Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zeus

"To Cronides ["Son of Cronus", epithet of Zeus], Most High, I will sing of Zeus, chiefest among the gods and greatest, all-seeing, the lord of all, the fulfiller who whispers words of wisdom to Themis as she sits leaning towards him. Be gracious, all-seeing Cronides, most excellent and great!"
(Homeric Hymn 23 to Cronides [Zeus])

Zeus (Roman: Jupiter, Jove), [Pronounced in English as "Zoos" (Roman: "Jew-piter", "Joe-v") and in Greek as "Zefs" or "Zevs"], is the King of the Gods in Greek Mythology and rules supreme over the sky and weather. Zeus is also considered to be a god of justice, law and is viewed as the "all-father", the father of both gods and mankind. Zeus is also the source of all prophecy. Zeus' name literally means "god". Zeus is usually considered to be the most powerful god in Greek mythology. However, later Greeks believed that the Moirai (The Fates) and Aphrodite, the goddess of love and desire, as well as her son Eros, the god of sexual desire, had some level of power or influence over him. Toward the end of the Hellenic age, Zeus was viewed as being the one true god with the other gods being mere aspects of his power and divinity.

Zeus is almost universally portrayed as a strikingly handsome, mature man in his 30s-40s, with dark hair and a full, curly beard. He is usually portrayed robed but is sometimes shown nude. In the nude he is portrayed like his brother Poseidon, possessing a nearly perfect, athletic, male physique. He is portrayed in art as either standing or sitting on his throne. In one hand he holds his lightning bolts, forged by the Cyclopes, and in his other hand he holds his lotus or eagle-tipped scepter. Zeus may also hold in his hands the daemon Nike, the winged-spirit of victory. Upon his head he wears a crown, either a real one or a crown of oak leaves or olive leaves. At the side of Zeus' throne lie two jugs. One contains good luck and the other contains bad luck. Upon a person's birth, Zeus reaches down and pours a portion of each jug into a person's life. Sitting at the side of Zeus were the goddesses, Hera, the Queen of the Gods, and Themis, the goddess of law and order. Surrounding Zeus' throne were the winged daemons, Kratos (strength), Zelos (rivalry), Nike (victory), and Bia (force). Additionally, a giant golden eagle perched on Zeus' throne. The eagle was Zeus' sacred animal.

According to myth, this particular eagle was once a mortal king named Periphas. Periphas, while a man, was so beloved by his people that they worshiped him as a god, giving him even more worship than Zeus himself. Zeus grew so angry that he decided to kill Periphas with a lightening bolt, to prove to his subjects that Periphas was just a mortal man and not worthy of such praise and devotion. However, Apollo intervened because Periphas was a good man who was actually quite humble and who properly honored the gods. Apollo then transformed Periphas into an immortal eagle and gave him to Zeus as a gift. From then on the eagle became Zeus's herald and spy in the mortal world.

Zeus is the youngest child of his parents, the Titans Cronus and Rhea. As such, Zeus truly had no right to rule. However, due to the myth of his siblings being swallowed by his father in a failed attempt to prevent a prophecy, Zeus became the symbolic eldest child as the subsequent vomiting up of Zeus' siblings is in a sense a form of birth.

So it came about that Cronus, the King of the Titans, the first race of gods who ruled the earth, heard of the prophecy that one of his children would rise up and overthrow him. So Cronus did what any intelligent divine being would do. He swallowed each and every one of his offspring, save one, Zeus, whom his mother Rhea saved by tricking Cronus. Rhea got pissed that Zeus was snacking on her babies. So she went to Gaia, the goddess of the earth, and asked her for advice. Gaia told he that when Zeus was born to take a rock and wrap it in swaddling clothes and present it to Cronus instead of the baby. Rhea did as she was told and Cronus swallowed the rock thinking it was the infant Zeus. Meanwhile, Rhea had Zeus spirited away to an island where he matured.

When Zeus was fully grown he led a rebellion against his father. His first lover, Metis, gave a drink of wine mixed with mustard to Cronus, which naturally caused him to vomit up all of Zeus' siblings that Cronus had previously consumed. Being gods, they could not die but were imprisoned within Cronus' belly. Once free, the gods joined their brother Zeus in his rebellion and overthrew their father. He, and his supporters were then cast into Tartarus, the Greek version of hell, where they were punished for their sins. Eventually, Zeus freed them and his father Cronus was granted the rule over Elysium, or the Elysian Fields, the Greek version of paradise.

However, this was not the end of Zeus' battles. The Giantes, a race of giants, children of the goddess of the earth, Gaia, decided to attack the Olympians and overthrow them. The giants were terrible and strong. Some were truly gigantic. Some were just a few feet taller than humans. Some even had serpents instead of legs.

The war between the Giantes and the Olympians started when a giant named Alcyoneus stole the cattle of the sun god, Helios. Next, a giant named Eurymedon attempted to rape the goddess Hera. The gods had had enough. The war began. Fearing for her children, Gaia sought out a magical plant that would protect the Giantes from harm. This herb only grew in one secret location. When the gods found out what she was doing, they conspired to rid her of light. Helios, the sun god, Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of dawn stopped shining their light. Then Helios went and found the herb and took it so that Gaia could not get it and help her children. Deprived of magical immunity, the war began.

Ultimately, Zeus defeated and killed the Giantes. Those that happened to be immortal were imprisoned in Tartarus. Gaia was so pissed at the loss of her children that she decided to have a baby with Tartarus. This baby was none other than the monster Typhon. Typhon was portrayed as a winged human with serpents for legs or else a winged man with a hundred, fire-breathing serpent heads sprouting from his shoulders. He was so tall that his heads brushed the stars. Typhon grew up and attacked Zeus for control over the universe. Typhon also was ultimately defeated. After hurling thousands of lightening bolts at Typhon, Zeus threw a mountain on top of him, imprisoning him under the earth. Typhon still twists and turns under the earth, causing earthquakes and volcanoes to this very day.

After defeating Cronus, the Giantes, and Typhon, and taking his place as King of the Gods, Zeus then married his sister, Hera. However, the marriage would would not be peaceful. Zeus was unable to remain faithful to his wife. His sex drive was so powerful that he constantly sought out divine and mortal lovers, both female and male. As a result of his affairs, Zeus fathered most of the gods and numerous demigods. Hera was beside her self with grief and anger. She vowed to torment all those foolish women who dared sleep with her husband and also turned her jealous eye toward their bastard offspring.

Although Zeus is called the "all-father", the father of both gods and men, Zeus actually did not create mankind himself. In reality, the twin Titans, Prometheus (forethought) and Epimethius (afterthought), created mankind, molding the first man out of clay. The brothers, although Titans, were spared punishment because they allied themselves with the Olympians against Cronus.

Now it came about that the gods met in their assembly and decided to create beings that would inhabit the earth. Prometheus and Epimethius were then ordered to set about this task. Together they molded all the animals that live and move upon the earth. Epimethius possessed a bag given to him by Zeus which contained all the qualities that he was to distribute to these new life forms. Thus Epimethius gave the serpents their fangs, the birds their wings, the fish their fins, the lion it's roar, etc. The very last being the brothers made was designed in the image of the gods, in their likeness. They called him "Man". Man quickly became the favorite creation of Prometheus.  After giving him life, Epimethius stuck his hand into the bag given to him by Zeus and to his dismay realized that it was empty. All of the qualities had been used on the other animals. Prometheus went to Zeus and explained the situation. He told Zeus that Man was special and not like the other animals they created. He told Zeus that Man had great potential and that in time mankind may possibly even evolve into gods. Zeus was intrigued by the idea. Zeus stuck a stalk of fennel into Hestia's sacred hearth flame and gave it to Prometheus. Zeus instructed Prometheus that with this gift of fire that man will now be able to cook his food, heat his home, defend his life and, most importantly, worship and sacrifice to the gods. Zeus instructed Prometheus to teach Man the proper ways of worshiping the gods. Prometheus was delighted and swiftly returned to the earth and gave the gift of fire to Man.

So Prometheus set about his task. He did as instructed. He taught Man how to sacrifice to the gods. However, at the same time, he realized that Man's life was hard and that as a mortal his life was brief. This caused Prometheus to love Man even more than the gods. He secretly believed that in his own way, Man was superior to the gods. One of the first things that Prometheus noticed was that the gods demanded animal sacrifice when Man needed the meat far more than the gods did. The gods didn't even eat human food. Instead, they dined on ambrosia and nectar, the food and drink of the gods, the substances that made them immortal. Man needed protein to survive. Prometheus didn't think it was fair that the meat of animals had to be wasted just because the gods like the smell of burning meat. So Prometheus, being a trickster, decided on a plan.

Prometheus took a recent bull sacrifice and butchered the animal. He wrapped the bones in the animal's fat, the substance that when burned produced the smell that the gods loved. He then wrapped the choice meat with the disgusting organs and innards. He brought both bundles to Zeus directly and asked Zeus to chose which bundle would be the standard that man would offer to the gods in sacrifice. Zeus naturally chose the one he thought was more pleasing, the bundle wrapped in fat but was actually just bones underneath. Once Zeus made his sacred choice he could not take it back. So from then onward, when it came to sacrifice an animal to the gods humanity was allowed to eat the delicious meat and the gods were given the bones and fat. Zeus was pissed!

When Zeus realized that Prometheus had tricked him he became so furious that he decided to take back the gift of fire that he had previously given. This time Prometheus wept. Prometheus begged and pleaded with Zeus and told him that Man could not survive without fire. Zeus would not change his mind. Prometheus was forced to take a bold step that would cost him severely.

While Zeus slept on his couch, Prometheus entered into the chamber of the gods. He thrust a stalk of fennel into the sacred hearth fire of Hestia and set it ablaze. He then flew back down to earth and gave Man fire once more. This time it was fire that had been stolen and not freely given.

When Zeus awoke and realized what Prometheus had done he swiftly dealt out punishment. He ordered Prometheus bound to a rock. Every day an eagle attacked him and ate his liver. Every night Prometheus' liver grew back. And so this was the horrible fate of the god who loved mankind. Eventually, Prometheus would be freed by Heracles so his suffering was not eternal.

