Apollo and Artemis

Published 7 July 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

Apollo and Artemis

Apollo

apollo-statue-h130cm

Apollo is the Greek God of light, music and divination. He was an excellent archer and he used his arrows to help the ones he favoured in battle, but also to punish those that insulted him. As a punishment he started plagues, first hitting the animals and then humans (which is the mythological explanation of a plague, which indeed starts from animals and then is transmitted to humans.) But Apollo was also a great healer.

Apollo’s birth has survived in many different versions. I am going to recite the most known ones. First, there is the epic version. Leto, the daughter of the Titan Koeos and Phoebe once mated with Zeus. Hera, after finding out that two more of her husband’s children were about to be born, forbade all places to accept Leto. She was desperately running around trying to find a place to give birth, but no such place could be found, from fear of Hera’s anger. Leto had gone through the whole Greece, starting from Crete, she arrives to Athens, then Aegina, Euboea, Aiges Island, Eiresies, Scopelos Island (then named “Peparithus”), Athos, Pelion, Samothraka, Skyros, Fokaia, Imbrus (then inhibited by Greeks, until the Minor Asia battles when it was given to Turkey), Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Militos, Kos, Knidos, Karpathos, Naxos, Paros…No place would have her.

Finally, she arrives in Delos, a little unimportant island, with no people or any vegetation and pleads for mercy. She says that no man would ever step on this island, no animals would be bred, no plants would bloom. So, Delos had nothing to lose by Hera’s anger. If Apollo was born there, though, people would come from all over the world to offer sacrifices, and Delos would become known. It is worth saying that Delos was considered to be the sacred island of the whole of Greece, this is why when the Athenians created the first alliance fund, the alliance money was kept in Delos. Delos accepted, full of joy that she would taste such an honour. Her only fear was Apollo himself, because there was the reputation that he would be extremely strong and bad-tempered. Delos thought that he might not like the island, and would destroy it in order to leave and find another island that he would like more.

So Delos asked Leto to promise that the first and biggest temple of her son would be built there. Delos knew that many other temples would be built around Greece for such a reputed god, as Apollo. Leto took the most sacred vow of the gods, she vowed on Styx waters that her son would honour the island and his first temple and altar would be founded there.

Leto had a very difficult labour. For nine days she had been tortured by pains but she couldn’t give birth. The greatest goddesses came to the island to help her, but only Eilithyia, the goddess of birth could really help her, and she was unaware of what was happening, because her mother, Hera, had put golden clouds around her, so that she wouldn’t see or hear anything. When the goddesses saw that there was no other solution, they send Iris to Olympus, to inform Eilithyia. They offer her a very long and beautiful necklace, and she accepts, without Hera finding out about the meeting.

When she arrives on the island, they understand that the time has come. Leto hugs a Palm Tree that was on the island (Palm Trees in the Mediterranean and Eastern pagan traditions are a symbol of the Goddess) and in just a moment, the baby came out. Leto didn’t have to breastfeed him, because Themis put in his mouth ambrosia and nectar and a miracle happened! Apollo grew into a man and as soon as he stopped growing any more, he announced his life goals; he would play the guitar and in this way, he would inform all the mortals about Zeus’s will.

Delos was really happy, as well as astonished as she watched Apollo take his first steps on this island, his island. But he soon had to leave to visit Olympus, where all the gods welcomed him with respect and a bit of fear. And this would happen every time Apollo went to Olympus. The only ones who did not stand up when he entered were Zeus and Leto. She wass also the only one who could touch the lyre bow and take his quiver and arms from his shoulders. And only after he sipped from his golden glass did the other gods sit down.

Apollo plays his music for all the gods to rejoice and he does that frequently, while the Muses sing alongside with him. This is the time of the day when the gods and goddesses take a break from mortals’ affairs and have some time to spend in joy. The Hours, Harmony, Demeter and Aphrodite dance to the music. Ares and Hermes usually accompany them. Zeus and Leto sure were justified to be extremely proud of such a son.

The other version is Pindarus’. According to that one, Delus was an island that used to travel in the seas, depending only on the winds to guide her. Sailmen used to call her Ortygia, but the gods had named her Asteria (from the greek word “Astir”, meaning star) because they could sit watching her travel beneath the stars. When Leto stepped on Delos, four columns came up from deep in the sea and supported the island, so that she would stay there, in the middle of all the other islands, a precious décor for everyone to watch and for Leto’s children.

The third version is that of Kallimachus. According to this version, a nymph tried to escape Zeus by falling into the sea, being transformed into an island, Asteria, by Zeus. This is why she couldn’t stop anywhere. This was her punishment for refusing him. In the meantime, Hera had started chasing Leto, who couldn’t find a refuge either. Apollo, still in his mother’s belly got really frustrated by the way people were treating his mother, not letting her give birth, so it was in the last place, Thebes, that he unleashed his anger, prophesizing that the future kings of the area would be killed by his arrows, as it happened with Oedibus’ generation.

The River Peneus accepted Leto, ashamed by the way he and his brothers Anaurus, Larissa and Pelion had treated her. Ares got mad with Peneus and sent down his strike to Aimos, creating the biggest mountains of Greece, Ossa, Pindus and the Thessalian field. He was ready to punish Peneus, Larissa’s river as well but Leto took pity on him and left the place, so that the river wouldn’t be hurt. In Kos, Leto thought that she had found the place she was looking for, but Apollo prophesized for a second time and told her to go elsewhere, as this was a place for a great king to be born and honoured, Ptolemaeus.

He advised her to go and find Asteria, the travelling island, who agreed to allow Leto to give birth on her. Seven swans, sent by Leda (Helen’s mother) sang the birth of the new god. Apollo was born without any trouble and the island was renamed into Delos, because she had to travel no more. (Delos comes from the Greek word Dele-Δήλη, the one that is known) because everyone would know where this island was. Delos was the first to hug the newborn and called all the countries to come and share this miracle. The other islands seem to surround her dancing.

apollo-statue

The Delphi Oracle

Apollo knew from the very beginning that he was supposed to be the god of Divination, he only had to choose the right place to build his oracle. He visited many places, but none of these seemed appropriate for what he wanted to do. After a long time he arrived in a place where no city was founded yet, there was a fountain with clear waters and a forest. He calls on Telfoussa, the fountain nymph and announces his will to build the Oracle. Telfoussa knew that if this was to happen, her fame would soon be shadowed by the god’s reputation. With that in mind, she tried to convince Apollo to go near Mount Parnassus, because, as she told him, men’s horses and mules were drinking from her waters, so this wasn’t the right place for such a sacred purpose. Apollo was convinced, so he located the place and founded the Oracle.

There was another fountain nearby, one that was guarded by an enormous snake that let nobody go near. This was Python, Gaea’s sacred snake that Apollo killed with his arrows. Since that time, that Apollo killed the snake and let it rot, the place was named Pythion and Apollo Pytheus. (Python either derives from the verb “pynthanomai”, meaning knowing well or by the same verb but with a different meaning, that of rotting. I have come to believe that the first version is the most probable, as Gaea was the first prophetess and it is natural for her sacred snake to be called like this. It also matches the historical evidence about the ultimate win of the new gods over the older ones and the masculine religion over the feminine. Delphi may be known as Apollo’s sacred place until now, but nearby, there is a temple of Athena, who is honoured there as a prophetess, healer and protectress. The Greek spirit could not allow for women to be totally replaced and Athena was the one who shared many masculine characteristics. Artemis also did, but she stayed as far as she could from humans’ affairs.

When Apollo understood that Telfoussa had tricked him, he told her that her goal would not be successful as her name would only be called near to his and so his reputation would be greater. This is true. Very few people know Telfoussa and only by this story.

Apollo needed only to figure out where and how to find the Priests who would prophesize underneath his sacred laurel. He saw a ship, coming from the Minoean Crete, full of merchants. They would be the first Priests, the god decided and with one jump, transformed into an enormous Dolphin (having the same etymology with Delphi) he is found on the deck. The Cretans didn’t know what to say before this miracle and every time someone tried to look at the god’s eyes an unseen force from within would move him and the whole ship, so they let the ship go where Apollo took it, until they reached the shores of Tainaros, waiting to see what the dolphin would do. But Apollo took them even further until the Gulf of Krisa.

Apollo, taking the form of a star jumped out of the ship and climbed to Delphi, where he was transformed into a flame. Then, after only a few seconds, he transforms again into a boy and goes back to the ship. He welcomes the Cretans, asking them who they are and why they have come to that place. (these kind of questions are repeated many times in the Epics, in the same manner, every time a stranger arrives in a place. This is why they are called “Typical Questions”). Cretans find some courage to ask about the place as well and Apollo tells them that they should forget about their homes in Knossos, because this was going to be their new home. He also tells them to build an altar that was going to be known as “Delphinio”. They started climbing to Delphi, but soon they started complaining that they wouldn’t have anything to do in that place. Apollo replied that people would bring so many sacrifice animals that they wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

An interesting part about animal sacrifices in Greece and one that always amazed us as students, and my students afterwards, is that they slaughtered the animals, sometimes prophesizing from their entrails and then roasted them. The gods would be pleased by the smell of the animals, whereas the people could eat them afterwards in big festivities in honour of the gods.

Later on, only women could become Apollo’s Priestesses in Delphi and all took the name Pythia. So, Pythia in many stories and myths is not always the same person. Apollo would ask all of his Priestesses to abstain from sexual relationships and terrible things would happen if someone disobeyed him, but he also protected everyone who respected him. For example, Cassandra, princess of Troy fell in love with Agamemnon and had sexual intercourse with him, so Apollo cursed her to only prophesize bad things. After they returned to his palace, she foresaw her lover’s death by the hands of his wife, Kletemnestra and his cousin Aegisthus and also her own death. This is why until today, when someone only speaks of catastrophes that are to follow, we call them “Cassandra” or say that they “speak Cassandras”.

On the other hand, during the Trojan War, Chrysis, Apollo’s Trojan Priest had gone to Agamemnon to ask him for his daughter who was a hostage. Agamemnon refused, so Chrysis called on Apollo to help him. Since Chrysis had asked for his daughter as a Priest, refusing him was hubris, as was the bad manners with which Agamemnon had treated him. This is why the god sent his arrows and gave rats the plague. The animals followed and then the soldiers, in one of the biggest and most terrible situations for the Greek army. People were dying without even fighting. This was also when Achilles went against Agamemnon and after their fight he refused to go back into battle, causing more problems. But let’s go back to Apollo.

Apollo and Daphne (Laurel)

Daphne

This is another very popular love story of the Greek mythology. Apollo fell in love with a mortal girl once, Daphne, Peneus’ daughter. The girl wouldn’t get married, despite how beautiful she was and how many men proposed to her. She preferred to hunt in the forests, like Artemis. Apollo chased her and she ran away in order to remain pure. Apollo’s words were not enough to convince her and as he was ready to catch her, she called on her father, who transformed her into a tree, turning her feet into roots, her body into a trunk, her hands into branches and her hair into leaves. Apollo, sorry for the girl’s fate, made her his sacred plant, Laurel.

According to another version, Daphne was king Amyclas’ daughter but she didn’t like living in the town. She preferred the forests and this is why she loved Artemis so much. When Leukippus, a prince came to her places and learnt that she didn’t like men’s company, he thought to make her his using his wits. His hair was long, because he was planning to sacrifice it later to river Alpheios. He dressed up like a woman and from that time he became hunting companions with the girl. Daphne came to love him more than any other of her friends, not only because she thought that he was a princess like her, but because he was a great hunter as well. Apollo, jealous, as he also was in love with Daphne, put in her mind the idea to swim in the river with her friends. When they saw that he was a man, they slaughtered him.

Laurel played a huge role in Apollo’s path. He was cleansed with the plant after killing Python, he cleansed Orestis, Agamemnon’s son, with Laurel after the boy killed his mother and uncle, his Priestesses chewed Laurel in order to divinate and they also stepped on these leaves, before ascending on the Laurel decorated tripod in order to divinate. People also used Laurel from the Tembi Mountains to make wreaths for the winners of the Pythian Tournaments.

Apollo’s Love Affairs, Children and Adventures

Apollo once loved a very beautiful young man, Hyakinth and they competed to each other in disk games, but Apollo missed his aim and killed the youngster by mistake. Apollo was also unlucky in his love for another young man, Hymenaeus, Magnita’s son, king of Magnesia. It was then that Hermes, saw how much time Apollo used to spend in Hymenaeus’ house and found the chance to steal the god’s sacred cows.. According to other versions of the myth, the young man wasn’t Apollo’s lover, but his son with Kalliope, one of the Muses and that Hermes just stole the cows because he liked playing such tricks.

Apollo won a lyre competition against Marsyas and Pan. He skinned Marsyas alive and gave Midas, (who was the judge in the competition and voted for Pan) donkey ears as a punishment. He later gave the lyre to Orpheus, a famous hymn creator, supposedly Apollo’s son with Kalliope, just like Hymenaeus. (Hymenaeus is also a hymn type used to celebrate weddings and the purity of young brides.) Even wild beasts were entranced when Apollo played his lyre. According to the Greek philosophy, music has the power to tame wild beasts, this is why it was taught to all children, even in Sparta, where young boys were trained as soldiers from a very early age. Imagine, what miracles Apollo’s music could do, since he was the god of music. After Orpheus’s death by the Maenads (the women celebrating Dionysus in a state of spiritual trance, tolerating no man participating in their rituals), Zeus took the lyre in the skies and made the like-named star complex.

Apollo also fell in love with Marpessa, River Euenos’ daughter, but Idas took her away from him. Apollo, enraged, chased Idas and started fighting with him to win the bride. Zeus stopped them and asked the girl to choose between the two men. Marpessa chose Idas who was human because she thoughts that as the years passed, Apollo would abandon her because she would get old. This was the second time Apollo was stopped by Zeus in his fighting against a man. The first time was against Hercules. According to the legend, Apollo refused to give a divination to the hero and Hercules stole Apollo’s sacred tripod to build his own oracle. Zeus had to stop the fight between them and make Hercules give the tripod back, but he also made Apollo give a divination to the hero.

Kalliope wasn’t the only Muse with whom Apollo mated and had children; Thaleia also slept with the god. Koryvantes, who had a daemon-like power in dance (In ancient Greek, “Daemon” is a synonym for god and in some Plato’s texts it also means the godly power that moves the Soul) were their children.

Apollo had many other children with many women, but his most reputed son was Asclepius, god of medicine. Asclepius had learnt all medicines from Cheiron, a centaur, and also all the ways in which he could cure all diseases. Even now, doctors take a vow in Asclepius when they finish Medicine School. This was also a very suitable gift for Apollo’s son, since Apollo was the god of plague but also cures. But Asclepius committed a huge hubris when he started resurrecting the dead, something that made Zeus extremely angry, so he sent a lightning that hit the man and killed him. Apollo wanted to avenge his beloved son by killing the Cyclops who were making the lightning for Zeus. But the great father didn’t take such things lightly and was ready to drop Apollo to Tartarus (the place where all the damned dead went), but Leto, falling to her knees, pleaded for her son to be saved and Zeus took mercy on her. He punished Apollo less severely by making him serve a mortal man, Admetus, for a year. Admetus was really respectful towards Apollo and managed to gain the god’s friendship, this is why Apollo helped him taking Alkestis as his wife.

There was another time that Apollo served a mortal man, and this was in Troy. Again, this was his punishment by Zeus, this time because he made secret plans with Hera, Poseidon and Athena, against him. It is interesting to say a little story about the Trojan War, as it is said in Iliad. Apollo was with the Trojans. Hera, Poseidon and Athena were with the Greeks. At some point, Zeus had an agreement with Thetis, Achilles’s mother. When her son stopped participating in the war, angry with Agamemnon (in the story that we have foretold about Apollo’s priest, Chryssis), Thetis went to Zeus and asked for redemption for her son.

According to the myth, Achilles would either live many years and would die old and happy, but with no reputation, or he would die young, gaining huge reputation among the humans. Achilles had chosen the second option, and this is why he participated in the Trojan War. But abstaining from battle would only result in his ill reputation. Nobody could convince him to go back to battle, not even Odysseus with his words. Zeus promised Thetis that her son would indeed become famous and together they came up with a trick to make Achilles go back into battle.

Zeus would help the Trojans, so that they would win many battles and Achilles would then have to fight them back, or else the Trojans would win. In order for the plan to work, nobody should know about it, since there were gods in favour of the Trojans. Hera thought that Zeus had really changed his mind about the war and wanted the Greeks to lose, this is why she started gathering gods against him and she started making plans with Apollo and Poseidon. Athena knew that Hera was with the Greeks, this is why she helped her.

Apollo was glad to help against the Greeks, so Zeus got really angry. The only one who didn’t suffer a severe punishment, was Athena, his favourite daughter. Hera and Poseidon were harshly scolded, but Zeus became calmer when he learnt that they were with the Greeks. Apollo started then working for Laomedontas and built the city’s walls with Poseidon’s help. But Laomedontas refused to pay them for their hard work, so Apollo sent a plague and Poseidon sent a flood.

Apollo had very close relations with Troy. He had a temple there, he was revered by everyone, but also it was there that he fell in love with Kassandra, whose story is already known. According to another version, Kassandra could not only see the catastrophic things that would happen, but was also unable to convince anyone about what she foresaw. This way, she was obliged to both know about the catastrophes beforehand, but also see them happen, unable to intervene and help.

Mopsos, a great Oracle, Manto’s son with Apollo (Manto in Greek derives directly from the root of “mantevo”, the Greek word for “divinate”) was the one who welcomed the Greeks and the great Oracle Calchas, the one who followed the Greeks to Troy in order to explain gods’ will, in his land after they had defeated the Trojans. It is said that Mopsos won the competition between them and Calchas, humiliated by the loss, died from sorrow.

More on Apollo

All the stories about Apollo’s affairs and his children, show his connection to the Sun, the great god who gives life to everyone. The same connection is shown by the facts that Apollo was the god of music and divination. Music shows great creativity. The Sun is a god who sees everything and knows everything. Since the old gods were replaced by new ones, these attributes of the Sun could not be overseen. One of Apollo’s epithets is “Lycios”, a word that connects the god to wolves, always considered to be connected to light in the Greek mythology. All epithets given to gods that derivate from the word “Lykos” (wolf), were given to gods that were connected to the light (eg. Lykaon Zeus). Moreover, when Koronis, Asclepius’s mother is pregnant, Apollo burns her, just as Zeus had done with Semele when she was pregnant to Dionysus. This is an allegory for the Earth, who is burnt by the Sun during her blooming phase. Asclepius’s birth was similar to Dionysus’s birth.

Apollo killing Hyacinth with a disk (symbol of the solar disk) is similar to Perseus killing Dionysus and Hercules killing Linus (who was killed by dogs, according to another myth), and symbolises plants dying by the solar energy after being ripped out (Dionysus was a god of fertility and plantation, Hyacinth and Linus are plant names) or by “Dog scorching” (As we call in Greece greatly hot weather). Apollo working near a mortal, helping him do his jobs more easily, symbolises the turnings of the Sun who helps humans do their workings. Apollo’s cows (as well as the Sun’s sacred cows symbolize the days of the solar year.) Apollo’s sister is Artemis, a lunar goddess. Solar gods and the Sun himself were often related to lunar deities. Many of Apollo’s lovers were also connected to the Moon. Ariadne, Minoa’s daughter, princess of Crete was also connected to the Moon and we have already referred to Apollo’s relation to Crete.

The Sun is connected to music, also because the light and the Sun are symbols of harmony and rhythm.

Apollo’s wandering around Greece to find the perfect site for his oracle and his mother’s wanderings to find a place to give birth to her children, show clearly Ancient Greeks’ love for geography. Geography may nowadays be considered to be an antipoetic element, but it wasn’t the same for the ancient Greeks.

Places were given the names of gods, or gods received epithets thanks to their connection to some places (Remember also the “fight” between Athena and Poseidon for the city of Athens). On the other hand, poets didn’t feel obliged to give the precise site of a city or country.

Although Apollo was not a sea god, his connection to dolphins is very old. It was believed that he protected the sailors and when someone who was going to found a new colony or was traveling to Delos to honour the god saw a dolphin near the ship, they believed that it was Apollo who was escorting them.

According to another myth, Gaea passed the Oracle onto her daughter Themis, who then passed it on to her daughter Phoebe. She gave it as a gift to Apollo, who then took the epithet Phoebos, which became his most renowned epithet.

Many animals and plants are considered sacred to Apollo, like Daphne (Laurel), Hyacinth, dolphins, crows and swans. This is because of the god’s adventures with mortals who had these names.

Apollo fought on his father’s side during the war with the Giants. He managed to aim and hit Ephialtes’ eye (Ephialtes is translated into “nightmare”.) It is interesting that it was a man named Ephialtes who showed the Persians how to find the way behind the Spartans and win Leonidas and his army and it was also a man named Ephialtes who showed the Turks the Cecropian Door, aiding them to take Constantinople). He also founded the plan in order for the twins Aloades to be killed. Those two could not be killed by any mortal or immortal. Thus, Apollo sent his sister, Artemis, and made them fight and kill each other for her sake. When Tityos tried to rape Leto, Apollo sent his arrows before the giant managed to do anything. He also planned Orion’s killing, a beautiful giant who was Eve’s lover and Apollo was afraid that he might steal his sister as well. He told Artemis to shoot the Giant from a distance and so she did, not knowing who she was shooting at. Giants were considered dark entities (as in Norwegian mythology) and Apollo who was a god of light often fought against them, also symbolising a new era of light that followed the era of darkness, chaos and old gods.

