Monday, August 22, 2016


"Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmed, doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O defender of Olympos, father of warlike Nike (Victory), ally of Themis, stern governor of the rebellious, leader of the righteous men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aither wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third firmament of heaven; hear me, helper of men, giver of dauntless youth! Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the ways of blood-curdling strife. Rather, O blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death."
(Homeric Hymn 8 to Ares)

Ares (Roman: Mars) [Pronounced in English as "Air-eese" and in Greek as "AH-reese"], is the Greek god of war, battle-lust, the military, courage, strength, raw power and energy, protection and masculinity. Ares is the legitimate son of the King and Queen of the gods, Zeus and Hera. Ares is one of the 12 Olympians.

The meaning of the name Ares is usually claimed to be "bane, curse, ruin". However, some scholars believe it originated from a proto-Indo-European phrase meaning "I war/I battle".

In art, Ares is portrayed as either a mature, bearded man in his 30s-40s or else as a beardless youth in his late teens or early 20s. Ares is often portrayed in the nude. When he is clothed he is generally portrayed as wearing a short tunic that would not interfere with his ability to fight in war. He may also wear a breastplate. Upon his head he wears his golden helmet and in his hands he holds his shield, bronze-tipped spear or sword. Ares is generally portrayed in the company of his attendants, his sister Enyo, the goddess of battle, Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, and his twin sons, Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror). Additional spirits or daemons accompanied Ares, such as; the Makhai, daemons of fighting and battle, Homados (battle noise), Alala (war cry), Proioxis (onrush), Palioxis (backrush), and Kydoimos (confusion), Polemos (war), and the Keres, daemons of violent death and bloodshed. Ares' attendants are often portrayed as either walking beside him or riding with him in his golden chariot that is pulled by four fire-breathing stallions.

Ares is perhaps the most misunderstood of the Greek pantheon. In mythology, Ares is generally portrayed as obsessed with violence and bloodshed, cowardly, childish, and untrustworthy. He is described as the most hated of he gods. However, such representations of the god in myth does not accurately describe the opinions of the actual worshipers of Ares.

Ares can best be described as being the opposite of Athena, who is also a war deity. Where Athena represents intelligence and strategy, Ares represents brutal physical strength, power and force. While Athena represents defensive war or war made through proper motivations and courses, Ares represents offensive war, war for the sake of war, as well as battle-lust.

Ares never married but had many female lovers and fathered multiple children, both divine and mortal. As with Hades, there are no myths describing Ares as having taken male lovers. Ares' most famous affair was with the goddess of love, Aphrodite.

Aphrodite was a married woman at the time Ares commenced with his passionate affair with her. The two were emboldened by the sheer secrecy of their unions. However, the day soon came when the pair were spotted by the sun god, Helios, who sees all. He tattled to Aphrodite's husband, the lame god, Hephaestus, and in return Hephaestus got his revenge by laying a trap for the randy pair. Hephaestus created a net of chain, so thin as to be invisible, but incredibly strong. He ensnared the pair with such device and then called the gods to come and see them in their naked shame. All the male gods, save for Zeus, came to witness the scene. All of the goddesses declined out of a sense of modesty. Hephaestus was sorely mistaken if he thought such public shaming would put an end to their union. It certainly did not. The couple continued their heated affair and Aphrodite would bear Ares the Erotes, the winged gods of love, sex and desire. Their names were Eros (desire), Himeros (uncontrollable desire/unrequited love), Anteros (requited love), Hedylogos (sweet talk), and Pothos (yearning). Aphrodite also bore Ares, Harmonia (harmony), Andrastia (revolt), and the daemons Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror).

Even though Aphrodite was cheating on her husband with Ares, Ares himself could not bear having Aphrodite take other male lovers. Case in point: Adonis. When Aphrodite fell for the beautiful Adonis and took him as a lover, Ares became livid. He eventually transformed himself into a boar and gored the hottie to death.

Before his long-term love affair with Aphrodite, Ares bed the beautiful goddess of dawn, Eos. However, no children resulted from their union.

Strangely, the god also bed Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, in her form of Erinys Telphousa. A dragon resulted from their union. The dragon was slayed by the hero Cadmus, who then sowed it's teeth in the earth. From the teeth grew warriors, the ancestors of the first Spartans, a people much beloved of Ares. However, Ares was furious at Cadmus for killing his son, the dragon. As punishment, Ares transformed Cadmus and his wife, who was his daughter Harmonia, into snakes and then set them lose in the Elysian Fields. When Ares turned his attention to Demeter's beautiful daughter, Persephone, Demeter hid her to protect her from the god.

Another of Ares lovers, a nymph named Harmonia, not to be confused with his daughter by the same name, bore him the Amazons, the famous female warriors. Similarly, the majority of Ares' offspring with mortal women would mature to become famous warriors.

One might think that the great god of war would be invincible. However, the myths reflect that Ares often loses his battles and can even be wounded by mortals. During the Trojan War, Ares sided with the losing side, the Trojans, and was severely wounded when the hero Diomedes thrust his spear into Ares' side. Diomedes also stabbed through the hand of Aphrodite, after she tried to rescue her mortal son, Aeneas. The pair cried out in horrible pain and fled back to Olympus where their wounds could be treated. Being gods, they could not die but they sure as hell could experience all the pain of injury.

Not only was Ares often defeated and injured, but he was also capable of being bound. When the Aloadae twins, giant brothers who wished to kidnap Hera and Artemis and make them their wives, attacked Olympus, Ares was the first to fight them. He lost. Ares was not aware that it was prophesied that the only way the twins could die was if they killed each other. So Ares' attack had no effect on them. The Aloadae tied Ares up, threw him into a brass cauldron, secured the lid, and then hid the cauldron. For 12 long years Ares remained trapped in the cauldron, desperately calling out for help that never came. Eventually, Hermes found the cauldron and released Ares. Meanwhile, the Aloadae had already been taken care of by Artemis who turned herself into a deer and tricked the brothers into shooting each other with their arrows.

As previously mentioned, Ares had the reputation in myth as being a coward as well as being untrustworthy. Both notions stem from the fact that when faced with an adversary that Ares knew that he himself could not beat, Ares chose to do the wise thing and flee. For example, when Typhon attempted to overthrow the gods, Ares, along with numerous other deities, fled to Egypt. Once there he transformed himself into a fish in order to hide. However, he was not alone. Apollo, Hermes, Heracles, Artemis, and Hephaestus all fled with Ares, at the same time. They all transformed themselves into animals in order to hide from the dreaded monster. Apollo transformed into a hawk, Hermes an ibis, Heracles, a deer, Artemis a cat, and Hephaestus, an ox. The group was later joined by the rest of the gods, save for Zeus alone who stood his ground to fight Typhon. Athena, stayed to fight by her father's side for a while but even she fled to Egypt as well. So why is Ares picked out of the group and therefore called a coward while the other gods are never criticized for fleeing as well? Makes no sense. Similarly, Ares is criticized for being untrustworthy because he often switches loyalty to either side during a war. This should not be viewed as a defect of character as Ares represents war for the sake of war and thus he will chose his side, even change his side, depending upon whom he thinks will win.

With all the negativity and criticism of Ares, as found in myth, one may question how Ares ever was made it as one of the 12 Olympians in the first place? Surely, such an evil and detestable being such as the "god of war" should be ignored in worship? The answer is of course that mythology is composed of stories invented by their authors. The myths are not sacred scripture and do not reflect what worshipers actually believed.

Ares is rightfully a member of the 12 Olympians because he is crucial to human existence. Ares represents the will, the driving force, determination, courage, and the physical power and stamina to be able to survive in this world. He does not win all of his wars because nobody wins every battle, but still he and we, continue to march on. If you have had life throw some doozies at you, numerous severe problems and obstacles, yet you still managed to muster the strength to get out of bed and move forward with your day, then you have unknowingly tapped into Ares' power. You need his power simply to survive. We all need him.

Parents: Zeus and Hera
Spouse: None
Offspring: Eros, Himeros, Anteros, Hedylogos, Pothos, Harmonia, AndrastiaPhobos, Deimos, The Dragon of Thebes, The Amazons, and Numerous Mortals
Attendants: Enyo, Eris, Phobos, Deimos, The Makhai, Homados, Alala, Proioxis, Palioxis, Kydoimos, Polemos, The Keres
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Aphneius (Giver of Plenty), Enyallios (Warlike), Gynaecothoenas (Feasted by Women), Thrax (Thracian), Adámastos (Unonquerable), Álkimos (Brave), Alloprósallos (Leaning First to One Side and then to Another), Ánax (King), Aphneiós (Wealthy), Íppios (Of Horses), Árriktos (Unbreakable), Mægasthænís (Mighty in Strength), Omvrimóthymos (Doughty/Indomitable), Oplódoupos (Rattling with Armour), Oplokharís (Delighting in Arms), Oplophóros (Bearing Arms), Phriktós (Horrifying), Polæmóklonos (Raising Clamor of War), Skiptoukhos (Bearing Staf/Sceptor), Teikhæsiplítis (Approacher of Walls), Vrotoktónos (Man-Slaying), Thêritas (Beastly/Brutish), Brotoloegus (Murderous), Andreiphontês (Manslaying), Miaiphonos (Blood-stained), Laossoos (He who Rallies),  Aatos Polemoio (Insatiate of Fighting), Khalkeos (Brazen), Khalkokorustês (Armed with Bronze), Enkhespalos (Spear-Wielding), Rhinotoros (Shield-Piercing), Oxux (Piercing), Polemistês Talaurinos (Fighting under the Shield), Thoos (Swift), Thouros (Violent), Obrimos (Strong), Deinos (Terrible), Khrysopêlêx (Of the Golden Helmet)
Sacred Color: Red
Sacred Number: 2
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Sacred Symbols: Golden Helmet, Bronze-Tipped Spear, Sword, Shield, Gold Chariot Pulled By Four Fire-Breathing Horses, The Birds of Ares, The Planet Mars
Sacred Incense: Frankincense
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Milk, Honey and Olive Oil, Cakes or Cookies in the Form of his Sacred Animals, Weapons
Sacrificial Animals: Male Oxen, Goat, and Sheep
Sacred Plant: None
Sacred Bird: Vulture, Owl, Woodpecker
Sacred Animal: Serpent/Dragon, Dog

***NOTE: The Roman Mars was viewed in a more positive light as Mars was associated with farming and thus was a bringer of civilization and social order. This belief likely originated due to the fact that before standing armies farmer grouped together, using their farming tools as weapons to fight in war. 

