The Different Aspects of Zeus in Greek Mythology: Is Zeus the Highest God?
“These fairy tales are not senseless stories written for the amusement of the idle; they embody the profound religion of our forefathers(…)” (W.S.W. Anson, Asgard and the Gods: Tales and Traditions of our Northern Ancestors)
“For a myth, in Greek [[mythos]], means oral tradition, passed from mouth to mouth from one generation to the other; and even in the modern etymology the term stands for a fabulous statement conveying some important truth; a tale of some extraordinary personage whose biography has become overgrown, owing to the veneration of successive generations, with rich popular fancy, but which is no wholesale fable.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, pg. 425.)
Zeus is not the Highest God
“Zeus, the son of almighty Kronos.” (Iliad, bk 2, line 350)
“Zeus, son of Kronos, is lord of all men.” (Iliad, bk 2, line 670)
ZEUS, being lord of all men was conceived as many aspects, and one being a SAVIOUR-god. Through ZEUS, the Father, chief of the protogenoi, men could be saved.
All the creative deities in Theogony begin at the second stage of Cosmic evolution, such as Adonai, Dionysius (Iao), ZEUS, ODIN, Brahma, but there is always a principle above them, such as Uncreated Nyx (Primordial Night), whom Zeus fears. The first phase involves the cosmic egg, and the GERM of ALL within it, indicating a PRINCIPLE beyond Brahma, or in this case, ZEUS.
“Later, in the Pythagorean speculations, Zeus became the metaphysical trinity; the monad evolving from its invisible SELF the active cause, effect, and intelligent will, the whole forming the Tetractis.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, 1972 ed., pg. 262)
Before all the creative powers, there reigned throughout Space — Darkness.; and Zeus was born from Kronos, the Titan of Time. ZEUS, in the Orphic Hymns, is not an entity, but an all-pervading ELEMENT. Theosophists connect Zeus to FOHAT, and is also identical to the TENGRI of the Mongols. ZEUS is but the personification of the vital primordial energy, Cosmic Electricity, or FORCE.
Orpheus terms the power of Zeus, Æther, “the high-reigning, ever indestructible power of Zeus,” in the fifth hymn to Zeus.
“Aether (Gr.) With the Ancients, the Divine luminiferous substance which pervades the whole universe; the “garment” of the Supreme Deity, Zeus, or Jupiter. With the Moderns, Ether, for the meaning of which, in physics and chemistry, see Webster’s Dictionary, or some other. In Esotericism, AEther is the third principle of the Kosmic Septenary, matter (earth) being the lowest, and Akasa, the highest. (Helena Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy Glossary)
ODIN, like Zeus was born out of the DARKNESS. ODIN dwelt in Chaos (the Abyss), or SPACE, and was born from IT.
The Greek God Zeus
“We must bear in mind that before the time when the Olympian Jupiter was anthropomorphized by the genius of Pheidias into the Omnipotent God, the Maximus, the God of gods, and thus abandoned to the adoration of the multitudes, in the earliest and abstruse science of symbology he embodied in his person and attributes the whole of the cosmic forces. The Myth was less metaphysical and complicated, but more truly eloquent as an expression of natural philosophy. Zeus, the male element of the creation with Chthonia — Vesta (the earth), and Metis (the water) the first of the Oceanides (the feminine principles) — was viewed according to Porphyry and Proclus as the zoon-ek-zoon, the chief of living beings. In the Orphic theology, the oldest of all, metaphysically speaking, he represented both the potentia and actus, the unrevealed cause and the Demiurge, or the active creator as an emanation from the invisible potency. In the latter demiurgic capacity, in conjunction with his consorts, we find in him all the mightiest agents of cosmic evolution — chemical affinity, atmospheric electricity, attraction, and repulsion.” (ISIS UNVEILED, Vol. 2. pg. 261-62.)
“There are many orders of the gods; and in all there is an intelligent part. It is not to be supposed they do not come within the range of our senses; on the contrary, we perceive them, better even than those which are called visible. . .There are then gods, superior to all appearances; after them come the gods whose principle is spiritual; these gods being sensible, in conformity with their double origin, manifest all things by a sensible nature, each of them illuminating his works one by another.* The Supreme Being of Heaven, or of all that is comprehended under this name, is Zeus, for it is by Heaven that Zeus gives life to all things.” (Anna Kingsford & Edward Maitland, VIRGIN OF THE WORLD. 1884., pg. 65.)
“(…) no nation has ever conceived the One principle as the immediate creator of the visible Universe, for no sane man would credit a planner and architect with having built the edifice he admires with his own hands. On the testimony of Damascius ([[Peri archon]]) they referred to it as “the Unknown Darkness.” The Babylonians passed over this principle in silence: “To that god,” says Porphyry, in [[Peri apoches empsuchon]], “who is above all things, neither external speech ought to be addressed, nor yet that which is inward. . . . .” Hesiod begins his theogony with: “Chaos of all things was the first produced,”† thus allowing the inference that its cause or producer must be passed over in reverential silence. Homer in his poems ascends no higher than Night, whom he represents Zeus as reverencing. According to all the ancient theologists, and to the doctrines of Pythagoras and Plato, Zeus, or the immediate artificer of the universe, is not the highest god; any more than Sir Christopher Wren in his physical, human aspect is the Mind in him which produced his great works of art.” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, 1888, Vol. 1, pg. 425-26.)
