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Posts Tagged ‘Christy Birmingham’

►Philosophy: “Plato´s Cave and Fifteen Million Merits” (Black Mirror):

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Hello readers! This is a post in collaboration with Christy Birmingham, from Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You might wonder how the idea of writing this post came up. Well, basically, I had begun watching Season Three of Black Mirror, which was recently released on Netflix. I told Christy how much I liked it, and, from that moment, we started chatting about the series. Soon after, Christy watched “The Entire History of You”, which is the third episode of the first season, followed by “Fifteen Million Merits” (the second episode of the same season).

We discussed both episodes. And we decided to do a post on the latter. Therefore, this complete post was a result of the exchanges of points of views. But each one of us focused on particular themes.

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Christy Birmingham

Christy wrote about Abi (before and after “Hot Shot”), the concept of being overweight (as it is socially considered and shown in this episode), and added the final thoughts. She also had a major task proofreading the entire article and helping me sort out doubts along the process. For all this, I wish to take the opportunity to convey my gratitude to Christy.

As to me, I wrote other parts of the review, the allegory of the cave, and the ending section concerning the existing analogies between Plato´s Allegory of the Cave and this episode.

With that being said, keep in mind that you can watch this episode of Black Mirror on Netflix or here. Thanks for dropping by and we hope you enjoy the reading. 

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⇒The Allegory of the Cave:

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is written as a dialogue between Plato’s teacher Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of  “The Republic”, Book VII (514a–520a).

In the allegory, Plato likens people to prisoners chained in an underground cave, unable to turn their heads.

All they can see is the wall of the cave, upon which shadows of the world above are thrown.

The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. These so-called “puppeteers” are just people outside the cave who walk along this walkway, who presumably carry things on their heads. Hence, what the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see, believing that the shadows of objects are real objects.

One of the prisoners then is freed from their bindings and leaves the cave.

Blinded by the light, he is unable to see anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But, eventually, his eyes adjust to the light. Finally, he beholds the sun, which is the main source of knowledge. 

As he becomes used to his new surroundings, he realizes that his former view of reality was wrong.

But he is despised when he returns to the cave. Those who never left the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well.

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The allegory of the Cave explains Plato´s Theory of Forms.

The Theory of Forms maintains that two distinct levels of reality exist: the visible world of sights and sounds that we inhabit and the intelligible world of Forms that stands above the visible world and gives it being. The visible world or World of Appearances consists of Images and Visible Things. But images have less entity than visible things (tangible things). In the Intelligible World we have the mathematical objects (not important for this analysis) and The Forms. 

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

For Plato, the Forms were basically the Ideas (also called Essences behind the visible Things).

Forms are not mental entities, nor even mind-dependent. They are independently existing entities whose existence and nature are graspable only by the mind, even though they do not depend on being so grasped in order to exist. Things are “useful” because as they allow us to recognize the Idea or Form behind and Beyond them. 

An example concerns the Idea of Beauty. All the beautiful things we can see are beautiful only because they participate in the more general Form of Beauty. This Form of Beauty is itself invisible, eternal, and unchanging, unlike the things in the visible world that can grow old and lose their beauty. This applies to all objects, as they are ideas for them too. Natural objects, such as trees and animals each link back to their respective Form or Idea. As to manufactured objects, that´s a different issue as Plato would rather consider them “artificial”; meaning “images of Things” (and so that was the case for Plato with all artistic creations, for instance).

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⇒Fifteen Million Merits:

Black Mirror is a British television series created by Charlie Brooker that features dark, speculative fiction and examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.

This series has three seasons so far, and it streams on Netflix. 

Fifteen Million Merits is the second episode of Season One of the series.

The episode depicts a society in which people have to generate the energy that runs the entire society, pedaling on stationary bikes for hours at a time. This is a world where technological pleasure and instant gratification always depend on computers, where the real world and the virtual world are completely intertwined and almost everything natural has been replaced by technology. 

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“Fifteen Million Merits” has all of these elements. It is also a satirical approach to the capitalist society from a technological perspective. Characters are mainly clients and their “money” is a fungible value. Not money, though, but “merits” instead. The idea of merit, rather, seems to respond to the demands of a society in which  the Division of Labor is no longer needed. 

So, basically, everyone plays the same role. Each individual is both a creator and consumer of manufacturing inputs. Besides, leisure time and working time are not clearly divided. While people work (pedalling to generate energy), they are allowed to watch television.

Everyone wears grey clothes, except those who clean the place, who wear yellow and are most times bullied and even depicted in video games as “targets” to shoot.

The cleaners wear bright yellow outfits, which is in sharp contrast to the blasé grey sweat suits of the peddlers. Look closely at the cleaners, who carry dust bins and brooms, and notice that they are all overweight.

Soon it becomes clear in the TV episode that their weight relates to why they are cleaners rather than peddlers, and that being a cleaner is a job that is beneath the people on the bikes. For example, one very excitable man on a bike taunts the workers whenever they come around him. He mocks the outfit and weight of one male cleaner, who never talks back to him.

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It seems that when a person becomes overweight, they are removed from the bike work and put to work cleaning the floor instead.

There are many issues being brought up here. Firstly, the way society is organized is that overweight people are considered lower-class citizens. Fitness is considered a strength while being large is symbolic of the weak.

Also, there is obviously bullying going on here, from a “higher” class of society to a “lower” one. Being bullied for a person’s weight is something that happens today, but Fifteen Million Merits takes it to a whole new level in the future.

Aside from talking down to the cleaners, the people in grey outfits also shoot at the yellow figures who appear in video games. The yellow people who look like the floor cleaners are part of games that are similar to “Call of Duty”. They are shot at by the peddlers on the bike and the shooting games continue when the peddlers return to their homes too.

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Furthermore, if people are not working at same sole task, they are locked in their prison cell of video screens that cover every surface from floor to ceiling, pumping out an endless stream of inane comedy, reality TV and softcore porn. It is worth noting though that under these televisual circumstances, there is no place for intimacy. Being spectators of TV shows means that you appear in the show as an avatar who makes your reactions public .

We could assume that this “world” is the result of some sort of energy crisis. Hence, the population is needed to power their lights instead. Their existence is pretty miserable to contemplate; so much of the energy is used to distract the same citizenry as they perform their mundane tasks.

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The story has two main characters. Bing and Abi.

Bing is confronted with an artificial, media-saturated world, and yet he is hungry for something more.

Like most dystopian stories, he gets a hint that there could be something more when he meets the pretty Abi, and soon after he hears her singing, he falls for her.

Her innocence and naïvety are attractive to Bing, but her singing hints at something even deeper.  In his eyes, her beauty is something that goes beyond everything,  in a world covered with dark multimedia screens (black mirrors).

Even if they don´t have physical contact (there is an occasion when they briefly hold hands in an elevator, though), there is something magical between them, a spark of reality, so to speak.

There is symbol which seems to represent their bond. The little penguin, which recurrently appears.  It probably represents “something lost” (maybe Nature as it seems the characters are locked and pent-up in a “fake” world where real things are barely available).

This little animal appears many times throughout the episode as an origami penguin, carefully folded by Abi. Besides, Abi´s avatar wears a dress with penguins on it. And, at the end of the episode, the penguin motif takes on a quite heart-breaking significance at the episode’s conclusion, as Bing has a statue of a penguin in his luxurious but minimalist penthouse.
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Abi and Bing´s relationship is good. But, that’s just the beginning of the story. In a world where everything is a spectacle, where everything can be objectified, repackaged and sold back to an always hungry viewership, what happens with feelings and with human experiences?.

That´s when the we learn about “Hot Shot”, as an equivalent to “The X Factor” or “American Idol” in this episode, which seems to be the entrance to fame and a life free of duties (the bike).

“Hot Shot” depicts pretty much a “roman circus”.

abi2The committee on the TV-show “Hot Shot” consist of three judges named “Wraith”, “Hope”, and “Charity”. The theological virtues of Christianity are “Faith”, “Hope” and “Charity”. These were traditionally the path to follow in order to attain salvation. The change from “Faith” to “Wraith” is justified because our faith is now on the virtual world. The new salvation is to be successful, to obtain a more real virtuality.

Bing is so charmed by Abi´s song that he spends his dead brother’s 15 million merits to get her on “Hot Shot”, where she’s an instant sensation. Drugged by some sort of milk called “Cuppliance” (which is a composed word, resulting of the sum of “cup” and “compliance”), she goes along with Judge Wraith and becomes a porn star, in a wrenching twist.

