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She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

January 1st, 2017

ACHLYS

Achlys (pronounced Akh-Loos) is the name, and personification, of Eternal Night.

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(Photo: Pinterest)

She is also known as Mist of Death, which is another meaning of Her name. It describes the mist that fell before one’s eyes before dying. As such, Her likeness was borne upon the Shield of Hercules.

She is a pale, thin Goddess with long sharp fingernails, which she will use as claws, which in turn explains Her bloody cheeks. Her teeth are as fangs. She is covered in dust, as She roams the world. Her incessant crying gives her the name of the Goddess of Misery and Sadness.

One of Her myths is that She is the only being to precede Chaos, and that the entire world came from her. This makes Her a primordial, creative being, akin to Shakti, in the Hindu world.

goddess

(Photo: ninecircles.co)

She is the Mistress of Poisons, who could create poisonous flowers by just summoning them, and not a few of Her potions could turn humans into animals.

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 143 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic 5th century AD):

“[Hera spies the nurses of the infant god Dionysos:] Hera, who turns her all-seeing eye to every place, saw from on high the everchanging shape of Lyaios [Dionysos], and knew all. Then she was angry with the guardians of Bromios. She procured from Thessalian Akhlys (Achlys, Death-Mist) treacherous flowers of the field, and shed a sleep of enchantment over their heads; she distilled poisoned drugs over their hair, she smeared a subtle magical ointment over their faces ,and changed their earlier human shape. Then they took the form of a creature with long ears, and a horse’s tail sticking out straight from the loins and flogging the flanks of its shaggy-crested owner; from the temples cow’s horns sprouted out, their eyes widened under the horned forehead, the hair ran across their heads in tuft, long white teeth grew out of their jaws, a strange kind of mane grew of itself, covering their necks with rough hair, and ran down from the loins to feet underneath.”

(Wikepedia)

Goddess myths don’t always make sense. As we know, Goddess stories and myths from around the worlds can become confused; names are similar, some Goddesses become combined with other Goddesses. It is no different here.

To contradict the origin myth of Achlys, it is also said she that she was one of the Keres/Ceres, the female death spirits, who were the daughters of Nyx, whose name means “night”, similar to Achlys’ Eternal Night.

The Keres’ names were Moros, meaning *Doom*, Ker meaning *Violent Death*, Hypnos meaning *Sleep* and Theoneiroi meaning *Dreams*. The description of the Keres being dark and mysterious beings with sharp teeth and claws, wearing bloody garments is similar enough to that of Achyls to let you think that She was one of their number. The Keres hovered over battlefields searching for wounded and dying men, as they relished the violent and cruel deaths that battle and murder wrought. Perhaps Achylis joined them, dropping the Mist of Death before the eyes of these men, before the Keres would take their bodies and souls.

goddess

(Photo: Pinterest)

As this quote shows, it is believed, too, that the Keres were released into the world by the opening of Pandora’s box; this would have included Achylis:

Hesiod, Works and Days 90 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

“For ere this [the opening of Pandora’s jar] the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills (kakoi) and hard toil (ponoi) and heavy sickness (nosoi) which bring the Keres (Fates) upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar (pithos) with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aigis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues (lugra), wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases (nosoi) come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus.”

(Theoi.com)

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(Photo: paleothea.com by Hein Lass)

Whatever Her true myth and origins, there is no doubt that Achlys is one of the many Dark Goddesses. While we may wish to turn our head, the wise know that without the Dark, there is no Light; without Death, there is no Life.

MA’AT – EGYPTIAN GODDESS OF JUSTICE

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(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Ma’at may seem, to some, a strange choice for a Goddess during the Winter Holiday Season, but after the US election outcome, this will not truly be a normal holiday season for some who are afraid of what the future may hold, and so, in a feeling of hopefulness, which I have lacked these last couple of weeks, I call on Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Justice and Truth.

