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►Mythology: “Psychopomps, Border Crossers and Guiders of Souls”🌟:

“Souls on the Banks of the Acheron”, by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl. 1898

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⇒♦ Introduction. Definition of Psychopomp and Sketch of this post:

A Psychopomp is a god, spirit, or demon who is responsible for guiding the spirits of the dead on their journey to the underworld. His role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. The word comes from the Greek   ψυχοπομπός, which means “conductor of souls.” Psycho– (ψυχο) originally meant “of, or relating to the soul,” while pomps (πομπός) meant “guide” or “conductor.”

Classical examples of a Psychopomp are the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, the Greek ferryman CharonHermes and Hecate, the Roman god Mercury (equivalent: Hermes in Greek Mythology) and Archangel Gabriel in the Catholic religion, to name the most important ones.

Firstly, in the first section (I), let´s look at some examples of Psychopomps in Mythology.

By the ending of the post (section II), I´ll outline with Carl Jung´s ideas concerning “Psychopomp”. I´ll say here in advance that, according to Jung, the figure of the Psychopomp acts not only as a bridge between Life and Death,  It is also an intermediary between Conscious and the Unconscious, necessarily but not exclusively fostered thanks to the perfect Integration of Anima (each man´s feminine nature) and Animus (each woman´s male principle) in the form of the “Self”. 

I.⇒♦Some Examples of Psychopomps in Mythology:

1.⇒♦Anubis:

Egyptian God Anubis.

He was originally an egyptian god of the Underworld, but became associated specifically with the embalming process and funeral rites. 

He was usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head. He was often presented in black, a color that symbolized both rebirth and the discoloration of the corpse after embalming.

One of his most important roles was as a god who ushered souls into the afterlife. He was tasked with guiding souls to Duat, the Egyptian underworld, where they would be judged according to their lives. Under Anubis’ supervision, their hearts were weighed against a feather representing truth.

If their hearts were lighter than the feather, they were allowed to continue on. If their hearts were “too heavy with sins”, Anubis would give it to Ammit, a demon known as the “Devourer of the Dead”, who would consume it.

In the Ptolemaic period (350–30 BC), when Egypt became a Hellenistic kingdom ruled by Greek pharaohs, Anubis was merged with the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis. The two gods were considered similar because they both guided souls to the afterlife.

2.⇒♦Thoth:

In ancient Egypt,  Thoth created script. Besides, he was connected with the Moon and thus considered the Ruler of the Night.

Hermes Trismegistus may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth, egyptian God of Knowledge. Hence, the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu, which the Greeks called Hermopolis.

3.⇒♦Hermes:

Among Ancient Greeks, God Hermes had many attributes and represented many things. Hermes was the Olympian god of herds and flocks, travellers and hospitality, roads and trade, thievery and cunning, heralds and diplomacy, astronomy and astrology. He was also a god of science and wisdom, art, speech, eloquence. And, most importantly: “the God of Writing”

Furthermore, he was the herald and personal messenger of Zeus, and also the guide of the dead who led souls down into the underworld. This last job required the fleet-footed Hermes to be able to traverse between worlds with ease, which probably explains why he’s also the god of border crossings. It was also his job to lead the souls of the dead to the entrance of Hades, where they waited for Charon to pick them up. Hermes was the only Olympian god able to visit Heaven, Earth, and Hades, a fact he enjoyed bragging about to the other gods. 

4.⇒♦Charon:

Charon was the ferryman of the dead, an underworld daimon (spirit) in the service of Hades. He received the shades of the dead from Hermes,  who gathered them from the upper world and guided them to the shores of  River Acheron.

Unlike many other Psychopomps, Charon did not do this for free; he required a donation to be given to him.

The fee for his service was a single obol, a coin  a silver coin worth a sixth of a drachma, which was placed in the mouth of a corpse at burial (It was known as Charon´s obol).

People who are unable to pay the fee were doomed to wander the shores of the river for a hundred years.

Since most Greeks, understandably, did not want to wander in the mists and marshes, they buried their dead with coins to pay the ferryman; this tradition is still retained in many parts of Greece.

5.⇒♦Hecate:

Hecate was the Greek Goddess of  Crossroads, Magic, Witchcraft, The Night, Ghosts and Necromancy. 

She was sometimes portrayed as wearing a glowing headdress of stars, while in other legends she was described as a “Phosphorescent Angel” of the Underworld.

Hecate’s magic was that of death and the underworld, but also of oracles, of herbs and poisons, protection and guidance. 

Her torches provided light in the darkness, much like the Moon and Stars do at night, taking the seeker on a journey of initiation, guiding them as the psychopomp, like she guided Persephone on her yearly journey to and from Hades

Hecate’s retinue included the souls of those who died before their time, particularly children, or who were killed by force.

As she was the goddess of purifications and expiations, she was usually accompanied by Stygian dogs, from Hades’s domains. Dogs were closely associated with Hecate in the Classical world. In art and in literature Hecate is constantly represented as dog-shaped or as accompanied by a dog. Besides, her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog.

6.⇒♦Thanatos:

Thanatos was the Ancient Greek personification of Death. He was a minor figure, usually depicted as a winged youth, carrying a sword. Besides, he was is almost universally shown with his brother, Hypnos, the God of Sleep.

Thanatos was regarded as merciless and indiscriminate, hated by – and hateful towards — mortals and gods alike.

According to Sigmund Freud, humans have a Life/Love instinct—which he named “Eros“—and a Death drive, which is commonly called  “Thanatos”. This postulated “Thanatos instinct” or “Death Drive” allegedly compels humans to engage in risky and self-destructive acts that could lead to their own death.

II.⇒♦Carl Jung´s Concept of “Psychopomp”: 

The Perfect Integration between Anima (Eros) and Animus (Logos):

In Jungian psychology, the Psychopomp is a mediator between the Unconscious and Conscious realms. 

Carl Jung used the word to refer to a psychic factor that mediated between the conscious and the unconscious. This might be personified in dreams and myths as a God/Goddesses, or even as an animal. The raven, for example, is seen in Celtic folklore to be a Psychopomp, and is a role that peeps out in Edgar Allan Poe´s poem “The Raven”. One specific mythological character is The Morrigan, a female figure from Irish mythology. She was associated with sovereignty, prophecy, war, and death on the battlefield. And, she often appeared in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors.

Back to the word “Psychopomp”, Jung didn´t alter the meaning of the original Greek word.

Anima and Animus.

But, he instead added the concepts of Anima and Animus, as  the ultimate connectors between the individual soul and purpose. 

Anima is a man´s feminine nature representing Eros or Love. Whilst Animus is a woman´s male image, representing Logos or Spirit.

Jung clarifies that he uses  Eros and Logos merely as conceptual aids to describe the fact that woman´s consciousness is characterized more by the connective quality of Eros than  by the discrimination and cognition associated with Logos. While, in men, Eros (the function of relationship) is usually less developed than Logos. 

The Anima-Animus complex reminds us of the Yin Yang symbol, which basically describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent.

Jung says: “When Yang had reached its greatest strength, the dark power of Yin is born within its depths, for night begins at midday when Yang breaks up and begins to change into Yin”. (Carl Yung, CW 13. Alchemical Studies. P. 13)

The union of Anima and Animus, for Jung, is the Self; and, in symbolic terms: the Psychopomp as mediator between the Conscious and the Unconscious.

The perfect integration of Anima and Animus, in the elevated role of Psychopomp, represents, somehow a gate to the Unconscious, which somehow reminds us of Plato´s Perfect Ideal of Love, as per his dialogue “Symposium”.

