APOLLO : DESCENDED FROM THE SHE-WOLF; WOLF-LIKE; LORD OF THE STOREHOUSE; LORD OF THE SUN; DISTANT DEADLY ARCHER
Apollo is the Golden Boy of the Olympian pantheon, a spirit of healing, hunting, music, poetry, and prophecy. He radiates such dazzling charisma that he was eventually venerated as a solar deity. Although he never completely took over Helios’ functions, Apollo overshadowed him.
To call someone an “Apollo” is to imply that they are blindingly handsome. He is a beautiful killer. Apollo is a master healer because he is a master of epidemic, plague, and disease, lifting and inflicting as he wishes. He attacked the Greeks with plague during the Trojan War. Apollo is blamed for sudden death. His arrows kill instantly.
Apollo is the Divine Child carried in his mother’s arms to Delphi, where he slew its guardian serpent (and Hera’s ally). Some see vestiges of Apollo and Leto in Madonna and Child iconography: a beautiful woman holding a radiant divine child stands upon a dead or at least extremely suppressed serpent.
The most familiar Olympian myth explains that Apollo was born on the isle of Delos, where his mother, Leto, one of Zeus’ many conquests, was hiding from Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife. However Apollo is also described as coming from Hyperborea, a land to the north. Alternative myths suggest that Apollo and his mother arrived in Greece together in the form of wolves, or that Leto, in the form of a pregnant wolf, made the trek alone, giving birth to Apollo in Greece.
Hyperborea’s location has never been identified, nor is it clear if it is even an actual physical destination or a spirit realm. One theory suggests that it is in the extreme north, near the Arctic Circle. Another suggests that Apollo comes from Rügen Island in the Baltic: he first encountered the Greeks via amber trade routes. Alternatively, he is originally a Hittite spirit from Anatolia (Asia Minor), perhaps the underlying reason for his support of neighbouring Troy.
Apollo is the Greek male deity with the greatest number of male lovers. In general, his relationships with men are happier than those with women. Apollo is the patron and sponsor of young men, teaching them music, divination, and various sports.
Apollo does not have an official “wife” or female consort. Although incredibly handsome, brilliant, rich, and royal (not to mention a god), most of the women he pursues flee from him, some committing suicide rather than submit to him. Others don’t flee but meet fatally tragic ends anyway. What’s going on?
On closer examination, the women Apollo pursues are rarely mere mortals. Although now trivialized as Nymphs or princesses, many were powerful goddesses. The big three of the Olympian pantheon—Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon— all “marry” female deities, thereby cementing their own right to power. Apollo’s path to power, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the character Sylar from the television series, Heroes. He absorbs and takes over the power of others. (See Also: Daphne; Gaia.) Having killed the serpent at Delphi, for example, Apollo becomes able to manifest as a snake.
Apollo’s veneration spread to Rome, where he was initially worshipped as a healing spirit: a Roman temple was dedicated to Apollo Medicus in 433 BCE. Veneration of Apollo became widespread after Augustus Caesar claimed him as his personal patron. In return for Apollo’s favour, Augustus built him a magnificent temple on the Palatine near his own palace. Apollo, who is the spirit with dominion over colonization, became the face of Western civilization and was praised as the calm, rational Lord of Reason (as opposed to his half brother, Dionysus).
The Romans carried Apollo with them through Gaul, identifying him with the many Celtic spirits associated with therapeutic baths and springs. Apollo assumed the identities of many, including Belenus and Grannus. He was married to local goddesses like Damona, Ianuaria, Rosmerta, and Sirona. In Celtic Gaul, Apollo is worshipped as a healer specializing in eye disorders. Apollo restores physical vision and bestows second sight.
Apollo protects his devotees and their cattle and livestock. He is loyal to those he loves. Apollo is a master healer who can heal anyone except those he himself has slain. He is the spirits’ doctor, too, healing them when they are ailing.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Apollon; Apellon; Phoebus Apollo; Aplu
Healers, musicians, psychics, diviners, and mediums, good-looking young men, philosophers, Leos, those who protect and care for wolves
A breathtakingly handsome young man with long golden hair. He assumes the guise of his sacred creatures, travelling as a wolf on land and a dolphin at sea.
Frequently depicted naked or near-naked, Apollo is always envisioned as young and never with a beard like Zeus, Poseidon, or most other Greek male deities.
Bow and arrows; lyre; the wreath of laurel leaves that he wears may be understood as Daphne’s hair.
Artemis, Leto, Hyacinth
“Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess”
Saint-John’s-wort; bay laurel; apple trees; mistletoe (especially on apple trees); poplar trees
7 (he was born on the seventh day of the seventh month)
The seventh day of each month is sacred to him; this is literally the seventh day of the solar calendar and also the waxing half moon of the lunar; Roman games held in Apollo’s honor were celebrated from 6–13 July.
Wolf; griffin; mouse; rat; dolphin
Raven, carrion crow
Swans pull Apollo’s chariot.
Delphi; Delos; he had shrines in Anatolia (now modern Turkey) and Italy; Apollo is associated with various healing sanctuaries in Gaul, especially in Burgundy.
Apollo’s altar should be neat, clean, orderly, and not cluttered. He is a gregarious spirit: surround him with those he loves, especially his male lovers, Leto and Artemis; add images of wolves, mice, and ravens.
Wine, incense; gifts of solar imagery; petition with intense seven-day vigils.
- Olympian Spirits