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, Ares is conceived without the aid of Zeus and when his mother, Hera, touched a magical flower. 

***NOTE: The Spartans were devoted to Ares and possessed a sacred cult image that was kept chained as to prevent Ares as "the spirit of victory" from leaving the city.

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, Enyo is Ares' spouse. However, the usual belief is that she is his daughter. 

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, Enyalios is not an epithet of Ares but is considered to be the son of Ares.

***NOTE: The Birds of Ares are a flock of violent birds possessing feathers that can be shed at will and which act as darts or arrows and can significantly harm or kill humans. The Birds of Ares were believed to protect the Amazons shrine to Ares. 

***NOTE: Ares is believed to be quite wealthy and to possess a beautiful palace decorated with the magnificent treasures taken as booty or spoils of war. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016


"I sing of Artemis with shafts are of gold, strong-voiced, the revered virgin, dear-shooting, delighter in arrows, own sister to Apollon of the golden sword. Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earth quakes and the sea also where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is satisfied and has cheered her heart, then the huntress who delights in arrows slackens her supple bow and goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoibos Apollon, to the rich land of Delphoi, there to order the lovely dance of the Mousai and Kharites. There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and deed. Hail to you, children of Zeus and rich-haired Leto! And now I will remember you and another song also."
(Homeric Hymn 27 to Artemis)

Artemis (Roman: Diana) [Pronounced in English as "AR-tuh-miss" and in Greek as "ARR-ta-meece"], is the Greek goddess of hunting, the wilderness, mountains, lakes, springs and wells, the nymphs, animals, protector of the young of both animal and human, midwifery, plague, chastity, light, and the moon, especially the crescent moon. Like with Athena's temple, the Parthenon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The name Artemis is of uncertain origin. However, it may mean "Great Mother", as there is indication that the worship of Artemis is extremely ancient and may pre-date the Greeks. There is evidence that Artemis may have originally been viewed as an all-powerful fertility deity or "mother goddess".

Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and the Titan, Leto. She is the twin sister of the god Apollo. Artemis revealed her role as midwife shortly after her birth as she was born one day before Apollo and then subsequently assisted her mother in the birth of her brother. As Apollo took the Palm Tree as one of his sacred plants as he was born beneath one, so too did Artemis take the Cypress Tree as one of her sacred plants, being born beneath one. Artemis is one of the 12 Olympians.

Unlike the majority of the other goddesses, Artemis is portrayed as a divine Kore, or maiden. Artemis is routinely portrayed as a young woman, perhaps in her early 20s.

In Greek art, Artemis is almost universally portrayed as fully robed, though she may be portrayed in the nude if the scene is of her bathing or swimming with her nymphs. Beginning from the Roman conquest and into Middle Ages, as well as today, it is very common for artists to portray the goddess in the nude. This may stem from the equation of nudity with freedom. However, the goddess is traditionally represented as being fully robed or else wearing a short, knee-length tunic that would not interfere with her running when hunting.

In appearance, Artemis is strikingly similar to her twin brother, Apollo. She possesses golden-blond hair, which she keeps styled-up upon her head and which may be kept in place by a crown or the image of the crescent moon, blue eyes and clear skin. Artemis is mostly portrayed carrying her golden bow and arrows but may also be shown to be carrying a spear or a torch as well. In archaic representations, Artemis is usually portrayed as having a pair of golden wings, a trait that sets her apart from her brother, Apollo. She may also be portrayed as carrying an animal in each hand or else wearing animal skins or pelts.

As with Hestia and Athena, Artemis is a virgin goddess, and together the three goddesses are the only gods who are immune to the power of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, sex and desire.

According to myth, on Artemis' third birthday she approached her father, Zeus, and asked him for six things. Her first request was to be allowed to remain a virgin forever. Her second request was to have as many names as her brother, Apollo. Her third request was for a bow and arrows similar to her brother's but made of gold, as well as a short tunic that would not interfere when she hunted. Her fourth request was to be able to bring light into the world. Her fifth request was for a group of 80 nymphs who would act as her hand-maidens, hunting companions, and attendants. Her sixth and last request was for all of the mountains of the world as she did not desire to rule over any cities, as well as the power to diminish the pain of women during childbirth. Zeus, being delighted in his daughter, granted all of her requests. He straight-away ordered Hephaestus to create her a golden bow and set of arrows. Artemis then paid a visit to Pan, the shepherd god of herds and flock, and he gave her a birthday gift of a pack of hunting dogs, 7 female and 6 male. Pan also told her of the existence of 6 beautiful and wild, golden-antlered deer. Artemis hunted them down but did not kill them. She instead tamed them and harnessed them to pull her chariot.

Like with her brother, Apollo, sudden and unexplained deaths of women, including death during childbirth, were believed to be caused by Artemis shooting her arrows. Artemis, likewise, was a source of plague by shooting poisoned arrows at cities, usually as a form of punishment.

As a virgin goddess, Artemis was preoccupied with the protection of her modesty. This was not an easy task as she was a beautiful goddess who was lusted after by many a god. Unfortunately, many male deities and mortals ended up experiencing her wrath when she felt her modesty was violated.

One of the more famous examples of such occurred when the mortal, Actaeon, chanced upon the goddess bathing. Actaeon ended up seeing her in all of her glory and the goddess was horrified. She reached down into the lake and splashed water upon the poor man. When the drops of water fell upon Actaeon's body a strange transformation resulted. He grew antlers and turned into a deer. Unfortunately, Actaeon still possessed the mind of a man so such experience was true torture. He immediately fled the goddess and sought help from his hunting companions. When he reached camp he was set upon by his own hunting dogs who then killed him, unable to recognize him for their master.

Actaeon would not be the only unfortunate mortal male to stumble upon the naked goddess. A young boy named Sipriotes accidentally encountered the goddess as she bathed. However, and due to his young age, Artemis showed compassion to him. She also reached down into the water and flung droplets upon the poor boy. Instead of transforming into a stag, the young boy became a girl. The newly made maiden then became a dutiful attendant of the goddess.

When the Aloadae, gigantic twin sons of Poseidon, tried to carry off Artemis and Hera for brides, Artemis saved the day due to her knowledge that the giants could only be killed by one another and were immune from death by any other means. Artemis transformed into a beautiful doe and ran between them. Being skilled hunters, the Aloadae each decided that he was going to be the one to kill the doe and claim her as a trophy. Each brother took out their bow and arrows as Artemis-as-doe ran between the pair and just as their arrows were set lose. As a result, each brother ended up shooting the other and thus both died.

When the River god Alpheus tried to seduce the goddess, Artemis fled him and contrived a plan where Alpheus would be allowed to have her if he could correctly pick her out from among her nymphs. However, if Alpheus could not pick her out, or if he chose the wrong maiden, then he must return to his home and bother her no more. Apheus, believing it would be extremely easy to identify the beautiful goddess, accepted Artemis' challenge and swore his oath to the goddess. Upon arriving at Artemis' location, Alpheus was shocked to discover that each young maiden had covered their face with mud. As a result, Alpheus was unable to distinguish which maiden was the goddess and so he was forced to leave.

It wasn't just her own virginity that Artemis attempted to protect. Artemis also demanded that her attendants and priestesses remain chaste as well. If an attendant or priestess violated her vows of chastity, Artemis' punishment could be severe. Case in point, Callisto.

Callisto was an attendant of Artemis who had made a vow of chastity to the goddess. The problem was that Callisto was very beautiful. She attracted the attention of Zeus who then seduced her by shape-shifting into the very likeness of Artemis! Callisto became pregnant and concealed both her breaking of her vow and her pregnancy from Artemis, fearing repercussion. In an attempt to protect Callisto from the wrath of Hera, Zeus transformed her and his newborn son into bears. Artemis, furious over the deception of Callisto, slew both her and her son with her arrows. Zeus then placed the pair in the heavens as the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

It was common knowledge that if any of Artemis' attendants were in danger of having their virginity violated that all they had to do was call upon the goddess and she would make sure they would remain virgins. Artemis usually accomplished this by transforming the attendant into a spring, river, tree or other aspect of nature. Thus Pholeo was turned into a spring and Syrinx was turned into reeds.

Despite Artemis' vow of being an eternal virgin, she herself was tempted by love at least once in myth. The object of her seemingly innocent affection was a giant hunter named Orion. Orion was a son of Poseidon and even though he was a giant he was considered to be extremely attractive. He was originally married to a beautiful woman named Side. However, she foolishly boasted that she was more attractive than Hera, the Queen of the Gods. Hera was quick to punish her hubris. The great goddess of heaven simply picked up Side and threw her alive into the Underwold, a seemingly literal translation of the phrase, "Go to hell!". Orion grew lonely and restless after the loss of his wife.

Poseidon granted his son the power to walk on water and as such he loved to stroll across the ocean from place to place, exploring new lands and generally having fun. Unfortunately, the giant also liked alcohol. While drunk one night he attempted to rape a princess and her father blinded him in retaliation. Orion stumbled hopeless and aimlessly until he chanced upon the island where Hephaestus dwelled. Hephaestus took pity on him and told him if he traveled due east he would eventually reach the palace of the sun god, Helios, where he might be healed. Orion took Hephaestus' advice. There he met Eos, the goddess of the dawn, who fell in love with the giant and healed him on the condition that he would become her lover. Orion stayed with Eos for many years but eventually took his leave. It was soon after that he met and befriended Artemis.

Orion was the only hunter who came close to matching the skill of Artemis, a feat that quite fascinated the goddess. The pair were constant companions and spent entire days roaming the wild in search of their prey. Artemis grew extremely fond of Orion and unfortunately her brother noticed such. Fearing that his sister was falling in love with the giant, Apollo took matters into is own hands in order to protect the virginity of his sister.

Apollo took Orion aside one day and asked him if he desired Artemis as a lover. Orion admitted that he found her to be extremely beautiful and thought that she would make an ideal mate. Apollo then tricked Orion by betting him that he couldn't walk on the sea floor because he only had seen Orion walk on the water. Orion demonstrated that he could by plunging into the ocean. Orion was so tall that only the very top of his head was visible. As Orion roamed the ocean, Apollo called out to his sister and proposed they practice with their bow and arrows. Apollo challenged Artemis to shoot a boulder in the sea, a feat she did easily. Unfortunately, the boulder was actually the head of Orion. He died instantly. Artemis fled to her father, Zeus, in tears. Zeus was so moved by her loss that he placed Orion in the heavens, as the constellation that bears his name.

