Three plus one

I didn’t really make the connection until last night that the triple columns of the tree of life could also represent the three part social functions: sovereignty, war, and fertility. I think I read in either Arjuna or How to Kill a Dragon about the three goddesses representing those functions, but the three columns of the tree of life also offer these functions.

The lightening path connects all three, like Arjuna and other indo-european heros also have qualities of all three functions.

In The Anger of Achilles, the hero is one that walks the edge, both upholding the cosmic order and testing it. This is a very interesting place to be. The hero then is a kind of edge-walker, neither just human nor fully divine.

The ten years of battle at Troy remind me of the tree of life also. I wonder about mapping the battle along the lightening path, for example, maybe the trojan horse represents Daath? or something.

The triple goddess plus one: there’s the triple functions of hera, athena and aphrodite … but there’s also eris as a fourth function. This is a function that is outside of normal behaviour. This is the 3+1 formula that repeats over and over as being that one more than normal action that threatens the cosmic order. So that makes eris represent not only edge-walkers but also heroic efforts that make the hero not just human, but like the gods.

Okay, so I’ve been browsing online looking to see if anyone else has been writing about this idea. It hit me when I was at the forum about the myths of troy that the tree of life’s 3 pillars are pretty closely similar to the tripartite functions in indo-european culture proposed by Dumezil.

In the story of Troy, one part is the attempt to determine which goddess deserves to have the golden apple, inscribed “to the fairest one,” that Eris rolled down the aisle of a wedding … like a grenade! And, Zeus passes the buck to Paris, the poor human. So Paris has to decide which goddess gets the apple. The three are Hera, representing the function of sovereignty, Athena, representing the function of the warrior, and Aphrodite, representing the fertility function.

So, these three functions (sovereignty, warrior, and fertility) seem to me to be equivalent to the pillars of beauty (topped by Kether, the crown), severity and mercy on the tree of life. I don’t know if I’ve ever read that connection made before, but it seems pretty evident so I’d be surprised if no one thought of it before!

Also, like the triple goddess with a hidden fourth “medusa” aspect, I find myself thinking about the tripartite functions of the three goddesses (Hera, Athena and Aphrodite) as having a hidden fourth, Eris. In this way, Eris is a fourth function of “outsiderness” … the edge-walker.

Well, so the whole story of the Illiad is about walking the edges of cosmic order, going too far and being forced back, and the way that the hero pushes the boundary by being more than human and becoming like the gods; but also, in the way that over and over there are transgressions against cosmic order that are pushed and balanced out.