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Olympian God Ares on When to War

Olympian God Ares. Warmonger or God of Righteous Response to Evil and War Crimes?
Title Lettering for Ares

Summary of Contents: Ares in Mythology | Arrival and Appearance | Court Martial | Test of Battle | God of War | How Evil is Defeated | Curse of War | God of Righteous Vengeance

Festival Day - 11 November

God Ares in Mythology

God Ares is listed as son of Zeus and Hera, though Ovid the poet claimed Hera conceived him entirely alone in revenge for Zeus’ creation of Athena. In ancient Rome he was honoured as Mars.

Few positive Greek legends are associated with Ares; some scholars suggest this is because the Greeks did not need a warrior god, they had their warrior goddess Athena and regarded Ares as a brute trouble-maker, as confirmed by Homer’s description of him in the Iliad.

Mythological references to God Ares

Goddesses, Gods and You

What kind of Heaven do you expect. Soft fluffy paradise of eternity, or oblivion of nothingness? Out-of-body survival expert Margo Williams discovered a surprisingly simple system of management and afterlife recycling.

There are many goddesses and gods in the community. Speaking their name aloud evidently sends a signal; creates a link to wherever they are at any given moment. If it works for you as it worked for Margo, and they respond, be respectful but be yourself. Honesty and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

Sacrifice nothing but your time. Most of them seemed approachable and appreciated being remembered.

The ancient temples that still can be found in some places, although mostly broken, are huge monumental structures; impressive sacred spaces, their scale designed to impress, to be worthy of divine visitation.

However, it is not the size and splendour of any sacred space but the sincerity of the person seeking contact.

Anywhere can be a temple.

Photo image of Margo Williams in Africa
Margo Williams in Africa
"Is Homer correct in his depiction of Ares as a conflict-loving deity?" Nick Hammond asked out-of-body survivalist Margo Williams.

Ares' Arrival and Appearance

Mixed feelings, mostly trepidation, clouded the invitation for a legendary warmongering deity into the world of a peace-preferring humanist but he was on the list.

Tuesday was chosen to make contact, Mardi or Mars’ day as the Latin name for Ares is given. Mostly we addressed them using their Greek names, with the exception of goddess Diana.

Jagged red light severed the air, from ceiling to floor.

"I am pleasantly surprised you honour me." A huge dark-eyed god formed; the candlelight reflected on gold-studs in leather chest-plate. He wore pleated battle kilt, tree-trunk sized legs. Hard-faced, clean-shaven; dark brown hair.

"Centuries ago mortals feared me, so paid me no homage, nor worship. This made me angry. But now this has changed." He raised his hand in a gesture of blessing. I noticed leather wristbands. "Be strong in mind. Go in peace, with love for me in your heart." Ares vanished.

Court Martial

The ancient Greeks' attitude to Ares may explain his comment during that first night of contact, but I sensed no irony in his blessing, no mockery in his choice of words.

"Tonight there is wine! I thank you. Your words sound pleasant to my ears." Ares’ voice boomed. He seemed bigger and more menacing when he returned, one week later. He stared down at me. "Tests have to be made." He seized hold of my wrist and pulled.

I entered a dimly-lit marble-floored hall; windows high above did not much lighten its interior, for it was a dismal dark place with dark walls. A line of men sat facing me from behind a long wooden table; Ares in the centre and three others either side of him, all clad in leather chest-armour and each as hard-faced as Ares.

One, grey-haired, looked older. Ares gestured for me to approach the table. I came to a stop two paces away; the table stood chest height to me. I looked up, wondering why I was there.

"You have committed many sins in the past," Ares answered. "I will not say what these are. You know."

Images appeared in the air; pictures of me, as if Ares had reached into my head and switched a button to play a home-movie projection of my memories. It didn’t need a screen, it projected perfectly onto the air just above the table top.

I watched a child playing alone, then a year older, with others. It was me at different ages. Years passed like fast forward, nine years old, twelve, sixteen, then twenties; on through my thirties and forties. I felt nervous, the memories were not of admirable achievements; it seemed to be a review of my lifetime’s misdeeds.

Occasionally one or another of the four turned to stare at me. My reaction was the same as under Hades’ raking scrutiny: I felt embarrassed and ashamed at the cruelties I had inflicted on others.

"This is not a trial," said Ares. "It is a test to see how you react." The memory movie continued but there were fewer incidents, until it flashed out and I was returned.

It sure felt like a trial.

God of War

"See what fools mortals are?" said Ares. "They appear to enjoy k.....g each other. They could live peacefully but they choose not to."

Tuesday, week after week Ares showed me war; upon battlefield, in cities, towns and villages. He let me experience every type of warfare; sometimes wounded as part of the lesson as I witnessed its misery, madness and devastation.

Some experiences stayed with me long after he returned me home: truly horrific sights no one sees on news reports and social media. Imagine the worst and know it happens. Children often were collateral damage.

Contrary to Homer’s characterisation, Ares expressed contempt for human violence; not because our efforts were unworthy of a God of War’s appreciation, that we did not fight cruelly enough or with the viciousness he expected.

No, it was the selfish reasons and the senseless waste of life.

