As I sat desperately looking for a glimpse of Father Time through my window (2017 long ago wore out its welcome) an unusual thought came to me. Why does Father Time carry a scythe? The hourglass makes perfect sense – but why the scythe? Why does this somewhat ominous, gaunt figure cloaked in a hooded robe need a scythe? I mean, is it to scare off thieves thinking of robbing him? Besides the scythe, all he has is that hour glass.
Image from DeviantArt
And then it hit me – I’ve seen this before. In the Grim Reaper. Could Father Time and The Grim Reaper really be one and the same?
Image from tvgrimreaper.com
Besides the hourglass, they seem identical. OK, Father Time has a long white beard, but you never see The Grim Reaper’s face – he is a void in a hooded robe – so he could have neatly tucked away his beard inside that dark garment.
It is counterintuitive to me that the symbols for two such completely different concepts are so similar. Father Time is associated with New Years, a time of rebirth and a chance for redemption. He is a symbol representing both the end of the current year and the start of its replacement.
That actually ties in very nicely with the concept of death. Most people don’t consider death to be the end of everything. It’s a chance to cross over to another plane of existence, to Heaven or to Hell or to some other state of existence. For some religions, it’s a direct corollary with the chance for reincarnation – exactly mirroring the yearly cycle.
So, are these the same creature? Maybe this is Death’s side gig. We all know the holidays can rack up some extra bills, so maybe this is how The Grim Reaper earns a little extra cash on the side to help cover things in January.
Or, maybe he just needs a break from his usual job of ushering people from life into what waits beyond. If you think your job is tough or annoying, imagine how depressing his job gets. Day after day having to take people away from their lives and loved ones and escort them to the afterlife. That’s GOTTA get to you. Maybe Death just needs a bit of a break – a chance to hang out with happy, cheerful people drinking and looking forwards to the start of something new. Who could really blame him?
Which reminds me of one of the favorite things I read this year. Why does The Grim Reaper get such a bad rap? His entire reason to exist is to help shepherd people into the thing we most fear. He’s not the cause of people’s demise, he just helps show his charges the way to the other side. While that final walk must be terrifying, imagine having to make it alone and unguided. The Grim Reaper is there to show you the path and provide company for that final walk. I like to think that’s his purpose, making his a truly noble occupation.
While I can’t definitively say that these two characters are the same, I certainly think that there are more than enough similarities to warrant some consideration. It really would tie things together rather nicely.
So, be wary whom you open this door to this New Years Day – is it really Father Time or has the Grim Reaper stopped by on business? Of course, it’s generally not too wise to let ANYONE carrying a scythe into your home…