Phaethon – Chariot of the Sun

The God of the Sun, Helios and the Ocean Nymph, Clymene had a son PHAËTON

The ancient Greek name, Phaethon,  Φαέθων means radiant and to shine brightly.

Phaethons father was also surnamed Pheobus Helios which means “bright sun”

Helios riding his chariot through the Heavens

From Ovid’s Poem Metamorphoses Book 1, (Lines 750-1150)

Phaëton, child of the sun, was the same age as Epaphus and equalled him in spirit.
At some point, Phaëton boasted aloud
that Phoebus (Helios) was his father. He was proud
and would not back down, something Epaphus
could not endure. So Epaphus said: “You are mad if you believe
everything your mother tells you and then
puff yourself up with the fancy image of a fictitious father.” Phaëton blushed—shame checked his anger—and took the rebuke
of Epaphus to Clymene, his mother, saying to her: “To grieve you even more, mother, I was silent, though I am free
and bold. These insults make me feel ashamed.
I hear them said without being able
to speak against them. If I originate
from a family of gods, show me some sign
of a lofty birth and confirm for me I come from heaven.” He spoke and then wrapped his arms around his mother’s neck and begged, by his own head, and by the wedding torches of his sisters, that she would offer him some proof of his true parent.

Clymene telling young Phaethon about his fathers Sun Chariot

Clymene was moved—but one could never say for certain whether that came from Phaëton’s pleading or from her resentment of the charges made against her. She stretched out both her arms, looked up to the sun’s light, and cried:
“My son, I now swear to you by this radiant light, marked by brilliant rays, which hears and sees us, that you are the child of this very sun
which you are looking at. You are from him, the controller of the world. If my words are false, let the Sun himself remove from me
my power of seeing him. Let that light
be the last to reach my eyes. And for you, it is not difficult to learn about
your father’s home. The house where he rises
lies in land beside our own. If your mind
has any inclination, then go there, and put your questions to the god himself.” After his mother said this, Phaëton, overjoyed, at once runs off, seizing hold of heaven in his mind. He travels past his own Ethiopians and India, located under fiery stars, eagerly hurrying to where his father rises
, the Palace of the Sun

Temple of Apollo Computer Reconstruction with Helios Statue

Book 2 (Lines 0-360): The palace of the Sun, high in the sky,
has soaring pillars, bright with gleaming gold
and fiery bronze, the highest pinnacles
are of white ivory, and double doors
give off a silver light. Their artistry is even finer than the materials, for on them Mulciber (Haphaestus) has carved the seas
encircling lands lying in the centre, the globe of Earth, and heaven suspended
above that globe.
The waves hold sea-green gods— echoing Triton, shifty Proteus, Aegaeon with arms pressing the huge backs
of whales, along with Doris and her daughters
(some seem to be swimming, others sitting
on the shore, drying their green hair, and some
being carried on a fish—in appearance
all look different and yet somehow the same, as sisters ought to). The Earth has cities, human beings, woods, wild beasts, rivers, nymphs, and other rural deities. Above these is placed the image of a brilliant sky, six constellations on the right-hand doors and the same number on the left-hand side.
(The 12 Zodiac constellations)

Ancient Greek Black Figure Pottery of Helios

After Phaëton, Clymene’s son, came
up the steep path and went inside the home
of the father he was not sure about,
he instantly set out to make his way
into his father’s presence, but then stopped
some distance off. He could not continue
moving any closer to that brilliant light. Wrapped in purple robes, Phoebus was sitting on a throne sparkling with bright emeralds. To his right and left stood Day, Month, and Year, Ages and Hours, spaced equally apart, with the new Spring encircled by a crown of flowers. And naked Summer stood there, carrying garlands of wheat, Autumn, too, stained with trodden grapes, and icy Winter
with untidy snow-white hair. Then the Sun,
placed in the middle of them all, with eyes which perceive all things, noticed the young man trembling at the strangeness of the palace
and said: “What has led you to travel here?
What are you seeking in my citadel, Phaëton, child no parent should disown?” Phaëton said: “O universal light
of the enormous world, Phoebus, father—
if I use that name with your permission
and if Clymene is not concealing
some crime under a deceitful picture— give me a token, father, so that men
will believe I am a true child of yours. Erase the doubts in my own mind.”