Like her brother Apollo, Artemis could be quite wrathful when offended. Many unfortunate mortals and lesser deities ended up becoming Artemis' targets. Few were shown mercy or given a chance to make up for their mistakes.

When Aura, the goddess of cool breezes, dared make fun of Artemis by saying her body was too "womanly" and made comments implying that Artemis wasn't a virgin, Artemis reacted quite cruelly. Artemis got revenge by asking Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance, to intercede. Nemesis caused Dionysus to rape Aura and then drove her insane. She bore two children but in a state of homicidal lunacy, she killed and devoured one child. Artemis, taking pity on the remaining child, snatched it away from his mother.

Leimon was a mortal man who treated Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, cruelly as well. Artemis went looking for him. Leimon, fearing his brother would tattle on him, murdered him in hopes that the goddess would not discover his identity. However, being a goddess, Artemis saw his sin and promptly filled his body with her arrows.

Queen Niobe was also another foolish mortal who dared claim that she was better than Leto and worthy of worship in her place as Leto only had two children while she had fourteen, seven sons and seven daughters. Artemis and Apollo shot each child with their arrows, killing them and then transformed their bodies and their weeping mother into a cliff with a small waterfall so that Niobe would weep for all eternity.

King Admetos pissed off Artemis because he regularly forgot to worship her. She got revenge by filling his bed with poisonous serpents. However, Apollo saved Admetos before he could be bitten as he and Admetos were once lovers.

When Hippo, daughter of the Centaur Chiron, refused to worship Artemis she promptly turned her into a horse.

Byssa was a foolish princess who laughed at Artemis for wandering the woods at night. Artemis turned her into a sea bird.

Polyphonte was a foolish mortal who was stupid enough to offend both Aphrodite and Artemis. She offended Aphrodite by claiming that the goddess was weak and had no power over her. Polyphonte then said she would dedicate her worship to a goddess who was worthy of her praise, that of Artemis. Aphrodite responded by making her lust after a bear. Artemis chanced upon her having sex with the said bear and in disgust caused the beasts of the forests to tear her apart.

Polyphonte would not be the only example of Aphrodite gaining revenge on a follower of Artemis. There was once a beautiful youth named Hippolytus. Hippolytus did not want to fall in love or get married. Instead, he was one of the rare males who worshiped Artemis and made a sacred vow to her to remain a virgin. Aphrodite was seemingly offended that such a beautiful man scorned her power, and even though he truly did nothing wrong that would warrant her anger or envy. Nonetheless, Aphrodite ended up bringing about his death in a chariot accident. Artemis pleaded with Zeus to bring him back from the dead because a chaste man was such a rarity. Zeus agreed and gave permission to Asklepios to resurrect him from the dead. The Romans believed that Hippolytus was transformed into their god, Virbius, a minor woodlands god and companion of Diana.

When the hunter, Broteas, refused to worship Artemis, adding that he would never venerate a goddess, let alone a goddess of the hunt, Artemis responded by driving him mad. He set himself on fire and died in agony.

When King Oineus also refused to worship the goddess she sent a monstrous boar to attack his lands. The monster was dubbed the Calydonian Boar and ravaged the land until it was slain, in part, with the aid of the maiden, Atlanta.

Like her brother Apollo, when offended by mortals, Artemis usually responded by shooting poisoned arrows into cities, causing plague. When she was appeased she would then end the plague.

One of the things that really infuriated Artemis was cruelty towards animals. Many might falsely assume that since Artemis is the goddess of hunting that she would delight in the death of animals. However, such view couldn't be farther from the truth. In one version of the myth of Orion, Orion trying to please Artemis, kills all the animals in the forest. Artemis responds by summoning a giant scorpion which attacks Orion and stings him to death.

In another myth, a sacred bear was kept at Athens. A group of girls began to poke fun of it, throwing rocks at it and taunting it until it finally responded by roaring and trying to swipe the girls with it's paws. Seeing this, two nearby youths responded by killing it. Artemis was outraged and sent a plague that killed hundreds of Athenians. In a desperate bid to appease the goddess, the Athenians promise to dedicate their young girls to her with rites celebrated every five years. Such girls were called "bears" in her honor. This would not be the only plague that Artemis unleashed on Athens. A priestess of Artemis once betrayed her vow of virginity and dared to have sex in her temple. Not only did Artemis slay the stupid woman but also set loose a particularly foul plague that killed many women and children.

When King Agamemnon killed a deer that was sacred to Artemis, she punished him by not allowing winds that would transport him back to Troy. Agamemnon consulted an oracle that told him that the only way to appease the goddess would be to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia. Agamemnon refused but realizing that he would never see home again, eventually consented. Agamemnon tricked his daughter by telling her that she is going to be wedded to the hero Achilles. To her horror, Iphigenia discovered that the altar was not a marriage alter but that of a blood sacrifice. According to the myths, Iphigenia was either offered up as a human sacrifice to Artemis or was whisked away by the goddess who then set a deer on the altar in her place. In such myths, Iphigenia is granted immortality and becomes an attendant of Artemis.

With regard to human sacrifice, the myths would suggest that human sacrifice was once common in the worship of Artemis. However, it should be stated that there is very scant evidence to suggest that such actually took place. As a general rule, the Greeks were opposed to human sacrifice, believing that the gods abhorred it. It is known that Artemis did require the deaths of anyone caught having sex in her temple or the deaths of her priestesses if they were caught having sex. Such cases are not truly examples of human sacrifice but are instead examples of religious capital punishment.

Despite the seemingly negative side of Artemis, the goddess had a splendid and positive side. Artemis was one of the most popular and widely worshiped goddesses of Greece and it's colonies. Her power, along with Demeter, ensured that people were able to survive by having enough food to eat. Additionally, in her role as goddess of lakes and springs, Artemis also provided freshwater to drink.

The goddess, as with Hera, was primarily concerned with the protection of women, especially of female infants and pregnant and nursing women. Artemis was so strongly associated with women that it is believed, at least in modern times, that Artemis hates men. Such belief is quite incorrect. Artemis hates the type of man that would degrade, harm, rape, humiliate or otherwise attempt to rule over women. However, Artemis loves men who view women as their equals and this is born out in the myths. Artemis also had many males priests.

Like with her brother, Apollo, temples to Artemis were found all across the Greek lands. Artemis' most famous temple was found in Ephesus. There she was worshiped in a unique form, having cult statues possessing multiple breasts. Her temple at Ephesus was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The goddess was served at her temple dating from the Bronze Age through the second century A.D. Even after the destruction of this magnificent temple, the beauty of it's architecture lives on. Columns from the temple were used in the construction of the famous Hagia Sophia church, now a museum, in what is now modern Istanbul, Turkey. Multiple many-breasted cult images of the Lady of Ephesus were transported across the world, including the Vatican. Such is a testament to the enduring fascination and popularity of the goddess.

Parents: Zeus and the Titan, Leto
Spouse: None
Offspring: None
Attendants: The Nymphs
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Agroterê (Of the Hunt, Huntress), Diktynnaia (Of the Hunting Nets), Daphnaiê (Of the Laurel Tree), Kedreatis (Of the Cedar Tree), Karyai (Of the Walnut Tree), Karyatis (Of the Walnut Tree), Pheraia (Of the Beasts), Elaphaia (Of the Deer),  Lykeiê (Of the Wolves), Leukophruênê (Of the White), Limnaiê (Of the Lake), Limnatis (Of the Lake), Eurynômê (Of the Broad Pastures), Hêleia (Of the Marshes/Wetlands), Philomeirax (Friend of Young Girls), Paidotrophos (Nurse of Children), Orsilokhia (Helper in Childbirth), Selasphoros (Light-Bringer), Phôsphoros (Light-Bringer), Sôteira (Saviour), Hêmerasia (She who Soothes), Hymniê (Of the Hymns), Hêgemonê (Leader of the Dance/Choir), Kordax (Of the Cordax Dance), Patrôia (Of the Fathers/Ancestors), Aristê (Best, Excellent), Eukleia (Of Good Repute), Kallistê (Very Beautiful), Prôtothroniê (Of the First Throne), Basileis (Princess, Royal), Hiereia (Priestess), Propylaiê (Of the Gate), Orthia (Of the Steep), Agoraia (Of the Market Place), Apankhomenê (Strangled Lady), Lygodesmê (Willow-Bound), Astrateia (Stayed the Advance), Heurippa (Horse-Finder), Peithô (Persuasive), Pyrônia (Of the Fire), Kolainis (Hornless), Pôtnia Therôn (Queen of Beasts), Potna Thea (Goddess Queen), Lêtôis (Daughter of Leto), Hekatê (Far-Shooting), Hekatêbolos (Far-Shooting/Darting), Hekaerge (Far-Working), Iokheaira (Of Showering Arrows), Khrysêlakatos (Of the Golden Distaff), Agrotera (Of the Wilds), Thêroskopos (Hunter of Wild Beasts),  Elaphêbolos (Deer-Shooting), Khrysênios (Of the Golden Reins), Khrysothronos (Of the Golden Throne), Eustephanos (Well-Girdled), Keladeinos (Strong-Voiced), Hagnê (Chaste, Pure), Parthenos (Virgin, Maiden), Aidoios Parthenos (Revered Virgin), Prostatêria (Standing Before), Aiolómorphos (Of Changeful Form), Acrea (Of the Heights), Ambrotos (Immortal), Ángælos (Messenger), Arsænómorphos (With a Male Face), Dadoukhos (Torch Bearer), Drymonía (Haunter of the Woods), Efkleia (Of Glory), Evántitos (Gracious), Évdromos (Swift Runner), Iokhǽaira (Archress), Khitóhni (Huntress), Kliïsía (Bringer of Glory), Kourotróphos (Nurturer of Children), Khthónios (Of the Earth), Kyniyǽtis (Huntress), Lokheia (Safe Birth), Lysimǽrimnos (Driving Care Away), Lysízohnos (Loosener of the Belt), Lytiriάs (Deliverer), Mægalóhnimos (Renowned), Nyktæróphitos (Night Roaming), Ohkylókheia (Quick Birth), Olviómiros (Blessed), Paidótrophos (Protectress of the Young), Pamvasíleia (Queen of All), Pasiphäís (Shining on All), Phíli (Beloved), Philagrǽtis (Loving the Chase), Phílistros (Loving Gadfly), Philomeirax  (Friend of  Youth), Polyóhnymos (Many Named), Pótnia (Queen), Sæmní (Revered), Skylakítis (Protectress of Dogs), Thiroktónos (Slayer of Wild Beasts), Titanís (Of Titans), Toxótis (Arheress), Vasíleia (Queen), Voulaia (Of the Council), Vromía (Dionysian)
Sacred Color: White, Silver
Sacred Number: 6
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Sacred Symbols: Golden Bow And Arrows, Chariot Pulled By Golden Antlered Deer, Spear, Deer, Hunting Dogs, Knee-length Tunics/Robes, Animal Pelts, Torches, Crescent Moon
Sacred Incense: Frankincense 
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Milk, Honey and Olive Oil, Cakes or Cookies in the Form of her Sacred Animals, Sacred Plants, Wild Flowers, White Flowers
Sacrificial Animals: Female Deer, Goats,
Sacred Plant: Cypress Tree, Fir Tree, Cedar Tree, Walnut Tree, Laurel (Bay), Amaranth, Asphodel, Mugwort/Wormwood, Wild Flowers (Some specify Daisies or Buttercups)
Sacred Bird: Guinea Fowl, Partridge, Quail, Buzzard Hawk
Sacred Animal: Deers, Dogs, Bears, Boars, Bees, Fish
Festivals: Brauronia, Cnacalesia, Elaphebolia, Laphria, Munichia, Tauropolia, Thargelia