Ma’at can be recognized, always, by the ostrich feather on her headdress. She represents truth, justice and morality. She was also known as the Lady of Judgement Hall and Mistress of the Underworld. She was the daughter of Ra (sun) and wife of Thoth (moon).

Ma’at represents the stable universe; She kept the stars in motion, She maintains the order of Earth and Heaven; She changes the seasons. As the concept of order and balance, She brought balance to the daily life of the Egyptians, which was extremely important. Ma’at represented “ma-akheru” or “true of voice”, which was the aim of every Egyptian if they were to have a good afterlife. As such, Ma’at became, in principle, the the morality and ethics of Egypt that each person was expected to follow; She was the rules that became the basis for all Egyptian laws. The thought became, “will there be karma to be paid at this action?”.

Pharaohs became known as the “Beloved of Ma’at” and would carry a small statue of her to show that his regime was on of harmony, order and truth.

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(Photo Credit: goddessschool.com)

The Vizier of Justice was always a Priest of Ma’at and wore a feather to identify him. He would draw a green-dyed feather across his tongue to signify that his words were true and that his judgement was balanced and fair.

“Crimes against Ma’at” were jealousy, dishonesty, gluttony, laziness, injustice, ingratitude. You were punished by death for violating Her spirit and then you would face punishment again in the Underworld in the Hall of Two Truths in the “Ceremony of Justification”. Written in the Egyptian Book of the Dead is a spell called “Forty-two Declarations of Purity” or “Negative Confessions” and they were read as:

I have not committed a sin.

I have not committed robbery with violence.

I have not stolen.

I have not slain men and women.

I have not stolen grain.

I have not purloined offerings.

I have not stolen the property of God.

I have not uttered lies.

I have not carried away food.

I have not uttered curses.

I have not committed adultery; I have not lain with men.

I have made none to weep.

I have not eaten the heart.

I have not attacked any man.

I am not a man of deceit.

I have not stolen cultivated land.

I have not been an eavesdropper.

I have not slandered.

I have not been angry without any cause.

I have not debauched the wife of any man.

I have not debauched the wife of man.

I have not polluted myself.

I have terrorized none.

I have not transgressed.

I have not been wroth.

I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.

I have not blasphemed.

I am not a man of violence.

I have not been a stirrer up of strife.

I have not acted with undue haste.

I have not pried into matters.

I have not multiplied my words in speaking.

I have wronged none, I have done no evil.

I have not worked witchcraft against the king.

I have never stopped water.

I have never raised my voice.

I have not cursed God.

I have not acted with arrogance.

I have not stolen the bread of the gods.

I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.

I have not snatched away the bread of a child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.

I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

**************************************

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(Photo Credit: forums.smitegame.com)

But all who successfully reached the Underworld would be judged. This judgement consisted of the weighing of their heart or soul (resources vary on which it was). The heart/soul was placed on one side of Ma’at’s scales to be weighed against Her ostrich feather. Resources also vary on whether it was Osiris who did the weighing, or if it were Anubis who oversaw the weighing, and then brought the heart/soul to Osiris for judgement. If the heart/soul was lighter than the feather, then that person would leave for the Afterlife. If, however, the heart/soul was heavier than the feather, indicating evil, then that person would immediately be eaten by the Goddess Ammit, who stood by waiting. Ammit had the head of a crocodile, the front legs of a lion and the back legs of a hippopotamus.

Normally, Ma’at was shown standing or seated upon a stone platform or foundation. She has outstretched wings attached to both of Her arms, and sometimes holds a scepter in one hand and an ankh in the other. The stone foundation which holds Her represents the stable base on which Egypt’s balance and order has been built.

The heiroglyph for the word “truth” is a feather. It is part of Ma’at’s name in heiroglphyics : the Feather of Truth, a symbol for bread, which equals a provider of food, a feminine egg and Ma’at herself, in a seated position

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(Photo Credit: goddessschool.com)

Ma’at’s colors were black and purple and Her symbols are the ostrich feather, the platform throne and the ankh. She is the element of Air, the scent of Rose, and the Amethyst crystal.

