Garner's Greek Mythology

EP 25: You Tell Apollo He’s A Myth

June 28, 2021 Patrick Garner Season 2 Episode 25
Garner's Greek Mythology
EP 25: You Tell Apollo He’s A Myth
Show Notes Transcript

EP 25: You Tell Apollo He’s A Myth

… Welcome to Episode 25. This episode explores whether the gods are real or -- as scholars state -- myths.

In this unique podcast we take a different approach, daring to examine whether we’ve all been misled.

What if the Greek gods simply walked? What if they tired of the affairs and the squabbling that was a constant background on beautiful Mt. Olympus?

After all, they’re immortal. They can go anywhere and be anything ... Listen in as we examine the possibilities that today they are here, among us.

This episode is narrated by mythologist and best-selling author, Patrick Garner. His Garner's Greek Mythology is unlike any other Greek history series. Here the gods are viewed as if they were anything but mythical...

New stories about the gods!  Homo Divinitas, by podcaster Patrick Garner, is now available on Amazon as an audible book! 

Support the show

EPISODE 25-- Would You Tell Apollo He’s A Myth?

ARE THE GREEK GODS MYTHS? OR DO THEY LIVE AMONG US? IN EPISODE 2, I IMPLIED THAT THEY GO ABOUT THEIR LIVES MUCH AS WE DO ...

BUT I SUSPECT MOST LISTENERS SIMPLY INDULGED ME. PERHAPS YOU WERE ONE OF THEM.

IN THAT EPISODE I NEVER TALKED ABOUT WHY THEY’RE REAL. BUT I'LL SHARE A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

I WAS SUDDENLY DRIVEN TO WRITE A NOVEL. BIG DEAL, YOU MIGHT THINK. AND I'D WRITTEN FICTION IN THE PAST: BUT ... THIS WAS DIFFERENT.

MOST NOVELS ARE WRITTEN BY FORMULA. THE AUTHOR HAS AN IDEA. THE AUTHOR OUTLINES CHARACTERS, MOTIVATIONS, & WHAT WE CALL THE STORY ARC ...

DETAILS BECOME ENDLESS. WHAT COLOR IS ALEXANDRO'S HAIR? HOW BLUE ARE JULIA'S EYES? ARE HER SHOES ON A PARTICULAR TUESDAY EVENING AN OUTRAGEOUS PINK?

THE AUTHOR USUALLY KNOWS EVERYTHING THAT WILL OCCUR BEFORE WRITING THE FIRST WORD ... AND I'LL LET YOU IN ON A SECRET ... 

THERE ARE SOFTWARE PROGRAMS THAT MANY WRITERS USE THAT ORGANIZE THESE DETAILS. THERE ARE EVEN PROGRAMS THAT SUGGEST THE ACTION: 

FOR INSTANCE, THE HERO IS A RELUCTANT HERO. THE HERO GETS INTO TROUBLE. THE HERO OVERCOMES DISASTER. THE HERO WINS ... SOUND FAMILIAR?

I POINT THIS OUT BECAUSE WHEN I WROTE THE WINNOWING — THE FIRST BOOK OF MY RECENT TRILOGY ABOUT THE GODS — I SIMPLY BEGAN TO WRITE. IT WASN'T A CONSCIOUS DECISION. I HAD NO CHOICE ... 

I DIDN'T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT THE NEXT WORD WOULD BE. OR EVEN WHAT I WAS WRITING ABOUT. 

BUT I WAS CERTAIN ABOUT ONE THING: THE BOOK HAD TO BE WRITTEN. I WAS COMPELLED. AND I SLOWLY LEARNED IT WAS ABOUT GREEK GODS WHO HAD REAPPEARED IN TODAY'S WORLD.

OR IT'S MORE ACCURATE TO SAY THAT I LEARNED ABOUT THE SUBJECT AS THE BOOK WAS DICTATED TO ME. THE PLOT UNFOLDED PAGE AFTER PAGE. 

I HAD NOT ANTICIPATED ANY OF THE CHARACTERS. YET THEY LEAPT ONTO THE PAGES AT PERFECT MOMENTS ... WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

SOMEONE ... OR SOME MUSE ... KNEW THE PRECISE DETAILS & KNEW EACH WORD THE CHARACTERS WOULD SPEAK.

