Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunrise and Its Importance in Mythology

Sunrise in one's life depicts the heralding of a new beginning. May it be the clock striking midnight to mark one's birthday or the day of a special occasion, like an anniversary or a wedding. Sunrise brings hope and as a very popular Indian saying goes, "Every night is followed by sunrise", which means that every period of darkness and trouble is followed by a sunrise, which will bring a solution and a time to celebrate.

Sunrise and the Sun Gods have played important roles for centuries through the mythologies of various cultures. The Greek, Chinese, Indians, Egyptians and many more have given the Sun much importance, so let's look at the impact the Sun has had on mankind for centuries depicting its importance to all.

Chinese Mythology

The Chinese believed that there were ten Suns and one used to arrive as the other one used to leave to bathe. There are many versions of this story, but this is how the most popular version goes. This is from the chapter called "The Systems of the Heavens" by Huai-nan Tzu, with a little addition by other scholars of that time. The ten suns used to bathe in the T'iang Valley where the Leaning Mulberry (the tree) stood tall. The nine suns stayed on its lower branches whilst the tenth sun resided on its top branch. Another version goes that in the middle of a great wasteland, there was a mountain called Neih-yao Chun-ti, next to which was the Yang Valley. Next to the Yang Valley was the Leaning Mulberry, which was an old three hundred leagues tall tree with mustard plant leaves. On this tree one sun arrived, borne by a crow (sometimes three legged) as the other sun left. The whole process of sunrise to sunset from Yang (sunny) Valley or Yu Yuans's riverbank to Meng Valley covers Nine Provinces and Seven halts, depicting times during the day.

Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, Helios personified the sun. The Greek poet Homer often called him only the Titan or Hyperion. He wrote that Helios was the son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia and described him as the brother of the Selene, the goddess of the moon, and of Eos, the goddess of dawn. This is also what is believed to have given birth to the common Greek words for the sun, moon and dawn. Helios was believed to be a handsome god who had a crown of a shining aureole of the sun and he drove the chariot of the sun every day across the sky to the earth after circling Oceanus and then after passing the world ocean, he returned East at night time. It was believed that the chariot of the sun was drawn by solar steeds or fire darting steeds that were later named Phlegon, Aeos, Pyrios and Aethon.

Egyptian Mythology

The God of the sun in ancient Egypt was called Ra (pronounced Rah or sometimes even as Re). He became a major deity by the fifth dynasty and was primarily identified as the mid day sun god, as there were other deities that depicted other positions of the sun. Ra changed over time and soon came to be recognised as the god of all the times of the day. The cult of Ra was based from Heliopolis, which means the City of the Sun. Ra was also later merged with another god, Horus and was called Re-Horakhty. He was believed to command the earth, sky and the underworld. He is associated with the Falcon, which was the symbol of the sun deities and is represented by the sun disc as his symbol.

As said above, Sunrise and the Sun stand for a lot in everyone's life and in today's world you can be unique and gift someone a beautiful sunrise photo to mark a special occasion or to remind them that there is still hope in life. If you are interested, then you can get beautiful photographs from Every Sunrise. For more info about the company and its products, please click here:

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A Quick Guide to Greek Mythology

The Greeks believed in many Gods (and many generations of Gods) and believed they had both supernatural powers and human weaknesses. Probably the greatest beings in Greek Mythology are the twelve Olympian Gods who took their name from the place of their dwelling - Mount Olympus.

The ruler of the Olympian Gods and God of the sky, thunder and justice. His weapon is a thunderbolt. Married to Hera.

The God of the sea, earthquakes and horses. His weapon is a trident and he is second in power to Zeus.

God of the underworld and wealth. Lord of the dead.

Goddess of the hearth and home. The sister of Zeus.

The Goddess of women, marriage and childbirth. The reigning female Goddess of Olympia because she was married to Zeus.

The God of war. The son of Zeus and Hera.

The Goddess of wisdom, reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. A daughter of Zeus.

The God of the sun, light, healing, medicine, music, poetry, prophecy, archery and truth. Son of Zeus and Leto and twin brother of Artemis

The Goddess of love, desire, beauty and fertility.

The fastest of the Gods and messenger to all the other Gods. God of commerce, thieves, trade and travellers. The son of Zeus and Maia.

Goddess of chastity, virginity, childbirth, the hunt, the forest, the moon and the natural environment. The daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo.

The God of fire and the forge. The son of Zeus and Hera and husband of Aphrodite.

Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus was a famous sculptor and builder who built a great maze called "The Labyrinth" under the Palace of Knossos in Crete in which King Minos kept a monster: half man half bull (the Minotaur) in. The structure consisted of such a complicated tangle that it was impossible to get out of it. After the maze was complete, King Minos did not want Daedalus to be able to tell it's secret to anyone else, so he imprisoned him and his only son Icarus in a tall tower. Daedalus and Icarus did not like being prisoners, so started trying to think of ways to escape. After observing the birds from the windows of the tower, Deadalus decided to make wings out of bird feathers and wax for him and his son so they may fly away and be free. When tying the wings to his son Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sea as the damp from the waves would wet the feathers making them too burdensome to fly with and not to fly too high in the sky as the sun would melt the wax. Icarus was so fascinated with the flight that he forgot about his father's warnings and started to soar higher and higher. As he climbed into the sky his wings started to melt, when Icarus realised what was happening he tried to fly lower again but it was too late the wings broke apart, he fell into the water and drowned.

Theseus and Ariadne
King Minos (the King of Crete) had a powerful navy of which all of Greece was afraid. He agreed with King Aegues (of Athens) that he would not attack Athens if the people of Athens agreed to send seven boys and seven girls as food for the Minotaur every year. When it became time to send the boys and girls to Crete, Prince Theseus (the son of King Aegeus) wanted to save the children and all those who may be sent in the future, so decided he would go with them to kill the minotaur. King Aegeus begged his son not to go as he was afraid his son would be devoured by the minotaur too. But Theseus was insistent and he set sail for Crete in a boat with a black sail, promising his father that the boats sail would be changed to a white one to announce if he had won and lived to come home. When they arrived in Crete they were met by King Minos and his daughter Ariadne. Princess Ariadne immediately fell in love with Prince Theseus and decided to help him with his mission. That night she gave to Theseus a sword and a ball of thread and instructed him to tie the ball of string to the door of the labyrinth where the minotaur lived and unroll it as he went through the maze so he could use it to find his was back out again once he had killed the minotaur with the sword. Prince Theseus did exactly as instructed and after he found the minotaur a big battle was fought which Theseus won by slaying the minotaur and was able to leave the labyrinth using the ball of thread to guide him.

Pandora's Box
According to greek mythology Pandora was the first woman on earth and was created by the God Zeus in an act of revenge against man. He instructed Hephaestus to create a beautiful woman who the Gods endowed with every charm (together with curiosity and deceit) and sent her to earth as a present for Epimetheus, who fell in love with her and they married. As a wedding gift Zeus sent Pandora a beautiful box which he told her never to open and gave the key for the box to Epimetheus. Over time Pandora became very curious about the contents of the box and several times begged Epimetheus to let her open it, but each time he said 'No'. Finally one day when Epimetheus was asleep Pandora stole the key and opened the box. As she lifted the lid to take a peek inside terrible things flew out of the box, every kind of disaster man had never know before: disease, despair, malice, greed, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. Unable to catch all these things before they flew away Pandora slammed down the lid and turned the key, keeping only the spirit of hope inside which Zeus had included to help keep people going when the nasty things got them down.

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Greek Mythology Hercules - The Mortal Who Became a God

When Hercules was born to Alcmene, she named him Herakles. But in Roman, Herakles is pronounced Hercules, which is the name we use for Hercules to this day. Hercules in Greek mythology is a great figure of valor and muscle strength. Hercules bravery earned him a place among the gods. After he left the mortal world, he found a position on Mount Olympus, the gods' dwelling place.

Zeus, the King of the gods was an unfaithful husband. He had a weakness for worldly pleasures. He fell in love with Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon. In a short time, Alcmene conceived Hercules. This angered Hera and she tried to kill Hercules. Hercules survived his first fatal assault with a miracle.

When Hercules reached adulthood he became a famous warrior. He also fell in love with a beautiful woman called Megara. Megara became the mother of Hercules' children and together they made a happy family. However, things were to be different. Hera took a vow to irritate Hercules during his lifetime. She tricked Hercules into a wild rage. In his rage, the mortal god Hercules killed his family. This was exactly what Hera wanted!

When Hercules returned to his normal state of mind, he saw things were beyond remedy. He prayed to Apollo to get rid of his crime. Apollo was the sun god who could read into the future. We find in Greek Mythology that Hercules requested his advice. Apollo assigned him ten important tasks (later it was turned to twelve) as the way of purifying his soul.