Meanwhile, Zeus decided that Man needed to be punished as well. What was his punishment? Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create the first woman. He gathered around all the gods and bid them give her a gift. Athena taught her to weave and gave her clothing. Aphrodite made her beautiful. The Charities gave her make-up and jewelry. Hermes gave her a lying tongue and a name, Pandora (all-gifts). Zeus gave her a jar and told her never to open it. Pandora was then given to Epimethius as his wife. Poor Prometheus, being bound and tortured, had tried to warn Epimethius never to accept a gift from Zeus but it was too late. Epimethius was overtaken by Pandora's beauty and accepted her as his wife.

As most would assume, Pandora's curiosity eventually caused her to open the jar that Zeus gave her. To her horror, inside were contained all the evil daemons, such as old age, sickness and disease, pain, death, misery, misfortune, jealousy, revenge, hatred, bloodshed and murder, etc. The winged monsters immediately escaped their prison and flew into the world. Pandora slammed the lid back down on the jar, trapping only one daemon, that of Hope. So hope is the only thing that remains trapped. The other evils fly through the air, tormenting the human race to this very day.

This would not be the last time that Zeus decided to punish humanity. Eventually mankind became corrupt and stopped worshiping the gods. Worse still, humans had started to cannibalize each other and began offering human sacrifice to the gods, a practise that the gods considered most vile. Man grew evil and perverse. Zeus became so disgusted with man that he decided to destroy the entire race. However, a son of Prometheus named Deucalion attracted the attention of the gods. Deucalion was the only righteous man on earth at that time. He alone continued to properly honor the gods. As such, Zeus took pity on him. Zeus warned him that he was about to destroy humanity and told him to build a chest large enough for him and his wife. Then Zeus unleashed a great torrent, a flood, that ravished the land and drowned all of the corrupt humans. Only Deucalion, his wife Pyrrha, as well as pairs of animals they took with them, survived. When the flood was over the pair sacrificed to Zeus and prayed to Themis, some say the Oracle of Delphi, as to what actions they should do next. Themis (or Apollo) responded by telling them to take the bones of their mother and throw them over their shoulder. Deucalion and Pyrrha correctly realized that the mother that was mentioned meant Gaia, the goddess of the earth, and her bones meant rocks. They each picked up a handful of rocks and tossed them over their shoulders. Each rock thrown transformed into a human being. The rocks thrown by Deucalion transformed into men. The rocks thrown by Pyrrha transformed into women. Thus the human race was reborn.

As mentioned above, Zeus is infamous among the gods as being the most amorous. In fact, the majority of his myths involve his sexual conquests, involving both goddesses and mortal women. In fact, it can be stated that if Zeus didn't have wandering eyes and roaming lusts then Greek mythology would be rather boring.

Now, many might question why the myths always portray the gods in a less than divine light? Why does Zeus constantly cheat on his wife and why would anyone want to worship such a god? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. First, I need to stress that the Greeks had no sacred scripture. The myths were viewed as the creations of their individual authors and were believed to be their opinions. Second, the myths often employ symbolism and metaphor to convey secrets and aspects of human existence. Third, Zeus is a sky god. The ancients viewed rain to be similar to semen. When men mated with women they unleashed their semen and children sometimes resulted. When it rained nature sprung to life, plants and flowers bloomed, animals increased, etc. When it rains, the rain falls on all. So by his very nature, a sky god is going to be promiscuous. Thus, it is perfectly naturally to assume or portray that Zeus spreads his love around just like the rain. Fourth, as the worship of Zeus spread from place to place, it became very popular for people to want to wed or unite their local goddesses with his worship. Since it was widely known that Zeus was married to Hera, there wasn't much room for additional wives, thought the ancients did try to force such. For example, at Dodona, Zeus' wife was said to be Dione. In most places the preferred solution was to make their local goddess be Zeus' lover instead. Thus, and with time, the number of Zeus' lovers sky rocketed.

It would be practically impossible to list every single lover of Zeus, and the resulting offspring. However, it's necessary to list the loves of Zeus that resulted in divine, or semi-divine, offspring which populated Olympus and which created the great diversity of the gods worshiped by the Greeks as well as provided fascinating tales of heroism which have been passed down through the ages. Below is an incomplete list of Zeus's lovers and his offspring.

Hera - The Queen of the Gods, Zeus legal wife - Hera bore him Ares, the god of war, Enyo, the goddess of war, Hebe, the goddess of youth, Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, Eris, the goddess of strife, and Hephaestus, the god of fire and the blacksmith of the gods.

Metis - The Titan goddess of wisdom, cunning and trickery - Metis bore him Athena, the goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts.

Dione - A Titan sky or sea goddess - Dione bore him Aphrodite, the goddess of love (most claim that Aphrodite was born of the sea foam that gathered around the castrated genitals of Uranus), and Dionysus (again, Dionysus is mostly said to be the son of Semele and Zeus).

Demeter - Goddess of agriculture - Demeter bore him Persephone, the goddess who became the bride of Hades and Queen of the dead.

Persephone - Queen of the Dead - Persephone bore him Dionysus (though it's more popularly believed that Zeus fathered Dionysus with Semele).

Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty - Bore him Priapus, fertility god shown with a huge erect penis,(also said to be the son of Aphrodite and Dionysus), Zeus spilled his seed on the ground while chasing her one day. The drops of semen impregnated the earth and gave rise to the Centaurs, creatures who were half-horse, half-men.

Eurynome - A Titan sea goddess - Bore him the Charites (Graces), the goddesses of beauty, adornment, joy, and all that which makes life worth living.

Leto - A Titan sky goddess associated with motherhood - Bore him the twins Apollo, god light, reason, music, healing, and prophecy, and Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt and childbirth.

Mnemosyne - A Titan goddess of memory - Bore him the 9 Muses, goddesses of the arts and sciences.

Themis - A Titan goddess of law and divine order - Bore him the Horai (The Hours, but meaning "seasons"), goddesses who measured out the seasons and the revolutions of the stars, and the Moirai (The Fates), goddesses who weave the destiny of gods and men.

Maia - A Pleiades, daughter of Atlas, and mountain nymph - Bore him the god Hermes, the trickster god of commerce, communication, and messenger of the gods.

Carme - A nymph - Bore him Britomartis, a.k.a. Diktynna, a goddess of mountains and hunting.

Gaia - Primordial goddess of the earth - Bore him the Centaurs, half-horse, half-men, when his semen accidentally fell on the ground while chasing after Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and Agdistis, a hermaphroditic god that was viewed as being so powerful that Zeus feared he would overthrow him. Therefore, Zeus castrated him, turning him into the goddess Cybele.

Semele - Mortal princess - Bore him Dionysus, the god of wine, freedom and ecstasy.

Tyche - The Goddess of Luck and Fortune - Bore him Kairos, the god of opportunity and perfect timing.

Alcmene - Mortal princess - Bore him Heracles (Hercules), the most famous of Greek heroes, a demigod who would eventually become a full god, a god of physical strength, courage and bravery, upon his death.

Leda - Mortal princess - Bore him Helen of Troy and Pollux.

Callisto - Mortal princess - Bore him a daughter, both the child and mother were turned into bears, were killed, and then were placed in the heavens as the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Danae - Mortal Princess - Bore him the demigod and hero, Perseus, the slayer of Medusa.

Selene - The Goddess of the Moon - Bore him the goddesses, Pandia, goddess of the brightness of the full moon, and Ersa, goddess of dew.

Boetis - Nymph and wife of the god Pan - Bore him Aegipan, a god who was part goat and part fish. Aegipan helped Zeus in his battle against the Titans and was rewarded by being placed in the stars as the constellation Capricorn.

Elare - Mortal princess - Bore him the giant Tityos.

Lamia - Mortal Queen - Bore him multiple children but Lamia was transformed into a monster by Hera and then devoured her children.

Olympios - Historical Queen - Bore him Alexander the Great.

Ganymede - Mortal prince - Zeus' male lover

Keep in mind that this list is not complete and does not include the majority of lovers who bore Zeus offspring that grew up to be kings or the founders of cities and/or tribes of people. Also not included are the women who rejected Zeus. Many of such met tragic ends or suffered great misfortune.

It should be noted that Zeus' love for Ganymede is quite unique. Ganymede was a beautiful Trojan prince that Zeus spied one day while he was exercising. Zeus immediately lusted after the youth. Zeus transformed himself into a giant eagle and carried off Ganymede to Olympus where he made him immortal and made him the cup-bearer of the gods. Ganymede is the only lover of Zeus whom Zeus made immortal. So many have speculated that Ganymede was Zeus' favorite lover.

As a god, Zeus has the power to transform into any shape he wished. When it comes to love, Zeus has shown himself time and again to be a master of disguise. In order to seduce his many lovers, Zeus took on some rather creative forms. He seemed to rather enjoy shape-shifting into animals. With Hera, his wife, he transformed into a cuckoo. With Leda, a swan (and she actually laid an egg instead of giving birth to Helen and Polux), and with his male lover, Ganymede, Zeus transformed into an eagle and carried him away. With Europa, Zeus became a bull. With Demeter and Persephone, Zeus became a serpent. With Euromedousa, Zeus transformed into an ant.

Zeus also liked to transform into mortal men as well. With Mnemosyne, he transformed into a young shepherd and with Alcemene, he went as far as taking on the appearance of her husband! Zeus wasn't even above transforming into the likeness of other gods, even goddesses! When Zeus desired Callisto he knew that she was a priestess of Artemis and had taken a vow of chastity. So Zeus transformed into the appearance of Artemis and seduced her. With Danae, Zeus had to be really creative as she was imprisoned by her father. So Zeus transformed himself into a shower of gold that fell through the cracks of her cell, onto her body, and impregnating her.

Why did Zeus go to such great lengths to seduce his lovers? Well, these myths show just how intelligent, creative, and determined Zeus was to achieve his goals. He didn't let anything stop him. These are all qualities that the supreme god should possess and they make very entertaining tales. It's no wonder why Zeus was the most popular of Greek gods. In fact, even today people who may not know much about Greek mythology tend to at least know far more about Zeus than any other god or goddess.

