Ares in Chains


One of the things that I think is important to discuss in the onus of the recent sexual abuse allegations within the pagan community is the theological importance we levy to our gods. Sannion touched on this briefly, but I wanted to expound on the myth of Ares’ trial for the retributive murder of Hallirhothios and the story’s theological and instructive value to both the polytheist community and pagans who assert archetypal philosophies.

 

Ares Kills Poseidon's Son

 

The myth is summed up as follows: Hallirhothios, a son of Poseidon, rapes (and this time in the myth, rape definitely means “sexually assaults”) Ares’ daughter Alkippe. Upon learning of the assault, Ares kills Hallirhothios. Poseidon, of course, is pissed, and so brings Ares to trial. Assembled before the rest of the gods, Ares and Poseidon give their cases, and the gods acquit Ares of wrongdoing; the place of the trial is renamed the Areopagus and becomes a place where the Athenians try capital cases.

 

This myth is significant for a variety of reasons. First, it sets up the first case of truly justifiable homicide. If you rape someone, it is justified–and some would say necessary–to kill the rapist. This precedent has trickled down to our modern legal system, where rape is a capital crime in places that have not abolished the death penalty. Even in places that have, many courts consider homicide in defense of self or another during the course of a sexual assault to be justified.

This is of course not to say that we can just go out killing abusers and rapists with impunity; you will go to jail if the homicide occurs after the fact, and of course the accused is still entitled to a trial. False accusations, though very rare, do happen, which is why courts can only justify violence in self defense during the commission of crime against you, and even then, self-defense laws vary from place to place. For more information about self-defense law in the US, follow this link.

 

Secondly, this myth demonstrates why it may be prudent to incorporate Ares’ cult into our community. It would be a slap in the face to victims to say, “Oh, if you only prayed to Ares more, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.” I’m not saying that nor would I attempt to. However, I feel that the sort of culture that Ares’ cult perpetuates, one of responsibility and care for victims, would be beneficial to the entire community.

Ares teaches us that “no” means “no,” and that the consequences for transgressing those boundaries of consent can and should be met with the most severe consequences. He teaches that someone will have the victim’s backs; by not fulfilling Ares’ promise (see below), we insult him and his charges. Ares can also bring courage to victims, and inspires the vulnerable to strengthen themselves when the strength of those charged to protect them fails. He is compassionate towards women and children, and his mythology attests to this. Yes, Ares is a violent, bloody god, but he is only wrathful towards those that transgress the law and make war.

Archetypically, Ares represents the upholder of laws and the protective father. Therefore, rejecting even the archetype of Ares is nonsensical for me. Ares, whose voice is louder than a thousand men, does not encourage silence. His companions are Justice and the Furies, those who send abusers to their doom. Make no mistake, the modern artistic depiction of Justice is dead wrong; Justice sees everything, carries a sword in her right (read [traditionally] dominant) hand, and keeps Ares, Oath, and Furies in tow.

 

Lastly, I feel this myth creates a morally binding promise between society and the innocent victims of abuse to advocate and seek retribution upon those who commit violence against the innocent. It describes a natural law, higher than any statutory authority, wherein victims must be made whole through justice. We can worry about PR and image and community structures AFTER we have begun to care for the hurt.

So please, don’t leave Ares in chains. We as a community cannot afford to break Ares’ promises. So hail Ares, that he may be at our backs and led behind Dike to the betterment of all.

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14 comments on “Ares in Chains

  1. TPWard says:

    Reblogged this on True Pagan Warrior and commented:
    Excellent post on the role Ares plays in dismantling a culture of rape and abuse.

  2. sourmead says:

    Reblogged this on Sour Mead and commented:
    This, this, THIS.

  3. Reblogged this on The Quill Is Mightier and commented:
    Yes. A thousand times yes. And more from me when my health has stopped sucking, I swear.

  4. […] This is an excellent article about Ares and abuse. Ares in Chains […]

  5. Thank you so much for this…

    I am looking forward to contributing several things to the Ares/Mars devotional volume, incidentally, and your reflections here will play into at least one of those pieces most certainly.

  6. Reblogged this on facingthefireswithin and commented:
    I do not follow or worship the gods of ancient Greece but some of the thoughts on rape and abuse are quite worthy.

  7. Reblogged this on Peering off the Edge of Normal and commented:
    I found this both empowering as a survivor of sexual assault, and a welcome post after the Pagan-based explosion that is the pervert I refuse to name.
    May the Furies devour his entrails as his cowardice is made known to all.
    May Ares rend his joints as he tore away the innocence and autonomy of so many.
    May Justice see all he has done, and exact the punishment that he rightfully deserves.

  8. […] Helms shows why old myths still have relevance today. Also, Ares in Chains would be a totally metal name for a […]

  9. ladyimbrium says:

    Reblogged this on Lady Imbrium's Holocron and commented:
    This. This, this, this.

  10. Yes. Even if all Ares represents is War, then he is the father of innovation, invention, distinct languages, political boundaries and various kind of excellence. But he is so much more. Thank you for highlighting this.

  11. ares says:

    Hello. Very nice website!

  12. Goddard says:

    This post gave me shivers and actually made my eyes water.

  13. 14clay says:

    Reblogged this on Used To Be Constant and commented:
    #ares Something to keep as a reference

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