There is a small temple dedicated to Ma’at at Karnak, inside the precinct of Monto. it is the smallest of the temples there and is believed to be built by the beloved Hapshepsut. There may be evidence to indicate that a temple to Ma’at was built by Amenhotpe II at Ipet-Isut.

In the name of Ma’at, I wish everyone a Blessed Yule/Winter Holiday Season, and to everyone around the world, a wish for truth, justice and freedom. So Mote It Be.

Brightest Blessings

)O(

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

The Mysteries of Isis by DeTraci Regula

ancient-origins.net

crystallinks.com

A Faery Myth


The Wonderful  Tune

Maurice Connor  was the king, and that’s no small word, of all the pipers in Munster. He could play jig and planxty without end, and Ollistrum’s March, and the Eagle’s Whistle, and the Hen’s Concert, and odd tunes of every sort and kind. But he knew one, far more surprising than the rest, which had in it the power to set every thing dead or alive dancing.

In what way he learned it is beyond my knowledge, for he was mighty cautious about telling how he came by so wonderful a tune. At the very first note of that tune, the brogues began shaking upon the feet of all who heard it – old or young it mattered not -just as if their brogues had the ague; then the feet began going – going – going from under them, and at last up and away with them, dancing like mad ! – whisking here, there, and everywhere, like a straw in a storm – there was no halting while the music lasted !

Not a fair, nor a wedding, nor a patron in the seven parishes round, was counted worth the speaking of with out “blind Maurice and his pipes.” His mother, poor woman, used to lead him about from one place to another, just like a dog.

Down through Iveragh – a place that ought to be proud of itself for ‘t is Daniel O’Connell’s country – Maurice Connor and his mother were taking their rounds. Beyond all other places Iveragh is the place for stormy coast and steep mountains : as proper a spot it is as an in Ireland to get yourself drowned, or your neck broken on the land, should you prefer that. But, notwithstanding, in Ballinskellig bay there is a neat bit of ground, well fitted for diversion, and down from it, towards the water, is a clean smooth piece of strand – the dead image of a calm summer’s sea on a moonlight night, with just the curl of the small waves upon it.

Here it was that Maurice’s music had brought from all parts a great gathering of the young men and the young women – O the darlints ! – for ’twas not every day the strand of Trafraska was stirred up by the voice of a bagpipe. The dance began; and as pretty a rinkafadda it was as ever was danced. “Brave music,” said every body, “and well done,” when Maurice stopped.

“More power to your elbow, Maurice, and a fair wind in the bellows,” cried Paddy Dorman, a hump-backed dancing-master, who was there to keep order. ” ‘Tis a pity,” said he, ” if we ‘d let the piper run dry after such music; ‘t would be a disgrace to Iveragh, that didn’t come on it since the week of the three Sundays.” So, as well became him, for he was always a decent man, says he: “Did you drink, piper ?”

” I will, sir,” says Maurice, answering the question on the safe side, for you never yet knew piper or schoolmaster who refused his drink.

“What will you drink, Maurice?” says Paddy.

” I’m no ways particular,” says Maurice; “I drink any thing, and give God thanks, barring raw water: but if ’tis all the same to you, mister Dorman, may be you wouldn’t lend me the loan of a glass of whiskey.”

“I’ve no glass, Maurice,” said Paddy; ” I’ve only the bottle.”

“Let that be no hindrance,” answered Maurice; my mouth just holds a glass to the drop; often I’ve tried it, sure.”

So Paddy Dorman trusted him with the bottle – more fool was he; and, to his cost, he found that though Maurice’s mouth might not hold more than the glass at one time, yet, owing to the hole in his throat, it took many a filling.

“That was no bad whiskey neither,” says Maurice, handing back the empty bottle.