Celebrity culture entails a sort of moral nihilism, the show in question leads to a dark voyeurism, which goes deep into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness, and betrayal. Spectators appear as avatars, a crowded, anonymous audience facing the stage, staring at the contestants while they are just watching the screen in their cells (and represented as avatars in the audience).

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The crowd starts to chant for Abi to take the spot offered to her by the judge to become a porn star. In this case, when Abi is on stage, having drunk the “Cuppliance” beverage, she gives in to the social pressure of the crowd. While she is uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a porn star, as shown by her hesitation, the crowd’s chanting become gets stronger and louder.

Abi is being bullied. After all, the floor cleaners are not the only ones bullied in this society. She is being harassed digitally, which we can already see happening in real life today with death threats on Facebook and Twitter, for example. We soon learn the negative impacts of intimidation when we see the career that Abi ends up feeling forced to choose.

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In addition to the bullying, Abi is also submitting to something bigger than herself, which happens in many societies today. Whether you call it peer pressure (the crowd) or the pressure of authority (the judges), or a combination of the two, this Black Mirror episode takes the influence of others to the extreme. She wants approval, as so many people do in the world today.

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But Abi suffers terribly for getting this approval. She enters the porn world, as the judges and audience both encouraged her to do, and soon videos of her being demoralized by men are flashed across digital screens everywhere. While she no longer has to ride the bike all day, her new role is demeaning, including an image on the screens of a man putting his finger into her mouth and she is physically beneath him, which shows he has the power over her, body and all.

Abi is now officially part of the “Wraith Babes” stream that has “the hottest girls in the nastiest situations” as the announcer’s voice on the stream repeatedly says when it is shown on screens. So sad, as no girl says that she wants to grow up to star in pornography. Instead, Abi – like some women in today’s world – have been pressured into doing degrading sexual acts to please others. It is a depressing look at women’s bodies being exploited for the instant gratification of other people.

This example of Ali is taken to the extreme in a few ways. Firstly, she is viewed by Bing as being pure and innocent, including having an angelic voice; she is the ultimate example of peer pressure’s consequences. Also, the pornography featuring her is spread across huge digital screens for everyone to see, rather than being viewed on private websites or seedy theaters.

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Once Abi is caught in the porn universe, the ads featuring her torture a broken Bing. He destroys his room and sets upon a revenge mission, earning another shot on the show and giving a rough speech with a shard of glass pointed at his neck. The sequence in question is perfectly done.

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It is mostly an act of rebellion that leaves the audience numb and silent until  Judge Hope proclaims it the most heartfelt thing they’ve ever seen on the show. Soon after the Judge´s evaluation, the audience begin to cheer and clap hands in a standing ovation.

Bings´s speech is a little bit of the major irony here. He speaks out the truth (maybe because he cheats and avoid drinking the beverage Abi had when she performed, as he had hidden the dispenser under his bed).

Judge Hope says he is deeply moved by his words and offers him to have his own show twice a week for half an hour each. And Bing, persuaded by the judge and audience, accepts. 

So, ultimately he also sells himself out. In other words, he becomes entertainment himself. Speaking trite truths about consumerism and vociferating sold out prejudices concerning non-genuine life. While using the glass in his throat while he speaks, in a threatening tone as if he is going to commit suicide. 

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⇒Concluding Thoughts on Fifteen Million Merits:

As with the other Black Mirror episodes, Fifteen Million Merits is a smart hour of science fiction television. It shows a dark side of technology and the excesses that the world could come to in the future if electronic devices are not used wisely by humans. It could wind up that the world is short on energy, that we cannot get away from digital screens, and that bullying is a bigger side-effect of a tech-savvy lifestyle than ever before.

But, perhaps we have to squirm in our seats watching this kind of television to be able to make more sense of the world, our place in it, and how to use technology responsibly in the future.

Or, it could just be that we recognize that technology can also challenge our ways of thinking about the future, human nature, and electronic gadgets. What we know for sure is that we do not plan to buy or wear a grey sweat suit anytime soon.

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⇒Fifteen Million Merits and Plato´s Allegory of the Cave:

The interrelations between this episode and Plato´s Allegory of the Cave could be summarized as follows.

People´s approach of Reality is given basically through images of things. These things are screen images, and all sorts of images most times on the screens, of the cells or on TVs in front of the Bikes.

People are represented by avatars, meaning by images of themselves, the merits are charged to those avatars, as if it was a video game.

Most importantly, people are prisoners of a cave.

They live locked up there. Everyone has his own cells, in which each perimeter consists of screens.

The screens  continuously emit shows and do so unless it is the night. 

If the prisoner wants to watch a show, he´ll have to pay for it. And if he wants to skip ads, he´ll have to do the same.

The main shows are hosted and owned by the Judges of the show “Hot Shot” (Judge Charity, Judge Hope and Judge Wraith). So, basically, the Judges are somehow the puppeteers.

Bing is the “released prisoner”. After Abi´s performance and after she enters the Porn Industry (hired by Judge Wraith), he begins to see images as things, so to speak. The scene in the elevator, in which the main characters hold hands, is quite meaningful and one could even say it is a hinge moment.

Bing´s speech in “Hot Shot” shows that he is somehow the philosopher. The one who has a sharp intellect. 

Bing’s awakening makes evident the fact that the system is a huge lie and that the ideals proposed by power are alienating people instead of making them happier. Having seen the light, which is paradoxically darkness as it has to do with Abi´s prostitution, he wants to tell his former fellow prisoners about his experiences, as a sort of revolutionary leader would do. He tries to raise awareness.   

But, the irony here is that even if Judge Hope gives him the credit for his “moving” speech, whilst highlighting the importance of being “genuine”, he is not taken seriously, at least in the expected terms.

Judge Hope (who would be a sort of Crowd Pleaser) takes him to his own  field and beats him, once there.

Bing becomes an entertainer, and of the system he was defying. Light beyond the screens is unattainable as we can see in the last sequence of the episode, when he looks through a big window something that could be both thing: a real landscape or… even something more sinister: a landscape digitalized image on yet another screen.

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You can watch this episode of Black Mirror here and/or here. 

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Flowers and Plants in Greek Myths

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"Flora" (Goddess of Flowers) by Evelyn De Morgan. 1894.

“Flora” (Goddess of Flowers) by Evelyn De Morgan. 1894.

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►Metamorphosis, Life-cycles and Seasons:

One of the most important sources when it comes to Greek Mythology is Ovid´s “Metamorphoses”. According to this account, many times the passage from life to death entails a “metamorphosis”. Characters whether gods/goddesses or humans are transformed into “something else”.

Plants (usually flowers or trees) could be examples of this transformation. The same applies to stars, as many characters are converted to stars and placed among stellar constellations . This mostly happens after their death, as tribute,  but even as a sort of exoneration; or even as punishment. The main God in charge to do so is, of course, Zeus, the Ruler of Gods.

Metamorphosis is a key element in Greek mythology. Zeus had probably the most changes in Greek mythology, and he used different appearances as a way of courting potential lovers. Zeus often took the form of animals aiming to sleep with his future lovers. For example, Zeus consorted with Mnemosyne in the form of a shepherd. Leda was seduced by Zeus in the form of swan. He even fell for a young man called Ganymede, who was abducted and taken to Olympus by Zeus in the form of an eagle to be his lover and the cupbearer of the gods. But there were cases in which Zeus took other forms. For example, Callisto (a nymph who was in love with Artemis) was deceived by Zeus disguised as Artemis, the goddess of hunting. And in the case of Danae, Zeus turned himself into golden rain, made his way into her chamber, and impregnated her.

Back to flowers and plants, it is worth noting that they go through different stages in their life cycle. Growth is where photosynthesis begins as the leaves collect sunlight and turn it into food for the growing flower. The root system stretches out and develops, and the flower bud begins to form during the growth stage. Within the protection of the bud, a small, complete flower forms. When the plant matures and is ready to reproduce, it develops flowers. All plants begin life as a seed but flowers are unique in their ability to attract pollinating creatures and spread their seeds. Flowers are the special structures involved in pollination and fertilisation, processes which lead to the formation of new seeds. 

Seeds, leaves and flowers are basic and indispensable components of the same structures: plants.

