight of celestial love from the Divine Human of the Lord. . . . The reason it is called "hidden manna" is that the delight of celestial love, which is received by those who are conjoined with the Lord through love, is quite unknown to those who are not in celestial love; and this delight can be received only by him who acknowledges the Divine Human of the Lord, because it proceeds therefrom. (A. E. 146.)

And, in general, we are told that the ancients "called the meats of the gods ambrosia, and their drink, nectar; for they knew that meats signify celestial things, and drinks spiritual things." (A. C. 4966.)


Hephaistos, the Latin Vulcan, was the god of brawny industry, but especially of the art of working metals by the hammer. Though few temples or altars were raised to him, he was worshiped by all smiths and artisans, and his miniature image stood among the Lares and Penates on the hearth of nearly every house in Greece and Italy.

Vulcan is commonly represented as a bearded, muscular man, with a serious, homely, and somewhat sullen countenance, his unkempt hair curling from beneath the pointed cap on his head ; he is usually garbed in the short tunic of a workman, which leaves the brawny right arm bare, and free to carry the traditional hammer. The whole figure is somewhat crooked, the left leg being slightly shorter than the right; in general, he presents a somewhat ludicrous appearance, lacking the proper dignity of a god, but in the most ancient representation that we have, on a cylix in the British Museum, he is depicted as a godlike youth, without any deformity whatever, the fitting companion of Minerva, who is assisting him in the creation of Pandora.

The name "Hephaistos," is, like "Vulcan," admittedly of unknown origin. The former, it has been asserted, means "the brightness of the flame," though we have been unable to discover any evidence for this etymology. It is certainly pre-Hellenic in formation, and has a decidedly Semitic appearance, (like Herakles, from Harokel, the Phenician god). Vulcan, on the other hand, has been compared to the Sanscrit ulka, a firebrand, but we would suggest, instead, a comparison with the Assyrian Vul, the god of the thunderbolt, and also with the Hebrew Tubal-cain. The name Tubal, like his ancestors Jabal and Jubal (Gen. 4:20-22), is a form of the verb Jabhal, to sound, to make a loud noise, and, since b and v are radically one, we have here also the origin of Vul. The name "Cain" means simply "a smith," and we would be obdurate, indeed, were we to refuse recognizing a connection between Vul-can and Tubal-cain, "the instructor of every artificer of brass and iron."

The modern interpreters of the "physical" school will have it that Vulcan is simply a personification of fire, elementary and subterranean, and that the history of the god simply describes the production of fire. "Like Vulcan, the spark is small and weak at its birth; like him, it is cast down from heaven in the form of lightning," etc.,—the analogists forgetting that fire, unlike Vulcan, by itself produces nothing but only destroys. As the writer on "Hephaistos" in the Encyclopedia Britannica Ninth Ed. admits, "though the word Hephaistos is used by Homer in the sense of fire, yet in the Hellenic god no elemental idea is at all prominent. The Hellenic religion had raised itself far above such [merely physical] conceptions of the Divine power, and its gods were moral powers."

If, therefore, we turn from dead naturalism to the living Word of God, from which all religion has proceeded, we shall find the key to the spiritual significance of Vulcan in the same Tubal-cain who was mentioned above, and who was "the doctrine of natural good and truth" in the New Church which succeeded the Most Ancient dispensation. (A. C. 421).

By an "artificer" in the Word is signified one who is wise, intelligent and scientific, and here, by "every artificer in brass and iron," is signified those who are acquainted with natural good and truth. (A. C. 424.)

A "smith" signifies the same as iron, namely, truth in ultimates, which is mighty and strong. (A. E. 316.)

But in the opposite sense "the work of the smith, the artificer and the workman" signifies whatever of doctrine, or religion, and of worship that is from man's self-intelligence. (A. E. 585.)

Those were represented in ancient times by artificers, who cast idols, or falses, which they adorn with gold, that is, with a semblance of good, and with silver, or an appearance of truth. (A. C. 424.)

According to Homer, Hephaistos was the younger son of Zeus and Hera, but according to Hesiod he was the son of Hera alone, the goddess having vowed that as Zeus produced a daughter, Athene, out of his own head, so could she, by her own power, beget and bring forth a son. This curious myth seems to mean that as the Divine doctrine of spiritual good and truth springs immediately from the Divine Wisdom itself, so the human doe-trine of natural good and truth is the product of the Church, acting as of itself,—or in the evil sense, it springs from the self-intelligence of the perverted Church. Hephaistos, like all the other pagan gods, may thus be interpreted in an evil as well as a good sense; and we often find him associated with Athene, sometimes co-operating, some times contending with her: the doctrine of natural good and truth may be turned either into harmony with or opposition to the spiritual doctrine.

One story has it that he was born ugly and lame, and that Hera in disgust flung the poor little creature out of Olympus. Another legend states it was Zeus who thrust him out, because he had attempted to interfere in one of the numerous quarrels between the royal partners; he fell through space for a night and a day, until he finally struck on earth on the island of Lemnos; on striking he slightly injured his left leg, leaving him permanently lame and halting. This, also, is in fitting correspondence to Hephaistos with the doctrine of natural good and truth, which, being merely natural, has no place among the celestial and spiritual truths and goods of Heaven. Being natural, moreover, Hephaistos also represents those who are in simple good, such as gentiles and the good but ignorant people within the Church, who in the Word are called "lame" and "halting."

The "lame" signify those who are in good, but not in genuine good, on account of their ignorance of truth. (A. C. 4302.)

By "the lame" in the proper sense are signified those who are in natural good, into which, spiritual truths cannot inflow, on account of natural appearances and the fallacies of the senses. (Ibid.)

As the right leg represents the will-faculty, and the left the faculty of the understanding, Hephaistos is represented as halting on the left leg, that is, his intelligence is shorter than his willingness to work and be of use to gods and men.

Usefulness is the chief characteristic of Vulcan, and use resides in and depends upon ultimates. In the Iliad, when Thetis comes to see him, she finds him ''busy, covered with sweat, limping from anvil to anvil, for he is forging at once twenty tripods which are to decorate the outer walls of his firm-built palace" (18:372). His forge or iron-furnace signifies the good will in which burns the fire or love of performing uses. The hammer and anvil signify the reasonings and confirmations by means of which the brass and iron, or goods and truths of the natural, are made strong and coherent and are fashioned into useful and intelligible shape.

"Is not my Word like unto a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jer. 23:29.) For fire signifies the good of love, and a hammer signifies the truth of faith; for a hammer has a like signification to iron, and iron signifies the truth in ultimates and the truth of faith. (A. E. 411.)

A "hammer" signifies coherence, made by means of confirmation, (A. E. 458); and, in the opposite sense, ingenious reasonings from falsities, so that they may appear to cohere. (A. E. 386.)

All the celestial and spiritual things of Heaven and of the whole spiritual world are formed in and by the ultimate natural. It is in the natural world that our mind and spiritual character are formed, and after death remain fixed in that form, and every thought or affection is similarly shaped and fashioned in and by the natural alone. And therefore it was Vulcan, and he alone, who built the palaces and manufactured the household furnishings of the gods; he it was that forged the thunderbolts of Jove, the darts of Cupid, the throne of Helios, the crown of Ariadne, the girdle of Venus, the armor of Achilles and the shield of Hercules. And it was his sturdy arm and heavy ax which cleft open the head of Jove in order to let Minerva spring forth into the light of day, full grown and glistening with golden helmet, shield and spear. Minerva is the spiritual doctrine of good and truth, but this doctrine is to be drawn from the fountain-head of Divine Wisdom,—by means of the genuine doctrine of the letter of the Word,—in other words, by the doctrine of natural good and truth. To illustrate: the whole Word is full of the spiritual doctrine of the New Church concerning the Lord. But this doctrine is hidden in the letter, until opened and revealed by means of a genuine natural understanding of such teachings as "I and the Father are one;" "he that seeth Me, seeth the Father."

Hephaistos is variously reported as having married Eos, Aphrodite, or Aglaia, the youngest of the three Graces, but the most common tradition gives him Aphrodite for wife, even as Wieland, the German Vulcan, (who figures as "Wayland Smith" in Scott's Kenilworth), married the beautiful "Swan-maiden." Discarding the scandalous interpolation respecting the adultery of Venus and Mars, we find this union of Vulcan and Venus highly significant, representing, we think, the union of Conjugial Love with the Love of Use.

Each one has conjugial love, with its virtue, power, and deliciousness, according to his application to the genuine use in which he is. (C. L. 207.)

In proportion as anyone loves to be wise for the sake of genuine use, in the same proportion he is in the vein and potency of conjugial love. Use effects this. (C. L. 183.)


The winged messenger of the gods is, according to all the mythologists, most difficult of explanation, owing the the variety of his offices and the complexity of his characteristics. The interpreters are all at sea about him, and also at loggerheads with one another. The physical school insists that he merely represents the Wind, the motion of the atmospheres, and they ingeniously force everything in his history into a plausible harmony with this notion. Others say that he was originally a sun-god , or a love-god, or a shepherd-god, or an importation of the Egyptian idea of the priesthood, etc, etc. But while there is a certain basis of truth for some of these ideas, none of them represents a just generalization of all the various characteristics and offices of Hermes. To generalize, to marshal into an orderly and systematic whole all the bewildering facts of any subject, is the exclusive perogative of the men of the New Church, who not only possess the Science of Correspondences, but also enjoy the rational perspective afforded by the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, from the light of which alone, universal views can be given.

If, then, from a careful study of Hermes, we seek to draw a general conclusion, we shall find that all the myths and symbols point to one central and universal idea, namely, the idea of Communication and of all the means of communication between God and men that exist in Heaven or on earth. Viewed from this central idea Hermes stands revealed as representing, in the supreme sense, the Divine Spirit, or the Word; and, next, the human means of communication, viz., the ministry of the angels, the priesthood of the Church on earth, and, ultimately, social intercourse, travel, and trade.

The etymology of the name Hermes has thus far baffled the philologists, some of whom, in their determination to trace everything Greek to the Sanscrit, have derived it from the Iranian word Sarameias, which has been variously interpreted as meaning either "the morning breeze," or the name of the Hindoo hell-dogs, akin to Cerberus. We will let the savants fight out this question to their heart's content, but would suggest, as an alternative, the Greek root ER, whence comes erchomai, to come, or to go. The Latin name, ''Mercury,'' seems more easy of explanation, being plainly connected with the words merx, hire, and mercator, merchant, but it is a question whether these words are derived from Mercury, the patron-god of merchants and merchandise, or Mercury from them.

Whatever be the derivation of his names, there is no doubt as to his history, character and functions. All accounts agree that he was the son of Zeus by Maia, the oldest and fairest of the Pleiades, the seven daughters of the giant Atlas. It was in her honor that the Romans named the month of May, and celebrated the great feast of Mercury on the Ides of May. Immediately after his birth he invented the first lyre, by stretching strings across a tortoise shell, and then set out to steal a herd of oxen from Apollo. The sun-god soon discovered the theft, but was appeased by the gift of the lyre, with which he was so pleased that he presented to Hermes a magic, winged wand, called the "caduceus," and moreover recommended him for the special service of the gods. In Olympus his nimble wit and wonderful agility and energy were quickly recognized, and he was therefore appointed the messenger and herald of Zeus in particular, and plenipotentiary ambassador of the gods in general. Henceforth he was constantly travelling, descending from heaven with messages and blessings from the gods, and returning from the earth laden with the prayers of men,—the chief means of communication and conjunction between heaven and earth.

To send messengers signifies to communicate. (A. C. 4239)

"The angels of God descending and ascending" signifies infinite and eternal communication and thence conjunction. (A. C. 3701.)

As the great god of communication, all travellers were placed under his special protection,* and also the natural means of communication, such as highways, streets, and doorways. Hence it was that statues of Hermes were placed at the principal street corners of Athens, where they were held so sacred that their removal or mutilation was a capital offense; and Alcibiades, the Athenian general, was recalled from the ill-fated Sicilian expedition, because he was suspected of having mutilated these statues during a drunken revel by night, and this step ultimately brought about the downfall of Athens as a world-power.

* It is a curious coincidence that the spirits of the planet Mercury are the great travellers of the universe. (See A. C. 6925.)

Besides travelling as the Divine messenger, Hermes appears most frequently in the character of leader, conductor, and introducer. He it was who conducted Pandora to Epimetheus, and led the aged Priam to the tent of Achilles to beg for the body of Hector. When Psyche, after her long trials, finally won her way to Olympus, it was Hermes who gently led her by the hand to her long-lost Cupid, with whom she was now to be united in everlasting love. It was his regular function, also, to raise up the souls of the dead and guide them to the judgment-seat of Pluto, and one beautiful onyx engraving shows him in the act of grasping a soul by the arm and lifting him out of the grave. As conductor of the dead he was universally worshiped under the name of "Hermes Psychopompus," Hermes the soul-leader. It is obvious that the ancients in this manner represented to themselves the Divine leading by means of the ministry of the angels, who not only lead man invisibly throughout the earthly life, but also actually assist in the resuscitation of his spirit after death. As a leader Hermes also represents the office of the priesthood, for a leader signifies one who teaches and thereby leads to the good of life and to salvation. (A C. 10794; A. E. 555.)