There is another story that is interesting enough to mention. Once, people wanted to offer a sacrifice to the gods. They sent a man named Korakas (translated into Crow) to bring some water. Korakas went to the fountain, but he saw a beautiful fig tree nearby. As the fruits weren’t ripe yet, he waited some days until they were ready and after having eaten enough, he was ready to return back with the water. Only then did he realise that he was really late. In order to be excused, he took a snake and told those who were waiting for him that the snake stayed all day near the fountain, drinking water, prohibiting him from fetching water (it was a common thing for snakes prohibiting people from taking water or building near fountains, lakes or rivers, as it happened with the snake prohibiting Apollo from building the Oracle). Apollo knew that he was lying and in order to punish him he made him always feel thirsty (there is a word in Greek that cannot be translated here, for someone who is extremely thirsty and derivates from the Greek root for “crow”).

Apollo being a fanatical defender of the Trojan people is justified by the fact that this god’s origins are Asiatic and more specifically his worship came from Asia Minor, a Greek territory at the time.

Working with Apollo

Sanctuaries: Delphoi, Delos, Shrines in nowadays Turkey and in Italy

Symbols: lyre, bow and arrow, the plectrum, tripod

Day: Sunday

Sabbat: Any Sabbat of the Light Half of the year

Animals: Swan, Snake, Dolphin, Wolf, Hawk, Crow, Mouse, Grasshopper, Griffin

Plants: Hyacinth, Laurel, Palm, Bay Laurel

Song: Paean

Number: 7 (He was born on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the old Delphoi Calendar, so the 7th day of each month is appropriate to work with him)

Gem: Amber

Direction: East

Element: Fire

Magickal Workings/Spells: Healing, music, psychic development, philosophy, divination, protection (if you work with Apollo he can be a great protector of those following him, but be careful to ask something justified), working with the Sun and God energies

Orphic Hymn 34-To Apollo

The Fumigation from Manna (frankincense).

Blest Pæan, come, propitious to my pray’r, 

Illustrious pow’r, whom Memphian tribes revere,
Slayer of Tityus, and the God of health,
Lycorian Phœbus, fruitful source of wealth.
Spermatic, golden-lyr’d, the field from thee                5
Receives it’s constant, rich fertility.
Titanic, Grunian, Smynthian, thee I sing,
Python-destroying, hallow’d, Delphian king:
Rural, light-bearer, and the Muse’s head,
Noble and lovely, arm’d with arrows dread:               10
Far-darting, Bacchian, two-fold, and divine,
Pow’r far diffused, and course oblique is thine.
O, Delian king, whose light-producing eye
Views all within, and all beneath the sky:
Whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure,       15
Who, omens good reveal’st, and precepts pure:
Hear me entreating for the human kind,
Hear, and be present with benignant mind;
For thou survey’st this boundless Æther all,
And ev’ry part of this terrestrial ball.                             20
Abundant, blessed; and thy piercing sight,
Extends beneath the gloomy, silent night;
Beyond the darkness, starry-ey’d, profound,
The stable roots, deep fix’d by thee are found.
The world’s wide bounds, all-flourishing are thine,      25
Thyself all the source and end divine:
‘Tis thine all Nature’s music to inspire,
With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
Now the last string thou tun’st to sweet accord,
Divinely warbling now the highest chord;                     30
Th’ immortal golden lyre, now touch’d by thee,
Responsive yields a Dorian melody.
All Nature’s tribes to thee their diff’rence owe,
And changing seasons from thy music flow:
Hence, mix’d by thee in equal parts, advance             35
Summer and Winter in alternate dance;
This claims the highest, that the lowest string,
The Dorian measure tunes the lovely spring.
Hence by mankind, Pan-royal, two-horn’d nam’d,
Emitting whistling winds thro’ Syrinx fam’d;                 40
Since to thy care, the figur’d seal’s consign’d,
Which stamps the world with forms of ev’ry kind.
Hear me, blest pow’r, and in these rites rejoice,
And save thy mystics with a suppliant voice.

From: hellenicgods.org

Artemis

Arte

Artemis, Zeus’ and Leto’s daughter and Apollo’s twin sister, is sometimes depicted as wild and untamable and other times as gentle and protective. She liked to wander in forests and mountains to hunt wild animals or to protect their newborns. This is why she was considered to be a protectress of wildlife and is especially revered as a Moon goddess of the wilds by many pagans today. She was a goddess that didn’t like any connection to men.

She was born a little before Apollo and she was only a child when she asked her father to let her live free from any marriage bonds. She especially liked hunting in Mount Taygetus or Eurymanthus. Homer calls her Agne (Pure), Agrotere (who was wandering in fields), Iocheaera (who hunts with arrows) and Chrysalacatus (with a golden bow). She didn’t always hunt alone. Most of the time, the mountain Nymphs escorted her. Artemis was considered to be more beautiful than the Nymphs. Many times she was the first in the dance of the Charites and the Muses in Olympus Mountain or in Delphi.

As she was a pure and virgin goddess, she liked pure youngsters, such as Hippolytus, Theseus’s son, who also had no interest in women and only liked to hunt in the mountains. On the other hand, she shot and killed Kallisto, her hunting escort, when she discovered that the young woman had given herself to Zeus, although she had vowed to stay pure forever. Aktaeon, a young man who saw her bathing hidden behind some bushes, was immediately transformed into a deer and the the goddess put his fifty dogs into a frenzy and they devoured him. According to a myth version she killed Orion out of jealousy because she found out that he had mated with Eve, or because he challenged her in the disk game, or because she had raped Opis, one of the Hyperborean virgins.

She is also said to have helped her brother against Tityos who wanted to rape Leto. When Niobe bragged because she had fourteen children, while Leto only had two, Apollo killed her seven boys and Artemis her seven daughters. Apollo and Artemis were really close to each other and always protected their mother when she was endangered or insulted.

Just like every god and goddess, Artemis doesn’t like to be ignored by mortals and punishes anyone who doesn’t respect her. She sends a wild boar in Oeneas’ land to destroy it and she also punished Admetos, king of Thessaly, by sending snakes into his bedroom.

During the Trojan War, Artemis was on the Trojan side, although she preferred hunting to watching the war or participating in it. When she accused Apollo of being a coward who didn’t want to fight against Poseidon, Hera took her weapons and hit her with her own arrows (Iliad “Theomachia”). Artemis’s power is less than Hera’s and the mother goddess makes her understand that by saying while she is hitting her that Zeus may have offered Artemis great power to fight against mortal women, but she should keep her head low when she confronted her. Behind this episode, one can find the archaic belief that Artemis sent painless and sudden death to women with her arrows, just like Apollo did the same to men.

Artemis’ worship also came from Asia Minor as her name shows, as it cannot be derived from Greek roots. As a goddess of fields and protectress of young animals, she also acquired the abilities and qualities of an old goddess, “Potnia of beasts” (Mistress of the beasts) and also Kybele, Rhea, Hecate and Selene. As “Locheia” or “Lecho”, Artemis was brought really close to “Eilitheaia”, goddess of birth. As a protectress of birth, she received new clothes for women who had escaped the dangers of birth and also new clothes for women who had died during labor. Little girls aged between five and ten years old, named “Arktoi” were serving in her temples, but it remains unknown still what was expected of them.

As a goddess of the groves, Artemis was connected to plants and trees, especially in Peloponnese. In Orchomenus of Arcadia, she was also named “Cedreatis”, because her wooden statuette was in the empty bunk of a Cedar Tree. She was worshipped as “Karyatis” in Arcadia, in the Karyae Village, because of her connection to Oak Trees.

In Sparta, she was called “Orthia” (the one who stands straight), because of her connection to Wicker Trees. Her statuette was found, according to the legend, in a Wicker Tree bunk, and with time, she was encircled by the branches of the tree, so that the statuette always stood. This is why she was also called “Lygodesma” (the one bonded by Wicker Trees).

As we have already seen, she managed to make the twin giants Aloades kill each other, as she passed really quickly between them, transformed into a deer, in Naxos Island. On another occasion, Artemis managed to escape Alpheios’ plans, the River who was in love with her. When he understood that he couldn’t do anything to win her love, he decided to take her with violence. So, the River, waited and watched and tried to find the chance to take her by surprise. He thought that he had this chance one night that Artemis was having a feast with her friends somewhere nearby. Artemis had understood Alpheios’ plans, so she appeared with the Nymphs that escorted her, having their faces covered with clay, so that they wouldn’t be recognised. The River saw that he would have no luck in making out who Artemis was and left. Because of that event, Artemis was worshipped in that place as “Alpheaia Artemis”.

According to some versions of the myth, Artemis had not only killed Kallisto, but she also killed Ariadne because she slept with Theseus in Naxos Island. (According to another version, Theseus had left Ariadne to Dionysus, although he had promised her to take her to Athens with him and get married to her, as an exchange for the help she had offered to him against the Minotaur in the labyrinth. So Ariadne cursed him, and this was why he had forgotten putting white sails on his boat to show his father that everything had gone well. Aegeas, his father, waiting on Sounio to see the Athenian boats, saw the black sails and jumped into the sea, giving his name to the sea, that was named Aegean Sea from then on).

When Chine, Apollo’s and Hermes’ lover bragged that she was more beautiful than the goddess, thus committing hubris, Artemis killed her.

Oeneas and Admetos were also punished because they weren’t punctual in their worshipping duties. She was equally angry with Atreus who neglected to sacrifice a golden female lamb as he was supposed to do. Artemis let Thyestes take the throne. After that, Agamemnon, Atreus’ son, made her angry, when he hunted down and killed a deer, bragging that even Artemis could not aim as well as he could, or because he didn’t keep his word to sacrifice his best animal to her, according to another legend. When Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus gathered the Greek army against the Trojans for having abducted Helen, the winds were not favourable for the Greeks, so Agamemnon was asked to sacrifice Ifigeneia, his daughter. Having learnt his lesson, Agamemnon took his daughter to the Altar and was ready to sacrifice her, but Artemis changed the girl with a lamb and took Ifigeneia to Africa, to her temple in the land of Taurus and made her a priestess.

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Of course, Artemis only punished those who deserved it, but she protected the innocent, as the abovementioned story shows. She was especially protective with the young, unmarried girls and pure boys. When Pandareus’ daughters lost their father, Aphrodite took care of them and gave them extreme beauty and grace, Athena gave them the ability to make beautiful pieces of art and Artemis made them brave. She also ordered the girls of Troezina to make hymns for Hippolytus, the young man who was killed by Aphrodite because he had refused her, and also devote their hair to him before their weddings. It was Artemis who convinced Asclepius to bring Hippolytus back to life, something that caused the young god’s life, according to a rare version of the myth.

According to the myth, Artemis was born a little before Apollo’s birth and helped her mother give birth to him. This agrees with the fact that Artemis must have been an older goddess, brought to the basic Greek Pantheon, replacing or identifying with many other goddesses and also connects her to Eilitheaia, goddess of birth. Eilitheaia was Hera’s daughter, or in some cases, Hera herself, who was made the protectress of the lawful wife from then on.

Artemis, as a protectress of newborns and young boys and girls was also revered as “Paedotrofos” or “Kourotrofos” (the breeder of children or young boys and girls).

Her connection to plants and lakes or generally water (as it happens with most of the Moon goddesses) is shown in her fights against the Giants, who were entities of the Earth and River Alpheios, as well as in the stories of her many encounters with animals. In the land of Taurus, Artemis was worshipped as the protectress and goddess of the bulls, but Apollo, Athena, the Sun and Demeter were also worshipped along with her.

Her connection to fertility, motherhood and normal upbringing in the natural world is justified by her connection to the Moon, since after Gaea’s worship was passed to the past, all these attributes were connected to the Moon. She has a Lunar Nature, (aside from her connection to the solar god Apollo, her brother – showing that in ancient times the Sun and the Moon were considered to be siblings and not lovers, since the Sun procreated with the Earth and the Moon helped in keeping the balance) and is connected with Kallisto, Ariadne, Faedra, Afaea, Diktynna, Ifigeneia etc, who are considered to be older forms of the goddess, who often had their name escorting hers, eg Artemis Ariadne. She was also connected to Hecatye, one of the most known Moon goddesses. She liked to feast in rituals that lasted the whole night and she was connected to the water, as is the Moon.

Artemis is often depicted as a vengeful goddess, and this must be a product of her more ancient forms when people also sacrificed young children to her. In Sparta they used to whip young boys in front of the goddess’s statue, as a form of discipline and also passing into manhood. The many deaths of children were probably attributed to Artemis and children sacrifices were meant to make her more favourable, so that no more children would die. Ifigeneia is considered to be Artemis herself, in an older version of the goddess. As the names of Ifigeneia’s (of a high generation) siblings show, all of them were connected to older forms of the goddess’s worship. Electra was connected to the Sun and helectron (amber, a solar stone, whose Greek name has the same root with the Sun, Helios), Horestes’s name has the same root with the Greek word for mountains.

Working with Artemis

Sanctuaries: Arcadia, Delos

Symbols: Moon, menstrual blood

Direction: West

Element: Water

Plants: Willow, Wicker, Oak, Myrtle, Fir, Wild Fig, Mugwort, Wormwood, Tarragon

Animals: Deer, Lamb, all wild animals, Dog, Goat, Wolf, Cat, Quail

Gem: Moonstone, Pearl, Quartz Crystal

Sabbat: Any Sabbat related to the Core, to the Maiden

Colours: White/ Silver

Planet: Moon

Number: 6 (So the 6th day of every month is appropriate to work with her)

Magickal Workings: moon magick, hunting (literally and symbolically, but careful not to hunt illegally and never take more than you need) Nature protection, virginity and chastity, protection of women, communication with Nature

Offerings: Honey, Milk

Orphic Hymn 35-To Artemis

Fumigation of Manna

Hear me, Daughter of Leto, Celebrated, Noble, Bacchian Queen, rejoicing in Your silver arrows,
Torch-bearing Goddess Dictynna, who presides over births and relieves the pain of labor,
Divine Maiden, who glories in the Sylvan hunt,
Swift and fierce, no one is Your equal with the bow.
Wandering by night, reveling in the flowering meadows,
Brave and beautiful Nurturer of mortals,
Eternal and Earthly, Bane of fell monsters,
Dweller in the hills whom the woods and dogs delight,
You hunt the stag and give the Earth a store of bounteous fruit to bear.
Oh Universal Queen, You flourish in endless youth,
Wield the Cydonian Power, Dread Guardian Goddess,
With benevolence come to these mystic rites,
Send us gentle Peace and Health, and drive disease and care far from us.

From: sybillineorder.org

In Love and Light always,

E.I.

pictures from Google

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Hephaestus and Aphrodite

Published 14 June 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

Hephaestus and Aphrodite

Hephaestus

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Hephaestus is said to have had many women. Even Homer in Iliad says that the God is married to Charis (Grace) and in Odyssey, the god is married to Aphrodite. Hesiod states that he is married to Aglaia, the youngest of the three Graces. Generally, Hephaestus is known to be married to Aphrodite, although she wasn’t known for her fidelity.

Hephaestus is the god of fire and metallurgy and this is why Homer names him “Chalkeus”, the one who works with copper and other metals as well. Hephaestus could do almost everything with any materials he had in his possession and many of his creations were popular among gods and heroes. Homer says that the god worked with gold, silver and copper and he did not only create jewellery for women, but also thrones, vases, weapons and armour. He had created the two golden dogs that guarded the gate of Alkinos’ palace. He could also create automatic devices, such as little three-feet tables that rolled on golden wheels during the gods’ symposiums and then went back to Hephaestus’ palace. He had also created two golden robots, two beautiful women so that he could lean on them, as his feet didn’t hold him so well. These robots were clever, could think and also talk. One of his most renown creations is Achilles’ armour that the god made for Thetis’ sake and the depictions on the hero’s shield.

Hephaestus had built all the palaces for the gods on Mount Olympus. His laboratory was also on Olympus and he worked there with Athena. According to some other versions of the myth, the god’s laboratory was in Lemnos Island, an island that was really connected to this god. Of course, these versions of the myth show nothing else than that we have another pre-Hellenic god who found a way to enter the basic Greek pantheon because of the importance of his role.

He is connected to the volcanic fires of the Mosychlos volcano in Lemnos. His name has actually the same root with volcanoes in Greek (Ήφαιστος, ηφαίστειο). For many years, people believed that the volcanic fires came straight out of the god’s lab. Being a blacksmith himself, Hephaestus soon became the Patron of blacksmiths and generally all those who create things with their hands. This is why he is strongly connected to Athena.

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When his worship came from Lemnos to Athens, at around 6th Century BC, Hephaestus became a Patron of Blacksmiths here as well, along with Athena. In the 5th Century BC, the Athenians built a glorious temple to worship them together in Agora, the place where the Athenians met in order to discuss, philosophize, sell and buy things. Actually, this was the place where many important conversations took place and many great philosophers taught, the predecessor of the Roman Forum. (This is why a forum in the Internet is the place where people can find a topic they find interesting and discuss it, or see the views of others.) Haphaestus had his own day to be worshipped as well; the name of the celebration was Hephaesteia and there was a torch bearing run.

In the beginning, Hephasteia took place every year, but then it was celebrated every five years. A big sacrifice took place and after that the games started, a musical competition of children and men and the torch run, which was the most spectacular moment of the celebrations. Twenty men were voted to watch over the preparations and the celebrations and they were called Hieropioi (Hieron=Sacred, Poio (v)=to make). The sacrifice and the run were taken care of by 200 Athenian citizens. (Not everyone living in Athens had the right to be called a citizen. He had to be by Athenian parents and of Athenian origins.) It is difficult to know which month Hephaesteia took place, but I think it is easy to assume that it would be around Summer, when Fire celebrations took place in almost every pagan tradition.

Hephaestus, as anyone who would stand all day in front of the anvil working, had very strong arms, but weak legs. In Hiliad he is depicted as a lame god.

Hephaestus and Hera

According to tradition, Hephaestus was born lame and this is why his mother, Hera, was so embarrassed to have brought him into the world that she threw him down from Mount Olympus, into the sea, so that he would drown. Thetis and Eurinome, two lesser sea goddesses, took pity of him and rescued him. They kept him secretly for nine years in one of Nirea’s caves, where the god passed his time making rings, bracelets and many other women’s jewels. Soon he got bored of living in the deep sea and decided to go up and try to find his parents and make a name for himself, since he was not just any god, but a direct son of Zeus and Hera. This is when and why he planned and created the golden throne on which Hera sat and found herself trapped.

Hephaestus had left and Hera, in despair, promised that she would give Aphrodite to be the wife of any god who would manage to find Hephaestus and convince him to free her, since she knew that only Hephaestus could do that. Ares was the first to try, but Hephaestus threw him so many fireballs that Ares had to leave humiliated. Almost every young god tried, but only Dionysus managed to convince Hephaestus by using a trick. He found Hephaestus, sat by him and started a discussion, giving him wine at the same time. When Hephaestus went drunk, Dionysus took him to Olympus on a mule, surrounded by Nymphs and other lesser gods who accompanied the procession.

After he had made up with his mother, as a sign of how sorry they were for everything he had gone through, the gods gave him Aphrodite to be his wife, although the goddess of beauty didn’t want that, because Hephaestus wasn’t a nice-looking god.

Another story is also told by Homer about his lame limb, but this may be only something that the poet made up. It speaks about a huge fight between Zeus and Hera, with Hephaestus trying to support his mother, making Zeus so angry, that he threw him down from Olympus. Hephaestus fell for one full day, and after the sunset he was found in Lemnos where he was taken care of by the island inhabitants, but his leg was never good again.

Hephaestus and Ares

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Ares never really forgot how ridiculous he was made to seem by Hephaestus, when the latter continually refused to climb Olympus. Ares was looking for a chance to ridicule Hephaestus and this chance was given to him. Ares was not the most beloved one among the gods, but he was young and beautiful. When Hephaestus was away, Aphrodite, married to him, but not by her own will, consorted with Ares in her husband’s palace. As everything, their relationship was soon made known to Helios (the Sun) who sees everything and he decided that the right thing to do is to tell Hephaestus.

Once again, Hephaestus turns to his craft and once more he makes webs, but this time thin as spider’s. He puts them on the bed and waits for the next time that the guilty couple will meet. He tells Aphrodite that he is going to the island of Lemnos for a while. His plan was really successful; as soon as Ares sees him leaving, he goes to meet with Aphrodite and as soon as they lay on the bed they both find themselves trapped. Helios informs Hephaestus who turns back, opens the gates of the chamber and starts yelling. He calls all gods to see the shameful couple and threatens to leave them there forever, unless Zeus returns to him all the presents he had offered in order to take Aphrodite as his wife.

This story is given to us by the epic poets, who seemed to like ridiculing the god of war, who was not as ridiculous as he was often portrayed. The story continues with all the gods laughing, and Apollo asking Hermes what he would do if he was in Ares’s shoes. Hermes supposedly answered “If I were to lay with Aphrodite by my side, I wouldn’t mind being bound by three times more chains or you standing there laughing at me”. After all, Ares has managed to have what every man would like to have…Aphrodite by her own will…After the fuss was over, Aphrodite went to Paphos, in Cyprus, and Ares to Thrace, in order for Hephaestus to calm down.

Other myths around Hephaestus

According to a version of the myth, Hephaestus and not Prometheus was the one who hit Zeus’s head with an axe for Athena to be born.