“By the holy frost, then !” says Paddy, ” ’tis but could comfort there’s in that bottle now; and ’tis your word we must take for the strength of the whiskey, for you’ve left us no sample to judge by :” and to be sure Maurice had not.

Now I need not tell any gentleman or lady with common understanding, that if he or she was to drink an honest bottle of whiskey at one pull, it is not at all the same thing as drinking a bottle of water; and in the whole course of my life, I never knew more than five men who could do so without being overtaken by the liquor. Of these Maurice Connor was not one, though he had a stiff head enough of his own – he was fairly tipsy.

Don’t think I blame him for it; ’tis often a good man’s case; but true is the word that says, “when liquor’s in sense is out;” and puff, at a breath, before you could say ” Lord, save us!” out he blasted his wonderful tune.

‘Twas really then beyond all belief or telling the dancing. Maurice himself could not keep quiet; staggering now on one leg, now on the other, and rolling about like a ship in a cross sea, trying to humour the tune. There was his mother too, moving her old bones as light as the youngest girl of them all: but her dancing, no, nor the dancing of all the rest, is not worthy the speaking about to the work that was going on down upon the strand.

Every inch of it covered with all manner of fish jumping and plunging about to the music, and every moment more and more would tumble in out of the water, charmed by the wonderful tune. Crabs of monstrous size spun round and round on one claw with the nimbleness of a dancing-master, and twirled and tossed their other claws about like limbs that did not belong to them. It was a sight surprising to behold.

But perhaps you may have heard of father Florence Conry, a Franciscan friar, and a great Irish poet; bolg an dana, as they used to call him – a wallet of poems. If you have not, he was as pleasant a man as one would wish to drink with of a hot summer’s day; and he has rhymed out all about the dancing fishes so neatly, that it would be a thousand pities not to give you his verses ; so here’s my hand at an upset of them into English:

The big seals in motion,
Like waves of the ocean
Or gouty feet prancing,
Came heading the gay fish,
Crabs, lobsters, and cray fish,
Determined on dancing.

The sweet sounds they follow’d,
The gasping cod swallow’d;
‘T was wonderful, really !
And turbot and flounder,
‘Mid fish that were rounder,
Just caper’d as gaily.

John-dories came tripping;
Dull hake by their skipping
To frisk it seem’d given;
Bright mackrel went springing,
like small rainbows winging
Their flight up to heaven.

The whiting and haddock
Left salt water paddock
This dance to be put in:
Where skate with flat faces
Edged out some odd plaices;
But soles kept their footing.

Sprats and herrings in powers
Of silvery showers
All number out-number’d.
And great ling so lengthy
Were there in such plenty
The shore was encumber’d.

The scollop and oyster
Their two shells did roister,
Like castanets fitting;
While limpets moved clearly,
And rocks very nearly
With laughter were splitting.

Never was such an ullabulloo in this world, before or since; ’twas as if heaven and earth were coming together; and all out of Maurice Connor’s wonderful tune !

In the height of all these doings, what should there be dancing among the outlandish set of fishes but a beautiful young woman – as beautiful as the dawn of day.  She had a cocked hat upon her head; from under it her long green hair – just the colour of the sea – fell down behind, without hinderance to her dancing. Her teeth were like rows of pearl; her lips for all the world looked like red coral; and she had an elegant gown, as white as the foam of the wave, with little rows of purple and red sea weeds settled out upon it: for you never yet saw a lady, under the water or over the water, who had not a good notion of dressing herself out.

Up she danced at last to Maurice, who was flinging his feet from under him as fast as hops – for nothing in this world could keep still while that tune of his was going on – and says she to him, chaunting it out with a voice as sweet as honey –

” I’m a Iady of honour
Who live in the sea;
Come down, Maurice Connor,
And be married to me.

“Sliver plates and gold dishes
You shall have, and shall be
The king of the fishes,
When you ‘re married to me.”