IT WASN'T ALWAYS EASY ... THERE WERE TIMES WHEN I THOUGHT THE STORY HAD PAINTED ITSELF INTO A CORNER.

I'D GO TO BED THINKING, "MONTHS OF EFFORT. AND IT'S COME TO AN END."

YET THE NEXT DAY WORDS WOULD BE BOUNCING INSIDE MY HEAD. I'D BEGIN AGAIN &, MIRACULOUSLY, A PERFECT SOLUTION WOULD UNFOLD. THE STORY WOULD GO ON.

IT WAS INSPIRED, ASTUTE, INTUITIVE & PACKED WITH REVELATIONS ABOUT THE GREEK GODS. YOU'LL SEE IF YOU READ THE BOOKS. BUT THE INGENUITY WAS NOT MINE.

I WAS SIMPLY SOME GREEK GOD'S SCRIBE ...

THIS IS EPISODE 25 OF GARNER'S GREEK MYTHOLOGY. WE HAVE LISTENERS FROM 130 COUNTRIES & COUNTING. WELCOME TO EVERYONE, WHEREVER YOU ARE.

I'M YOUR HOST, MYTHOLOGIST & BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, PATRICK GARNER. 

THESE STORIES ABOUT THE GODS HAVE BEEN TOLD FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. BUT NOW THERE ARE NEW STORIES THAT ARE AS COMPELLING.

IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE SO ALREADY, CHECK OUT MY BOOKS ABOUT THE GODS IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD. 

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THEM & ABOUT THIS PODCAST AT PATRICKGARNERBOOKS.COM. 

AND AS ALWAYS, THIS PODCAST FOCUSES ON ONE THING ... GREEK GODS, OF COURSE. THEY, LIKE YOU, ARE HERE, NOW ...

A MOMENT AGO I CALLED MYSELF ‘SOME GREEK GOD'S SCRIBE.’

YOU SMILE ... OF COURSE. TO TAKE THAT LEAP WITH ME, YOU FIRST HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THESE ANCIENT GODS ACTUALLY RULED THE GREEK WORLD ...

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY WERE NEVER MYTHS. YOU MUST, HOWEVER IMPROBABLE IT SEEMS, ACCEPT THEIR ... IMMORTALITY.

PERHAPS YOU ALREADY AGREE THAT THE GODS WERE NEVER MYTHS ... IF YOU DO, YOU CAN IMAGINE THEM HERE, TODAY, PLAYING OUT THEIR OWN FASCINATING LIVES.

I KNOW SOME OF YOU ARE THINKING THAT THEIR EXISTENCE FLIES IN THE FACE OF EVERYTHING WE'RE TAUGHT.

IS IT POSSIBLE WE'VE BEEN MISLED?

THE GREEK GODS ... SCHOLARS & ACADEMICS SAY THEY'RE MYTHS. THAT MEANS THEY WERE NEVER REAL.

SO LET'S DEFINE MYTH. ONE DICTIONARY SAYS IT'S "A WIDELY HELD, BUT FALSE BELIEF." OKAY, THAT'S A START. 

BUT WHAT IF, WHEN WE SPEAK ABOUT THE GREEK GODS, OUR USE OF "MYTH" IS THE WRONG WORD? WHAT IF IT'S A COP-OUT, AN EXCUSE FOR NOT REALLY KNOWING?

SO NOW LET'S ADMIT THAT SCHOLARS REALLY DON'T KNOW. THEY CAN'T PROVE THAT THE GODS ARE OR AREN'T REAL

SO LET'S SAY THE GODS ARE ALIVE & WELL. 

BUT THERE'S PROBLEM. WE'RE TAUGHT THAT BELIEF IN THE OLD GODS DISSIPATED WITH THE RISE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

THERE WAS ONE GOD, NOT MANY ... CONSEQUENTLY, THE CHURCH FATHERS DECLARED WAR AGAINST ALL COMPETING  BELIEFS.