According to Jung, the Anima and Animus are the guardians of the threshold, because they are the bridge to the Unconscious. Through understanding projection, the opposites in the Anima/Animus complex can be united, ultimately releasing these forces to act as mediators between the Conscious and Unconscious standpoints.

This integration or union of opposites is symbolized by the Psychopomp, the main archetype of the Self.

The Self is defined by Jung as: “The totality of the Conscious and Unconscious Psyche”. (Carl Jung, CW 12, P. 247). Jung describes the Self as a perfect circumference: “The Self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both Conscious and Unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the Centre of Consciousness. (Carl Jung. “Memories, dreams and reflections”, Page 398).

As to the Psychopomp, Carl Jung says: 

“For the Animus (Logos) when on his way, on his quest, is really a Psychopomps, leading the soul to the stars whence it came…  On the way back out of the existence in the flesh, the Psychopomp develops such a cosmic aspect, he wanders among the constellations, he leads the soul over the rainbow bridge into the blossoming fields of the stars”. (Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 1229).

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♦Links Post:
https://goo.gl/JpQz5r
https://goo.gl/mj4JZP
http://go.shr.lc/2to2RWD
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopomp
http://www.corupriesthood.com/the-morrigan/
https://arrowinflight.com/2013/08/11/psychopomp-and-circumstance/
http://humanityhealing.net/2011/05/multidimensional-healing-i-psychopomp/
https://carljungdepthpsychologysite.blog/2017/03/19/carl-jung-on-animus-anthology/

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This is a special section in which I will display all the awards I have received during 2017. To simplify, I will follow the same rules for all the awards as otherwise I wouldn´t be able to do it … 😉 Meaning: 1. Thank the blogger who have nominated you. 2. Display the logo on your blog. 3. Nominate at least 7 bloggers for each award and tell them about the nomination. As I often do, I will nominate bloggers who have previously nominated me for other awards, favorite bloggers, new followers and bloggers who have recently liked my posts. Please, know these choices are quite random, I am sorry I couldn´t include everyone! 😇 … As to my nominees, I will link back to one of their newest posts as an easier way to inform them about the nomination. If you have been nominated and want to follow along the nomination process, you´ll find your respective award in the gallery below, as the slideshare goes, click on it and save it (see award, per number). If you are a Free Award Blog, all is fine: just take this mention as a shout-out. 😀

1♦Thank you very much Baattyaboutbooks for bestowing me with the Blogger Recognition Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Tea by Leaf 2. Sentinel of Phantasm 3. Inese 4. 3cstyle 5. Maria KethyProfumo  6. Aweni 7. Urbanbiharan. 🌟💫🌟

2♦Thank you very much Inese, from Making Memories for The Black Cat Blue Sea Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Leggypeggy 2. Le dessous des mots 3. Wordsmusicandstories 4. Michaelstephenwills 5. Radhikasreflection 6. Queenyasaaawrites 7. Umacearenseescreveu. 🌟💫🌟

3♦Thank you very much Maria KethuProfumo for the Liebster Award. 

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Baattyaboutbooks  2. LifeBlog 3. Ijeoma 4. Shivangi Mishra 5. Undomestic Writer 6. Annika Perry 7. Ladyfromhamburg. 🌟💫🌟

4♦Thanks so much Ijeoma for thinking of me and bestowing me with the Mystery Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Shehanne Moore 2. Tuesdays with Laurie 3. A Russian Affair 4. The Chicago Files 5. English language thoughts 6. Broad Blogs 7. Moody Here

5♦Thanks so much 3cstyle and LifeBlog for the Unique Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Jeri Walker 2. Graffitiluxandmurals 3. Chasingart 4. Forgotten Meadows 5. I lost my Lens Cap 6. TravelTalesofLife 7. Leonivo. 🌟💫🌟

6♦Thank you very much Shivangi Mishra for bestowing me with the One Lovely Blog Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Arohii 2. D.G.Kaye 3. Scvincent 4. Luciana Cavallaro 5. Brenda Davis Harsham 6. Mabel Kwong 7. Gildaspoems. 🌟💫🌟

7♦Thank you very much Undomestic Writer and Aweni for the Versatile Blogger Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Colleen Chesebro 2. Kathleen Vail 3. Linnea Tanner 4. Sally G Cronin 5. Balroop Singh 6. Jeanleesworld 7. Impact Words.  🌟💫🌟

8♦Thanks so much (again) to Shehanne Moore for bestowing me with the Miranda Sings Award.

My Nominees for this award are: 1. Found In France 2. Luce 3. Incredible Poetry 4. Jazzizzin 5. Artibookreviews 6. Muddling through my middle age 7. Maryjdresselbooks. 🌟💫🌟

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9♦ Last, but not least: Thanks so much Shehanne Moore for  thinking of me for the “Music that Means Something Challenge”. In this case, you have to choose five (5) special songs and add the respective videos if you wish. 

My Nominees for this musical challenge are: 1. Charlotte Hoather 2. Sylvester L.Anderson 3. It starts with a coffee 4. Wanderer haiku 5 Lifesfinewhine 6. Yadadarcyyada 7. Nishthaexploringlife.🌟💫🌟

My choices for Shehanne´s  “Music that Means Something, Challenge” (9♦) will be exclusively Lana del Rey´s songs. Lana is great. She often tells us a story, and to a certain extent we can all relate to her “characters”. Her songs often refer to summer memories, art, detachment, loneliness, random lovers, Love as an Ideal; self discovery and freedom…  😌 

These are my five (5) chosen videos by Lana del Rey: 1. Ride  2. Love 3. Change 4. Terrence Loves you 5. Carmen.

And… as a Bonustrack, I will also add five (5) more songs by Lana. In this case, “unreleased songs”. Here they go: 1. Because of You 2. Every Man Gets his Wish 3. Break my Fall 4. Cherry Blossom 5. Queen of Disaster

Check out the playlists for all the songs below. 💛⭐️💛

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🎼🎹►Five Official Songs by Lana Del Rey: 

🎼🎹►Five Unreleased Songs by Lana Del Rey: 

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► “Metis in Ancient Greece”:

“Collaboration with José Cervera”💫:

Statue of the Greek philosopher Plato (c. 428 B.C.-348 B.C.). Behind him, the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. Modern Academy of Athens.

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Summary:

This article is divided into three sections.

The First section presents Metis as a character, a Titan Goddess.

Being swallowed by Zeus (his cousin and husband), Metis would succumb to the same fate that Cronus´children, as indicated in the Second section.

The Third section will categorize different types of Knowledge, in Ancient Greece; Metis, among them. In that same section, the post will highlight how the word Metis acquired different meaning, changing from the name of the Goddess (Metis, the  Oceanid Titaness & Zeus´cousin and wife) to refer to a type of Intelligence (Practical wisdom). Thus, Metis was considered to cover all cognitive processes that were necessary for man in order to face adverse or confrontational situations against powerful adversaries, often in unstable and complex environments. Three examples from Greek Mythology will be provided. Finally, some final thoughts in the conclusion.

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I. ►Metis, The Titan Goddess:

Metis was a mythological character belonging to the Titan generation. Like several primordial figures, she was an Oceanid. She was born of Oceanus and his sister Tethys, of an earlier age than Zeus and his siblings.

Metis was the first spouse of Zeus, and also her cousin.

Zeus lay with Metis but immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear extremely powerful children: the first, Athena and the second, a son more powerful than Zeus himself, who would eventually overthrow Zeus.

In order to forestall these dire consequences, Zeus tricked her into turning herself into a fly and promptly swallowed her. He was too late: Metis had already conceived a child.