Drink was strong in Maurice’s head, and out he chaunted in return for her great civility. It is not every lady, may be, that would be after making such an offer to a blind piper; therefore ’twas only right in him to give her as good as she gave herself – so says Maurice,

I’m obliged to you, madam :
Off a gold dish or plate,
If a king, and I had ’em,
I could dine in great state.

With your own father’s daughter
I’d be sure to agree;
But to drink the salt water
Wouldn’t do so with me ! ”

The lady looked at him quite amazed, and swinging her head from side to side like a great scholar, “Well,” says she, ” Maurice, if you’re not a poet, where is poetry to be found?”

In this way they kept on at it, framing high compliments; one answering the other, and their feet going with the music as fast as their tongues. All the fish kept dancing too: Maurice heard the clatter, and was afraid to stop playing lest it might be displeasing to the fish, and not knowing what so many of them may take it into their heads to do to him if they got vexed.

Well, the lady with the green hair kept on coaxing of Maurice with soft speeches, till at last she overpersuaded him to promise to marry her, and be king over the fishes, great and small. Maurice was well fitted to be their king, if they wanted one that could make them dance; and he surely would drink, barring the salt water, with any fish of them all.

When Maurice’s mother saw him, with that unnatural thing in the form of a green-haired lady as his guide, and he and she dancing down together so lovingly: to the water’s edge, through the thick of the fishes, she called out after him to stop and come back. “Oh then,” says she, “as if I was not widow enough before, there he is going away from me to be married to that scaly woman. And who knows but ’tis grandmother I may be to a hake or a cod – Lord help and pity me, but ’tis a mighty unnatural thing! – and may be ’tis boiling and eating my own grandchild I’ll be, with a bit of salt butter, and I not knowing it ! – Oh Maurice, Maurice, if there’s any love or nature left in you, come back to your own ould mother, who reared you like a decent Christian ! ”

Then the poor woman began to cry and ullagoane so finely that it would do any one good to hear her.

Maurice was not long getting to the rim of the water; there he kept playing and dancing on as if nothing was the matter, and a great thundering wave coming in towards him’ ready to swallow him up alive; but as he could not see it, he did not fear it. His mother it was who saw it plainly through the big tears that were rolling down her cheeks; and though she saw it, and her heart was aching as much as ever mother’s heart ached for a son, she kept dancing, dancing, all the time for the bare life of her. Certain it was she could not help it, for Maurice never stopped playing that wonderful tune of his.

He only turned the bothered ear to the sound of his mother’s voice, fearing it might put him out in his steps, and all the answer be made back was – “Whisht with you, mother – sure I’m going to be king over the fishes down in the sea, and for a token of luck, and a sign that I’m alive and well, I’ll send you in, every twelvemonth on this day, a piece of burned wood to Trafraska.”

Maurice had not the power to say a word more, for the strange lady with the green hair seeing the wave just upon them, covered him up with herself in a thing like a cloak with a big hood to it, and the wave curling over twice as high as their heads, burst upon the strand, with a rush and a roar that might be heard as far as Cape Clear.

That day twelvemonth the piece of burned wood came ashore in Trafraska., It was a queer thing for Maurice to think of sending all the way from the bottom of the sea. A gown or a pair of shoes would have been something like a present for his poor mother; but he had said it, and he kept his word. The bit of burned wood regularly came ashore on the appointed day for as good, ay, and better than a hundred years. The day is now forgotten, and may be that is the reason why people say how Maurice Connor has stopped sending the luck-token to his mother.

Poor woman, she did not live to get as much as one of them; for what through the loss of Maurice, and the fear of eating her own grandchildren, she died in three weeks after the dance – some say it was the fatigue that killed her, but whichever it was, Mrs. Connor was decently buried with her own people.

Seafaring men have often heard, off the coast of Kerry, on a still night, the sound of music coming up from the water; and some, who have had good ears, could plainly distinguish Maurice Connor’s voice singing these words to his pipes: –

Beautiful shore, with thy spreading strand,
Thy crystal water, and diamond sand;
Never would I have parted from thee
But for the sake of my fair lady. [a]

[a] This is almost a literal translation of a Rann in the well-known song of Deardra.