Kneeling Phaethon asks Helios for proof of his lineage

His father set aside the beams gleaming
all around his head and told Phaëton
to come closer. Then he embraced the lad
and said: “You are a worthy son of mine—
that cannot be denied—and Clymene
has stated your true origin. Now ask
for any gift you like which will relieve
the doubts you feel, so I may offer it
and you receive it. Let Stygian pools, which my eyes have not yet seen and which gods swear by, be present here as witnesses to what I promise.”

Helios warns his son about the chariot

He had scarcely finished, when Phaëton asked for his father’s chariot, the right to guide his wing-footed horses
for one day. Phoebus regretted the oath
he had just sworn. He shook his splendid head
two or three times and said: “Those words of yours
have made my words too reckless. I wish I could
take back what I have promised! I confess
this is the one thing, son, I would refuse. Still, I can try to talk you out of it. What you want is not safe, Phaëton. You’ve made
a huge request for a gift not suited
to your strength or youth. Your fate is mortal, but what you wish is not for mortal men. In your ignorance, you are aspiring
for more than what is lawful to be done, even with gods above. Each deity
is allowed to follow his own pleasure, but no one, except myself, is able
to stand upon the fire-bearing axle. Even the one who governs vast Olympus,
whose terrible right hand hurls thunderbolts, does not drive this chariot. And what is there more powerful than Jupiter? The track is steep at the beginning—fresh horses in the morning can hardly make the climb. The highest part is in the middle of the sky, where looking down upon the sea and land
is often frightening, even for me, and giddy terror makes my heart tremble. The final section of the path slopes down. It requires a steady hand. Moreover, Tethys herself, whose waters down below
receive me, has a constant fear I’ll fall too quickly.
Then, too, the sky rushes past
in a never-ending whirl, dragging stars high up, spinning them in rapid circles. I drive in the opposite direction, but its force, which overpowers all things, does not overpower me, as I move against its rapid orbit.

Spinning Stars in the Universe, the tracks of the radiant Sun Chariot

But suppose
you get the chariot. How would you manage?
Will you be able to make way against
the whirling heavens, so their swift motion
does not carry you away? Perhaps your mind
imagines there are groves up there, cities, homes, and temples richly endowed with gifts. The road passes through dangers and visions
of wild beasts. Even if you keep on course
and are not drawn astray, still you must move
through the opposing horns of that bull Taurus,
the bow of Haemonian Sagittarius, the maw of the fierce Lion, on one side
the savage claws of Scorpio bending
in a sweeping arc and, on the other, the curved claws of the Crab. And those horses— you will not find them easy to control, those spirited beasts, whose mouths and nostrils snort out the fires blazing in their chests. They have trouble following my commands when their fierce hearts are hot. Their necks fight back
against the reins. My son, you must take care
I don’t become the giver of a gift
which kills you. While conditions still permit,
change what you want. Of course, you still desire sure evidence which will help you to believe
you are born of my own blood. But I provide
firm proof by fearing for you, and I show
I am your father by a father’s worries. Look at my face! I wish you could insert
those eyes of yours into my heart and sense
my fatherly anxiety in there!
Finally, look around at whatever
the rich world contains and ask for something
great and good out of heaven, earth, and sea. There are so many! I will not refuse. This is the only thing I’m asking you
not to take, and, in truth, it should be called
a punishment rather than an honour. Phaëton, you’re asking for a penalty
and not a gift. Why, in your ignorance, my boy, do you put arms around my neck
to win me over? Do not have any doubt—
I shall give whatever you have chosen, for I swore by the waters of the Styx. But you must make a wiser choice.”