BETWEEN 300 & 400 AD THE CHURCH CONSCIOUSLY BEGAN A CENTURY-LONG EFFORT TO CLOSE ALL TEMPLES, ELIMINATE TRADITIONAL HOLIDAYS & OBLITERATE THE ANCIENT GODS.

10s OF THOUSANDS OF STATUES OF THE GODS ... IMAGES OF ZEUS, APOLLO, POSEIDON, ARTEMIS, ARES & ATHENE ... 

WERE ALL TORN DOWN, SMASHED OR ROLLED INTO SWAMPS & RIVERS AS IF THEY WERE THREATS TO MANKIND'S VERY EXISTENCE. 

THEY WEREN'T. THE GREEKS VIEWED THEM AS NO MORE THAN REPRESENTATIONS OF EACH GOD ... IDEALIZATIONS .. NO GREEK BELIEVED THEM TO BE ACTUAL GODS.

BUT THE CHURCH PREACHED OTHERWISE. IT TAUGHT THAT STATUES CONTAINED DEMONS. BELIEVERS TOOK THE PRIESTS LITERALLY, & SMASHED THE STATUES. 

TEMPLES WERE PULLED DOWN — ROOFS, WALLS & COLUMNS TOPPLED — THEN INVARIABLY, CHURCHES ROSE ON THE OLD FOUNDATIONS.

LITERATURE, TOO, SUFFERED THE ONSLAUGHT. RENOWNED PLAYS ABOUT THE GODS BY AESCHYLUS, SOPHOCLES & EURIPIDES WERE DESTROYED.

THE AUTHORITIES ISSUED EDICT AFTER EDICT, SLOWLY FORBIDDING THE OLD PRACTICES. BY 400 AD ALMOST ALL EVIDENCE OF THE ANCIENT DIVINITIES WAS GONE. 

AND THE DIVINITIES THEMSELVES? HOW DID THEY REACT? YOU'RE WONDERING HOW THEY COULD HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR IMMENSE POWER.

PERHAPS ... PERHAPS WIELDING SUCH POWER, WHEN THE POWER CAME SO EASILY, BECAME BORING. OR ... PERHAPS THERE WERE OTHER MOTIVATIONS. 

BUT BEFORE WE GO THERE, LET'S PAUSE & LOOK AT THIS FROM ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW. 

WE'VE FORGOTTEN THE GREEK PEOPLE. THEY HAD A STAKE IN THIS. AS I'VE EMPHASIZED THROUGH ALL THESE EPISODES, THE GREEKS WERE AMAZINGLY RELIGIOUS.

OKAY. BUT HOW COULD THE GODS HAVE BEEN SO IMPORTANT TO THE ANCIENT GREEKS ... & THEN THEY WEREN'T?

REMEMBER THAT IN THE BEGINNING, THESE OLYMPIC DIVINITIES MADE THE SUN RISE & THE STARS SHINE. THEY DETERMINED CROP FERTILITY & WHETHER BRIDES WOULD CONCEIVE ...

BATTLES WERE NEVER FOUGHT WITHOUT ARMIES SACRIFICING TO A GOD, OR MULTIPLE GODS ... IF OMENS WERE POOR, GENERALS WOULD WAIT TO ATTACK.

THAT HAPPENED ONCE. TWO ARMIES FACED OFF ... AN ECLIPSE OCCURRED: THE SUN DISAPPEARED, THE SKY WENT BLACK & SOLDIERS FLED ... 

IMAGINE THAT OCCURRING TODAY. TWO MAJOR COUNTRIES MOBILIZE THEIR FORCES ... JET FIGHTERS RISE FROM AIRFIELDS. 

BALLISTIC MISSILES ARE ACTIVATED. THEN, UNEXPECTEDLY, SOMEONE SPOTS THREE CROWS SITTING ON A DEAD TREE BRANCH.

IN A PANIC HE SENDS OFF AN ALERT. FORCES STAND DOWN ... THREE CROWS? IT'S AN OMINOUS, TERRIBLE SIGN ... & WAR IS CALLED OFF ...

UNIMAGINABLE, ISN'T IT? YET SUCH SIGNS WERE ONCE CONSIDERED INDISPUTABLE SIGNALS FROM THE GODS. 