As Zeus had swallowed Metis, Athena leaped from Zeus’s head. She was fully grown, armed, and armoured. 

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II. ►A (side) note on Zeus and Cronus´Cannibal behaviours:

The similarities between Zeus swallowing Metis; and Cronus, swallowing his children, have been noted by several scholars.

Cronus was the Titan god of time and the ages. He envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus.

Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea.

From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, and the Erinyes  were produced. The testicles produced a white foam from which the goddess Aphrodite emerged.

 

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Once Cronus had castrated Uranus, he and his wife Rhea took the throne. Under their power a time of harmony and prosperity began, which became known as the “Golden Age”; a time when it was said that people lived without greed or violence, and without toil or the need for laws. But not all was well for Cronus, as he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy.

 

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When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. 

Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, and handed Cronus a stone wrapped in clothes, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son.

Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, which was set under the glens of Mount Parnassus, and then his two brothers and three sisters. 

This would lead the Olympians in a ten-year war against the Titans, before driving them defeated into the pit of Tartaros. Many years later, Zeus released Kronos and his brothers from this prison, and made the old Titan king of the Elysian Islands, in the Underworld

As to Zeus´s story, relevant to us here, José Cervera accurately notes that the Ruler of Gods might have swallowed Metis (also) because he was to a certain extent aware of the fact that he was lacking something. Meaning: The Practical Wisdom that Metis represented. By swallowing Metis, however, Zeus had gained wisdom as part of his intrinsic nature. This would be a case of Incorporation which reminds us (despite the differences) to the biblical account, according to which Eve was molded by God from Adam´s rib.

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III. A ►Different Types of Knowledge: Episteme, Techne, Metis and Phronesis:

For the Greeks and particularly for Plato, Episteme and Techne represented knowledge of an order completely different from Metis.

Episteme means “science”, “understanding” or “knowledge”, with the implication that the understanding was rationally founded, in contrast to mere opinion or hearsay. Noesis, or dialectic reason, is the method used by Episteme.  

Techne entails “technical skills”.  It could be expressed precisely and comprehensively in the form of hard-and-fast rules, principles, and propositions. Techne is based on logical deduction from self-evident first principles.

Nous is the closest word to “intelligence” but it is more correctly translated as “mind”, and “mental activity”. For Plato and Aristotle it is the part of the soul which perceives abstract truths. 

Phronesis means “practical wisdom”, “good judgement” or what we might call “common sense”. 

Metis, in what concerns us is another form of practical wisdom, what we would call “cunning”. It is similar to Phronesis in that it entails knowledge of how humans behave, but it is manipulative and deceitful rather than seeking the common good. Cunning intelligence would later be defined as Phronesis.

III. B ►Metis, Magical Cunning and Practical Wisdom. Examples of Metis in “The Odyssey”:

By the era of Greek philosophy in the 5th century BC, Metis had become the mother of wisdom and deep thought, but her name originally connoted “magical cunning”.

Metis represented a wide array of practical skills and acquired intelligence in responding to a constantly changing natural and human environment.

Hence the word Metis began to be used to denote a particular form of practical wisdom, 

The classic case of Metis is Odysseus, as he often used his cleverness to deceive and defeat his enemies. This is found many times in Homer´s epic poem.

•1. One example of Metis as magical cunning  appears in Book XII. We are referring to the episode in which Odysseus plugged his crew’s ears with earwax, while binding himself and his crew to the mast of the ship to avoid the Siren´s song

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•2. When it comes to Metis (magical cunning), the episode of Polyphemus, from Homer´s “Odyssey” (Book IX) is also worth mentioning.

The Cyclops Polyphemus is portrayed as a cruel monster who had devoured a few of Odysseus’ men. The hero  wanted to beat him and take revenge so he offered Polyphemus some wine. The cyclops easily got drunk, but before falling asleep, he asked Odysseus his name, Odysseus told him his name was “Οὖτις”, which means “nobody”. While the monster was sleeping, Odysseus used a stake to blind him. When Polyphemus shouted for help from his fellow giants, saying that “Nobody” had hurt him, they just ignored him as they just took his words literally (“Nobody had hurt him”). In the morning, the blind Cyclops let the sheep out to graze. But Odysseus and his men had tied themselves to the undersides of the animals and that was how they managed to finally get away. 

•3. Finally, the Trojan Horse. Wasn´t it a great example of Metis or Cunning, as well?. Using trickery rather than violence, Odysseus disguised warriors as a gift, men as (a wooden image of) an animal, a symbol of the Greeks’ future victory as an image of their defeat, and ultimately, a clever trap. Once inside the city walls, the transformation was reversed and the act of Metis revealed for what it was.

“Building of the Trojan Horse” by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1774).-

 

In these examples of Metis, taken from “The Odyssey”, the emphasis is both on Odysseus’s ability to adapt successfully to a constantly shifting and challenging situation and on his capacity to understand, and hence outwit, his human and divine adversaries. 

It is not a minor detail, either, that Odysseus is traditionally aided by Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. 

Athena- as mentioned before- was born from Zeus’ head, after the latter had swallowed her mother, the goddess Metis, because, as it had been predicted to him that his children by her would overthrow him.

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►Conclusion:

Metis, understood as a type of  practical wisdom, is commonly found in Greek Myths and Literature. In all its facets and faces of the same phenomenon lies a peculiar kind of behavior. More specifically: the extreme attention, observation, flexibility and creativity to sort out things, under certain “special” circumstances.

However, despite its relevance, Metis as type of Intelligent ability has been also relegated, criticized and even despised.

Plato intentionally ignored it, keeping it aside in his Gnoseological Theory. In turn, he enthroned the discursive Episteme, clearly much more acceptable to him, as he considered that Episteme was related to the highest degree of Knowledge.

Plato´s ideal of knowledge was sternly rational and hence: Apollonian. He made sure to suppress any “intuitive” shade that might somehow darken the diaphanous light of Reason and Episteme. Indeed, as pointed out before, Plato despised practical knowledge basically because it did not depend on Dialectical Reason (Noesis) and it seemed to be linked to the body and senses, therefore to the so-called “Dionysiac” forms.

Suffice it to recall that for Nietzsche, the Apollonian-Dionysian Dichotomy, (“The Birth of Tragedy”. 1872) represented the opposition between structured, geometric forces; and fluctuating, creative, irregular forms; respectively. Nietzsche contrasted the cerebral Apollo with his half-brother, the hedonistic Dionysus. Apollo, as the sun-god, represents light, clarity, and form, whereas Dionysus, as the wine-god, represents drunkenness and ecstasy.

However, back to Plato, it is worth noting that certain Dionysiac forces still seem to be present in his dialogues. Most times in the forms of myths or allegories. 

We could conclude that Episteme and Metis are different types of intelligences.Episteme is rigid, dialectic and Apollonian, while Metis might be quite unpredictable in its reasonings and linked to Dionysus. But despite this, they complement each other. We´d rather say the ideal entails not a dichotomy but, instead, a conjunction of abilities. 

Apollo (on The Left) & Dionysus (on The Right), representing the duality of Arts… And Intelligence. Apollo=Episteme. Dionysus=Metis.-


♠About José Cerbera:

José is a Spanish philosopher and blogger. In his own words: “I am a restless and curious being who believes in the religion of books and their healing power. But without forgetting that the mystery of existence isn´t contained in any book. I have studied Philosophy and that led me to distrust everything. Later on, I believed in me. Soon after, in the World Itself and what goes beyond it because it just boundless”. Please check out José´s blog: “El Ritual de las Palabras”. Thank you, José! ⭐️💫.