The Delphic oracle sent him to Tiryns where the king Eurystheus ruled. Hercules was expected to serve him as laborer for twelve years of his life. However, the difficult service was not fruitless. Apollo promised him immortality. He was to become a god. However, the great Hercules of greek mythology had one problem, Hera. She actually kept her promise to make Hercules' life as wretched as she could. Nevertheless, with the assistance of Hermes and Athena, Hercules pulled off his term of twelve years with excellence. In addition, he became the greatest mortal on the earth to become a god.

Hercules In Greek Mythology - What Made Him So Special?

The honorable penance of Hercules and his eventual success is what makes him so special. His success brought him immortality, which would have been unthinkable for ordinary mortals. Hercules' first task was to peel off the skin of the horrifying Nemean Lion after capturing one. His next task was to kill The Lernean Hydra. The Lernean Hydra was a serpent with nine heads, which never gave peace to the lives of those around it. The third task for him was to bring a Hind (a sacred red deer) from Ceryneia to the king. The deer was the pet of Diana, the Moon goddess.

The fourth task for Hercules was to bring a live Erymanthian Boar. It was very dangerous to men and animals living around the mountain Erymanthus. Then Hercules was asked to clean up King Augeas' stables in one day. Are you thinking what is so great about it? King Augeas had an awesome amount of cattle of cows, bulls, goats, sheep and horses. Hercules proposed to King Augeas that he would clean the stable only if he rewarded Hercules with a tenth of his cattle.

After this success, Eurystheus was planning to make something tougher for Hercules. He commanded Hercules to force out an enormous flock of birds, which assembled at a lake near the town of Stymphalos. Goddess Athena helped him with a pair of bronze krotala, an item similiar to castanets. The Cretan Bull was an easy task for Hercules. Hercules wrestled the bull, and then delivered it back to King Eurystheus.

The eighth task was to bring the Man-Eating Horses of Diomedes. It was followed by the battle against the Amazonian female army to get the belt of Hippolyte, the queen. The tenth labor was an awesome one. Hercules had to go around the world, to bring the cattle of the Monster Geryon. It had three heads and three sets of legs all attached at the waist.

The tricky assignment was the eleventh one. Eurystheus asked Hercules to get the Apples of the Hesperides. These were the golden apples gifted by Hera to Zeus. These apples were strictly guarded by a hundred-headed dragon, named Ladon, and also by Hesperides, daughters of Atlas. The other obstacle was that Hercules had no idea where these apples of Hesperides were located. Eventually, Hercules found the location from Nereus whom he seized until Nereus gave him the location of the apples of Hesperides.

Then Hercules found out through Prometheus, whom Hercules had helped, that he would have to have Atlas retrieve the apples. Hercules agreed to hold the sky and the earth while Atlas retrieved the apples. When Atlas returned with the apples, he told Hercules that if he would hold the sky and earth for the rest of time, that he would take them to Eurystheus himself. But Hercules fooled Atlas by asking him to hold the earth until he padded his shoulders. Atlas took Hercules place holding the earth, and Hercules picked up the apples and ran.

After making the great Hercules do all sorts of unbelievable errands, Eurystheus made sure that he did not succeed the last time. So, he ordered Hercules to abduct Cerberus, the underworld beast. Did you ever hear a living man visiting the Hades? However, Greek mythology tells us Hercules was no ordinary man. He was a hero.

He eventually did complete all the tasks, purified his soul and rescued the princess of Troy from a ravenous sea-monster. He also facilitated Zeus to beat the Giants in a great battle for the control of Olympus. He married again, to the charming Deianira. She presented him a cloak, which was coated with what she mistakenly thought to be a magic love potion. She was told that the balm would make the person love her forever.

Ironically, it was poison, which burned Hercules skin. Hercules, not being able to endure the pain asked his friends to kindle a fire. Then Hercules placed himself on the fire to be burned up alive. But the gods looked down, and Zeus thought that Hercules had suffered enough. So he asked Hera to end her anger toward Hercules, which she did. Then Hercules was brought to Olympus in Athena's chariot by Zeus' request.

This Greek mortal Hercules is undoubtedly the greatest hero of Greek Mythology. Hercules is still considered to be the perfect mythical character.

© Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

Randy currently has a website dealing with Reviews of Coffee Related Products such as coffee makers, espresso makers, coffee, k-cups, and more plus articles on coffee enemas and other coffee and health related topics. He also has a website of Reviews of Small Appliances such as ice cream makers, vacuum cleaners, mixers, irons, toasters, food processors, and many other appliances.

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