Temple of Apollo at Bassae, Greece

Phoebus ends his words of warning, but Phaëton
rejects his father’s words and, all aflame
with desire to guide the chariot, holds out
for what he’s asked for. And so his father, having delayed as long as possible, leads the young man to the soaring chariot, a gift from Vulcan(Haphaestus). The axle is gold, as is the pole and the curved outer rims
running around the wheels. The rows of spokes
are made of silver, while along the yoke chrysolites and gems set in a pattern
cast their dazzling light back onto Phoebus.
While bold Phaëton is admiring these, gazing at the artistry, lo and behold, watchful Aurora from the shining east
opens up the purple doors to the hall
crammed full of roses. The stars all vanish, their cohorts driven off by Lucifer,
the last to leave his station in the sky.
When the Titan sees him go, as the earth and world are growing redder and the horns on the crescent moon appear to vanish, he orders the swift Hours to yoke the horses. Those quick goddesses respond to his commands. They lead the horses out from lofty stalls— the beasts, filled with ambrosial nourishment,
are snorting fire!—and then attach to them
the jingling harnesses. Next, the father
rubs divine ointment on his young son’s face, making it invulnerable to searing flames. He sets his rays in his son’s hair, heaving
sighs from an anxious heart prophesying
disaster, and says: “My boy, if you can
at least listen to your father’s warnings, spare the whip, and hold the reins more strongly. These horses charge ahead all on their own. What’s hard is holding them with their consent. And do not be tempted by the pathway
directly through the five celestial zones. There is a track carved out at an angle
in a wide curve contained inside three zones.
Avoid the Arctic and the southern poles, and the Bear linked to the north. Make your trip along this route. You will see certain tracks
left by my wheels. And so heaven and earth
get equal heat, do not guide the chariot
too low or drive it through the upper sky. If you go too high, you’ll burn up heaven’s roof, and if too low, the earth. The safest course
to take is through the middle. Do not let
the right wheel make you turn aside towards
the twisted Snake or the left one lead you
to the low down Altar.
Maintain your course between the two. All that remains I leave
to Fortune, who I pray will help you out
and take better care of you than you do. While I tell you all this, damp Night has touched the boundaries placed on the western shore. We do not have the freedom to delay. We have been summoned! Bright Aurora shines, and the darkness has been driven away. Your hands must seize the reins, or if your mind
has changed, take my advice, not my chariot, while you still can, while you still have your feet on solid ground, and while you are not yet
acting on your unfortunate desires
and, with no experience, standing there
inside the chariot. Let me provide the earth
with daylight, while you look on in safety

Helios fails to dissuade his son from riding the chariot

Phaëton, with his young body, takes his place
in the light chariot and waits there, happy
to have the reins now resting in his hands. He thanks his reluctant father. PHAËTON STARTS HIS JOURNEY Meanwhile, the swift horses of the sun—Pyroeis, Eoüs, Aethon, and the fourth one, Phlegon—
keep whinnying. They fill the air with flames
and strike the barriers with their hooves. Tethys, who does not know her grandson’s destiny, throws back the gates and offers those horses
the freedom of the boundless universe. They race off on their journey, hooves speeding through the air, slicing the opposing clouds. Lifted on wings, they outstrip the eastern wind rising from the same regions of the sky. But for the horses of the Sun the weight is much too light, for they no longer pull
their customary load. Just as curved ships
without a proper ballast toss around, for their lack of weight makes them unstable, as they move through the sea, so that chariot, without its usual freight, leaps through the air and is tossed up high, like something empty.

A quadriga is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast and favoured for chariot racing

PHAËTON LOSES CONTROL As soon as the four-horse team observes this,
they charge ahead, leaving the beaten track, not running the same path they used before. Phaëton, alarmed, unsure how to use
the reins entrusted to him, does not know
where the path might be, and even if he did,
he would still lack the strength to guide his team. Then, for the first time, the cold Triones were warmed by the sun’s rays and tried in vain
to dip down in the forbidden ocean.
The Serpent, closest to the frozen pole, who earlier was sluggish with the cold
and not a threat to anyone, warmed up
and grew more frightening from the heat. They say
you, too, Boötes ran away confused, though you were slow and held up by the Plough. But when unfortunate Phaëton looked
from high in the aether down on the earth
lying far, far underneath him, he turned pale. His knees shook with sudden fear, and his eyes, in such a powerful light, were obscured
by darkness. And now he would have preferred
never to have touched his father’s horses. Now he is sorry he confirmed his birth
and managed to get what he requested. Now he desires to be called Merops’ son, as he is carried like a ship driven
by North Wind’s blasts, whose captain has let go
the useless rudder and turned things over
to praying and the gods. What can he do?
A large part of the sky lies behind him, but even more is there before his eyes. In his mind he surveys them both, sometimes
glancing ahead towards the west, which Fate
will ensure he does not reach, and sometimes
looking back towards the east. Stupefied,
not knowing what to do, he is unable

Zodiac Constellations

to let go the reins or keep gripping them. He does not even know the horses’ names. He trembles to see astonishing things
and images of huge wild beasts scattered
in various places throughout the sky. There is a place where Scorpio curves his claws
in two arcs and, with his tail and pincers
bending on either side, stretches his limbs
across the space of twin constellations. When the boy sees this beast, moistened with sweat from pitch black poison, threatening to attack with his curved sting, cold terror numbs his mind,
and he lets go the reins. Once they drop down
and touch the horses’ backs along the top, the team then swerves off course and runs ahead without restraint, through regions of the air
unknown to them. Wherever their instincts
drive them, they race forward, with no control, and charge at stars fixed high in lofty space, hurtling the chariot through trackless places. At times, they head for the highest regions, and then at times are carried headlong down, on a path much closer to the earth. Moon
is astounded that her brother’s horses
are racing on below her own. Scorched clouds
begin to smoke. EARTH CATCHES FIRE
. In all the highest places,
the land goes up in flames, then splits apart
into yawning cracks, and with its moisture
drawn away, dries up. All the grass turns white, trees and leaves catch fire, and parched harvest crops supply the fuel for their own destruction.