***NOTE: I can not stress how important it is not to take Greek mythology as being literally true. If taken as literal truth then Artemis is horribly evil instead of the beautiful and splendid goddess that worshipers believed her to be. The myths are designed to communicate subtle truths of the nature of reality and human existence by using allegory, metaphor and symbolism.

***NOTE: The myths are simply the opinions of their authors and do not reflect that actual belief of worshipers. For example, in some traditions, Artemis is the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon and she was worshiped with the name of Despoina. In other traditions, Apollo is not her twin brother but is in fact her lover or husband. Thus, Artemis was not universally believed to be a virgin.

***NOTE: In Sparta, the tradition was to flog male youths until their blood splattered the altar of Artemis. Some scholars believe this tradition evolved to replace prior traditions of human sacrifice.

***NOTE: The goddess worshiped as "Artemis of Ephesus", a.k.a. "The Lady of Ephesus" is actually a form of the goddess Cybele. For some strange reason people equated her with Artemis. It has been theorized that the many images of animals associated with the goddess may have fueled the synchronization.

***NOTE: Artemis and the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus appears in the New Testament in the book of Acts. The Apostle Paul preached there and angered local makers of statues of the goddess who then sold such to tourists. Paul actually fled the city for fear that he would be harmed by angry merchants. 

***NOTE: There is modern confusion as to the identity of the objects found on the chest of the cult statue of Artemis at Ephesus. Some speculate they are beehives. Others speculate they are castrate bull testicles. However, the preferred opinion and the one that has been held since ancient times is that they are breasts. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another Florida Zombie Kills And Eats Face Of Victim

A 19 year-old, Florida "zombie" attacked a couple, beating and stabbing them to death. A neighbor tried to stop him before he was also viciously stabbed. When police finally made it to the scene they discovered the attacker eating the face off of the male victim.

Back in 2012 another Florida "zombie" attacked, stripped and ate the face off of a homeless man. He was suspected of being under the influence of a synthetic drug called "bath salts" but toxicology tests determined that he only had marijuana in his system. Reports of this 19 year-old "zombie" also blame drugs but it has been noted that he did not display elevated body temperature that is normally a side-effect of synthetic drug abuse.

What the hell is going on in Florida?

Saturday, August 13, 2016


"To Apollon. Blest Paian, come, propitious to my prayer, illustrious power, whom Memphian tribes revere, Tityoktonos, and the god of Health, Lykoreus, Phoibos, fruitful source of wealth: Pytheion, golden-lyred, the field from thee receives its constant rich fertility. Titan, Gryneion, Smyntheus, thee I sing, Pythoktonos, hallowed, Delphion king: rural, light-bearing Daimon, and Mousagetos, noble and lovely, armed with arrows dread: far-darting, Bakkhion, twofold and divine, power far diffused, and course oblique is thine. O Delion king, whose light-producing eye views all within, and all beneath the sky; whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure, who omens good revealest, and precepts pure; hear me...since to thy care the figured seal's consigned, which stamps the world with forms of every kind. Hear me, blest power, and in these rites rejoice, and save thy mystics with a suppliant voice."
(Orphic Hymn 34 To Apollo)

Apollo, a.k.a Apollon [Pronounced in English as "uh-paw-loh" and in Greek as "AH-PO-lon"], is the Greek god of light, music, truth, prophecy, healing, archery, rationality, reason and intellect, the founding of cities, plagues, protection from evil, protection of flocks and herds, poetry, male beauty, athletics and the gymnasium. Toward the end of the Hellenistic age, Apollo was sometimes equated with Helios, the god of the sun.

The meaning of the name Apollo is of uncertain origin. The most popular folk meaning of the name is "destroyer". However, the name may actually mean "averter of evil", "of the assembly", "of speech", and "purifier" as well.

Apollo is an extremely complex deity. When the Romans adopted his worship they did not equate him to one of their own gods but rather absorbed his worship and kept his Greek name intact. Apollo is the son of Zeus and the Titan, Leto, and is the twin brother of the goddess Artemis. He is one of the 12 Olympians.

Unlike the other Olympians, Apollo is universally portrayed as a divine kouros, a beautiful, beardless young man. A typical kouros is pubescent, a teenager in modern slang, and is approximately 15-17 years of age. Among the Greeks a male was accepted as a man at the age where he could grow a beard. However, the Greeks recognized that not all males developed at the same rate and thus accepted "adult kouros", men in the later teens and 20s, who were unable to grow beards, as adult men as well. The majority of the images of Apollo appear to show an adult kouros, a beardless man in his early 20s.

Apollo is considered to be the most beautiful male god of the Greek pantheon. He is portrayed as being beardless, having long, golden-blond hair which he does not cut but rather keeps styled-up upon his head. He is portrayed as having clear skin and blue eyes, with light emanating from both. His body is portrayed as an idealized, athletic male form, though softer in appearance than how Zeus and Poseidon are portrayed. Apollo is frequently portrayed nude or semi-nude, with a robe sometimes, if but barely, disguising his nakedness. He is rarely portrayed as fully robed. Apollo is generally portrayed holding a lyre, his sacred musical instrument, or else a silver bow and arrows. Apollo also possessed a golden sword as well as a magical shield but he was rarely portrayed in art with such.

At the time that Zeus wed Hera, the Titan, Leto, was already pregnant with his twins, Artemis and Apollo. Even though Zeus' relationship with Leto predated his involvement with Hera, Hera was nonetheless jealous of Leto and sought to prevent her from being able to give birth. Hera did this by securing a promise from Gaia, the goddess of the earth, that no land would allow Leto refuge, thus depriving her of anywhere to be able to give birth. Additionally, Hera sent out a dragon named Python, who was a son of Gaia and had the form of a giant serpent, to chase Leto.

Leto was forced to flee from the dragon and wander the earth in the agony of labour pains with no real hope of relief. However, Zeus did not forget Leto. He secretly ordered Boreas, the god of the north wind, to pick up Leto and fly her out to sea. There Zeus knew was a new island named Delos that was not fixed to the earth but floated freely. Thus, a loophole was found that Zeus exploited, allowing sanctuary for the goddess and giving her a location to give birth. When Hera found out about Delos she was livid. She halted her daughter, Eileithyia, the goddess of child birth, from going to Leto in a desperate bid to prevent Leto from giving birth. At this time the other gods and goddesses, knowing of the pain that Leto was experiencing, turned on Hera for her cruelty. Hera's own personal messenger, Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, was eventually able to quickly whisk Eileithyia away when Hera wasn't looking so she could cause Leto to give birth.

Leto bore Artemis first, who then assisted as midwife for the birth of her brother, Apollo. Apollo was born under a palm tree and thus took it as one of his sacred plants. The twins quickly grew to maturity after being fed on ambrosia.

At only four days old, the young Apollo proved his strength and divinity by going to Hepheastus and asking him for a silver bow and arrows so that he might seek out and slay the serpent that Hera has sent to attack his mother. Hephaestus complied. Apollo found and then chased the dragon to the city of Delphi, where it sought refuge at the temple of it's mother, Gaia. Gaia was unable to protect it as Apollo barged into the secret and holy part of her sanctuary, where Python hid. Apollo slew the monster and it's body was either buried or fell into a crevice where fumes from it's decomposition were believed to inspire prophecy. Apollo then commandeered the temple for his own. Gaia was not pleased for the killing of her child and violation of her then temple. As punishment, Zeus ordered him to make compensation. Apollo did so by naming his priestesses "Pythia" in honor of Python and establishing the competition of the Pythian games in his honor as well.

Due to the ill treatment of  Leto, both Artemis and Apollo were very touchy when it came to any perceived criticism of their mother. When the foolish Queen Niobe stated that she should be honored above Leto as Leto only had two children while she had 14, 7 sons and 7 daughters, Apollo and Artemis responded by drawing their bows and killing her children. Their bodies, as well as that of their weeping mother, were transformed into a cliff that had a small waterfall, where Niobe would weep forever.

As a divine archer, Apollo was referred to as "he who works from afar", meaning that he can kill from a distance by shooting his arrows. It was believed by the Greeks that any unexplained and sudden death of man was brought about by one of Apollo's arrows, while the same manner of death of a woman was caused by Artemis. Connected to this was the belief that Apollo was the origin of plagues. With poison arrows, Apollo could send plagues to punish humanity, when necessary. Just as easily as he could kill, he could also heal, as a god who can send a plague can also stop it. Thus, Apollo was also viewed as a god of healing.