As the messenger of the gods, Hermes also stands for the message itself, that is, the Divine Revelation or the Word, and hence "Hermes Logos" was worshipped as the god of Divine speech and eloquence, of oratory and logical argumentation, and, finally, of the interpretation of dreams and hidden mysteries. Hence, in Greek, hermeneuein signifies to explain or interpret, and "Hermeneutics" is to this day the name of the science of  interpretation or Exegesis, the branch of Theology which defines the laws whereby the meaning of the Scriptures is to be ascertained. This, again, connects Hermes with the representation of the influx and communication of the Divine Proceeding, the Holy Spirit, the "Word, and the priesthood.

Being the tutelary deity of travel, roads, traffic, and communication in general, Mercury naturally became the special patron of all merchants and of trade as a whole, that is, of the communication and interchange of material goods. His images were most common in the shopping district of the cities, and in Rome there was a spring dedicated to him, near his temple, where, on the celebration of Mercury, on the Ides of March, every shopman drew water and sprinkled it with a laurel twig over his head and over his goods, at the same time calling upon Mercury to remove the guilt of all his cheatings during the past year.

But there was a deeper reason than this for the connection of Mercury with trade. In most ancient times merchants were spiritual merchants, priests and missionaries who went forth to spread abroad the spiritual goods and truths of the Church; gradually natural trade followed in the steps of this spiritual traffic; even as in modern times, especially among the English, the trader has followed the missionary into heathen lands.

To "buy and sell" signifies to acquire and communicate; thus, in the spiritual sense, to learn and to teach; and by "merchandise" is signified the cognitions of good and truth from the Word. (A. E. 1104.)

It was by the perversion of this idea that Mercury became the patron-deity of thieves, that is, when in the decline of the Church the priesthood as spiritual thieves took away the truths of religion from the people, hiding them under esoteric mysteries for the sake of selfish power and gain. This took place in all the countries of the Ancient Church, just as it took place in the Roman Catholic Church, the priesthood of which is represented by the "merchants of Babylon" in the Apocalypse. .(A. R. 759.) But the story of Hermes as an infant stealing the oxen of Apollo is also capable of being explained in a relatively good sense, even as the story of the thefts of Jacob and Rachel, concerning which we read that their stealing the teraphim

signifies to claim for one's self that which is the Lord's, namely, good and truth; and as all do this in the beginning of regeneration, the expression is milder than it sounds in the letter. (A. C. 4002.)

Before regeneration man supposes that he procures truths for himself; and so long as he supposes this, he is in spiritual theft. (A. C. 5747.)

The theft of Hermes, like the drunkenness of Noah, may therefore refer to the first state of the Ancient Church, which in the beginning was more or less in faith alone, and then would steal the oxen of Apollo, that is, ascribe to itself the good which is the Lord's alone. But Hermes was forgiven because he invented the first instrument of music;—the infant Church was condoned because it was nevertheless in the spiritual affection of truth, though this affection at first was of a very external quality, as indicated by the shell of the tortoise. As Vulcan has been compared to Tubal-cain, so Hermes may be compared to Jubal, who "was the father of such as play upon the harp and the organ," (Gen. 4 :21), by whom is signified the spiritual affection, or the affection of truth in the Ancient Church, (A. C. 418.)

Though Hermes was said to possess the power of making himself invisible, and also to assume whatever shape he desired, the Greeks nevertheless invested him with a very definite individuality, of a type characteristically Hellenic; graceful, noble, active, and energetic. In the earliest statues he is represented as a strongly formed man, with a pointed beard and a traveller's hat, but in the later and more artistic representations he is shown as a slender yet vigorous youth, beardless and with curly hair, flying through the air or resting for a moment during his journey. The famous statue by Praxiteles shows him leaning with his left arm on a rock, and supporting on it the infant Bacchus. The beautiful marble by Bologna, now in Florence, represents him naked and youthful, flying downwards but pointing upwards, and furnished with the full regalia of all his emblems and symbols. A basrelief, recently discovered at Ephesus, presents him as "psychopompus," conducting a newly-risen soul, who, under the figure of a beautifully draped woman, turns half toward her beckoning guide.

The distinguishing symbols of Hermes are the winged hat, known as the petasus, the winged sandals, called talaria, and the winged staff, the caduceus. The first was the regular broad-brimmed traveller's hat of the ancients, but here furnished with a small wing at each of the temples. By these and the little wings on his "immortal golden sandals" he was borne like the wind over land and sea to whatever part of the universe he was pleased to go, and thus beautifully illustrates the description of God by the psalmist when he says that Jehovah '' walketh upon the wings of the wind," (Ps. 104:3), by which "is signified the spiritual sense which is in the literal sense," (A. E. 2828). Wings always represent the power of the intelligence to elevate its thoughts and thus make spiritual progress, and the wings on the feet and at the head of Hermes beautifully typify the Divine Messenger, or the Word, which comes to us with a natural and at the same time a spiritual sense. The Writings of the New Church teach us that this idea of Hermes originated in the actual representatives of the spiritual world. Swedenborg states, for instance, that

there appeared to me a spirit with a little wing at the left side of the head, and it was said that sometimes those so appear who are sent from one to another with letters or messages. Hence it is evident whence the ancients derived the custom of fixing a wing at the head of Mercury, who was the messenger among their gods. (.S. D. 5953.)

At another time an angel appeared to Swedenborg, "as it were flying from heaven, with two wings about his feet, and two about his temples," carrying in his hands prizes for a company of wise men who had been discussing spiritual subjects. (C. L. 136.)

The "caduceus" or "kerykeion," (herald's staff), in the hand of Hermes, bears at the upper end two little wings, and below it two serpents, entwined about the staff in opposite directions,—the one from right to left, and the other from left to right. This is supposed to be merely a symbol of peace, but to us this remarkable staff, like the two pairs of wings at his feet and head, represents the Word itself, which below, in its literal sense, is sensual, like the serpents, but above, in its internal sense, becomes spiritual by means of the power of correspondence. And there are two serpents, entwined in opposite directions, because in the literal sense there is everywhere the duality of good and truth, the gyre or turning of good being from right to left, while that of truth is from left to right. It was by this staff that Hermes led the souls to their final goal, and we may compare with it the staff on which Moses fixed a brazen serpent for the healing of all who looked upon it.

The brazen serpent signifies the Divine Sensual of the Lord which alone exercises circumspection and provides for all, and therefore those who looked to it were saved. (A. C. 197.)

The butterfly and the cock were also among the emblems of Hermes, the former signifying the resurrection and the other the judgment after death.

In whatever aspect, therefore, we may view Hermes,— whether as god of the wind, or as the herald and messenger of Olympus, whether as leader of men or conductor of the dead, whether as patron of orators, or of travellers, or of merchants,— this interesting and sublime conception of the ancients consistently represents the central idea of Communication and Influx,—in the supreme sense the influx and communication of the Divine by means of its own going-forth or Proceeding, as the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, or the Word; in the representative sense, the ministry of the angels, and in the ultimate sense, the ministry of the priesthood on earth.

The worship of Hermes seems to have been introduced into Greece from Egypt, where we find the god Thoth, who by the Greeks was called "Hermes Trismegistus," the "thrice greatest.'' The ancient legends concerning this deity are of special interest to Newchurchmen, because we find here a distinct reference to the Ancient Word.

Thoth, like the Greek Hermes, was the messenger of the gods, the conductor of the resurrected spirits, the patron of letters and learning, and the chief means of communication between gods and men. He was also the Scribe of the gods, the "Scribe of Truth,'' the '' Lord of the Divine Words,'' and the priestly office stood under his special protection. His name, in fact, is often used as the collective appellation of the Egyptian priesthood as a whole.

Herodotus, Manetho, Plutarch, and Clement of Alexandria testify that there were two, and some of them say three, successive individuals who bore the distinguished name of ''Hermes Trismegistus." The first Hermes, known as the "celestial Hermes," was the god Thoth himself, who also was "identical with that Edris or Enoch who among the Chaldeans bore the surnames Uriai or Duwanai, i, e., 'great wise one;' he is said to have lived one thousand years after Adam, thus in the second millenium of the world, and was the greatest sage of the earth.'' (Vollmer Worterbuch der Mythologie, p. 850.)

According to Manetho this first Hermes lived before the Flood, and inscribed on tablets, in sacred hieroglyphics, the secret or esoteric doctrines of the most ancient times, together with the elements of all human knowledge. The Egyptian priests declared that they owed to him all that wonderfully minute and exact knowledge of the state of men after death which is revealed in the ''Book of the Dead,'' or book of ''Funeral Rites.'' But these tablets were afterwards buried in the earth, and thus lost from view, during a period of civil revolutions and natural catastrophies which once overtook the ancient world. (Compare the story of Enoch, in New Church Life for May, 1904.)

A second Hermes Trismegistus appeared after the deluge, at the beginning of the third millenium; in the tradition of the Arabs he is known as "the second Uriai" or "Hermes al Mothaleth." He is said to have unearthed the hidden tablets of the first Hermes, interpreted the sacred symbols inscribed upon them, and translated their contents to the comprehension of the common people; with these as a basis he wrote by the command of God a great number of inspired books, in which may be found everything that the human mind is capable of learning. These books, which treated of universal principles, of the nature and order of celestial beings, of astrology, medicine, etc., were deposited in the temples in the care of the priesthood, and to them is ascribed the restoration of the wisdom taught by the first Hermes, and the revival of theology, science, art, and culture among the ancient Egyptians. This second Hermes also taught that the lower world was created after the similitude of the upper world, and he "established a vast system of correspondences between the three worlds, the physical or material, the rational or intermediary, and the psychical or spiritual." (Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 1, p. 463.)

Then, according to Eusebius and other ancient writers, there arose a third Hermes Trismegistus, who lived a little after the time of Moses. He was a celebrated Egyptian priest and philosopher, who collected the maxims, commentaries, and interpretations of the second Hermes and wrote them down in forty-two books which are known as the "hermetic books," treating in occult language of theology, astrology, science, art, etc., and also containing the recipe for the making of gold and for finding the "philosopher's stone," on which account they were much revered and studied by the alchemists and mystics of later ages.

It must be to this third Trismegistus that Swedenborg refers in the Spiritual Diary, when he speaks of

Trismegistus, in Egypt, at the time of Moses, who is supposed to have found out how to express the ideas of the mind by means of images of beasts, which are called hieroglyphics, (n. 6083.)

Fragments of the works of this last Hermes exist in Arabic or Latin translations, but they are so mixed with later additions of gnostic, cabalistic, and alchemistic character that is is difficult to judge as to their original value. They may have been commentaries on the books of the '' second Hermes,'' but these latter were undoubtedly part of the Ancient Word which was given after the Flood, even as the tablets of the "first Hermes" clearly refer to the Book of Enoch which was written before the Flood.

Phoebus Apollo

Divine Manhood,—this is the central idea in the manifold yet ever harmonious characteristics of the Greek sun-god, the god of light, beauty and joy,—the god of wisdom, intelligence and science.—the noblest, purest and finest of all the male divinities of Hellas, Phoebus Apollo, who "to a form of ideal beauty, combining youthful grace and vigor with the fullest perfection of manly strength, added unerring wisdom, complete insight into futurity, an unstained life, the magic power of song, ability to save and to heal." (Rawlinson.)

The worship of Apollo, like the etymology of his name, is clearly of oriental origin. Until of late years, it has been the custom to derive the name from apollymi, to destroy, but this is manifestly unsatisfactory as it describes but one of the offices of the god, and that only an incidental one. Knowing, as we do, that the Greeks received most of their religion, as they did their letters, from Asia and Egypt, through the Phoenicians, it becomes evident that in Apollo we have simply a purified and glorified Hellenic reappearance of the Assyro-Babylonian Bel, and the Syrian Baal,—"ha-Baal,"—"the lord,"—who, like Apollo, was distinctly the god of the sun. In fact, among the earliest Greek representations of Apollo, we find him depicted simply under the appearance of a human face, surrounded by the rays of the sun,—the exact reproduction of the most common Phoenician representation of Baal. Moreover, we can trace the westward progress of the worship of Baal, through the Cretan Abelios and the ancient Doric Apellon, to the Ionic Apollo, which finally become the fixed and generally accepted form of the name.

As the god of the sun, Apollo was known as Phoebus, in order to distinguish him from the earlier sun-god, Hellios, the Titan son of Ouranos and Gaea, whose office of driving the horses and chariot of the sun was inherited by Apollo, just as Neptune inherited the watery kingdom of his uncle, Oceanos. Helios, (whose name is clearly derived from the Semitic El or "ha-El," "the god," just as Apollo is derived from "ha-Baal"), stood for the idea of God as a man in the sun of the spiritual world, in the waning days of the Most Ancient Church, just as Apollo stands for the same idea in the decline of the Ancient Church, —Phoebus Apollo among the Grseco-Romans, the Horus of the Egyptians, the Krishna of India, or the Balder of the Northmen. Under the name of Helios he was especially worshiped on the summits of certain high mountains which hence became known as Mounts of Helios,—later on Christianized in various places as "Mt. Saint Elias!"

Apollo, as the sun-god, signifies in general the supreme love of the spiritual Church, that is, Charity, even as his twin-sister, Diana, the goddess of the moon, everywhere is the representative of Faith. The story of their birth on the island of Delos is the story of the birth of spiritual charity and faith among the Hellenic Gentiles, who lived remote from the corrupt nations in Asia where the Ancient Church had once flourished.

According to all accounts, Apollo and Diana were the offspring of Zeus and Latona, or Leto, whose name means "darkness," (comp. lateo, to hide, and Lethe, oblivion), which fitly describes the state of spiritual darkness originally prevailing with the primitive Greeks, among whom a new Church was now about to be established. Juno, on discovering her husband's alliance with Latona, immediately outlawed her rival, at the same time threatening with dire vengeance any person or place that should extend aid or shelter to the poor exile,—all of which typifies the hatred of the Old Church towards the simple gentiles who now were to receive a new and purer form of the Lord's Church.