Plants and flowers might go through different stages, depending on the season of the year. In Spring, tree buds burst into leaves and flowers blossom. In Summer, trees are in full leaf. During autumn, tree leaves turn yellow, red or brown and fall to the ground, trees start to reproduce and spread their seeds (which lay dormant on the ground throughout winter and start budding around spring). In Winter, trees are bare and fallen leaves begin to decay. 

Interestingly enough, as a consequence of what has been described above, a mythological character who had been metamorphosed to a plant would eventually go through many other changes as well. Furthermore, when it comes to life-cycles, seasons and stages of life (birth, childhood, adulthood, old age) have much in common: distinctive characteristics such as development, reproduction, vitality, lethargy could be expressions of both annual phases and periods of a lifetime.

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►Myhrra: Myrrh Tree /Adonis: Anemone:

Adonis’s mother was Myrrha, the beautiful daughter of king Cinyras

Myrrha’s mother would say that she was even more beautiful than Aphrodite which angered the goddess who cursed Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father.

She tricked him into sleeping with her and she became pregnant. When her father found out he had been tricked he was so angry that he tried to kill her but the gods took pity on her and turned her into a myrrh tree.

Even so, the goddess finally gave birth to her son. Aphrodite found the baby by a myrrh tree and she gave him to Persephone, the wife of Hades, who was the God of the Underworld. 

When the child grew he became a very beautiful young man: Adonis.

Persephone was also taken by Adonis’ beauty and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

The dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus, the king of the gods: Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. He chose to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

Ares, the god of war, grew jealous because Aphrodite spent so much time with Adonis that she had forgotten about him. As a result, Ares turned into a gigantic wild boar and attacked Adonis. Adonis, having forgotten Aphrodite’s warning, attacked the boar but soon found himself being chased by it. 

The boar caught Adonis and castrated him. Adonis died in Aphrodite’s arms, and she sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone. It is supposedly Adonis’ blood that turns the Adonis River red, each spring. 

The Greek myths lend the Anemone flower dual meanings of the arrival of spring breezes and the loss of a loved one to death, it also represents forsaken and undying love.

Christians later adopted the symbolism of the anemone. For them its red represented the blood shed by Jesus Christ on the cross. Anemones sometimes appear in paintings of the Crucifixion.

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On the Left: “Myhrra assisted by Lucina, the Goddess of Birth” by Jean de Court (1560).. On the Right: Myrrh tree.

On the Left: “Myhrra assisted by Lucina, the Goddess of Birth” by Jean de Court (1560).. On the Right: Myrrh tree.

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On the Left: “Adonis” by Benjamin West (1800). On the Right: An anemone

On the Left: “Adonis” by Benjamin West (1800). On the Right: An anemone

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"The Awakening of Adonis” by John William Waterhouse. (1900) / On the right: Details: Anemones.

“The Awakening of Adonis” by John William Waterhouse. (1900) / On the right: Details: Anemones.

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►Daphne: Laurel Tree:

Daphne was a nymph,. Her mother was Gaia and her father, the river god Peneus.

Daphne was also a follower of Artemis, the goddess of Hunting, and a divinity never conquered by love. The priestesses devoted to her service were bound to live pure and chaste, and transgressions of their vows of chastity were severely punished. 

Apollo was a very great archer and he loves to praise himself. One day Apollo met Eros, who was a very great archer like Apollo.

Apollo made fun about Eros‘s archery. As the latter got angry and wanted revenge, he made two arrows. One arrow was submerged in golden water. This arrow awakened love and passion if stuck into human flesh,whilst the other arrow removed passion and love, under the same circumstances.

The arrow of love reached Apollo’s heart and he desperately loved Daphne. But unfortunately the other arrow into Daphne’s heart. As a result, Daphne always ran away from Apollo, who never stopped chasing her. Finally Apollo captured her. Being in this situation, Daphne asked help from his father, Peneus. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Since Apollo could no longer take her as his wife, he vowed to tend her as his tree, to raid away all tempted beasts and creatures of the earth, that intended to do her harm, and promised that her leaves would decorate the heads of leaders as crowns. Laurel leaves surrounded the temple of Apollo to cleanse the soul before entering, being related to ambition and success. It’s associated with purification and considered a plant with powers of immortality. Laurel supposedly awakens awareness and past life memories.

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On the Left: “Apollo and Daphne” by Antonio del Pollaiolo (1470/1480).- On the Right: Laurel Bay Leaves.

On the Left: “Apollo and Daphne” by Antonio del Pollaiolo (1470/1480).- On the Right: Laurel Bay Leaves.

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►Lotis: Lotus Tree:

According to Ovid´s “Fasti”, the nymph Lotis fell into a drunken slumber at a feast, and Priapus (the son of Aphrodite and Dionysus, who was usually frustrated by his sexual impotence), seized this opportunity to advance upon her. With stealth he approached, and just before he could embrace her, a donkey alerted the party with “raucous braying”. Lotis awoke and pushed Priapus away, but her only true escape would result in being transformed into a lotus tree.  The symbolic, broader meaning of lotus flowers is of spiritual purity and chastity. Its meaning also entails eloquence and rebirth.

Furthermore, Lotus-Eater was also one of a tribe encountered by the Greek hero Odysseus during his return from Troy, after a north wind had driven him and his men from Cape Malea (Homer, “Odyssey”, Book IX). The local inhabitants, whose distinctive practice is indicated by their name, invited Odysseus’ scouts to eat of the mysterious plant. Those who did so were overcome by a blissful forgetfulness; they had to be dragged back to the ship and chained to the rowing-benches, or they would never have returned to their duties.

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On the Left: "The Feast of the Gods" by Giovanni Bellini and Titian. 1514–1529 Painting and Detail "Priapus and Lotis", respectively. On the Right: Lotus tree (flowers)

On the Left: “The Feast of the Gods” by Giovanni Bellini and Titian. 1514–1529
Painting and Detail “Priapus and Lotis”, respectively. On the Right: Lotus tree (flowers).

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►Agdistis: Almond Tree/ Cybele: Violet:

The story tells that when Cybele, the great mother goddess, Cybele rejected Zeus, he spilled his seed on her. In due course, Cybele gave birth to Agdistis, a hermaphroditic demon so strong and wild the other gods feared him. In their terror they cut off his male sexual organ. From its blood sprang an almond tree. The almond tree represents the promise and the beauty, and it is a symbol of resurrection.

The river Sangarius had a daughter named Nana, who ate the fruit of this almond tree. As a result of having eaten this fruit Nana delivered a boy child nine months later. His name was Attis and, as time went by, he became a young handsome man… So  handsome his grandmother, Cybele fell in love with him. In time, Attis saw the king of Pessinus’ beautiful daughter, fell in love, and wished to marry her. The goddess Cybele became insanely jealous and drove Attis mad for revenge. Running crazy through the mountains, Attis killed himself. From Attis’ blood sprang the first violets.

The Greeks believed that violets were sacred to the god Ares and to Io, one of the many human lovers of Zeus. Violet flowers symbolized delicate love, affection, modesty, faith, nobility, intuition and dignity.  Later, in Christian symbolism, the violet stood for the virtue of humility, or modesty, and several legends tell of violets springing up on the graves of virgins and saints. European folktales associate violets with death and morning. Besides, almonds trees are mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 30:37, Genesis 43:11, and in Exodus 25:33.

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On the Left: Phrygian statue of Agdistis from the mid-6th century BCE. On the Right: An almond tree.

On the Left: Phrygian statue of Agdistis from the mid-6th century BCE. On the Right: An almond tree.

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Cybele, Roman statue (marble), 1st century AD, (Getty Museum, Malibu).

Cybele, Roman statue (marble), 1st century AD, (Getty Museum, Malibu).

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►Clythie: Sunflower:

Clytie and her sister, Leucothea, were water nymphs. Early every morning they used to come up from the depths of their river, with other nymphs from neighboring streams and fountains, and dance among the water-plants on its shores. But with the first rays of the rising sun, all the dancers plunged back into the water and disappeared; for that was the law among water-nymphs.
One morning Clytie and Leucothea broke this law. When the sun began to show above the hills, and all the other nymphs rushed back to their streams, these two sat on the bank of their river, and watched for the coming of the sun-god. Then as Apollo drove his horses across the sky, they sat and watched him all day long. When they returned home, Clytie told King Oceanus how Leucothea had broken the law of the water-nymphs, but she did not say that she herself had broken it also. King Oceanus was very angry, and shut Leucothea up in a cave. Clytie felt there was no more competition, as she clearly didn´t want to share her love towards Apollo with her sister. The following day, she remained on the shore all day to watch Apollo, the God of the Sun. For a time the god returned her love, but then he got tired of her. The forlorn Clytie sat, day after day, slowly turning her head to watch Apollo move across the sky in his solar chariot. Eventually, the gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower. In some versions of the myth, she became a heliotrope or a marigold, but most accounts say that Clytie became a sunflower

Spiritually, sunflowers represent God’s love and humankind seeking unity and connection with a higher power, being linked to lofty thoughts, faith, hope and unity.