During the war against the giants, Hephaestus with Dionysus and the Satyrs surprised the giants when they entered the battlefield riding donkeys who were screaming too loudly, so that the giants just turned their backs and left. Hephaestus then threw fireballs and so killed the giant Klytios. (According to others, Hecate was the one who killed the giant). After that, Helios took him on his chariot so that the god might rest and Hephaestus paid him back by making magnificent things in Aeetes’s palace, who was Helios’s son.

Hephaestus was a compassionate god. He convinced Helios to give Orion, the giant his light back, who had been blinded by Oinopion in Chios island.

When Zeus defeated Typhoon, Hephaestus was put as his guardian in Aitna, Cicely, where Zeus had put him. Thus, he made his laboratory on Typhoon’s neck and there he worked with steel and fire.

Hephaestus was the one who is said to have created the first woman, Pandora, from water and earth and gave her, according to his father’s will, beauty, stamina and human voice.

Along with Athena, they taught humans the crafts and metallurgy.

Hephaestus’s creations- Hephaestoteukta (Those that were made by Hephaestus)

Many of the world’s most beautiful items are said to have been created by Hephaestus. Hephaestus didn’t make anything for just anyone. We have seen how his craft had helped him punish those who had wronged him. But his craft was not kept for himself alone, or only for the gods, for that matter.

First of all, all the gods’ and goddesses’ palaces were created by Hephaestus on Mount Olympus. The first palace he had built was of course Zeus’. It had big rooms and halls and the walls were worked in every detail so that they had unique carvings on them, so that the palace would suit the King of gods and men. Another well-known palace was his mother’s, Hera, on the door of which there was a key-hole that could not be opened by anyone else, just by Hera herself. Hephaestus had also built a very nice and comfortable bed for Helios, so that the god would rest after a tiring day in the sky. This bed was made of gold and it had wings underneath, so that it would hover over the sea near Aethiopia, which was the place ancient Greeks believed the Sun went down.

Apollo’s and Artemis’ arrows were crafted by Hephaestus, because those two gods deserved to have the best arrows of all.

The staff Agamemnon was holding during the Trojan War (The staff was a symbol of reign and during the discussions, only the one holding the staff could speak) was also made by Hephaestus. This staff had a very long story; first, Hephaestus gave it as a present to his father, Zeus. He gave it to Hermes, who gave it to his friend, Pelopas, who was Agamemnon’s grandfather. It passed down to Atreas who later gave it to his son, Agamemnon. For a human to have something made by a god and given to him by a god was not only a great honour. It aso showed how honorable this man was among the gods. This is why the gods punished so severely later Kletemnestra and Aigisthus for their hubris against a great man, Agamemnon.

When Zeus took Ganemedes to stay with him in Olympus, he gave his father a beautiful golden vine, crafted by Hephaestus, to show him how much he appreciated him and to ease his pain for his son’s loss.

When Zeus wanted to gain Europe, Hephaestus made a golden pendant that Zeus put around Europe’s neck. This pendant remained forever in people’s minds, because Europe offered it to her sister-in-law, Harmonia (harmony) when she got married to Kadmus. This pendant passed down to each one of Thebes’ queens, until the city was destroyed and the pendant was offered to the Delphi Oracle.

Zeus’ temple in Crete was guarded by a golden dog, also created by Hephaestus who also gave the dog a Soul. Talos, was a mechanic giant (something like a robot) who walked around Crete constantly, guarding Minos from any potential enemy, usually throwing rocks on ships who were to invade the island. These stories prove that Crete was inhabited by Greeks, even in pre-historic times (as their language also proves) and was considered to be one of the most revered and important Greek islands. So important that even the gods protected it. Talos was made of copper and also was given a Soul by Hephaestus.

This was not the only “robot” Hephaestus had created. He had also created two golden maids to serve him. They were like living women, having a Soul, a voice and stamina, because the god needed help in order to be able to move around, due to his lame leg. He had also created two bulls for Helios’ son, that were extremely strong, had copper legs and breathed fire out of their mouths. These were the same bulls Jason had managed to use to plow a field as part of his tests, using the potions and filters Medea had offered him. Two silver-and-golden dogs were also guarding Alkino’s palace, the king of the Phaeakes.

When Ariadne married Dionysus, Hephaestus created a golden wreath, because Aphrodite wanted to offer the couple a suitable wedding present. This wreath was later made into a constellation by the gods. Hephaestus gave Dionysus two silver cups, since the groom loved the wine.

The sickle made of steel with which Perseus cut of Medusa’s head was also a Hephaestus’ creation, as were the copper rattles Hercules used to scare away the Birds of Stymphalida Lake (Stymphalides Ornithes).

Many more items were created by Hephaestus, among which Hercules’ golden breast-plate. The most famous of the weapons he had created for humans were the armours for Hercules and Achilles. He had also made a shield for Hercules that had carved on it Phobos, Phonos, Eris and Massacre, boars and lions, Centaurs fighting against Lapithes, Ares, Athena, Perseus and the Mermaids. All around the Great Ocean was depicted. This shield was made from gold, silver and ivory. On Achilles’ shield, the god had carved lands and seas, the Sun and the Moon, a Sky full of Stars, fields being worked, vines, a palace…Again the Ocean surrounded everything.

Hephaestus was a god connected to fire and light, as is obvious by the things he made for deities and humans connected with those two.

Working with Hephaestus

Sanctuaries: Lemnos Island and Attiki

Symbols: Hammer, Tongs, Anvil

Plants: Not known

Animals: Donkey, Crane

Aspects: Titan Hyperion (Watcher from Above); Titan Helios (the Sun); Titan Hekateros (With-Each-Hand); Titan Prometheus (Forethought)

Spells: For fire or metallurgy and help with arts and techniques, hand-creation, clever ways to trap an enemy.

Orphic Hymn 65-To Hephaestus

The Fumigation from Frankincense and Manna.
Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unweary’d fire, with flaming torrents bright:
Strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine:
All-taming artist, all-diffusive power, ’tis thine supreme, all substance to devour:
Aeher, Helios, Selene, and Stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts to men appear.
To thee, all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffused through mortal bodies bright and strong.
Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine:
Suppress the rage of fires unweary’d frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.

Aphrodite

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Aphrodite is one of the most well-known goddesses of the Greek Pantheon, and perhaps one of the few who are named with their name and not their Roman equivalent. Aphrodite’s birth was a mystery of beauty and creativity. It all started out as an act of vengeance and ugliness, that ended in the creation of the most beautiful of all the goddesses. Kronos cut Uranus’ genitals after he defeated his father and threw them into the sea. As the waves took on them the cut flesh, a white foam was created around it that little by little took a woman’s form. The foam reached Paphos, a Cyprian beach and this beautiful woman reached the shore in a huge shell. She was named after the foam (Αφρός=foam>Αφρο-δίτη=Aphrodite). She was also called Resurgent, because she came out of the foam, Cyppris or Cyprogeneia, because she was born in Cyprus. Kythereia is another of her many names, because the foam had passed by Kythera before ending up in Cyprus. In reality, the name Aphrodite was pre-hellenic and the later connection to foam is a cultural one. Her temple in Paphos is dated since 1200BC. Aphrodite’s connection to the water and the sea is obvious also by the fact that in Knidos and many other places she was worshiped as Euploia, the one who offers safe travels.

According to another version of the myth, the goddess is the daughter of Zeus with Dione, who was revered in Dodone along with Zeus.

Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty and love. She also protected marriage, but not so much, as this was Hera’s domain. Her presents are beauty, romantic love but also passionate relationship. She is a Mistress of the mysteries of the heart. Hera asked for her corset when she wanted to win Zeus.

Many lesser gods and goddesses are her companions. Of course, Eros, but also Eve (Youth), Harmonia, The Hours, Peitho (the one who convinces), Imeros (wanting), Pothos (Lust) and the three Charites (Graces). They make her clothes, anoint her with perfumed oils, dress her and accompany her to the balls and festivals.

Aphrodite is well-known because of her discord with Hera and Athena about which of the three is the most beautiful among the goddesses. Paris, Troy’s prince was given the golden apple of Eris (Discord) to offer to the goddess he considered to be the most beautiful. Athena had promised him wisdom, Hera had promised him reignship and Aphrodite promised to give him the most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, Menelaos’ wife. Paris chose to give the apple to Aphrodite and he got what he was promised. The rest is history. The Trojan War started, where all the Greeks united in order to gain Helen back and avenge the insult against one of the most important men of Greece.

In reality, the Trojan War was a war for new land and new merchant ways, but, as we have foretold, myth explains reality. There are two versions of the myth. According to the first, which is mentioned in Homer, Helen fell in love with Paris and followed him to Troy, but changed her mind when she saw Menelaos under the city wall. Menelaos took her by the hair and returned her to Sparta, after Troy was destroyed. According to the other version, which is newer but more interesting (in my opinion), Hera, angry because of the hubris of Aphrodite and Paris to put a debt on a married woman, sent Helen to Egypt and created an idol out of clouds that spoke and behaved like Helen and this is what Paris took back from Troy. After this really cruel war that lasted 10 years, Menelaos was trying to return to Greece, but the waves sent his ship to Egypt, where he met Helen on Proteas’ grave. Helen was staying there because Proteas’ son, Theoklytus wanted to marry her. After many adventures, they managed to find a ship and return together back to Greece.

Both stories teach us about the power of love and passion, both ruled by the same goddess, Aphrodite. Athena also found her chance to take revenge. Aphrodite was with the Trojans during the whole war, but as she wasn’t made for this, not only was she hurt by Diomedes, but also ridiculed by Athena who helped him. The story about the three goddesses depicts in an excellent way how ancient Greeks viewed their gods, with many human characteristics and passions.

Although she was married to Hephaestus, she had a relationship with Ares and they gave birth to Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror), Harmonia and Eros (Cupid).

As it happened with all the gods, so Aphrodite also asked for humans to show her the utmost respect and she punished severely those who didn’t. She doesn’t hesitate to kill Hippolytos, Theseus’ son, because the young man is only interested in hunting and worships the virgin goddess Artemis, paying no attention to Aphrodite. After all, jealousy is a common symptom of love.

Aphrodite and Anchises

Aphrodite had the power to tame all humans and all animals, of the land, the sea and the sky. But as if this wasn’t enough, she found great pleasure also in playing games against gods and goddesses, at least all those who were interested in marriage, with the exception of Artemis, Hestia and Athena. Thus she made gods fall in love with human women, goddesses fall in love with men and vice versa and then she made fun of them for having mated with humans when they were gods. Her favourite game was to occasionally make Zeus fall in love with mortal princesses, making Hera crazy with jealousy.

Zeus decided not to let that happen anymore and fought back at Aphrodite with her own weapons (because he was almighty, after all) and made her fall in love with a mortal. Trojan men, originating from Dardanus were famous for their beauty. Zeus had brought Ganimides to Olympus to serve them the beverages during dinners. Eos had fallen in love with Tithonus, Priamus’ son and made him immortal, although she couldn’t also prohibit him from growing old. So, Zeus makes Aphrodite fall in love with Anchises, cousin of Priamus. Anchises was a shepherd on Ida Mountain. This is where Aphrodite saw him and was amazed by how young and beautiful he was.

After she got ready in Cyprus, in special garments, perfumed and oiled, wearing her best jewellery, Aphrodite travels hidden within the clouds until she reaches Ida. All the animals follow her and she, happy to see them treating her so well, awakens the passion in them and they go to sleep in couples. (It is interesting to see that not only things that have to do with a specific myth itself, but also other, seemingly irrelative, but really interesting details are added to the main myth body). Anchises was really amazed to see such a beautiful woman on the mountain, and really wanted her from the very beginning. But he was clever and thought that such beauty could not be of a mortal woman. He greeted Aphrodite respectfully, trying to figure out who she was. He asked her to grant him a life full of joy and children, and in return, he would build her a temple and offer sacrifices.

But this wasn’t what Aphrodite cared about. She lied to him that she was only a mortal princess from Frygia, whom supposedly Hermes had kidnapped when she was out, dancing with her friends in Artemis’s honour. Aphrodite told Anchises that Hermes had foretold that she would marry the young shepherd and bear him many children. She went a bit further, asking him to present him to his parents and also message her own so that they wouldn’t worry. Anchises, full of passion and lust, agreed to marry her and bring her to his bed, which was covered with bear and lion skins that he himself had killed. They mated that day and afterwards, Aphrodite brought sleep to his eyes in order to get dressed and assume her true form. Then, she woke him up, asking him if she was the same as before. Anchises turned his eyes away from her in fear, because any mortal who slept with a goddess was supposed to lose his strength and masculinity. She told him not to worry. She would leave him a mortal, so that he would age normally.

Embarrassed herself for Zeus’s prank, she finally understood how the other gods felt when she teased them. She also foretold the birth of Aeneas, a Trojan hero. (Ovidius, a Roman poet wrote an epic poem, named for Aeneas, where he describes the end of the Trojan War, Aeneas’s flight and the foundation of Rome. This epic bears many similarities to Homer’s epics.) Aeneas would grow up with his father, but Anchises should tell nobody whose child this was or Zeus would punish him severely. Having said that, Aphrodite disappeared. His love for Anchises and their son was the reason that the beautiful goddess was with the Trojans during the war.

There are some points in this myth that go a lot deeper than it seems. Men fearing that they will lose their manhood if they slept with a goddess was a common belief in the East and the Mediterranean. Odysseus didn’t want to visit Kirki’s bed and Gilgamesh refuses Ishtar’s proposal to mate with her, because he knows he will be punished if he does. In Samos two centuries ago, people believed that a man would turn impotent if he slept with a faery.

Aphrodite explains to Anchises how she happens to know the Trojan language, saying that she had a Trojan nanny. It is shown that Greeks knew that Frygian and Trojan are two different languages, although they didn’t recognize Trojans from Frygians.

Aphrodite and Adonis

This is another famous story about Aphrodite. Adonis was a really handsome man. His beauty started to show since he was a baby. Aphrodite took him away from his parents, hid him in a chest and gave him to Persephone to guard him. But Persephone was also amazed by his beauty and refused to give him back when the time came. Aphrodite asked Zeus to act as a referee. He decided that Adonis would stay for four months with each goddess and four months he should keep for himself. Adonis offered his quarter of the year to Aphrodite. Not long after, he was hurt by a boar and fell dead. Aphrodite loved him so much that she had left Olympus and started hunting along with him in the mountains. According to a version of the myth, Ares, jealous of Aphrodite’s love for the mortal was the one who sent the boar. Aphrodite cried and mourned him for a long time and then she turned to Persephone once more, since she is the Queen of the Underworld. Persephone agreed to let Adonis live in the Underworld for six months, so that he and Aphrodite would be able to meet and spend time together. It is said that from Adonis’s spilt blood the first roses bloomed and from Aphrodite’s tears, the first Anemones.

Adonis was an old Semitian god of fertility and blooming. His death and descent on Earth every six months symbolize the natural cycle of the seasons. During the rituals in his honour, women of Athens cried and hit their breasts (an Eastern custom of mourning), tearing their clothes.

Other stories about Aphrodite

aphro

Aphrodite’s infidelity to Hephaestus was the reason for which it is said that the god, working with Athena in their laboratory, attacked the goddess to force her to mate with him. She managed to avoid him but his semen fell on the Athenian land, giving birth to Erichthonius.

But Ares and mortal men weren’t the only ones Aphrodite mated with. She once fell in love with Dionysus and didn’t hesitate to sleep with him. Dionysus had to leave for India and when he came back in Spring, Aphrodite, pregnant by Adonis, wreathed him with a spring wreath, but then left him to go to Lampsakus and give birth to the baby. Hera, angry with Aphrodite and Dionysus, because they were Zeus’s children from other women, touched Aphrodite’s belly and she gave birth to Priapus, a very ugly and shameless god.

The goddess also mated with Poseidon and gave birth to Erykas, a fearful king of a tribe in Sicily.

When Aphrodite saw that she wasn’t respected as she should, she punished the disrespectful very harshly. This is why she drove Poseidon’s sons crazy when they tried to keep her away from Rhodes and she made the women of Lemnos smell really nasty when they wouldn’t pay her the respect she expected. Kleo, the Muse, made fun of Aphrodite for loving Adonis, so Aphrodite cursed her and the Muse gave birth to Yakinthus, the first man who had ever mated with boys and men. Diomedes who hurt her in battle, found himself punished as well. Aphrodite made his wife sleep with many other men while he was at war. We have already seen what happened to Hippolytus who refused her because he was loyal to Artemis.

Aphrodite had great power and she didn’t use it only to punish. Those who respected her found great pleasure with her presents. She was the one who gave the first woman, Pandora, some of her elegance and beauty. She also helped Pandareus’ daughters, orphans from an early age, to grow up, giving them milk and honey. She transformed Selemnus into a river, when the nymph the young man was in love with got bored of him and dumped him. A bit later, she saw that even as a river he was still in love with Argyra, so she made him forget. Anyone who would take a bath in this river, got cured of their passions, in case they were in love with someone who didn’t love them back.

Once she tried to test Phoonas’ kindness. He was a boat-man. She asked him to drive her across the river. Not only did he do that, but he didn’t take any money either. Thus, Aphrodite made him young and beautiful so that all the women would want him. Pygmalion, another man who fell in love with a statuette of the goddess, he had made on his own, asked Aphrodite to help him find the ideal woman, so she turned the statuette alive.

Aphrodite helped the Argonauts as well, making the women of Lemnos welcome them and making Medea fall in love with Jason and do whatever was necessary for the Argonauts to succeed in their goal.

Aphrodite was more than simply a Beauty Goddess, as it happened with all the female deities of that period (eg, the Nordic goddess Freja). She is the symbol of the female harmony, the beauty of the body (a classic must-have for the Greeks) in order to be able to bring forth strong children and in a less aggressive way than Athena’s, shows how a woman could survive in a masculine society.

aphro1

Working with Aphrodite

Sanctuaries: Melos Island, Cyprus Island

Symbols: Scallop shell, seashells, mirrors, golden apples, the Evening Star (planet Venus), Number 5, the ocean, and the triangle

Day: Friday

Animals: Dolphin, swan, dove, sparrow, bees, and goats

Plants: Rose (especially any fragrant rose), quince, myrtle, mint and grape (fruit, leaves, and vines), apples, artichokes, laurel, ash and poplar trees

Perfumes/Scents: Stephanotis, musk, verbena, vanilla, incense, vervain, and roses

Gems and Metals: Pearls, gold, aquamarine, rose quartz, jade, sapphire, silver, and copper

Colours: Red, pink, violet, silver, aqua, pale green (seafoam), and any shade of light blue

Spells: beauty, love, sexuality, sensuality, femininity

Orphic Hymn 54-To Aphrodite

Heav’nly [Ourania], illustrious, laughter-loving queen, sea-born, night-loving, of an awful mien;
Crafty, from whom Ananke first came, producing, nightly, all-connecting dame:
‘Tis thine the world with harmony to join, for all things spring from thee, O power divine.
The triple Moirai are ruled by thy decree, and all productions yield alike to thee:
Whate’er the heav’ns, encircling all contain, earth fruit-producing, and the stormy main,
Thy sway confesses, and obeys thy nod, awful attendant of Bakkhos:
Goddess of marriage, charming to the sight, mother of Loves [Eortes], whom banquetings delight;
Source of persuasion [Peitho], secret, fav’ring queen, illustrious born, apparent and unseen:
Spousal, lupercal, and to men inclin’d, prolific, most-desir’d, life-giving, kind:
Great sceptre-bearer of the Gods, ’tis thine, mortals in necessary bands to join;
And ev’ry tribe of savage monsters dire in magic chains to bind, thro’ mad desire.
Come, Kypris, and to my prayer incline, whether exalted in the heav’ns you shine,
Or pleas’d in Syria’s temple to preside, or over the Egyptian plains thy car to guide,
Fashion’d of gold; and near its sacred flood, fertile and fam’d to fix thy blest abode;
Or if rejoicing in the azure shores, near where the sea with foaming billows roars,
The circling choirs of mortals, thy delight, or beauteous nymphs, with eyes cerulean bright,
Pleas’d by the dusty banks renown’d of old, to drive thy rapid, two-yok’d chariot of gold;
Or if in Cyprus with thy mother fair, where married females praise thee ev’ry year,
And beauteous virgins in the chorus join, Adonis pure to sing and thee divine;
Come, all-attractive to my pray’r inclin’d, for thee, I call, with holy, reverent mind.

In Love and Light, always

E.I.

pictures from Google

Ares and Athena

Published 11 June 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

Ares and Athena

The reason why these two are referred to together is because they both represent, different sides of warfare, with Ares often being a personification of war fury and Athena representing the strategic plans behind the battle.

Ares

Ares

During my school years, I had the impression that Ares was a God who wanted to fight all the time and a comparison to Athena was inevitably made, making Ares a God who couldn’t think about anything else but war. When I started studying the Greek Pantheon outside school sources or texts that were very common, I found out a very strange fact; Anyone would expect that Spartans, lovers of war would worship Ares more and Athenians would worship Athena. The strange thing is that beyond Parthenon, the next area with many temples devoted to Athena was Sparta and the area with many temples devoted to Ares was Athens-Attiki. (Athens is always in plural, because it also included the areas around the city, the areas of Attiki).

In the Homerian Epics, we find Ares being Zeus and Hera’s son, but it is well known and proven that his worship comes from Thrace, his first country and home. People of Thrace were also very war affiliated and it is only normal that they worshipped a very strong masculine Deity with war attributes. In Thrace, Ares was worshipped along with Dionysus and Artemis. Even Homer puts the God having his residence in Thrace, although he also had a palace on Olympus.