Among the many adventures of the suffering outcast, the following significant legend is told by Ovid. "While wandering one day under a burning sun, Latona came upon a lake of limpid water. Kneeling down to quench her thirst, she was set upon by some Lydian laborers who were gathering sedges and rushes by the shore; they harshly forbade her to touch the water, and even began to jump about in the mud in order to render the water undrinkable, whereupon Latona cried out, "May you live forever in that pool." Zeus heard her wish, and the churls were at once changed into croaking frogs. The lake here seems to represent the Word of God, to which the inquiring soul comes for the water of life. But the laborers,—the priesthood of the perverted Church,—forbid the search for truth, and make the Word muddy and unintelligible by their false and clumsy interpretations ; the result, however, is worse for them than for the truth-seeker, for they become spiritual frogs, croaking ratio-cinators, forever dwelling in filthy falsities and jumping at false conclusions. (A. C. 7351 ; A. E. 1000.) The comedy,—or perhaps we should say, tragedy,—is repeated at the end of every Church.

The whole world refused to give shelter to Latona, until she happened to see a small, barren island floating about in the Aegean sea; it "trembled with joy" on hearing her appealing voice, received her gladly, and was forthwith chained down with adamantine pillars and received the name Delos, forever blessed by the whole Hellenic world. And here, amid great sufferings, Latona gave birth to her divine children. The myth is filled with light when we learn that by "islands are signified those who live mutually together in charity, but still in ignorance, not knowing anything about the Lord or the doctrinal things of the Church," (A. C. 1158), in other words "the Gentiles with whom there has been only the appearance of truth, but not as yet genuine truths," {A. E. 1024). Delos thus signifies the same in the Ancient Church as was represented by the neighboring isle of Patmos, where the Apocalypse was given to the Christian Church.

The reason the revelation was made to John in Patmos, was that it was an island in Greece, not far from the land of Canaan, and between Asia and Europe; and by islands are signified the nations more remote from the worship of God, but who will nevertheless accede to it, because they can be illustrated; in like manner by Greece; but the Church itself by the land of Canaan; by Asia those belonging to the Church who are in the light of truth from the Word; and by Europe those to whom the Word will come. (A. R. 34.)

An island signifies a nation remote from true worship, but which still longs to be enlightened and which will receive the truths of Doctrine. Moreover, the isle of Patmos is in an archipelago where there are many other islands; and hence, too, it is, that by "Greece," in the Word, such nations are signified. (A. E. 50.)

It was through the isles of Greece, and especially through Delos, that the light of the Ancient Word passed over from Asia to Europe, and it was similarly through Greece and her islands that the light of the Christian Gospel first spread among the European gentiles. In the Church of the New Jerusalem, also, an island kingdom has figured as the first place to receive the Heavenly Doctrine,—we refer to the British Isles,—and to us it appears very probable that the islands of Japan will in the future serve as the means of introducing the New Church to the gentile nations of the Orient. But we must now return to Apollo.

Apollo, it is said, was born on the seventh of May, and hence the seventh day of every month was sacred to him. At his birth, a heavenly radiance flooded the island of Delos, and a flock of swans flew seven times around the island, while, growing between a palm and an olive tree, the sacred laurel sprang up from the ground. Having been washed and swathed by the attendant goddesses, Apollo was fed with Nectar and Ambrosia. Suddenly attaining full stature, he called for a lyre and a bow, and, announced that he intended to found an oracle and to declare to men the will of his Divine Father.

Setting forth to accomplish this sacred purpose, he arrived at Delphi, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, where, from a chasm in the rocks, there issued a monstrous serpent, the Python, which had been born out of the slime and stagnant waters which remained after the Deluge had subsided. Him Apollo vanquished and chained in the chasm, and placed over it a tripod and built around it a temple which became the most famous oracle of all antiquity. Out of the chasm there exhaled a gas which threw into hypnotic trance the priestess,— known as the Pythia,—who was seated on the tripod above it, and who, when in this condition, gave utterance to muttered oracles which were caught by the listening priests and formulated by them according to the requirements of the occasion.

According to ancient custom the conqueror assumed as one of his surnames the name of his vanquished foe, and thus Apollo was frequently worshiped under the name of Pytheus, or the Pythean. Hence, in English, we have the word "Pythonism" as a generic term for all kinds of magic and spiritism, and it is only by a knowledge of this connection between the Python, (also called "Leviathan"), and Apollo, that we can understand the allusion in the True Christian Religion, n. 182, where certain spirits, who were teachers of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, were compared by Swedenborg to the "Abaddons" and "Apollyons," mentioned in the Apocalypse, (9:11). To this they replied, "we are not Apollyons, but Apollos." Whereupon Swedenborg said, indignant; "If you are Apollos you are also Leviathans, whom God shall visit with His hard and great sword." Elsewhere in the Writings of the New Church Apollo is always given a good signification.

Having vanquished the Python and erected a temple at Delphi, Apollo next boarded a ship of Phoenician traders, whom he carried away to Delphi to serve as his priests there. This origin of his priesthood again points to the Phoenician origin of his worship.

In antique art, Apollo is always represented as a glorious figure, combining the beauty of eternal youth with the strength and dignity of Divine manhood,—a naked, athletic, beardless figure, with a countenance radiant and genial, his long, curling hair hanging loose or bound in a large knot above his forehead.

His broad, intellectual brow is nearly always crowned with a wreath of his favorite laurel, and in his hands he bears the dreaded bow and the inspiring lyre.

Several famous representations show him in the act of killing an enormous lizard which is crawling up the trunk of a tree, (Apollo Saurokmos). As leader of the Muses he is known as Apollo Musagetes, and is then represented as fully garbed in long, ample robes, unarmed, and playing upon the lyre. Among the most famous statues of Apollo was the Colossus of Rhodes, 105 feet high, bestriding the narrow entrance to the harbor of Rhodes, the little ships of antiquity sailing easily between his feet. But the most beautiful statue of Apollo that has been preserved from classic times, is the far-famed Apollo Belvidere, which was discovered at the end of the fifteenth century, when it was purchased by Pope Julius II., and at the direction of Michael Angelo, placed in the Belvidere gallery of the Vatican. It represents him in the act of slaying the Python, and is remarkable for its air of moral grandeur and certainty of victory.

As was said before, Apollo, more than any other of the Greek gods, embodies the ideal of Divine Manhood, or the idea of the Divine under a most perfect human form, and he represents especially the Human Divine, such as it was revealed to the Ancients, before the coming of the Lord Himself in the flesh. And since this idea of God as a Man was then the medium of conjunction and communication of God with man, so Apollo like Mercury, was the medium by which Zeus communicated with the human race. Like Mercury, therefore, Apollo represents the Divine Proceeding which is this medium of conjunction and communication, but while Mercury represents the Divine Proceeding in its office of Communication, Apollo represents it more particularly in its office of Divine Operation, or as Divine energy and power. If, now, we know that the first manifestation of the Divine Proceeding is the Sun of the Spiritual world, in which the Lord reveals His Divine Human form, and if we know at the same time that the Lord also reveals Himself as a Man outside the spiritual sun, we shall be able to understand and reconcile the three different and hitherto unharmonized types of Apollo, viz. : 1, as Helios, the Sun; 2, as the god of light and wisdom, and 3, as an individual deity, or God revealed in a personal human form.

1. Apollo, as representing the Sun of the spiritual world, is known as Phoebus, "the shining one," and in the later mythology of the Greeks he occupies the same position as the earlier sun-god, Helios. As the god of the sun,—or, as Byron expresses it, "the Sun in human limbs arrayed,"—he dwells in a golden palace far in the east, where he sits enthroned in ineffable glory, surrounded by a brilliant court made up of the Hours, the Days, the Months, the Seasons, the Years, and the Ages. Hence, every morning, preceded by ''rosy-fingered Aurora,'' he proceeds on his daily journey around the earth, seated in his radiant chariot and drawn by four fire-breathing, ambrosia-fed horses. Concerning these we learn that

the signification of a horse, as meaning the intellectual, was derived from the Ancient Church to the wise round about, even into Greece. Hence it was that in describing the Sun, they placed therein the god of their wisdom and intelligence, and attributed to him a chariot and four fiery horses, . . . the food of which they called ambrosia, and their drink nectar. For they knew that the sun signifies celestial love; horses, the intellectual things thence derived; meats, celestial things; and drinks, spiritual things. (A. C. 2762, 4966.)

It is highly significant that Phoebus Apollo, the sun-god, was also the god of the art of healing, and as such was the father of AEsculapius, the god of medicine, who, in turn, was the father of Hygea, the goddess of health. The meaning of this whole genealogy becomes apparent when we remember that the Lord, the Savior of mankind, is described in the Word, as "the Sun of Righteousness," who "shall arise with healing in His wings."

2. As the Sun-god, Apollo represents celestial love and wisdom, but he also personifies that which proceeds from the sun, viz., heat and light, and as such he represents spiritual love and wisdom, that is, charity and intelligence. He represents charity especially as the brother of Diana, the maiden-huntress, who clearly typifies faith. The ancients delighted in ascribing to Apollo a character of exalted morality and justice,—a deity who was never offended without righteous cause, never moved by caprice like so many of the other Divinities, but forgiving and compassionate as mercy itself, and hence he became par excellence the god of expiation, to whom repentant sinners fled for redemption and protection against the Furies.

But since true charity means justice, and justice involves the punishment of unrepentant evil-doers in order that the good may be protected, Apollo was also regarded as the distributor of just retribution, who with his fiery darts promptly punished deliberate sin, arrogance, and blasphemy against the gods. He thus pierced with his arrows the children of the boasting Niobe, flayed the impudent Marsyas, and put ass's ears upon foolish Midas,—not to avenge his own honor, but to impress upon men the inevitable consequences of self-confidence, pride, and impiety ; and he showed a Divine impartiality in bringing pestilence and death upon his beloved Achaeans when these, on the expedition against Troy, had offered violence to Chryseis, the daughter of his priest.

As the god of intelligence he is armed with a silver bow, the beautiful emblem of the Doctrine of spiritual truth. Silver signifies what is spiritual, even as gold signifies the celestial. And a bow always signifies Doctrine; the round shaft signifies the good of the doctrine, its aim and purpose; and the straight string signifies the understanding which, when strained or made tense by the purpose, sends forth the truths which carry the point.

3. As an individual or personal deity, apart from the sun, Apollo again represents the idea of God as a Man, or the Divine Human such as it was before the Incarnation of the Lord. From the beginning God had revealed Himself to men as a Divine Man, but before the Incarnation this revelation was effected by means of angels and spirits of whom God took possession, and whom He filled with His own Divine Spirit to such an extent and in so complete a manner that these media could, for the time being, serve to make God visible and audible to other angels and spirits. And by means of the human form thus as it were borrowed from a spirit, God could then reveal Himself to men on earth,—the prophets and seers and wise men of old,—and through these men make His Divine Word known on the earth.

This revelation of God as a Man,—before the Incarnation,— was typified in Apollo and is to be clearly distinguished from the prophecy of the Messiah who was to come in the flesh, for this prophecy also existed among the Greeks in various forms, as in

the legends of Perseus, Theseus, Achilles, but especially in the story of Hercules. By confounding these two distinct ideas, many Christian mythologists, swayed by the idea of three persons in the Godhead, have seen in Apollo a character analogous to the "Second Person in the Trinity," while Zeus is supposed to answer to the "Father" and Pallas Athene to "the Holy Ghost." Mr. Gladstone in his Homer and the Homeric Age, (vol. II, p. 132), sees in Apollo a representative of the "legendary anticipations of a person to come, in whom should be combined all the great offices in which God the Son is now made known to man, as the Light of our paths, the Physician of our diseases, the Judge of our misdeeds, and the Conqueror and Disarmer, but not yet abolisher of Death." And the devout Miss S. A. Scull, (in her Greek Mythology Systematized, p. 146), when treating of Apollo, speaks of him as "one who was so glorious and yet so grandly self-giving, that he typified Him in whom the world finds the way, the truth, and the life." Max Muller, however, condemns all such speculations as "unscientific," and to him '' it seems a blasphemy to consider the fables of the heathen world as corrupted and misinterpreted fragments of a Divine Revelation once granted to the whole of mankind.'' (Chips from a German Workshop, vol. 11, p. 13.)

The learned author of the "Chips" had not the wings of a Gladstonian mind. Mr. Gladstone, and others of his school, were indeed mistaken in regarding Apollo as a prophetic representative of the Messiah, but nevertheless they had a correct perception of his character as a type of the Divine in the Human, the God-man. Apollo, standing for this idea, represents also the "spirit of Prophecy" or of Divine Revelation, and it is in this character that he presided over the most famous Oracles of antiquity. These oracles, such as those in Dodona and Delphi, were originally actual means of communicating with the Divine and of receiving answers from God, but in later times, by perversions of correspondences, they became means of communicating with the magical hells of the fallen Ancient Church. Nevertheless in the purer times, the Oracles were the means of perceiving the Divine Word in a literal sense, and, like the sense of the letter, the oracles were always of a more or less enigmatical and doubtful meaning, extending from opposites to opposites. The tripod, also, or altar of Apollo, with its three iron legs, seems to us a fitting symbol of the natural truth of the literal sense, in which the three interior senses are simultaneously present.