The Constellation Scorpio attacks

But these complaints are insignificant. Great cities perish, walls and all. The flames
turn whole countries and their populations
into ash. Woods and mountains are consumed. Athos burns, as do Cilician Taurus, Tmolus, Oeta, Ida (once famous
for its springs but now dried out), Helicon
(home of the Muses), Haemus (not yet linked
to Oeagrus). Aetna is on fire, too,
a tremendous blaze with redoubled flames, along with twin-peaked Parnassus, Eryx, Cynthus, Othrys, Rhodope (now at last about to lose its snow), Mimas, Dindyma, Mycale, and Cithaeron (which was made
for sacred rituals). Even Scythia
gets no protection from its icy cold. Caucasus is on fire, as are Ossa, Pindus, Olympus (greater than either one), towering Alps, and cloud-capped Apennines.
Then Phaëton sees all parts of the world ablaze and cannot bear the intense heat. His mouth inhales the scorching air, as if
from some deep furnace. He feels his chariot
get hot. He can no longer tolerate
the ash and sparks thrown up. On every side
he is surrounded by hot smoke. Darkness
swallows him up, and he has no idea
where he should go or where he is, carried
by the will of his swift horses. Men think
that at that time the Ethiopians had their blood drawn to the body surface
and turned black, while Libya was transformed
to an arid desert, all its moisture
drawn off by the heat. SPRINGS AND RIVERS BURN. Back then, too, the nymphs, their hair dishevelled, wept for springs and lakes. Boeotia looks for Dirce’s liquid springs, Argos for Amymone’s fountain stream, and Ephyre for Pirene’s waters.
And even rivers held in place by banks
spaced far apart are not safe—the Tanaïs (its waters in the middle give off steam!), old Peneus, Teuthrantian Caïcus, quick Ismenus, Phocean Erymanthus, Xanthus (about to burn a second time), yellow Lycormas and Maeander, too, (whose waters play as they come twisting back), Thracian Melas, and Taenarian Eurotas. The Euphrates in Babylon caught fire, as did Orontes and swift Thermodon,

The Earth suffers because Phaethon lost control

the Ganges, Phasis, and the Ister, too. Alpheus boils, banks of Spercheus blaze,
The gold the Tagus carries in its stream
flows by on fire, and river birds whose song
made those shores in Maeonia famous
glow with heat midstream on Caÿster’s waves. Nile flees in fear to earth’s most distant place and hides his head, which still remains concealed. Its seven mouths fill up with dust and empty, seven beds without a stream. The same fate
dries up Ismarus, with Hebrus, Strymon, and western rivers, too—Rhine, Rhone, Padus, and Tiber (which has received a promise it would rule the world).
In every region the ground breaks up and sunlight penetrates
down through the fissures right to Tartarus,
alarming the ruler of the Underworld
and his consort, too. The sea gets smaller. What has recently been water now becomes a field of arid sand. Mountains covered
by deep seas stand out, raising the number of the scattered Cyclades. Fish swim down to the lowest depths, and curving dolphins
do not dare to leap above the water
up into the air, as is their custom. In the sea, seals are on their backs, lying
lifeless on the surface. And men report
even Nereus himself, with Doris
and her daughters, lay hidden in warm caves. Three times Neptune, looking grim, attempted to extend his arms up from the waters. Three times he could not stand the scalding air. But fecund Earth, surrounded by the sea, between the ocean waters and the springs, which were all shrinking, burying themselves in the womb of their dark mother, lifted
her ravaged face, all scorched down to her neck, set her hand against her forehead, making all things shake with her powerful tremors, sunk back a little and was lower down than her usual level. In a broken voice, she said these words: “O ruler of the gods, if this is what you want, if this treatment
is something I deserve, then why hold back
your lightning? Let the power of your flames
destroy me, let me perish in your fires, and let the majesty of the author
of this disaster mitigate its pain. It’s hard for me to open up my jaws
to speak these words.” (And, true enough, the heat
made speaking difficult). “Look at my hair—
it’s scorched—and all these ashes in my eyes, over my whole face. Is this the reward, the honour, you pay for my fertility
and service, because I endure the wounds
of the curved plough and harrow and am worked
the entire year, because I provide leaves
and tender nourishment for cattle herds, grain crops for the human race, and incense for you gods? Still, suppose I do deserve
to be destroyed, what have the waters done?
Why does your brother deserve such treatment?
Why are those waters which chance committed
to his care shrinking and moving further
from the sky. But if you are not concerned
about me or your brother, have pity on your own heaven. Take a look around. Both of the poles are steaming. And if fire destroys the poles, then your own house will fall. Look! Atlas himself is in great distress!
His shoulders can hardly hold up heaven— it’s so white hot.