Source: Thomas Crofton Croker – Fairy Legends and Traditions, first published 1825

republished by: Collins Press, Cork, 1998.

A Tale of Prometheus
Prometheus was a Titan who sided with Zeus in the war of the titans. The Titans were then conquered, partly because Zeus released the hundred-handed monsters from their prison, who fought for them with their weapons (thunder, lightning and earthquake), and also because Prometheus took sides with Zeus. Zeus owed him a debt and Prometheus was on Zeus’ good side at the beginning. That changed however in one tale about the creation of ‘mankind’.
Zeus delegated the creation of mankind to Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus. This was in part due to the fact that Prometheus had helped Zeus in the war. Epimetheus went with his first impulse and changed his mind afterwards. He was quite scatterbrained, but Prometheus was very level-headed and wise. Before making man, Epimetheus gave all the gifts to the animals. Including strength, swiftness, courage, fur, feathers, wings and other traits. And he did this until no good was left for man. He then asked Prometheus to help him and Prometheus thought of a way to make man superior. He changed their shape so they were upright like the Gods, and he went to the sun, where he lit a torch and brought down fire, which would protect man more than anything else. He did so without the permission of the Gods.

“And now, though feeble and short-lived,
Mankind has flaming fire and therefrom
Learns many crafts.”

At this point only men were on the earth- no women. Zeus created women later, in anger at Prometheus because of his love for humans, and the fact that he stole fire from the Gods for them. Zeus also was angry at Prometheus for tricking him. Prometheus had cut up an ox and he was told to divide it in two, one half for man and one half for the gods. Prometheus wrapped the best parts in the hide and covered them with innards. Beside this heap he put another pile of bones, but he disguised it by covering it in the fat of the ox. He then told Zeus to pick the pile he liked best, and Zeus took the tempting half that was covered in fat. Zeus became very angry when he discovered he had been tricked, but he had made his choice and needed to abide by it.
Zeus swore to take revenge on Prometheus and he wanted to do this by punishing man as well. Zeus made a ‘great evil for man, a sweet and lovely thing to look upon, in the likeness of a shy maiden, and all of the gods gave her gifts, silvery raiment and a broidered veil, a wonder to behold and bright garlands of blooming flowers and a crown of gold- great beauty shone out from it.’ They called her Pandora, which mean ‘the gift of all’.
The gods then presented Pandora with a box, into which each of them had put something harmful and told her never to open it. Then Zeus sent her to Epimetheus, who took her gladly even though Prometheus told him not to. After, he realized how curious Pandora was and she had to see what was in the box. And after a few days she lifted the lid to see inside and out flew many plagues, sorrow and mischief for mankind. Pandora quickly shut the box- but it was too late. Luckily one good thing came from it- hope. And hope remains to this day a comfort. Once this happened mortals learned that you should never try to trick of deceive Zeus. And Prometheus discovered this too.
Zeus punished Prometheus by getting his servants Force and Violence to seize him and bound him to Caucasus and they told him

“Forever shall the intolerable present grind you down
And he who shall release you is not born
Such fruit you reap for your man-loving ways
A God yourself, you did not dread God’s anger
But gave to mortals honour not their due
And therefore you must guard this joyless rock-
No rest, no sleep, no moment’s respite
Groans shall your speech be, lamentation only your words. “

Zeus also knew that fate, which brings all things to pass, had decreed that one day a son of his would dethrone Zeus and drive the gods from their home in Olympus. Prometheus knew who would be the mother of this son, and Zeus wanted to know that information. Zeus sent Hermes to Prometheus. In response Prometheus said

“Go and persuade the sea wave not to break
You will persuade me no more easily.”
Hermes then told Prometheus that if he did not disclose his secret he would suffer more terrible things.
“An eagle red with blood
Shall come, a guest unbidden to your banquet
All day long he will tear to rags your body
Feasting in fury on the blackened liver”