THEY CONFIRMED THAT ZEUS GAVE HIS BLESSING TO START. OR THAT ATHENE WARNED AGAINST ADVANCING.

SIMILARLY, IN ALL THE IMPORTANT MOMENTS IN A CITIZEN'S LIFE, GREEKS SOUGHT THE BLESSINGS — OR WARNINGS — of one god or another. 

I THINK YOU GET IT: THE GODS' IMPORTANCE WAS INCALCULABLE ... BUT THEN ... INEXPLICABLY, IT WASN'T.

LET'S CIRCLE BACK ... REMEMBER MY POSITION THAT THE GODS AREN'T MYTHS? WHATEVER, SOMETIME BETWEEN 400 BC & 400 AD, THEY DISAPPEARED.

YEARS BEFORE, AS EARLY AS SOCRATES, THERE WERE THOSE WHO QUESTIONED THE REALITY OF THE GODS. 

AND OVER TIME, GREEK YOUTH WERE TAUGHT BY PHILOSOPHERS TO QUESTION, RATHER THAN ACCEPT, THE FANTASTIC STORIES ABOUT THE DIVINITIES ...

THEN SCIENCE DEVELOPED FROM PHILOSOPHY & OFFERED ALTERNATE EXPLANATIONS OF WHY THINGS HAPPENED IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD.

GRADUALLY — EVER SO GRADUALLY — GREEKS SHED THEIR AWE. 

AFTER ALL, WHAT ABOUT ZEUS? HE WAS REPUTED TO HAVE HAD COUNTLESS AFFAIRS, BUT NO ONE KNEW A SINGLE GIRL WHO'D FALLEN UNDER HIS SPELL.

HAD ANYONE WITNESSED ARTEMIS HUNTING DEER? OR ATHENE STANDING ON THE ACROPOLIS WITH HER OWL? 

HARDLY. AND SO BY THEIR ABSENCE THE DIVINITIES GRADUALLY LOST AUTHORITY ... THEIR AUTHENTICITY WANED, & THEIR VERY EXISTENCE BECAME A MATTER OF QUIET DEBATE. 

IF WE ASSUME THAT DISBELIEF STARTED AROUND 400 BC, BY 400 AD — ABOUT THE TIME THE CHURCH WAS WINDING UP ITS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE GODS — MORE THAN EIGHT CENTURIES HAD PASSED. 

TO THE FEW BELIEVERS LEFT, THE GODS' ABSENCE MUST HAVE BEEN EMBARRASSING ... AT THE PACE OF DRIPPING WATER, THE UNIMAGINABLE HAD HAPPENED: THE OLYMPIC GODS ...

HAD SEEMINGLY BECOME NO MORE THAN MYTHOLOGICAL CHARACTERS ...

IN TIME EVEN MEMORIES OF THE OLYMPIANS BECAME A SILLY REMNANT OF THE PAST. ONLY THE GULLIBLE ENTERTAINED THE POSSIBILITY THAT THEY HAD EVER LIVED.

AND ON MT. OLYMPUS? THE ANCIENT GODS HAD MOVED ON. NONE OF THEM WAS INTERESTED ANY LONGER IN WORSHIPPERS.

REMEMBER THEY'RE IMMORTAL. THEY LIVE WITHOUT END UNLESS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY HAPPENS.

SO, BARRING THE UNUSUAL, GODS — UNLIKE MORTALS — GO ON. THAT WAS EXACTLY THE CASE WITH THE OLYMPIC DIVINITIES. BUT WHY DID THEY WALK?

I PROPOSE THAT THEY SIMPLY BECAME BORED WITH THE ADULATION. AT FIRST IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EXCITING. THEN, IN TIME, A SMALL ADDICTION.

BUT FINALLY, BEING CONSTANTLY IMPLORED FOR FAVORS ... SIMPLY BECAME TIRESOME. 

IT'S STARTLING TO IMAGINE. BUT, LIKE ALL INTELLIGENT BEINGS, THEY BECAME WEARY. IT WAS ALWAYS THE SAME ROUTINE FROM MORTALS, THE SAME PLEAS & SACRIFICES ...

WHY SUBJECT THEMSELVES TO THIS NONSENSE? DIVINITIES COULD PROSPER ANYWHERE ... 

