pole, and his shortened sceptre as an emblem of his kingdom of the
nether world; and his dog indicates the generation of the fruits in
its threefold division - the sowing of the seed, its reception by
the earth, its growing up. For he is called a dog, not because souls
are his food, but because of the earth's fertility, for which Pluto
provides when he carries off Kore.
Attis, too, and Adonis are related to the analogy of fruits. Attis
is the symbol of the blossoms which appear early in the spring, and
fall off before the complete fertilization; whence they further attributed
castration to him, from the fruits not having attained to seminal
perfection: but Adonis was the symbol of the cutting of the perfect
Silenus was the symbol of the wind's motion, which contributes no
few benefits to the world. And the flowery and brilliant wreath upon
his head is symbolic of the revolution of the heaven, and the hair
with which his lower limbs are surrounded is an indication of the
density of the air near the earth.
Since there was also a power partaking of the prophetic faculty, the
power is called Themis, because of its telling what is appointed and
fixed for each person.
In all these ways, then, the power of the earth finds an interpretation
and is worshipped: as a virgin and Hestia, she holds the centre; as
a mother she nourishes; as Rhea she makes rocks and dwells on mountains;
as Demeter, she produces herbage; and as Themis, she utters oracles:
while the seminal law which descends into her bosom is figured as
Priapus, the influence of which on dry crops is called Kore, and on
soft fruits and shellfruits is called Dionysus. For Kore was carried
off by Pluto, that is, the sun going; down beneath the earth at seed-time;
but Dionysus begins to sprout according to the conditions of the power
which, while young, is hidden beneath the earth, yet produces fine
fruits, and is an ally of the power in the blossom symbolized by Attis,
and of the cutting of the ripened corn symbolized by Adonis.
Also the power of the wind which pervades all things is formed into
a figure of Silenus, and the perversion to frenzy into a figure of
a Bacchante, as also the impulse which excites to lust is represented
by the Satyrs. These, then, are the symbols by which the power of
the earth is revealed.
The whole power productive of water they called Oceanus, and named
its symbolic figure Tethys. But of the whole, the drinking-water produced
is called Achelous; and the sea-water Poseidon; while again that which
makes the sea, inasmuch as it is productive, is Amphitrite. Of the
sweet waters the particular powers are called Nymphs, and those of
the sea-waters Nereids.
Again, the power of fire they called Hephaestus, and have made his
image in the form of a man, but put on it a blue cap as a symbol of
the revolution of the heavens, because the archetypal and purest form
of fire is there. But the fire brought down from heaven to earth is
less intense, and wants the strengthening and support which is found
in matter: wherefore he is lame, as needing matter to support him.
Also they supposed a power of this kind to belong to the sun and called
it Apollo, from the pulsation of his beams. There are also nine Muses
singing to his lyre, which are the sublunar sphere, and seven spheres
of the planets, and one of the fixed stars. And they crowned him with
laurel, partly because the plant is full of fire, and therefore hated
by daemons; and partly because it crackles in burning, to represent
the god's prophetic art.
But inasmuch as the sun wards off the evils of the earth, they called
him Heracles (from his clashing against the air) in passing from east
to west. And they invented fables of his performing twelve labours,
as the symbol of the division of the signs of the zodiac in heaven;
and they arrayed him with a club and a lion's skin, the one as an
indication of his uneven motion, and the other representative of his
strength in "Leo" the sign of the zodiac.