a God of Agriculture?
Did you know that Mars was originally associated with springtime, fertility, and the protection of crops and animals? Did you know that there is a movement underway to replace its present warlike images with those of its pastoral origin?
The Planet Mars
The five planets that can be seen with the unaided eye—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn—have been observed by humans ever since they began looking up! They were called different things by different cultures. The planet names are derived from Greek and Roman mythology. (Only Earth is of Germanic and Old English origin.) European languages and cultures adopted the Roman names and these became a standard in science. The Romans incorporated the planets into their culture by simply renaming them after their equivalent gods and goddesses and like other cultures used the movements and appearances of these planets as a guide in naming them. Naming Solar System Objects
Ares and Mars
The Red Planet was called Ares by the Greeks before it was called Mars by the Romans. Although these two gods are commonly equated they are very different! Mars had a much better reputation than Ares. Mars was noble and honorable, an agricultural god, responsible for springtime, fertility and protecting crops and animals from diseases. Ares was considered savage and brutal concerned only with war. He was not a popular Greek god. Mars, on the other hand, was one of the most popular and worshipped Roman gods second only to Jupiter.
God of Agriculture Becomes the God of War
How Mars became equated with Ares is not well known, but there are theories. Mars has been associated with two agricultural festivals one in March and one in October, when plants are put in the ground and when they are harvested. Roman people, although originally very pastoral, became very warlike and their wars began with the warmth of spring and ended as the weather grew cold in the autumn. This coincided with the two agricultural festivals of Mars. The Roman army gathered in Mars' temple for ritual and ceremony before going into battle and again, at the end of the war year, this time to purify their weapons. The main temple of Mars was also used as an exercising ground for the army. This may be how Mars and Ares became associated. Also, wars were often begun in March, the month named for Mars, because it was the beginning of spring. The Evolution of Roman Deities ... Mars, a Roman Deity
Scientists dedicated to terraforming the red planet, those Renaming Mars' Moons and people of a spiritual nature dedicated to harmony, want to replace the fearful, warlike image of Mars with its original protective pastoral one, one that values healthy cooperative relationships. If you are in alignment with this Mars makeover, begin pondering on the origin of Mars and its possibilities for the human family. Become a spiritual warrior, one who tames their warring nature and makes a passionate commitment to be a source of peace in the world.
A New Cycle Has Begun
A new cycle of relating to Mars has begun. In August, 2003 Mars was closer to the Earth than it ever was in recorded history, 60,000 – 75,000 years! A new interest in Mars was enlivened at that time. Europe's Mars Express successfully inserted into Mars' orbit on December 25, 2003 is mapping most of the Martian surface with unprecedented detail. NASA's Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, successfully landed on the Red Planet, January 3 and 24, 2004. These rovers are giving us extraordinary views of Mars and robotic "hands on" experience with the Martian surface. The data collected by these twin rovers strongly suggest Mars was once soaking wet! And of course, where there was water, there easily could have been life.
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