Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/332

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Cronus has a benevolent side to his usually truculent character. He is also represented in art as veiled or concealed. A veiled god who "lives in the west, that is, where the sun sets, and the deeps under the earth," and who rules over dead Titans and heroes, must be a god of death, and consequently god of harvest, for seed is fructified by subterranean powers. Even so Persephone, "goddess of spring" (according to Dr. Tiele), passes half of her year in the under-world. Thus Preller and Kuhn make the mistake of explaining the god in only one of his aspects. With Kuhn he is the god of the nocturnal sky, with Preller the god who ripens the grain. Really he is both. He unites his apparently contradictory characteristics, because he is the god par excellence of the under-world, while at the same time he is the god of the upper air, the midnight sky. He goes up aloft at night and in winter "from the depths where he dwells to reign in the higher world."

Turning from the character of Cronus thus set forth in ritual to his myths, Dr. Tiele discovers that these depict the same phenomena of Nature. They are mythical parallels, and a synthetic mythology, under the influence of art, has united them in a single consecutive story. The first incident, the severing by Cronus of Uranus and Gæa, "refers to the passage from day to night, from winter to summer, from light to darkness. What ends the union of the warming and fertilising heaven-god with mother earth? It is Cronus, the god of the lower world and of death, armed with his sharp-toothed harpe." At the moment