BY THE TIME THE CHURCH CAME ALONG, THE DIVINITIES WERE ALREADY GONE. THE GODS HAD READ THE CARDS CENTURIES BEFORE & SLIPPED AWAY ...

ONE BY ONE THEY LEFT ... THEY DIDN'T SO MUCH BOLT AS SIMPLY ABANDON OLYMPUS. AND WHY NOT?

MT. OLYMPUS ITSELF HAD BECOME A HOTBED OF ARGUMENTS, AFFAIRS & JEALOUSIES. THEY GODS TIRED OF EACH OTHER. THEY TIRED OF ZEUS.

AT SOME POINT, PROBABLY ABOUT 450 BC WHEN SOCRATES FLOURISHED, THEY BEGAN TO BREAK AWAY.

THE GREEKS NEVER KNEW FOR SURE, BUT THE MERE FACT THAT GODS WERE NO LONGER SEEN WINGING ACROSS THE SKIES OR INTERFERING IN THEIR LIVES LEFT THEM WONDERING.

THE GODS WHO HAD ONCE BEEN SO UNAVOIDABLE — THE GODS WHO HAD DEMANDED VENERATION FOR MORE THAN A THOUSAND YEARS — VANISHED. 

BUT BY 'VANISHED' I DON'T MEAN DISAPPEARED. INSTEAD, THEY SPREAD OUT ACROSS THE WORLD, EACH PURSUING HIS OR HER OWN ... PASSIONS.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION. ARTEMIS, THE UNRIVALED HUNTRESS, MAY HAVE RETREATED TO THE DENSE FORESTS OF FRANCE & SICILY WITH HER NYMPHS ...

IMAGINE POSEIDON PILOTING SUBMARINES, REVELING IN THEIR SILENCE & SPEED ...

AND THE STOIC ATHENE? PERHAPS SHE PRESIDES OVER A GREAT COUNTRY'S SUPREME COURT ... 

APHRODITE, DIONYSUS, HEPHAISTOS & APOLLO LIVE ON. AND APPROPRIATELY, EACH PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN MY THIRD NOVEL, HOMO DIVINITAS

THEY TOO WENT WHERE THEY WISHED & TODAY DO WHAT THEY WANT. 

THE OUTLIER WAS ZEUS. IN THE EPISODE I DEVOTED TO HIM, I REVEALED THAT ZEUS MET A DISMAL END. HE STUPIDLY CONFRONTED GAIA, THE EARLIEST GODDESS ...

AND THE CONFRONTATION DID NOT GO WELL. NOT FOR ZEUS. THE GREATEST OLYMPIC GOD, HE WAS ALSO THE FIRST TO BE EXTINGUISHED. 

THE SECOND WAS THE WAR GOD, ARES, WHO DIED IN FRANCE IN THE LATE 20th CENTURY. HIS DEATH IS DETAILED IN MY SECOND NOVEL, CYCLADIC GIRLS.

SO, IN ADDITION TO MY BOOKS UNVEILING THEIR LIVES, THIS PODCAST IS UNIQUE. EVEN THOUGH I CALL IT GARNER'S GREEK MYTHOLOGY, ITS PREMISE IS THAT THE GODS ARE HARDLY MYTHS.

ON THE CONTRARY, THEY, LIKE YOU, ARE HERE, NOW.

AND WE'LL CONTINUE IN FUTURE EPISODES TO EXPLORE THEIR HISTORY. AND THEIR CURRENT ADVENTURES. 

JOIN ME ... FOR THE NEXT EPISODE OF GARNER'S GREEK MYTHOLOGY

IF YOU LOVE WHAT YOU HEAR, BE SURE TO VISIT Patrick-Garner-Books-dot-com OR FIND ME ON AMAZON ... 

I ASSURE YOU, MY NOVELS ABOUT THE GREEK GODS ARE AS ENTERTAINING AS MY PODCASTS!

AND LAST, TAKE A MOMENT TO LEAVE ME A REVIEW. EVERY 4 & 5-STAR REVIEW COUNTS! ... THANKS. 

THIS IS YOUR HOST, PATRICK GARNER ...