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On the Left: “Clytie: Sorrow and Sunflowelite” by Frederic Leighton (1895). On the Right: “Clytie” by Evelyn De Morgan (1887).

On the Left: “Clytie: Sorrow and Sunflowelite” by Frederic Leighton (1895). On the Right: “Clytie” by Evelyn De Morgan (1887).

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On the Left: "Clytie" by Élisabeth Sonrel (20th century). On The Right: A Sunflower.

On the Left: “Clytie” by Élisabeth Sonrel (20th century). On The Right: A Sunflower.

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►Hyacinth: Homonym Flower:

Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by the West Wind, Zephyrus. Apollo´s beauty caused a feud between the two gods. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth.

When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades, the God of the Underworld, to claim him; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth– which represents the virtue of  constancy sprang from his blood. According to a local Spartan version of the myth, Hyacinth and his sister Polyboea were taken to Elysium by Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis.

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On the left: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, "The death of Hyacinth". 18 th century. Painting and detail, respectively. On the right: A Hyacinth.

On the left: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, “The death of Hyacinth”. 18 th century. Painting and detail, respectively. On the right: A Hyacinth.

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►Narcissus: Homonym Flower:

Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the woods, where she devoted herself to woodland sports. She was a favorite of Artemis, and attended her in the chase. But Echo had one failing; she was fond of talking, and whether in chat or argument, would have the last word.

One day, Hera was seeking her husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess until the nymphs managed to escape. When Hera discovered it, she passed sentence upon Echo in these words: “You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose you are so fond of—reply. You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first”.

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She liked him and followed his footsteps, but her attempts to talk to Narcissus were vain. e left her, and she went to hide her blushes in the recesses of the woods.

Narcissus came upon a clear spring, Narcissus stooped down to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he thought it was some beautiful water-spirit living in the fountain. The spell of Artemis had totally mesmerized him, and for hours he sprawled by the spring, until at last he recognized himself. Unable to stand the  inability of consummating love, Narcissus plunged a dagger in his heart and died.

When Narcissus died, wasting away before his own reflection, consumed by a love that could not be, Echo mourned over his body. As he was looking one last time into the pool uttered, “Oh marvellous boy, I loved you in vain, farewell”, Echo too chorused, “Farewell.”

The myth tells that where his blood soaked the earth sprung up the white narcissus flower with its red corollary, forever growing at the water’s edge, its head inclined towards the water. No wonder why Narcissus flowers Symbolize love, rebirth and new beginnings.

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On the Left: "Echo and Narcissus". Pier Francesco Mola. 1633-41. Painting and detail, respectively. On the Right: Narcissus.

On the Left: “Echo and Narcissus”. Pier Francesco Mola. 1633-41. Painting and detail, respectively. On the Right: Narcissus.

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►Poppies, Symbols of Demeter (and also of Hypnos, Thanatos and Morpheus):

The Greeks associated poppies with  Hypnos, god of sleep, his twin brother, Thanatos, god of death, and Morpheus, god of dreams. This was because a type of poppy native to the Mediterranean region yields a substance called opium, a drug that was used in the ancient world to ease pain and bring on sleep.

In Greek mythology, Demeter was the goddess of agriculture who presented humankind with the secrets to grain-farming (a craft which she first revealed to the demi-god Triptolemus). Her emblem was the red poppy growing among the barley. The myth says that Demeter created the poppy so she could sleep, whilst wandering about in search of her daughter for nine days. This was after the loss of her daughter, Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades and taken to the Underworld. As a result of her daughter´s abduction, a grief-stricken and wrathful Demeter commanded the earth to become infertile until her daughter was returned to her (this would, in turn, induce autumn, and then winter). Upon seeing the starvation of the mortals due to Demeter’s curse on the earth, Zeus was forced to order Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Hades complied with his brother’s wish, but before Persephone was taken back up by Hermes (the only god who can go freely to the Underworld), Hades gave her a pomegranate, and persuaded her to eat six seeds. Hence, Persephone has to stay within the Underworld for six months out of the year. The theme of sleep is carried through the myth as Persephone’s cyclical excursions to the underworld were timed with the seasons. She would leave her mother Demeter in the winter to join her husband, Hades. Her absence marked the winter, her submersion in the underworld signifies a kind of “closing the shutters” and slumber in the cycle of life. 

By and large, poppies have long been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death: Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead. Poppies used as emblems on tombstones symbolize eternal sleep. 

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On the Left: Demeter Relief, 18Th Century. Versailles. On the right: A Poppy.

On the Left: Demeter Relief, 18Th Century. Versailles. On the right: A Poppy.

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Rememberance-Day-Poppies

During World War I, poppies florished naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields. The armistice which ended World War I took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In the years after the war, veterans and fallen from the Allied forces were honored by the wearing of real or artificial poppies on Armistice Day.

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Worth reading!. 

♠Poetry: Robert Frost´s “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.

Analysis at Poetic Parfait with Christy Birmingham:

This section of the post is mostly a recommendation, consisting of an analysis of Robert Frost´s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, posted by Christy Birmingham

To sum up how it all started, Christy has mentioned it as one of her favorite poems in an interview. So I was curious about it and told her that I would read it and tell her my thoughts. Soon after the first approaches, we concluded that such great poem should be analyzed in depth. 

Personally, I loved this poem  and I was thrilled by Frost´s poetic proficiency. The poem is brief (it only has six lines) and yet, it is so deep, and its ideas and metaphors are remarkably well intertwined, mainly given the “cyclical nature” of the poem… As a result of the discussion, Christy wrote an excellent post on her blog, which you can´t miss… So, without further ado, please take a closer look at “Nothing Gold Can Stay” on Poetic Parfait.

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Analysis of the Poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost (Excerpt From Poetic Parfait): 

In a recent author interview, I explained that one of my favorite poems is “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. Shortly after the interview published, my friend and fellow blogger Aquileana of La Audacia de Aquiles commented to me that she had not heard of this particular poem… As we I chatted about the poem, it became clear that there was a lot to discuss, from the imagery within the brilliant lines to Robert Frost’s use of rhyme and meter. Below is our collaborative analysis of “Nothing Gold Can Stay”… Read More.

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Click above to read the analysis of the Poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost on Poetic Parfit.

Click above to read the analysis of the Poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ by Robert Frost on Poetic Parfait.

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►🌟About Christy Birmingham🌟:

cb1Christy is a Canadian freelance writer, poet and author. She is the author of two books. The poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination” (2013). And another poetry book,  “Versions of the Self” (2015).  Besides, she hosts two blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You can also connect with Christy on Twitter

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►Links Post:
http://www.paleothea.com/Myths/Attis.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppy
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/ZeusLoves3.html
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lotus-Eater
http://riordan.wikia.com/wiki/Demeter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_symbolism
https://ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com/tag/demeter/
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa113099a.htm
http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/myth-stories/clytie.htm
http://sciencelearn.org.nz/Contexts/Pollination/Looking-Closer/Flowering-plant-life-cycles
http://www.bustle.com/articles/94692-8-weirdest-sex-things-that-went-down-in-greek-mythology

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mnemosyne1

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“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

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Mnemosyne/ Μνημοσύνη (Roman equivalent: Moneta(0)) was a Titaness, goddess of Memory (1) and the inventor of Words (2)

Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. She was the daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, consisting of twelve elder gods/goddesses, being Mnemosyne included among them.

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Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

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She was also lover of the Ruler of Gods, Zeus
After Zeus led the war against the Titans and established himself as the leader of the Olympians, he feared that, even though he might be immortal, his great victories and decisions might soon be forgotten.

Longing for a way to preserve the memory of his many great feats, he dressed as a shepherd and went to find Mnemosyne. 