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José Ignacio Cervera. Click to visit José´s blog.-

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♠Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metis_(mythology)
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisMetis.html
https://ritualdelaspalabras.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/las-artimanas-de-la-inteligencia/
https://socialecologies.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/metis-cunning-intelligence-in-greek-thought/
http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/2255/1/e_bracke_thesis.pdf
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphemus
https://locvsamoenvs.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/homers-odyssey-12181-201-siren-song/
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Mythology: “Dogs in Several Myths”🐕:

“Collaboration with Brenda Davis Harsham💫”

Artemis & Dog. Roman copy of the 1st cent. CE after a Greek original, 4th cent. BCE. Rome, Vatican Museums.

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Introduction:

The dog is the first domesticated animal, and is symbolically associated with loyalty and vigilance, often acting as guardian and protector. Dogs are portrayed as guides and companions, hence the notion of “man’s best friend.”

Dogs almost always appear in a positive light. Native American legends generally portray the dog as the symbol of friendship and loyalty. The Joshua Athapascans believe that dogs were the first beings made by their creator-figure, Xowala’ci. The Jicarilla Apache, on the other hand, tell the story of God Black Hactcin, who first created a dog and then made man as a companion for the dog.  

In Irish Mythology, dogs were the traditional guardian animals of roads and crossways and are believed to protect and guide lost souls in the Underworld. Irish seers chewed the meat of a dog in a ritual to gain prophetic vision. To be called “hound” was an honorable nickname for a courageous warrior; the name of the god Cuchulain is literally “Hound of Culann” or “Hound of Ulster”.

Cuchulain was named Sétanta when he was born. Sétanta  killed a blacksmith’s Celtic hound in self-defense. When Culann, the blacksmith asked who would now guard his shop the young Sétanta offered to take the dog’s place thus gaining himself the title of Cuchulain, ‘The hound of Culann’. The offer was turned down and “Cuchulainn” (former Sétanta) went on to become one of the greatest warrior legends of that era, and the nickname stuck.

Cartonnage Anubis mask.

In Ancient Egypt, the dog was linked to the dog-jackal god, Anubis, who guided the soul of the deceased to the Hall of Truth where the soul would be judged by the great god Osiris. Anubis was associated with Wepwawet (also called Upuaut), another Egyptian god portrayed with a dog’s head or in canine form, but with grey or white fur. Historians assume that the two figures were eventually combined.

One of the centers of the cult of Anubis was Cynopolis, or the city of dogs. The Greeks and Romans associated Anubis with Sirius in the sky and with Cerberus in Hades.

Dogs in general were highly valued in Egypt as part of the family and, when a dog would die, the family, if they could afford to, would have the dog mummified with as much care as they would pay for a human member of the family.
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A crouching or “recumbent” statue of Anubis as a black-coated wolf (from the Tomb of Tutankhamun)

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In Greek and Roman mythology, dogs often acted as guardians; the three-headed dog Cerberus, for example, guarded the entrance to the underworld. Many cultures associated dogs with death as well as with protection.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans often chose dogs as pets. They were often seen on Greek and Roman reliefs and ceramics as symbols of fidelity. Cats were not favoured over dogs, on the contrary Ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t keep cats as pets. However, occasionally, dogs appear in negative roles, such as the fighting dogs belonging to Hecate. 
Dogs are also featured in Plato‘s dialogue, “Republic“. In Book II, Socrates claims that the dog is a true philosopher because dogs “distinguish the face of a friend and of an enemy only by the criterion of knowing and not knowing” and concludes that dogs must love learning, because they determine what they like and what they do not based upon knowledge of the truth.
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Dogs In Greek Mythology:
Cerberus:
Cerberus watched the Underworld.
Cerberus is reminiscent of a serpent, called a “great worm” in Dante’s “Inferno” and often said to have a mane of serpents, the tail of a serpent, and the claws of a lion. The three heads of the dog look at once into the past, the present, and the future. 
Cerberus was the son of Typhon and Echidna, and fulfilled his duty as “Hound of Hades” as faithfully as possible.
This dog allowed many people to enter, he didn’t let anyone leave.
However, some were able to escape from the Underworld. Orpheus lulled Cerberus to sleep by playing soothing music; Hermes did the same but used water from the river Lethe. The most famous of all, however, was Heracles, who did not use such subtle methods. Driven mad by Hera, Hercules slew his son, daughter, and his wife. Hence he was given Twelve Labors as penance for his acts. The last of these was to capture Cerberus and bring him to the land of the living. Heracles was able to do this by wrestling the dog into submission and dragging him away from Hades.
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Artemis´ and Hecate´s dogs: 
Goddesses Artemis and Hecate, both kept dogs.
The Greeks offered black dogs (and lambs) to her in sacrifice, just as they did to Artemis, for whom they are also sacred.
The myths tells that Pan gave the virgin-huntress Artemis seven dogs “which pulled down very lions when they clutched their throats and haled them still living to the fold” (Callimachus, “Hymn to Artemis”).
Hecate presided over the crossroads, and was protector of entrance ways, households and thresholds. She was always accompanied by Stygian dogs, and her approach was announced by the howling of dogs. (“Then the earth began to bellow, trees to dance, and howling dogs in glimmering light advance, ere Hecate came” Fairclough, H. R. trans. 1916. Virgil, “Aeneid”. Book 6. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press).
The triple-figured maiden goddess had three heads: that of a horse, a dog, and a lion. Myths tells us that the Trojan Queen Hecuba leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and that Hecate took pity on her and transformed her into a black female dog. 
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Laelaps, Zeus´Gift to Europa:
When Zeus was a baby, a dog, known only as the “golden hound” was charged with protecting the future King of Gods. This may have been the same dog Zeus later gave to Europa. Zeus had fallen deeply in love with the beautiful Europa, and, when given the chance, stole her away to the island of Crete. There he tried to seduce her by giving her three gifts: Talos, a giant bronze creature; a javelin that never missed, and Laelaps, a dog that never failed to capture its prey. Europa eventually gave the dog to Minos, King of Crete. After being cured by Procris of a terrible disease, Minos gave her the great dog Laelaps. The dog was soon sent to capture the Teumessian fox, a giant fox that could never be caught. This created a paradox, for the dog always caught its prey, and the fox could not be caught. The chase went on unto Zeus grew weary and confused of the dilemma and simply turned both into stone, frozen forever in the chase and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian fox).
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The Constellation of the Greater Dog (Alpha Canis Major):
Sirius is is the brightest star in the night sky, with 22 times the luminosity of the sun. It is located in the constellation Alpha Canis Majoris or Greater Dog. Sirius has a smaller companion white dwarf star known as The Pup or Sirius B.
  
Canis Major is usually seen as one of the two hunting dogs of the great hunter Orion (Sirius). The other dog is of course Canis Minor, the Lesser Dog.
 
One version, previously mentioned above,  says that Zeus turned the Laelaps and Teumessian Fox to stone and cast them into the stars as the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor, respectively.
According the other version, after Orion´s death, Artemis placed Orion faithful’s dog (Sirius) in the sky, at his heel.
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Argos, Odysseus’ faithful dog:
One of the most moving stories involving dogs in the one concerning Argos, the loyal friend of King Odysseus  from Book 17 of Homer’s “Odyssey” (c. 800 BCE). Odysseus comes home after being away for twenty years and, thanks to help from the goddess Athena, is not recognized by the hostile suitors who are trying to win Odysseus’s wife, Penelope’s hand in marriage. Argos, however, recognizes his master and rises up from where he has been faithfully waiting, wagging his tail in greeting. Odysseus, in disguise, cannot acknowledge the greeting for fear of giving away his true identity in front of the suitors and so ignores his old friend; and shortly after, Argos lays back down and dies.