Parents: The Titans Cronus and Rhea
Spouse: Hera
Offspring: Ares, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Persephone, Dionysus, Eileithyia, Enyo, Eris, Hebe, Hermes, Hephaestus, The Muses, The Horai, The Morai, The Charites, Pandia, Ersa, Priapus, Aegipan, Kairos, Helen of Troy, Pollux, The Centaurs, Agditis, Britomartis, Alexander the Great, Heracles, Perseus, as well as a great number of other demigods who went on to become great kings, found cities and empires or become the founders of various races of people.
Attendants:  Hera, Themis, Kratos, Zelos, Nike, Bia, Hermes (messenger), Metis (whom he swallowed), and Ganymede (cup-bearer)
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Cronides (son of Cronus), Cronius (son of Cronus), Xenios (protector of guests), Ktesios (guardian of home/property), Agoraios (of the marketplace), Teleios (of the marriage rite), Dikephoros (peacekeeper of gods and man), Soter (savior), Panergetos (all achieving), Olympios (of Olympus), Ombrios (bringer of rain), Hyteios (bringer of storms), Herkeios (of the courtyeard), Polius (of the city), Panhellenios (of all the Greeks), Agetor (leader/commander), Diktyaois (of the 10th month), Aphesios (releasing rain), Skotitas (dark), Keraunios (of the thunderbolt), Astrapaios (of lightening), Kataibates (descending), Labrandeus (furious/raging), Maimaktes (boistering), Euenemos (of fair winds), Konios (of the dust), Ikmaios (of mosture), Limenoscopos (watcher of sea havens), Basilius (king), Hypatos (most high), Hypsistos (most high), Koryphaios (chief/leader), Boulaios (of the council), Amboulios (councellor), Moragetes (leader of the fates), Klarios (of the lots), Semaleos (giver of signs), Mekhneos (the contriver), Kosmetes (orderer), Epidotes (giver of good), Plousios (giver of wealth), Theos Agathos (the good god), Philios (of friendship), Phyxios (of refuge), Meilikhios (merciful), Apemios (averter of ills), Palamnaios (punisher of murderers), Katharsios (purifier), Postropaios (turner of pollution), Laoites (of the people), Eleutherios (of freedom), Stratios (of war), Areios (of war), Sthenios (strong), Tropais (defeater), Sosipolis (savior of the city), Krysaooreus (of the golden sword), Cthonios (of the earth), Katachthonios (under the earth), Meilichios (sweet, kind, "honeyed"), Apomyios (averter of flies), Erkeios (guardian of the home/property/fence), Velchanos (boy-Zeus), Kouros (youth, young man, teen), Lykaios (wolf-Zeus), Nephelegereta (cloud gatherer), Ammon (Zeus-Ammon), Adultus (adult), Aigiochos (aegis bearing), Alumnus (cherisher of all), Anax (lord/king), Apatenor (deciever), Apobaterius (presiding over landing ships), Brontaeus (thunderer), Cappautas (to make cease), Charisios (grace/favor), Eucleios (of glory), Elipnates (of banquets), Endendros (of trees), Ephaptor (toucher, caresser), Epistios (of hearths and harbors), Eribremetes (loud sounding), Erigdupos (thundering), Evenemus (appeaser of winds), Exacesterius (healer/appeaser), Gamelios (of marriages), Genethlius (presider over births), Hecatombaeus (of the hecatombs), Homagyrius (of public assemblies), Horcius (of oaths), Hupatus (supreme), Icmaeus (showering), Ikaesios (protector), Ileos (propitious), Klidonios (sender of omens), Ktisios (giver of riches), Leuceus (white), Lucerius (of light), Mechaneus (undertaker of all things), Mitiaeta (all wise), Morius (of the mulberry tree), Muscarius (of flies), Myiodes (driver away of flies), Nemetor (avenger), Nicaeus (victorious), Nicephorus (carring victory), Nomius (of laws), Palaestes (wrestler), Panarius (bread thrower), Pancrates (omnipotent), Panomphaeus (source of all oracles), Panoptes (all seeing), Pasianax (universal king), Pelorius (stranger), Phanaeus (bringer of light), Phegoneus (of beech or oak trees), Philius (protector of friends), Physicus (of nature), Phytalmius (fertilizer of nature), Phuxios (protector of fugitives), Pistios (faith), Pistor (baker), Pixius (of oaths), Pyrphoros (fire bearer), Sthenius (mighty), Taelaetheis Dii (bringer to completion), Teleius (perfect), Thaemistios (patron of right), Tropaechus (of trophies), Uranius (heavenly), Urius (sender of good winds), Zoogonos (origin/preserver of life), Zeuxippas (charioteer, yoker of horses), Hetaereius (of companions)
Sacred Color: Purple
Sacred Number: 6
Zodiac Sign: Leo
Sacred Symbols: Lightening Bolt, Throne, Mountains, Oak Leaf Crown, Olive Leaf Crown, Lotus or Eagle-Tipped Scepter, Aegis (shield or protective garment), Figure of Nike (goddess of victory)
Sacred Incense: BenzoinGum Ammoniac
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Wine, Oil, Milk, Honey, Poured Into Flame, Sacred Plants, Sacred Incense, Cakes or Cookies in the Shape of his Sacred Animals
Sacrificial Animals: Bulls, Cows, Goats
Sacred Plant: Oak, Olive, Carnation
Sacred Bird: Eagle
Sacred Animal: Lion, Bull, Wolf
Sacred Festival: Olympics, Diasia, Hetairideia, Lykaia





http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Zeus.html

http://www.hellenicgods.org/Zeus


***Note: Toward the end of the Hellenic age, philosophers speculated that there was only one true god, Zeus, or an unknowable god, whom all the other gods were just aspects of. It has been speculated that had Christianity not rose to power that in time the Greeks may have naturally evolved into monotheism. 

***Note: In one aspect of Zeus, as Zeus Velchanos (boy Zeus) or Zeus Kouros (youth Zeus), he is portrayed as a beautiful youth. 

***Note: There are multiple myths of the creation of human beings. In other versions Zeus does indeed create humanity, but as hermaphroditic beings that he then splits apart into the sexes. 

***Note: Pandora was most likely herself originally a goddess that was then turned into the first mortal woman. 

***Note: The fact that Hope remained trapped in Pandora's jar is troubling. For one, why is Hope in there in the first place? The jar was full of evil daemons. So is Hope evil? 

***Note: Ganymede was what we now would call a teenager, probably between the ages of 14-17 years old. The practice of an adult man taking on an adolescent male lover is properly called pederasty, a term meaning "boy love". Pederasty is different from pedophilia as in the later an adult man molests a prepubescent child. The practice of pederasty was considered normal to the Greeks, as well as the rest of the ancient world. This may be because the age where a person could be married was also quite young, around the age of 14. The average life expectancy at that time, 25 years of age, may have been a factor in this development. Despite what people may think, there were certain rules to the practice of pederasty. The younger love could not be sexually penetrated, either orally or anally. Instead, sex was performed by rubbing the penis between the lover's thighs. Additionally, when the younger lover matured to the point of being able to grow a beard the relationship was supposed to end and the younger lover was to marry, raise a family, and then take on a younger male lover of his own. 

***Note: Please remember that the just because a handful of men decided to portray Zeus in a negative light in certain stories that we call myths, does in no way mean that this is the actual behavior of the god. Zeus, as well as the rest of the deities, are perfected entities who are good, wise, and loving. The gods wish to better humanity and look toward our personal evolution. 

***Note: Zeus Chthonios (of the earth) and Zeus Katachthonios (under the earth) may in fact be references to the god Hades. 

***Note: Zeus Lykaios (wolf Zeus) is the aspect of Zeus concerning his punishment of King Lycaon, who foolishly killed his son and served his flesh to the gods to eat. As punishment Zeus transformed him into a wolf. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were completely abhorrent to the gods. 

***Note: Zeus Meilichios was worshiped in the form of a serpent.

***Note: The official name of the carnation is "dianthus", which means "Zeus' flower". 

***Note: The Greeks and Romans identified the Biblical God with both Zeus/Jupiter and Cronus/Saturn.










Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Great Goddess Of Cypress (2015)

The Great Goddess of Cypress is an excellent and highly detailed documentary concerning the history and evolution of the goddess known better as Aphrodite. The documentary traces her origin as a "great mother goddess" called simply Thea "goddess" or Anassa (Queen), whose worship originated on the island of Cypris, the place of her birth in myth.

This is a must see documentary for those interested in ancient history, archaeology, Greek mythology, Hellenismos, and goddess worship.



To rent or buy the documentary, click on the link below:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/aphrodite/132303592

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Poseidon

"I begin to sing about Poseidon, the great god, mover of the earth and fruitless sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon, and wide Aegae. O shaker of the earth, to be a tamer of horses and savior of ships! Hail Poseidon holder of the earth, dark haired lord! O blessed one, be kindly in heart and help those who voyage in ships!"
(Homeric Hymn 22 To Poseidon)

Poseidon (Roman: Neptune) [Pronounced in English as "Poe-sigh-dun", Pronounced in Greek as "Paw-see-thawn"], is the god of the ocean, the sea, and ruler of all water in Greek mythology. Poseidon is the fifth child and middle son of his Titan parents, Cronus and Rhea. Poseidon was swallowed by his father with his siblings and was rescued by his youngest brother, Zeus. When the world was divided up according to lot, Poseidon was given the ocean and sea, with Zeus given the sky and weather and Hades, the Underworld. Earth was considered to be neutral territory.

The name Poseidon has been suggested to mean "earth shaker", "master of water", or "husband of earth". Poseidon is believed to be the cause of earthquakes by striking his sacred weapon, the trident, into the ground.

In appearance, Poseidon is the first of his siblings to be portrayed in the nude. Being the ruler over water, this is a natural portrayal as the ancients did not wear bathing suits! Poseidon is revealed as a moody, mature man, with a well-developed and athletic physique. He is described as being dark featured, with hair a bluish-black color and held in place with either a headband or a wreath of wild celery, one of his sacred plants. Poseidon is sometimes shown with a billowing cloak, a symbol usually shown with deities associated with weather. In this instance such use reflects Poseidon's power over marine storms. So in this regard, Poseidon's power appears to overlap with his brother Zeus, the god of the sky and weather. Poseidon is generally portrayed with his trident in one hand and his other hand holding the reigns of his chariot that is pulled by strange beasts called hippocampi, which have the head, upper body, and front legs of a horse with a fish's tale. Modern renditions may show Poseidon riding in a sea shell that is pulled by seahorses.