Many say that his name isn’t Greek, but his name derives from the ancient Greek word Αρά, meaning curse and sometimes rage. The epithet “Areios”, the same that is used for the battle tribe of Arians in Greek was given to other Deities as well, like Zeus, Athena and even Aphrodite. Ares was perhaps the most unpopular of all the Olympian gods because of his quick temper, aggressiveness, and unquenchable thirst for conflict. Ares is known by many names, Leader of Men, Lord of the Dance (because he had swift feet and taught the war dance), Ares of the Mighty Heart.

Ares personifies the fury of war, the illogical war instincts, he finds pleasure in blood and often appears as stupid and someone who changes opinion every once in a while, so that nobody can rely on him. But these attributes are known mainly from the myths about the God after the Homeric Epics. Let’s not forget that war was an every-day reality for peoples in ancient times and it was often too violent, based on the survival instincts that made people fight each other in a very cruel way.

Not that war isn’t cruel anyway, but it is wrong to judge something outside its historical context. Without “war” and “fights”, nothing would change and this doesn’t only appeal to literal war, but also to the war each one of us has to make within, the fights we have to face every day. Ares is a symbol of catastrophe, thus regeneration and rebirth. Ares is like the Element of Fire. If you are not careful, it will consume you, but if you act with precaution, it can change the very core of anything, transforming it into something new.

Ares fought against Athena during the Trojan war and ends up beaten and humiliated. Again, the source of this story is Homer, who obviously doesn’t like Ares, and this again is normal due to the historical circumstances, with people who had settled down and wanted to progress in peace. In Homer we also find the story about Zeus who wanted to make this war and Hera who supported his decision. Homer tells about Diomedes, a human who hurt Ares with help from Athena. How fearsome Ares was is shown by the fact that when Athena threw him onto the rocks and he fell, he covered 72m with his body. Athena again, pushes Hercules to fight against Ares, and two brothers, Otos and Ephialtes managed to imprison Ares in a pot for three whole months, before Hermes freed him. Athena seems to always find pleasure in humiliating her brother, but they are two sides of the same coin; you can’t just sit and make plans when there is war and you can’t just fight without strategy. In both cases, the war will be lost.

Ares has two children, Deimos and Phobos, personifications of the freaky nature of war and battle (also terror, dread) and fear (Phobos>φόβος=fear). The two satellites of the planet Ares (Mars, the Roman equivalent of the God) have the names of his two children. These two follow him in battle along with Eris (Dispute) and Enyo, a war Goddess of bloodshed and violence, on his war chariot, drawn by four fire-breathing horses: Aithon (Red-Fire), Phlogios (Flame), Konabos (Tumult) and Phobos (Fear). Eros, Anteros, Himeros and Pothos, the four Erotides are also said to be the sons of Ares and Aphrodite. One legend says that Ares laid with one of Athena’s priestesses and she gave birth to Epivitoras (Stalion), symbol of masculine power and beauty.

Ares is believed to be the father of ruthless kings and fearful monsters, like the snake Kadmus killed in Thebes. He is also Penthesileia’s father, the Amazons’ queen. The birds of Ares (Ornithes Areioi) were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons’ shrine of the god on an island in the Black Sea. But he also created Armonia (Harmony) with Aphrodite, with whom he had a long-term relationship.

This is to show that after every battle, after all the ugliness of the war goes away, that law and harmony prevail. Harmony is the child of the fury and strength with beauty, love and calmness. Deimos and Phobos are also referred to as their children. In the temple of Ares in Athens stood two statues of Aphrodite. On the road from Argos to Mantineia, there was a temple devoted to the god and goddess, with the statuettes of them. Their adulterous affair is perhaps the most known of ancient Greek mythology.

ares-kills-poseidons-son1

As it is natural, Ares was not officially worshipped in many areas, nor was he the official protector of any of them, because he was a fearsome god, with a hot temperament. There were many Altars devoted to him though, all over Greece, from Thrace to Crete. In these two areas he was worshipped like any other god. An interesting fact given to us by Pausanias is that in Troizina, there was a column, showing Ares worshipped as “gynaikothoinas” (the one who is worshipped by women.) In that area only women had the right to worship him and sacrifice to him, in order to request a win against Spartans.

According to a myth on a rock West of Acropolis, the twelve gods judged Ares because he had killed Halirhothios, Poseidon’s son, who had raped Ares’ daughter, Alkippi and found him non-guilty. This rock was named after the god, “Areios Pagos”, which means “Ares’s rock” and all trials for murder were held there from then on. It was there that Ares also appeared to judge Horestis for having killed his mother, Hiokaste. Horestis had done that because Hiokaste had killed his father, the great hero Agamemnon, banned him from the country and gave his sister, Helectra to a poor peasant, so that her children could not avenge their grandfather (It was a common belief that only children of aristocrats could kill an aristocrat). Ares found the boy non-guilty and Erinyes (the Furies) who had been chasing him for a very long time became Eumenides (Goddesses of sympathy and pity). Ares, in these two situations appears as a god who fights for justice and rights the wrongs, something that doesn’t combine well with his image as an irrational man who only wants to fight. The highest court in Greece is still called “Areios Pagos”. Another myth, not so well known and also not so probable is that the Amazons reached Acropolis once, offered sacrifices to their father and gave his name to the place.

Ares is also a god of victory and respect. He is the one that pushes people through the frenzy of war to become heroes and act heroically. He is the god who calls to people to show their strength and integrity, he is intolerable towards weakness or cowardice. This is why the Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares, because although he embodied the physical valour necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, “overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering”. This is why one always respected Ares and never spoke his name in vain. Most rituals held to his honour were for people to be brave and get through difficult situations and also gain protection in battle. Ares protected those who respected him and destroyed those who ignored or despised him, like any other god/dess did. His Roman counterpart, Mars, was considered father of the Roman people and was given a more dignified role in Roman mythology. This can also be explained as Romans were supposed to originate from Troy, which Ares had defended to the end, and their society structure was based on war and justice. Over the years, Ares became a god closer to man.

Ares is well known for his beauty and strength, which helped him gain Aphrodite’s heart, although she was married to Hephaestus (but never liked him, anyway). He is often depicted carrying a bloodstained spear. His throne on Mount Olympus was said by some to be covered in human skin, but this is mainly symbolism. Ares was a simple warrior with swift feet. Usually he was riding a chariot, wearing a helmet on his head. In his hands he was holding a shield, a sword or a spear.

Helios (the Sun) is thought to have been the first to see Aphrodite’s adultery with Ares: Helios is the first to see all things. Shocked at the sight he told the goddess’s husband, Hephaistos, how he was cuckolded. Then Hephaistos’s heart fell, and from his deft blacksmith’s hands fell the work he held. At once he forged a net, a mesh of thinnest links of bronze, too fine for the eye to see, a triumph not surpassed by finest threads of silk or by the web the spider hands below the rafters’ beam. He fashioned it to respond to the least touch or slightest movement; then with subtle skill arranged it round the bed. So when his wife lay down together with her paramour, her husband’s mesh, so cleverly contrived, ensnared them as they slept in each other’s embrace. Straightway Lemnius [Hephaistos] flung wide the ivory doors and ushered in the gods. The two lay there, snarled in their shame. The gods were not displeased; one of them prayed for shame like that. They laughed and laughed; the joyful episode was long the choicest tale to go the rounds of heaven.” Source: Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.170

Ares and the Giant Ekhidnades

“[Ares] brought low Ekhidnades, the gods’ enemy, spitting the horrible poison of hideous Ekhidna [the serpent Nymphe]. He had two shapes together, and in the forest he shook the twisting coils of his mother’s spine. Kronos used this huge creature to confront the thunderbolt [of Zeus], hissing war with the snaky soles of his feet; when he realised his hands above the circle of the breast and fought against your Zeus, and lifting his high head, covered it with masses of cloud in the paths of the sky. Then if the birds came wandering into his tangled hair, he often swept them together into his capacious throat for a dinner. This masterpiece Ares killed.” Source: Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18.274

Ares and the murder of Halirrhothios

“Agraulos [daughter of Kekrops king of Athens] and Ares had a daughter Alkippe. As Halirrhothios, son of Poseidon and a nymphe named Eurtye, was trying to rape Alkippe, Ares caught him at it and slew him. Poseidon had Ares tried on the Areopagos with the twelve gods presiding. Ares was acquitted.” Source: Apollodorus , The Library 3.180

Diomedes wounds Ares in the Trojan War

“Pallas Athene took up the whip and the reins [of the chariot of the hero Diomedes], steering first of all straight on against Ares the single foot horses. Ares was in the act of striping gigantic Periphas … But Athene put on the helm of Haides, that stark Ares might not discern her.

Now as manslaughtering Ares caught sight of Diomedes the brilliant, he let gigantic Periphas lie in the place where he had first cut him down and taken the life away from him, and made straight against Diomedes, breaker of horses. Now as they in their advance had come close together, Ares lunged first over the yoke and the reins of his horses with the bronze spear, furious to take the life from him. But the goddess grey-eyed Athene in her hand catching the spear pushed it away from the car, so he missed and stabled vainly. After him Diomedes of the great war cry drove forward with the bronze spear; and Pallas Athene, leaning in on it, drove it into the depth of the belly where the war belt girt him. Picking this place she stabbed and driving it deep in the air flesh wrenched the spear out again. Then Ares the brazen bellowed with a sound as great as nine thousand men make, or ten thousand, when they cry as they carry in to the fighting the fury of the war god. And a shivering seized hold alike on Akhaians and Trojans in their feet at the bellowing of battle-insatiate Ares.
As when out of the thunderhead the air shows darkening after a day’s heat when the storm wind uprises, thus to Tydeus’ son Diomedes Ares the brazen showed as he went up with the clouds into the wide heaven. Lightly he came to the gods’ citadel, headlong Olympos, and sat down beside Kronian Zeus, grieving in his spirit, and showed him the immortal blood dripping from the spear cut.”
Source: Homer, Iliad 5.699

Working with Ares

Sanctuaries: Although Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, the god had a formal temple and cult at only a few sites. At Sparta, however, each company of youths sacrificed a puppy to Enyalios (A god originating from Karia who was later connected to Ares so closely, during the Classical Era, that they were believed to be one and the same), before engaging in ritual fighting at the Phoebaeum. The cthonic (relating to the Earth) night-time sacrifice of a dog to Enyalios became assimilated to the cult of Ares. Just east of Sparta stood an archaic statue of the god in chains, to show that the spirit of war and victory was to be kept in the city. There was also a temple of Ares in the Agora of Athens, moved and rededicated there during the time of Augustus, from Acharnes, as Pausanias states. The Areios Pagos (or Areopagos) was, as was mentioned a place of justice and legal trials. The Spartoi were armed warriors which sprang fully-grown from the earth, when the teeth of Ares’ Guardian Drakones were sown in a field sacred to the god.

Day: Tuesday (Fr: Mardi), after the German god Tyr who is identified with Ares. The Greeks also called Tuesday “The Day of Ares” (Ημέρα Άρεως).

Flowers/Trees: none known

Stones/Metals: no specific stone or metal corresponds to Ares, but iron seems appropriate, since they made weapons out of it and red and black stones also are appropriate since these are his colours.

Sabbat: none specific

Animals: Serpent, Vulture, Woodpecker, Barn Owl and Eagle Owl, Dog.

Symbols: Spear and Helmet.

Types of spells: for courage, finding justice, victory in “fights”, transformation after getting rid of what we don’t want, protection, working with the masculine energy/side (even for women. He was the one who gave his daughters, the Amazons, their manly characteristics).

Orphic Hymn 64-To Ares

The Fumigation from Frankincense.
Magnanimous, unconquer’d, boistrous Mars, in darts rejoicing, and in bloody wars
Fierce and untam’d, whose mighty pow’r can make the strongest walls from their foundations shake:
Mortal destroying king, defil’d with gore, pleas’d with war’s dreadful and tumultuous roar:
Thee, human blood, and swords, and spears delight, and the dire ruin of mad savage fight.
Stay, furious contests, and avenging strife, whose works with woe, embitter human life;
To lovely Kypris, and to Lyaios yield, to Deo give the weapons of the field;
Encourage peace, to gentle works inclin’d, and give abundance, with benignant mind.

Athena

athena

Athena is one of the favourite Goddesses of the Hellenic Pantheon. She is also one of the best known. Archetypically, Athena is the image of the woman who is in total connection with her masculine side, not afraid to show and use her power in a world ruled by men. Athena combines a crafty mind with wisdom, knowledge and strategy in battle. I remember that she was usually -and still is- referred to as “Zeus’s favourite daughter”, but getting to know her a bit better, I understood that she is so much more, she is a Goddess that can stand on her own and often plays a drastic role in the flow of history.

When the gods won against the Titans, Zeus, the new ruler slept with Metis, Oceanus’s daughter with Tithys. Metis was the Goddess of wisdom and prudeness. Zeus managed to sleep with her, although she was constantly trying to escape from him, as Thetis had done before her, by changing forms.

Zeus’s joy was not meant to last long, as he received news that Metis would bear him a daughter at first, who would be wise and brave as her father, and then a son who, being braver and cleverer than his father, would take his throne away. Zeus swallowed Metis -history repeats itself- and became “Metieta”, the deeply wise Zeus, as Homer often calls him. When the time arrived for Athena to be born, Zeus ordered Prometheus (or Hephaestus, according to others), to open his head with an axe. To everyone’s surprise, Athena came out of her father’s head with a war cry and in full armour. This is a unique birth in all mythology. Athena is by birth very close to her father, and she also inherited her mother’s prudence and both her parents’ wisdom, becoming Zeus’ favourite child.

Father and daughter may disagree in many cases with each other, but they always discuss and sort things out, both bringing up very strong arguments, with Athena speaking most of the times with plain wisdom and without personal passions. She always helps her father, except for one occassion due to a misunderstanding during the Trojan War, and she also manages to drastically help him against the Giants. It was Athena that put Engeladus down. (Engeladus is nowadays a word used in Greek for Earthquakes, coming from the giant’s strength when he was moving around). Athena threw the giant down and his body covered the whole Cicily. She also defeated the Titan Pallas and, as it is said, she covered her shield with his skin. These victories weren’t due to physical power, but the use of the right strategy that can lead to victory even against the most fearsome enemy. This belief was also followed by the Athenians, Athena’s protégés.

Athena co-operates with her brother Ares, from time to time, but they also disagree a lot with each other and fight, because, although she is a war Goddess, she likes to combine bravery with strategic planning and doesn’t like blood, if it is not totally necessary.

Athena always helps big heroes, people who are brave, sincere and with strong ethical codes, in their efforts. Perseus, Hercules, Tydeas, Odysseus and his son, Telemachus, all experienced firsthand how this Goddess stood by people who really deserved it. Hercules had chosen the path of virtue, Perseus had made great exploits and Odysseus is the greatest example of a man who managed to solve all kind of problems thanks to his strategy and wits.

The Goddess also protected the women who crafted things and their crafts, for example those women who weaved and spinned. The Goddess herself liked to weave and spin and the women of the Faeakes tribe honoured her so much that they were the best in these crafts. Athena protects artists and poets, people who use their logic and cleverness, like philosophers and rhetorics. As Athena “Ergane”, she protects anyone who creates with their hands and their minds. She is easy in finding solutions not only during peace, but during war as well.

She is the one who showed people how to plow and how to tame horses. It was thanks to her help that the ship of the Argonauts was built in Locus, by a sacred wood that had the ability to speak and prophesize (Hera helped her on this task), and the wooden horse during the Trojan War. Athena offered the idea to Odysseus to build a wooden horse that was empty and the Greek army could go in the inside. The horse was left as a present in front of the gate of Troy and the Greek ships started leaving. The Trojans thought that they had won the war and brought the horse inside the walls. In the night, when most Trojans were drunk and celebrating, the Greeks went out and this is how the war ended in favour of the Greeks after 10 years, thanks to a plan and not fighting.

Athena is also a Goddess of justice. In Areios Pagos, she was the one who founded the first jury, when Horestes was to be trialed. According to one version of the myth she was there during the trial and voted for Horestes, her vote helping in his innocence decision. This version of the myth also shows another circumstance in which Athena and Ares actually worked together.

The name Athena is pre-hellenic. Often it was accompanied by the epithet “Pallas”, which is etymologically connected to the root of words that relate to young girls. There is also an opinion that the name comes from the verb “pallw”, which means “swaying”, because she was swaying her spear. In Athens, Athena was simply the Parthenos (virgin), this is why her temple is named “Parthenon” (the Temple of the Virgin).

Athena1

On how Athena became the protectress of the city of Athens, there is a very well-known myth. Poseidon and Athena, both wanted to take Athens under their protection. The people of Athens were gathered on the Acropolis to choose between the two gods. The one who would offer the best present, would be the one that would forever be worshipped first in this city. Poseidon hit the soil with his trident and water started coming out. When Athena’s turn came, she hit her foot near the scars the trident had left on the soil and an olive tree came out, the first olive tree of the world…The people of Athens chose Athena to be their protectress, because the Olive Tree could cover many of their needs and also opened new possibilities. From then on, Attiki, although surrounded by sea, has not much water (This is why water comes from the artificial Marathon Lake) but it is rich in Olive Trees that are very strong trees that don’t need much water. Thus, the city took Athena’s name and became a city well known for finding strategic solutions to any difficult situation caused by the environment or people around. It is said that the Persians burnt down the Holy Olive Tree on the Acropolis in 480BC, but the next day a new vivid branch had already come out.

Athena Promachus

Not all myths refer to Athena as Zeus’ daughter. According to one version of the myth, Athena was brought up by Triton, a Sea God, who also had another daughter, Pallas who was Athena’s friend. Both girls liked war exercises and practiced together. One day they quarreled and started fighting. Pallas was ready to strike Athena, but Zeus, watching from above, and afraid that his daughter would be hurt, protected her with his shield. Pallas was startled, Athena found a chance to hit, but her strike was so strong that Pallas ended up dead. Deep in sorrow for her best friend’s death, Athena hung her father’s shield on her chest in order to remember and always honour Pallas and she also made a statuette depicting her, that Athena always carried with her. Zeus threw this statuette one day, the Palladion, it fell in Troy, was carried to Athens and placed in the Parthenon Temple.

Athena also killed another terrifying giant (apart from those she had killed during the war between the giants and the gods), Pallas (again the same name), she skinned him and wore his skin on her chest to be protected during battle. There is also another myth, about Flegra, a place where Giants and gods fought against each other. A terrifying monster, Gaia’s daughter, Gorgona (this is the Greek name for mermaids as well, but in Greek mythology, Gorgons were earth or sea monsters, not at all benevolent towards people) helped the Giants. Athena is said to have killed and skinned her as well, making her shield with Gorgona’s skin. She then gave Erichthonios as a gift for the people of Athens two vials with Gorgona’s blood in them, that had double power; The left vial of blood would bring death and the right would bring life.

These myths are older versions. Athena is often depicted holding a shield with Gorgonion (Gorgona’s head) on it, as a protective symbol, because she was the one who had helped Perseus kill Medusa, a very powerful mermaid. Everyone who would look into Medusa’s eyes would be turned to stone. Perseus used a shield and he managed to look at her through her reflection, with Athena helping him, not only by giving him the idea, but also by guiding his hand. Perseus managed to cut off Medusa’s head and used it against his enemies, freeing Andromeda, for example who was to be eaten by a sea monster. Later, Perseus offered Medusa’s head to Athena and she put it on her shield, petrifying any enemy standing in front of her. The Gorgonion, Medusa’s head was used as a protecting talisman, hanged above doors. It would protect the house not only from unwanted visitors, but also against evil spirits.

Athena showed the Kouretes a war dance, Purrichios, still danced by people in Greece.

For these and other war interventions, Athena is called “Promachus”, the first in battle, the one standing in the front.

Athena Soteira

Athena Soteira (Saviour) is another attribute of this great Goddess. Athena protected and saved all those who were following her path. She was there to help Hercules when Hera was chasing him, Jason during the Argonautic Campaign, Horestes when he was hunted down by Erinnyes (The Furies), Achilles, Diomedes, the Atreides (Menelaus and Agamemnon) and many other heroes during the Trojan war.

She also protected women during pregnancy and labour. This is why, although Athena is said to be a virgin, many women find that the image of the Mother fits her the best.

Athena was considered to be a Storm Goddess; this is why a lightning or a rose cloud appeared over the shoulders of those protected by her during battle. Athena is also connected to war technology, because she was behind the creation of many war machines and weapons.

Athena Ergane

Athena had learnt crafting from the Cyclops. And after she had learnt, she along with Hephaestus taught people how they could use fire in order to craft useful things. They also taught them to spin and weave, grow Olive Trees and mill its fruits, how to build houses, make ships, tame horses and make chariots, construct weapons and tools, medicines and art work. Athena was the one who taught the first woman, Pandora, the art of weaving. Athena had weaved the first fabrics and dressed up Hera, so that Zeus would go mad for her grace, Medea so Jason would fall in love with her, and Hercules for freeing his country from Minyes.

Another well-known myth about Athena is the one that narrates the story of Arachne (greek for Spider). Arachne was so good at weaving that she once boasted that she could weave better than Athena, thus committing hubris. Athena challenged her in a weaving match. According to one version, Arachne actually weaved better than Athena, however she had depicted a scene showing the gods’ infidelities and Athena became enraged at Arachne’s disrespect towards the gods.

No matter the version, though, comparing yourself to a God and actually taking the challenge to prove that you are better is hubris enough and will lead to one’s doom. Athena didn’t want to kill the girl, so she transformed the young woman into a spider, so that she would weave forever.