“Therefore, all the creative gods, or personal Deities, begin at the secondary stage of Cosmic evolution. Zeus is born in, and out of Kronos — Time.” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 1, pg. 427.)
Dual Nature: Divine Zeus & Sensual Don Juan
“Between Zeus, the abstract deity of Grecian thought, and the Olympic Zeus, there was an abyss. The latter represented during the mysteries no higher a principle than the lower aspect of human physical intelligence — Manas wedded to Kama; Prometheus — its divine aspect merging into and aspiring to Buddhi — the divine Soul. Zeus was the human soul and nothing more, whenever shown yielding to his lower passions, — the jealous God, revengeful and cruel in its egotism (…) Hence, Zeus is represented as a serpent — the intellectual tempter of man…” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 2, pg. 419-20.)
Allegory of Kronos
Cursing Zeus reflected in Humanity
“Spiritual evolution being incapable of keeping pace with the physical, once its homogeneity was broken by the admixture, the gift thus became the chief cause, if not the sole origin of Evil.† The allegory which shows Kronos cursing Zeus for dethroning him (in the primitive “golden” age of Saturn, when all men were demi-gods), and for creating a physical race of men weak and helpless in comparison; and then as delivering to his (Zeus’) revenge the culprit, who despoiled the gods of their prerogative of creation and who thereby raised man to their level, intellectually and spiritually — is highly philosophical. In the case of Prometheus, Zeus represents the Host of the primeval progenitors, of the pitar, the “Fathers” who created man senseless and without any mind; while the divine Titan stands for the Spiritual creators, the devas who “fell” into generation. The former are spiritually lower, but physically stronger, than the “Prometheans”: therefore, the latter are shown conquered. “The lower Host, whose work the Titan spoiled and thus defeated the plans of Zeus,” was on this earth in its own sphere and plane of action; whereas, the superior Host was an exile from Heaven, who had got entangled in the meshes of matter. They (the inferior “Host”) were masters of all the Cosmic and lower titanic forces; the higher Titan possessed only the intellectual and spiritual fire. This drama of the struggle of Prometheus with the Olympic tyrant and despot, sensual Zeus, one sees enacted daily within our actual mankind: the lower passions chain the higher aspirations to the rock of matter, to generate in many a case the vulture of sorrow, pain, and repentance. In every such case one sees once more —
“A god . . . in fetters, anguish fraught;
The foe of Zeus, in hatred held by all. . . . ”
A god, bereft even of that supreme consolation of Prometheus, who suffered in self-sacrifice —
“For that to men he bare too fond a mind. . .”
as the divine Titan is moved by altruism, but the mortal man by Selfishness and Egoism in every instance.” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 2, pg. 421-22.)
Mankind as the Fallen Prometheus
Mankind are Prometheans, possessing the self-conscious fire to take the heavens by violence. A demi-god must sometimes battle mad tyrant, or the passional Zeus. This is the Lower Mind and Passion¹.
“The modern Prometheus has now become Epi-metheus, “he who sees only after the event”; because the universal philanthropy of the former has long ago degenerated into selfishness and self-adoration. Man will re-become the free Titan of old, but not before cyclic evolution has re-established the broken harmony between the two natures — the terrestrial and the divine; after which he becomes impermeable to the lower titanic forces, invulnerable in his personality, and immortal in his individuality, which cannot happen before every animal element is eliminated from his nature. When man understands that “Deus non fecit mortem” (Sap. I., 13), but that man has created it himself, he will re-become the Prometheus before his Fall.” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 2, pg. 422.)
Prometheus Returns and Imperfection of Zeus
“The “Supreme Deity” bears, in every ancient Pantheon — including that of the Jews — a dual character, composed of light and shadow. instead of “an untainted mind, heaven’s first gift” (AEschylus), there was created the eternal vulture of the ever unsatisfied desire, of regret and despair coupled with “the dreamlike feebleness that fetters the blind race of mortals” (p. 556), unto the day when Prometheus is released by his heaven-appointed deliverer, Herakles.
Now Christians — Roman Catholics especially — have tried to prophetically connect this drama with the coming of Christ. No greater mistake could be made. The true theosophist, the pursuer of divine wisdom and worshipper of absolute perfection — the unknown deity which is neither Zeus nor Jehovah — will demur to such an idea. Pointing to antiquity he will prove that there never was an original sin, but only an abuse of physical intelligence — the psychic being guided by the animal, and both putting out the light of the spiritual.” (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, Vol. 2., pg. 413.)
“Initiates of the Greek Mystery schools were familiar with the idea, having themselves undergone arduous moral, psychological, and mental training and purification in preparation for the sacred experience of transcendent Reality. In similar fashion, the Pythias, by subjugating a portion of their nature, were able to receive and pass on to others something of this import and wonder.” (Eloise Hart, The Delphic Oracle)