Since, now, all wisdom, intelligence, and science are based upon and derived from Divine Revelation, or the Word of God, we can readily see how Apollo became the special God and inspiring patron of all wisdom, intelligence, science and art. From him came the gift of prophecy,—in the case of Cassandra a fateful gift. From him all bards and musicians received their inspiration. And from him, through his handmaidens, the Muses, came light and progress in every field of science, art, culture, and accomplishment.

Hence, when the ancient Greeks described the birth of the sciences from the intellectual, they feigned a flying horse, [Pegasus], who with his hoofs burst open a fountain, [the Pierian spring], whence sprang the virgins who were the Sciences, [the Muses], (A. C. 2762.)

Again, we are taught that

the Greeks placed Helicon on a mountain, and by it understood Heaven! they placed Parnassus on a hill, below, and by it they understood scientifics; they said that a flying horse, called Pegasus, had there broken open a fountain with his hoof; they called the sciences virgins and so on. For they knew from correspondences and representatives that a mountain was Heaven; that the hill was that heaven which is below or which is among men; that a horse was the intellectual; that the wings by which he flew were spiritual things; that the hoof was the natural; that the fountain was intelligence; that the three virgins who were called the Graces, were the affections of good; and that the virgins who were called the Heliconian and Parnassian maidens, were the affections of truth. (A. C. 4966.)

As the spirited snow-white, winged horse was the favorite mount of Apollo, so the fragrant, aromatic laurel, (Laurea Apollinaris), was his favorite tree, by which, we conceive, the perception of spiritual truth was signified. Himself always crowned with the laurel, a wreath of bay leaves was bestowed upon the winners in poetic and athletic contests, and was carried also by persons performing self-imposed penance, as a sign, perhaps, that the perception of truth concerning one's evils is the surest road to victory.

Pallas Athene—Minerva

The central idea in all the myths and representations of Pallas Athene, or Minerva, is the idea of Doctrine, Divine Teaching, proceeding immediately from the fountain-head of Divine Wisdom, and adapted to the rational comprehension of man. All the Greek Divinities represented the Divine Truth or the Word, but each one in a different plane, degree, or aspect, and in a sense each one of them also represented Doctrine, since the Word is Doctrine, in whatever degree or plane it may be. Nevertheless, there is a difference between the Word, specifically so called, and Doctrine from the Word. The former,—whether it be the Word in heaven or the Word on earth,—is a Divine Sun; Doctrine is the light from that Sun, adapted or accommodated to the rational understanding of finite beings. This discrimination may help us to understand the difference in the signification between such gods as Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury, and Apollo, on the one hand, and Minerva and Vulcan, on the other; the former represent the Word in its various degrees and senses; the latter two represent Doctrine from the Word,—Vulcan the doctrine of natural good and truth, and Minerva the doctrine of spiritual good and truth, such as it existed in the Ancient Church.

From whatever side we may examine the glorious figure of Minerva, we shall find that this central idea prevails. In the story of her birth and deeds, in all her various offices and emblems, she uniformly and consistently represents spiritual doctrine, definite, systematic, rational, and Divine; pure and undefiled by human self-intelligence; teaching, illuminating, and upbuilding; defending the right and opposing the wrong.

The etymology of her names,—Pallas Athene, and Minerva, —must still be considered as unknown or at least doubtful. Pallas has been variously derived from pallo, to leap forth, or to wield or brandish a weapon, or from pallax, a maiden. Athene, also written Athena and Athana, has been traced to the Sanscrit Ahana or Dahana, which signifies the dawn, the light of the morning, springing forth from the brow of the rising sun, and as such she has been identified with Ushas, the Aryan goddess of the dawn, in the Rig Veda. Others have derived the name from athanatos, without death, immortal, and others, again, from the Egyptian war-goddess, Neith, by a not unparalleled transposition of letters. The name Minerva, finally, is an Etruscan word, which is clearly related to the Latin mens, mind, and the Greek menos, spirit, strength, and mimnesko, to remember.

According to Homer and the earliest traditions, Minerva had no mother, human or Divine, but sprang forth, full-grown, and clad in full panoply of glittering armor, from the pregnant brow of Jove. The later poets have it, that Zeus, having been warned that a son of his would ultimately dethrone him, swallowed his pregnant consort, Metis, whereupon he soon began to suffer from a most terrific headache, from which he could find no relief until Vulcan obligingly split open his father's head with a brazen axe. Then out sprang Minerva with a shout at which Olympus shook, the earth resounded, the sea was moved, and Helios himself checked his fiery chariot, until the newborn goddess took off her radiant armor and forthwith drove out of Olympus the deadly genius of Dulness,—daughter of Chaos and Nyx, who until then had infested heaven and earth.

"Whatever be the meaning of the obscure fable respecting Jupiter swallowing Metis, the essential feature in the story of the birth of Minerva is that she sprang forth immediately from the brow of the supreme god,—a virgin born by no mother, a doctrine conceived by no mortal mind, human or angelic, but revealed and descending immediately from the Divine Wisdom itself. There must have been such a Doctrine in the Ancient Church, for otherwise the Ancient Word could not have been understood; all facts of Archeology and Mythology point to the existence of such a fund of spiritual-rational doctrine of systematic Theology in the ancient world, and the Writings of the New Church frequently refer to it. Nevertheless, it could have been an immediate revelation only in a relative sense, for the Ancient Church was a representative Church in which the naked truth still had to be clothed in figures, types, emblems, and symbols. Essentially, Minerva stands forth as a prophecy, which found no actual fulfillment, until, in the fulness of time, the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem descended from God out of heaven,—an immediate revelation in the absolute sense.

Minerva always remained a virgin, for the Divine Doctrine of the Church must remain pure and undefiled by the notions of finite intelligence. Hence she was called Parthenos, the Virgin, and her chief temple was called the Parthenon. And she is always represented as clothed, in long flowing garments, because no mortal eye can bear the sight of the naked Truth, such as it is in its inmost Divinity; even though rational, the Divine Truth must be clothed in appearances and accommodations. It is related that Tiresias, the Theban prophet and seer, once came upon Athene disrobed, in her bath, but the vision cost him his eye-sight.

Chastity, nobility, and fearless strength are characteristics of the ancient representatives of Pallas Athene. Her statues uniformly present the figure of a beautiful, majestic, yet maidenly woman, with a serious and thoughtful countenance, a broad, serene brow, large and steady eyes, and a somewhat stern mouth. On her head is a crested helmet, on her breast a cuirass with a small representation of the Gorgon's head; in her right hand is the figure of winged Victory or else a gleaming lance, and with her left hand she leans upon the famous aegis or shield, upon which is embossed Medusa's terrific head, encircled with serpents in the place of hair. And, finally, at her feet is seen a great serpent, and sometimes an owl. Among her other symbols and emblems we find a lamp, a scroll, a distaff, the olive-tree, the laurel, a ship, and also horses and a chariot.

The most famous of all her ancient statues was the one executed by Phidias, in the Parthenon, made of pure ivory and solid gold, forty feet in height,—Pallas Athene in all her glory and beauty, surrounded by all her weapons and emblems,—the crowning masterpiece of Hellenic art. But to our own taste the finest statue of the goddess is the "Pallas de Velletri," now in the Louvre, representing her as a helmeted virgin of superb beauty, unembellished by any weapons or symbols, but simply standing in an attitude of a spirited teacher, with one hand pointing to heaven, and the other hand out-stretched, explaining and reasoning.

At Rome, in the temple of Vesta, there was preserved an archaic image of Pallas, known as the "palladium," which was guarded as the apple of the eye, for upon its preservation the safety of the city was considered to depend. This statue, made of olive wood, was said to have been carried to Latium from Troy, by Aeneas; originally it had fallen from heaven, like the sacred black stone in Mekka, and it had been prophesied that when the palladium was taken, Troy would fall. To secure this event, Diomedes and Ulysses had stolen it, but it was in some way recovered by Aeneas; the Greeks, however, denied this, and a palladium was preserved in Athens as the most sacred possession of the city. From the extreme reverence paid to the image, the word '' palladium'' has come to stand for the holy of holies of any doctrinal system, and it is used in this sense in the Writings of the New Church, as where it is said that the dogma of Predestination was

conveyed into the Church by the Supra- and Infra-lapsarians, as the palladium of religion, or, rather, as the head of the Gorgon or Medusa engraved on the shield of Pallas. (B. E. 66.)

The Synod of Dort as it were kissed the dogma of Predestination as the Greeks kissed the palladium in the temple of Minerva. (T. C. R. 759.)

According to the modern naturalistic interpreters, the worship of Athene was simply part and parcel of the archaic Sun-worship of their Aryan ancestors, Zeus being nothing but the natural sun and Athene the light from the sun. We accept the interpretation, with the modification that by the sun the ancients understood the spiritual sun, and by the light, the spiritual light of Divine Doctrine, or that ''immediate influx of Truth from the Lord, from which is the Light which gives the faculty of understanding." (A. C. 8707.) Hence Athene was regarded by the classic philosophers as a representation of the ''universal Logos,'' the all-penetrating Divine Reason and Intelligence which they termed "the Insight of Zeus." And, in relation to man, she was looked upon as the embodiment of wisdom, intelligence, and science, on every plane of the human understanding and life.

She was the special patroness of the philosophers, whose lamps were ever burning in her honor. Many of the ancient sages believed that they were inspired directly by Pallas Athene, but this belief had its origin in the representations of the spiritual world, as may be seen from the following account of Swedenborg's interview with the spirit of Aristotle:

A woman was seen by me, who stretched out her hand, desiring to stroke his cheek. When I wondered at this he said that while he was in the world such a woman had often appeared to him, who as it were stroked his cheek, and that her hand was beautiful. The angelic spirit said that such women were sometimes seen by the ancients, and were called by them Pallases, and that such a one appeared to him from those spirits who, when they lived as men in ancient times, were delighted with ideas and indulged in thoughts, but without philosophy. And because such spirits were attendant upon him, and were delighted with him in consequence of his thinking from an interior principle, therefore they representatively exhibited such a woman. (A. G. 4658.)

In the Spiritual Diary, n. 3952, it is added that "such women were called Pallases, not Minervas, but Pallases,"—probably because the Greeks had a much more philosophical idea of their Pallas Athene, than the Romans had of their Minerva. Raw-linson justly observes that the universally received myth of Pallas Athene "acted as a strong reinforcement to the power of conscience, which the young Greek felt might be the voice of Athene speaking within him, advising him for his true good, and pointing out to him the path of honor and duty." (Religions of the Ancient World, p. 198.)

In Rome, Minerva was the goddess of Memory as well as of Wisdom, and all schools were placed under her special protection. Her statues were to be found in most places of instruction, and it was a custom for the scholars each year to present to their teachers a fee or gift, called the "minerval." In common with Apollo she was also the patroness of all liberal arts, sciences, and learning in general, but more especially of skillful handicraft and inventions, and most particularly she was the genius presiding over the feminine arts of spinning, weaving, and embroidering. She herself was the Divine and incomparable weaver who not only attired Juno in queenly garments but also is said to have ''woven the robe of the universe,'' a beautiful way of stating the fact that Heavenly Doctrine not only clothes the Church specific with genuine truths, but also covers the Church Universal, for it is a universal Doctrine.

To spin and to weave signifies to construct Doctrine. The first process is to spin, that is, to gather together loose ideas and knowledges into one connected train of thought, a continuous truth. Then comes the weaving, which consists in placing thought by the side of thought in a warp of parallel truths, which are connected together by the weft of rational comparisons in the loom of the mind. Hence comes the cloth of systematic Doctrine, which preserves and protects the spiritual body, preserves its own vital heat of good affections, and protects it against the deadening influence of evil.

The Heavenly Doctrine is such a system of ''Truth continuous from the Lord," firmly knit together by the Divine Wisdom, but the doctrines schemed by human self-intelligence are the flimsy structures spun from the tail-end of the spider. This difference between Divine and human doctrine is strikingly illustrated by the story of Athene and Arachne. The latter was a maiden so proud of her skill in the loom that she dared to challenge Athene to a weaving contest. The goddess assented and easily won the prize, but the defeat so embittered Arachne that she immediately committed suicide by hanging herself, whereupon Athene changed her into a spider, and condemned her to spin and weave forever webs of no consistency or use. Such is the fate of human reason, when in inordinate conceit it presumes itself superior to the authority of Divine Doctrine. Self-centered, like the spider, it spins its false reasonings by a backward process, sticky and excrementitious, to be torn asunder every day by the slightest wind of genuine truth. In the words of the prophets: ''They trust in vanity and speak lies; they weave the spider's web. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works." (Isaiah 59:5,6.)

City-building, like weaving, signifies construction of Doctrine, but on a grander scale, the city with its system of streets being like a web with its warp and weft.

Cities signify things of Doctrine, because doctrinal things were taught in the cities, for there were the synagogues, and in Jerusalem was the Temple. (A. R. 712.)

A city also signifies Doctrine because men live spiritually in and according to the doctrines of their Church, as naturally they live in cities. In ancient times all cities were enclosed in walls,—fundamental doctrines, protecting against the attacks of falsity; they had their gates, introductory doctrines; their streets,—leading and general doctrines, their houses,—individual conceptions of doctrine; their high places, or citadels,— interior and supreme doctrines, to which men may flee in times of distress. Thus we may understand why Athene, the Divine Doctrine, was worshiped as the protector of cities in general, and of the high citadels of cities in particular, and most especially of the Akropolis of Athens, her favorite city which was named in her honor.