Argos and Odysseus

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►Other legendary dogs in ancient stories and myths:
Bau: This Sumerian goddess of fertility and healing, patron deity of the ancient Babylonian city of Lagash, is often depicted with the head of a dog.
Fenrir: In  Norse mythology, Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, a son of the god Loki, determined to kill the god Odin.

Set: He (Osiris´brother) is yet another ancient Egyptian canine deity, usually depicted as a broad-shouldered man with an animal’s head.

Xolotl: Often depicted as a man with the head of a dog, but sometimes as a skeleton, Xolotl was the Aztec god of lightning and fire.

Cerbura and SurmaSimilarly to Cerberus, Cerbura is the three-headed infernal dog of the Krishna legend. Surma is a terrible beast from Finnish mythology. This huge dog with the tail of a snake, guards the gates of Tuonela, the realm of Death.

Sarama, The Mother of all Dogs & Yama´s dogs: In Hindu Mythology, Sarama is a female canine, who is referred as mother of all the dogs, and who helped God Indra to recover  his stolen divine cows. Yama, the Hindu god of death has four dogs with four eyes guarding his abode.

Fionn’s hounds, Bran and  Sceolán: There are many stories of the Irish Wolfhounds in Mythology. The most famous hounds are, without doubt, Fionn’s two favourites, Bran and Sceolán. They were brother and sister, of human descent, their poor mother, Tuirrean, (Fionn’s aunt) having been turned into a hound whilst she was pregnant by jealous Uchtdealb, woman of the Sidhe, and lover of Tuirrean’s husband. They were said to have been so tall, that their heads reached chest height to a man.

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► Links Post:
http://www.indiandogs.com/nativelegends.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_depictions_of_the_dog#cite_note-8
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adamantinemuse/2016/07/hekate-isis-and-the-dog-star-sirius-welcome-to-the-dog-days/
https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Cerberus/cerberus.html
http://hekatecovenant.com/resources/symbols-of-hekate/dogs/
https://aliisaacstoryteller.com/2014/02/23/the-irish-wolfhound/
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/23/the-death-of-argos
https://www.dogspot.in/the-importance-of-dogs-in-hindu-mythology/
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/HekateGoddess.html

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Detail showing Canis Major. Published in Alexander Jamieson´s “Celestial Atlas”, 1822

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💫“Laelaps, Hound of Magic”💫:

Sun-lit fur, storm-wind swift,

star-bright eyes, she

adores the olden air

of Mount Olympus,

dwelling of gods.

She finds scents at Zeus’s hand,

pounding clouds, chasing prey,

She never misses.

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Yet Zeus sends her away,

tail drooping, eyes sad,

to serve Europa,

hunting kri-kri,

dodging their wild-goat horns,

nosing out badgers, martens,

hedgehogs and hare, circling Crete

on fleet feet. But dreaming everlong

of Olympus, cast out, cast down.

~~~

She’s bewildered,

passed on, passed over,

given next to King Minos,

then to cross-dressing Procris

and on to Kephalos, the errant husband.

The long-lived hound hunts, chases,

drinks deep, finds new hands and

new scents, until the very last.

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The monstrous Teumessian fox

mocks a hundred hounds,

slips the nets of a hundred men,

devours a hundred boys.

Paradox.

 ~~~

The dog

always catches her prey.

The fox

cannot be caught.

 ~~~

Storm-wind hound hurls herself

into the chase, pants,

outpaces Kephalos,

fleeter than a spear,

fleeter than an arrow,

fleet as time itself.

But they never near Olympus.

Always, the hound needs the red-earth

scent of fox in her nose.

Always, the fox slips away.

Lungs burns. Feet bleed, but

never a whisker nearer that bushy tail.

Children grow gray and stooped,

watching them pass.

Hillsides wear away

from their pounding feet.

Deadlocked,

bones like rock,

hills aflame,

snapping, howling.

Bound to chase,

but never to catch.

 ~~~

Until blood-scent reaches

Olympus. Zeus watches,

remembers the velvet nose,

the twilight hunts, the sun-lit fur,

the starry eyes. His tears

fall on them both.

The salty splash

turns dog and fox to

sun-shot marble, mid-pounce.

~~~

Young boys in awe;

young girls in tears.

Never-resting, frozen in

not-escaping, not-capturing,

not-eating, not-drinking, not-sleeping.

~~~

Zeus tosses them

into the stars.

Canis Major.

Canis Minor.