Like with his sisters, Demeter and Hera, the worship of Poseidon is ancient. It has been suggested that he was originally viewed to be the ruler of the gods before the coming of Zeus, and was originally the husband of Demeter.

Poseidon is technically an Olympian, and is a member of the 12 Olympians. However, he rarely ventures outside his underwater domain. Like with his brother, Hades, the underwater palace of Poseidon is considered to be extremely beautiful and decorated with gold, precious stones, and pearls.

Like with his brothers, Zeus and Hades, Poseidon was incapable of being faithful to his wife, Amphitrite. Poseidon had many affairs with goddesses and mortal women and sired numerous children, though not as many as his brother Zeus. What does set Poseidon apart from his brother Zeus, is the countless demigods he sired. Poseidon sired far more half-divine offspring than Zeus did. Poseidon also has the distinction of being the first male god to take a male lover.

In this case, his male lover was named Nerites. Nerites was considered to be the most attractive sea deity and was he son of Nereus and Doris. He was the only son of his parents and had 50 sisters, the Nereids (sea nymphs). One day Poseidon saw him and instantly fell in love with him. He asked him to be his charioteer. Nerites accepted. Poseidon then took him to his bed. There was only one problem. Helios, the sun god, looked down upon Nerites as he played in the ocean each day and had already fell madly in love with him. So did the goddess of love herself. When Aphrodite was born of the sea-foam, Nerites offered to help her ashore. Aphrodite took one look upon the stunning youth and begged him to be her husband and come to Olympus to live with her. Nerites was genuinely attracted to Aphrodite but did not want to leave his watery world. He turned her down. Now, we don't know who did the deed, but either Helios or Aphrodite was offended that Nerites chose Poseidon as his lover. One of the scorned two decided to get revenge by transforming poor Nerites into a shellfish. In fact, it's believed that Nerites is the shell that Aphrodite stands upon in artistic scenes of her birth.

Poseidon is mostly known in Greek mythology for his marriage to Amphitrite, his affairs, for his contests over the possession of various cities, and for the tales of his anger, rage and vengeance when he was offended.

With Demeter, Poseidon fathered the goddess Despoine and an immortal horse named Arion. With Aphrodite, Poseidon sired the goddess, Herophile. With Gaia, Poseidon sired giants and monsters. With his wife Amphitrite, Poseidon sired the god Triton, the messenger of the sea gods, the goddesses Rhode, an island goddess, and Benthesikyme, the goddess of waves. With an unknown mother, Poseidon fathered the sea god, Proteus, one of the few gods who was actually portrayed as elderly.

Poseidon's wooing of the nymph Amphitrite was semi-romantic. Poseidon saw Amphitrite dancing and fell instantly in love with her. He approached her and she fled. Like with his brother Zeus, Poseidon never gave up. He enlisted his dolphin friend, Delphinus, to go find her and plead his case to her. Whatever Delphinus said, it must have been the right words because Amphitrite came back and gave Poseidon a second chance. Poseidon rewarded Delphinus by placing him in the sky as the constellation, Delphinus, the dolphin.

Poseidon courted Amphitrite the proper way, treating her like a lady and giving her precious gifts until she finally agreed to be his wife and queen. After that, Amphitrite quietly retreats from myth and not much is known or told about her. Her son with Poseidon, Triton, was far more popular than she. He was a merman and possessed a magic conch shell. With it Triton could summon the animals of the ocean as well as invoke powerful marine storms. Triton was his father's personal messenger.

Poseidon seemed to always be fighting with another god for possession of a city or territory. His most famous dispute was with Athena over who would be the patron god of Athens. The two waring gods decided that they would let the citizens of Athens decide who would win the city. Both Poseidon and Athena would create a gift for the people. The people would then vote on which gift was more valuable. The god who gave the most valuable gift would be declared the winner. Athena created the olive tree. With it people would have fruit that could be eaten, a supply of oil, and wood to burn or craft items out of. Poseidon then struck the ground with his trident, producing a salt water spring. Of course, people can't drink salt water. Therefore, Athena was declared the winner. Poseidon is said to be bitter over this loss to this very day.

Poseidon may have made a mistake with the salt spring but he ultimately was very helpful to humanity. In fact, Poseidon created the first horse. He then made it his sacred animal. Too bad he didn't think of that before as he just might have won Athens after all.

Poseidon may be the moodiest of all the gods. As a sea god this makes perfect sense. The ocean is fickle. One minute it may be smooth and calm. The next minute a massive storm may break out or a rogue wave may sink a ship. Poseidon's attitude and personality reflects the liquid environment over which he rules.

Because Poseidon is so moody he is perhaps the god who is most easily offended. In the myths, whenever Poseidon is offended he usually does one of the following things; cause an earthquake, brew up a marine storm, produce monster waves, or summon a sea monster to destroy a city. Poseidon was extremely fond of the last option. When Poseidon was royally pissed he would send a sea monster, assumed to be his offspring with Gaia, to ravish a city and utterly destroy it. Usually the city was doomed unless a hero just happened by and was able to kill the monster.  One of the most famous example of such is in the story of Andromeda.

Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of the Ethopian king, Cepheus and his queen, Cassiopeia. One day Cassiopeia foolishly boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than all of the sea nymphs combined. Poseidon was furious. What pissed off Poseidon the most was hubris. Hubris is a hard word to define as there is no adequate representation in English. The closest translation of hubris would be when mortals act as if they are equal to or superior than the gods. There was actually a goddess who's very purpose was to punish hubris. Her name is Nemesis and she was pictured as a winged woman holding scales, a whip, and a dagger. Even though it was Nemesis' duty to punish idiotic mortals for their sin of hubris any god could step in and dish out punishment if he or she so chose. Poseidon was one of the gods who loved punishing humanity for such crimes against the gods.

As punishment for Cassiopeia's hubris for daring to suggest that the beauty of a mortal woman was superior to all of the ocean nymphs, Poseidon created a sea monster named Cetus, to ravage and destroy Ethiopia. King Cepheus was so devastated that he sought advice from the Oracle at Delphi as to how to stop the destruction the monster was unleashing upon his city. The god Apollo replied through his oracle that Poseidon's wrath would only be abated if the king sacrificed his daughter to the monster. So the king reluctantly made plans to do just that. The lovely Andromeda was chained to a rock in the ocean and just as Cetus appeared, ready to devour her, the hero Perseus, aided with the head of Medusa, turned the monster to stone and saved his fair maiden.

With reference to Medusa, a quick recap of her sad tale is necessary. Medusa was once a beautiful priestess of Athena. Poseidon seduced her and had sex with her in Athena's temple, an act of sacrilege that highly infuriated Athena. As punishment, Athena transformed Medusa into a horrible monster with serpents for hair. She was so ugly that anyone who looked at her was instantly turned to stone. Perseus didn't know it but Medusa was pregnant with twins by Poseidon. After being beheaded, the winged horse Pegasus and a mysterious male demigod named Chrysaor, emerged from her bleeding neck.



Not all of the monsters Poseidon sent to attack humanity were bound to the sea. Perhaps the most famous monster that Poseidon created was in fact a land-dwelling beast, the Minotaur. It came about that King Minos prayed to Poseidon for him to show him a sign of his support by sending him a pure white bull. Minos promised Poseidon that if the god did such that he would turn around and sacrifice the beast to him in favor. Poseidon heard his prayers and sent just such a bull out of the ocean. When King Minos saw the snow-colored bull he was taken back as it was the most beautiful bull he had ever seen. King Minos decided not to keep his word and wanted to keep the bull for his own possession. Poseidon was naturally pissed. To get revenge Poseidon caused an unnatural desire in King Minos' wife, Pasiphae. To be blunt, Pasiphae wanted to have sex with the bull. She tried everything she could think of to get the bull to mount her but each and every time he refused and even fled the queen. Finally, Pasiphae resorted to hiring the famous craftsman, Daedalus, to help her. He designed a hollow bronze bull that the queen then entered and used to be able to have sex with the bull. The deed done, Pasiphae discovered she was pregnant. She gave birth to a monster that had the body of a man but the head of a bull. It was dubbed the Minotaur. Not only did it look like a monster but it was in the truest form as it only ate human flesh. Eventually the Minotaur was slain by the hero Theseus.

Like with his sister, Hera, Poseidon tends to get a bad rap in the myths. It's important to realize that the Greeks had no sacred scripture, such as the Bible for example. So the myths were simply stories based solely on the opinions of their authors and do not represent the opinions of actual worshipers. Poseidon is not this raging manic-depressed tyrant. He is in fact a majestic god of the sea whom his worshipers loved, adored and venerated.

Parents: The Titans Cronus and Rhea
Spouse: Amphitrite 
Offspring: Triton, Kymopoleia, Benthesikyme, Rhode, Herophilos, Proteus, Areion, Despoine, Pegasus, Chrysaor, Chrysomallos, Asopos, The Prosooes, The Telkhines, Charybdis, The Second Race of Cyclopes, And Numerous Demigods and Mortals
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Epoptis (watcher), Aglaotriaina (of the bright trident), Anaz (lord), Eftriaina (of the good trident), Cronios (son of Cronus), Nymphayaetis (leader of the nymphs), Orsotriaina (wielder of the trident), Semnos (holy), Soter (savior), Taureos (sea bull), Hippios (horse maker), Petraios (the rock), Asphaleios (averter of earthquakes), Phykios (of seaweed), Phytalmios (of plants)
Sacred Color: Dark Blue
Sacred Number: 6, 8
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Sacred Symbols: Trident, Boulder Studded With Sea Life, Chariot Pulled By Hippocampi, Headband or Wild Celery Wreath, Billowing Cloak
Sacred Incense: Myrrh, Frankincense
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Honey, Milk, or Oil, Poured In Bodies of Water, His Sacred Plants,
Sacrificial Animals: Black or White Bulls, Rams, Boars
Sacred Plant: Pine Tree, Wild Celery
Sacred Bird: None
Sacred Animal: Horse, Bull, Dophin
Sacred Festival: Poseidonia (December, Near to the Winter Solstice), (Roman: Neptunalia - July 23rd and 24th)



http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html

http://www.hellenicgods.org/poseidon


***Note: The Ancient Greeks believed that Poseidon held up the earth, thus this is why they believed that Poseidon was the god who caused earthquakes. This should not be confused with the Titan, Atlas, who was believed to hold up the dome of the sky.

