In Hellenism, Olympos is the radiant royal palace where the Gods dwell— a fortified hilltop with golden halls which lies just under the peaks of Mount Olympos— under the dominion of King Zeus. Because of misinformation and sophistry, many people are left ignorant and come to believe that the Mount Olympos that is said to be the home of the Gods is the same physical one in Greece which separates Macedonia from Thessaly. And while Olympos is indeed the abode of the Living Immortals, it is not the one in Greece on whose peak the ancients built altars on, knowing full well that it could therefore not be the literal abode of the Gods. This Olympos was just one of at least nineteen other peaks in the ancient world also called Olympos, from other parts of mainland Greece to further off Asia Minor, and all the way to islands like Cyprus and colonies in the far west. Hence it’s easy to infer that the Olympos in southern Macedonia merely was named after the real one due to its awe-inspiring height which towered over the world.
The reality of Olympos’ has already been uttered by the divine Homer, who in the Odyssey describes that Olympos is “never shaken by the wind, or wet with rain or blanketed by snow; A cloudless sky is spread above the mountain, white radiance all around” (Homer Odyssey, VI 42-46) (Philostratus the Elder Imagines, 1. 26). This would not only exclude every mountain on earth, but it would also rule out every landmass too. Therefore, according to the divine Homer, while the Gods rule over our cosmos and all things inhabiting them, their abode isn’t a place in our mundane realm (Aldridge 2016).
The Gods rain down their blessings upon this world and our lives in a plethora of ways constantly (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 399) (Aldridge 2016) yet are without needs, being in no way dependent on neither it nor us (Flavius Claudius Iulianus III, 309) (Sallustius, XV) (Aldridge 2016). If you fire an arrow at a storm cloud, you’re not going to hit King Zeus because Zeus isn’t the skies or clouds. If you whip a cup of wine at a wall, you’re not going to hurt Lord Dionysos because Dionysos isn’t wine. If you declare war on Lord Poseidon and proceed to stab at water with a sword and collect seashells, you’re not going to strike the earth shaker because Poseidon isn’t water (Sallustius, IV) (Aldridge 2016). These things may be dedicated to the Gods, and the Gods may hold domain over and exercise their Activities through them, but the Gods are incorporeal and are in no way bounded to nor enslaved by them (Aldridge 2016) (Sallustius, IV) (Iamblichus De Mysteriis, I.17, 65-67) (Iamblichus De Mysteriis, V.23, 267) (Iamblichus De Mysteriis, VIII.3, 313).
Hence, we are lead into the true question: where is the real Olympos? To understand this, we can look to Homer again, who also said that King Helios bathes this celestial place with His radiant and benevolent light (Homer Odyssey, XII, 380), which shines upon and perfects the Gods’ Ousia, or Being (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 372-373). In fact, the word Olympos itself derives from the primary verb λαμπο, “lampo,” meaning “to shine.”
There is only one place we know of where there are no winds, rains, snows nor clouds, but where the all-ruling sun is still present, bestowing radiance upon the Gods to perfect them, and this place is far beyond our mundane realm. It’s given notice by Agamemnon in his prayer to Zeus: “Zeus, most glorious, supreme, that dwells in the sky [aither], and rides upon the storm-cloud” (Homer Iliad, II, 412 ff).
Aither, the fifth element that is connected to the dodekahedron, is written by Plato to be what “God [Zeus-Helios, the Demiurge] used in the delineation of the universe” (Plato Timaeus, 55c). In short, the Demiurge used this element for binding the whole together and arranging the heavens. And that’s just where Olympos sits: the heavens.
And while we as mortals may never step into the golden halls of Olympos, the benevolent Gods will always be there, and they will know where this world and the things in it lie. For from their seats in Olympos the Gods can direct their divine gaze— which is more powerful than any light— towards us, even as far as our hidden thoughts.
Aldridge, Chris. “Where Is Olympus? The Greatest Mysteries.” Chris Aldridge’s Blog and Website. December 01, 2016. Accessed April 21, 2018. http://www.caldridge.net/2016/12/where-is-olympus-greatest-mysteries.html
Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, and Wilmer Cave. Wright. The works of emperor Julian. London: Heinemann etc., 1962.
Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Emily Wilson. New York, NY: W. W. Nortion & Company, 2018.
Iamblichus. De Mysteriis. Translated by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.
Philostratus the Elder, Philostratus the Younger, and Callistratus. Imagines. Translated by Arthur Fairbanks. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1979.
Plato, and Benjamin Jowett. The Complete Works of Plato. United States?: Akasha Pub., 2008.
Sallustius, “On the Gods and the Cosmos”, 4th Century ACE, accessed May 17, 2017, http://www.platonic-philosophy.org/files/Sallustius%20-%20On%20the%20Gods%20(Taylor).pdf