All these myths and their versions show that Athena was indeed a very old Goddess, who passed through many developing stages in the Hellenic mythology. Some say that she was a Minoan or Mycenean Goddess, who came with the form of Pallas to Greece when those two civilizations were declined. Pallas was some sort of a Valkyrie, a Patron Goddess of war and tribe protectress. Her personality went through many changes after she became Athens’ patroness and this is when she started being depicted as a Virgin Goddess.

Apart from Polias (‘of the City’), Parthenos (‘Virgin’), Promachos (‘Champion’), Ergane (‘Worker’), and Nike (‘Victory’), Athena has many more epithets and aspects; Aeantis, Aethyia, Ageleia, Agoraea, Agripha, Akraia, Akria, Alalkomeneis, Alea, Alkimakhe, Amboulias, Anemotis, Apatouria, Areia, Asia, Axiopoinos, Boarmia, Boulaia, Contriver, Damasippos, Dea Soteira, Ergane, Erysiptolis, Glaukopis, Gorgopis, Hephaistia, Hippia, Hippolaitis, Hygieia, Itonia, Keleuthea, Khalinitis, Khalkeia, Kissaea, Kledoukhos, Koria, Koryphasia, Kranaia, Kydonian, Kyparissa, Laossoos, Laphria, Larisaea, Leitis, Lemnia, Mekhanitis, Metros, Narkaea, Nike, Nikephoros, Onga, Ophthalmitis, Optiletis, Oxyderkes, Paeonia, Pallas, Panakhaia, Pania, Pareia, Parthenos, Phratria, Polias, Poliatas, Polyboulos, Polymetis, Poliykhos, Promakhorma, Promakhos, Pronaia, Pronoia, Pylaitis, Saitis, Salpinx, Skira, Sthenias, Soteira, Souniados, Taurobolos, Telkhinia, Tithrones, Tritogeneia, Xenia, Zosteria

athena (1)

Working with Athena

Sanctuaries: Parthenon is the most renown Temple of Athena, on the Acropolis of Athens. There are many temples devoted to her all over Greece. Another temple of Athena is situated in Delphi, not the main archaeological area of the Oracle, but a bit further. Athena was worshipped there as Gaia’s successor, a Goddess of prophesies, healing and protection. A third well known temple was in Sparta, where Athena Chalkioikos was worshiped, as a war goddess and patroness of the country.

Day: Friday, Freya’s day seems a very suitable day to work with Athena, since those two Goddesses have many aspects in common and also Tuesday, the day devoted to Mars, if we want Athena’s help with any struggles we face, with Ares or not. (I always work with both of them on Tuesdays)

Flowers/Trees: Geranium, tiger lily, oak, cypress, olive tree, Hellebore (Christmas and Lenten roses), and citrus trees.

Stones/Metals: Onyx, ruby, star sapphire, turquoise, gold, lapis lazuli, and ivory.

Sabbat: none specific

Incense: Patchouli, dragon’s blood, musk, indigo, orange blossom, cinnamon, and cedarwood.

Animals: Owl (wisdom), dove (victory), ram, eagle, tiger, leopard, and other cats.

Symbols: Sun, golden shield and helmet, spear, spindle, bowl, intertwined snakes, the Parthenon, the seven auras, and the number 7 and also number 8 (depending on her aspects. 7 is more about wisdom and knowledge while 8 is more about her as a war Goddess), New clothing, olives, oak.

Colours: Gold, orange, yellow, emerald green, and royal blue.

Aspects: protection, victory, courage and leadership. Her symbols are new clothing, olives, owls and the oak.  Among the Greeks, especially the Athenians, Athena was the great protectress, standing for personal discipline and prowess, especially in battles. When you find your self-control lacking or you need the courage to withstand a storm, Athena stands ready to come to the rescue.

Athena is depicted in Hellenic Art bearing a spear, wearing a breastplate and accompanied by an owl. Many statues of her have her eyes coloured light blue. Athena was renown for the colour of her eyes. She is also the patroness of spinners and many other forms of craftspeople who work with their hands.

Types of spells: for courage, finding justice, victory in “fights”, working to gain our position as women even in masculine environments, feminine power and leadership, inspiration in any art and craft, finding the right words to speak about something, protection during pregnancy and labour, better communication with our fathers. She is also there when we want to find a clever solution to a problem. Last but not least, Athena can help with healing spells, especially women and also with oracle and divination spells.

Offerings: The greatest celebration in Athena’s honour were the Panathinaia. The unmarried girls of the city of Athens sewed together a very long veil and carried it from the Ancient Agora to the top of Acropolis and into the Parthenon. The veil was put on a huge statue made of ivory and gold and stayed there for a year. This was also the greatest celebration of Athens and many people arrived from all over the world. New clothes, a handmade veil are suitable offerings to Athena. Also anything that has to do with olives and olive oil, her sacred plant and her greatest blessing.

Orphic Hymn 31-To Pallas Athena

A Hymn.
Only-Begotten, noble race of Zeus, blessed and fierce, who joy’st in caves to rove:
O, warlike Pallas, whose illustrious kind, ineffable and effable we find:
Magnanimous and fam’d, the rocky height, and groves, and shady mountains thee delight:
In arms rejoicing, who with Furies dire and wild, the souls of mortals dost inspire.
Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind, dire Gorgons bane, unmarried, blessed, kind:
Mother of arts, imperious; understood, rage to the wicked., wisdom to the good:
Female and male, the arts of war are thine, fanatic, much-formed

Drakaina, divine:
Over the Phlegrean giants rous’d to ire, thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
Tritogeneia, of splendid mien, purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
Hear me, O Goddess, when to thee I pray, with supplicating voice both night and day,
And in my latest hour, peace and health, propitious times, and necessary wealth,
And, ever present, be thy vot’ries aid, O, much implored, arts’ parent, blue eyed maid.

Hades and Poseidon

Published 10 June 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

The 12 Basic Ancient Greek Gods.

There are 12 basic gods in the Greek pantheon. Some confuse those 12 basic gods with the gods that live on Olympus mountain. This is a confusion often made but here we’re going to examine the 12 gods that are considered basic and are connected to each other through relativity.

Hades and Poseidon

Hades

Hades1

Concerning the underworld and the gods, in every single Greek city there were many different aspects and beliefs. Homer’s epics “Iliad”and “Odysseia” referred to the greatest of them, Hades. Hades is Kronos’ s son and Zeus’s and Poseidon’s brother. He along with his brothers fought against their father and gained the reign of the world. Sovereignty was shared among them. Little by little his name became one and the same with the place where he ruled, that is the underworld.

In the beginning Hermes used to take the deads’ souls to the underworld, thus his name “Psychopomp” but later on in many places they believed that Charon, the ferryman used to take the dead on his boat and from there he transferred them to the underworld. This is why ancient Greeks used to put the coin on each of the dead’s eye, so that they would be able to move across.

At first Zeus managed to leave despite his father’s will to kill him. Then, using a drug by Mitis, he made his father vomit his brothers and his sisters and this is how the war between gods and the Titans started. Zeus had the Cyclops on his side who gave him the most powerful weapon, the lightning, and they gave Poseidon the Trident. The third brother, Hades took from the Cyclops the “Kyneen” (“Κυνέην”), a helmet, that made anyone wearing it invisible, but at the same time he could see very clearly. When the war against the Titans was over, the three brothers made a draw in order to share the world. Zeus took the reign of the heavens, becoming the king and ruler of gods and humans, Poseidon took the reign of the seas and Hades became the ruler of the underworld.

The underworld was a vast fenced area under the earth where someone could enter from a gate that was guarded by Kerberus, a three headed dog who let you get in but let nobody get out. It is said that Hades gave the keys of the gate to Aiakos, who was a well-known hero, the most respectful of all, and the only one whose prayers were listened to by the gods when Aiakos was still alive. In order to get to Hades’ doors, the dead had to pass the river Acheron and Lake Acherousia in a boat, with Charon as a ferryman. People used to put a coin on the dead’s eyes for them to be able to pay the ferryman. The river and the lake were a part of the upper world. There was only one kind of water in the underworld that came out from a rock, Styx, which was holy water where the gods took vows. Styx was a name feared by gods and humans alike.

There were many places in the upper world, the so-called “Hades mouths”, where the believers went and prayed in order to be forgiven by the gods of the underworld. There were also temples where the believers could communicate with the dead. There are also myths about heroes who managed to go to the underworld and get out of there alive. Homer describes such an adventure of Odysseus who travelled to the underworld and spoke to his dead mother and received prophecy. It was said that for the dead to appear one had to offer a sacrifice of blood. It was easier for the gods to travel down there, like for example Dionysus, who had to go to the underworld and bring back his mother, Semele.

Hades’ name in ancient Greek means “invisible”, “the one who cannot be seen”. This is because of the Myth that speaks of the sacred helmet that could make Hades invisible. This helmet was also used by Athena, during the Trojan war because she didn’t want to be seen by Ares, when the hero Diomides won a battle with her standing beside him. This name was used for the God from then on making other names of him disappear, although Hades is also known as the one who has many names (“Polyonymos > Πολυώνυμος > πολύ (many) + όνομα (name)). Some of these names are “the mighty King who receives many” (because he received all the dead), “the one who rules many”, “untamed”.

Hades had mighty horses on his carriage and he could appear and take a man on the carriage or the horse. These horses were godly, one-of-a-kind, unbeatable in speed and cleverness. At that point, when Hades himself took the dead, Hermes was not yet the psychopomp God, who escorted the souls to Charon.

Hades was also called Zeus of the underworld, but this myth is not related to the one about the draw.

People used to give Hades many other names as a euphemism, in order to gain the god’s good will and because they were afraid to call Hades by his name. After his wedding to Persephone, Hades was named “Plouton” that has to do with riches as the God was believed to have become benevolent towards people, a giver of what can be found under the earth, like metals, seeds etc.

The followers of Mystic cults were the ones who were more interested in the afterlife, used special specific names for the God that could only be known and explained by the ones who followed the cult. Among these names is the name that means “great Hunter”, that those of the Orphic cult considered Hades to be another personification of Dionysus, a God who was very benevolent towards people. They also had their own teachings about the afterlife and the used to give the believers Golden sheets with information on the underworld traps and guidelines on their trip in the underworld.

Hades is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, Demeter, Hera and Hestia. He is the son of Rhea and Cronus who were titans. His father devoured his children and Zeus made him disgorge them. After they broke free, the war between Titans and Gods began. The Cyclops gave Zeus the thunderbolt, Poseidon the trident and Hades the Cyni, a magickal helmet that made him invisible to both men and Gods. After they defeated the Titans and overthrew their father, the three brothers made a draw and so Zeus became the king of Heavens, of all men and Gods, Poseidon ruler of the seas and earth and Hades the Lord of the Underworld and the Dead.

hades-and-persephone-matthew-kocvara

The Artwork of the picture is from by by Matthew Kocvara

He once asked Zeus for a wife and his brother proposed Persephone, daughter of Demeter. Hades went out of the Underworld in his black chariot, drawn by four black horses and kidnapped Persephone who was gathering flowers in Cicely with Her friend Oceanis. He drove the chariot Underground, but before the earth closed behind them, she let out a cry that was heard in Olympus. Her mother heard it and began searching for her daughter with Hecate. Only the Sun knew where Persephone was and when Demeter found out She asked Zeus to make Hades give her back. (“Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honour, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells.-“Homeric Hymn to Demeter).

Hades told them that Persephone had eaten a pomegranate from the Underworld, so she could never return. In the mid time Persephone had fallen in love with him. At last, because Demeter insisted and threatened not to let anything grow on Earth, a pact was made, according to which Persephone would stay for six (or four) months with Her husband and the rest of the time with Her mother. After He got married to Persephone, Hades became softer and He took the name “Pluton” (=rich), because of the seeds and minerals he offered the people. Most probably the version that stands right is the one about the six months and also Persephone was not raped by Hades, but she came to love him and became his honorable wife. She was the queen of the underworld to whom people prayed in order to be sent to a good place after their deaths.

The only ones who are said to have made it to the Underworld and back alive were Ulysses (trying to find seer Tiresias) , Orpheus (Hades agreed on him taking back Eurydice, but he shouldn’t look back until they were on earth. Orpheus thought that Eurydice called him, he turned behind and she stayed there) and Hercules (He injured Hades in the shoulder with an arrow and the God had to go to Olympus, where he was treated by Peion, the Gods’ healer, with a magickal balm.)

Although He is an Olympian God, he spends most of his time in his underground kingdom. He lives there with his wife, Persephone and Hecate, Persephone’s companion, Erinyes (Deities of punishment), Kires (guides of the soul or punishing demons), Ati (mind blindness when someone had offended the Gods), Nemesis (Gods’ punishment) and the three Fates. He judged the souls of the dead with three other judges, Minoas, Aiakos and Rodamanthes.

According to some sayings, Hades (the kingdom named by the ruler God) was divided into the court, Helyssia Pedia where the souls of the heroes and the good people went, Purgatory, where the souls of those who had done no harm went and Tartarus, the place for the evil souls, where they were punished. According to others, all the souls were in one place and the evil ones were punished in front of all the others.

There were three rivers that met in the Underworld; Aheron, the river of sorrow (the souls travelled to the Underworld by a boat driven by Haron. This river gave water to the thirsty Titans, so Zeus made it bitter after the Gods won the war), Styx, the hateful river and Kokytus, the river of mourning. Later another river was added made by the flames of volcanoes. It is said that there were to entrances to the Underworld. One through the Aheron river and Aherousia lake, in Thesprotia and another one in Peloponnese through Kokytus river and lake Styx. The necromancies were built there.

The dead drank from the fountain of forgetting, in order to forget their loved living ones and the happiness of life.

Magickal Working with Hades

Sanctuaries: Nysis, Opus, Troizina and Helida (in Helida there was also a temple of the God, which opened once a year and only his priest would enter).

Day: There is no special day on which Hades should be honoured, so all days seem proper. I prefer Saturday, a day devoted to Saturn and lessons that have to be learned.

Flowers/Trees: His favourite tree is cypress, his favourite herb is Maidenhair and his personal flower is narcissus.

Fragnance: Cypress tree

Stones: Hades is said to be sitting on an Ebony Throne, so Ebony along with any Blackstone are appropriate, especially on banishment spells.

Foods: Pomegranate, which is a fruit bringing abundance, long life and fertility and also garlic, which is connected to spells and rites involving the underworld or the spirits of the dead. As he was a God of Earth (Chtonios), any seed growing underground is appropriate.

Sabbat: The most suitable Sabbat is of course Samhain, as Hades is an underworld Deity and the Lord of the dead and death.

Metals: Any metal will do, as Hades is a giver of metals.

Offerings: People used to offer him black animals (sheep, taurus, ram) in the night. The blood of the animal would drip in a pit or in the ground near the Altar. The animal’s face would be turned to face the earth and they would be bound in black laces. The priest would open the animal’s belly with a knife of Ebony handle and his face averted. Then the animal would be burnt whole. Since animals cannot be sacrificed anymore and in most aspects of magick, animal sacrifice is no longer acceptable, offerings of Pomegranate and corn seem right, especially if buried underground.

Types of spells: banishment and new beginnings, guidance and support in death, abundance, fertility and protection.

A bit more on him:

Hades was very strict and sometimes ruthless, but He was not a bad God or an evil one. We tend to see him as dark and eminent, because of our fear of death and our concept of it as a bad thing. After he got married to Persephone, Hades became softer and more giving.


He is known by many names; Adamantine, because of his strong will, Neleus (Νηλεύς=ruthless), Pulartes (Πυλάρτης=guardian of the gates), Eubulus (Εύβουλος=Good willing), and Zeus Cthonios (Cthonios=of the Earth), so that he could be distinguished from his brother. His name Pluton (Πλούτων=rich) was given to him either
as a euphimism, or because of the riches that come from underground (seeds, minerals) that he gives the people. The Underworld was named Hades after him.
He is depicted similar to Zeus and Poseidon, only with longer hair and with Cerberus, the three-headed dog, sitting at His feet. He holds the keys of the underworld. He has a chariot drawn by four black horses and a helmet (given to him by the Cyclops for the war) that makes him invisible. He also holds a scepter with an eagle on top. His name Hades (α-ιδειν) means exactly that.

Orphic Hymn 17-To Hades

Hades, magnanimous, whose realms profound are fix’d beneath the firm and solid ground,
In the Tartarian plains remote from fight, and wrapt forever in the depths of night;
Zeus Khthonios, thy sacred ear incline, and, pleas’d, accept thy mystic’s hymn divine.
Earth’s keys to thee, illustrious king belong, its secret gates unlocking, deep and strong.
‘Tis thine, abundant annual fruits to bear, for needy mortals are thy constant care.
To thee, great king, Avernus is assign’d, the seat of Gods, and basis of mankind.
Thy throne is fix’d in Hades’s dismal plains, distant, unknown to rest, where darkness reigns;
Where, destitute of breath, pale spectres dwell, in endless, dire, inexorable hell;
And in dread Acheron, whose depths obscure, earth’s stable roots eternally secure.
O mighty dæmon, whose decision dread, the future fate determines of the dead,
With captive Proserpine [Kore], thro’ grassy plains, drawn in a four-yok’d car with loosen’d reins,
Rapt o’er the deep, impell’d by love, you flew ’till Eleusina’s city rose to view;
There, in a wond’rous cave obscure and deep, the sacred maid secure from search you keep,
The cave of Atthis, whose wide gates display an entrance to the kingdoms void of day.
Of unapparent works, thou art alone the dispensator, visible and known.
O pow’r all-ruling, holy, honor’d light, thee sacred poets and their hymns delight:
Propitious to thy mystic’s works incline, rejoicing come, for holy rites are thine.

Poseidon

Poseidon2

Poseidon is Kronos’s and Rhea’s son and Zeus’ and Hades’ brother. The three brothers have equal rights in the world this is why when the time comes to share it, they find that a draw is the best solution. Poseidon takes the sea.

Poseidon has two palaces; one on Olympus mountain, built by Hephaestus like all the other gods had, so that he can take part in every discussion of the gods. The other Palace, which is even greater and more luxurious is found deep in the sea and there the god passes his days and nights beside Amphitrite, his wife. It is said that his sea Palace is in the Aegean Sea, but nobody knows where exactly it is situated.

In the epic “Iliad”, Poseidon is one of the most respected gods and he is in the team of the oldest gods, along with Hera and Zeus. All the other gods belong to the second generation. Of course Zeus is the oldest and also the most important god, since he’s the ruler of gods and humans and this is why when he arrives tired on Mount Olympus Poseidon helps him get down from his horses. This doesn’t prohibit Poseidon though, when Zeus wants the gods to do what he says, to protest against his brother, although without any result. In the epic “Odyssey”, Poseidon is the only one who hunts Odysseus, because the hero had blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus. Again, since the will of Zeus was different he didn’t manage to prohibit the hero from returning home.

As a sea God, Poseidon can travel on his golden chariot on the waves that gladly open when he passes and they don’t even wet it. At the same time dolphins come out from the depths of the sea swimming around the god’s chariot. Poseidon’s son Orion had also the ability to walk on the sea without sinking, a present given to him by his father.

Poseidon used his Trident to create huge waves or, if he wanted, to make the sea calm. Faiakes’ boats (Faiakes were a sea tribe) would also fly on the waves as fast as a human can think. In the end the God was very displeased with them and he turned their boat into stone a little before it arrived at the port because they had helped Odysseus go back home.

In the Trojan war Poseidon works along with Hera and Athena to help the Greeks and this is why she tries to do anything to make Zeus’ plans unfruitful when he thought that his brother was on the Trojans’ side.

Many unexpected giants and dragons are Poseidon’s children. This relativity between him and those monsters is probably due to the connections people made to the God before he was considered to be a sea God. At first Poseidon was probably an Earth God (Cthonios), something that is shown a) by his name itself (Πόσις= husband + Δα=Earth), b) by the epithets that Homer gives the God to bind him to the Earth and not with the sea, like Gaieochos (the one who carries the Earth), Enosechthon and Enosegaios (the one who shakes the Earth), since he is believed to also create the earthquakes, c) by his relation to the underworld, since Hesiod says that he is the one who encarcerates the Titans in the dark Tartarus and d) the fact that even when he becomes a sea God he never stops being related to unsalted waters of rivers, fountains and lakes.

All these facts show that we are dealing with a very old God who was believed to live deep underground and rule the Earth, shaking her furiously whenever he got angry. The Spartans prayed to him every time an earthquake happened.

In Thessaly people used to believe that Poseidon let the first horse come out into the world hitting a rock with his Trident and this is why he took the name “Petraios” (Rocky). When gods used to have an animal form as well, Poseidon was honored with the form of a horse. This is why another name of his is “Ippios” (one related to horses). In Arcadia there was also another myth about Poseidon, that when Demeter wanted to escape, she became a she-horse, and he took the form of a stallion in order to mate with her. A horse was born by them, Areion. In another tradition of Thessaly, the God is said to have mated with one of Aiolus’s daughters, Melanippe (black horse). Pegasus, the flying horse was Poseidon’s son with Medusa.

The God is also related to Taurus. He is supposed to have sent the taurus Hercules caught in Crete and then Theseus killed in Marathon, because he wanted to punish Minoas who didn’t respect Poseidon as he should although his power was based on the sea. Poseidon also sent a Taurus that, coming suddenly out of the sea, scared Ippolytos’ horses and killed him.

Poseidon was a son of Cronus and Rhea. He was swallowed by Cronus at birth, as his father was afraid of an omen that his children would take his throne. He was later saved, with his other brothers and sisters, by Zeus. However, in some versions of the story, he, like his brother Zeus, did not share the fate of his other brother and sisters who were eaten by Cronus. He was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which she gave to Cronus to devour.

