Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

On this day, the Ides of March, I thought I would note 13 myths, not necessarily of the Greek and Roman kind.

1. Persephone and the seasons. In this myth, Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, is captured by Hades and hauled to the underworld to be his bride. Her mother causes the world to freeze over while she searches for her daughter. She finally finds her, but while in the underworld, Persephone eats of a pomegranate. Because of this, she must spend time with Hades. And that is why we have the seasons.

2.  Leda and the swan. Leda, Queen of Sparta, is seduced by Zeus while he is disguised as a swan. She gives birth to an egg from which springs the twins Castor and Pollux.

3. Galatea, the statue come to life. Pygmalion was a sculpturer who created a statue of a beautiful woman.He loved the statue, named Galatea, and he finally went to the temple of Aphrodite and asked for a wife like the statue. Aphrodite brought the statue to life instead.

4. Jocasta. Her name, according to one of my books means "Shining Moon." She was the wife and mother of Oedipus. In the legend, Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother, though he doesn't know she is his mother. Oedipus ultimately puts out his own eyes after he learns what he has done. The myth is a combination of the moon-goddess tales and her sacred king.

5. Lily. This is Lilith, the Sumero-Babylonian goddess of creation; the flower is the lotus of her genital magic. The lily represents the virgin aspect, while the rose represents the maternal. The lily also was sacred to Astarte, also Ostara, the goddess of Easter lilies. These are myths of virgin motherhood.

6. May. This is the month of Maya (Maia), the virgin goddess of spring, in northern European tradition. This is the month for wearing green to honor the Earth Mother's new outfit, and of fornicating in the fields via plowing to bring forth crops. (Never really thought of farming as fornication, but hey.) According to the myth, only "bad women" marry in the month of May.

7. Amazons. This is the Greek name for goddess-worshipping tribes in other lands. The name is derived from a false belief that the Amazon warriors cut off their right breast so that they could draw a bow unhindered. Some scholars say the word Amazon means "moon woman." Legend says these women ruled over large parts of Asia as late as the 5th century AD. They were the first to tame horses and the goddesses they worshipped were often depicted as mares. Men could become Amazons via castration and adopting their dress.

8. Hecate. This Greek goddess was derived from the Egyptian midwife-goddess Heqit, Heket, or Kekat, who in turn derived from the wise woman of the tribe. Heqit delivered the sun every morning. Four thousand years later, she became the "queen of witches" in Christian mythology. In Greece, Hecate was a part of a female trinity that ruled heaven, earth, and the underworld. Hecate was the loveliest of the three and associated with the moon, the goddess Artemis, and Persephone.

9. The Bride from the South. I ran across this interesting weather myth in some reading of legends of the Cherokee. In this story, the boy in the North goes on an adventure. He falls in love with a girl in the South and wants to marry her, but upon his arrival the world has turned cold and no one wants him around. He finally agrees to take the girl to his land, and she goes North. When she arrives, she finds people living in ice houses. But the very next day, things begin to warm up, and the houses begin to melt. Finally the people tell the North that he must send his wife home before the whole settlement melts. At last he has to do as they asked.

10. The Wren. This is another Cherokee legend. The Wren is the messenger of the birds. She keeps watch over everything and reports back. When a boy is born, she sings a mournful song, because the lad will grow up to hunt the birds with arrows and then roast them. But if a girl is born, she sings a chorus of gladness, because the girl will pound grain and leave a bit for the birds to eat.

11. Queen Mab. This is a Celtic Fairy Queen. Her name means "mead", which is a red drink. This myth is related to menstruation and feminine wisdom and matriarchal age. In later myths, she is often portrayed as a trickster who steals milk and babies.

12. Panacea. One of the daughters of Mother Rhea Coronis, the Cretan universal mother, Panacea is a healer and is invoked in the medical Hippocratic Oath. She, along with her sister, Hygeia, are personifications of Great Mother's breasts, the source of the Milk of Kindness and the balm of healing. Mother's milk was thought to be a great source of healing; the milk from a woman who had just given birth could expel demons of sickness. Interestingly, Pope Innocent VIII, who ruled over the Catholic Church in the 1400s and who persecuted women as witches and caused the torture and death of millions, tried to fend off his own death by living on a woman's breast milk. He died anyway. Serves him right.

13. Sarasvati. This means "Flowing One" and she is the Hindu goddess of the arts: music, letters, mathematics, calendars, magic, and other branches of learning. In the Zoroastrian tradition, she is known as Sraosha and is the guardian of earth. She is also affiliated with conscience and religion and she guides the souls of the deceased to the afterlife. She is identified with the peacock.


These myths all have something in common. I wonder if you noticed?


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 233rd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


17 comments:

  1. Some interesting "earthy" myths, Anita! I had heard of some of these, but not all.

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    1. The earth is still a great mystery, and we should not take it for granted!

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  2. there's a woman at the root of all things great! hooray for us!
    happy tt!

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  3. Very interesting. I find the native american myths the most fascinating, but these are good too!
    Happy T13!

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    1. I love the Native American mythology. I had a professor who adored the trickster myths.

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  4. I think often men find us more mysterious and powerful than we realize. Galatea is my favorite. Eliza Doolittle, anyone?

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    1. I have always been fascinated by myth. I want to study it more.

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  5. 'Genital magic,' 'Queen of witches' and the Celtic fairy queen - sound intriguing to me. These would make very interesting adult bedtime stories.

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  6. I like the last one best I think.


    Have a great Thursday!
    http://harrietandfriends.com/2012/03/march-is-national-nutrition-month/

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  7. And my friend Jayn just became a grandmother today. Nothing about Caesar, good. The feminine rules.

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  8. Sarasvati is my favorite Hindu god. There's an annual celebration for her in Montreal, or was last I heard.

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  9. Interesting stuff, Anita. I had to laugh at #6 since I was married in May. I found #12 interesting, as well. I guess that's where we get the word "panacea." I really love discovering word derivations like that.

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  10. Ah, Babylonian Sumerian. So that's where Lilith originated. I knew it was something like that.

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  11. These are all very interesting. I like a good myth.

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  12. Oh, I love these! I was familiar with some, but not all. Goddess myths, of one sort or another - good stuff; thanks for sharing them!

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  13. They're all women?

    I've never heard of Sarasvati, nor have I thought of mathematics as an art. It makes sense, though - I studied mathematics in college and am now fully engaged in the arts! Great list!

    Also, I love your new header.

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