þriðjudagur, apríl 18, 2006


Daily I am struck by her resemblance to Fjallkonan with a high, curving spaðafaldur, even though I know Athena sports here a helmet with a horsehair crest (complete with three horses, no less).

I wanted to leave this post as just this, a casual observation on two tignarlegar konur, the patron of Athens and the patron of Farsælda Frón, but the radio informs me that the American President "refuses to rule out a nuclear attack on Iran," and in light of that the casual seems inappropriate.

I always liked Athena. She may be the posterchild for women who grasp for male privilege, but she has always appealed to me. Patron of arts, wisdom, and war, she has a military aspect -- hence the helmet. Under her ægis, I imagine conflict moderated with wisdom. That ægis, her literal shield, is adorned with the head of a gorgon, and I imagine, bearing such a shield, that some of her wisdom is rooted in familiarity with the hideous face of actual battle.

Athena is not the figure springing fully grown from the head of the American President. Wisdom seems nowhere near the man. Not ruling out nuclear attack is madness, and not the bucolic, running-about-the-woods madness of Pan and his eponymous panic, either. It is martial madness, even Martian madness, a yearning for a kind of warfare so catastrophic that it would turn the surface of the earth alien and hostile to its inhabitants. Mars rules such destruction, not Athena.

There has already been speculation that the American President may have acquired some fell and fabled object. If it is anything, it is the ægishjálmr, the helm of terror, or else Wagner's version of it, the Tarnhelm, the essence of mad desire for power for its own sake. Certainly, we all fear the wearer.

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