Poseidon with his siblings partook of the war against the Titans when they were defeated and the Gods took their places. After their winning, the three brothers (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades shared the authorities and Poseidon took the reign of Sea and Earth. Polybotes was a Giant who fought Poseidon in their war against the Gods. He was pursued by the God across the sea and crushed beneath the rock of Nisyros which formed the tip of the island of Kos (Cos).

The Ketos Aethiopos (or Ethiopian Cetus) was a sea-monster sent by Poseidon to ravage the land of Aithiopia as punishment for Queen Kassiopeia’s hubristic boast that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereides. To assuage the wrath of the sea-gods, the girl was chained to the rocks as a sacrificial offering and feast for the dragon.

It was at this time that Perseus was flying back to Greece with the head of Medusa. He spied the girl, flew down, slew the monster and carried her off to be his bride. Some say the hero turned the monster to stone, a rock which ancient tourists were shown near the Lebanese town of Joppa. The Sea-Monster, along with Perseus, Andromeda, and her parents King Kepheus and Queen Kassiopeia, were all placed amongst the stars of the sky as Constellations.

His name meant “Husband of the Earth”, and as a consort to the Titan Great Goddess Gaia (Mother Earth), Poseidon was originally worshipped as a fertility god.

In the first years of His rule, the young Zeus proved to be an impetuous and arrogant ruler, and everyone was rather displeased with his performance. Poseidon, never quite satisfied with playing “second fiddle” to his brother, recruited the others to overthrow the government. They did manage to capture and immobilize Zeus, but he quickly managed to escape and foil their plot. For punishment, Poseidon was banished from his home. He and Apollo were sentenced to a year of manual labor building the great wall around Troy while working disguised as mortals.

Poseidon_sculpture_Copenhagen_2005

The king of Troy, Laomedon, had promised to pay the gods with vines of gold when the wall was finished but failed to keep his end of the bargain. Poseidon was infuriated and sent a sea monster to punish the city, but the monster was killed by Heracles (Hercules). But Poseidon held a grudge for a long time. During the Trojan war, Poseidon was delighted to fight on the side of the Greeks. In an act of kindness (or perhaps he just had a keen eye for talent).

He spared the life of the young warrior Aenas by hiding him away so that he would live to rule the Trojans in the future.

Never quite satisfied with what he already had, Poseidon was always looking to expand his domain. Consequently, he was often quarrelling and competing with the other Olympians. He rarely won these disputes.

One of the most notorious episodes was his quarrel with the goddess Athena over who would “rule” the city of Athens. It was decided that there would be a competition and the one who gave the finest present to the people of the city would win. Poseidon stuck his trident (spear) into a rock, which split open and began to spew out water. Athena gave them an olive tree. Unfortunately for Poseidon the spring water was brackish and not of much use, as Poseidon, having lived for a long time under sea, had forgotten that humans only drink fresh water, so Athena won. Angry with the citizens’ decision, Poseidon flooded the plains surrounding the city. They say this is the reason for Attiki to have a lack of waters, but be full of olive trees.

Poseidon rode over the surface of the sea in a chariot made of a huge sea-shell, which was drawn by great sea-horses with golden hoofs and manes. At the approach of the God, the waves would grow quiet, and strange fish and huge sea-serpents and sea-lions would come to the surface to play about his chariot. Wonderful creatures called Tritons went before and beside his chariot, blowing upon shells as trumpets. These Tritons had green hair and eyes; their bodies were like those of men, but instead of legs they had tails like fishes. Nymphs also swam along by the sea-god’s chariot. Some of these were like the Tritons, half human and half fish. Others were like lovely maidens, with fair faces and hair. Some lived so much in the depths of the sea that their soft blue eyes could not bear the light of day. So they never left the water except in the evening, when they would find some quiet place upon the shore, and dance to the music which they made upon delicate sea-shells.

Poseidon ravished Medusa, a beautiful priestess, on the floor of a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. The hapless girl was then changed into the mythical creature called Medusa, a monstrous mythical creature called a Gorgon.

Magickal Working with Poseidon

Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea. His Etruscan equivalent is Neptuns from whom the Roman Neptun(us), then Neptune, came.

Day: I haven’t found a specific day, but Tuesday was fine. Poseidon made me want

to offer him something on days when things did not start very well.

Flower: Pine and rock-rose are plants sacred to him.

Fragrance: I worked with him using sage, as I haven’t found anything special and pine oil, as it is a tree sacred to him.

Crystals: Emerald, Beryl, Aquamarine, pearls and coral are his favorite crystals/gems.

Foods: As He is a God of the sea, fish is a favourite food and all sea-food, but he was also a fertility God, so every fruit of Earth is also appropriate.

Sabbats: All the major Sabbats seem to be appropriate to honor Poseidon.

Metals: No metals are linked to Poseidon. Unlike to Sedna, whenever I thought of metals while working with Poseidon, I got an image of decay, except for Titanium.

Aspects: Poseidon is a sea God, but he was also venerated in the Pre-Olympian Bronze Age in Pylos and Thebes as a fertility God. He was also a God of all the Sea-life, protector of the sailors. As a God of Earth, He created earthquakes. He was vengeful and of a quick temper. He was the God of horses.

Offerings: I offered sea-shells, sand, salt and fruit. I ate a lot of fish while working with him. In older times his priests, along with those of Athena, used to offer them honeycomb.

Circumstance: Poseidon is connected to travelling, especially by ship, so he is a protector for those who travel. He is also connected to the sea life and life on Earth, and also to intelligence, magick, divination and illusion. He is good to work with for those purposes, and for mental and emotional cleansing. He can teach us how to stand our ground, but one should be careful not to become vengeful or ask for retribution. Knowledge is also one of his domains. We can work with him in order to predict or control weather, or to ask for fertility and abundance. He offers protection during earthquakes.

His symbols are the Trident, the Horses, the fish, the dolphin and the bull.

Orphic Hymn 16-To Poseidon

The Fumigation from Myrrh
Hear, Poseidon, ruler of the sea profound, whose liquid grasp begirts the solid ground;
Who, at the bottom of the stormy main, dark and deep-bosom’d, hold’st thy wat’ry reign;
Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears, and ocean’s utmost bound, thy will reveres:
Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide, from whose dark locks the briny waters glide;


Whose voice loud founding thro’ the roaring deep, drives all its billows, in a raging heap;
When fiercely riding thro’ the boiling sea, thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey.
Earth shaking, dark-hair’d God, the liquid plains Moira to thee ordains,
‘Tis thine, cærulian dæmon, to survey well pleas’d the monsters of the ocean play,
Confirm earth’s basis, and with prosp’rous gales waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails;
Add gentle Eirene, and fair-hair’d Hygeia beside, and pour abundance in a blameless tide.

In Love and Light always,

E.I.

picture from Google

Zeus and Hera

Published 9 June 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

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Zeus

Zeus

Zeus was brought to Greece by the Hellenes when they arrived in the Balcanic Peninsula at around 2000 BC. It was meant for them to leave their forever. He was a very ancient god of the blue skies and we find his name in other Indo-European peoples like the Hindu, the Latin etc. Thus Zeus must have been worshiped since the third millennia BC when those peoples lived together and united and they spoke the same language. His name derives from the root div- that means sky. Also the phrase “Zeus, father” can be found in other peoples too, so this phrase and its meaning of having a divine father in the sky is also very ancient.

We find Zeus in the Homeric epics. In Iliad he is the father of gods and humans alike. He has his palace in Olympus mountain and from there he rules the whole world. Sometimes instead of Olympus mountain the sky is referred to instead. This doesn’t create the problem, as Olympus mountain is so high that it’s supposed to be one with the sky. All the gods of Olympus mountain sometimes are referred to as living in the heavens. Because of his position as the ruler of the whole world the epithets we find about him show his Majesty, his power, his strength, and his sovereignty. Some of these epithets are “Hypatos”, which means “higher than everyone”, “Megistos” which means “bigger than everyone”and “Aristos”, an epithet with a very specific meaning in Greek, this is “the bravest of all and the one with supreme ethics”.

All the kings of the world are in some way his descendents and under his protection, as it happens in almost every culture with a ruler King god. This is why the kings are called “Diotrefes”, which means “nurtured by Zeus”, “Diogenes”, which means “descendent of Zeus”and “Diifiloi”, which means “loving Zeus/being friends with Zeus”. The root of his name is the same we find in Latin in the word “Deus” which means “god”. Later on, when Kings institution was abolished Zeus became the Guardian of society and state no matter who rules, the aristocrats or the people.

Zeus was also the protector of the house and the yard. His Altar was in the yard and sacrifices were made by the chief of the family. His Altar, as all of them, was a sacred place devoted to gods and when Zeus wanted to find shelter, he went there, touched it and nobody could harm him. He also protected the cellars against thieves. In Greece, even until now, there are some snakes that do no harm but live in the houses and they are believed to also protect them. It is not strange that sometimes Zeus was depicted having the form of a snake.

In Greece, Zeus was worshipped as a god who was benevolent and calm towards people, so many times they asked him to change the weather or give them riches. Zeus was worshipped in the beginning of spring in a feast called “Diasia” and this shows not only his connection to abundance but also the fact that he was considered to be a god who was really close to the people.

For this long period when the laws were still unwritten, it was Zeus who protected the poor, the stranger, the fugitive, the supplicant. Zeus was also called “Xenios”, and epithets meaning the protector of the guest. In ancient Greece, receiving a guest and giving him shelter had a very special procedure and it was considered to be under the protection of the gods and especially Zeus. When someone came to somebody’s house, they were obliged to receive him, give him shelter, give him food, have him in the house for as long as possible or until his goal was fulfilled and then exchange gifts of hospitality, something that made the host and the guest friends forever. Sometimes even athletic games were organized by the host to honor the guest. If someone maltreated a guest, or refused to offer hospitality, they were punished by Zeus.

Zeus was also the protector of vows. his rage fell upon anyone who couldn’t keep their word. This is why he was called as a witness whenever a vow was made.

Of course at the beginning, gods had many human characteristics and they were not ethicality perfect. Zeus was no exception of that rule. Ethical perfection is something we find as the years pass by and gods are wanted to be something better and bigger than man. We find Zeus being a protector of justice and ethical behavior in Iliad. There he is angry with people who judge in courts but without justice and without taking god’s words seriously. Zeus being higher than any other god led little by little to monotheism. As a god who could change the weather and was the ruler of the thunderbolt, he used his abilities not only to benefit people when he was asked to, but also to punish them when they did something wrong, that is by hitting someone with a thunderbolt or by sending downpours down on earth.

Thus, Zeus was the god who also sent the winds, the clouds, rain, hazel, snow, the lightning and the thunder on earth either for good or bad. This is why in the Homeric epics we find many epithets of Zeus that have to do with gathering the clouds, making the clouds black, sending storms, thunders etc., but also sending a cool breeze during the summer or little summer downpours. The rain waters were called “the waters of Zeus” and he was the one the Athenians were praying to when they wanted some rain.

Also in Argolida, people used to sacrifice in Zeus’ and Hera’s honour when it hadn’t rained for a long time. In Arcadia in periods of drought, the priest climbed a sacred mountain where a fountain existed, to pray, offer sacrifice and then he used an oak branch to steer the fountain waters. Soon enough a blurry mist started going higher and higher, it became a cloud and then rain would come.

In the island of Aigina there is a temple of worship dedicated to Zeus the Hellanius, which is said to have been built by all Greeks together after a long period of drought. It was common for Zeus to be worshiped on the tops of mountains, as this is the place where the first clouds always appear, which means that rain will come for sure.

Zeus has a mighty weapon at his disposal; the thunderbolt, which makes him invincible, feared by gods and humans alike. This is the weapon he uses in order to win against the Titans, this is the weapon he uses to make the gods follow his orders and this is the weapon he uses when he wants to punish people. In the Archaic period he was very often depicted holding the thunderbolt in his right hand. The eagle became his sacred animal because no other bird no matter how high it flies could be so close to the thunderbolts, and the Eagle like no other bird resembles the thunderbolt falling on Earth, as the eagle dives very quickly in order to catch its prey.

It was natural, since Zeus is the weather god, to give signs through natural and weather changes. This was not the only way for Zeus to speak to the people, though. He also used dreams, the flying of the birds and many other ways. His greatest temple was in Dodoni. It is said in Iliad that his priests, Selloi, left their feet unwashed and they slept on the soil, and that the priestesses were called Pellies.

These priests or priestesses gave divinations after having heard the noise of the leaves of the sacred oak, the tree that was found inside the temple yard. Herodotus gives us two different aspects on the story of how this temple was built. The first one was told to him by the priests of Zeus in the Egyptian Thebes and it goes like this; some pirates from Foinix took two priestesses from Zeus’s temple and sold the first in Epirus and the second in Libya. These women founded oracles dedicated to Zeus in their new countries. The other story was given to Herodotus by the priestesses of Dodonis themselves. One day two black female doves flew up from the Oracle of Egyptian Thebes. The first arrived flying in Dodonis, sat on an oak tree and speaking in human, told the inhabitants of the areas around to build an Oracle for Zeus. Same thing happened with the other one in Libya, so the famous Oracle of Ammon was built.

Zeus’s fights

From the first moment Zeus was born, he went through many dangers. As we have mentioned before, when he was an infant his father Kronos wanted to keep him locked away like all his other children, and it was only because of a clever trick of his mother, Rhea and his grandmother, Gaia, that he managed to escape. He grew up hidden in the mountains of Crete and then he had to fight against his father, win the war and make Kronos vomit all the other children he had eaten.

It is also said, in some versions of the myth, that Zeus castrated his father exactly like Kronos had castrated his own father, Uranus, before him. Then having freed his brothers and sisters, and with them by his side, along with the Cyclops and the Ekatogheires , who were creating for him the thunderbolt, and also with Styx, Oceanus’s daughter and his children, Vias and Cratos (ruling and state), Zealus and Nike (Winning), Zeus had to make war against the Titans for nine years.

When he managed to win and drop them into Tartarus, he saw that he also needed to fight against Lapetus’s sons, Atlas, Menoitius, Prometheus and Epimetheus. It was after his victory that he obliged Atlas to carry the earth on his shoulders while he banished Prometheus with eternal torture on mount Caucasus. After that he had to also win against the Giants game to avenge the Titans and he did that thanks to the help from Poseidon, Athena and Hercules. In the end, Tartarus and Gaia gave birth to the most dangerous monster of all, Typhoon, that wanted to destroy the world and Zeus had to put an end to that. He fought against the monster but it managed to wrap itself around Zeus body thanks to its Dragon tails, it cut the god’s nerves and threw him in a gap. Hermes and Aigipanas found him, and saved him by helping him find and put together his nerves back together, so that he could defeat this monster as well.

Zeus was a recognized leader and he kept in his leadership only thanks to those gods who stood beside him during these fights. Thus, he became the ruler of the heavens, men and the gods, Poseidon became the ruler of the waters and Hades became the ruler of the underworld. It was not the end of Zeus’s troubles though. He was also told that like his father before him, and his grandfather before him, that his cleverest child would steal his throne. This is why Zeus, first married to Metis, swallowed her, just before she had time to give birth to Athena. This is why, although he liked Thetis and wanted to make her his own, he didn’t do anything and let her marry a mortal.

Zeus also had to face a conspiracy from Hera, Poseidon, and Athena. He was only saved thanks to the intervention of Thetis. This seems not to be the only case Hera went against Zeus, because the goddess could not tolerate Zeus being unfaithful to her. The most characteristic case is the one where Zeus, after becoming enraged because of Hera trying to kill Hercules, grabbed her and bound her arms and legs, then hung her upside down from the heavens. Hera’s son, Hephaestus, tried to save his mother, so Zeus threw him down from Olympus mountain onto the island of Delus and left him lame.

Zeus decided to also make the two greatest wars in ancient Greek mythology, the Thebaic and the Trojan war, both in order for many humans to be killed so that the earth could be cleansed. The Trojan war was also started because Zeus wanted to make Achilles known to the world, as he had promised his mother, Thetis. He didn’t let anybody know his plan except for Thetis, and let everybody believe that he wanted the Trojans to win. Hera again tried to stop him, but he got so angry that myth has it that the goddess was so afraid that she just cried a bit and left, because she remembered what Zeus had done in the past. She tried to change his opinion during dinner but he didn’t let her talk and he reminded everyone that he was the ruler and he could do whatever he wanted without asking them. He wanted the Trojans to believe that he was helping them so that they would show more courage, attack the Greeks and lose after Achilles killed Ector. His rage was great every time any mortal fell into hubris. He transformed many people into birds because of that.

All these fights just show in the mythological way how things developed in Greece concerning religion. After a time of monsters and rulers beyond any comparison, people needed gods who would have more human characteristics and who would also have to earn their place in the pantheon. The ruler of the gods should be the most powerful god, the one who would be able to rule in justice, who would keep them safe and who would stand above anyone, human and god alike. Zeus’s reign was the beginning of a new world where humans would live without the barbaric aspects of the past. This would be a period of justice and safety.

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Zeus’s Lovers and Affairs

Zeus is especially known for having many affairs with many women both goddesses and human. This is why his wife, Hera, was very often jealous. It is said that Zeus’s first wife was Chthonie, and her name shows her close relation to the Earth. According to the Myth, Zeus created the world when he dressed her up in a veil that depicted all the lands and the seas. Then he mated with Metis who had all the cleverness of the world in her brain. She had all the wisdom not only of humans but also that of the gods. But Zeus had to swallow her because there was a divination that said that after giving birth to a daughter, Metis would give birth to a son who would steal his father’s throne. Metis was already pregnant at that moment, so nine months later Athena, goddess of wisdom, came out of his head in full armour. Zeus was also afraid that he would lose the throne by Thetis’s son, this is why He didn’t do anything with Her. One of the most important Zeus matings is the one with Asteria, daughter of two Titans, who was later given by Zeus to Perseus as his wife and then she gave birth to Hecate, a goddess that was honored by Zeus above most other gods. Of course every myth has many aspects and versions, as mythology goes through the ages.

Zeus also made love with Demeter and their daughter was Persephone. When Persephone went missing in the underworld, Zeus trusted Hecate to go down into the underworld and find Persephone. It was Hecate who helped Demeter find her daughter.

Above all women Zeus had laid with was his lawful wife Hera. Some say that Zeus and Hera used to have a relationship that was very old since they were children and they used to see each other without their parents knowing. Among their children were Ares, the god of war, Eve, who got married to Hercules and Elithyia who helped women during labour. There are those who say that Hephaestus was also their child.

Zeus managed to sleep with most of Atlas’ daughters, and his favorite one was Maia. The couple used to meet in a very deep cave in Kellene and no human or god could see them. Hermes is their child. Another important relationship of Zeus was the one with the beautiful Selene, daughter of Cadmus, with whom he created Dionysus. Hera learned about their relationship and told the girl to ask Zeus to show her his true face. Zeus appeared in front of her but she got burnt by his thunderbolt as it is not for anyone to see the true form of a god. In order to save Dionysus, Zeus took him out from his dead mother’s body, sewed him in his leg and kept him there until it was time for the god to be born.

Zeus also kidnapped Europe, having the form of a bull.

Zeus was not the only one who transformed, although he usually did it in order to win the heart of the women He liked. However, many women also preferred to transform into birds or plants or animals in order to escape from him.

Zeus, Father of heroes

Zeus did not only lay with goddesses but also with Nymphs and humans. Many of them brought children in the world and most of them got chased by Hera. Lesser gods and goddesses and also heroes were the children of these unions. They helped the human race to develop and create culture and civilization. The one behind Zeus’ uncontrollable passion towards human women is said to be Aphrodite, whose power was so strong that even Zeus could not escape from it. This is why Zeus got his revenge by making her fall in love with a human, Aghises.

The island of Crete is said to have taken its name from the beautiful girl who lived there and who was the first one Zeus mated with. In Argos, Zeus made love to Danae, whose father locked her in a basement so that the god could not find her, because of the prophecy that claimed that Danae would give birth to a daughter who was going to kill him. Zeus transformed himself into golden rain and fell inside the basement from the roof. The child was Perseus, the great hero who built Micynes.

Zeus is Hercules’s father with Alkmene. The hero was pursued viciously by Hera, who also used humans to try to kill him. Zeus is said to have also created Helen of Sparta with Leda. Their daughter came out of an egg, since Zeus had again transformed himself into a swan. This is why Helen was so beautiful and her beauty was the cause of the Trojan war.

The fact that Zeus is said to have created the relationships with so many women who gave birth to heroes that created peoples or gave names to places in Greece shows the god’s role as a father of humanity. Zeus appears to be a very strong masculine deity who mates with women in order to create everything and everyone. Each woman Zeus loved was really special and their children were special as well.

Zeus and Hera

Zeus and Hera were siblings and also man and wife. They were both Kronos’ (Cronus) and Rhea’s children. According to the version of the myth that doesn’t go along with the story of those two seeing each other since they were children, Zeus flirted with Hera but she would deny him every time. Zeus had to transform into a swan in order to trick her so that she would lay with him. Although he had tried so hard to win her heart, he never stayed faithful to her. This resulted in Hera following him everywhere, being extremely jealous of him and pursuing or even harming his lovers and children many times. Their relationship was never an easy one, and many times the couple would fight with each other, often even in front of their children who would then try to make them calm down. Since Zeus, as we have seen, was the strongest of all it was very difficult for Hera to defeat him or continue arguing with him when he was angry. This is why she turned against his lovers and children in order to hurt him through them. Thus, she was chasing Lheto from place to place, arranged for the giant Tityos to rape her, and in the end she forbade all places to let Lehto give birth onto them. The only island that ignored Hera’s orders was Dhelos, a very small and uninhabited island. There, Lheto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, and it became Apollo’s sacred island, thus staying in history forever and being honoured by all Greeks. Zeus had to protect Kallisto also, and the Nymphs who took care of Dionysus, so He transformed them into stars and moved them up into the heavens. Those stars are known as Big Ursus and the Hyades.