Lighting Olympus,

turning the heavens

with the wind of their pursuit.

~~~

©Copyright 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham.

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►About Brenda Davis Harsham:

Brenda is a wonderful writer and poet, who lives with her family in New England, USA. 

Her poetry and prose were published at the places listed here. Fine art prints by Brenda are available to purchase here
Brenda regularly blogs at Friendly Fairy Tales. A blog I highly recommend!. 💌🔺
Make sure to check out her blog and follow her!. You can also find her on Twitter.

 

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Click on the logo to visit Brenda´s blog. Thank you Brenda for your great poem!.

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PS: ►Special Features & Mentions from other Bloggers:

Thanks to dear bloggers from “The Shield of Achilles”, “Graffiti Lux and Murals and “924 Collective” for the special posts!. I am adding them as they were chronologically posted by the authors; and/or discovered by me…  😁 I am adding a brief description and pics for each one of these post at the end. Please check them out!.- 
Kathleen´s blog, “The Shield of Achilles” is great. She blogs about Greek Mythology, from a historical, sociological and, above all, scholarship perspective. She also has excellent posts about Homer´s Iliad, Analyzing different subjects, such as the Death of AchillesThis is the Guest post on Hephaestus, featured on Kathleen´s blog.✍️.-
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Please check out Resa McConaghy´s post on her excellent blog Graffiti Lux and MuralsIt is a tribute to Argentina, as we celebrate its 201st independence anniversary. The post includes graffitis from Toronto, Canada and from Caminito, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Resa´s blog is an open invitation to discover Street Art and its contemporary artistic importance. The complete post in Resa´s blog is this one: “Argentina – Independence Day”.🇦🇷 .-
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Thanks to 924Collective for the beautiful Tribute. This is a very nice blog, and I recommend it to my readers as it distills Art and Creativity. I am adding one of the images included over there. This is the post I am making reference to: “Aquileana of Argentina”.-🏛️⭐️
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"The Tree of Forgiveness." by Edward Burne-Jones. 19th century.

“The Tree of Forgiveness.” by Edward Burne-Jones. 19th century.

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⇒“Metamorphoses” by Ovid:

"Metamorphoses" by Ovid. Illustration by George Sandys. 1632.

“Metamorphoses” by Ovid. Illustration by George Sandys. 1632.

In my previous post, I have mentioned Ovid´s book “Metamorphoses” as a key source of Greek Mythology. 

“Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid, completed in 8 CE.

It is a “mock-epic” poem, written in dactylic hexameter, the form of the great epic poems of the ancient tradition, such as “The Iliad” and  “The Odyssey.

This poem describes the creation and history of the world, incorporating many classical myths.

Love and hubris are main topics in Ovid´s “Metamorphoses”. 
Unlike the predominantly romantic notions of Love, Ovid considered love more as a dangerous, destabilizing force.
However, there is an explanation for this attitude: during the reign of Augustus, the Roman emperor during Ovid’s time, major attempts were made to regulate morality by creating legal and illegal forms of love, by encouraging marriage and legitimate heirs, and by punishing adultery with exile from Rome.
As to hubris, (overly prideful behaviour) Ovid emphasizes that it entails a fatal flaw which inevitably leads to a character’s downfall. Hubris always attracts the punishment of the gods, as human beings might attempt to compare themselves to divinity.
As a side note, I think the best example of hubris in a Greek Myth is the one featuring Icarus, whose father built two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for them to escape from the Labyrinth for King Minos in which they had been imprisoned, and which had a fearsome Minotaur as guardian. Daedalus (Icarus´father) tried his wings first, but before taking off from the island, warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight. But soon later, Icarus was so overcome by the incredible feeling of flight, that he tried to fly higher and higher, trying to reach the sun; until, inevitably his wax wings melted, he fell from the sky into the Sea, and died.

Besides, in my last post, I introduced the subject of metamorphoses as it appears in Greek Myths, stating that it is generally defined as the origin of one or more transformations which most times occur as a result of death (tribute), but also as a way exoneration; or punishment.

Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso. ( 43 B.C/ 17 A.D).

Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso. ( 43 B.C/ 17 A.D).

Transformation is a common theme in Greek mythology. The gods had the power to change themselves into animals, birds, or humans and often used this power to trick goddesses or women.
In this same sense, I have previously mentioned the case of Zeus, the Ruler of Gods, who took different appearances as a way of courting potential lovers. Furthermore, sometimes the gods and goddesses transformed “others”, either to save them or to punish them.
Daphne, for example, was changed into a laurel tree; whilst Narcissus and Hyacinthus became the flowers that bear their names. 
The metamorphoses I have previously considered involved exclusively flowers, plants and trees and this post intends to present a few more examples of this sort.
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  ⇒“Flowers and Plants in some Greek Myths II”:

►Minthe: A naiad, fond of Hades/ Mint Plant:

Minthe was a naiad or water nymph associated with the Underworld river Cocytus. This river (also known as the River of Wailing) was one of the five rivers that encircled the realm of Hades, alongside rivers Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe and Styx- .

Minthe fell in love with Hades, but Persephone, Hades’ wife became enraged with jealousy, turning Minthe into a crawling plant so Persephone could crush her.

Hades could not reverse the spell so he made Minthe smell good when she walked on, making it so Minthe would always be noticed and never be taken for granted. 

The story also makes sense in a Greco-Roman context as mint was used in funerary rites to disguise the scent of decay. Besides, in Greece, the herb was also a main ingredient in the fermented barley drink called kykeon, which seemingly was the principal potable associated with the Eleusinian mysteries. It seems like this beverage included some really strange psychoactive ingredients, mint among them.

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On the Left: Nymph Minthe by W. Szczepanska. 21st century. On the Right: Mint Plant.

On the Left: Nymph Minthe by W. Szczepanska. 21st century. On the Right: Mint Plant.

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►Crocus, friend of Hermes/Crocus Plant:

Crocus was a friend of Hermes, the messenger of the Gods and god of travellers, liars, thieves, all who cross boundaries.

One day, while they were throwing the disc to each other, Hermes hit Crocus on the head and wounded him fatally.

As the young man collapsed and was dying, three drops from his blood fell on the centre of a flower thus becoming the three stigmata of the flower named after him.

Etymologically, the word crocus has its origin from the Greek “kroki” which means weft, the thread used for weaving on a loom. 

As a medicinal and dyeing substance, crocus has been known in ancient Greece for its aroma, vibrant colour and aphrodisiac properties, thus making it one of the most desired and expensive spices.

Another use in ancient Greece was that of perfumery also using it to perfume the water while bathing. Frescoes in the palaces of Knossos (16th century b.C.) clearly depict a young girl gathering crocus flowers as well as in the archeological site of Akrotiri, in Santorini and Homer, in his writings calls dawn “a crocus veil”.

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On the Left: "Mercury (Hermes)” Statue at the Museum Pio Clementino, Vatican. On the Right: Crocus Flower.

On the Left: “Mercury (Hermes)” Statue at the Museum Pio Clementino, Vatican. On the Right: Crocus Flower.

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►Paean, Asclepius´pupil/ Peony, Plant of Healing:

Peony was named after Paean, who was the physician of the gods who healed, among others, Hades’ and Ares’ wounds.

The flower myth related, says that Paean was a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing

Asclepius excelled as a doctor, partly because serpents helped him to discover the healing properties of certain herbs.

Unfortunately, Asclepius became so skilled that he was able to revive the dead. Angry that the son of Apollo had interfered with nature and human mortality, Zeus hurled a thunderbolt at Asclepius, killing him. However, while they understood that interfering with natural death was wrong, humans continued to worship Asclepius as the founder of medicine.

Back to Asclepius´pupil, Paean, he was once instructed by Leto (Apollo‘s mother and goddess of fertility) to obtain a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of women in childbirth.

Asclepius became jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus saved Paean from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower. 

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On the Left: Statuette of Paeon . 2nd century. On the Right: Peony, flower.

On the Left: Statuette of Paean . 2nd century. On the Right: Peony, flower.

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►Cyparissus/ Cypress tree:

Cyparissus was a handsome young man from the island of Kea, the son of Telefus and grand son of Hercules.

He was god Apollo‘s protege as well as of god Zephiros (god of the wind). He asked the heavens for a favour; that his tears would roll down eternally. The favorite companion of Cyparissus was a tamed stag, which he accidentally killed with his hunting javelin as it lay sleeping in the woods. The gods turned him into a cypress tree, whose sap forms droplets like tears on the trunk. Therefore, the cypress tree became the tree of sorrow, and a classical symbol of mourning.

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On the Left: "Cyparissus" (mourning his deer) by Jacopo Vignali. 1670. On the Right: Bald Cypress Leaves.

