The Seasons and the Gods

One 🤯 moment in Proclus’ Republic essays — specifically in the one on the speech of the Muses, essay 13 — is when Proclus describes the correspondences between different Gods and seasons. We are now in summer, meaning that we are in a season of Ares. Winter is for Kronos, spring for Zeus, and autumn for Aphrodite. Hermes, however, is everywhere.

In general terms, they look to the rotation of the seasons since some of them are more suitable for the act of generation with respect to the temperaments (krasis) of those who enter wedlock. After all, among plants and animals too, some require a summertime condition for engendering the nature that belongs to them, while others require the opposite. The rational-forming principles of nature (logoi tês physeôs) for the most part go forth in the spring, but the seeds are scattered upon the earth when the season is autumn. It is for this reason that, when it comes to the seasons, they say that winter belongs to Kronos, since they hide the seeds under the earth just as Kronos hid his own offspring, if you want to put it in a theological manner (theologikôs). Or if you wish to put it in natural terms (physikôs), it is due to the cold with which winter endows the things that come to be. But in opposition to this, the summer belongs to Ares due to the heat which it supplied to natural things and due to the difference that distinguishes everything, which is what the ‘heat of battle’ represents (eneikonizein). They say that the springtime belongs to Zeus in as much as it is generative and reveals the rational-forming principles that had been hidden – something which Zeus too does to his father, leading forth into the realm of the manifest his offspring which he had hidden. The autumn belongs to Aphrodite, for in this season there is the sowing of seed into the earth. But it is the function of Aphrodite to mix the things that are generative (gonimos) and to lead the cause of generation into intercourse (koinônia). (And it is therefore due to these facts that the myth has Korê being ravished in this season, since she [Aphrodite] is the one who presides over the propagation of all partial beings. The myth adds that, having contrived the scorpion in her work at the loom and having allotted it a position in the middle of this season, she submits to this seizure, for the scorpion is intimately related to reproduction (zôogonia) due to being intermediate and due to fecundity. Some also say that scorpion derives its name from the fact that this is when the seeds are scattered.) Finally, Hermes is common to all of the seasons, since he regulates the one principle (logos) that underlies them all and [regulates] their one arrangement in accordance with that principle.

Proclus, Essay 13 on the Republic, trans. Baltzly, 61.13-62.19, translation just released!!!, discussing how the Guardians manage copulation

When I book-darted this in the French version last week (as the English version of this essay had not yet come out when I read it originally), I started wondering if one should do observances for seasonal Gods at the appropriate time of year. If we think of winter as reflective, spring as bursting forth with life, summer as the season of heat, strife, and productivity, and autumn as the season of harvests, this does make a lot of sense. The bit about autumn, Aphrodite, Kore, and the scorpion actually reminds me a bit of a scorpion myth about Isis, possibly because that’s my only preexisting symbolic context for scorpions.

⚔️ Happy season of Ares. ⚔️

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