Friday, July 29, 2011

Freyja to the Metrotheos via Guanyin

A status post by a blogger friend alluded to the mythological origins of Friday -- "Freyja's day" -- which by the interpretatio romana is consecrated to Venus.  Thinking of this, i caught a glimpse of the Guanyin pendant i wear all the time.  i must admit not being particularly attracted to Venus, but the sight of "She who perceives the world's lamentations" reminded me not to limit the Roman god-form to vulgar fertility.  (There's no more vulgar portrayal of Venus to me than the end of C. S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength," where CSL kills off science and then truncates the goddess' influence to a falsely-chaste dismissal of birth control.)  "Netzach," cry the pair of Spanish Kabbalists in Charles Williams' "The Death of Palomides," which maps to Venus in a supremely nonsexual way, a way gloriously barren.

Gazing at Guanyin reminded me of the transition from Friday to Saturday.  Guanyin bridges two mythologies: Friday's fertility cult (Guanyin is sometimes portrayed holding a baby, suggesting she could grant children to the barren), and Saturday's worship of a higher order -- Saturday, the day of the Theotokos and Metrotheos.  Guanyin mythologically "interpolates" between Freyja and the Metrotheos, just as (s)he interpolates between genders ("Is Guanyin a man or a woman?" "Yes.") and more importantly, between divine Emptiness and the needs of physically-bound entities.