Though Apollo was considered to be the most attractive male god his love life was far from perfect. He never married and the majority of his romances ended poorly. In fact, many of his loves died as a result of either becoming his lover or spurning the god. Like many male gods, Apollo took both female and male lovers.

Apollo's first love was for the nymph, Daphne. Daphne was a daughter of Gaia and the river god, Ladon. Apollo burned for desire for Daphne and quite simply, came on far too strong. He scared the nymph, causing her to flee. Making matters worse, Apollo was inexperienced with the art of seduction and decided that chasing Daphne down and forcing her to sleep with him would be the best thing to do. In terror at the approaching god, Daphne called out to her parents to protect her. They responded by turning her into the first Laurel tree, and literally at the last moment. Just as Apollo had grabbed the maiden he was quickly shocked to learn that he was rubbing against bark. Realizing that Daphne was now safe from his grasp forever, Apollo fashioned a wreathe from it's leaves and made the laurel one of his sacred plants.

Daphne would not be last of the loves of Apollo who met tragic ends. Here's but a brief breakdown;

1. Bolina - A maiden who was pursued by Apollo. She rejected him, he chased her, she threw herself off a cliff and into the sea to escape him, Apollo saved her by transforming her into a river.

2. Chione - A maiden who had sex with Apollo and Hermes on the same night. She bore them each a child. Later on she began trash talking Artemis. When Artemis found out, she shot and killed her with her arrows. When her father found out about her death he threw himself off a cliff but Apollo took pity on him and transformed him into a hawk before he hit the ground.

3. Cassandra - A Trojan princess who caught the attention of Apollo because of her beauty. He promised her the gift of prophecy if she slept with him. She agreed but demanded he give her the gift before the deed. He consented. After receiving the gift she changed her mind. However, once a divine gift has been given it can not be taken back. So Apollo cursed her saying that even though that she will prophecy true that nobody will believe her. In time, she became hated by the Trojans and was considered to be a raving lunatic. She tried in vain to convince the Trojans that the Greeks had hid themselves in the wooden horse given to them and that they would destroy the city, but to no avail.

4. Coronis - She was a princess that Apollo was madly in love with and whom he wanted to make his wife. She was pregnant with his child when she cheated on Apollo with a mortal man. Apollo had charged his sacred bird, the crow to spy on her. At that time the crow was pure white in color. When Artemis found out that Coronis was cheating on her brother with a mortal, she shot and killed her with one of her arrows. Hermes swooped in and rescued the baby from her womb and gave him to the centaur Chiron to raise. Because the crow did not report Coronis' infidelity to Apollo, Apollo cursed it by turning it black.

5. Sibyl - She was a mortal woman desired by Apollo. Apollo offered to grant her one wish if she would have sex with him. She likewise wanted the wish granted in advance of the deed. Apollo consented. She picked up a handful of sand and wished to live for as many years as there were grains of sand in what she held. Apollo granted her wish. However, she too changed her mind and refused to sleep with Apollo. Since a divine gift, once given, can not be taken back, Apollo cursed her. He told her that she would live a year for every grain of sand she held but she would not possess eternal youth, something he would have freely given her had she slept with him. As a result, Sibyl aged. Each year she got older and older and with time shrunk. She eventually shrunk to the size of grasshopper and was kept in a small cage. If anyone dared ask her what she desired most she always responded "to die".

6. Cyparissus - He was a male lover of Apollo who was given a gift of a stag by the god. Cyparissus loved the stag so much that when he accidentally killed it he sunk into such a great despair and depression that he died. Apollo transformed his body into the first Cyprus tree.

7. Carnus - He was a male lover of Apollo. Apollo saw him when he was a youth and promised him the gift of prophecy if he would sleep with him. Carnus agreed, did the deed, and was given the gift of prophecy. When an old man he was murdered by Hippotes because he gave him a vague prophecy.

8. Leucates - He was a beautiful youth who was desired by Apollo. However, Leucates did not want to have sex with Apollo and as a last ditch effort to escape the god's advances, he threw himself off a cliff and killed himself.

9. Hyacinthos - He was a Spartan prince whom both Apollo and Zephyros, the god of the west wind, desired. He chose Apollo as his lover. Zephyros was so angry and jealous that Hyacinthos spurned him that he constantly stalked him and spied upon him. One day as Hyacinthos and Apollo were playing discuss, Zyphyros became so enraged by their displays of love that he blew the discuss so that it struck Hyacinthos in the head, killing him. Apollo refused to let him die and transformed him into a flower that was then named after the youth, "hyacinth". It is claimed that written on the petals is the word, "alas".

10. Acantha - She was a nymph who Apollo desired to have sex with. However, she was not interested and attacked Apollo, scratching his face. Apollo turned her into the first Acanthus plant, known for having thorns.

Of all of Apollo's loves, Daphne and Hyacinthos were most cherished by the god.

Not all of Apollos' loves met tragic ends. He had several satisfying relationships, with both men and women. Below are some loves of Apollo that seemingly went well.

1. Admetus - He was a king that Apollo was sentenced to work for because he killed the Cyclops in retaliation after his son, Asclepius, was killed by Zeus because he raised a person from the dead. During his stay with Admetus, Apollo became attracted to him and the two had sex. Admetus was married at the time.

2. Atymnius - He was an attractive youth and son of Cassiopeia. Apollo saw him and lusted after him. The pair had sex.

3. Branchus - He was either a male lover of Apollo or the son of Apollo. In the myths where they were lovers, Apollo chanced upon him and immediately felt intense desire for the youth and had sex with him. In the myths where Branchus was his son, he impregnated his mother in the form of a ray of light.

4. Hymenaios (Hymen) - He was the god of the marriage hymn and festival and was so beautiful that he drove Apollo nuts. Apollo was so sexually aroused by him that he refused to leave his father's home and wanted nothing but constant sex with the young god. Hermes took advantage of his "sexual madness" to steal Apollo's herd of oxen.

5. Iapis - He was a male lover of Apollo. Apollo likewise offered to grant him a wish if he would have sex with him. Iapis chose the gift of healing in order to save his father's life.

6. Cyrene - She was a princess who loved hunting. Apollo chanced upon her wrestling a lion and he fell madly in love with her. He whisked her away and transformed her into a nymph so that she would live a great deal longer than a normal human. She bore him Aristaeus, a rustic god who invented bee-keeping.

7. Rhoio - She was a maiden whom Apollo loved. When she became pregnant, Rhoio's father believed she had slept with a mortal man and locked her up in a chest and had the chest cast into the ocean. Apollo saved her and she bore him a son named Anios.

Apollo had numerous offspring with his female lovers. However, what set him apart from other gods was that the majority of his offspring were mortals. His divine offspring are Asklepios, the god of medicine, and Aristaeus, a rustic god who invented bee-keeping and cheese-making. One of his prominent mortal sons is Orpheus, the musician and prophet who dared venture into the Underworld to retrieve his deceased wife. The majority of Apollo's mortal offspring were noteworthy for the founding of cities. Apollo also had a foster son who was a Centaur named Chiron.

Apollo's son, Asklepios, was one of the rare mortals who was transformed into a god. He was the son of Apollo and the mortal princess, Coronis, who unfortunately cheated on Apollo while she was pregnant with Apollo's baby. Apollo, being unable to keep an eye on Coronis due to his responsibilities as a god, sent his sacred bird, the crow, to watch over her and to report back to him. At that time the crow's feathers were pure white in color. When Artemis found out about Coronis' infidelity, she shot and killed her with one of her arrows. Hermes rescued the infant Asklepios from his mother's corpse right before she was cremated and then took him to the Centaur, Chiron, for him to raise.

One day, while out seeking medicinal herbs, Asklepios came upon a serpent that was under duress and would have died had Asklepios not saved it. Later that night, the serpent slithered up to Asklepios, who was fast asleep, and began to lick his ears. Doing so either provided Asklepios with mystical knowledge of healing or else gave him the power to raise the dead, a reward for having saved the serpent's life. This would ultimately be the cause of his own death.

Word soon spread that Asklepios had the power to bring the dead back to life. When Hades found out about such, he became angry and complained to Zeus that Asklepios threatened the very order of the Universe. Zeus, seeing no alternative, struck Asclepios with a lightening bolt, killing him.

Apollo was furious. To get revenge Apollo killed the Cyclopes who made Zeus' lightening bolts, since he was unable to outright harm Zeus. Zeus resurrected the Cyclopes but as punishment for his actions, Apollo was banished from Olympus and was forced to transform into a mortal man and become the slave of King Admetus for a year. It was during his stay with Admetus that the pair became lovers.

After spending a year trapped in the body of a mortal man, Apollo was allowed to return to Olympus. To keep the peace, Zeus resurrected Asklepios and transformed him into the god of medicine. Zeus made Asklepios swear a sacred oath that he would never resurrect a mortal without obtaining his permission.

Apollo's son, Aristaeus, had a somewhat better life. He was the son of Cyrene. He was born mortal but he displayed such creativity and invention that it was quickly decided that he should be made a god. While still young he was kidnapped and taken to Olympus by Hermes and there was allowed to eat the food and drink of the gods which granted him immortality. Aristaeus was a rustic god of the countryside and was connected to hunting, fishing, bee-keeping, cheese-making, animal husbandry, and orchards. He was additionally said to be responsible for sending the Etesian winds, cool breezes that brought relief to workers toiling under the hot sun.

Chiron was Apollo's adopted son. Although he was a Centaur, part-horse and part-man, his appearance differed from the other Centaurs. Chiron had body of a man, complete with two human legs, but his backside was the elongated body of a horse, having the two back-legs of a horse as well. Chiron was the immortal son of Chronus and the nymph, Philyra. His mother abandoned him after birth because of his unusual physical appearance. Apollo rescued him and raised him as his own son. Because of such, Chiron became educated and civilized, qualities that most Centaurs did not possess.

Chiron had the reputation of being the best mentor and was generally called upon to educate young mortal men and gods. He was the favorite teacher of the majority of the heroes in Greek myth. So he gladly took Asklepios on as a student and raised him to maturity. Chiron taught Asklepios medicine and of the nature and properties of all of the medicinal herbs.