The account tells that Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses (3)

The Muses were nine young, beautiful maidens who became the representatives of poetry, the arts, the sciences and sources of inspiration.
They were often depicted as accompanied by Apollo, who represented discipline and application of the arts. The Muses were: Calliope, epic or heroic poetry Clio, history Erato, love poetry and flute-playing Euterpe, lyric poetry and lyre-playing Melpomene, tragedy Polyhymnia, sacred music and dance Terpsichore, choral music and dance Thalia, comedy and idyllic poetry Urania, astronomy and cosmological poetry.
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“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

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mne8Mnemosyne’s name derives from Mene, Moon, and mosune, ‘wooden house’ or ‘tower’, so literally means ‘the House of the Moon’.
 
The goddess Mnemosyne is sometimes credited with being the first philosopher, as her gift was the power of reason.
She was given responsibility for the naming of all objects, and by doing so gave humans the means to dialog and to converse with each other. 
The powers to place things in memory an that of remembrance were also attributed to this goddess.
 
The name Mnemosyne was also used for a river in the Underworld, Hades, which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe (4).  
Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades, around the cave of Hypnos, the greek god of Sleep, and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. 
In chant XXXI of Dante’s “Divina Commedia”, at the very top of Purgatory, Dante is dipped into the River Lethe, which will cause amnesia. The chant of Asperges me (purge me) accompanies his immersion, and he then forgets his past sins and his atonement for them is complete.
Furthermore, the words Lethe or Elysium are often used as metaphors for the underworld or Hades in general.
Charon was the ferryman of the dead, in the service of the underworld domains of Hades. He received the shades of the dead from Hermes, who gathered them from the upper world and guided them through the underworld. Charon transported them in his boat to a final resting place in Hades, the land of the dead, on the other side.
The fee for his service were two coins which were placed on the eyelids of the dead person or just one coin, which was put in the mouth of the dead as a Greek burial custom .
It was believed that those who had not received due burial and were unable to pay his fee, would be left to wander the earthly side of the river Acheron, haunting the upper world as ghosts, being also unable to reincarnate.
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“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

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Some ancient Greeks believed that souls were made to drink from the river before being reincarnated, so they would not remember their past lives. 
Other accounts taught the existence of another river, the Mnemosyne; those who drank from the Mnemosyne would remember everything.
More specifically, according to the Orfism, a Greek mystical religious movement, the newly dead who drank from the River Lethe would lose all memory of their past existence.
The initiated were taught to seek instead the river of memory, Mnemosyne, thus securing the end of the transmigration of the soul.
 
Besides, Mnemosyne was considered a minor oracular goddess. She presided over the underground oracle of Trophonios in Boiotia. Ancient Greeks sometimes worshipped Mnemosyne in the form of a spring, alluding to her profuse, flowing energy. 
Before being brought to the oracle, initiates were taken to a place with two pools lying next to each other. They were instructed to first drink from the pool of Lethe, the Goddess of forgetfulness, in order that they might forget their previous lives. Then they were taken to the spring of Mnemosyne to drink so that they would remember all that they were about to learn from the oracle.
Finally, Mnemosyne can be related to Aletheia, the greek goddess of Truth, Remembering and the Unhidden. The Roman counterpart for this goddess is Veritas

Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is a Greek word variously translated as “unclosedness”, “unconcealedness”, “disclosure” or “truth”. Contained within the etymology of the word Aletheia is “lethe” meaning “forgetfulness”, “oblivion” and also applicable to one of the five rivers of the Underworld in Hades, as it was previously said.

The german philosopher, Martin Heidegger in his book “Time and Being” drew out an understanding of the term as ‘unconcealedness’. According to him, aletheia is distinct from conceptions of truth understood as statements which accurately describe a state of affairs (correspondence), or statements which fit properly into a system taken as a whole (coherence).

Instead, Heidegger focused on the elucidation of how the “world” is disclosed, or opened up, in which things are made intelligible for human beings in the first place, as part of a holistically structured background of meaning.

There is also an interesting association between Memory, seen as a faculty and Plato´s theory of Ideas. Plato, through Socrates´voice, states- in the dialogue “Phaedo”- that the soul was immortal and gives four arguments to prove so.

The basis of these reasonings were previous statements which relate the ability to apprehend Ideas through a sort of process of intuitive memory.

In Plato’s Dialogues, learning appears as a process of remembering, assuming that the soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of the “Forms”. There, the soul saw the Essences-Forms or Ideas, rather than the pale shadows or copies we merely experience on earth. Hence, when we identify an object, we are just remembering the Idea or Form which remains as an incorruptible and eternal essence behind and at the same time beyond the particular object.

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 ►Notes:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

(0) Moneta. In Roman mythology, Moneta was a title given to two separate goddesses: the goddess of memory (identified with the Greek goddess Mnemosyne) and an epithet of Juno/Hera, called Juno Moneta. Moneta is also a central figure in  John Keats‘ poem “The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream”. (See Excerp below)
‘Is Saturn’s; I Moneta, left supreme
‘Sole priestess of this desolation.’
I had no words to answer, for my tongue,
Useless, could find about its roofed home
No syllable of a fit majesty
To make rejoinder to Moneta‘s mourn.
 
(1)Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory.  Socrates: “Let us, then, say that this is the gift of Mnemosyne (Memory), the mother of the Mousai (Muses), and that whenever we wish to remember anything we see or hear or think of in our own minds, we hold this wax under the perceptions and thoughts and imprint them upon it, just as we make impressions from seal rings; and whatever is imprinted we remember and know as long as its image lasts, but whatever is rubbed out or cannot be imprinted we forget and do not know”. Plato, Theaetetus 191c (trans. Fowler).-
(2) Mnemosyne, inventor of Words. “Of the female Titanes they say that Mnemosyne discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes. And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mneme) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received”. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 67. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (C1st B.C.).-
(3) Mnemosyne and Zeus, parents of  the nine Muses“And again, he [Zeus, after lying with Demeter] loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful hair: and of her the nine gold-crowned Moisai (Muses) were born”. Hesiod, Theogony 915 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (C8th or C7th B.C.) 
(4) Mnemosyne, a river which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe. “He [Aithalides, son of Hermes, gifted with unfailing memory] has long since been lost in the inexorable waters of the Acheron, yet even so, Lethe (Forgetfulness) has not overwhelmed his soul [ie unlike the other dead he remembers his past lives and retains his memory in the underworld]”. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 642 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.).-
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►Gallery: “Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory ”:
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“To Mnemosyne (Memory). The consort I invoke of Zeus divine; source of the holy, sweetly speaking Mousai nine; free from the oblivion of the fallen mind, by whom the soul with intellect is joined. Reason’s increase and thought to thee belong, all-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong. ‘Tis thine to waken from lethargic rest all thoughts deposited within the breast; and nought neglecting, vigorous to excite the mental eye from dark oblivion’s night. Come, blessed power, thy mystics’ memory wake to holy rites, and Lethe’s (Forgetfulness) fetters break”. Orphic Hymn 77 to Mnemosyne (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.).-
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collaboration
This part of the post on Mnemosyne consists of a collaboration with two talented canadian women. Resa McConaghy and Christy Birmingham.
I was initially invited to join Resa and Christy in order to work in something together. Resa is an artist and costume designer and Christy a freelancer writer and poet.
I was delighted to be part of the project which figuratively unites a continent from North to South, or viceversa. And, nor less than having a Greek Goddess as pretext!.
Resa created a beautiful gown based on Mnemosyne whilst Christy wrote a poem following the same implicit prompt.
So, without further ado… I am leaving you with these two Northern Stars, and their respective contributions…
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guarda_griega1_2-1 (1) RESA
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Resa has created a mesmerizing gown inspired in Mnemosyne. She chose red and white for the dress and added some beautiful details such as golden traces representing Mnemosyne’s daughters, the Nine Muses. I also liked the way she introduced the iconic two masks, depicting Comedy and Tragedy.
Mnemosyne was the patroness of poets, and she played a very important role when it comes to preserve the Oral tradition. So I think this detail speaks out loud in that sense. 
Resa tells us more about this gown in her post on Goddess Mnemosyne, which you will be able to find on her blog Art Gowns.
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Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

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Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

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 About Resa McConaghy:
resaResa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author.
She hosts two blogs Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
She has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. You can follow Resa on Twitter, too.
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 Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

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Christy has written a beautiful poetic ode to Mnemosyne. The title is so clever, I like the fact that she has chosen a gerund and that Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory is being remembered.