Nothing could break Prometheus though and his suffering continued. His spirit would not break and he would not give in to brutal power no matter what. He told Hermes

“There is no force which can compel my speech
So let Zeus hurl his blazing bolts,
And with the white wings of the snow,
With thunder and with earthquake,
Confound this reeling world.
None of all this will bend my will”

Hermes left him to suffer, but many years later he was released. There are a few different notions on how this came to be, but I find that the most popular is that while looking for the golden apples that grew on a magical tree of life, Hercules finds Prometheus nailed to the rock. He kills the eagle that torments him and sets him free. In gratitude, Prometheus tells Hercules how to get the apples.

 

Bound

The Eloquence of Calliope

This month I offer a look at one of my favorite muses, Calliope. Enjoy!

The Muse, Calliope is the oldest of the Muses and according to the Theogony of Hesiod was foremost of the muses. Holding this preeminence, suggested her creative gifts were many with specific association with music and song and is often depicted playing the harp in early art work. In many mythological tales, Calliope is the mother of the Bard and player of the lyre, Orpheus. Calliope’s gifts of eloquence and music moved through her child Orpheus, considered to be the greatest musician and poet of Greek mythology having the ability to stir the emotions of God and man, alike into passive acquiescence.

As each of the Muses was later parceled out as representation of specific skill set, Calliope was assigned as the muse of Epic poetry. Her name means “beautiful voiced” and it is this quality that enhances her representation as a being of great eloquence; using that gift in the crafting of beautiful and emotionally evocative poetry. It was this gift that she offered to the Kings so that they may speak with power and authority in a manner of clarity and preciseness and it was this eloquence that she brought as judge to the dispute of the Goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone over Adonis.

“Aphrodite hid the newborn child, Adonis, in a chest, which she gave in charge to Persephone, queen of the nether world. But when Persephone opened the chest she was beheld by beauty of the baby, so she refused to give him back to Aphrodite, although the goddess of love went down herself to the Underworld to ransom the baby Adonis from the power of the dead.

The dispute between the two Goddesses of love and death was settled by Zeus, who decreed that Adonis should abide with Persephone in the underworld for one part of the year, and with Aphrodite in the upper world for another part. When he stayed in the underworld, it was winter. When he returned, the Earth blossomed into spring and summer.” (Greek Myths and Stories)

Later attributions depict her with pen and tablet and designation specifically as the muse that inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer. In Greek mythology, Calliope is linked to Ares the God of War and Achilles, to whom she taught rowdy drinking songs. She had two sons by her mentor and teacher, the God Apollo and by all accounts her beguiling gifts of creative inspiration, word and song weave through many of the Gods and Goddess myths.

As is the case with many of the Muses, Calliope’s name is used is association with a similar attribute of representation by an object. The Calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas in the form of steam or compressed air through large tubular whistles. These tubes were originally part of the whistles found on large locomotive engines. The sound emitted was typically very loud and piercing, often being heard for miles. Unlike most musical instruments, there is no way to vary the tone or loudness relying solely on the interval of time between notes and their individual length. It was for these reasons that the Calliope was most often used as the advertising tool to let the community know that the Circus, an epic event, was coming to town.

This reference to a sound-producing instrument of this sort and magnitude and its use in calling attention to what would be multiple acts (or stanzas) of adventure, excitement and peril that formed the comprehensive story of man overcoming physical limitations (think of the aerialists and acrobats) and taming the beasts themselves (think of the animal trainers).