Chiron was accidentally shot by his student, Heracles. A fight ensued between other drunken Centaurs and Heracles was forced to kill many of them by using arrows that were poisoned with the blood of the Hydra. In the heat of battle, Heracles mistook Chiron for one of the enemy Centaurs and accidentally shot him. Because Chiron was immortal, the venom could not kill him. However, the pain from the venom was unbearable and there was no antidote. Chiron had no other choice but to voluntarily give up his immortality so that he could die and not have to suffer for eternity. Before doing so, he made Heracles promise to free Prometheus from the rock he was chained to and from the fate of having an eagle consume his liver each day. This was Prometheus' punishment for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans.  Ashamed and remorseful for his actions, Heracles vowed he would do as Chiron requested. After Chiron's death the gods mourned so severely that Zeus resurrected him and brought him to Olympus.

One of Apollo's famous mortal sons was Orpheus. Orpheus' mother, who remains unnamed in myth, was a princess, a daughter of King Pierus. Orpheus was a great musician, and excelled in poetry as well as prophecy. Apollo, recognizing the musical talent of his mortal son, gave him a golden lyre. When Orpheus sang and played his lyre he created such beautiful music and song that all of creation was entranced. Wild animals would draw near and sit tamely at his feet. Trees would uproot themselves and crawl towards him. Rocks and boulders would creep and jostle for positions close to the god. Mortals would weep out of sheer euphoria. All creation fell madly in love with Orpheus and followed him wherever he went when he played.

Orpheus was married to a beautiful Dryad, a tree nymph and in her case a nymph of an Oak, named Eurydice. Nymphs, though extremely long-lived, are mortal. One day while Eurydice was frolicking in nature, a Satyr spotted her and attempted to rape her. Eurydice fled and in her panic accidentally fell into a nest of vipers and was bitten and died from the venom. Orpheus was so heart-broken that he took up his golden lyre and dared venture into the Underworld in hopes of bringing her back. His music ended up saving his life. 

Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog of Hades, was entranced by his music and rushed up to Orpheus like a mere puppy wanting to be pet. Thus, Orpheus was allowed entry to the netherworld.

Orpheus overcame every obstacle that stood between him and a meeting with the dreaded king and queen of the Underworld, Hades and Persephone. When Orpheus stood before the royal pair he took out his lyre and sang of his undying love for his wife. All of the dark gods of the Underworld were amazed. Even the terrifying Erinyes (Furies) wept out of the sheer beauty of Orpheus' song.  The beautiful goddess, Persephone, also wept uncontrollably as her frozen heart melted. She begged her husband to return Eurydice to Orpheus. Hades, seeing the tears in his wife's eyes, consented but only upon one condition. Orpheus must lead the way back home with Eurydice following him from a distance. At no time shall Orpheus ever turn to look behind him until they have both reached sunlight or else Eurydice would immediately return back to the Underworld. Orpheus agreed.

The way back to the surface world seemed to take an eternity. With each passing minute Orpheus grew more anxious and panicked as to whether or not Eurydice was actually following him. Just at the point where he could see the bright light of day a ways off in the distance, Orpheus broke down and turned around. He was greeted with the image of his beautiful wife being yanked back into the darkness and hearing her scream out his name. All hope had now been lost.

After losing his wife for the second time, Orpheus then swore off the love of all women. He took only male lovers for the rest of his life. He wandered the earth playing his music, giving prophecies, performing miracles, and teaching mysteries that would later be called "Orphic Mysteries" or "Orphism".

One day, as Orpheus sat upon a boulder and played his lyre, a group of Maenads, female nymphs and followers of the god, Dionysus, chanced by. They instantly fell madly in love with him and demanded that he return their love by sleeping with them. Orpheus, having rejected the love of women long before, ignored them. The Maenads were infuriated over such treatment and went insane. They savagely attacked him, tearing apart his body and decapitating him. Orpheus did not even try to defend himself against their wrath. The Maenads threw Orpheus head and lyre into a river and the items were later recovered by the Muses. The Muses placed Orpheus' golden lyre in the heavens as the constellation, Lyra. Orpheus was then reunited with his beloved wife in the Underworld.

Apollo could be very quick to temper, as well as vengeful, if those he loved were threatened or if he or his loved ones were offended. When the foolish giant Tityus tried to rape his mother, Leto, Apollo set loss his divine wrath and slayed him with his arrows and golden sword. As punishment for his crime, Tityus was sentenced to Tartarus, the Greek version of Hell, where he was chained and had two vultures attack him and rip his liver from his body and consume it. Each night his liver would grow back.

Marsyas was another fool who learned the hard way what could happen when one purposefully pissess off the god. Marsyas was a Satyr, a male nature spirit that was part-animal, part-human. Satyrs were originally portrayed as having the ears and tail of a horse or mule, snub noses, and large foreheads. By the time of the Romans Satyrs were believed to be beings that appeared as horned men having the legs of a goat. Satyrs were lustful nature gods who when not chasing after nymphs for sex, were generally causing trouble. Satyrs were usually not that bright as well.

Marsyas chanced upon the discarded flute that Athena had invented. Athena threw it away because the other goddesses laughed at her because her cheeks puffed out when she attempted to play it. Marsyas began to experiment with the flute and soon realize he had a gift for playing it. He was remarkably quite good. However, he let his ego run amok and it soon developed into a bad case of hubris.

Marsyas knew that Apollo was the god of music. Marsyas began to foolishly believe that he was better at music than Apollo was and thus felt that he should be worshiped in his place. So what did Marsyas do? He brazenly approached Apollo and dared challenge him to a contest. Marsyas would play his flute and Apollo would play his lyre. The winner would not only be worshiped as the god of music but could also do to the loser anything he wanted. The contest began in earnest.

Believe it or not, the contest was almost declared a tie. Marsyas truly did have a gift but his ego was his downfall. Realizing that the contest was about to be declared a tie, Apollo challenged Marsyas by saying that the two of them should play their instruments upside down. By upside down, it is meant from the reverse end of the instrument. Marsyas agreed, not realizing that it was impossible to play the flute from the reverse end. However, the lyre is easily played from it's reverse end. As a result, Apollo was declared the winner.

Apollo's punishment was swift and brutal. He ordered that Marsyas was to be flayed alive and his skin hung from a Pine tree. Marsyas' screams of agony were so great that Apollo himself felt pity for him and tore the strings out of his own lyre, swearing off the playing of the instrument for a period of time. In some versions of the myth, Marsyas was then resurrected and became a follower of Dionysus.

Apollo obtained his lyre and became the god of music in a very interesting way. While Apollo was sexually obsessing over the beautiful Hymenaios, the god of the marriage hymn, his younger brother Hermes was born. Just a few short hours after birth, Hermes sneaked out of his crib and began to wander. He came upon Apollo's sacred herd of cattle and proceeded to steal them. He was so bright that he knew to sweep away his footprints so that Apollo would not know what direction the cattle were taken. Back home he sacrificed two of the animals and feasted. Hermes then came upon a tortoise and killed it. Being a crafty god, Hermes used the tortoise's shell and the strings from the guts of the cattle he sacrificed to create the first lyre. Apollo then busted Hermes for his theft. Hermes was taken before the court of the gods and in an attempt to get out of trouble, Hermes offered to give Apollo his new invention in exchange for his release. Apollo was so pleased with the lyre that he forgave Hermes. Apollo even went as far as giving Hermes responsibility over all herds while he himself took on the role as god of music.

Together, Apollo and Hermes would become the patron gods of athletics and gymnasiums, as both gods tended to be idealized versions of the physical perfection of male youth.

As god of music Apollo was most often found in the company of the nine Muses, goddesses of the arts and sciences, the goddesses who were responsible for granting artistic inspiration to mortals. Together, with Apollo as their leader, they frolicked on Mount Helicon amid sacred springs of water and inspired mortals to create great pieces of literature, poetry, songs, sculpture, dance and examples from every art.

Apollo was most famous for his role as god of prophecy. In actuality, all prophecy was said to come from Zeus. In this sense, Apollo was said to be the mouth of Zeus, being that he was the god of truth. There were numerous temples to Apollo throughout all of Greece and it's colonies. Each one possessed sacred priestesses called "Pythias", that went into trances from various means, either the inhaling or ingesting of psychoactive herbs or substances or by possession of the god directly.

The prophecies of the Pythias were vague or obscure and had to be interpreted by male priests. It was generally believed that the true understanding of a prophecy would not be fully understood until after the event had transpired, meaning that all prophecy was realized after the fact. The vagueness of the Pythias' prophecies infuriated many people. However, it did not dim the popularity of the god. People traveled from far away lands just to consult the oracles of Apollo.

Apollo's most famous temple and oracle was held at Delphi, the same location that the dragon, Python was slayed. Delphi was considered to be the center of the world and it's reputation endured through even the Roman conquest.

Apollo ruled at the temple of Dephi during the growing season. When Winter approached, Apollo flew upon his sacred swan and traveled to the land of the Hyperborea, a mythical paradise in the far North that was inhabited by beautiful giants who worshiped Apollo as their lord. During the Winter months, Apollo allowed his brother, Dionysus, to rule the temple in his absence.

At Delphi, a middle-aged Pythia would ritually bathe, ingest Laurel (bay) leaves, and then sit on a tripod and inhale mysterious vapors that arose from a chasm that the temple was built over. She would then go into trance and deliver the words of Apollo. Her last prophecy occurred after the rise of Christianity and during Christian persecution of pagans. Many temples and statues were destroyed by fanatical Christians. The Pythia's last prophecy was such:

"Tell to the king that the temple wall is fallen in decay; Apollo has no chapel left, no prophesying bay. No talking stream. The stream is dry that had so much to say."

With such prophecy the ancient voice of Apollo fell silent.

