By Galina Krasskova
You know the week’s letter is a difficult one when I have to resort to Greek terminology in order to find an appropriate word! Still, the concept of kronos, or time, is worth discussing, particularly from a spiritual standpoint. You see, there are two Greek words used (particularly in theology) to indicate time: kronos, which means regular, mundane time and kairos, which means the right or most opportune time. Some theologians also use this latter word to indicate ‘ritual time.’ I’ll be talking about kairos next week; this week’s post is all about good old kronos, the here and now, temporality, and the process of rendering it sacred.
Those of you familiar with Greek theology will recognize that the word ‘kronos’ is often associated (incorrectly, I might add) with the God Kronos, sometimes pictured with a scythe very much like contemporary images of “father time.” Kronos was the offspring of earth (Gaia) and sky (Uranos). When Uranos offended Gaia by banishing Her more unsightly children to the depths of Tartarus, She gave Her son Kronos a scythe and urged Him to deal with His father. Kronos fought Uranos, eventually castrating Him with the scythe and later banishing Him to Tartarus as well. In an odd bit of cosmic juxtaposition, the Goddess Aphrodite sprang from the place where Uranos’ severed testicles fell into the sea. Kronos was in turn overthrown by his son Zeus. Knowing that it was foretold that one of His own children would overthrow Him, He had attempted to prevent this by swallowing all the children He had with his wife and sister Rhea, but She hid Zeus, giving Kronos a stone to swallow instead. When Zeus was grown, He freed his brothers and sisters, defeated His own father in battle, and banished Him to Tartarus.