***Note: In at least one myth, Cronus did not swallow Poseidon but was instead tricked into swallowing a colt instead.

***Note: Poseidon was never portrayed by the Greeks as a merman, with the upper body of a man and lower tale of a fish. The Greek always portrayed Poseidon as fully humanoid. This said, one of Poseidon's offspring, the god Triton, was indeed portrayed as a merman.

***Note: Other than his magical trident, Poseidon second "weapon" is boulders which he likes to hurl at his enemies. These boulders are shown studded with sea life. The throwing of these boulders may have been viewed as the origin of large and devastating waves or even tsunamis.

***Note: Poseidon's son, Proteus, was the herdsman of his father's sea animals, especially seals. He had the power of prophecy. He was known for his ability to transform into any shape he pleased. 

***Note: Poseidon's Roman counterpart, Neptune, was originally the spirit of freshwater springs before he became equated with the Greek god of the sea.

***Note: Though Neptune was equated with Poseidon by the Romans as being the same deity, the two were portrayed a bit differently. Poseidon was portrayed as being a dark-haired, mature man while Neptune was usually shown as an elder god with gray or white hair.



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Apotheon

A game walkthrough set in Greek Mythology.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hades

"To Plouton. Plouton, magnanimous, whose realms profound are fixed beneath the firm and solid ground, in the Tartarean plains remote from sight, and wrapt forever in the depths of night...."
(Orphic Hymn 18 To Pluto)

Hades, a.k.a Aidoneus, Pluto, (Roman: Dis Pater, Orcus),[Pronounced in English as,"A-e-do-knee-us", "Hay-deez" and "Ploo-toe", Pronounced in Greek as "A-e-dawn-yes", "Eh-thees" and "Ploo-tawn"] was the god of the dead, funeral rites, and the Underworld in Greek mythology.

The name Hades means "unseen, invisible, hidden". There is some confusion as to Hade's other name, Pluto. Many people are confused in thinking that the name Pluto is Roman in origin. It is not. The Greeks also used the name Pluto (wealth), as a name for Hades as they had already equated the god Plutus, the son of Demeter, with Hades. This was mainly out of the belief that as god of the Underworld, Hades owned all gold, silver, and precious stones which lay under the earth. In fact, Hades palace was believed to be made of gold and precious stones.

As far as appearances go, Hades is almost universally described as dark featured, stern and somber-looking. He is normally portrayed as a mature man in his 30s-40s and sitting on his throne with his queen, Persephone, by his side. Upon his head he wears a crown, or his magical "helmet of darkness" that makes him invisible, and in his hand he holds a bird-tipped scepter or bident. In his other hand, Hades may hold a key. When Hades appears standing he is usually shown holding the chains of his three-headed watchdog, Cerberus, who sits at his feet. Hades loves his beloved pet Cerberus whose job is to make sure that the shades of the dead never escape his kingdom.

Hades is the fourth child and eldest son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. When the Olympians overthrew their father, Zeus devised a method of drawing up the world for himself and his two brothers, Hades and Poseidon, by casting lots. Zeus won the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the Underworld. The earth was considered to be neutral ground. Though Hades is technically an Olympian, he rarely ventures beyond his kingdom. Hades is not considered one of the 12 Olympians. Hades had few temples and most people did not worship him. The exception would be initiates of the Mystery Religions, especially the cult of the Eleusian Mysteries and the Orphic Mysteries.

A very common mistake people make is to equate Hades with the Christian Devil and to believe that Hades was thus a personification of evil. Hades was not viewed as evil and he harbored no hatred or ill will toward humanity. This said, Hades was disliked by both humans and gods. It can be said that by nature he was a regular "party-pooper", being far to serious and extremely strict and stern.

Another common mistake people make is to believe that Hades was the actual god of death. He was not. The god who personified death was Thanatos, a son of Nyx, the goddess of night. Instead, Hades operated as "Zeus of the Underworld", meaning that just as Zeus reigned supreme over the land of the living, so Hades ruled supreme over the after life.

For the ancient Greeks, death was not something to look forward to. The popular belief was that this life was all there was. At death, one's breath (psyche, what we call "soul") left the body and then was escorted by the god Hermes to the Underworld via any number of caves that were said to be an entrance to Hades' ream. Hades' realm was properly called "The House of Hades". With time this was shortened to just "Hades". Thus, the word Hades means both the god and the place where people go to when they die.

Once in Hades one had to pay the ferryman of the dead, Charon, a coin for him to take one across the river Styx. The dead were buried with a coin in their mouths to be used as payment to Charon. If the family of the decedent were poor and could not afford such, then it was believed that the unfortunate dead had to wander the shores of the river for a hundred years before they were allowed to cross.

Once across, the decedent reached the gates of Hades, where Cerberus was chained. Cerberus freely allowed the shades of the dead to enter unmolested. However, any shade who attempted to escape once inside the gate was devoured by Cerberus and met oblivion. Inside the gate the dead were judged. Those who were the enemies of the gods were sent to Tartarus, the Greek version of hell. Their punishments were tailor-suited for their crimes. Those who were the beloved of the gods, their lovers, offspring, heroes, etc., went to Elysium, a.k.a. The Elysian Fields, the Greek version of "heaven" or paradise. However, the overwhelming majority of people were sentenced to The Asphodel Plain, the Greek version of Purgatory, where the dead wandered in perpetual twilight with no punishment nor reward. The decedent was then bid to drink from the waters of Lethe (forgetfulness), before being taken to their final destination. Once in the Asphodel Plain the decedent lost all memory of their former lives, possessed no true consciousness, and was said to only eat dirt and filth. This elaborate scenario was understood as a metaphor for the grave. As a result of this complex belief, the majority of people held superstitious views of Hades and held fears of dying. It was very commonly believed that one shouldn't use the proper name of the god or else risk invoking him and him responding by inviting you to his kingdom before your proper time! Thus euphemisms were generally used when discussing Hades.

Hades features very rarely in myth. His most famous presence in Greek mythology was his abduction of Persephone (See Demeter). Like with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon, Hades could not be faithful. Though he didn't take as many mistresses as his brothers, he cheated on his beautiful wife, no less.

One of Hades' mistresses was the nymph, Minthe. When Persephone found out about the affair she transformed Minthe into a plant, the herb named mint. Before taking Persephone as his wife, Hades loved the nymph, Leuce. Upon her death Hades transformed her into a white poplar tree and then transplanted it in his kingdom.

Due to Hades being the god of the dead, it was generally assumed that he was sterile. However, different versions of myths were invented by which he was the father of the Erinyes (Furies), Zagreus (Dionysus), Milenoe (goddess of nightmares and ghosts, probably identical to Hecate), and Macaria (goddess of blessed death)

In myth, various heroes and demigods ventured into Hades in order to retrieve the shade of a particular dead person or to complete a specified task. Sometimes things worked out. Sometimes not. It was generally believed that once a shade ate of the food of the dead in the Underworld that they could never return to the land of the living. However, there were exceptions.

Traveling to the Underworld was exceptionally dangerous for the living. A person who was neither a hero nor a demigod, and who foolishly believed they could enter Hades' kingdom and then return to the land of the living, usually found himself or herself being devoured by Cerberus. If they managed to escape the hound of Hades then they may not escape Hades' wrath, such as with the foolish Pirithous who entered the Underworld with the hope of abducting Persephone. When Pirithous sat upon a rock to rest Hades cursed him, causing him to be stuck fast and preventing him from standing up. There he sits for all eternity.

Parents: The Titans Cronus and Rhea
Spouse: Persephone
Offspring: The Erinyes, Zagreus, Melinoe, Macaria
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Adamastos (untamed), Agelastus (melancholy), Agetes (one who conducts), Anax (lord), Chlotonius (infernal), Chlymenus (renowned), Euclius (famous), Eubulius (consoler), Necrodegmon (reciever of the dead), Necron Soter (savior of the dead), Niger Deus (black god), Ophius (blind god), Polydegmon (reciever of many), Polysemantor (ruler of many), Stygius (of the river Styx), Chthonius (of the earth),
Sacred Color: Black
Sacred Symbols: Crown, Bird-Tipped Scepter, Bident, Cerberus, Key, Helmet of Darkness, Throne, Gold Chariot Pulled By 4 Black Horses, Cornucopia
Sacred Incense: Frankincense, Aromatic Herbs (His Sacred Plants)
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Water, Wine, Honey, Milk, or Oil, poured into a Pit in the Earth
Sacrificial Animals: Black Animals, Especially Black Bulls and Sheep
Sacred Plant: White Poplar, Cypress, Mint, Asphodel, Narcissus (Daffodil)
Sacred Bird: Screech Owl
Sacred Animal: Black Ram



http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Haides.html

http://www.hellenicgods.org/plouton

Note: The word Pluto is used when referring to Hades as the god of wealth. The word Plutus is used when referring to the son of Demeter, the god of wealth. 

Note: In some versions of the myth, Minthe is transformed into the mint plant by Persphone out of jealousy and before she can actually have sex with Hades. In other versions of the myth, Minthe foolishly claims to be better than Persephone and that Hades will divorce Persephone and make her his wife. Demeter hears her and then tramples her to death with her feet, upon which her body transforms into the mint plant. 

Note: In some versions of the myth, Milenoe is said to be the daughter of Zeus and Persephone, with Zeus tricking Persephone into having sex with him by appearing to her in the shape of her husband, Hades. According to some, Milenoe was said to be either a palish green in color or else half-black and half -white, representing both her heavenly (Olympian) and earthly (Chthonic) origin. Milenoe is most likely another name for the goddess Hecate. 






Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hera

"I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bare. Queen of the immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty: she is the sister and wife of loud-thundering Zeus, --the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympos reverence and honor even as Zeus who delights in thunder."
(Homeric Hymn 12)

Hera, (Roman: Juno) [pronounced in English: he-rah or hair-ah and in Greek: E-ruh] is Queen of the Gods, and the goddess of marriage, child birth and women in Greek mythology. The meaning of her name is uncertain but some scholars believe it means "mistress".

Hera was the third child and youngest daughter of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. Hera originally was an earth deity and like with Demeter, her worship predates the coming of the Olympians. With her marriage to Zeus, Hera was viewed as having a more celestial role, having some power over the sky, moon and stars. In fact, Here was believed to have created the Milky Way galaxy from droplets of her breast milk when she suckled the infant Heracles (Hercules).