On the Left: “Cyparissus” (mourning his deer) by Jacopo Vignali. 1670. On the Right: Bald Cypress Leaves.

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►Phyllis, Demophon´s wife/Almond Tree:

Phyllis was a daughter of a Thracian king.

She married Demophon, King of Athens and son of Theseus, while he stopped in Thrace on his journey home from the Trojan War.

Demophon, duty bound to Greece, returns home to help his father, leaving Phyllis behind. She sends him away with a casket, telling him that it contained a sacrament of Rhea and asking him to open it only if he has given up hope of returning to her. From here, the story diverges. In one version, Phyllis realizes that he will not return and commits suicide by hanging herself from a tree. Where she is buried, an almond tree grows, which blossoms when Demophon returns to he

A daughter of king Sithon, in Thrace, fell in love with Demophon on his return from Troy to Greece. Demophon promised her, by a certain day, to come back from Athens and marry her, and as he was prevented from keeping his word, Phyllis hung herself, but was metamorphosed into an almond-tree, which is a symbol of hope and rebirth.

In my previous post, I also made reference to another myth featuring an almond tree, which I will summarize here again.

This myth involved Cybele, his son Agdistis and his grandson Attis.

Medallion depicting Cybele and the sun god in the sky looking on as she rides in her chariot. 2nd century BC

Medallion depicting Cybele and Helios, the sun god in the sky looking from above as she rides in her chariot. 2nd century BC

Cybele (the so called “Great Mother”) gave birth to the hermaphroditic demon Agdistis.

Afraid of such creature, Cybele cut off his male sexual organ and from its blood sprang an almond tree.

When its fruit was ripe, Nana, who was a daughter of the river-god Sangarius, picked an almond and laid it in her bosom.

The almond disappeared, and she became pregnant.

Soon after the baby (named Attis) was born, Nana abandoned him, but a couple took care of him. 

When he was a young man, the foster parents of Attis sent him to Pessinos, where he was to wed the king’s daughter. 

Just as the marriage had started, Cybele appeared in her transcendent power, as she was jealous because she had fallen in love with Attis (his grandson).

Attis went mad, cut off his genitals and died. From Attis’ blood sprang the first violets.

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On the Left: "Phyllis and Demophoön" by John William Waterhouse. 19th century. On the Right: Almond Trees.

On the Left: “Phyllis and Demophon” by John William Waterhouse. 19th century. On the Right: Almond Trees.

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►The Nymph Pitys/The Fir tree:
Pan, the god of the wild and shepherds, was in love with the nymph Pitys. The god of the North wind was also attracted to Pity, but the nymph chose Pan over him.
The North Wind wanted to take revenge so he blew her over a gorge and killed her.
Pan found her lifeless body laying in the gorge and turned her into sacred tree, the Fir-tree.
Ever since, every time the North wind blows, Pitys cries. Her tears are the pitch droplets that leak out of the fir-cones in autumn.
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On the Left: "Pan and Pitys" by Edward Calvert. 1850. On the Right: Fir Trees.

On the Left: “Pan and Pitys” by Edward Calvert. 1850. On the Right: Fir Trees.

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►Rose, created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris, from a dead Nymph:

"Flora and Zephy" by Bouguereau. 1875.

“Flora and Zephy” by Bouguereau. 1875.

In Greek mythology, the rose was created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris (Roman equivalent: Flora).

One day, Chloris found the lifeless body of a nymph in the forest and she turned her into a flower.

She called Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Dionysus, the god of wine.

Aphrodite gave the flower beauty as her gift and Dionysus added nectar to give it a sweet fragrance. Zephiros, god of the West Wind, blew the clouds away so Apollo, the sun-god, could shine and make the flower bloom. That is how the rose was created and rightfully crowned “Queen of Flowers”.

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On the Left: Chloris. Detail "Primavera" by Sandro Botticelli.1478. On the Right: Rose Flower.

On the Left: Chloris. Detail “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli.1478. On the Right: Rose Flower.

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►Orchis (son of a nymph and a satyr)/Orchid Plant:

In Greek mythology, Orchis was the son of a nymph (a female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform) and a satyr (a rustic fertility spirits of the countryside and wilds).

During a celebratory feast for Dionysus, Orchis committed the sacrilege of attempting to rape a priestess.

His punishment was to being torn apart by wild beasts. From his death arose Orchids which are a testament to the male reproductive organs (the testis). Today, the orchid means refinement as well as beauty. The origin of the plant name comes from the word orkhis, a word to describe part of the male genitalia, because of the shape of the bulbous roots. 

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On the Left: Fight between Nymph and Satyr. Naples National Archaeological Museum. On the Right: Orchid Plant and flowers.

On the Left: Fight between Nymph and Satyr. Naples National Archaeological Museum. On the Right: Orchid Plant and flowers.

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Flowers and Plants

Flowers and Plants: Peony, Rose, Orchid, Cypress (Leaves), Crocus, Mint (Leaves), Almond Tree (Flowers), Fir Tree (Branch).

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►Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocus_(mythology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyparissus
http://amphipolis.gr/en/fyllis/
http://www.valentine.gr/mythology5_en.php
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Paion.html
http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/P/Phyllis.html
http://www.ancient-literature.com/rome_ovid_metamorphoses.html
https://tropicalfloweringzone.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/dendrobiums-orchids/
http://www.dominiquehackettchc.com/mint-wonderful-go-to-herb/
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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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Read Full Post »

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.
~~~
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.
~~~
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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hermes0

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“Mercury” by Evelyn De Morgan. 1873

“Mercury” by Evelyn De Morgan. 1873.

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(Roman name: Mercury) was the messenger of the Gods.

It was Hermes´duty to guide the souls of the dead down to the underworld, which is known as a psycho pomp.

Carl Jung often speaks of Hermes as psycho pomp, spiritual friend, or personal guide.

He says: “From the earliest times, Hermes was the psycho pomp of the alchemists, their friend and counselor, who leads them to the goal of their work. He is like a teacher mediating between the stone and the disciple… To others the friend appears in the shape of Christ or Khidr or a visible or invisible guru, or some other personal guide or leader figure”. (Carl Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 1934–1954. Vol.9 Part 1. CW 9I, para. 283).

One of his most famous regular roles was as as God of Crossroads, leader of souls to the river Styx in the underworld, where the boatman Charon would take them to Hades.

He was also portrayed as an emissary and messenger of the gods: an intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. He has been viewed as the protector and patron of herdsmen, thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade for being cunning and full of tricks.

He was also the patron of of luck and revered by gamblers and merchants undertaking new enterprises.

hermes05Hermes was son of Zeus and one of the Pleiades, Maia

He was born in a cave on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia. Zeus had impregnated Maia at the dead of night while all other gods slept. When dawn broke amazingly he was born.

Maia wrapped him in swaddling bands, then resting herself, fell fast asleep. Hermes, however, squirmed free and ran off to Thessaly.

This is where Apollo, his brother, grazed his cattle. Hermes stole a number of the herd and drove them back to Greece. He hid them in a small grotto near to the city of Pylos and covered their tracks.

Before returning to the cave he caught a tortoise, killed it and removed its entrails. Using the intestines from a cow stolen from Apollo and the hollow tortoise shell, he made the first lyre.

When he reached the cave he wrapped himself back into the swaddling bands.

When Apollo realized he had been robbed he protested to Maia that it had been Hermes who had taken his cattle. Maia looked to Hermes and said it could not be, as he is still wrapped in swaddling bands. Zeus the all powerful intervened saying he had been watching and Hermes should return the cattle to Apollo. As the argument went on, Hermes began to play his lyre.

The sweet music enchanted Apollo, and he offered Hermes to keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre. Apollo later became the grand master of the instrument, and it also became one of his symbols.

Hermes was also known as something of a trickster, stealing at one time or another Poseidon’s trident, Artemis’ arrows, and Aphrodites girdle.

Hermes appears in Homer´s  Iliad. He is most often described by Homer as ‘Hermes the guide, slayer of Argos’ and ‘Hermes the kindly’.

In Homer´s Odyssey, Hermes helps Odysseus, especially on his long return voyage to Ithaca. 

Another hero helped by the god was Perseus. Hermes gave him an unbreakable sword and guided him to were the Gorgon Medusa was.

Hermes is usually depicted with a broad-brimmed hat or a winged cap, winged sandals and the heralds staff (kerykeion in Greek, or Caduceus in Latin).

He was often shown as a shaft with two white ribbons, although later they were represented by serpents intertwined in a figure of eight shape, and the shaft often had wings attached.

Symbols of Hermes were the turtle, the stork, the rooster, the goat, the number four.