The worship of Athene was the very soul of ancient Athens. She it was who nurtured and educated the founder of the city, the autochthon Erichthonius, taught him the art of yoking the horse, and brought to his new settlement the Divine gift of fire. When the question of naming the city arose, Athene and Poseidon contended for the honor of bestowing the name. The dispute being referred to Zeus, he decided that the privilege should be given to that deity who should create an object of the greatest usefulness to man. Poseidon then struck the rock of Akropolis with his trident, and a noble horse sprang forth, the admiration of all the witnessing gods. Athene in her turn struck the same rock with her lance, and there grew up—a homely olive tree, at whose dusty-looking appearance the gods laughed in derision. But the tune changed, and to Athene was awarded the prize, after she had explained all the various and essential uses to which the fruit and every part of the tree could be put. The horse, the understanding of truth, was useful, indeed, as a means of conveyance, but the olive, the celestial good, was after all more necessary, not only for food, but also for habitation, by its wood, and for illumination in the dark, by its oil.

In Athens, therefore, the goddess was worshiped as nowhere else on earth, and here were raised in her honor the grandest temple and the most famous statue of all ancient art. In the Parthenon she shone in transcendent glory as the champion of eternal justice, truth, and right; and the city of Athens itself, through its devotion to her and to the Doctrine which she represented, became that focus of intellectual Light, which, through the doctrines of her three greatest philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, shed its radiance not only over all Greece, but over all the classic world. And that Light, the Light of Pallas Athene, survived the Dark Ages, reappeared in the Renaissance, paved the way for the Reformation, and finally prepared the mind of her greatest servant, the immortal Swedenborg, to receive the Divine Light itself, the crowning Light of the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem.

Athene was essentially a goddess of peace and of the peaceful pursuits of intelligence and culture. But she represented not only the doctrine of good but also the doctrine of truth, and as such she was the great goddess of War and intelligent and systematic combat against falsity and evil, superior in might to Ares himself, who represented only the external side of warfare. With the exception of the spear, all her weapons are those of defensive war: the helmet, the breastplate, and the shield.

Her crested helmet is an elaborate affair, adorned with sphinxes and griffins, and, in front, by a rising line of galloping horses, and encircled by a crown of olive-leaves. The horse, as representing intelligence, was naturally sacred to Minerva, and it is said that she was the first to tame the horse and to bridle and yoke it to the chariot, a significant fact, representing the submission of the human understanding to the authority of Divine Doctrine. It was as "Athene Hippa," that she bridled the winged horse, Pegasus, for Bellerophron, and in the Trojan war it was she who taught Epeus how to frame the famous wooden horse by means of which the Greeks gained an entrance into Troy.

The Aegis, or storm-shield of Minerva, possessed the power of inspiring terror and dismay, by its movements collecting or dispersing darkness, clouds, thunder, and lightning.

            Her shoulder bore
The dreadful Aegis with its shaggy brim,
Bordered with Terror. There was Strife and there
Was Fortitude, and there was fierce Pursuit,
And there the Gorgon's head, a ghastly sight,
Deformed and dreadful, and a sign of woe.
                 Homer, (Bryant's trans.).

The Gorgon, Medusa, was an infernal genius, of fascinating but horrible beauty, whose hair consisted of writhing serpents and who turned to stone all those who looked upon her. This monster was finally killed by Perseus, and her head was given to Minerva, who affixed it to her shield to represent the fact that infernal falsity is forever exposed by Heavenly Doctrine. The significance of the shield itself is manifest from the letter of the Word, as where it is said: "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. His truth shall be thy shield and buckler." (Ps. 91 :2, 4.)

A buckler, or helmet, because it defends the bead, signifies protection against the falsities which destroy the understanding of truth; and a shield, because it defends the breast, signifies protection against the falsities which destroy charity, that is, the will of good. (A. E. 734.)

A spear, finally, signifies in general, "truth combating," (A. C. 2799), "protection by the interior power of truth from good," (A. E. 734; A. C. 9141),"all things which are of Doctrine," (A. E. 257), and in the supreme sense, the Omnipotence of the Lord. (A. C. 878.)

Armed with these Divine weapons, Athene often descended to battle against the powers of darkness, and in the "War of the Giants" she overcame the monstrous Encelados, upon whom she threw the island Trinakria. She also vanquished and flayed the giant Pallas, who dared to assume her own name, and she took a very active part on the side of her favorite Greeks in the countless battles against the hated Trojans, whose city, as has been shown before, stood for the doctrine of the Old Church, the then already corrupted doctrine of the Ancient Church.

In every heroic expedition it is she who "nerves each heart for a hero's part on the battlefield of duty.'' She it was who assisted Theseus in slaying the Minotaur; she gave aid to Perseus in overcoming Medusa; she protected and counseled Hercules in all his labors and adventures, assisted Ulysses on the tempestuous sea, and personally superintended the building of the ship Argo. Ships, which also signify doctrines, were under her protection, and it was she who first taught men the art of navigation. For the sea signifies the letter of the Word, and a ship signifies the doctrine by means of which alone the Word can be safely explored.

There remain to be explained the two strange symbols of Athene, the serpent and the owl, which often are found at her feet. The serpent, in a good sense, signifies the sensual and scientific properly subordinated to the rational and spiritual. It also signifies prudence and circumspection as the lowest natural form of wisdom. The owl, though everywhere mentioned with an evil significance in the Word, may, in connection with Minerva, represent the power of genuine Doctrine to see in the dark as well as in the Light. By the poets the owl of Minerva was supposed to signify vigilant study, meditation, and learning, but it may be that the owl sits at the feet of the goddess only in order to afford a contrast between Heavenly Doctrine on the one hand, and the ludicrous conceit of self-intelligence, on the other.

The great feast of Athene in Athens was called the "Panathenaia," and was celebrated with great splendor once in four years. On these occasions a sacred ship was carried in procession, on the mast of which there was spread out as a sail the new robe for the image of the goddess, which had been woven by Athenian maidens. In Rome she had two festivals, one on the nineteenth of March, and the other on the Nineteenth of June, which day was celebrated as her birthday. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, Ninth Ed. vol. XVI., p. 437.) This adds to the significance of that day of days. The birthday of the "Doctrine of the Ancient Church" was celebrated on the Nineteenth of June. That day also witnessed the fatal birth of the Doctrine of the tri-personality of God in the Christian Church, for it was on that day that the Council of Nice met in the year 325. And, finally, the birth of the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem was completed on that day, when, in the year 1770, Swedenborg finished The True Christian Religion. This recurrence of the date, always in connection with the birth of Doctrine, may of course, be merely a coincidence, but it is certainly remarkable and noteworthy.

Aphrodite—Venus Astarte

Of all the Graeco-Roman divinities there is none whose signification is so self-evident to a Newchurchman as that of Aphrodite or Venus Astarte, the beautiful goddess of love. Love is a general term, including every variety and degree of affection, and all the goddesses represented some special affection or love. Aphrodite, however, personified a most distinct and yet most universal love, a love which is beauty itself, attraction itself, happiness itself, and innocence itself,—the love which conjoins man with woman and good with truth, and which therefore is termed Conjugial Love. Hence the goddess of beauty is also the goddess of marriage and domestic happiness, the patroness of laughter and innocent pleasure, the genius presiding over gardens and flowers, and the special guardian of children and young people.

As to the origin and birth of Aphrodite there are two different accounts, which, when viewed internally, blend into one. According to Homer in the Iliad, she was the child of Zeus and the sea-nymph Dione, who gave birth to her beautiful daughter in a cave beneath the waves. The name Dione, however, is only the feminine form of Dis, or Zeus, and was the archaic name of Juno, and the legend therefore really makes Aphrodite the daughter of Jupiter and Juno, and teaches that conjugial love has its origin in the conjunction of the Lord and the Church.

But according to Hesiod's Theogony, which we regard as the earliest compendium of Hellenic Theology, Aphrodite was the direct though posthumous offspring of Ouranos, the most ancient of the gods, and sprang from the foam of the sea.

                Look, look, why shine
Those floating bubbles with such light divine?
They break, and from their midst a lily form
Rises from out the wave, in beauty warm.
The wave is by the blue-veined feet scarce pressed,
Her silky ringlets float about the breast,
Veiling its fairy loveliness; while her eye
Is soft and deep as the blue heaven is high.
The Beautiful is born; and sea and earth
May well revere the hour of that mysterious birth. (Shelley.)

All the higher deities were present at her birth, as is shown by Phidias in the bas-reliefs on the base of the statue of Zeus at Olympia; and a beautiful ancient intaglio of profound significance represents Eros, the winged god of love tenderly lifting the virgin Aphrodite out of the waves. This is significant, we say, for Eros or Cupid is usually represented as the child of Aphrodite, but here he assists at her creation, even as he was present at the creation of the world as the primeval god, more ancient even than Ouranos.

It is said that she was first carefully taught and educated by the ocean-nymphs in the depths of the sea, but, begotten by Heaven, (Ouranos), she longed to ascend to her glorious celestial home. And finally she rose from the waters, seated in a chariot of glistening sea-shell, drawn by snow-white swans, with turtle-doves fluttering around her head, and as she shook the water from her golden, ambrosial locks, the falling drops became a shower of opaline pearls.

Softly wafted by balmy Zephyr, she first approached the island of Cythera and thence took her course to Cyprus, where, as she lightly stepped ashore, the arid sand was changed into a verdant meadow and the loveliest flowers sprang up at every step of her delicate feet. Here the four beautiful ''Horae" or Seasons, were the first to greet her, and they, together with the three Divine Graces, decked her in garments of immortal fabric, encircling her fair brow with a wreath of purest gold and adorning her neck and ears with the most precious chains and jewels. Thus garbed, she was led to the assembly of the Olympian gods who without dissent hailed her as the queen of beauty. Then a strife arose, for every one of them desired her for his wife, but the all-wise Zeus, to the astonishment and disgust of the immortals, settled the dispute by giving her to Vulcan, the homeliest but most industrious of the gods.

As we have indicated in the story of Ouranos, the birth of Aphrodite has a two-fold signification, one historical, the other of universal application. Historically, it represents the birth of conjugial love in the Ancient Church after the Flood, when, after that love had been lost in the Most Ancient Church, (Ouranos), a remnant was preserved, to be received and developed by the Gentiles, (the Sea), among whom it was at first external, (the foam), but gradually became spiritual and internal,—the most precious love in the Ancient Church.

Thus in the internal-historical sense. But in the universal internal sense of the Ancient Word this story, which is clearly derived from that Word, represents the birth of conjugial love with every man in every age. For the human conjugial with every man is begotten from Heaven, from celestial remains implanted in earliest infancy, but it is actually born in the midst of the sea, surrounded by foam, the scum of the raging waters. But with the regenerating man this love is merely the rough matrix which contains the jewel, the shell which contains the pearl of the human conjugial; and when the real Love (Eros), comes, as the winged messenger of the Divine Love,— the love for the one partner in life and after death,—it takes the human conjugial into its arms and raises it out of the scum and the waters. It lifts it up above the sensual love of the sex, and love truly conjugial is born, the grace and beauty, the joy and blessing of human and angelic life. (See C. L. 447.) And this most precious love cannot remain as the permanent partner of any other love than the love of performing uses, and therefore Aphrodite is represented as the wife of Vulcan alone.

The name Aphrodite is generally, and very plausibly, derived from the Greek aphros, foam, and as such would seem to signify simply " foam-given," born out of the foam, but it is quite possible that it has a far more remote etymology. At any rate it is singular that the radicals of the name, (f-r-d), appear almost without change in the name of the Scandinavian goddess of love, Frida, or Freya, the root meaning of which conveys the ideas of "peace" and "freedom." (The name remains in the word Friday, the "dies Veneris" of the Romans).

The Latin name, Venus, is derived by Cicero in a rather naive manner from venire, to come, ("Venus, quod ad omnes veniat," Venus, because she comes to all,—see DeNatura Deorum, ii : 27), but modern philology traces it more scientifically from the Sanscrit vanita, beloved, whence the Latin venustas, pleasure, and venia, favor; the German Wonne and the Anglo-Saxon wynn, pleasure, from which, in English, we have the word "winsome. ''

The name "Astarte," on the other hand, is clearly of Oriental origin, and is, in fact, identical with the Phoenician and Canaanitish goddess Ashtoreth, ''the queen of heaven'' to whose worship the idolatrous Jews were so prone. And Ashtoreth, again, is none other than the Egyptian Athor and the Assyrian Ishtar, whose name signifies "Blessedness." (See New Church Life, 1889: 191.) This goddess was from hoary antiquity identified with the beautiful evening-star; and thus from Ishtar, Ashtoreth, and Astarte, through the Greek aster, the Latin stella, and the German sterne, we have received our English word, star.

"The love of the sex," we are taught, "is like a fountain from which both conjugial love and scortatory love may be derived," (C. L. 445), and therefore we find in Greek Mythology two radically differing, nay, opposite types of sea-born Aphrodite. ''Who doubts,'' says Plato in the Symposium, ''that there are two Aphrodites? One, the elder, is the daughter of Ouranos, and has no mother; her we call Aphrodite Ourania. The other is younger, and daughter of Zeus and Dione, and we call her Aphrodite Pandemos." As, therefore, we distinguish between conjugial love and its perversion, scortatory love, so we must carefully separate Aphrodite Ourania, the heavenly Venus, from Aphrodite Pandemos, the "Venus Vulgivaga," the degraded, sensual, and adulterous Venus, whose worship was imported into Greece and Italy from Syria and Phoenicia.