Homer believed Hera to have been the most beautiful goddess. In art, she is shown as a regal, mature woman in her 30s-40s. Hera is often called "cow-eyed", which seemingly suggests that she possessed large, beautiful, brown eyes. A more common and modern phrase would be "doe-eyed". Hera is most often portrayed in a standing position, though when she is seated it is often upon her throne. Upon her head is a crown and in one hand she holds her lotus-tipped scepter. In the other hand she may hold a pomegranate, a symbol of fertility, or a phiale or patera, a shallow dish used to make libations to the gods. In archaic representations Hera is often shown holding a cuckoo (bird), one of her sacred birds, or an egg, another symbol of fertility.

Unlike her sister Hestia, Hera did not vow to remain a virgin forever. Unlike her sister Demeter, Hera did not take mortal lovers. Instead, Hera would go on to marry Zeus and become Queen of the Gods.

Zeus' seduction and winning over of Hera is probably one of the most beautiful stories of Greek myth. At first Hera wanted nothing to do with Zeus. She rejected him and always fled his company. She preferred the sanctity of nature and to commune with her grandmother, Gaia. For Zeus, it was the complete opposite. Zeus fell madly in love with Hera from the moment he saw here. His feeling for her were different and not like his previous conquests. He loved her. Zeus spent much of his time secretly following Hera as she spent her days frolicking and playing in nature. He knew that if he could just get close to her that she would not be able to resit him. Zeus thought of a plan.

One day while Zeus was secretly following Hera, a cool rain fell causing Hera to temporarily stop what she was doing and caused her to take cover. Zeus knew this was his moment to act. Zeus transformed himself into a wet, shivering cuckoo and landed himself at her feet. Hera immediately saw the poor creature and took pity on it. "O, you poor thing", she said as she placed the bird to her bosom to warm it. Zeus immediately transformed back to his proper shape and whisked Hera off into the air before she had time to react. Zeus lay Hera down in a field and made love to her. As they made love a golden cloud descended from the sky to hide their nakedness, beautiful wildflowers sprouted up in the field all around them, butterflies filled the sky and birds sang. The pair were possessed with such passion that their act of love making lasted three hundred years. The act complete, Zeus looked Hera in her eyes and asked for her hand in marriage. "Come with me and be my Queen", he pleaded. Hera consented.

The royal marriage was considered to be the biggest celebration ever to occur among the gods. Nearly every god or goddess attended. Those that physically could not attend due to their nature, sent gifts instead. Among items given to Hera was a dress that was considered to be the most beautiful dress to have ever been made and a magical tree that bore golden apples, a gift from Hera's grandmother, Gaia. Zeus himself gave his beloved bride a golden throne. Every god or goddess invited made sure to be on time for the wedding, except one. The mountain nymph, Chelone, was always late and this time would not be the exception. As punishment she was transformed into the first turtle.

Though the wedding was seemingly perfect, the marriage between Zeus and Hera was anything but. Zeus could not be faithful. He constantly had affairs with nymphs and mortal women, fathering gods and demigods, left and right. Observant readers of the myths should know that each and every time a god has sex a pregnancy results. So Zeus literally fathered the majority of the gods, demigods and heroes of Greek myth. Hera, as the goddess of marriage, was herself always dutiful and loyal. Yet she constantly suffered the pain of Zeus' affairs. In myth Hera is usually famous for her unyielding persecution of Zeus' mistresses and bastard offspring.

To list every single instance of Hera going after a lover of Zeus would make this blog entry far too long in length. Therefore, I will relate only the special few that stick out due to their uniqueness, level of importance in Greek myth, or even their entertainment value

1. Leto - When Hera found out that Zeus had an affair with the female Titan, Leto, who was pregnant with twins, she immediately went to her grandmother, Gaia, and made her promise that Leto would not be allowed to give birth upon the earth. Leto wandered the earth in great labor pains until she found the island of Delos, which at the time was not connected to the earth but was free-floating in the ocean. As a result, Leto was able to find refuge and gave birth to the twins, Apollo and Artemis.

2. Semele - When Hera found out that Zeus had an affair with the mortal Semele, she shape-shifted into an old woman and tricked Semele into making Zeus reveal himself to her in his true form. Semele did this by securing a promise from Zeus that he would grant her one wish, and by swearing on the river Styx that he would grant the wish, no matter what it may be. Zeus was forced to obey and revealed himself to Semele upon which she spontaneously burst into flames and was consumed by the fire. Only a pile of ashes remained where she once stood. However, Zeus rescued the fetus from her womb before it perished. The child was the god Dionysus.

3. Lamia - When Hera found out that Zeus had an affair with the mortal Queen of Lybia named Lamia, she cursed the woman, transforming her into a hideous monster. In such form Lamia devoured her own offspring and began eating the children of humans. Hera didn't stop there. Hera then cursed Lamia so that every time she closed her eyes she would see nothing but the images of the children she murdered.

4. Io - When Zeus suspected that Hera knew he was having an affair with the mortal Io, Zeus transformed her into a cow to hide her from Hera. Hera wasn't fooled and then saw through Zeus' deception. She then told Zeus how much she adored the cow and asked Zeus to give it to her. Not wanting to blow his cover, Zeus gave her the cow. Hera then tasked her loyal servant, the giant Argus, who had a hundred eyes all over his body, to guard the cow. Argus affliction was such that he never closed all of his eyes at once, in effect, never truly sleeping. Hermes later slew Argus, upon the orders of Zeus, in order to free Io the cow. Hera, mourning the loss of her giant servant, placed his hundred eyes in the peacock, Hera's other sacred bird. Hera then sent a gadfly to relentless harass Io by biting her. Io had no choice but to constantly flee the fly and as a result wandered the earth without rest. She eventually came upon Prometheus who told her that if she could make it to Egypt she would be free of the fly. When Io made it to Egypt Zeus transformed her back into a woman.

5. Callisto - When Hera found out that Zeus had an affair with Callisto, a devotee of Artemis who swore a vow of chastity, she tattled to Artemis. Zeus tried to hide Callisto and her child by turning them into bears but Artemis found them and shot and killed them with her arrows. Zeus then placed them in the heavens as the constellations of Ursa Major (The Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor (The Little Dipper).

6. Alcmene - When Hera found out that Zeus had an affair with the mortal Alcmene, she sent witches to her to curse her and prevent her son Heracles (Hercules) from being born. The witches failed. Then Hera sent two serpents to kill Heracles. He strangled the snakes dead and even while a babe. Hera would go on to make Heracles' life a living hell, even making him go mad and murder his own children. However, Heracles eventually overcame everything Hera threw at him. Eventually Heracles became a god.

Hera's wrath was not just limited to the women Zeus cheated on her with, nor their offspring. The Queen of the Gods also fought against Artemis during the Indian wars and kicked her behind. Artemis raised her arrows to shoot the Queen but Hera saw her in advance. Hera gathered up the storm clouds and used them as her shield. She then gathered up all the hail stones, merged them together, and then launched the boulder of ice at Artemis which sent the virgin huntress flying and unable to attack Hera further.

Hera was often quick to take offense and people often suffered greatly for their indiscretion. When Gerana, the Queen of the Pygmies, foolishly claimed that she was more beautiful than Hera, Hera turned her into a crane. When Side, the wife of Orion, did the same exact thing Hera picked her up and threw her into Hades. When Hera found out that the nymph Echo was distracting her with her constant chattering so that Zeus could cheat with other women, Hera cursed Echo so that she could only repeat the last few words said by another. When Zeus and Hera were arguing over which gender enjoyed sex best, they sought after a man named Tiresias. Zeus claimed that women enjoyed sex more than men did but Hera believed the opposite. They sought after Tiresias to solve the debate due to his strange circumstance. Tiresias was turned into a woman after he stumbled upon a pair of mating snakes and hit them. He lived as a woman for 7 years until he found another pair of mating snakes and hit them again and turned back into a man. Tiresias ultimately sided with Zeus in his belief that women enjoyed sex better. Hera was so furious she blinded Tiresias.

Perhaps the most famous example of Hera's wrath occurred when Paris of Troy sided with Aphrodite in a dispute between Hera, Aphrodite and Athena as to which goddess was more beautiful. When Paris chose Aphrodite, Hera vowed revenge by making sure that Troy was utterly destroyed in the Trojan war. She even went to the lengths of seducing Zeus so that he would be distracted and would not be able to help the Trojans.

Hera's actions didn't always go unpunished. In fact, on one occasion Hera had the nerve to try to overthrow her husband. She paid dearly for her deception. It came about that Hera grew to hate her husband. She conspired with the other gods to help her overthrow Zeus. Hera drugged Zeus' drink and after he fell asleep on his couch she and the other gods tied him up. Hera and the rest of the gods began to argue about who would become the new ruler. They were so preoccupied that they did not see that Zeus' friend, Briareus, one of the Hecatoncheires, freed him. Zeus unleashed such a terrible storm that the other gods immediately dropped to their knees and begged forgiveness. Zeus realizing that Hera was behind this, grabbed her by the throat, tied golden chains around her limbs, dangled anvils from her feet, and hung her in the sky. Hera screamed in pain for a full day until Zeus finally agreed to release her, providing she would swear a sacred oath that she would never again attempt to overthrow him. Hera agreed and swore the oath. It is said from that point onward that Hera took her jealousy and anger out upon Zeus' mistresses and offspring since she was no longer able to go after Zeus directly.

On at least one occasion, Zeus used Hera's capacity for jealousy to get her back. The pair had been fighting and Hera left him, vowing never to return to his bed. Crafty Zeus picked up a log and carved it into the shape of a woman and then clothed it in female robes and concealed it with veils. Zeus then sent a messenger to Hera to inform her that he had met another woman and had fallen in love and was going to marry her. Hera was livid! She immediately flew back to Olympus and demanded to know where the usurper was. Seeing the veiled image sitting beside Zeus on his throne she rushed at "her" with the intent of shredding to pieces the woman who dared dethrone her. As she tore asunder the veil and robe Hera's fingers hit the hard wood beneath. The look on her face betrayed her confusion which quickly gave way to embarrassment as Hera realized that Zeus had once again tricked her. Hera was soon laughing and forgave her husband and returned to his side and bed.

