the sad tale of a planet and the god for whom it was named
The seventh planet from the sun is named for the Greek god of the sky: Uranus. That seems appropriate, since Uranus is indeed in the sky. And while you may go for months or even years without thinking about Uranus, the name and the planet actually have some interesting attributes, so for a moment please allow me to bend your ear and as well as anything else that may need to be bent so that we can take a look at Uranus.
First, the god. The god for whom Uranus was named had a rough life. According to Greek mythology, Uranus was called Father Sky — even though he wasn’t Catholic — and he was both the son and the husband of Gaia, who was also called Mother Earth. When one female is both your mom and your wife, it can mess with your mind, so Uranus faced challenges in his life from the beginning.
Uranus’ life continued to get worse until finally something really bad happened. Gaia and Uranus had several children, but Gaia didn’t like any of the kids, so she did what any disgruntled mother-wife would do and had one of her sons castrate Uranus with a huge sickle and throw the severed testicles into the sea. You read that right: Uranus was castrated by one of his own sons. If you’ve ever had your testicles cut off and thrown into the ocean, than you can fully appreciate what a rough day that was for Uranus. He never really got over it.
But all was not lost. In a classic example of a lemon turning into lemonade, Uranus’ submerged testicles underwent a remarkable transformation and finally sprang forth as Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, passion, and procreation. Unfortunately, this didn’t really help Uranus all that much, for without his testicles he was quite unable to avail himself of Aphrodite’s charms.
All of this just goes to show that life rarely gets better after castration. And, sure enough, Uranus’ career as a god declined after his testicles were removed. Eventually he just came to be thought of as the sky, without any real human-like traits to speak of. As the sky he wasn’t even considered to be around at night, even though obviously the sky is still there at night. Uranus was present only when the sky was blue during the day. And who can blame him for being blue after what happened to him?
Secondly, let us consider the planet Uranus, which is also sort of blue. Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun, and it can be seen with the naked eye, but it…