Parents: Zeus and the Titan, Leto
Spouse: None
Offspring: Asklepios, Aristaeus, Orpheus, Chiron (adopted), Numerous Mortals
Attendants: The Muses
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Thearios (Of the Oracle), Proopsios (Foreseeing), Klêdônes (Omen in Words and Sounds), Klêrios (Distributing by Lot), Hekatos (Shooter from Afar),  Agraios (Hunter, Of the Hunt), Mousêgetês (Leader of the Muses), Paian (Healer), Akesios (Of Healing), Oulios (Of Sound Health), Alexikakos (Averter of Evil, Averter of Harm), Epikourios (Succouring, Helping), Boêdromios (Rescuer), Smintheios (Of the Mice), Lykios (Of the Wolves), Parnopios (Of the Locusts), Erythibios (Of the Mildew), Argyieus (Of the Streets), Prostatêrios (Standing Before the Entrance), Epibatêrios (Of Sacrifices), Delphinios (Of the Dolphins), Aktios (Of the Foreshore), Theoxenios (God of Strangers), Korynthos (Of the Corynthus-Cake), Enthryptos (Of the Enthryptos-Cake), Latôios (Son of Leto), Pythios (Of Python), Horios (Of Boundaries/Borders), Dekatêphoros (Bringer of Tithes), Aiglêtos (Shining), Akersekomês (Beautiful Hair), Agêtôr (Leader of Men), Agônios (Helper in Contests), Aguieus (Protector of the Streets), Archêgetês (Founder of Colonies), Kataibatês (glad return), Chrusaôr (golden sword), Dêlios (Of Delos), Epaktios (God of the Coast), Epibatêrios (Leader of Sailors), Hebdomagetês (The 7th of every Month), Intonsus (uncut/unshaved), Isodetês (He who Equally Binds), Loimios (Savior from Plague), Loxias (Vague Prophecy), Lukêgenês (Born of Light), Marmarinos (Of Marble), Moiragetês (Leader of the Fates), Noumios (Leader of Shepherds), Phoibos (Bright/Shining), Phuzios (Protector of Fugitives), Spodios (Sacred Altar Ash), Zosterius (Savior), Helios (Sun), Phanaeus (Giving Light), Iatrus (Physician), Nymphegetes (Leader of the Nymphs), Leschenorius (Converser), Manticus (Prophetic), Aphetorus (To let Loose), Argyrotoxus (With Silver Bow), Eleleus (War Cry), Embasius (Blesser of those embarking), Enolmus (Of the Seat), Erasmius (Beloved), Aglaotimus (Splendidly Honored), Agnós (Holy), Agréfs (Hunter), Ágrios (Wild), Alexicacus (Diverter of Calamity), Ánax (King), Arótrios (Blesser of Farmers/Shepherds), Cerdous (Gainful), Chrysokomes (Golden Haired), Comaeus (Flowing Hair), Culicarius (Averter of Flies/Gnats), Daphnephorios (Bearing Laurel), Didymeus (Twin), Dicerus (Two Horned), Efrypharetres (With wide Quiver), Hecatombæus (Sacrifice of 100), Karneios (Horned), Kharopiós (Bringer of Joy), Khrismohdós (Chanting Prophecies), Khrysolýris (Of the Golden Lyre), Kitharohdós (Player of the kithára), Kourotróphos (Nurturer of Children), Kourídios (Legal Husband), Kozmoplókos (Holder of the World), Kýdimos Kouros (Famous Youth), Mælioukhos Turannæ (Ruling with Sweetness), Mákar (Blessed), Metageitnius (Remover form the Neighborhood), Myricæus (Bearing Broom), Napæus (Of Groves), Næomínios (New Moon), Olviodótis (Bestower of Bliss), Panderkes Omma (All Seeing Eye), Pangkratís (All Powerful), Pantothalís (Making Everything Bloom), Patróös (Father), Philísios (Friendly), Prophítis (Speaker for a God), Prostaterius (Protector of Houses), Psykhodotír (Giver of the Soul), Semne (Holy/Revered), Saligena (Rising from the Sea), Sauroktonos (Lizard Slayer), Soter (Savior), Sosianus (Healer of Madness), Spærmeios (Presiding over Seed), Spelaites (Of Grottos), Tælǽstohr (Sacred Teacher/Priest), Thermius (Warm), Thorates (Engendering), Thyræus (Of the Gate/Entrance), Tityoktónos (Slayer of the Giant Tityos), Toxovǽlæmnos (Of Bow and Arrows), Ulius (Healthy), Viodóhtis (Giver of Life), Genetor (Ancestor), Zosterius (Encircling the World)
Sacred Color: White
Sacred Number: 7
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Sacred Symbols: Lyre, Silver Bow/Arrows, Golden Sword, Tripod, Wreath of Laurel, Tripod, The Sun
Sacred Incense: Frankincense 
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Milk, Honey and Olive Oil, Cakes or Cookies in the Form of his Sacred Animals, Sacred Plants, Roses, Fruit, Honeycomb, Music, Poetry
Sacrificial Animals: White or Light Colored Steer/Bulls, Sheep, Goats
Sacred Plant: Laurel (Bay), Myrtle, Palm, Hyacinth (Probably Larkspur), Broom
Sacred Bird: Crow, Swan, Hawk
Sacred Animal: Wolf, Dolphin, Serpent, Mouse, Deer, Cicada
Festivals: Boedromia, Carneia, Carpiae, Daphnephoria, Delia, Hyacinthia, Metageitnia, Pyanepsia, Pythia, and Thargelia

Apollo - Learn Out Loud

***NOTE: The Greeks viewed Apollo as the quintessential Greek god.

***NOTE: It's extremely important that readers understand that the myths are not meant to be taken literally. They are allegory, metaphor and symbolism. The myths are designed to subtly communicate truths of human existence.

***NOTE: Apollo appears in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, where he is said to be the Angel of the Bottomless Pit that is set free. He is also called Abaddon in the passage. The majority of Christians believe this is a reference to either Satan or the Antichrist. However, a small minority believe that the Angel of the Bottomless Pit is not demonic but is in fact an Angel who is tasked with destroying humanity as part of God's plan. It's likely that the name Apollo was used as a Christian attack on traditional Greek polytheism.

***NOTE: The plant that we call Hyacinth today is not the same plant that is referenced in the myth of Apollo and Hyacinthos. There have been many plants suggested as being the one referenced by the Greeks but there is no firm evidence for which plant it may be. A popular theory is that it is actually Larkspur (Delphinium).

***NOTE: There is no evidence that the myth of Apollo and Acantha is of ancient origin. It's likely that it is a modern invention.

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, Chiron is placed in the heavens as the constellation, Sagittarius.

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, Asklepios is placed in the heavens as the constellation, Ophiucus.

***NOTE: In myth, Orpheus is said to be the inventor of pederasty, the practice of adult men taking on teenage boys as lovers.

***NOTE: The Orphic Mysteries, or "Orphism", is the oldest Greek Mystery religion. It also is claimed to have survived the coming of Christianity. Believers insist the teachings have been passed down in families through the ages, but admit that much of the actual rituals have been lost to time. Orphism teaches that the soul is divine but trapped in a mortal prison. It is the goal of the soul to be perfected through various incarnations, cycling from the simplest of animals to that of human beings, until it has reached a state of perfection and enlightenment, upon which the soul becomes a god and joins the company of the gods in the Elysian fields. Upon becoming a god, the soul no longer incarnates and no longer has to experience the suffering and hardship of this world. 

***NOTE: In some versions of the myth, the sea god Glaucus, taught Apollo the art of prophecy. It was generally believed that sea gods were gifted with prophetic powers.

***NOTE: Apollo, in his form as Apollo Karneios, was portrayed as having horns, usually those of a ram. 

***NOTE: The Hyperboreans were believed to worship Apollo as the god of the sun and in a giant, circular temple that was open to the sky. Some scholars feel that this is a reference to the Celtic peoples, with the circular temple possible being a reference to Stonehenge. 

***NOTE: The popularity of the Oracle at Delphi began to decline when the mysterious gas that issued from a cleft in the ground stopped being produced after an earthquake. It was this gas that the Pythia inhaled and which would send her into a trance. Christians then finally put an end to the oracle upon rising to power.

Friday, August 5, 2016


"Of Pallas Athena, guardian of the city, I begin to sing. Dread is she, and with Ares she loves the deeds of war, the sack of cities and the shouting and the battle. It is she who saves the people as they go to war and come back. Hail, goddess, and give us good fortune and happiness!"
(Homeric Hym 11 to Athena)

Athena, a.k.a Athene, Pallas Athena, (Roman Minerva) [Pronounced in English as "UH-thee-NUH" or "Uh-thee-nee" and in Greek as "ah-thee-NAH" or "ah-thee-NEE], is the goddess of wisdom, defense and strategic war, weaving, and the arts and crafts. Athena is one of the 12 Olympians, is considered to be "the mother of invention", and was viewed to be the protector of cities. Athena's temple at Athens, the Parthenon, is considered to be one of the great 7 wonders of the ancient world.

In appearance Athene is portrayed as a strikingly tall, strong, beautiful, and masculine woman with fair hair, a ruddy face, and gray eyes. In fact, her gray colored eyes are considered to be the most impressive and powerful aspect of her physical appearance. Athena is universally portrayed as fully robed, never nude, and dressed for battle. Upon her head she wears a helmet. Upon her shoulders she wears a protective armored cloak made from the skin of the slain giant, Pallas. The cloak is fringed with immortal serpents that continue to move and hiss even though the giant from which they came had perished long before. In one arm Athena carries her spear or lance and in the other arm she carries the figure of the winged-deaemon Nike, goddess of victory. She may also carry a shield which bears the decapitated head of Medusa.

In some versions of the myths, Athena is Zeus's first born offspring, as well as being his favorite child. Athena has the honor of having a very curious birth. Her mother was the Titan, Metis, a goddess of wisdom and cunning, who was Zeus' first lover or wife. A prophecy declared that a female child born from Metis would grow up to be more powerful than her mother and a male child born to Metis would grow up to be more powerful than his father. Fearing that a male child conceived with Metis would attempt to overthrow him, Zeus took action. He tricked Metis into turning into a fly upon which he then swallowed. Being a goddess, Metis could not die. So she lived on inside him and in time grew to accept her state. However, and unbeknownst to Zeus, Metis was already pregnant when she was swallowed. Eventually the time came for Metis to give birth.

Zeus was plagued by such intense migraines that he cried out in agony. The pain was so severe that he called for help. Either Hephaestus, Epimithius, or some other god, came to his aid. In the myths where Hephaestus rendered his assistance, Zeus' head was placed on an anvil. Hephaestus then struck Zeus in the head with his might hammer, cracking his skull wide open. To every one's shock and amazement a fully grown female goddess sprung forth from the wound. She was Athena and she arose from the head of Zeus in full battle armor.

Like her aunt, Hestia, Athena was a virgin goddess. She was one of but three goddesses for whom Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, had no power over. Shortly after her birth, Athena asked her father Zeus the right to remain unmarried and to be an eternal virgin. Zeus granted her wish.