The Aphrodite Ourania was the earlier and distinctly Hellenic type of the goddess of love, as is evident not only from the purely Hellenic conception of her origin from Ouranos, but from the fact that Homer places her among the Olympian gods, and as such she is the fitting personification of that pure and holy love which comes from heaven and leads to heaven. As the in-spirer of this love, she was the protectress of conjugial fidelity, the sanctity of the home, and of domestic felicity, and in this character she is represented as a beautiful and stately woman, fully and modestly draped in starry garments; her countenance is noble and serious, and on her head she wears a golden crown. She is often depicted as seated upon a swan, serenely sailing through the sky, and holding in her hand either a long sceptre or a delicate spray of flowers.

Venus Ourania appears also in two special forms,—as Venus the Victorious, ("Venus Victrix"), and Venus the Maternal, ("Venus Genetrix"). As Venus Victrix she represents not only the love which conquers and rules over all hearts, love invincible and irresistible, but also the more spiritual idea of the conjugial love which through the combat of temptation conquers all the lower passions in the regenerating man. In this character she is sometimes pictured as clothed in armor, holding a spear in her hand, and with her foot resting on a helmet.

As Venus Genetrix she represents conjugial love as the great mother of the human race, the benign deity who, according to Athenaeus, "fills the majestic heaven with desire to let its rain fall upon the earth, from which union is begotten and nourished all that gives life and increase to the race of men." As is well known, Venus was, herself, the mother of a numerous progeny, whom, as in the case of Aeneas, she guarded and defended with the greatest tenderness and maternal solicitude. Of Venus Genetrix there is a very beautiful classical statue, now in the Louvre, representing her as a noble matron, holding in her hand an apple, the symbol of fruitfulness.

In ancient as in modern art, Venus has been a most inspiring subject for sculptors and painters; the Greek artists, notably Praxiteles and Apelles, rivalled each other in expressing in her image the most noble conceptions of "das ewig weibliche," the ideal of feminine beauty, grace, and loveliness; and the most charming maidens of Greece, considered it an undying honor to stand as model for the statues of Aphrodite. The usual type is that of fully developed yet youthful and slender womanhood, a young matron rather than a maiden, of medium height, faultless proportions, and perfect symmetry in form and outlines. In her earlier statues she is always represented as dressed in a star-spangled robe, wearing a crown on her head, and with a turtledove tightly pressed against her breast. Sometimes she appears rising out of the sea and wringing her wet tresses; sometimes she is drawn over the waters in a pearly shell, or riding upon a dolphin, a swan, or some other marine animal.

When represented as rising out of the sea she is known as "Aphrodite anadyomene," (i. e. coming "out of the bath"), and as such she forms the subject of a painting by Apelles, the most celebrated picture in ancient art. It was originally preserved in the temple of Aesculapius on the island of Cos, but was bought by Caesar Augustus for the sum of one hundred talents and transferred to the temple of Julius Caesar in Rome. The lower part of the figure having been injured, no artist could be found in Greece or Rome, able or daring enough to venture to restore it; its subsequent history is unknown.

Among the thousands of ancient statues of Venus the most famous are the Venus de Medici, now at Florence, and the Venus de Milo, now in the Louvre. The Venus de Medici, by Cleomenes Apollonios, is supposed to be a copy of a Venus Anadyomene by Praxiteles, and remains as a noble specimen of ancient art, and as an exalted conception of womanhood, preserving a marvelous equipoise between the charming dignity of the matron and the severe chastity of the virgin. In this statue, it has been said, "art reaches its highest degree in depicting feminine beauty."

The Venus de Milo is even more celebrated, though of comparatively recent discovery: it was dug out of a garden by a poor Greek peasant of the island of Melos, in the year 1820, and is a pure Parian marble. It is supposed to represent Venus Victrix, and in its grave and unaffected beauty, free alike from coquetry and mock modesty, comes nearer than any other statue to the conception of Aphrodite as a Divine being. The expression, though dignified, is joyous; the head is not too small as is the case in most of her statues ;the rich waves of hair descend gracefully on her low but broad forehead, and are caught up in a knot at the back of her charming neck. The body is the perfect ideal of the feminine form, and the drapery falls in free and careless folds from the waist downward. But words cannot describe the perfection of this the most beautiful work of art that has been preserved from among all the lost masterpieces of the ancients.

Very different, indeed, from Venus Ourania, Venus Victrix and Venus Genetrix, is the faithless, "Venus Pandemos." In her we see the diametrical perversion of conjugial love, the holiest of all human loves, now the most profane. A modern writer has well said:

As human life became degraded, the central idea and accompanying rites of the worship of Aphrodite became the most grossly sensual of all the ancient rites, until it comprehended but little save perversions and corruptions of that Divine principle of love, which, as heaven-sent, should have been a heavenward guiding power in human life. (S. A. Scull, Greek Mythology Systematized, p. 285.)

And we may here quote also, in application to Venus Pandemos, the words of Rawlinson, who, however, does not distinguish between the heavenly and the vulgar Venus:

Silly and childish, easily tricked and imposed upon, Aphrodite [Pandemos] is mentally contemptible while morally she is odious. Tyrannical over the weak, cowardly before the strong, frail herself, and the persistent stirrer up of frailty in others, lazy, deceitful, treacherous, selfish, shrinking from the least touch of pain, she repels the moral sentiment with a force almost equal to that wherewith she attracts the lower animal nature. (Ancient Religions, p. 76.)

She is, in short, the embodiment of all that is weak and erring in perverted womanhood. She is still beautiful, but her beauty is altogether physical and sensuous, divorced alike from intellectual power and moral good. The ancient sculptors, who were philosophers and theologians as well as artists, fitly represented Aphrodite Pandemos as a slightly garbed hetera, who is seated upon a he-goat galloping on the waves of the sea, while poor little Cupid, left behind, is crying and remonstrating with his vagrant mother. The ancient cameo which depicts her thus is a powerful sermon in a very small compass, a striking contrast to the stately flight of Venus Ourania through the heavens, seated upon the swan.

It is this meretricious Venus that is described as the paramour of Mars by some interpolator of the Odyssey, and it is in this character that she is represented in the story of the judgment of Paris. All the gods had been invited to the marriage-feast of Thetis and Peleus, with the sole exception of Eris, the sourfaced goddess of envy. The latter, in revenge, threw into the midst of the festive gathering a golden apple bearing the inscription, "To the most beautiful," whereupon Juno, Minerva, and Venus each claimed the prize. As each of the gods prudently declined to settle the dispute, the final decision was referred to Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy. The three rival goddesses thereupon appeared before him, each promising a most precious reward for a favorable judgment. Juno promised wealth and unlimited power; Minerva offered the gift of profound wisdom, and Venus held out the promise of a bride as beautiful as herself,—and she won the prize. Venus here appears as the rival and enemy of Juno and Minerva,—as Love separate from and opposed to Religion and Wisdom,—conjugial love no longer, but the merely natural love of the sex,—and the downfall of Troy followed, as the downfall of any Church or nation follows upon the separation of the marriage-covenant from religion and wisdom. As we have observed before, Troy represented the Ancient Church in Asia in its later state of corruption and decline, and the chief cause of its fall was the corruption of conjugial love within it, the separation of charity and faith, and the inevitably resulting destruction of the conjugial. This story, therefore, is a lesson to the New Church that marriage-love must be based upon harmony in religion and doctrine, or the Church will be destroyed and will pass over to the Gentiles, as surely as Troy was destroyed and the center of civilization passed over to the Greeks.

The special emblems of Venus were, besides the usual paraphernalia of the feminine toilet, a magic girdle, known as the ''Cestus,'' and also the torch. Her representative birds were the turtle-dove and the swan, and her special flowers the rose and the poppy.

The Cestus, (cognate to castus, chaste), possessed, according to Homer, the magic power of investing the wearer with every attribute of grace and beauty. A belt or girdle, being that part of the dress which holds all the garments together, signifies "the external bond which connects and keeps in order all the interior things," (A. C. 9372) ; it therefore, also, signifies "conjunction, by which all things are kept in their order." (A. C. 7863.) From this it may appear what was signified in the representative Church by the girdles by which the garments were gathered into one. (A. C. 9828.)

The girdle of Venus, therefore, is that external bond which holds together in one complex all things of conjugial love, and what is this but the ultimate virtue of chastity, which is the basis of all true love, confidence, and conjugial friendship? This is the magic girdle which, with a moral youth, inspires pure love for a maiden, and without it the first essential of conjugial love is impossible. In Heaven "the angels grow cold all over the body at the thought of unchaste love, but grow warm all over the body from chaste love." (C. L. 44.)

The dove and the turtle-dove by universal consent typify the tender affection between two lovers, but the swan is not usually regarded as the emblem of such love. But in the New Church we know from "things seen and heard" from Heaven, why the Ancients so often associated the swan with Aphrodite.

In one of the Memorable Relations Swedenborg tells of a lofty palace which he once saw in Heaven, and as he was looking he beheld a pair of swans fly into this palace through the open windows of the lowest story, while a pair of birds of paradise flew into the windows of the middle and a pair of turtle-loves into the windows of the highest story.

When I had observed this, an angel, standing by me, said, "Do you understand what you have seen?"

I replied, "In some small measure."

He said, "That palace represents the habitations of conjugial love, such as they are in human minds. Its highest part, into which the turtle-doves betook themselves, represents the highest region of the mind, where conjugial love dwells in the love of good with its wisdom; the middle part, into which the birds of paradise entered, represents the middle region, where conjugial love dwells in the love of truth with its intelligence; and the lowest part, where the swans flew in, represents the lowest region of the mind, where conjugial love dwells in the love of what is just and right, with its knowledge." (C. L. 270.)

The bird of paradise is not associated with the worship of Aphrodite, for the obvious reason that it is a South American bird which was unknown to the ancients; but its place seems to have been taken by a mysterious bird, called "lynx," or "Frigillus," sacred to this goddess, of which the ancients made much use in amatory magic. But the turtle-dove, symbol of purity, holiness, and tender love, was the constant companion of the goddess of love in every mythological system of the ancient world, from the Ishtar of hoariest Chaldean antiquity, to the Freya of our own immediate ancestors. But the clean and graceful swan, snow-white and gentle, is a purely Hellenic attribute of Aphrodite, and they must have derived it as such from the representatives of the spiritual world.


Cupid, the constant companion of Aphrodite, appears in two very distinct forms in Greek Mythology.. In his more familiar aspect he is the rosy, mischievous child of Aphrodite and Ares, the winged little boy, from whose arrows there was no escape by gods or men. But in his more archaic form he existed long before Aphrodite arose from the sea-foam, and according to Hesiod he alone of all the gods was self-existent, prior to the Olympian gods, prior to the Titans, to Ouranos, nay, prior to primeval Evening and Night. "First Chaos was: next ample-bosomed earth. . . . Love then arose, most beauteous of immortals." Or, as Aristophanes puts it,

In the dreary chaotical closet
Of Erebus old was a privy deposit,
By Night the primeval in secrecy laid;
A mystical Egg, that in silence and shade
Was brooded and hatched; till the time came about;
And Love, the delightful, in glory flew out.
             (Freres's transl.)

It is evident that this primordial Eros, who was not the child of Chaos, but simply "arose," was the personification of the Divine Love itself, the "Divinum a Quo," from which and out of which all things were created. Hence we find, among the legends, that it was this Eros who by his arrows pierced the cold bosom of primeval earth, bringing into life all plants and animals upon it. He it was who commanded Prometheus to create the first man upon the earth, and who is said to have breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of the newly made form of clay. We find him, again, present at the birth of Aphrodite, welcoming her and tenderly lifting her out of the waves of the sea. He is here represented as a youth whose face was radiant with such a beauty that it was said: "It comes from God, and it leads to God." It was in this form that Eros was worshiped as the principal god of the primitive Pelasgians, the archaic ancestors of the Hellenic race.

It was only in later ages that Eros was identified with Cupid, the son of Venus, and came to stand for the Desire which is generated by Beauty. As such he is generally represented as a small, plump, naked boy, with rosy, dimpled cheeks, roguish eyes, gauzy wings, and carrying in his chubby hands the bow and arrows which inflict such lovely pains in all hearts. It is said that Cupid, in spite of the best of care, never grew from this infantile stature, and when the anxious mother consulted an oracle about this mystery, she was assured that "Love cannot grow without Passion." The saying was explained after Venus gave birth to a second son, Anteros or Himeros, who signifies the Passion of Love, for Cupid then began to grow into a handsome, slender youth. He is therefore represented sometimes as a baby-boy and sometimes, as in the story of Psyche, as a young man in the very flower of masculine beauty, (if such a term may be allowed by the fairer sex).

Of the innumerable statues of Eros the most celebrated was the one executed by Praxiteles for the Thespians, in whose city gymnastical and musical contests, (the Erotidse), were held in his honor every four years. Generally his statues were to be found in the palaestra beside those of Hermes and Hercules, these three being the deities especially admired by the young athletes.

As his name indicates, Cupid in the natural sense signifies desire, and his arrows are the charms of the opposite sex which excite desire. But if we look a little beneath the surface we shall find more noble things. Both Yenus and Cupid represent the conjugial, but with a difference: Venus, as a woman, represents the good of the conjugial, that is to say, conjugial love itself, while Cupid, the boy or youth, stands for the truth of that love. Hence we find him furnished with a bow which signifies the doctrine of conjugial love, and with arrows which signify the truths of that doctrine. His youthfulness indicates the innocence of this truth, and his wings represent its elevated and elevating spirituality.

