Let us discuss the realities of Mount Olympos (Olympus) in this month's post. I feel it's important for a modern Hellenist to address because there are people in our own time who aren't Hellenic or are critiques of the ancient religion, and will say things like,
We've been to the top of Mount Olympus and the Gods aren't there.
It's not really their fault that they are ignorant of the ancient religion. Due to misinformation and an obscure and skewed "history," a lot of people in our modern time believe that the Mount Olympos said to be the home of the Gods is the same one in Greece today. It is not and never has been. The Olympos in Greece was probably simply named after the real one due to its inspirational height above the world and far from the errors or influences of mankind.
As far back as the time of Homer, we have been told the reality of the Olympian abode. In The Iliad, Homer says that Olympos is a place where there is no wind, rain, snow or clouds. This would exclude every mountain on Earth, in fact, every landmass known to humans. Therefore, according to the ancient writer, Mount Olympos, as in the home of the Gods, is not a place on Earth. While it's true that Homer dealt with mythology, he also, as we have found, dealt with historical and cultural facts in his writings.
This naturally leads us to another very important question, where is the real Olympos? Homer also said that sunlight shines on this place. Therefore, the only place we know of where there is no wind, rain, snow or clouds, but where the sun still exists, is the heavens, specifically outside of our atmosphere. In the very least, we know, and I will repeat, the Mount Olympos where the Gods live is not on Earth in any shape or form.
We tend to think that the idea of a deity who lives above the world is an Abrahamic theology, but that's not entirely true. As Homer tells us, while the Gods rule over our world and the things in it, they do not make their home among humanity, at least not the Olympians. They bless this world and our lives in so many ways, yet they are no way dependent on it or us. If you go out and whip the ocean shore in anger, you're not going to hit Poseidon. If you cut down a tree, Artemis isn't going to lose a limb, because Poseidon isn't water and Artemis isn't bark. They love these things and adore the life therein, but they are not in any way enslaved or chained to them.
Where Olympos exactly is, and what it is specifically, is one of the greatest mysteries for the Hellenist, and may very well be a question to which we will never find the answer. Fortunately, Olympos is in tune with our world, in one way or another, and therefore our prayers reach the Gods, and our devotions can be seen and admired by them, or, get their attention. The Gods have a love and a fascination for the world and humanity. Although we humans may not know where Olympos is, the Gods will always know where the Earth lies.
In the Goodness of The Dodekatheon,