As a goddess of women one might be tempted to think that Hera was a wonderful mother. Yet the myths do not portray her as such. By her husband Hera gave birth to Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, Hebe, the goddess of youth, Ares, the god of war, Enyo, goddess of war, and possibly Eris, the goddess of strife and discord. Hera also was the mother of Hephaestus, whom she either bore from Zeus or whom she gave birth to without the aid of a male.

According to one version of the myth of Hephaestus' birth, Hera was jealous that Zeus gave birth to Athena from his head so she set out to create her own child without her husband's aid. Regardless if Zeus was the true father of Hephaestus or not, Hephaestus was born ugly and lame. Hera was so disgusted with the appearance of her infant that she threw him out the window. The poor newborn god fell through the air for an entire day before finally landing on the island of Lemnos, where he ultimately made his home. Hephaestus became the god of black smiths and those who work with metals. He grew up to gain his revenge on his mother by creating her a throne as a gift. As soon as she sat upon it she found that she was stuck tight and could not stand up or move. Hephaestus gave a shrill laugh as he left the mother who cruelly abandoned him. The other gods begged Hephaestus to release her but he refused. Finally, it took Dionysus getting him drunk before he agreed to free her.

Though Hera was usually portrayed in a negative light in myth she did have a positive side. Hera thoroughly protected and helped the mortals she liked. She protected and helped the hero Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece, only abandoning him when he cheated on his wife.

All this aside, it should be stated a hundred times, if not more, that the myths do not reflect what worshipers actually believed about their gods. They are just stories concocted by their authors. Many of them are meant to convey through symbolism and metaphor truths about the human condition. In reality, Hera is a beautiful, majestic goddess who is worthy of worship and is not a bitter shrew as depicted in myth. Men do not build gorgeous temples to horrible beings who are in desperate need of psychotherapy and marriage counseling. Remember that according to Hieronymos, when Pythagoras went to Hades he saw Homer and Hesiod in Tartarus being punished for the lies they told about the gods.

Parents: The Titans Cronus and Rhea
Spouse: Zeus
Offspring: Ares, Enyo, Hebe, Eileithyia, Hephaestus, Eris
Attendants: Eileithyia, Hebe, The Horai, Nephelae (cloud nymphs), and Iris (goddess of the rainbow and messenger of Hera)
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Zygia (protector of lawful marriage), Gamelios (protector of the marriage ritual), Kourotrophos (nurser of boys), Teleia (watcher of marriage), Antheia (blossom), Henioche (charioteer), Aegophagus (goat eater), Acraea (of the heights), Ammonia ("wife of Zeus Ammon"), Basileia (queen), Bounaia (of the mound), Boopis (cow eyed), Leucolenos (white armed), Pais (child), Parthenos (virigin), Chera (mistress)
Sacred Color: (Orphic Mysteries: Blue )
Zodiac Sign: (Orphic Mysteries: Aquarius )
Sacred Symbols: Crown, Pomegranate, Lotus Scepter, Phiale/Patera, Egg, Throne, The Planet Venus (shared also with Aphrodite) Chariot Pulled by Two Horses or Peacocks
Sacred Incense: Aromatic Herbs
Sacred Offerings: Libations of Wine, Oil, Milk, and Honey, Perfume
Sacrificial Animals: Heifer (female cow), Sheep/Lambs
Sacred Plant: Lotus, Pomegranate, Lily, Carnation
Sacred Bird: Cuckoo, Peacock
Sacred Animal: Cow, Lion
Festival: Daedala, (Roman: Numerous festivals for individual aspects of Juno)



http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hera.html

http://www.hellenicgods.org/hera


***Note: According to Homer, Hera was her parent's eldest child and daughter.

***Note: In Arcadia, and undoubtedly in other locations, it was believed that Hera was a virgin goddess or that she renewed her virginity by a secret rite each year. The rite is usually believed to be a ritual bath in natural water. The goddess Aphrodite was also believed to renew her virginity and beauty each year with a sacred bath.

***Note: In certain parts of Greece, Hera was worshiped in triple-aspect, that of Hera the maiden, Hera the wife, and Hera the widow.

***Note: As usual, there are multiple versions of the marriage of Zeus and Hera. In the oldest versions Hera was said to be the one to pursue Zeus, having chosen him as her husband before he had any desire for her. In such tales, Hera normally achieves her desire with the help of Aphrodite who gives her a magic ribbon or sash to wear that makes her irresistible to Zeus. In a less romantic version, Zeus threatens to leave Hera naked in the world, for all to see, unless she agrees to marry him.

***Note: It's important to remember that there are no sacred literature in Ancient Greek religion. The myths are the creations of their authors and only represented their personal opinions. Hera's insane jealousy and the lengths she went to punish the mistresses of Zeus and their offspring can be viewed as social commentary concerning the status of women in Greek society. Such also reveals the misogyny of the myth tellers.  

***Note: In myth, Hera only persecutes the female lovers of Zeus, and their offspring. She does not go after Zeus' male lovers. This again is social commentary as in Greece, men don't leave their wives for other men. So a male lover would not be viewed as a threat by a wife. Only when a husband cheated with another woman did women fear the loss of their financial stability and status if she were to be divorced.

***Note: According to one myth, Hera was the mother of the monster Typhon, having born him without the aid of a man, and then giving him to the dragon Python to raise. 

***Note: The name Heracles means "Glory of Hera". 

***Note: For making up such cruel lies about the gods, Homer and Hesiod are allegedly being tormented in Tartarus, the Greek version of hell. Homer is allegedly hanging from a tree and surrounded by serpents. Hesiod is allegedly tied to a bronze pillar where he continuously screams for help which never comes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Demeter

"Of Demeter, the lovely haired and august goddess, and of her daughter, the fair Persephone, I begin to sing. Hail O goddess! Keep the city safe, and guide my song!"
(Homeric Hymn 13)

Demeter (Roman: Ceres) [Pronounced in English as DE-ME-ter or Dih-muh-ter, Pronounced in Greek as Thi-ME-ter and in Classical Greek as THE-me-trah] is the Greek goddess of agriculture, and especially the growth of grain, the harvest, the fertility of the earth, and the changing of the seasons. Her name means either "earth-mother" or "corn-mother". The word corn has led to confusion among some people today. The word corn means "grain seed" and not the vegetable for which we are usually accustomed. The more proper name for the vegetable is maize. Maize was unknown to the Greeks and was first cultivated in the Americas.

Demeter is the second eldest child and daughter born to the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. She is portrayed as a beautiful, mature woman in her 30s-40s, fully robed, and having long, beautiful, blonde hair, which is normally kept up or covered. Upon her head is an actual crown, or a crown made of wheat, poppies, or both, and she is often shown holding wheat and/or poppies in one of her hands. In her other hand she may be shown holding a cornucopia, the symbol of abundance, a torch, or her sacred staff made from a stalk of giant fennel. A basket containing the secret objects of her mysteries may be found at her feet.

With regards to her sphere of influence over the earth, Demeter took after mother, Rhea, representing rocky terrain, and her grandmother, Gaia, the actual embodiment of the earth, with Demeter herself representing fertile plains.

In early Greece Demeter held a much larger sphere of influence than just the growing and harvesting of crops. As a goddess of agriculture Demeter was originally viewed as being the civilizing force for humanity due to the fact that the raising of crops requires permanent dwellings. Thus, Demeter is the bestower of civilization. As a fertility goddess, Demeter was viewed as the original goddess of marriage, being called upon to increase human fertility the same as she increases the fertility of the fields. In time Demeter's sister, Hera, would come to acquire this role.

Unlike her sister Hestia, Demeter took many lovers, both gods and mortals, though never actually taking an official spouse. In myth it has become a common standard, due to prudish morals of the past, that when a deity has sex with another deity or mortal that they are thus "married". Today we realize that people don't have to be married in order to enjoy sex. There is no evidence for an actual traditional marriage to be found with any of Demeter's lovers.

Demeter's mortal lovers include; Iasion, whom she begot the gods Plutus (the god of wealth), and Philomelus (demigod of ploughing). Carmanor, whom she begot Chrysothemis (demigoddess of the harvest festival songs) and Eubuleus (demigod who leads people back from the Underworld), and Mekon. Iasion was her first mortal lover. She desired him from the first time she saw him and actively pursued him. She tricked him into following her into a field that had been plowed three times, seduced him and lay with him in the dirt. Zeus, seeing the mud on the back of her robes immediately understood what happened. Zeus struck Iasion with a lightening bolt, killing him instantly. Karmanor also met the same fate. When Demeter's favorite mortal lover, Mekon, died she transformed him into a poppy and then took it as her sacred flower.

Demeter's first divine lover was her brother, Zeus. Together they mated in the form of serpents. Demeter conceived and gave birth to Persephone (Destroyer), a.k.a. Kore (maiden) and in some versions of the myth, the god Dionysus as well. Persephone was the delight of her mother and the pair were inseparable.

When Persephone reached the age of marriage, about 14-16 years of age, Hades, the lord of the Underworld, saw her while she was picking flowers with her friends and desired her. Hades did the traditional thing by going to her father, Zeus, and asking for her hand in marriage. Zeus granted it and approved of her abduction. This may seem a strange thing for modern people to understand but marriage for the most of human civilization was not done out of genuine love, but rather marriage was considered a socio-economic contract and civic duty. It was everyone's responsibility to marry and reproduce. Failure to do so brought shame and mistrust from society. Additionally, only the father's approval/permission was needed for a marriage. The mother's opinion, let alone the opinion of the soon-to-be-bride, was considered to be unimportant. The bride didn't even need to be told in advance that her father had arranged her marriage.

One day as Persephone was picking flowers and playing in the fields with her nymph companions, Zeus caused a beautiful white flower, some say a narcissus, to spring forth from the earth. Persephone was immediately drawn to it. She had never seen a flower like this before. It's perfume was intoxicating. It was irresistible to her and she bent over to pluck it. No sooner had she pulled the flower from the ground did a vast, black chasm open up in the earth out of which ushered forth the dark chariot of Hades. The somber god grabbed Persephone, threw her over his shoulder and plummeted back into the chasm with the earth closing up after him. The young goddess screamed, but in vain, as miles of soil muffled her cries. The chariot raced at incredible speeds and Persephone's tears were soon replaced with awe and wonder. In front of her stood the glittering palace of Hades. Not only was her abductor the dread king of the Underworld, but he also possessed all the riches located therein, including gold, silver, and precious stones. Hades was so wealthy that he was often called Pluto (wealth) by the Greeks and later, Romans. As Persephone was left to ponder her predicament, and what it all entailed, Demeter was just finding out about her absence.