The first stanza delves into the temporal dialectic of memories (second and third verses), alluding to Mnemosyne´s daughters and developing that idea in the second stanza, in which Zeus is also mentioned as the father of the Muses.

The third stanza entails a great twist as it places Mnemosyne´s influence among us, hic et nunc (here and now). Christy highlights how Mnemosyne is being acknowledged in the collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again.

You can check out more Christy´s poems on her blog Poetic Parfait.

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Remembering Mnemosyne

She is one with memory,
Closer to the past than the present,
With a future that pops forth nine muses who
Walk with mythically-lined toes full of
Musicality, poetic verse, and
Laughter for miles.
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The talented Muses are born as
Presents to the mind –
They are gifts from Zeus and Mnemosyne,
Whose passionate harvest spread over evenings that
Would later inspire three creative women afar.
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Her magical wonder ignites poetic words that
Mix with design and descriptions into a
Collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again,
This time with dialogue, syllables and an exquisite
Red fabric that cloaks us all in comfort.

© Christy Birmingham. 2016 .-

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©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

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About Christy Birmingham:

cb1Christy is a canadian freelance writer, poet and author. She is the author of two books. The poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination”(2013), available  at Redmund Productions. And another poetry book,  “Versions of the Self” (2015), which you can find on Amazon.  She also hosts two blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You can connect with Christy on Twitter too. 

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Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisMnemosyne.html
http://greekmythology.wikia.com/wiki/Mnemosyne
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosLethe.html
https://lpsmythologywiki.wikispaces.com/Greek+Myths–The+River+of+Styx
http://symbolreader.net/2014/02/16/the-secrets-of-the-odyssey-2/
http://www.britannica.com/topic/Lethe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aletheia
http://artgowns.com/2016/02/01/goddess-mnemosyne/
http://poeticparfait.com/2015/05/16/versions-of-the-self-poetry-book-kindle-and-hard-copy/
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►Greek Mythology: “Poseidon, The God of Sea”:

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"Neptune and Triton" by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1620-1622). Victoria and Albert Museum of London.

“Neptune and Triton” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1620-1622). Victoria and Albert Museum of London.

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Poseidon (Roman equivalent: Neptune), was a son of Cronos and Rhea and brother of Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia and Demeter.

Poseidon was the god of the sea, rivers, flood and drought, earthquakes, and horses.

Being the ruler of the sea, he was described as gathering clouds and calling forth storms, but at the same he has it in his power to grant a successful voyage and save those who are in danger.

He was further regarded as the creator of the horse, and was accordingly believed to have taught men the art of managing horses by the bridle, and to have been the originator and protector of horse races.

The common tradition about Poseidon creating the horse states that when Poseidon and Athena disputed as to which of them should give the name to the capital of Attica, the gods decided, that it should receive its name from him who should bestow upon man the most useful gift.

Poseidon their created the horse, and Athena called forth the olive tree, for which the honour was conferred upon her.

Homer says in the “Odyssey” that the palace of Poseidon was in the depth of the sea near Aegae in Euboea.

The symbol of Poseidon’s power was the trident, or a spear with three points, with which he used to shatter rocks, to call forth or subdue storms.

He was depicted as a mature man of sturdy build with a dark beard, and holding a trident. 

He was also represented on horseback, or riding in a chariot drawn by two or four horses.

Poseidon was married to Amphitrite, by whom he had three children, Triton, Rhode, and Benthesicyme, but he also had a good number of children by other divinities and mortal women.

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On the Left: Mosaic: Poseidon rides across the sea in a chariot drawn by two Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses. 3rd century AD. On the Right: Poseidon with tirdent on hand driving a chariot, drawn by two Hippokampoi.  3rd century AD.

On the Left: Mosaic: Poseidon rides across the sea in a chariot drawn by two Hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses. 3rd century AD. On the Right: Poseidon with tirdent on hand driving a chariot, drawn by two Hippokampoi. 3rd century AD.

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►Gallery: “Poseidon, The God of Sea” (Greek Vases):

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On the Left: Head of Poseidon. Bronze Piece (between 227-200 BC). On the Right: Neptune with two hippocampus by Perino del Vaga. 16th century.

On the Left: Head of Poseidon. Bronze Piece (between 227-200 BC). On the Right: Neptune with two hippocampus by Perino del Vaga. 16th century.

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“Hear, Poseidon, ruler of the sea profound, whose liquid grasp begirds the solid ground; who, at the bottom of the stormy main, dark and deep-bosomed holdest they watery reign. Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears, and sea’s utmost bound thy will reveres. Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide, from whose dark locks the briny waters glide; shoe voice, loud sounding through the roaring deep, drives all its billows in a raging heap; when fiercely riding through the boiling sea, thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey. Earth-shaking, dark-haired God, the liquid plains, the third division, fate to thee ordains. ‘Tis thine, cerulean daimon, to survey, well-pleased, the monsters of the ocean play. Confirm earth’s basis, and with prosperous gales waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails; add gentle peace, and fair-haired health beside, and pour abundance in a blameless tide”. (Orphic Hymn 17 to Poseidon).~

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►Gallery: “Poseidon, The God of Sea” (Statues and Sculptures):

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"The Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite" by  Frans Francken The Younger ( 17th century).

“The Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite” by Frans Francken The Younger ( 17th century).

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 "The Return of Neptune" by John Singleton Copley (1754).

“The Return of Neptune” by John Singleton Copley (1754).

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Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poseidon
http://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/poseidon/
http://www.chateauversailles.fr/homepage
https://ladysighs.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/greek-god-poseidon/
https://poemsandpoemes.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/amazing-neptune/
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►Check out this Blog!~ Symbol Reader~

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Aquarius by Johfra Bosschart. 20th century.

“Aquarius” by Johfra Bosschart. 20th century. Source: http://symbolreader.net/2014/02/12/images-of-the-zodiac-contemplating-aquarius/

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►Check out this Blog and particularly this Post:

~Poetic ParfaitOut Out, By Robert Frost”:

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~Poetic Parfait~Click here.

~Poetic Parfait~Click here.

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Click here to read it.

"Poetry Analysis: ‘Out, Out-‘ by Robert Frost". Click here.

“Poetry Analysis: ‘Out, Out” by Robert Frost”. Thank you for the mention Christy!.

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►Last but not Least: “Three Awards”:

I) I want to thank Euphonos from EuphonosBooks for nominating me for a “One Lovely Blog Award” (Pink Version).

II) I also want to thank for I am also very thankful to have been nominated for the “Wonderful Team Member Readership Award” by Csolisp .

III) Finally I would like to thank José Sala for nominating me for a “Liebster Award” (Pink Version).

Please make sure to check out these three great blogs I mentioned above, and to follow them If you haven’t still done so!.~

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

* Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
* Add the logo to your post.
* Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. 

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►I) Nominees~”One Lovely Blog Award” (Pink Version).~

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1. House of Heart 2. Writer’s Notebook 3. Después de la Media Rueda 4. Poetic Parfait 6. Comienzo de Cero 7. Shehanne Moore 8. Impractical Dreamer 9. Morning Coffee 10. The Reading Bud.

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►II) Nominees~“Wonderful Team Member Readership Award” (Rad Version).~

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1. Chrisnelson61 2. Things That Never Made It Into Print 3. José Sala 4. Litebeing Chronicles 5. Ivdorado 6. Implied Spaces 7. Merlinspielen 8. The Adventures of a 20 Something 9. Dewin Nefol 10. The Write Might.

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►III) Nominees~”Liebster Award” (Pink Version).~

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Liebster Award

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1. By the Sea 2. The Wall Gallery Blog. Csolisp 4. The Empathy Queen 5. Of Glass & Paper 6. The Cat’s Blog 7. Mieux Vivre Jardin 8. Coffee n’ Notes 9. Freed from Time 10. Marcia’s Book Talk.

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 ►Greek Mythology: “The Horae”:

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“Apollo and the Hours” by Georg Friedrich Kersting (1822).

“Apollo and the Hours” by Georg Friedrich Kersting (1822).

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The Horae were the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time. 

They were originally the personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, but in later times they were regarded as goddesses of order in general and natural justice.

Pursuant to Homer, who neither mentions their parents nor their number, they are the Olympian divinities of the weather and the ministers of Zeus; and in this capacity they guard the doors of Olympus, and promote the fertility of the earth, by the various kinds of weather they send down. Thy were also the ones who discovered Aphrodite soon after her sea-foam birth and saved her.