Originally Hermes was a phallic god, being attached to fertility and good fortune, and also a patron of roads and boundaries.  It is also possible that since the beginning he has been a deity with shamanic attributes linked to divination, reconciliation,magic, sacrifices, and initiation and contact with other planes of existence, a role of mediator between the worlds of the visible and invisible.

As to Hermes Trismegistus, he may be a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth

In Hellenistic Egypt, the Greeks recognised the congruence of their god Hermes with Thoth, egyptian God of Knowledge. 

Hence, the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu, which the Greeks called Hermopolis.

There is still another Egyptian parallel, specifically, in the figure of Anubis. In classical mythology, Hermanubis was a god who combined Hermes with Anubis. Hermes and Anubis’s similar responsibilities (they were both conductors of souls) led to the god Hermanubis.

Icons of Hermes were displayed in front of houses and where roads intersect. He was seen as guiding people in transition.

Hermes was worshiped throughout Greece, especially in Arcadia, and festivals in his honor were called Hermoea. 

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On the Left: “Parnaso” by Andrea Mantegna, 1497. On the Right: Detail Hermes and Pegasus.

On the Left: “Parnaso” by Andrea Mantegna, 1497. On the Right: Detail Hermes and Pegasus.

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►Galleries: “Hermes, the Messenger of Gods”:

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes
http://www.ancient.eu/Hermes/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermes_Trismegistus
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/hermes.html
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes

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lpnm3

Click above to visit the blog / Click en el logo para ingresar al blog.~

Click above to visit the blog / Click en el logo para ingresar al blog.~

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► “My Poem Tempus Fugit at La Poesía no Muerde” 

[December 10th, 2015].~

I am very glad to tell my readers that my poem “Tempus Fugit” has been featured at “La Poesía no Muerde”. I initially wrote the poem in Spanish, based in an image called “Il tempo che passa e il tempo che resiste”provided by Angela Caporaso (Caserta – Italy) so I am attaching the image, the poem in Spanish and its translation to English…

“La Poesía no Muerde” is a blog hosted by Hélène Laurent. It is a collective blog in spanish which prompts are usually triggered by images that might lead to poems or poems that once published are waiting to be illustrated with photographs or creative images, such as collages or digital creations… With that being said, I hope that you take a peek and subscribe if you enjoy it, which I am sure you will…

As to the poem I was making reference to, you can check out the original post here. It is also included in La Poesía no Muerde, fourth literary magazine, page 42.

•~~~•  •~~~ • •~~~• •~~~•  •~~~•  •~~~•

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►La Poesía no Muerde / Poetry doesn´t Bite

~ Poem~“Tempus Fugit”:

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tempus fugit

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tempus fugit english

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►Last but not Least: Four Awards:

AWARDS

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Thank you very much to Millie Thom from the namesake blog, Irena from Books and Hot Tea,  Yemie from Straight from the Heart and Luis López from ByLuis7 for nominating me for an Epic Awesomeness Award, a Dragon’s Loyalty Award a Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award and a Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award, respectively… Please make sure to check out these blogs and follow them, if you haven´t already done so… 

*Note*: If you have been nominated, check out the four awards which are displayed at the end. Click on the respective logo to save it.

♠Rules for the Epic Awesomeness Award:

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 7 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Write about the indirect questions above… just let it flow… 

Question 1→You are awesome; tell us why… what does awesome mean to you?… 

Awesome… I guess it means extremely good… But, on the other hand, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as and adjective, which implies that something or someone causes feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe. 

I was think of Immanuel Kant… In his book, “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” (1764),  Immanuel Kant describes the feeling of the sublime and the feeling of the beautiful.

Some of his examples of feelings of the beautiful are the sight of flower beds, grazing flocks, and daylight.  

As to Kant, they “occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling”. 

Feelings of the sublime are the result of seeing mountain peaks, raging storms, and night. These ones, according to Kant, “arouse enjoyment but with horror”. Kant said that Beauty and the Sublime can be joined or alternated…

So, I am that “awesomeness” could be a sort of dual feeling at times… Isn’t idealization or admiration a sort of sublimation?. … Don´t we experience a sort of shivering dizziness when we come across something/someone awesome after all?.

Question 2→You are my friend; tell us about other blogger friends …

I have met extraordinary bloggers and I felt a sort of deep connection with many of them… Even when Virtuality would seem a veiled reality, at times… I´d rather call it an alternative Reality, at least, using as measurement parameter, our Reality … I find so many beautiful posts, I learn every single day something new due to my blogger friends… For the record, I am now thinking that Twitter is also a great tool. I believe that it is a very efficient way to catch up with blogs you really like and to do so almost daily…

My seven nominees for the Epic Awesomeness Award are: 1. Jeri Walker #Editor 2. Life as we See It 3. Straight from the Heart 4. House of Heart 5. A Chaos Fairy Realm 6 Books and Hot Tea 7. A Writer’s Path.

 

♠Rules for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present 6 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Write 7 things about you.

→The 7 facts about me are… 

 1. I am a scorpion in the horoscope and was born one day before my mom, but, needless to say, a few decades after her… 2. I’m very superstitious. 3. I am extremely cynical when arguing with someone… I usually know how to leave my opponent speechless… 4. I love cats, I not only speak to them, but I speak with them 5. I hate ignorance by conviction 6. Once I´ve started a series on Netflix I enjoy, I seldom set it aside before having completely finished it. 7.  I believe in God, despite my rational faith in the Theory of Evolution.

My six nominees for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award are: 1. Shehanne Moore 2. ByLuis7 3. Scribble and Scrawl  4Millie Thom 5. Micheline’s Blog 6. Scattered Thoughts

♠Rules for the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award: 

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 7 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Answer to the following questions below. 

1.What’s your life’s philosophy? I will mention three principles, concerning this question. a. Be tolerant… your opinion is just a personal, thus relative, standpoint. b. Be Patient. Try to get the whole picture, before jumping in… c. Give people the benefit of the doubt, until all doubts are vanished. 

2.One word that best describes you would be?… Steadfast. 

3.What’s the one best thing for you about being female, or if being the case male?… Honestly, I believe that women are more gracious and gorgeous, and our sexuality is an endless driving loop … Plus we don´t have to shave our faces each morning.

4.Who’s that one person, (could be your regular boy/girl next door or a celebrity crush or a pet or even a stuffed toy) you’d really fancy being marooned with for three whole days and nights on a deserted island and why?... I won´t put down details here regarding my personal life… To avoid awkwardness, I´ll carry the stuffed toy… *Successful deterrent maneuver*. 

5.What would you say was the craziest, nuttiest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing?… Any of the stuff I might do if I ever get more than I can take… *Free interpretation*.

My seven nominees for the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award are:  1. Brittney Sahin 2. People Forward 3. Claudia Moss 4. Course of Mirrors 5. Tails Around the Ranch 6. Souldier Girl  7. The Genealogy of Style

♠Rules for the Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award: 

•Display the award on your blog.
•Announce your win with a post and link the blogger who nominated you.
•Present at least 6 deserving bloggers with the award.
•Link your awardees in the post.
•Answer to the following questions below.

1.How frequently do you post on your blog?. Once in three weeks or once a month… 

2. Was it hard for you to choose the name of your blog?. Not that much… I knew I wanted to include Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and then the hero Achilles popped up… Aquileana is a sort of Hybrid resulting of their juxtaposition.

3. Please, recommend me a book to read and review. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. 

4. Please, recommend me a song. This Is The Life –and many others- by Amy Macdonald.

5. Which would be your recommendation regarding your blog?. Read it slowly and click on the red links, i.e trackbacks.

6. Do you share your posts on Social Media?. Yes, I do. On Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest.

7. Which one would you say is your favorite character whether from movies, series or books… I would say that Lady Mary Crawley from the series Downtown Abbey. At least, lately…

My six nominees for the Bloguera con Buen Rollo Award are: 1. My Space in the Immense Universe 2. Postcards from Kerry 3. Travels with Choppy 4. Fatima Saysell 5. Sherrie Miranda 6. Lorna´s Voice.

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Merry Christmas from Aquileana

Merry Christmas, for all those who celebrate them, and Happy New Year, everyone 💛☀️. My next post will be exclusively a Guest Post… 

See you Soon, in 2016 💛. Much Joy and Love. Aquileana ☺️

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