When we call to the Muse, Calliope we are calling attention to the many stories and adventures we have encountered in our life’s journey. The valiant successes and the epic failures are all waiting to be codified and through the gift of eloquence, we find the gems of our most beautiful and meaningful way of expression. This may take the form of journaling the experiences in prose. Going back later and reading through that epic phase of your experience and ultimately being inspired from its telling and sharing of what has served to move you forward. It may take the form of a beautifully written poem, pouring heart and soul onto paper, guided by rhythm and rhyme, semantic and syllable. And, in this way unraveling the mysteries of your hidden feelings word-by-word, line-by-line like so many layers of paint on a fine work of art. Each important to the larger picture crafted, yet transparent in their uniqueness and need.

In my own work, I call upon Calliope to inform my writing and stir the flow of creativity, but especially when I am writing a pathworking. A pathworking is much like the epic poem. It stimulates and serves as key to your personal journey into unknown territory that will provoke a response and set of challenges along the way that ultimately lead you to a new land, new perspective or new form and way of being.

** Excerpted from a series of articles, “EnLIVEening the Muses” from my blog the Womb of Light (Sage Woman Blogs at Pagan Square).

Tara

Tara is the Great Goddess in Celtic lore, where her name is the root of *Tor*, a hillock of earth with a spiritual connection to other planes.

The name “Tara” is also connected to “Terra”, our Mother Earth.

However, the origins of the Tara most known today are in Hinduism, where she was seen as a manifestation of both Kali and Parvati. Her name means *star* and she was thought to have been a Boddhisattava, and a Goddess of Mystery and Mysticism.

Tara was adopted into Buddhism and became one of the most popular Goddesses in their pantheon. To them, her name comes from the root “tri”, which means “to cross”, which is why she is also the one who “ferries her people from delusion to knowledge”.

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(Photo from goddessgift.net)

She has compassion for all living beings, desiring to save them from suffering, which connects her to the Boddhisattava/Goddess Kwan Yin, who also hears the cries of those who suffer and offers them mercy and compassion.

There are two main origin stories for Tara. One is that she was a spiritual and compassionate princess who prayed and gave offerings to the local monks and nuns. When one of the monks said that he would pray for her to be reborn as a man, she replied that there was no male/no female/no reality. She would stay in her female body to help others reach enlightenment. I adore the feminism in her ancient statement, which is still relevant now.

“There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of all beings,
until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.” **

**goddessgift.net

The other origin story, which explains the existence of two Taras, is that She/They were born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. As he was crying from seeing the suffering in the world and of his people, two giant tears fell from his eyes, resulting in the birth of the peaceful White Tara and the ferocious Green Tara.

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(Photo from exoticindiaart.com)

While they call Green Tara ferocious, She is mainly playful and full of mischief, always ready for call to action and activity. This is evidenced in Her posture upon Her lotus; Her right leg is extended ready to jump up, while her left leg is folded upon the lotus itself.

Green Tara symbolizes the night and holds a blue lotus in her left hand for purity and power; she is covered in bracelets, necklaces and jewels. With her right hand, she grants wishes and overcomes fears.

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(Photo from exoticindiaart.com)

While Green Tara is mostly seen as a young woman, White Tara is seen as a mature, full breasted woman. She is the Mother of All Buddhas and symbolizes day.

She has seven eyes – – the two usual, one in the Ajna (third eye) chakra, one on each hand and foot – – to more closely see the suffering in the world.

In her left hand, in the mudra (hand yoga) of protection, she holds a white lotus for complete truth and purity. This lotus has three blooms. The first bloom, with seeds, represents the Past; the second bloom in full flower, represents the Present, and the third, which is ready to blossom, represents the unknown Future. She is the essence of all three.

Tara is also known as *She Who Brings Forth Life*, *The Great Compassionate Mother”, “Embodiment of Wisdom”, and The Great Protectress”.

Her influence is widely felt, as evidenced by these stamps from Mongolia:

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(Photos from colnect.com)

Tara’s mantra is *Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha*; here it is chanted by the incomparable Deva Premal :  

May the Goddess, by whatever name you call her, bless you and keep you safe.

Blessings, Peace & Namaste…

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(Photo from wildmind.org)

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

exoticindiaart.com

goddessgift.net

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