The Horae are mentioned in two senses in Hesiod’s “Theogony” and the Homeric Hymns.

First Triad: In one variant emphasizing their fruitful aspect, Thallo (Spring or new shoots), Auxo or Auxesia (Spring Growth, which equals to Summer), and Carpo (Autumn). 

These three Horae, (Thallo, Auxo and Carpo) were the daughters of Zeus and Themis. Thus they were also sisters of the Three Fates (or Moirai)

They were the goddesses of the three seasons the Greeks recognized: Spring (Thallo), Summer (Auxo) and Autumn (Carpo).

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Detail of an attic vase, depicting the Three Horae (Seasons). Period: Late Archaic (500 BC).

Detail of an attic vase, depicting the Three Horae (Seasons). Period: Late Archaic (500 BC).

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As the Horae were conceived to promote the prosperity of every thing that grows, they appear also as the protectresses of youth.

Jane Ellen Harrison asserts the existence of female trinities, discusses the Horae as chronological symbols representing the phases of the Moon and goes on to equate the Horae with the Seasons, the Graces and the Fates and the three seasons of the ancient Greek year.

The Hora of Spring, Thallo, accompanied Persephone every year on her ascent from Hades’ Underworld to meet his mother DemeterAccording to one of the Homeric Hymns, the attributes of spring-flowers, fragrance, and graceful freshness are accordingly transferred to the Horae; thus they adorned Aphrodite as she rose from the sea, made a garland of flowers for Pandora, and even inanimate things are described as deriving peculiar charms from the Horae. 

Second Triad: In this variant, emphasising the “right order” aspect of the Horae. They were three Goddesses called Dike, Eunomia, and Eirene.

These three Horae were law-and-order goddesses that maintained the stability of society and were worshipped primarily in the cities of Athens, Argos and Olympia.

Eunomia was the goddess of law and legislation. The same or a different goddess may have been a daughter of  Hermes and Aphrodite.

Dike was he goddess of moral justice: she ruled over human justice, as her mother Themis ruled over divine justice. According to myths,  Zeus placed her on earth to keep mankind just, he quickly learned this was impossible and placed her next to him on Olympus, as the Greek constellation called The Maiden.

Eirene was the personification of peace and wealth.

•Note regarding the number of Horae: The number of the Horae differs according to the sources, though the most ancient number seems to have been two (Thallo and Carpo)But afterwards their common number was three. 

Quintus Smyrnaeus makes Helios and Selene (the Sun and Moon) the parents of the Horae, goddesses of the seasons.

In this account of Helios’ myth, the Horae were the four handmaidens of Hera (Zeus’ wife). According to this version, their names were: Eiar (Spring), Theros (Summer), Phthinoporon (Autumn), and Cheimon (Winter).

Hyginus (Fab. 183) is in great confusion respecting the number and names of the Horae, as he mixes up the original names with surnames, and the designations of separate seasons or hours. In this manner he first makes out a list of ten Horae (Titanis, Auxo, Eunomia, Pherusa, Carpo, Dice, Euporia, Eirene, Orthosia, and Thallo), and a second of eleven (Auge, Anatole, Musia, Gymnasia, Nymphes, Mesembria, Sponde, Telete, Acme, Cypridos, Dysis)

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►Villa Dar Buc Ammera (Rome): Mosaic depicting the Seasons:

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►In another different variant the Horae were not related with seasons but to the portions of time of the Day, twelve hours for the Ancient Greeks.

The ancient Greeks divided the hours of daylight into twelve portions, identified by the position of the sun in the sky. 

In this sense, the Twelve Horae were Goddesses of the hours of the day and perhaps also of the twelve months of the year.

These Horae oversaw the path of the Sun-God Helios as he travelled across the sky, dividing the day into its portions.

The Twelve Horae were not always clearly distinguishable from the Horae of the Seasons, who were also described as overseeing the path of the sun.

Their names were:

Auge, first light.

Anatole, sunrise.

Mousika, the morning hour of music and study.

Gymnastika, the morning hour of gymnastics/exercise.

Nymph, the morning hour of ablutions (bathing, washing).

Mesembria, noon.

Sponde, libations poured after lunch.

Elete, prayer, the first of the afternoon work hours.

Akte, eating and pleasure, the second of the afternoon work hours.

Hesperis, evening.

Dysis, sunset.

Arktos, night sky, constellation.

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"Apollo and the Continents. Details of Frescoes in the Würzburg Residenz (1751-53) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1752-53 ). Description: Apollo has left his palace and is floating slowly downward, accompanied by two of the Horae, while the rising sun shines out behind him. This is a mythological representation of the sun rising over the Earth, which is symbolized by the surrounding Continents. The sun appears as a life-giving force which determines the course of the days, months and years.

“Apollo and the Continents. Details of Frescoes in the Würzburg Residenz (1751-53)
by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1752-53 ). Description: Apollo (Helios) has left his palace and is floating slowly downward, accompanied by two of the Horae, while the rising sun shines out behind him. Sun rising over the Earth, symbolized by the surrounding Continents. The sun appears as a life-giving force which determines the course of the days, months and years.

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►Two Paintings by Sandro Botticelli (1444/1510), featuring the Seasons (Greek Horae):

1)”The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486):

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"The Birt of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli (1486).

“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486).

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“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486). Detail. On the Right: One of the Greek Horae waits for Aphrodite with a flower covered robe .

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Description: The wind gods Boreas and Zephyrus waft the Goddess of Love to shore. There, one of the Horae, probably Thallo, who represented Spring, waits to receive Aphrodite (Venus) as she spreads out a flower covered robe in readiness for the Love Goddess’ arrival.

The picture hung in the country villa of the Medici along with “Primavera” (see painting below), indicating that the work was commissioned by the Medici family.

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2) “Primavera”, by Sandro Botticelli (1482):

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"Primavera" by  Sandro Botticelli (1482).

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (1482).

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primavDescription: This painting depicts a tale from the fifth book of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” in which the wood nymph Chloris‘ charms attracted the first wind of Spring, Zephyr.

Zephyr pursued her and as she was ravished, flowers sprang from her mouth and she became transformed into Flora, goddess of flowers.

Aphrodite presides over the garden – an orange grove (a Medici symbol). She stands in front of the dark leaves of a myrtle, which was a sacred plant to her.  

According to Botticelli, the woman in the flowered dress is Primavera (a personification of Spring thus probably link to Thallo) whose companion is Flora.

The Three Graces accompanying her are being targeted by Eros (Cupid in Roman Mythology).

In Greek Mythology, the Three Graces represent beauty, joy and plenty.

They are usually shown holding hands, smiling at each other or dancing, forming a close-knit group.

Hermes, the Greek god of herds and herald of the gods, keeps the garden safe from threatening clouds. 

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"Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli (1482). Details. On the Left: Mercury (Hermes). On the Right: Chloris and Zephyrus.

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (1482). Details. On the Left: Mercury (Hermes). On the Right: Chloris and Zephyrus.

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"Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli (1482). Details. On The Left: Flora, the goddess of flowers. In the Middle: Venus (Aphrodite) standing in her arch. On the Right: The Three Graces.

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (1482). Details. On The Left: Flora, the goddess of flowers. In the Middle: Venus (Aphrodite) standing in her arch. And according to Botticelli, The Goddess of Spring, which in Greek Mythology was one of the Horae: Thallo. On the Right: The Three Graces.

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►Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Horai.html 
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Horai.html 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horae 
http://www.greek-gods.info/ancient-greek-gods/horae/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primavera_(Painting)
http://www.italian-renaissance-art.com/Birth-of-Venus.html
http://noellevignola.com/2014/11/02/horae/ (Thoughts on the Horae By Noelle)
http://toritto.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/channeling-botticelli-2/  (A poem By Toritto)
http://www.livius.org/vi-vr/villa/villa_dar_bur_ammera_seasons.html

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►Worth Reading:

“A Great Post on Malala Yousafzai at When Women Inspire“:

I want to thank Christy Birmingham for letting me be part of her very special tribute to Malala Yousafzai… A girl who is an example of resistance and overcoming, who fights against extremism and inequality and who has recently become the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Please make sure to check out the post here: Spotlight on Women’s Rights Activist Malala Yousafzai

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►Last but not Least: Challenge Workplace Blog Hop:

I have been invited for this Blog Hop by Kevin from Kev’s Blog and by Inese from Inesemjphotography.

