Emblem 008: Apollo

Many of us are taken with Apollo. How could you not be? Not chained to childhood, not needing to plan for midlife, he’s like Peter Pan at nineteen. Do you remember how the idea of perfection drove you? The belief that it was possible? And how merciless it could be! Whatever wasn’t perfect was trash and if it’s trash you toss it. Whatever. Apollo is the patron of black-or-white thinking, which helps the ego to consolidate, young people to make their place in the world and England to conquer India. But Apollo, who later in his mythology is given domain over the sun, makes everything around him cast a shadow, because he refuses to carry one himself. His sacred bird the raven was originally white, but it disappointed him (once!) and he turned it black.

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