This may be a very different conception of Cupid than the one commonly prevailing, but to us it is inspiring to be able, by means of correspondence, to lift our eyes from the contemplation of Cupid as signifying mere sexual desire, to a vision of him as the beautiful personification of the Divine Truth which comes from Divine Love itself and leads to heavenly love, truly conjugial. In the work on Conjugial Love the men and women of the Lord's New Church may behold a truly  Divine Cupid, a Doctrine which is innocence itself and loveliness itself, and well may we open our breasts to its flower-tipped arrows, for its teachings will lead us to that love which is beauty itself and happiness itself.

This truth of conjugial love is what is signified by the '' little boy" in the Memorable Relations in Conjugial Love (nos. 293, 294), who came to the seven wives who were called "the virgins of the Fountain." As he descended from the superior heaven he was seen at first as a dove with a leaf in its mouth, but as he came nearer he appeared as a little boy with a paper in his hand. On coming up to Swedenborg he handed the paper to him and said, '' Read this to the virgins of the Fountain:''

I read these words: "Tell the inhabitants of your earth that there exists a love truly conjugial, the delights of which are myriads, scarcely any of which are yet known to the world; but they will be known when the Church betroths herself to her Lord, and is married."

That Cupid stands for something higher than mere desire is evident from his role in the story of Psyche, which, by the common consent of ancient and modern interpreters, represents the story of the purification of the human soul.

Psyche, whose name means ''soul,'' was a young princess of such surpassing loveliness and beauty that the people of her father's realm offered their homage to her instead of to Venus. The princess herself refused to receive the homage, but the goddess of beauty, determined to show the impious people that Psyche was but human, commanded Cupid to transfix the maiden's heart with one of his arrows, in order to inspire in her breast the love for some ordinary mortal. Cupid started out on his task, but when beholding the beauty of the princess, slumbering in the moonlight, he was so startled that his flesh came in contact with one of his own arrows, and so he fell in love with Psyche.

At the instigation of Cupid, Psyche was now carried off in the strong yet gentle arms of Zephyrus to a paradisal isle, where in a fairy palace she was wooed and won by the god of love. Here she spent months of ecstatic bliss, the only drawback to her happiness being a longing for her two elder sisters and the fact that she had never been allowed to look upon the face of her bridegroom who visited her only in the dark. She had been entreated, and had promised, to make no attempt to discover his name or to catch a glimpse of his face; if she broke this promise the lover must leave her, never to return, for

the high gods
Link Love with faith; and he withdraws himself
From the full gaze of knowledge.

After a time she requested to see her sisters once more, and Cupid reluctantly gave his consent: the sisters appeared on the isle, but, jealous of Psyche's beauty and happiness, they suggested that her lover was in reality some hideous monster, and advised her to conceal a lamp and dagger in her chamber in order to examine and if necessary kill her husband when asleep. Poor Psyche, torn with doubts, acted upon their advice, and in the dead of the night she stole from the couch, lighted the lamp, and beheld,—not an ogre but the god of love himself. Trembling with joy, she happened to spill a drop of oil from the lamp upon the sleeping Cupid: he awoke, realized her broken promise, and disappeared.

Farewell! There is no Love except with Faith,
And thine is dead! Farewell! I come no more!  (Lewis Morris.)

Vanished now was her dream of love, and vanished the fairy isle and paradise. Disconsolate, yet forced to live, Psyche henceforth wandered from land to land, seeking Cupid and questioning all she met. Finally she was advised by Ceres to enter into the service of Venus as a common housemaid and to perform in humility and obedience whatever task was imposed upon her. She accepted the counsel and entered into the service of her jealous mother-in-law, who set her to one task after another which would have been impossible to accomplish without the unknown aid of Cupid, who still loved her from afar. She was, for instance, led to an immense heap of grain mixed with an equal amount of seeds of weed, and was commanded to separate, before sundown, the good seed from the bad. Despairingly she set about her task, but Cupid, in pity, caused an army of ants to appear, each of whom seized one grain, and then another, and the separation was effected in a very short time.

Having accomplished this and numerous other tasks, each more difficult than the other, Psyche was finally sent down to the realm of Hades to fetch thence for Venus a box of beauty-ointment, for which Persephone alone possessed the recipe. This errand, too, she accomplished in safety, encountering the terrors of death without fear, and though on the return, overpowered by curiosity, she opened the box and was speedily put to sleep by the hypnotic perfume exhaling from it, the gods forgave this unconquerable feminine failing, and after all her sore trials she was awakened by a kiss to find herself in the arms of her long-lost and loving bridegroom. Venus herself now welcomed her to Olympus and all the gods united in celebrating her apotheosis and heavenly nuptials.

The ancients, from their knowledge of correspondences, always depicted Psyche with the wings of a butterfly, for they knew that a butterfly represents the resurrection of the soul after death. They knew also that conjugial love is eternal, and that a heavenly marriage is the reward of a life of temptations; thus Psyche after all her trials finally won her Cupid, even as Hercules, after his many labors, obtained the hand of Hebe. The two stories internally resemble each other, but the story of Psyche is the story of human regeneration, while the story of Hercules is a prophetic representation of the glorification of the Human of the Lord.

Though we cannot in detail explain the story of Psyche, on account of its many poetical and fabulous embellishments, still the general significance is plain enough. It is a story of the ''course of true love,'' which proverbially ''never runs smooth.'' The ecstatic joys of the honeymoon are invariably followed by the doubts and temptations, through the victory in which, the conjugial can be purified of earthly dross and thus rendered spiritual and eternal. In its more general signification the worship of Psyche by the people of her father's kingdom typifies the tendency of the lower thoughts and affections of the mind to worship the human instead of the Divine. The refusal of Psyche to receive the adoration indicates the state of humility which makes possible a future regeneration. In this state Cupid appears on the scene; the Divine Truth comes to the soul and is received by it, but at first in a state of obscurity. It is not yet a genuine conjunction, for there is still a longing for the affections of former states. These affections, like the elder sisters of Psyche, infuse doubts as to the Divinity of the Truth, and a desire to see from oneself, from the self-intelligence of the natural man, without the affirmative trust that the Truth is Divine because it is the Lord's Word. Psyche's night-lamp is this self-intelligence, and the oil which nourishes its flame is the love of self, the touch of which causes the perception of Truth to vanish from the mind. Every regenerating man must pass through the state of doubt.

But the memory of the first love remains with the regenerating man and continues as the guiding star and hope in the troubles and trials which now ensue. There are many tasks to be accomplished in the new life upon which he has entered: he must, for one thing, learn to discriminate between genuine truths and mere appearances of truth which within are falsities. Like Psyche he must separate the good grain from the bad, and this can be accomplished only by the help of those things in the mind which are represented by the busy, systematic ants,—that is, the discriminating thoughts of the rational faculty.

Psyche's last trial, her journey to Hades, is evidently a symbol of the final journey of man to the kingdom of death.

Greek and Roman Ideas of the Life After Death

The ideas of the Greeks and Romans in respect to the life after death were clearly derived from the Ancient Church, in which many of the Magi or wise men enjoyed open communication with the spiritual world and thus were able to describe that world as it then actually existed. The further back we go into antiquity, the clearer stand forth these ideas and the more do they resemble the descriptions of Heaven and Hell and the Intermediate world, as revealed in the Writings of the New Church. The knowledge of the spiritual world, possessed by the Egyptians and Assyro-Babylonians, was in later ages communicated to the gentiles in Greece and Italy, but was there clothed in forms of fable and fiction and thus rendered somewhat dim and confused.

The supreme heaven, represented by Olympus, was by universal consent placed far above the skies. But as to the whereabouts of the rest of the spiritual world there seems to have been considerable obscurity. By the oldest writers, such as Homer and Hesiod, it was placed far to the West, beyond the uttermost boundaries of the occidental ocean. But the later and most common idea placed the realm of Hades in the interiors of the earth, to be approached by living men only through certain vast caves and subterranean passages. One of these, according to Roman traditions, existed near lake Avernus, a dismal pool in the Campania; hence Avernus became a general name for Hell, as in Virgil's famous strophe: "Facilis est descensus Averno,"— easy is the descent to Hell,—to which the poet added, "But to return and re-enjoy the day, this is a work, a labor.''

Having arrived at the confines of Pluto's kingdom, all spirits found themselves, first, on the banks of Acheron, a black and bridgeless stream, too swift for even the boldest swimmer. The only means of crossing was by the ferry of Charon, a grim old boatman who would accept no passenger without being paid the sum of a penny, the ''obolus.'' The ancients, on this account, were careful to place a small piece of money under the tongue of the deceased. All those who could not produce this sum were obliged to wait for one hundred anxious years, at the end of which they would be ferried over, free of charge. We conceive this whole myth as referring to the state of vastation in the "World of Spirits, and we are reminded in this connection of the words of the Lord in Matthew: "Verily, I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (v: 26.) That is, no evil spirit is let down into hell, until he is vastated of the last vestige of good and truth, and no good spirit is elevated into heaven until he is delivered from the last remnant of evil and falsity. Old Charon would seem to represent the inexorable justice which demands this vastation before the final judgment.

Having safely passed the Acheron, the newly arrived spirits find themselves in the great Hall of Judgment, where Pluto and Persephone sit in gloomy state upon the ebony throne, surrounded by the three judges, Minos, AEacus, and Rhadamanthus. While waiting for their turn before the judges, the Spirits of the dead, wander about in Hades, or the World of Spirits, which is described as dreary, dark, and cheerless. All the dead are here together, good and evil, young and old, all more or less anxious and discontented, sighing for the joy and activity of their former life on earth. Achilles, when questioned by Odysseus, declared that he would rather toil as a peasant on the earth than be a king in the gloomy abode of departed shades. Later on, however, Achilles is described as being among the blessed in the Elysian fields.

While Pluto himself presided as supreme judge of the dead, the actual decrees were delivered by the three subordinate judges, Minos, AEacus, and Rhadamanthus, who, according to the account of Socrates, (in Plato's Gorgias, 168), are seated in a meadow "at the three roads, of which two lead to the Islands of the Blessed, and the other to Tartarus." Conducted by Hermes, each soul must stand up before one of these judges, by whom he is searchingly and impartially examined as to his thoughts and actions. What is good with him is separated from what is evil, and each is placed in one of the scales of Themis, the blindfolded goddess of justice. If, then, the good outweighs the evil, the soul is conducted to the Elysian fields; but if the evil outweighs the good, the soul is handed over to the Furies, the three livid and merciless daughters of Acheron and Nyx, who with scourges made of stinging serpents drive him over the rivers of hell and through the brazen gates of Tartarus.

Guarding the approach to Hell sits Cerberus, "three-headed dog, as cruel as fate,'' who fawns upon all who are about to enter, but effectually prevents their return from the infernal regions. Such hell-dogs are still being seen in the spiritual world, as, for instance, those guarding a hell of modern adulterers, described by Swedenborg in Conjugial Love, n. 79.

We passed through formidable forests in a region bordering on the west, and there were lakes out of which crocodiles raised their heads, and opened at us their wide jaws beset with teeth; and between the lakes there were terrible dogs, some of which were three-headed like Cerberus, some two-headed, all looking at us as we passed, with a horrible hungry snarl and fierce eyes. . . . The angel told me that all these wild beasts were representative forms of the lusts of the inhabitants whom we were about to visit. The lusts themselves were represented by those horrible dogs; their deceit and cunning by the crocodiles, etc.

And again:

I saw a great dog, like the one called Cerberus by the ancient writers; the gape of his jaws was horrible. I was told that such a dog signifies a guard lest a man should pass over from heavenly conjugial love to the infernal love of adultery. When a man passes from the former love into the latter opposite one,—the delight appearing almost the same,—then such a dog is presented, as it were guarding, lest the opposite delights should communicate with each other. (De Conjugio, 104.)

Cerberus often stands as a representative of Hell itself, and figures in this character in the story of Hercules, who in his twelfth and last labor took the hell-dog captive. This is a very clear prophecy of the work of Redemption, wrought by the Lord in His Human, who overcame the power of Hell and "led captivity captive." The conception of this hell-dog is universal throughout all the mythologies, from the Egyptian "dog of Typhon" in Amenthi, to the Scandinavian "Garm" who "horribly howls by the Gniupa-hollow."

As the Heaven of the Ancients was divided into two very distinct regions: Olympus and the Elysian fields, so Hell was similarly divided into Erebus and Tartarus. We must remember that we have to do here with the time when the third or lowest heaven, and the opposite hell, had not yet been formed. Erebus, the land of shadows, (compare the Hebrew Ereb, evening), is often used as synonymous with Hades, or the intermediate world, but according to Homer it was distinct from Hades, and beneath it was Tartarus. It answers, therefore, to the second or Satanic hell, the hell of the Ancient Church.

The deeper hell, or Tartarus, was surrounded by three dismal rivers, of which the first, Cocytus, or "river of lamentation," consists of the tears which continually flow from the eyes of the damned in Tartarus. Beyond this is the Phlegethon, a river of fire, and the third and last is the fearful Styx, which means "hateful," and which winds its black and poisonous waters nine times round about the prison of fallen gods and monstrous men. By the first river was probably signified the stream of falsities issuing out of hell, and by the second, the flood of evil loves; while by Styx is perhaps signified the state of profanation which especially characterized the hell of the Most Ancient Church.

The ancients called the most ancient hells Tartarus, and the deep places there they called Styx. (Cor., 38.)