The main idea here is to spot the place where you usually blog. It aims to give other bloggers a general overview on your blogger workspace (just to satisfy their curious minds)… 

So, with that purpose, I took some photos and attached them below. 

Finally I’d like to invite the following five bloggers to join the challenge. Of course, as all the blog challenges, this one is not compulsory either… 

1) Verónica from “En Humor Arte” 2) Irina from “Irina’s Poetry Corner” 3) Dulcinea from “Hodgepodge4thesoul” 4) Angie From “Family Life is More” 5) Francis from “Qhapaq”.

The rules are basically to spot your personal blogging space through a few photos, to link back to the blogger who invited you and to invite a bunch of bloggers to join you. Enjoy it!, Aquileana 😀

 

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►Greek Mythology: “Selene, Goddess of the Moon”:

►Poetry: “Selene Awakens”, by Christy Birmingham:

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“Luna” by Evelyn De Morgan (1885).

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Selene is the Greek Goddess of the Moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia.

Besides, Selene is sister of the Sun-God Helios, and Eos, Goddess of the Dawn.

In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo.

Just as Helios, from his identification with Apollo, is called Phoebus (“bright”), Selene, from her identification with Artemis, is also commonly referred to by the epithet Phoebe (feminine from the name is of Greek origin, it is likely connected to the word selas (σέλας), meaning “light”.

Both Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as Lunar Goddesses, although only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.

Like her brother Helios, the Sun god, who drives his chariot across the sky each day, Selene is also said to drive across the heavens.

The moon chariot is often described as being silver. And while the sun chariot has four horses, Selene’s usually has two, described as “snow-white” by Ovid, or was drawn by oxen or bulls.

Selene is commonly depicted with a crescent moon, often accompanied by stars; sometimes, instead of a crescent, a lunar disc is used. Often a crescent moon rests on her brow, or the cusps of a crescent moon protrude, horn-like, from her head, or from behind her head or shoulders. From the Hellenistic period onwards, she is sometimes pictured with a torch.

Several lovers are attributed to Selene in various myths, including her brother Helios, with whom she had four daughters, known as the Horae, the four Goddesses of the seasons. The Horae were Goddesses of time, seasons and natural cycles. They were originally the personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, but in later times they were regarded as goddesses of order in general and natural justice. 

Also Pan, the God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, was Selene’s lover. 

Even Zeus, the God of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, was her lover.  As a matter of fact, some sources report that the Nemean lion, which fell to the earth from the moon was the result of an affair of Zeus and Selene.

However, among all of them, the mortal Endymion was Selene’s most well known  lover.

Selene fell in love with the shepard, Endymion, and seduced him while he lie sleeping in a cave. Her seduction of Endymion resulted in the birth of fifty daughters, one of which was Naxos.

Their daughters represented the fifty lunar months of the Olympiad, or period of four years marking the beginning of the Olympic games in ancient Greece.

But Endymion was human, and so susceptible to aging and eventually death. Selene could not bear that fact. According to one of the most well known versions of the myth, she made certain that Endymion would remain eternally youthful by casting a spell that would cause him to sleep forever. In this way, Endymion would remain alive for always, sleeping eternally.

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►Gallery: “Selene and Endymion”:

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►A Poem By Christy Birmingham:

“Selene Awakens”: 

Drive.

Selene is moving fast,

Driving across the heavens in a

Lane of her own, behind the reins, in a

Moon chariot that lights up with her determination,

Pulled by two horses and a faith in Greek spirits larger than Earth.

 

Watch for Selene overhead, with her head shining brightly, bearing

A crescent moon that reaches from her forehead to

Your heart, as you watch her in hopes that

She will know the secret to why the

Sun chooses to sleep at night,

While she awakens and

You yearn for

Dreams.

 ©2014 Christy Birmingham.-

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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►About Christy Birmingham:

Christy is a canadian freelance writer, poet and author.

She is the author of the poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination” (2013), available  at Redmund Productions.

You can check out Christy Birmingham´s writer portfolio here

She also hosts two great blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. 

Feel free to connect with Christy at  Twitter too. 

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Christy Birmingham. Author, Poet, Freelance Writer.

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Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

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“The Moon and the Stars”(series) by Alphonse Mucha (1902).

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►Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Selene.html 
http://www.maicar.com/GML/Selene.html 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selene 
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/selene.html 
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Horai.html
 http://www.muchafoundation.org/gallery/browse-works/object/245

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►Greek Mythology: “The Golden Apple of Discord” /

►Poetry: “Who is The Fairest?”, by Christy Birmingham:

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"The Judgment of Paris" by Guillaume Guillon Lethière (1812).-

“The Judgment of Paris” by Guillaume Guillon Lethière (1812).-

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The Garden of the Hesperides was Hera´s  orchard, where either a single tree or a grove of immortality-giving golden apples grew. The apples were planted from the fruited branches that Gaia gave to Hera as a wedding gift when Hera accepted Zeus. The Hesperides were given the task of tending to the grove, but occasionally plucked from it themselves. Not trusting them, Hera also placed in the garden a never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon as an additional safeguard. 

However, in the mythology surrounding “the Judgement of Paris”, the goddess of Discord Eris managed to enter the garden and pluck a golden apple.

Eris had become  disgruntled after she was excluded from the wedding of Peleus and Tetis (Achilles ‘ parents).

Angered by this snub, Eris arrived at the celebration with a golden apple, which she threw into the proceedings, upon which was the inscription Kallisti ( ‘For the most beautiful one’ or ‘For the Fairest’).

Three goddesses claimed the apple: Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Prince Paris of Troy as appointed to select the recipient. 

While Paris inspected them, each attempted with her powers to bribe him; Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia, Athena offered wisdom and skill in war, and Aphrodite, offered the world’s most beautiful woman.

This was Helen of Sparta, wife of the Greek king Menelaus. Paris accepted Aphrodite’s gift and awarded the apple to her.

Later on, he abducted her, all of Greece declared war against Troy, causing the Trojan War and the eventual destruction of Troy. 

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"The Judgment of Paris" by Claude Lorrain (1645-1646).-

“The Judgment of Paris” by Claude Lorrain (1645-1646).-

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►A Poem By Christy Birmingham: “Who is the Fairest?”

(Based on the Greek Myth of “The Golden Apple of Discord”): 

If I transported back to mythical times,

Would I be the fairest?

Would I be the one to snatch the

Apple first, savoring the

Fruit, eyes and delight of all?

 

If so, I would stand above Athena, Hera and

Aphrodite, in this beauty contest that

Judges only our outer skin, revealing nothing of

Our spirits, as though denying us the

Opportunity to reveal our sweet, fruity tastes.

 

If I transported back to mythical times,

I wonder if I would also bribe Paris to win –

And what would I offer as the winning power?

Would it be savory or sweet?

 

Indeed, the golden apple caused quite the uproar,

An apple of discord not to be forgotten,

And I only hope that my winning power is

One day revealed,

As it is a blend unlike any other:

 

It is the ability to connect with you.

 

 ©2014 Christy Birmingham.-

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The poem “Who is the Fairest?” was originally written by Christy Birmingham as a recreation of the Greek myth related to the Judgement of Paris and the Golden Apple of Discord.

►About Christy Birmingham:

Christy is a freelance writer, poet and author. She lives in British Columbia, Canada. 

She writes poetry and short stories to motivate readers and to reach out to struggling women. Her intent is to spread hope and understanding about depression, abuse and other issues.

Christy has written countless poems since childhood. She is the author of the poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination” (2013), available exclusively at Redmund Productions.

You can check out Christy Birmingham´s writer portfolio here

She also hosts two great blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire.  (You can also check out this post at Poetic Parfait: here).

Feel free to connect with Christy on social media at Twitter and Google Plus .

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"The Golden Apple of Discord", labelled Kallisti ("For the Most Beautiful One").-

“The Golden Apple of Discord”, labelled Kallisti (“For the Fairest” / “For the Most Beautiful One” ).-

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►Paintings : “The Judgement of Paris”:

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►Links post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_(symbolism)
http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Fruit-in-Mythology.html
http://www.spiffy-entertainment.com/applediscord.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesperides
http://www.ehow.com/facts_5452761_paris-golden-apple-greek-myth.html
http://poeticparfait.com/about/

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