Burning of Cities across the Earth

If the seas, if the earth, if the celestial palace is destroyed, we are thrown into primordial chaos. Snatch from the flames whatever still remains, and help preserve the safety of the world.” Earth said. Then, unable any longer
to endure the heat or keep on talking, she pulled her face back deep within herself, into caves closer to the dead below. But the all-powerful father, calling gods above (and especially the god who has loaned the chariot) to bear witness
how a dreadful fate will destroy all things, if he does not help out, climbs way up high, to the very heights of heaven, from where
he spreads the clouds across wide earth, stirs up
thunder, and hurls his pulsing lightning bolt. But at that time he had no clouds to drag across the land nor any rain to send
down from the heavens. He thunders and hefts
the lightning bolt by his right ear, hurls it
at the charioteer, and, in an instant, hurls him from the chariot and from life. With his savage fire he puts out the fires. The horses, in their confusion, all veer
in different directions, pull their necks
free of the yoke, and, with the harness torn, run off. Reins lie in one spot, the axle, torn off from the pole, lies in another, spokes from the broken wheels are somewhere else, and the remnants of the shattered chariot
are scattered far and wide.

Zeus strikes Phaethon down

But Phaëton, his golden hair consumed by fire, is thrown
and carried headlong on a long pathway
through the air, just as in a peaceful sky
a star sometimes seems to fall, even though it has not really fallen.

Phaethon burns bright like the Sun, a falling star

Far away from his own land, in a distant region of the world, Phaëton is taken in
by the mighty river Eridanus, who cleans off his blackened face.
The body, still smouldering from the three-forked flame, Hesperian naiads
set in a grave and mark the stone with verse:
Here lies Phaëton, who wished to guide
his father’s chariot. And though he died, there was great daring in what he tried.

Fall of Phaethon by Jan Van Eyck

The image of a god riding a chariot represents movement, power, and control over natural phenomena. Chariots were the most advanced forms of transportation in ancient times, allowing for swift movement, and divine chariots symbolized Gods dominion over the sky, the sun, and the cycles of day and night.

Status Symbol: Chariots were often associated with nobility and royalty. Owning and riding in a chariot was a symbol of high status and power, like owning an expensive racecar/luxury car/tank, used in festivals and celebrations.

Modern version of the Royal Chariot

Phaethon saw his father riding the divine chariot every day and dreamed of riding it himself and being acknowledged by the world as king. Phaethon’s desire to drive the chariot and gain recognition and glory is a central part of the story. He knew the journey would be perilous and a mortal danger to not just himself but to all life on earth that relied on the light of the sun to live. His fate is highlighted:

28 Harming with what is best in oneself. –

At times our strengths propel us so far ahead that we can no longer stand our weaknesses and perish from them. We may even foresee this outcome and still will have it no other way. Thus we become hard against that within us that wants to be spared, and our greatness is also our mercilessness. Such an experience, for which we must in the end pay with our lives, is a parable for the whole effect of human beings on others and on their age: precisely with what is best in them, with what only they can do, they destroy many that are weak, insecure, in the process of becoming, if willing, and thus they are harmful. It can even happen that, all in all, they are imbibed only by those whom it affects like an overly potent drink: they lose their mind and their selfishness; they become so intoxicated that they are bound to break their limbs on all the wrong paths down which their intoxication drives them.” (Page 80, The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzche)

The Four Disgracers by Hendrick Goltzius made in 1588

Phaethon lost his mind in his anticipation of greatness and glory, he was intoxicated by the image of being honored above all mortals. In order to accomplish this, he destroyed the weaker inhabitants of the earth.