"It sometimes appears that evil wins," Ares added as a curious 'click' noise sounded. It felt as if we hurtled at high speed through a blur of red; his grip on me solid as concrete. I felt dizzied and nauseous from the blurring movement, so closed my eyes. "We go through many dimensions," I heard him say.

Occasionally another 'click' like the noise of a turning lock. I counted six, then no more. I dared to look.

How Evil is Defeated

And saw we had arrived on a hilltop in a cold moorland landscape of eerie beauty in what seemed like twilight. Ares stood visible beside me, interested in something happening below us.

Two armies faced each other barely a hundred paces apart; one uniformly dark-armoured, the other clad in plain white robes and armed only with thick wooden clubs.

A roar of voices triggered movement from the dark army line; quickly it moved toward those in white. They remained stationary and silent. I feared for them; their clubs would be hacked into splinter by the heavy-bladed weapons that bristled high and ready to smash through the thin line of white.

"The black are evil," said Ares. "The white are pure."

As the two lines came together, those in white lifted their clubs. In a synchronous movement of astonishing coordination, in unison each swung their club, knocked the weapon from their opponents’ hands and then deftly hit them hard on the head. The dark army fell. The white army hadn’t moved from their position at all.

Neither had Ares. I sensed their display pleased him though he didn’t comment or smile. "I show you how good triumphs over bad. Remember this," was all he said by way of explanation; and all I saw before returning to my world.

Ares didn’t ever explain to me why he described those in white as pure and those others in dark as evil. There were blacks and whites, tans and olives of every skin tone and both genders fighting in the white robed line.

What separated that dimension from my own I still don’t know; or what happens in those others in between. In this, our world, things are not so black and white; 'purity' can be a focus of evil among people who believe their own skin colour and racial characteristics are favoured most by their own God.

But gods and goddesses are of varied skin types, like us; though it is reasonable to assume any skin colour is temporary for mortals. The Keres said she had processed me hundreds of times and I doubt reincarnation is strictly along racial lines.

But I am no philosopher; and as things progressed, I was even worse as a student in Ares’ school of warfare.

Related link: Goddess Enyo. Are Warrior Deities Necessary in the 21s century?

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The Curse of War

There was one place where the curse of war ravaged most often. The so-called 'Holy Land'.

Ares always chose high places from which to observe a battle. We arrived at the top of a desert cliff overlooking a wide valley of dust and rock where two billowing dust clouds rose from two advancing armies. Ares stood silent; huge arms folded across his chest.

Hundreds of men faced each other in the desert valley, one army clad in white tabard decorated with red Crusaders’ cross; the other mostly grey, some wore turbans.

"Christians and Muslims," Ares confirmed. Some were lost quickly in the fight but many suffered, weighed down by armour. I heard their screams and smelled them even at the height from which we observed.

Ares described those in black as evil and those in white as pure in that eerie battlefield, five dimensions distant from this. He didn’t use the word 'good'. The Crusaders lost in the dust justified their war, claimed its righteous goodness with the battle cry: “God wills it!”

The Muslims defended their homeland saying the same. And the God of War watched them hurry to their doom.

What happened next was very weird: the dust swirled and billowed up into a storm over the battlefield that engulfed both armies. They disappeared in the dust but as quickly as the storm appeared, it then vanished, revealing a wholly changed battlescape.

When to War

Hundreds of years had passed with the sand. Sounds of sword on shield replaced by bursts of machine-gun fire and explosive; engine exhaust noise and clack of metal track filled the valley as tanks manoeuvred across the battlefield.

Bodies littered the ground; explosions threw combatants in the air; plumes of black smoke and twisted metal scattered around the valley of death. No red Crusader cross on white sunburned skin; this time both sides looked the same people.

A series of colossal explosions sounded. In the distance a city burned; black smoke columns plumed high into the sky. "Jews and Muslims," said Ares. "They will never stop."

Homer might have expected Ares to be joyful at that mad destruction. The war God's tone and rueful head-shake suggested not.

He turned to me and concluded his lesson. "War not for greed. War against evil."

Ares didn’t offer to me any opinion on Homer’s epic war story. Nor did he comment on Homer’s characterisation of him as 'Unrighteous', 'Mad man', and 'Villain'.

Unrighteousness, madness and villainy Ares showed me. It was wholly was human. On no occasion did I witness him provoke any individual or group to do harm. People did it for themselves. Those who swung blade, pulled trigger or pressed button did so with satisfaction.

Ares’ observation on war was correct.

In his form as Mars, the ancient Roman communities attributed to him a role as the fierce agent of righteous vengeance; which in my opinion best describes Ares and his work so far as I could ascertain.

War happens. Sometimes if all appeals to peaceful resolution are denied and ill-treatment of the vulnerable continues then there may be no alternative than to fight that evil.

If so, chances are Ares, Athena and Enyo may be sympathetic. If not, then sooner or later those who love war will find these hard Gods assessing the merits of their cause and the consequence of their actions: what was, and what was not, fair.

Be it in Athena’s courtyard or Ares’ court martial.

Thank you for your company on this short introduction to god Ares. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' experiences and suggestions for how to survive in the hereafter, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Book cover link to purchase Olympian Goddesses and Gods Consequence
Olympian Goddesses and Gods Consequence is now available from Amazon.co.uk
Useful Links

God Mars in Mythology

The Holy Land