One of the traits of the virgin goddesses is the protection of their modesty. Both Athena and Artemis have myths about the punishment they inflect upon unfortunate mortal men who happen to see them naked. With Athena, the prophet Tiresias happened to chance upon Athena while she bathed. In a fit of anger, Athena blinded him. At least he escaped with his life. Not so with the poor man who glimpsed the naked body of Artemis.

It wasn't just the protection of her modesty that Athena was concerned with. Athena was also highly offended when it came to people disrespecting her and especially if such disrespect was of a sexual nature. For example, Medusa was once a beautiful woman who had sex with the god Poseidon in Athena's temple. Athena became so angry that she cursed Medusa, turning into a winged monster with serpents for hair, brazen claws, and an appearance so terrifying that anyone who saw her was transformed into stone. Athena then later aided Perseus in decapitating her. In return, Perseus gave her the head of Medusa to Athena. She then placed it on her shield.

Though a virgin, Athena does have one child, an adopted son. The story of how she adopted this child is almost an curious as Athena's birth.

One day Athena went to Hephaestus' workshop to inquire about getting new armor. While there, Hephaestus tried to seduce her but Athena would have nothing of it. Eventually Hephaestus resorted to violence and tried to rape the noble goddess. Athena kicked his ass and was able to make her escape. However, during the scuffle, Hephaestus ejaculated and his semen fell on her thigh. Athena grabbed a piece of nearby wool and used it to wipe it off. She then threw the wool on the ground. The spent semen seeped into the soil where it impregnated Gaia, the goddess of the earth. Gaia then gave birth to a male infant named Erichthonius. The child looked human in all ways save one. In place of legs he possessed two serpents with their serpent heads being where feet should be. Gaia not asking for such pregnancy or child, turned to Athena for help. Athena took pity on the baby and adopted him. She carved a great wooden chest and put the infant in a magical slumber and laid him inside. She gave the chest to three princesses, daughters of Cecrops, the King of Athens for safe-keeping. She warned the young women never to open the chest. Like with Pandora, the women's curiosity got the better of them. They eventually opened the lid of the chest and stole a quick peep at what lay within. The site of a baby with serpents for legs caused them to go insane and they then raced to the window and committed suicide by throwing themselves out and down the cliff. Erichthonius would grow up to become a powerful king of Athens.

With regard to Athens, Athena is the city's patron deity. Interestingly, no one knows if the city is named after her or if Athena is named after the city. We do know that Athena was the patron deity of numerous cities, with each one calling her a different name. In Thebes they called her Thebe, for example.

According to myth, Athena won Athens for herself in a contest with Poseidon. It was decided that the two would produce a gift and the god who produced the gift that was deemed to be the most valuable would be declared the winner and would become the patron god of Athens. Poseidon struck his trident into the ground and produced a salt water spring. Unfortunately, the spring was pretty much useless as humans can not drink salt water. Athena produced the first olive tree. Since the olive tree produces fruit that can be eaten and from whence oil can be derived, as well as the fact that the wood can be used for construction and to burn for heat, it was she who was declared the winner.

The olive tree would not be the last of Athena's gifts to mankind. Athena was literally "the mother of invention". Some of her inventions include; the plow, the rake, the yoke, the bridal, and the taming of horses. She also invented the first chariot and the first ship. She invented the first flute and trumpet, though she abandoned the flute because people laughed at her when she puffed her cheeks out to play it. Athena also invented the potter's wheel and taught people the working of clay. She also taught women to cook, spin and weave. As if that wasn't enough, Athena invented the science of mathematics.

The art of weaving was Athena's specialty. It also features prominently in one of her more well known myths.

It came about that a woman named Arachne boasted that her weaving was superior than the goddess. Now, Arachne was very skilled in the art of weaving and she produced such beautiful pieces that her work became widely known and people sought her out from far away places because of such.  However, what Arachne failed to realize was that her skill was a blessing from Athena. When Athena found out about Arachne's boasting she decided to pay Arachne a visit. Disguising herself as an old woman she approached the arrogant young woman.

Athena can be patient and slow to anger if the situation calls for it. In her disguise as an old woman, Athena tried to get Arachne to take back her boasting and accept a more humble attitude. Arache refused. When Athena, as the old woman, suggested that maybe her skill in weaving was a blessing from the goddess, Arachne laughed. Athena then reminded her that humans should practice humility concerning the gods as the gods detest hubris. Arachne responded with a challenge. Defiantly, Arachne challenged Athena to a weaving contest, not realizing that the goddess was standing directly in front of her. Athena had enough. With a flash of light, Athena dropped her disguise and stood before Arachne in her divine form. Arachne didn't even flinch. The two immediately began the contest in earnest.

Athena wove scenes of mortal folly and hubris. Arachne wove scenes of Zeus's numerous affairs. When the contest ended, Athena naturally won. However, when the goddess saw the subject matter of Arache's work and how the foolish mortal dared to mock her father and King of the gods, Athena became infuriated. she was so angry she ripped Arachne's tapestry to shreds. Meanwhile, Arachne, ashamed of losing, fled the room crying. After some time had elapsed without her return, Athena went looking for her and found her near death. Arachne had hung herself. Taking pity on the foolish girl, Athena transformed her into the first spider so that she could continue to do what she loved best, weave. Instead of making tapestries, Arachne would now weave webs.

As mentioned above, Athena could be slow to anger and very patient with humans. Athena, as a war goddess was unlike her brother Ares, who delighted in war and bloodshed. Ares was the god of war for the sake of war, while Athena represented defense, justified and strategic warfare. Athena also had compassion for humanity and was concerned with fairness and all things just. It is said that she was the one who invented the practise that if a man or woman stands trial and the jury is evenly split, then the ruling must be in favor of the accused.

In fact, Athena became the protector and helper deity of the majority of the heroes in Greek mythology, being drawn to brave, courageous individuals whom she inspired to greatness and the fulfillment of their destinies.

Athena's capacity for compassion, her strength, nobility, and sense of fairness most likely contributes to her popularity to this day. She is truly a feminist icon. In modern times, Athena is perhaps the second most popular deity, after her father, Zeus.

Though Athena's most famous temple, the Parthenon, lies in ruins, there is a full scale replica built in Nashville, TN. The temple contains a 42 ft tall statue of Athena Parthenos.

Parents: Zeus and the Titan, Metis
Spouse: None
Offspring: Erichthonius (adopted)
Attendants: Nike, the winged-daemon of victory
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Ergane (worker), Aglaotimus (splendidly honored), Aiolomorphus (shape-shifting), Anassa (queen), Antrodiaetus (cave-dwelling), Arritos (unspoken), Ayaeleia (driver or protector of herds), Dia (heavenly), Drakaina (female dragon), Euresitechnos (inventer of the arts), Glaucopis (blue/green/gray-eyed or owl-eyed), Gorgophonus (slayer of the gorgon), Hippelateira (driver of horses), Hippius (of horses), Kleidouchos (holder of the keys), Luteria Kakon (deliverer from vice/wickedness), Macaira (blessed), Megalonimus (with a great name), Meter Technon (mother of the arts), Mounogenes (only begotten), Nikephorus Daemon (victorious god/spirit), Ombrimothymos (strong of spirit), Oplochares (delighter in arms), Hoplophorus (bearing arms), Ormasteira (who urges you forward), Philentheos (filled with divine influence), Phygodemnios (shunnin the marriage bed), Phygolectros (shuns the marriage bed), Philopolemic (lover of war), Philosophic (lover of wisdom), Polymetocus (bringing forth war), Polemoclonus (raising the clamor of war), Polullistos (sought with many prayers), Polybulus (much wisdom), Ritos (spoken of, famous), Semne (reverred), Soteira (savior), Basileia (queen), Bulaea (of the council), Gymnasousa Kore (athletic maiden), Areia (war like), Salpinx (war trumpet), Leitis (distributor of booty), Zosteria (girder in armor), Sthenias (strong), Chalinitis (bridler of horses), Eryma (defender), Alalcomeneneis (protectress), Polias (of the city), Poliatis (keeper of the ciy), Poliuchos (protectress of the city), Promachorma (champion of the anchorage), Paeonia (healer), Hygea (health), Ambulia (councellor), Pronoea (foresight), Apatouria (deciever), Machanitis (contriver), Alea (escape/refuge), Xenia (hospitality), Ophtlmitis (of the eyes), Oxyderces (sharp sighted), Coryphasia (of the head), Coryphagenes (born of the head), Parthenos (virgin), Korie (maiden), Gigantoletira (slayer of giants), Gigantoletis (slayer of giants), Gorgolaphas (gorgon crested), Acraea (upon the hill), Aithuia (diver/ship builder), Ageleia (protectress of the people), Agoraea (protectress of the marketplace), Alcis (strong), Anemotis (subduer of winds), Axiopoinos (avenger), Chalkioikos (of the brazen house), Ellotia (of the marsh)
Sacred Color: Light Blue
Zodiac Sign: Aries
Sacred Symbols: Helmet, Spear, Lance, Shield, Aegis, Head of Medusa, Distaff
Sacred Incense: Aromatic Herbs, Frankincense
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Honey, Milk, or Oil, Olive Leaves, Olives, Cakes and Cookies in the form of her Sacred Animals
Sacrificial Animals: Female Animals Excluding Lambs
Sacred Plant: Olive Tree
Sacred Bird: Owl
Sacred Animal: Serpent, Cock (Rooster)
Festival: Panathenaea

***NOTE: Athena gets her most famous title, that of Pallas Athena, from either a giant named Pallas that she slew or a best friend named Pallas that she accidentally killed, taking her name in memory. 

***NOTE: In the Odyssey, Athena is described as being 9 ft tall. This would imply that the other gods were around that same height. In art, when gods and humans were portrayed together, the gods were presented as far taller than the humans.

***NOTE: The Greek word, "glaukos" that is translated as "grey-eyed", can also mean blue or blue-green.

***NOTE: In another versions of the myth, Tiresias is blinded by Hera after he sided with Zeus in an argument.

***NOTE: Athena's statue at the Parthenon, as well as the reproduction statue found at the Parthenon in Nashville, contains a serpent that is rearing up and which is located by the goddesses' shield. This serpent is not an enemy but is in fact a representation of her adopted son, Ericthonius. 

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