Zeus’s Allies

Zeus also had the Cyclops and the Ekatogheires beside him, helping him with whatever they could. Hephaestus made for him the strongest and most effective weapons and also built the most exquisite palace for the Father of all gods and humans. Gaia gave him the wisest of counsels. The one who never left his side and always was there to help him was his daughter, Athena, who stood by him either as a warrior, planning how they could achieve their goals or as a wise counselor.

Transformations

Zeus did not only transform in order to get close to the women He wanted. Nor was he the only one who transformed. All Greek gods and goddesses had shapeshifting abilities. They used to transform when they wanted to get close to humans and communicate with them in a form that would serve their purpose the best way, wouldn’t scare humans and wouldn’t put them in danger by seeing the gods’ true form.

Zeus-A god of justice

As a ruler and leader, Zeus was really just. One of his lovers was Themis, the personification of justice. It was with Her that Zeus had three daughters, the Moirae (Fates), Lachesis, who drew the raffle of humans’ life at its beginning, Klotho who was weaving the thread of life and Atropos, who would cut it when a human’s life came to its end. They were so powerful that no human or god could escape them and they recognized no separation between humans. Themis also bore Zeus the Hores, that is Dike, the personification of justice trials, Eunomia, personification of Good Laws and Eirene (Peace). Only Dike had Her throne next to Her father’s when he trialed people and had to come to a decision. Zeus was the one to whom humans and gods alike came to solve their differences and nobody should ever go against his will and decision. Zeus also came alone to intervene between them, even if he hadn’t been asked to. This way He managed not only to show the solution to a dead-end, but also protect the weaker ones.

When Hermes as a baby stole Apollo’s sacred cows, Zeus not only convinced the baby god to give the animals back to their owner, but also made the two gods become friends from then on. He also intervened in a quarrel between Apollo and Hercules in a very strong way; He threw a lightning bolt between them in order to separate them and convinced the god to divinate for the hero. He was also there to offer a solution when Demeter asked Hades to give Persephone back to her, and it was thanks to Zeus that Hades and Demeter came to an agreement. One of the few circumstances that Zeus did not take part in a disagreement was when Poseidon and Athena fought for the city of Athens. Zeus did not want to be unjust towards any of them and let them solve their differences alone, with Athena winning. (Some stories say that Zeus offered the city to whichever of them could most please the people, and Athena struck the ground from which an olive tree then grew, which delighted the people, prompting Zeus to give her the city, which is where it gets its name from.)

The only one of his children that Zeus didn’t like so much was Ares and that was because Ares liked war and fighting. During the Trojan war, when Ares went to his father to complain about Athena and her intervention in the war, Zeus came even scolded him.

Zeus could see everything from his palace on Mount Olympus, and was always ready to attribute justice. He punished severely anyone who went against the law but also honoured those who defended it and acted accordingly. This was one of the biggest arguments Athena had found to convince her father to let Odysseus return to Ithaka. She told Her father that the hero was always good, honouring the gods and the sacred laws. If Zeus prohibited him from returning home, the other people might see that as a sign of injustice and think that it serves them no good to obey the laws. When Zeus thought that the natural laws should change a bit in order to make people suffer less, he did that out of love and compassion towards the human race. His sense of justice was so strong that he even forgave his enemies, as it happened with the Titans that Zeus released in the end.

Magickal Workings with Zeus

Sanctuaries: Zeus is believed to be everywhere and see everything

Day: There isn’t a specific day on which to work with him. Every day is appropriate, except maybe Friday that is dedicated to Aphrodite and Freya and generally the feminine attributes and Monday that is dedicated to the Moon and the goddess

Flowers/Trees: When I work with Zeus, I use Cypress leaves or fruits, since it is a very masculine Tree and also Sage, for its cleansing and spiritual attributes.

Fragnance: Cypress tree

Stones: Clear Quartz is appropriate, since it helps us see things in a clearer way and also works for inner and outer wisdom and justice.

Foods: There aren’t any special foods that are known to be liked by Zeus

Sabbat: Zeus can be honoured during any Sabbat, as he is the personification of the god.

Metals: I use gold, because this is a metal much liked by kings and very precious and also because it reminds me of the thunderbolts.

Offerings: It doesn’t matter what the offerings are going to be, as long as they are offered respectfully.

Types of spells: problems with justice, working on a coming trial, to find inner strength and protection from above, to increase strength and leadership abilities, to have a clear view of a matter at hand. his energy will also help enhance any spell-working you do.

Zeus is a very powerful god, but he is very close to humans. He is always there to answer the prayers and to protect. The only thing He doesn’t forgive is lack of respect and disobedience of the laws.

Orphic Hymn 14-To Zeus

The Fumigation from Storax.
O Jove much-honor’d, Zeus supremely great, to thee our holy rites we consecrate,
Our pray’rs and expiations, king divine, for all things round thy head exalted shine.
The earth is thine, and mountains swelling high, the sea profound, and all within the sky.
Saturnian [Kronion] king, descending from above, magnanimous, commanding, sceptred Zeus;
All-parent, principle and end of all, whose pow’r almighty, shakes this earthly ball;
Ev’n Nature trembles at thy mighty nod, loud-sounding, arm’d with light’ning, thund’ring God.
Source of abundance, purifying king, O various-form’d from whom all natures spring;
Propitious hear my pray’r, give blameless health, with peace divine, and necessary wealth.


January 18th is the day of the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera. This is a good day to honour Them both and also do magickal workings to enhance your relationship with your other half. Remember that Zeus might be a god with many lovers and not at all faithful, but he honoured and loved Hera very much. This is why she has never lost her place beside him, as the ruling goddess. They are often invoked together as the god and the goddess. As Zeus had to wait a long time for Hera to accept marrying him, his anticipation was so great that they had the longest honeymoon ever recorder, which lasted 300 years.

Hera

Hera

Hera is more often referred to as the Wife of the King of the gods, something that somehow diminishes her role as the Creatress, the strong woman beside a strong man. It seems that the “new” religion that brought forth the masculine power, having a male ruler god has taken its toll on female figures that supported a more dynamic role of women in society, transforming them into something not unimportant, but more traditional. Hera is a Mother goddess, a goddess of love, faith and marital abundance and happiness. Along with Her two sisters, Demeter and Hestia, Hera represents the active female role of the woman in the house. Hestia is more about the house itself and the protection of it, the passing of a family name into the future, while Hera mostly protects women and children.

To combine these powers and also to depict the ancient belief that a woman goddess taught humans agriculture, we have the archetype of Demeter who is responsible for the abundance of the fields, also with a very strong maternal instinct. Demeter, like Isis in Egypt, taught the Greeks how to grow plants and especially cereal, which is a favourite offering for all these three goddesses.

There are many myths on how Hera grew up while Her mother, Rhea, tried to solve the problem between Zeus and Cronos, but the one that stands out is that Hera had been brought up by Tithys and Oceanus. It is very possible that Hera was a very ancient goddess, very close to Mother Earth Herself, so with the new pantheon, her role and history appeared different, depending mostly on the place where these stories come from.

Hera is another goddess with the triple aspect of Maiden-Mother-Crone. From Arcadia comes a very interesting story according to which Temenos, a man believed to have raised her, had built the first temple to honour the goddess and had made her path known. It was the same man, as they say, who said that women should praise and honour Hera during their whole lives and also do so in three different temples; in one, Maidens should ask for her protection, as she had been a maiden before getting married to Zeus. In another, mothers should ask for her help, as she is the mother of the first gods and goddesses as we know them and also is Zeus’s wife. In the third temple, widows and older women should pay their respects, for the period that Hera was separated from Zeus, something we are going to see later on. In ancient times, Hera was revered as being the only one of the Greek goddesses who accompanied a woman through every step of her life.

Hera and Zeus are said to have had a relationship even before they got married. How could Hera retain Her virginity, though? It is said that Hera took a bath every year in Kanathos Fountain and so she became a virgin again. Hera was not an easy prey for Zeus. The god had spent much time trying to convince her to lay with him, with no success. When he saw that nothing could be done, he transformed himself into a Cuckoo, supposedly scared by a storm he, himself had created and went to sit on Hera’s lap. The goddess took pity on the bird and held Zeus, but when she saw who he really was tried to once again avoid him. Zeus then promised her that they were going to get married, following tradition and that she would be forever revered as his wife. This is how he managed to lay with Hera. Ares, Eve and Eilithyia (a goddess who helped in labour) were their children. Ares is the god of war, changing everything through it, a very masculine archetype, but Eve personifies adolescence and Eilithyia has to do with pregnancy and labour.

What is not clear is whether Hephaestus is Zeus’ child or not. One myth variation says that Hera created Hephaestus without a man. This shows once again the infinite creation power of the feminine that can procreate without a male, relating Hera to older goddesses, even primordial ones.

There are generally many stories about Hera and Hephaestus. When Hera gave birth to her son, she didn’t like him at all, because he seemed ugly to her, so she threw him down from Mt Olympus. But Hephaestus survived and not only that, but he learnt the craft of the blacksmith and he became perfect at it. He could create the most incredible metal things with the aid of fire, thus his name has the same root in Greek as Volcanos (Ήφαιστος-ηφαίστειο).

After a while he sent his mother a throne that was a wonderful example of metallurgy, but had a trick. It was designed in such a way, so the moment Hera sat on it, she was trapped and bonded. Nobody could free her and nobody could convince Hephaestus to return to Mt Olympus. Only Dionysus managed to do so at last, after he gave Hephaestus wine and made him drunk. Dionysus also managed to convince Hephaestus to make amends with his mother and from then on, there were many times that mother and son worked together for a common cause.

Hephaestus fought side by side with Achilles, for his mother’s sake, in order for the hero to attain more glory according to the prophecy, and he also took her part in a quarrel between Hera and Zeus during the Trojan war. It is said that this was the time Zeus got so angry with him that he threw him down the Mountain himself. It is said that Hera created Hephaestus, because she wanted to prove to Zeus that she had no need of him, due to being tired of Zeus’s constant affairs with other women. To be just, although Zeus was unfaithful, he loved Hera so much that when she wasn’t around, he had a feeling that part of himself was missing.

Hera did not care only for her own children, but had brought up others’ as well. She had taken care of Thetis, Achilles’s mother, and had raised her as if Thetis was her own daughter, preventing Zeus from mating with her. It was under Hera’s influence that Thetis found and got married to Peleas, and Thetis and her son were always under the goddess’ protection. On the other hand, Thetis protected Hera in punishing Pelias and saving the Argonauts. Zeus also cared for Thetis, since she had helped him when Poseidon, Hera and Athena tried to remove him from his throne during the Trojan war, Poseidon because he was for the Trojans and the two goddesses because they thought that Zeus was against the Greeks. In this story and others where Hera becomes the foster mother of gods and humans, we see the other part of her personality, the Universal Mother who cares about her children, biological and adopted alike.

On the other part, Hera is the woman who suffers and cannot tolerate Zeus’s unfaithfulness, often turning against the women in his life.

Hera had a strong sense of justice and also served as a queen, a very respected one who wouldn’t tolerate injustice and lies or unfaithfulness. When Paris, Priamos’ (the Prince of Troy) younger son had to choose between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena and say who was the most beautiful, the three goddesses offered him presents. Aphrodite promised him the hand of Helen, the most beautiful woman of her age, Hera promised him kingship, and Athena promised him wisdom. Paris chose Aphrodite. It wasn’t the fact that Aphrodite had offered him a present, since all three goddesses did, but the fact that she had promised Paris the hand of a married woman. In order to keep Helen safe, according to one version of the myth, Hera took the woman to Egypt and created a false Helen out of clouds. Paris thought that he laid every night with Helen, but in reality he didn’t. According to this version of the myth, Hera only kept the secret, because Zeus wanted for the Trojan war to happen for two reasons; he wanted Achilles to become famous and also wanted for some people to die in order for balance to be.

Hera’s worship is very ancient and created in the Greek and Roman era. She isn’t a goddess who was inserted from the East as many other gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon. Her name is found in Micynaic texts and she is often called “Lady”. It is proven that although Zeus and Hera are referred to together in the theogony as Cronos’s children, their stories before the creation of the Pantheon are not related to each other. In the stories about Hera’s premarital relationships, we find beliefs that were common in older areas, where there was a more feminine culture, and especially places like Samos, where Hera was worshiped. In the story of Hera’s virginity being recreated in the water, we find beliefs about the recreational and rebirthing role of the water.

Hera, as we have already mentioned is a goddess who is just and caring, but also vengeful. There are myths about Hera taking revenge on people, not relating to Zeus’s unfaithfulness. In the cases when Hera became a goddess of rage and revenge, we find the goddess who fights in the name of all the women who had suffered in men’s hands, again referring to older cultures where the religion of the Sacred feminine was, often violently, transmuted into masculine religious paths. Hera, the Greek goddess called “the Queen of Heaven”, was a powerful queen in her own right, long before her marriage to Zeus, the mighty king of the Olympian gods.  The goddess Hera ruled over the heavens and the earth, responsible for every aspect of existence, including the seasons and the weather. A myth says that the Milky Way, our galaxy (galaxy derives from the Gr. Word γάλα, gala) was created by the milk sprouting out of Hera’s breasts.

hera1

Working with Hera

Sanctuaries: Hera’s most prominent sanctuary is in Samos, bearing her name (Heraion). Another famous temple is found at Olympia where the Herian games, an athletic competition for woman was held.

Day: Hera is a goddess with a very strong female nature, so Friday is a very suitable day to do rituals that involve her.

Flowers/Trees: Lily, poppy, stephanotis, cypress, coconut, iris, white rose, waterlily, maple trees, and all white flowers,

Fragnance: Rose, iris, myrrh, civet, jasmine, patchouli and stephanotis

Stones/Metals: Silver, pearls, garnet, citrine, amber, diamond, platinum, and star sapphire

Sabbat: Midsummer (23d of June). June was named after Hera’s Roman equivalent, Juno.

This is the month of the Sacred Marriage and also the month when most marriages took place.

Animals: Peacock and cow (Hera had beautiful big eyes, this is why she is connected with the Peacock that has an “eye” on its feathers and also the cow, as this animal has very big eyes and is also connected to milk and maternal nurturing, almost in every ancient culture), eagle, crabs, snails and other creatures with shells

Offerings: Apples; Gaia had offered a garden of golden apples as a marital present to Hera. The priestesses there guarded the garden and were called Hesperides. Oranges and Pomegranates are also associated to Hera.

Colours: White, royal blue, purple, rose, dark green, silver, and grey

Types of spells: marriage, love, maternity, emotional balance, regaining female power, labour, protection, justice for women, gaining control over rage and jealousy, fertility, children protection, financial security and protection for women, women’s leadership, making others appreciate our loyalty.

Orphic Hymn 15-To Hera

The Fumigation from Aromatics.
O Royal Hera of majestic mien, aerial-form’d, divine, Zeus’s blessed queen,
Thron’d in the bosom of cærulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care.
The cooling gales thy pow’r alone inspires, which nourish life, which ev’ry life desires.
Mother of clouds and winds, from thee alone producing all things, mortal life is known:
All natures share thy temp’rament divine, and universal sway alone is thine.
With founding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar, when shook by thee.
Come, blessed Goddess, fam’d almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.

In Love and Light always,

E.I.

pictures from Google

Introduction to Mythology

Published 8 June 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

Introduction to mythical thinking

Many have tried to explain the need of people to create myths, something similar to the trying of explaining the need of religions. There are many different ways to explain and interpret why people have always created myths, which we will see later on, but for the moment let’s just take a moment and think that myths and legends are not only creations that derive for a need…Myths and legends have a value of their own, have things to offer in a subtle and subconscious level and not only psychological or religious meaning.

Myths depict humans’ way to enlightenment, progress of thinking, their way to completion. This doesn’t only count for the first men, when myths were a part of their every-day life, but also for the contemporary humans…Myth begins where scientific words have nothing more to offer, where science can’t go, can’t explain, can’t satisfy our eagerness to know more.

For us, pagans and witches, myths are still alive, they remain part of our lives and there are many among us who do not believe only in the archetypical, psychological meaning of the myths, the Gods and Goddesses, but in their actual existence, their will to communicate, share and exchange experiences. Many among us talk to our Gods and Goddesses and develop a unique relationship with them. This is why it is never possible for myths to stop existing, because there will always be those who will believe in them, knowing that they contain truth, even where most tend to see a nice story and nothing more.

Of course, science and logic have their own very important role to play, that nobody can deny, but mysticism, imagination, religion and emotions/feelings will always play their important role as well. As I usually say, believing that everything has been created by sheer luck and coincidence and that humans are themselves the creator gods, simply doesn’t make any sense. Putting science in the place of religion, simply creates a new religion…

So, why spend time in the study of things that cannot be proven? Why go back into the past? The answer is simple and a very logical one. The human brain has two hemispheres; the left one that has to do with logic, mathematics and science, and the right that controls imagination, feelings, creativity and dreaming. We could use the words that many use, that the left hemisphere is the masculine brain while the right is the feminine. The left brain is connected to the conscious mind and the right to the subconscious. Both hemispheres are very useful and should not be neglected.

Try to draw or to write a novel, for example, using only logic and mathematics. When the human mind goes into the myth, either by creating it or by finding it, science may be absent in a way, but logic is not. Science is based on three basic axioms. In order for something to be considered scientific it must have a precise object of study, a scientific method to study it and a scientific method to judge the results of it in controlled situations or environments.

So, yes, mythology is not science, but is it illogical? Surely not! It is based on watching the world around us, interacting with everything that is on this Earth and far away into the universe. Mythology is the product of human thinking outside the box, trying to explain not only what can be proven, but also what cannot be proven, but we are sure that exists. So myth is neither history (as a science, since myths cannot be proven) nor physics. But myths explain the progress of humans in this world and tries to find the causes of events and situations, just as history does and also explains Nature and its laws, a natural causal relation between events, actions and reactions, just as physics do. Thus myth needs and uses space, time and cause, because things couldn’t be explained and described otherwise, but not their mathematical sequence.

Myth has its beginning in the necessary psychological and conscious questions that come from the humans facing the unknown. It is these unknown factors, those things that we watch happening every day, but we cannot explain with mathematics or physics. And the part of the Universe that is still unknown is a lot greater than the corner we have come to know.

Myths and legends, even of the same peoples tend to vary throughout history, because the consciousness is different. For example, during the 4th century BC, mythological thinking in Greece was confined in what philosophy and logic instructed. During this century, when Athens became the spiritual centre not only of Greece, but of the whole known world back then, philosophers like Socrates and Plato reached the idea of the existence of one God, who is greater than all.

The Christian Church has their nominated Saints, but I don’t think that this is what they used to believe in. They simply had the idea of a matrix, of all things being able to multiply endlessly, or vice versa, until we can reach the beginning of all, the ultimate Being, the source of all life. This isn’t far from our pagan interpretation of the Universe and how it began, no matter how each culture or individual path names it. Others prefer to name it Chaos, others God and Goddess, others Pool, others don’t give a name at all.

Then, during the period of Alexander the Great and the years that followed his death (Hellenistic Years), mythological thinking got liberated again, as the Greeks didn’t feel the need to have a logical explanation behind everything anymore. Alexander the Great died, but his sister, Roxanne, lived after she drank the water of life that her brother denied to drink, in order to save her. She fell into the sea to drown, but because of the water she lived, transformed into a mermaid, asking all sailors if her brother lives. The ships of those who say that he is dead wreck into the seas. This way, a hero and a Goddess were born, both historical beings who passed into history but remain alive into mythology.

Consciousness creates a world of its own, this way, combining things logical and illogical. It goes beyond natural laws, which were unknown in the beginning anyway. Its importance shows in the fact that we continue to study and create myths, even now that many things are known. But the tendency to go beyond the known is always there. And there is always a part in all human beings that feels better with stories around the fire, with heroes fighting for humanity, Gods and Goddesses and rituals.

As mythology of today used to be history, maybe our nowadays-history will be considered mythology at some point…

At this point we have to define something. The word “Fantasy” derives from the Greek word “Φαντασία” (fandassia) that doesn’t mean only something that doesn’t exist, but also imagination. We don’t have a different word. So, imagination is something that human mind may fantasize about, or something that we imagine, hope, wish for etc, and it can be a great creative power and also a means for humans to reach the Divine.

Plato said that this world we live in is a fake world, a world where only shadows of the real things and beings are visible. Beyond all, there is the World of the Idea, the real world, that only philosophers can see and then they can teach the people how to see it as well. Things in this world, although fake, can lead us through beauty to the Idea of each thing and thus to the Idea itself, the Divine Consciousness that has created all. Plato has talked about Divine being within us all.

