Nathan (vovat) wrote,

The Age of Aquarius

Why am I covering Aquarius when it's just finished its heyday in the northern night sky? I don't really know, but let's get into it anyway. Like most of our modern constellations, Aquarius dates back to the Babylonians (well, the actual STARS were there long before the Babylonians, obviously, but no one had connected the dots in quite that way previously), who apparently associated it with water because it appeared at the beginning of the rainy season. Christians later associated the constellation with John the Baptist, but what I'm going to focus on in this entry is the Greek figure most often identified as the Water Bearer, and that's Ganymede.

We all know about Zeus's constant affairs with women. But don't forget that Zeus was a classical Greek deity, and he swung both ways. His favored boy was Ganymede, son of King Tros of Troy, and four-time winner of Asia Minor Magazine's Hottest Person of the Year Award. So Zeus took the form of an eagle to abduct the boy (why he thought taking the forms of animals was a good seduction technique I don't know), and carried him off to Olympus, where he gave the youth a token job as cupbearer, allowing all the gods to ogle him. And eventually, the largest moon in the solar system was given his name, and you know what they say about guys with big moons. He is said to have replaced Hebe in the job as cupbearer, but I guess the transfer of power wasn't immediate. Hebe is said to have vacated the position when she married Herakles (after all, a married woman shouldn't be WORKING), and he was around on Earth to harass Tros's great-grandson Podarces, better known as Priam.

I have to say that I feel pretty sorry for Hebe, who seems to have come of age at a time when there was nothing decent left for a deity to patronize. Her Wikipedia entry is only two paragraphs long, and identifies her as "Goddess of Youth," as well as holder of several odd jobs. I can just imagine a young Hebe (well, okay, she's eternally young, but you get the point) asking her father for something to do, and his saying, "Yeah, um, go serve drinks and draw baths." Then she was married off to her half-brother, who'd killed his first family in a rage brought on by her mother, and had once had sex with fifty women in one night. Lucky her! :P

Oh, by the way, the Age of Aquarius that I mentioned in the title refers to one of the great astrological epochs, which is suppose to be a much more enlightened time than previous ages. These ages go through the star signs backwards, which means that the preceding age is that of Pisces, and the succeeding one will be Capricorn. No one is entirely sure when the Age of Aquarius is supposed to begin. Some astrologers say we've been in it for a few centuries already, and others think it won't arrive for some time. Thanks to the musical Hair, it's often associated with hippies, but an astrologer has said the stuff about the Moon being in the seventh house and Jupiter aligning with Mars is basically gibberish, as those conditions are met a few times every single year. And when an ASTROLOGER says something is gibberish, it MUST be bad. {g} I'm not entirely sure why we would need peace to guide the planets, anyway. Gravity has done a quite sufficient job of that for the past few billion years. But then, I'm sure a lot of actual hippies didn't really research these mystical beliefs they claimed to have, so maybe the lyrics are more or less nonsensical on purpose.
Tags: music, mythology
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