Divine Punishment

Phaethon dismissing the warnings of his father the sun god and facing divine punishment is similar to the Old Testament theme of mortals ignoring the warning of God and being punished, like Adam. Phaethon and Adam both thought they could replace God as the life giving source of the universe, they were both tempted by the thought of overcoming death. Instead, they caused major catastrophic events on the earth, and the subsequent ejection from heaven.

Phaethon also shares similar circumstances to Jesus. Both Jesus and Phaethon are considered to be sons of gods. In Christian belief, Jesus is the son of God, while in Greek mythology, Phaethon is the son of the sun god, Helios. Their divine parentage sets them apart from ordinary humans.

Jesus during his Transfiguration on the top of a mountain, shines brightly like the Sun. His divinity is compared to the pure light of the sun many times in Scripture.

Testing by Fate or Destiny: Both figures undergo tests or challenges that are ordained by fate or destiny. Jesus faces trials and tribulations in his mission on Earth, including his crucifixion, which is seen as a part of God’s plan for salvation. Phaethon’s desire to drive the sun chariot and his subsequent tragic journey are also driven by his destiny, his ambition to drive the sun chariot, fueled by his desire to prove his divine lineage.

The most poignant scene in their stories is right before their tribulation when they speak to their father about their destiny. Helios the god of the Sun begs his son to not ride the chariot, and this scene is reminicent of the agony in the garden when Jesus begs his Father for strength to carry out his divine Will for the salvation of the world.

Jesus prays to his Father in the Garden of Gethsymene

Dying in Glory: In both stories, the characters meet their ends in ways that leave a lasting legacy or significance, dying in an unforgettable or dramatic way. The Crucifixion and Phaethon’s fiery death are instances of individuals meeting their end in ways that leave an impact or that are particularly memorable due to their symbolism or significance. Phaethon destroyed the world through his trial but Jesus instead saved the world through his sacrifice.

Ovids Metamorphoses Book 2 continued

But his sorrowing father, sick with grief,
had concealed his face, and, so people say
(if we can trust their word), one day went by
without the sun. The fires provided light, so that disaster brought some benefits. But when Clymene had said whatever
needed to be said at such a time of grief, distracted in her sorrow and tearing
at her breast, she roamed the entire world, seeking first his lifeless limbs and then his bones. She found the bones, but they’d been laid to rest
in a foreign riverbank. She sank down
in that place and with her tears bathed the name
she read there in the marble and warmed it against her naked breast. The Heliades, daughters of the sun, grieving just as much,
shed tears, vain offerings to Death, their hands
beating against their chests, while night and day
they cry for Phaëton (who will not hear
their sad laments) and lie down on his tomb.

Daughters of the Sun

Four times the moon joined up her horns and filled her sphere. Those women, as was their custom
(for routine has made their grief a habit), are offering their laments, when one of them, Phaëthusa, the eldest sister, wishing
to throw herself down on the ground, complains
her feet are growing stiff. Fair Lampetie
then tries to go to her, but is held back, suddenly rooted to the ground.

Transformation into Weeping Willows

A third, trying to tear her hair with both her hands,
plucks out leaves. One cries that a wooden trunk
now holds her legs, another that her arms
are changing to long branches. While they watch, amazed at what is going on, bark grows around their groins and, by degrees, surrounds
their bellies, breasts, hands, and shoulders, leaving
uncovered nothing but their mouths calling for their mother.

Weeping Willow. River water in northern Minnesota. September colors

What can a mother do, other than run here and there, wherever
the impulse drives her, and kiss their mouths, while she still can? But that is not enough. She tries to tear the bodies from the trees
and snaps off tender branches with her hands. But drops of blood come dripping from the breaks, as though they were a wound. Whichever child
is injured in this way cries out “Stop, mother!
Stop doing that! I’m begging you to stop!
Inside the tree my body is being torn. Farewell.” The bark grows over her last words, and tears flow from the place. Drops of amber, dripping from the sprouting branches, harden in the sun. Then clear streams take this amber
and send it to be worn by Latian brides.

Heliades, sisters to Phaethon turned to willows, leaving their mother

The last similarity Phaethon and Jesus share are the presence of mourning women at their deaths. In the case of Phaethon, his sisters, the Heliades, grieve his death and are transformed into poplar trees. In the case of Jesus, mourning women are present at his crucifixion, including Mary, his mother, and Mary Magdalene. However, while Phaethon had failed in his ascent to heaven and godhood, Jesus Christ, through his sacrifice, succeeded in his rise to the kingdom of heaven and embodied the solar deity with his Resurrection.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Ephesians 5:14 Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Light of Life