He is cold and alien,
the frigid, dark depths of the deepest part of the seas
with pressure so intense it can split skin and muscle, can crush bone.
living in the sulfuric vents in the earth
adored by hosts of things we barely recognize as life
as they bask in His domain.
He is the cruel hand that capsizes boats
How many have glimpsed Him last as their mortality trickled away?
Again and again and again and again and again.
I’ve sat with Him.
I’ve felt the ghost of the weight of His rage and His grief
But He is warm
He delights in the range of life, across the land as much as in the seas
And if He holds our kind in so special place
Not best among the beasts
Just one of many, with all our flaws and our cruelties and our savagery
Neither does He place us among the very least
There is no least, with Him.
We are contained, all of us, within this realm,
and the realm contains His Heart.
Poseidon taught me humility by showing me His humility. He set me right in my spot upon this earth. I struggled for a long, long time, trying to call Him indifferent — not in a bad way, but in that humanity isn’t a thing for Him. There’s an idea that we — humans, I mean — are the pinnacle of creation. Though it’s an idea that most of us know through the influence of Christianity in our cultures, it’s an idea that shows up before monotheism became some dominant. Much like the idea of monotheism being the pinnacle of religiosity is a sometimes unspoken agreement of our overculture, so too, in my view, is the idea that humanity is the pinnacle of mortal existence. It is a view that is present in many of the Hellenic sources, though, and it was . . . interesting? coming across that while experiencing His “indifference.” I clumsily explained it in the past as while Odin cares about humanity and individual people, Poseidon does not care so much about humanity, though He cares about specific people. Really, it’s more that He cares as much about humanity as He does any other group of species, in that He holds within Him an awareness of the ending of all life, the inevitability of death, the transience of life in general, and the fact that we are animals, just like all the others. Some may be threatened by that; I found it incredibly comforting and really it made Him approachable in the beginning. Even if I was confused about why He would have anything at all to do with me, being an icky human.
If other species had our longevity, our ability to use tools, to adapt to our environments, to make the kinds of changes we make, they would exploit their environments as much as we do. It doesn’t make us right, it doesn’t make it acceptable, but it does help me shake out of the “we suck oh my god we suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck” paralysis and depression that so often grips me. If octopod, for example, lived longer than they do? I’d be afraid for our supposed dominance. I think they could lead a resistence against us. Just sayin’.