Demeter called out her daughter's name but got no reply. At first Demeter thought her daughter had just grown absent minded and had forgotten to check in with her. As time passed Demeter became worried and began to stop and ask people if they had seen her. She first went to the nymphs who played with Persephone. They had been distracted and neither saw or heard her disappearance.  Demeter then went to the cave of Hecate and asked her if she knew what had happened to her daughter. Hecate's words were of no comfort. Hecate revealed that Persephone was abducted and that she heard her screams but she did not see who took her. Demeter became panicked. Sensing her fear, Hecate volunteered to help Demeter. The nymphs, the companions who had been picking flowers with Persephone, also were so upset that they prayed to the gods to be given wings so that they may fly across the world to search for Persephone. The gods granted their prayer and they were transformed into the Sirens.

Hecate told Demeter to go inquire of Helios, the sun god, for from his vantage point he sees all things that happen on the earth. Demeter sought the bright god out and begged him to answer her. Helios admitted that he had seen it all. He informed Demeter that Hades carried Persephone away, down to the place of the dead, beneath the green earth.  Demeter was livid. She stormed Olympus and demanded that Zeus restore her daughter to her. It was then that Zeus admitted to Demeter that as her father he had agreed to Hades taking Persephone as his wife. He tried to comfort Demeter by reminding her that Hades is a powerful god and that he would make a worthy husband and mate but Demeter would hear none of it. She was beside herself in grief and left Olympus vowing never to return.

Demeter neither bathed, nor fixed her hair. Instead of putting on her fine robes Demeter dressed herself in black and wandered the earth in disguise for 9 days, in mourning for the daughter she feared she would never see again. As she wandered the earth she blessed or cursed humans depending upon how she was treated. Those who were kind to her were blessed. Those who treated her poorly suffered greatly. Her wandering brought her to Eleusis, in Attica. There she took the form of an elderly women and called herself Doso. She became the nurse/nanny for King Celeus's and Queen Metanira's sons, Triptolemus and Demophone. She delighted in her new job as it took her mind off of the loss of her daughter. She especially loved taking care of the new born Demophone and fell hopelessly in love with the infant. Dreading the knowledge that Demophone would some day die, Demeter decided to secretly make the baby immortal. In the dead of night, for several nights, she carefully sneaked into the children's quarters and snatched the sleeping baby. With ambrosia, the food of the gods, she anointed his body, breathed her magic breath upon him, and then held him in the fireplace so that the flames would gradually burn off his mortal form. She would have succeeded had his mother not interrupted her.

Demophone's brother, Triptolemus, was sick and Metanira awoke one night and decided to check upon him. She walked in just as Demeter was holding Demophone over the fire. Metanira did what every good mother would do. She let out a scream and rushed to save her son. In shock at having been discovered, Demeter dropped the infant and Metanira picked him up and held him tight against her bossom. Demeter was saddened once more. Revealing her true identity to Metanira, Demeter then explained that her interruption of the ritual destroyed it's magic and that now there was no hope of Demophone ever becoming a god. Demeter saw the ill Triptolemus trembling at his mother's side and decided to return the kindness she received from the family by blessing Triptolemus, instead. She picked up the boy, held him to her bossom and bade him suckle. Ingesting the goddess's breast milk healed him and made Triptolemus mature into an adult man in one day. It was then that Demeter taught Triptolemus the art of agriculture. She made him her first priest and bade him to initiate mankind to her mysteries and spread the secrets of agriculture. She equipped Triptolemus with a chariot drawn by winged serpents by which he would be able to travel across the world. He appeared to men as a beautiful youth, wearing a crown or crowned with wheat, and his near-perfect body bedecked with sacred serpents.

Having blessed Triptolemus and having given him instruction, Demeter turned and left. Her grief soon returned. Not only had she lost her beloved daughter but now she had, in a sense, lost a mortal child as well. In her grief she stopped caring, literally. She was in such a deep depression that she no longer blessed the earth or looked to it's upkeep. As a result, vegetation withered and famine soon took hold across the land.

Demeter next traveled to Arcadia. It was there that her brother Poseidon, god of the sea, found her and attempted to seduce her. Demeter fled. In an attempt to hide from Poseidon, Demeter transformed herself into a mare and hid herself in the stables of King Onkios. Unfortunately, Poseidon found her, transformed himself into a stallion and raped her.

After being violated Demeter became naturally enraged and transformed into Demeter Erinyes (Demeter the Fury) or Demeter Melaine (Black Demeter), with the appearance of a woman, dressed in black, and having a mare's head. In such aspect she was viewed as the goddess of vengeance. She allegedly then stalked the night, ranting, raving and scaring people literally to death with her appearance.  The Phigalians worshiped this dark aspect of the goddess in a cave with a statue sculpted for them by Onatas. The statue was carved from wood and portrayed the goddess with a horse's head, serpents for a mane, and carrying a dove in one hand and a dolphin in the other hand.

In time Demeter realized that she was pregnant. She gave birth to twins, an immortal horse named Arion and a mysterious goddess named Despoine (Mistress). Despoine's worship was associated with a mystery cult where initiates where forbidden from divulging Despoine's true name. In art, Despoine was usually portrayed as veiled. We know little to nothing of Despoine but there are hints that she was none other than the goddess Artemis, herself.

Having giving birth, Demeter went to the river Ladon and bathed herself. There she transformed into Demeter Louisa (Demeter the Washed). There, Demeter was purified and her anger abated. Meanwhile, the Olympians were searching for Demeter. As the vegetation of the earth withered and died and famine took the land, Zeus feared that the human species would go extinct. He ordered all gods to be on the look out for Demeter and to notify him if/when they should spot her. It was Pan who spotted her in a cave and who sent word to Zeus. Zeus then bade the Moirai (Fates), and Iris (goddess of the rainbow) to go to her and comfort her. The Fates returned to Zeus and informed him that Demeter would no longer bless the earth until Persephone is returned to her. In response, Zeus sent Hermes to the Underworld to ask Hades to release Persephone. Surprisingly, Hades consented but only upon one condition. Persephone must not have eaten any food while in the Underworld. For those who eat of the food of the dead can not return to the land of the living. Unfortunately, Persephone had grown famished and after seeing a pomegranate she had picked it up and ate of it's seeds. Hermes then was forced to report the bad news to Zeus. Zeus reached a compromise. Persephone was allowed to return to the land of the living but was forced to return to the Underworld each year and spend a month for every seed she ate. Demeter accepted this ruling.

The reconciliation of Demeter and her daughter Persephone caused the earth to once again become green and nature to blossom. Thus, the changing of the seasons are explained.

The people of Eleusis, having been instructed by the goddess, built her a temple and taught Demeter's sacred mysteries, most of which centered around this myth of the abduction and return of Persephone. The Eleusian Mysteries became one of the great mystery cults of the ancient world. It was believed that initiates were able to travel to paradise, called Elysium or the Elysian Fields, upon death. Initiates were charged with secrecy and to this day we know very little about the rituals of the cult as to date there are no accounts of anyone breaking their vow of secrecy.

Parents: The Titans Cronus and Rhea
Spouse: None
Offspring: Persephone, Dionysus, Arion, Despoine, Plutus, Philomelus, Eubuleus, Chrysothemis
Sacred Epithets/Aspects: Eucarpus (fruitful), Chrysaorus (golden sword), Pyrphoros (fire bearing), Saemni (august), Spaermii (presiding over seeds), Chthonia (of the earth), Anesidora (she who sends forth gifts), Chloe (green), Epogmia (of the furrows), Plutodotira (giver of wealth), Carpophorus (bearer of fruit), Malophorus (bearer of fruit), Thermasia (warm), Megala Mater (great mother), Thesmophorus (bringer of law), Thesmia (of law), Prostasia (leader, patron), Panachaea (of all Greeks), Europa (of Europe)
Sacred Color: (Orphic Mysteries: Green)
Zodiac Sign: (Orphic Mysteries: Virgo)
Sacred Symbols: Corn, Wheat, Poppies, Serpents, Torch, Cornucopia, Fennel Stalk Staff, Chariot Drawn by Winged Serpents, Basket, Bread
Sacred Incense: Benzoin
Sacred Offerings: Libation, Fruit, Honey Cakes
Sacrificial Animals: Pigs, Bulls, Cows
Sacred Plant: Corn, Wheat, Poppies, Cornflower, Myrtle, Mint
Sacred Bird: Turtle Dove, Screech Owl
Sacred Animal: Serpent, Pig
Festival: Thesmophoria, Eleusian Mysteries, (Roman: Ceralia, April 12-18)



http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Demeter.html

http://www.hellenicgods.org/demetra


***Note: Take notice that most of Demeter's mortal male lovers were killed by Zeus or met a tragic ending. This is not accidental. This was done out of punishment for the violation of social order. For the Greeks, gender roles and social order was extremely important. Sexual penetration was viewed as an act of dominance. It was okay for a male god to sexually penetrate a mortal female lover because he is a god and thus is dominant over her as she is both mortal and female. However, a mortal man who dared to sexually penetrate a deity is guilty of violating natural order as he is attempting to dominate that which is greater than he. Therefore, in myth it is very common for any mortal man foolish enough to have sex with a goddess to either be killed and or suffer some tragedy that effects him for the rest of his life. For another example, Anchises had sex with Aphrodite. She warned him not to tell anyone or else Zeus would gain revenge. He fails to heed her warning and Zeus strikes him with a lightening bolt that either kills him or cripples him for life, depending on the version of myth being told.  

***Note: The abduction of a woman to be taken as a wife may have been a ritual carried out with the permission of the father. 

***Note: Dionysus is usually said to be the son of Zeus and the mortal, Semele.

***Note: The myth of Demeter and Persephone is also referred to as "The Rape of Persephone", with the word rape used with it's original meaning, that of abduction. 

***Note: Today, most people interpret the myth of the abduction of Persephone as explaining winter. However, for the Greeks the myth actually explained why the crops died during the drought and heat of Summer. 

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