O God, where art thou?
I’ve been pondering on the meaning of human existence for quite some time — haven’t we all? I mean, we’ve been here on this earth for a few millennia now. So, if our understanding of pseudo-reality depends on our own perspective, which in philosophic terms is mildly correct in my opinion, what of the point of view of our ancestors? Those men and women who perished a long time ago, some in vain, some heroically. We’ve only got a couple of history pieces here and there, some sayings, some drawings and some megalomaniac ancient buildings devoted to long-forgotten deities. One thing surprisingly remains without even reading a single book though, the mindless religious worship of dead god(s).
Where is the graveyard of these all-powerful gods? What lingering griever waters their holy burial sites? There was a day when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his prowess and influence was considered a barbarian and an ignorant. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And what about Huitzilopochtli? In one year — and it is no more than approximately five hundred years ago mind you — fifty thousand youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some senile vagrant in the depths of the Mexican forest.
Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent relationship that she carried with the sun itself, a fiery ball of hot plasma somewhere in the middle of our solar system. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he was thirsty, he satiated it with forty thousand liters of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as any other once-revered god. Once, peer of Allah, Buddha, and Wotan, he is now only a side note on some manual books.
Speaking of Huitzilopochtli one must recall his brother, of course, Tezcatlipoca. He was almost as powerful. He consumed twenty-five thousand virgins a year you know? Show me his tomb for I would weep, and hang on a pearl necklace in his name. But who in this world knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quetzalcoatl is? Or Tialoc? Or Chalchihuitlicue? Or Xiehtecutli? Or Centeotl, the god of maize and substance? Or Tlazolteotl, the goddess of love? Mictlan? Ixtlilton? Omacatl? Yacatecutli? Mixcoatl? Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimimeh, the fertility female deities? Where were their bones put to rest? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what sorrowful and unheard-of hell do they await resurrection? Who enjoys their residuary estates?
Or Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Or Tarves, the bull? Moccos, the pig? Epona, the mare?
Worry not, for they must have company in oblivion: the hell of dead gods is undoubtedly as crowded as the Christian hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and Drunemeton, Silvana, Dervones, Adsalluta, Deva, Belisama, Axona, Vintios, Taranuous, Sulis, etc. Almighty gods in their day, worshipped by thousands, by millions even, full of demands and grotesque impositions, able to bind and loose — all gods of the first class. Men laboured for generations to build vast temples to them — temples with stones as large as a modern bus. The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests, wizards, archdeacons, evangelists, haruspices, bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake, impaled or just by plain old decapitation. Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels: villages were burned to the ground, women and children were butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end, they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them any kind of reverence. Worse, the very tombs in which they lie, are lost, and so even a respectful stranger is deterred from paying them the slightest and politest of homages.
What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile valley?
What has become of:
Resheph, Baal, Anath, Astarte, Shalen, Dagon, Amon-Re, Melek, Osiris, Sebek, Molech, Anubis..?
All these were once gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament itself. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Yahweh himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet, they have all gone down the drain, and with them a couple more:
Gwydion, Manawyddan, Arianrod, Odin, Sokk-mimi, Memetona, Ogma, Rigantona, Mars, Jupiter, Ceros, Vaticanus, Cunina, Statilinus, Diana of Ephesus, Pluto, Saturn, Furrina, Cronos, U-ki, Dauke, Nin, Persephone, Istar, Venus, Lagas, Samas, Nirig, Aku, Apsu, Kaawanu, Mami, Zaraqu, Allatu, Zagaga, Ueras…
Forget not, these names listed above, which aren’t all of them, far from it, were gods of the highest standing and dignity — gods of civilized peoples — worshipped and believed in by millions. They were all theoretically omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal.
They are all dead.