Why the philosophers, though and not the scientists (although the philosophers were those that studied mathematics and physics)? Because philosophers want to create ethics and not only explain the world. The philosophers are those who have a mind open enough to see beyond what is known and believed in. This is similar to the Indians and their Shaman, when Spanish conquerors arrived in America. Only the Shaman could see the ships, because nobody knew what a ship was and so nobody could see them in the water, coming closer. And after the Shaman saw the ships, people, trusting their wise man, could also see the ships. The Wise Man, the Philosopher, the Witch Doctor, the Priests and Priestesses are the people who kept their ears and eyes, but most of all their minds, open to the whispers of the unknown. In knowing the myth, in creating it, knowledge, science and logic are not enough, as the myth talks to that subconscious mind of ours…Imagination is also necessary…

mythology

The Greek gods in the Olymp. Greek mythology. Wood engraving from the book “Die schönsten Griechischen Sagen aus dem Altertum (The best Greek legends of antiquity)” published by F. Carl and Hermann Mehl. Printed by Otto Spamer, Leipzig in 1880

It is this combination of the rational and irrational that co-operate within consciousness, the things that create the myth. It is the same phenomenon that we find in art. It doesn’t count so much what we actually see. It is more a matter of aesthetics, a need to express our knowledge and perception in a symbolic way, the need to explain what we conceive in any way we can, other than logic and mathematics. Because, how can physics explain how it all started and where it all ends? What if we take a moment and think that Gods, Goddesses and “mythical beings” may have existed. There are many opinions on what these creatures actually are…Some say extraterrestrial beings, some say beings that have lived on Earth but have gone extinct or hidden (like the Fae), some believe that they were actually what they appeared like. But in the end it doesn’t matter or make a significant difference, because symbolic, archetypical or not, each one of us perceive them in a unique yet very same way.

In ancient Greece, myth and art have always walked hand in hand. Gods and Goddesses, their lives and adventures have always been vivid and a part of every-day life. Not only in architecture or sculpture and painting, but also in poetry and literature. The first examples of written poetry in Europe come from Homer’s epics. There, the adventures of Gods and heroes are described, in texts that were studied in schools in Ancient Greece and still are being studied. It used to be history then, it is mythology today, but these extensive poems show how our ancestors were thinking and still make children and adults stand in amazement on how those poems were learnt by heart and spoken before kings and queens, in official dinners or in rural fists.

Homer’s poems belong to a genre of their own. They are characterized as “Heroic Epic Poetry”, where the deeds of heroes and their interactions with the Gods are described. “Odyssey” that was written before “Iliad” describes the return of Odysseus back to Ithaca, his adventures with his companions and the adventures he found back home against those who had been sitting in his house, eating and drinking without respect, waiting for Penelope to choose one among them as her husband. Within the story, other characters appear; Odysseus’ son, with Athena’s help grows into adulthood and is transformed from boy to man, Penelope shows her unique ethics in every chance, her greatest deed being that she was making a textile every day and destroying it during the night, because she had said to her suitors that she would choose after she had finished it.

In “Odyssey”, Gods and Goddesses are present, they help and warn people but do not tell them what to do. Zeus complains at some point that people accuse the Gods for the things they have brought to themselves. Free will is obvious in this epic. In “Iliad”, which was written before, Gods are always present, leading people’s lives to what They want. During the Trojan War, they take parts and help either the Trojans or the Greeks according to Their personal passions and tastes. So the latter Homer’s work shows how the thought progressed from people believing that they are merely pawns to free thinkers who listen to the Gods, communicate with them, but take their chances in life, do as it seems right to them and then accept the responsibility and the consequences of their actions. This is something really close to what most pagans believe, about the Deities’ role in a human life.

Hesiod was the one that wrote “Religious Epics”, which means that he wrote about the Cosmology (How the world was created) and Theogeny (How the Gods were born). Humans were created by the Gods as were all living beings. Creation Myths can be found all around the world. The great mystery of how the world was created has always troubled humans and still does (Because, after all, before the Big Bang, what?) In all creation myths, a Being or a couple (female and male) created the world, nature and the beings as we know them.

It is really interesting that most cosmologies don’t begin by a God, a Goddess or a couple, but by one “Being”, usually a combination of Universal Powers, that creates everything and where all Deities derive from one way or another.

In Greek Mythology, this “Being” is Chaos, a void in space and time, full of matter and potential. The first Deities, the Titans are created, then the Gods and when They stop fighting against each other and things stabilize, there comes the man. There is a very interesting myth on how the humans were created, which I think would be nice to share with you here. I take some parts from Hesiod and I combine them with Plato’s myth on the birth of humans, to give you a complete story.

After the war between the Gods and the Titans ended in Gods’ favour, a Titan was distinguished. Prometheus, the Titan who had helped the Gods gain the upper hand was the one that had helped humans later and was punished for it. After the war, Gods decided to create all living beings. They gathered claws, pelts, furs and other things and created animals and humans in a dark cave out of soil and water. Zeus gave them the Divine Breath so that they came to life, similarly to the Christian story. He told Prometheus and Epimetheus, his brother, to give each being the necessary things so that it could be protected and able to live. Epimetheus wanted to do that alone and then Prometheus could check if everything had been done in the right way. So he started and made some animals have claws and teeth that could cut meat and thus created the predators.

To the other animals he gave refuge deep in the Earth or high in the trees. When Prometheus came, he saw that his brother had left humans without anything to survive, because Epimetheus had forgotten them. He decided to go to Mount Olympus and steal the fire from Hephaestus and the logical wisdom from Athena. He gave those to the humans who started creating weapons and tools and found power in numbers.

Zeus was frustrated by the theft and punished Prometheus severely, by binding him on a rock where a vulture would eat his intestines every day, just for them to be healed and then the same would happen again and again. But Zeus, being just, saw that the human race would disappear, because they didn’t know how to live together in harmony. So, Zeus gave them his present, political thought. This is why all humans are qualified to have political opinions, because they can all think politically. In Ancient Athens, partaking in political matters, voting and discussing political matters, was not only a right but also an obligation, bearing great responsibility.

According to another myth, after the Gods won the war against the Titans, Zeus gave everyone wisdom and rights, but he forgot to give anything to the humans. Prometheus was the only one who went against Zeus and took humans under his protection, teaching them the place of stars in the sky, medicine, mathematics and language, how to plant and make tools. No matter which version of the myth we decide to follow, Prometheus is a big human protector.

In order to understand the deeper importance of myths, it would be nice to explain what this word means. “Myth” in Ancient Greek means word (spoken speech), a story and a myth. This shows how myths, stories about Gods and heroes passed down generation to generation through speech. All ancient Greeks knew mythology in details. This is why in dramatic (theatrical art), only some details on the version followed were given and not on the original myth which was considered to be known.

Myths were connected to religion and still are. This is where we can find information on Gods and Goddesses and see how we can worship them, follow their path, ask them for what we want and live along with them. Myth is what awakens the consciousness. This is the first step of humanity beyond the animal kingdom. This is the first step for humans to find the Divine and start walking on the path leading to them. First humans were helpless and weak in a world they had to survive in, having nothing more than their logic, their imagination and their experiences. This is how they started watching everything around them, and then the sky and the heavens, things extraordinary and magickal in their way.

So, we started explaining the world with the means we had and myths were created and lived by. It was only natural to create myths, to find the Divine. People needed help, guidance and protection and they found all this. This is not the need to explain everything around (as many say that religion is just a need based on fear), or to be able to believe in something. Seeing so many peoples, connected so much to nature and then watching the Greeks, taking logic onto a high throne, still believing in Gods and Goddesses, one could conclude that religion and myth aren’t based on the need to believe in something, the reality pushes us to believe in something greater.

In any case, myth led humans to find another logic behind things and conditions. Ancient Greek religion, as all pagan religions and traditions was an animistic one, meaning that it was based on the belief that all living beings and also rivers, seas, mountains and springs had a soul. Animistic comes from the Latin word “Anima”, meaning Soul.

All religions are divided in two very important functions; the first is the ecstasies (going out of yourself, to find the Divine). The ecstatic function works every time we communicate with the Divine through ritual. The other function is the need to bring the Divine into your every-day life. Then the myth is created. Voltaire said that even if there were no god, we should invent him. Myths are not allegories, they don’t want to teach (or their intent is not only that), myths are there to lead our soul, to make us feel, hope and have fun! Myths are what they are…

At some point, Greeks made a turn from the team to the person. This is when lyric poems about love, relationships and feelings made their appearance and they were not poems that someone would simply recite in front of an audience, there was also music accompanying them and they were made for singing and dancing. But after that period, in the most renown period of the ancient Greek history, the 5th and 4th centuries BC, a new genre of poetry made its appearance, the Dramatic Art, theatre, coming straight from the free souls of people believing in democracy and the right of free thinking, speaking and acting. Dramatic Poetry had three branches, Tragedy, Comedy and Satyric Drama. (In order to better understand the meaning of the word “Drama”, it is necessary to say that the word derives from the verb “Δρω” (dro), which means “to act”).

Tragedy had a serious content and wanted to teach, by showing the pure soul of a hero, who suffers because of things he/she has done or because of things their families have done. Comedies were like the nowadays satiric plays, wanting to make people think on contemporary matters in a way that would also cause laugh. Satyric (with a “y” because it comes from the “Satyr”, Dionysus’ companions) plays were there to be played between tragedies, in order for people to have fun and unwind a bit before watching the next play. Imagine that the theatrical games were so important that during Pericles’ Times, the state of Athens paid the fee for those unable to pay for themselves and also women could watch. Drama took the reciting from the epics, took music and rhythm from the lyric songs and added action. The audience could watch the story brought into life by actors like living reality.

Even at the times of Dramatic Poetry, mythology was the base. This genre connected to Dionysus, as it all started during the rituals for this God when parts of his life would be introduced to the people by acting, but it was also based on myths. There are three basic mythological “circles” where most of the dramas are based on; the Trojan, connected to the adventures of Greeks in Troy during and after the war, the Argonautic, about Jason and his adventures and the Thebaic, about the stories around those who founded and ruled in the Greek Thebes.

Tragedy shares many religious aspects. First there is the sequence of Hubris, Ate, Nemesis and Tisis. Hubris is committed every time that someone does or says something that shows arrogance and an exaggeration of power, especially towards the Gods. Let’s not forget that one of the things that mattered most for Ancient Greeks was the sense of measure (“metron”).  Ate comes and clouds the mind so that the person commits greater hubris. The Gods get angry (Nemesis) and punish the person (Tisis). Sometimes, hubris is so great that not only the person in question, but his whole family have to suffer, until there is no male descendant. This is where things get tragic, to see someone suffering because their parents or grandparents have done something wrong. The thing is that in the end, justice and ethical balance are restored, so that people who have gone through pity (for the hero) and fear (for their own lives and fate), find “katharsis”, cleansing, emotional and spiritual relief. Another important aspect is “Ecstasis”. The actors, wearing masks and theatrical clothes get out of themselves and become the character they play. Ecstasis was a vital part of the Dionysian worship and rituals. So myth, may be introduced in different ways, but it is always there, to quench the thirst of contacting the Divine.

Mythology is always there in philosophy as well, and this is only normal. Philosophy tries to explain the world, the beginning of all and even turns to the after-life, as does the myth. Plato used his own myths in order to explain how he viewed the world and these myths were also taught along with Hesiod and Homer. Then, Aesopus, used myths in order to teach ethics and morality and his myths are among the favourite ones for all children in Greece. Even in the first attempts of history writing, myths appeared vividly. Herodotus, the father of history as he is called (because he was the first that wanted to write about something really important that would stay for the next generations) included myths in his history

Greek myths are divided in categories. There are the theogonical and cosmological myths, the historical myths (myths around real events in human history, but with mythological additions, such as the Trojan War that gave food for myths to both the Greek and the Roman mythology), the political myths (in order for a politician or general to convince people to a war) that lack a mythological core and the heroic myths (myths around the life and struggles of a hero).

Thus, from any point of view, myths are a pure form of the common and cultural imagination, something that speaks straight to our hearts. They can teach, make us laugh, give us an ethical code or translate real-life experience into a more interesting form. Myths have always been the way for everyone, even those who could not afford education, to come to touch with their culture and learn things that were important for life itself. With mythology, one doesn’t need to be a philosopher or a theologian. Everyone can partake and everyone can play an important role…Enjoy!

In Love and Light always,

E.I.

pictures from Google

Diet? Yes please!-Δίαιτα; Ναι, παρακαλώ!

Published 25 May 2018 by Eris Ilmirith

Ok, I admit the title was a bit of intriguing, in the means that what I want to point out here with the word “Diet” is not actually starving ourselves to death, but “dieting”, as the word originally meant. Diet is a Greek word (Δίαιτα), which used to mean “way of life”, including all these thing that someone should do in order to live a healthy life. Yes, the word to pay attention to here is “healthy”. Of course, starving to death, roaming around like a zombie unable to move, breathe or even speak correctly isn’t our goal…I hope! And it is scientifically proven that this is the worst way to lose weight and the best way to gain it back almost immediately in case you lose it. We have already talked about how important our bodies are and I think we all understand that our body is our own responsibility. You are responsible to keep your bodies in good shape, so that you can function .

Spirituality and the development of the brain, thus mind, depend on the body condition. Our psychological well-being depends on our physical condition. Why? Because the body needs nutrients in order to keep up with what we want to do. It needs vitamins and amino-acids and minerals, proteins and carbohydrates…and fats as well! Surprise! More and more nutritionists and nutrition specialists advise that we should eat fats, the ones that are called good fats. Actually, our daily food should look more or less like that: 30% of cals fat, 30-40% of cals protein and same for carbohydrates. Fats give energy that can keep us really going and have a very good effect on our nervous system, plus they absorb and store the fat-soluble vitamins. Carbs are also a source of energy and affect the levels of glucose in our blood. Proteins literally help building our body, help as an alternative source of energy for our bodies and act as precursors for hormones, vitamins, integral molecules and nucleic acids. So, you need all of these three macro-nutrients on a daily basis.

It is preferable to get more good fats, such as those found in avocados, seeds and nuts, butter and chee, nuts and seeds, fish like salmon, sardines and tuna (careful with the mercury that is contained in salmon and tuna…You should it them moderately), eggs, grass-fed beef, coconut and olive oil, eggs etc. It is also preferable to avoid refined carbs such as white rice, pasta, sweets and white bread. Eat more vegetables, as they are rich in carbohydrates, contain fibres and also vitamins. Dark chocolate covers both categories and you can also make a smoothie or hot drink using cocoa and coconut-milk…You will have a very healthy and invigorating sweet drink. You can even make chocolate using these two ingredients.

diet2

Thus, the thing is not to cut off anything that can help us stay healthy and strong in order to get thinner. The thing is to eat correctly, to exercise and to be patient. If you don’t feed your body correctly, it thinks that you will possibly let it starve. So the metabolism slows down and you burn less and less calories. Your dietary plan should be something a specialist does, according to your personal needs. Avoid too strenuous exercise, consult a doctor about the type of exercise that is beneficial to your body and be confident that you will lose weight in a healthy way. Yesterday, I was talking with some friends that even jogging can be risky for some and can lead to injuries or cardio-issues if not done properly.

Most and above all, listen to your body! It knows how to take care of itself! Eat properly, exercise, drink water and rest, sleep, have fun!

In Love and Light always,

E.I.

Εντάξει, παραδέχομαι ότι ο τίτλος είχε σκοπό να σας ιντριγκάρει λίγο, με το ότι αυτό που πραγματικά θέλω να επισημάνω εδώ με τη λέξη “Δίαιτα” είναι πως στην πραγματικότητα δε σημαίνει να πεθαίνουμε της πείνας, αλλά “τρόπος ζωής”, όπως σήμαινε αρχικά η λέξη, συμπεριλαμβανομένων όλων αυτών που πρέπει να κάνει κανείς για να ζήσει μια υγιή ζωή. Ναι, η λέξη που πρέπει να προσέξουμε εδώ είναι “υγιής”. Φυσικά, το να πεθαίνει κανείς της πείνας και να κυκλοφορεί σαν ζόμπι που δεν μπορεί να κινηθεί, να αναπνεύσει ή να μιλήσει σωστά δεν είναι ο στόχος μας…Ελπίζω! Και είναι επιστημονικά αποδεδειγμένο ότι αυτός είναι ο χειρότερος τρόπος για να χάσετε βάρος και ο καλύτερος τρόπος για να το κερδίσετε πίσω σχεδόν αμέσως σε περίπτωση που το χάσετε. Έχουμε ήδη μιλήσει για το πόσο σημαντικά είναι τα σώματά μας και νομίζω ότι όλοι καταλαβαίνουμε ότι το σώμα μας είναι δική μας ευθύνη. Είστε υπεύθυνοι να διατηρείτε το σώμα σας σε καλή κατάσταση, έτσι ώστε να μπορείτε να λειτουργήσετε.

Η πνευματικότητα και η ανάπτυξη του εγκεφάλου, ως εκ τούτου και του νου, εξαρτώνται από την κατάσταση του σώματος. Η ψυχολογική μας ευεξία εξαρτάται από τη φυσική μας κατάσταση. Γιατί; Επειδή το σώμα χρειάζεται θρεπτικά συστατικά για να ανταποκρίνεται αυτά που θέλουμε να κάνουμε. Χρειάζεται βιταμίνες και αμινοξέα και μεταλλικά στοιχεία, πρωτεΐνες και υδατάνθρακες…και λίπη επίσης! Εκπληξη! Όλο και περισσότεροι διατροφολόγοι και ειδικοί της διατροφής συμβουλεύουν ότι πρέπει να τρώμε λιπαρά, κυρίως αυτά που ονομάζονται “καλά λιπαρά”. Στην πραγματικότητα, το καθημερινό μας φαγητό θα πρέπει να αποτελείται περίπου από 30% των θερμίδων από λιπαρά,  30-40% των θερμίδων από πρωτεΐνες και το ίδιο ισχύει και για τους υδατάνθρακες. Τα λιπαρά δίνουν ενέργεια που μπορεί να μας κρατήσει πραγματικά και να έχει πολύ καλή επίδραση στο νευρικό μας σύστημα, ενώ απορροφά και αποθηκεύει τις λιποδιαλυτές βιταμίνες. Οι υδατάνθρακες είναι επίσης πηγή ενέργειας και επηρεάζουν τα επίπεδα γλυκόζης στο αίμα μας. Οι πρωτεΐνες βοηθούν κυριολεκτικά στην οικοδόμηση του σώματός μας, βοηθούν ως εναλλακτική πηγή ενέργειας για το σώμα μας και δρουν ως πρόδρομοι για ορμόνες, βιταμίνες, αναπόσπαστα μόρια και νουκλεϊνικά οξέα. Έτσι, χρειάζεστε όλα αυτά τα τρία μακροθρεπτικά συστατικά σε καθημερινή βάση. Είναι προτιμότερο να λαμβάνετε περισσότερα καλά λίπη, όπως από τα αβοκάντο, τους σπόρους και τα καρύδια, το βούτυρο και το τυρί, τους καρπούς και τους σπόρους, τα ψάρια όπως ο σολομός, οι σαρδέλες και ο τόνος (προσεκτικοί με τον υδράργυρο που περιέχεται στον σολομό και τον τόνο … Θα πρέπει να καταναλώνονται με μέτρο), τα αυγά, το βόειο κρέας βιολογικής διατροφής, το λάδι καρύδας και το ελαιόλαδο, τα αυγά κ.λπ. Είναι επίσης προτιμότερο να αποφεύγετε τους εξευγενισμένους υδατάνθρακες όπως το λευκό ρύζι, τα ζυμαρικά, τα γλυκά και το λευκό ψωμί. Τρώτε περισσότερα λαχανικά, καθώς είναι πλούσια σε υδατάνθρακες, περιέχουν ίνες και επίσης βιταμίνες. Η μαύρη σοκολάτα καλύπτει και τις δύο κατηγορίες και μπορείτε επίσης να φτιάξετε ένα smoothy ή ζεστό ρόφημα χρησιμοποιώντας κακάο και γάλα καρύδας…Θα έχετε ένα πολύ υγιεινό και αναζωογονητικό γλυκό ποτό. Μπορείτε ακόμη και να κάνετε σοκολάτα χρησιμοποιώντας αυτά τα δύο συστατικά.

Έτσι, το θέμα δεν είναι να κόψουμε τίποτα που μπορεί να μας βοηθήσει να παραμείνουμε υγιείς και δυνατοί ώστε να αδυνατήσουμε. Το θέμα είναι να τρώμε σωστά, να ασκούμαστε και να είμαστε υπομονετικοί. Εάν δεν τροφοδοτείτε σωστά το σώμα σας, αυτό πιστεύει ότι θα το αφήσετε να πεθάνει. Έτσι, ο μεταβολισμός επιβραδύνει και καίτε λιγότερες θερμίδες. Το διατροφικό σας σχέδιο πρέπει να είναι κάτι που να το έχει βγάλει ειδικός, ανάλογα με τις προσωπικές σας ανάγκες. Αποφύγετε την υπερβολική άσκηση, συμβουλευτείτε έναν γιατρό σχετικά με τον τύπο άσκησης που είναι επωφελής για το σώμα σας και να είστε σίγουροι ότι θα χάσετε βάρος με υγιεινό τρόπο. Χθες, μιλούσα με φίλους για το ότι ακόμη και το τζόγκινγκ μπορεί να είναι επικίνδυνο για μερικούς και μπορεί να οδηγήσει σε τραυματισμούς ή καρδιολογικά προβλήματα, αν δεν γίνεται σωστά.

Πάνω απ ‘όλα, ακούστε το σώμα σας! Ξέρει πώς να φροντίσει τον εαυτό του! Φάτε σωστά, να ασκείστε, πίνετε νερό και ξεκουραστείτε, κοιμηθείτε, διασκεδάστε!

Με Αγάπη και Φως πάντα,

Ε.Ι.