This river, therefore, was regarded with so much awe that the most binding oath, among gods or men, was "by Styx," as the most dreaded place of punishment for perjury.

Tartarus itself, by the evidence of New Church Doctrine as well as by the testimony of all classical writers, was the deepest and most ancient hell, the place of punishment for the rebellious gods and certain monstrously wicked men, even as Erebus was the prison of ordinary mortal evil-doers. Here, in vast caves of eternal darkness, surrounded by the triple rivers of Hell, and girt about with triple iron walls and brazen gates, were to be seen the once god-like Titans who had fallen from heaven, and the hundred-handed Giants and other antediluvian monsters, each one writhing and hissing in impotent fury under the load of fire-spouting mountains, such as AEtna and Vesuvius. The sound of groaning and cursing fill the air, mingled with the whistling of scourges incessantly plied by relentless furies. Addison thus describes it:

Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans,
Hollow groans,
And cries of tortured ghosts.

Here, too, are the scenes of punishment of those malefactors whose extraordinary crimes have filled all mankind with awe. Here are seen the forty-nine Danaides,—sisters who, on their wedding-night, treacherously murdered their bridegrooms; their punishment is the unending task of trying to fill with water a bottomless tub,—a dismal picture of human self-intelligence, which, faithless to the Divine truth, is condemned forever to the vain pursuit of false notions which never permanently satisfy the mind.

Up a steep mountain-side a groaning and sweating man is rolling a huge round rock. He is Sisyphus, an ancient king of Corinth, who was noted for the treacherous cunning with which he way-laid travellers and even attempted to deceive the very gods. He has been rolling this stone uphill for ages, but when ever he reaches the summit of the mountain and fancies his task done, down it slips from his hands, rolling to the very bottom compelling him to begin his hopeless exertions anew. Thus it is with all the tasks undertaken by human prudence and self-confidence, without reliance upon Divine Providence; and thus are the devils in Hell forever plotting and laboring to accomplish their fell designs, but though their schemes always fall to the ground they are ever ready to try again.

Most dreadful of all is the punishment of Tantalus, a king of Lydia, for killing his own son, Pelops, and placing the remains as food for visiting gods in order to test their omniscience and Divinity. Though standing up to his chin in a limpid pool, the waters ever recede when he bends to drink; above his head hangs a branch, loaded with all manner of luscious fruits, but they elude his hand whenever he reaches forth to grasp them, and thus he is "tantalized" throughout eternity. Such is the lot of self-reliance when it has sacrificed its faith on the altar of scepticism. Such is the history of human Philosophy, for instance, which, though everywhere surrounded by the indisputable evidences of

Divine Love and Wisdom, still reaches out for "Natural Theology" in its own way, denying Divine Revelation and depending upon human science and reason alone. For thousands of years it has pursued its hopeless task, but the water of life and the fruits of the tree of life have ever eluded its self-confident lips and hands.

In bright contrast with these horrible scenes are the pictures which the ancient poets afford of the final reward of truthfulness and virtue, in the heavenly societies which they termed "the Elysian Fields" or "the Islands of the Blessed."

The way thither leads across the river Lethe (oblivion), from the water of which each spirit is obliged to drink and which possesses the wonderful power of causing a total forgetfulness of the past sorrows and troubles of earthly existence. This evidently refers to the closing-up of the corporeal memory which all spirits experience when entering upon their permanent homes in the eternal life. Swedenborg thus describes certain spirits who

were oblivious of themselves and of those things which were of their self-love. The ancients outside the Church also had a knowledge of these states of oblivion, but they had derived it from the Ancient Church, and they called them Lethean waters which they drank. (S. D. 1773.)

The Elysian Fields mean literally the "effulgent fields," fields of light, and were so called from the radiant light shed upon these abodes of blessedness by a sun and constellations which were not of this earth. ("Solemque suum, sua sidera norunt," Virgil). We will not attempt to describe these heavens, but will let the poets speak for themselves.

Hesiod, speaking of the race of heroes and demi-gods who in prehistoric ages inhabited Greece, says that to them after death

                        The God designed
A life, a seat, distinct from human-kind;
In those blessed Isles where Saturn holds his reign,
Apart from heaven's immortals; calm they share
A rest unsullied by the clouds of care.
And yearly thrice with sweet luxuriance crowned,
Springs the ripe harvest from the teeming ground.
(Works and Days, 162-177.)

And Homer, in the Odyssey, makes the prophet Proteus foretell a glorious future for the hero Menelaus:

But oh, beloved of Heaven! reserved to thee
A happier lot the smiling Fates decree:
Free from that law, beneath whose mortal sway
Matter is changed, and varying forms decay,
Elysium shall be thine: the blissful plains
Of utmost earth, where Rhadamanthus reigns,
Joys ever young, unmixed with pain or fears,
Fill the wide circle of the eternal years:
Stern winter smiles on that auspicious clime;
The fields are florid with unfading prime.
From the bleak poles no winds inclement blow,
Mould the round hail, or flake the fleecy snow;
But from the breezy deep the blessed inhale
The fragrant murmurs of the western gale.
This grace peculiar will the gods afford
To thee, the son of Jove, and beauteous Helen's lord.
(Odyssey, iv:561 pp.)

Other references to the Islands of the Blessed and the Elysian fields are to be found in Pindar and the works of Plato, but the most complete and the most noble description is the one given by Virgil in the sixth book of the AEneid, where the "pious AEneas," having safely traversed the dangers of Hades and the horrors of Tartarus, led by the guiding and protecting hand of the Sibyl, finally passes through "the ivory gates" of Elysium, in order to consult his father, Anchises.

Thus having soothed the queen of Dis,
They reach the realm of tranquil bliss,
Green spaces, folded in with trees,
A paradise of pleasances,
Around the champaign mantles bright
The fulness of purpureal light;
Another sun and stars they know,
That shine like ours, but shine below.
There some disport their manly frames
 In wrestling and palaestral games,
Strive on the grassy sward, or stand
Contending on the yellow sand:
Some ply the dance with eager feet
And chant responsive to its beat.

Others along the sward he sees
Reclined, and feasting at their ease,
With chanted Paeans, blessed souls,
Amid a fragrant bay-tree grove,
Whence rising in the world above
Eridanus 'twixt bowering trees
His breadth of water rolls.

Here sees he the illustrious dead
Who, fighting for their country, bled;
Priests, who while earthly life remained
Preserved that life unsoiled, unstained;
Blest bards, transparent souls and clear,
Whose song was worthy Phoebus' ear;
Inventors, who by arts refined
The common life of human kind,
With all who grateful memory won
By services to others done;
A goodly brotherhood, bedight
With coronals of virgin white.

But not from the poets alone, but also from the classic artists, we learn what real and living ideas the ancients possessed of the glories of heaven, so different from the vague ''Christian'' notions of a bodiless and useless existence in the world to come. In the scenes descriptive of Elysium we find that life there was not one of pleasures merely, but of useful occupations. In these "asphodel meadows," which none but the pure in heart, the truthful and the generous can be suffered to tread, each one is engaged in employments resembling those on earth, and whatever had warmly occupied his attention in his first life, continues to be a source of virtuous enjoyment in the new life. One famous painting, however, represents a long procession of blessed Elysians as engaged in profound meditation, with folded arms and bended brows, silently communing with the muses and the gods. This picture finds fitting words in Swedenborg's description of those in the other life who are continually in reflection.

They dwell in a place which is pleasant and herbacious, like the Elysian fields, nor do they want to be disturbed by anyone, because they have delectation in thinking. (S. D. 1232.)

The ancient Athenians themselves, with whom Swedenborg was privileged to converse in heaven, told him that

When we were men in the world, we believed in the immortality of the soul, and we assigned to the blessed ones places which we called the Elysian fields; and we also believed that the souls were human figures or forms. (C. L. 182.)

A Note on Prometheus and Pandora

In response to an inquiry we offer the following tentative interpretation of the curious Greek legend of Prometheus and Pandora. The whole appears to us a tradition of the fall of mankind, hidden under the representative fiction of the ancients.

Prometheus, whose name means "fore-thought," seems to represent the man of the Golden Age in its first decline, when he began to "incline to proprium," i. e., began to desire to be guided by his own intelligence and worldly fore-thought, no longer content to be led by the Lord alone. (See A. C. 131-141.)

Prometheus committed his first sin by his effort to deceive Zeus in a matter of sacrifice. He slew an ox and put the flesh inside the hide but wrapped up the bones in the fat, and asked Zeus which part of the sacrifice he preferred. The god, though aware of the deceit, selected the fat and the bones, but as a punishment he took away the blessing of fire from the man whom Prometheus had created. This, we would suggest, signifies the first separation of internal worship from external, —the offering of worship which was dead within, (the bones), but clothed externally in natural good, (the fat). Prom this separation the fire of celestial love perished in the Most Ancient Church.

To his first sin Prometheus now added the crime of stealing fire from heaven, concealed in a hollow staff. Fire stolen means love perverted,-—the forbidden love which is the love of self. And the hollow staff suggests apparent truth confirming and excusing the evil love. And now the gods in their wrath sent Pandora—beautiful, curious woman—to hapless Epimetheus, whose name means "after-thought." The proprium was conjoined with the now perverted human understanding.

The inevitable curse now fell upon mankind:
Whilom on earth the sons of men abode
Free from diseases that with racking rage,
From evil free, and labor's galling load;
Precipitate the pale decline of age.

Now swift the days of manhood haste away,
And misery's pressure turns the temples gray.
The woman's hands an ample casket bear,—
She lifts the lid,—she scatters ills in air.

Hope sole remained within, nor took her flight,
Beneath the casket's verge, concealed from sight.
Th' unbroken cell with closing lid, the maid
Sealed, and th' cloud-assembler's voice obeyed.

Issued the rest, in quick dispersion hurled,
And woes innumerous roamed the breathing world:
With ills the land is rife, with ills the sea;
Diseases haunt our frail humanity.

Self-wandering through the noon, the night, they glide,
Voiceless,—a voice the power all-wise denied.
Know then this awful truth: it is not given
To elude the wisdom of omniscient Heaven.

(Hesiod, Works and Days, 125-144.)

The setting of this myth is indeed different from that of the story of the fall in Genesis, but the jewel of spiritual truth remains the same. In both accounts the woman, or the desire for a proprium, is the immediate cause of the fall. In both it is the passion of curiosity, —the desire to know from self-intelligence,—that leads to the fatal step. The curse of labor, the labor of temptations, is the result in both stories, and in both, finally, Hope still remains the one consolation in the midst of all the evils which henceforth infest humanity.

The nature of this Hope is further described in the story of Prometheus, who, as a punishment for his rebellion, is chained to a craggy rock where an eagle is daily devouring his ever renewed liver. Henceforth the human understanding was to be chained to sensual conceptions of truth, and its vital good the prey of falsity; but the day would finally come when the shackles of Prometheus would be broken by the promised Hercules: one day the fettered intelligence of mankind would be set free by the coming of the Redeemer, the omnipotent Truth of the Word incarnate. This coming was the Hope that remained, for in the very hour of the fall and the curse of Jehovah, God promised that the Seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent.

Bibliography of C.T. Odhner's Writings on Mythology



 (All Published in the New-Church Life)

a. General:

1889: 141, 157, 177, 191; 1890: 20, 39, 59, 104, 138; 1905: 21, 79, 145, 270, 403, 649. Idolatry and Polytheism, origin of. 1889: 142, 145. Sun-Worship. 1907: 83, 160; 1900: 330.

b. Assyria and Babylonia:

1890: 20, 39, 59.

Legend of Oannes. 1888: 155

c. Canaanites: 1889: 157, 193

Adonai. 1889: 144, 192. Baal. 1889: 178, 192. Dagon. 1889: 144. Shaddai. 1889: 144.

d. Egyptian: (Introduction only) 1890: 104, 139.

e. Greek and Roman:

Apollo. 1906: 211. Ceres. 1905: 149. Chaos. 1905: 23. Chronides. 1905: 31. Cupid. 1907: 27. Hebe. 1905: 406. Juno. 1905: 89. Jupiter. 1905: 84. Mars. 1905: 403. Mercury. 1905: 649. Neptune. 1905: 145. Ouranos. 1905: 24. Pallas Athene. 1906: 347. Pluto. 1905: 270.

Prometheus and Pandora. 1909: 351.

Prosperpine. 1905: 275

Saturn. 1905: 28.

Spiritual World. 1905: 275.

Titans. 1905: 25.

Venus. 1906: 533.

Vesta. 1905: 79.

Vulcan. 1905: 593.

f. Scandinavian:

Northern mythology. 1889: 14.

g. Finland:

The Kalevala. J887: 71.

h. Cluniere Monotheism: 1904: 319

i. Ancient Legends:

Creation stories. 1908: 621.

Golden Age. 1904: 83.

The Fall. 1904: 125.

The Flood. 1904: 125, 252, 281.

Enoch and the Patriarchs. 1904: 252.


1908: Dec.

1904: Feb., March, May, June. 1905: Jan.; also p. 270.


CORRESPONDENCES OF CANAAN: A Study of the Spiritual Geography and History of the Land and Nations of the Word. Academy Book Room, Bryn Athyn, Pa. 1911.

THE GOLDEN AGE: The Story of the Most Ancient Church. Academy Book Room, Bryn Athyn, Pa. 1913.

THE CORRESPONDENCES OF EGYPT: A Study in the Theology of the Ancient Church. Academy Book Room, Bryn Athyn, Pa. 1914.



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