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Posts Tagged ‘Mnemosyne’

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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the muses1

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"Apollo and the Muses" by Baldassarre Peruzzi. 1523.

“Apollo and the Muses” by
Baldassarre Peruzzi. 1523.

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The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts.

Before the Classical idea of the nine Muses, Pausanias tells us of three Muses, different altogether from the nine we know. They were: Melete, or Practice. Mneme, or Memory and Aeode, or Song

It was only later, with Hesiod that the idea of Nine Muses showed up.

According to it, they were the daughters of Zeus and MnemosyneZeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses.

Μnemosyne gave the babies to Nymph Eufime and Apollo (God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and Fine Arts). When they grew up they showed their tendency to the arts, taught by God Apollo himself.
Apollo brought them to the big and beautiful Mount Elikonas, where the older Temple of Zeus used to be. Ever since, the Muses supported and encouraged creation, enhancing imagination and inspiration of the artists.

There were nine Muses according to Hesiod, protecting a different art and being symbolised with a different element; Calliope (epic poetry – symbol: writing tablet), Clio (history – symbol: scroll. The myth tells that she introduced the Phoenician alphabet to Greece), Erato (love poetry – symbol: cithara, a Greek type of lyre), Euterpe (lyric poetry – symbol: aulos, a Greek flute), Melpomene (tragedy – symbol: tragic mask), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry – symbol: veil), Terpsichore (dance – symbol: lyre), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry – symbol: comic mask), and Urania (astronomy – symbols: globe and compass). 

All the Hesiodic names are significant; thus Calliope means “She of the Beautiful Voice”, Clio the “Proclaimer”, Erato the “Lovely”, Euterpe the “Well Pleasing”, Melpomene the “Songstress”, Polymnia “She of the Many Hymns”,  Thalia the “Blooming”, Terpsichore “Delighting in the Dance”, and Urania the “Heavenly”.

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Hesiod also states that the Muses were created as an aid to forgetfulness and relief from troubles, perhaps as a balance to their mother, who personified memory.

Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns over the hills of Eleuther, bear of union with the father, the son of Cronos, a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow. For nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her, entering her holy bed remote from the immortals. And when a year was passed and the seasons came round as the months waned, and many days were accomplished, she bare nine daughters, all of one mind, whose hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care, a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus”. Hesiod´s Theogony. (ll. 53-74).

The Muses probably were originally the patron goddesses of poets, although later their range was extended to include all liberal arts and sciences—hence, their connection with such institutions as the Museum.

Although bringers of festivity and joy, the Muses were not to be trifled with when it came to the superiority of their artistic talents. The nine daughters of Pierus foolishly tried to compete musically with the Muses on Mt. Helicon and were all turned into birds for their impertinence. The Thracian musician Thamyres (son of the Nymph Agriope) was another who challenged the Muses in music and after inevitably coming second best to the goddesses was punished with blindness, the loss of his musical talent, and his singing voice.


►Further appearances of certain Muses
:

Calliope was called on by Zeus to arbitrate the dispute between Aphrodite, the goddess of Love and Beauty, and Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, when both fell in love with the handsome AdonisAs a result of her decision, Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

When Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom rescued Pegasus, the winged horse, shortly after his birth, the goddess entrusted the Muses with his care.

The young colt, excited to meet the lovely Muses, kicked the side of the Mountain, causing springs to gush out of the side of the mountain. Springs and wells both became sacred symbols of the Muses, representing the fountains of inspiration that they provided.

 Urania took the major responsibility for caring for Pegasus, and prophesied his future heroism as well as his eventual place amongst the stars in the heavens.  She also suffered a lot when Bellerophontes, a mythical hero, took Pegasus away.

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►Gallery: “The Muses”:

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Eva Xanthopoulos

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►“Erato, the Greco-Muse of Love Poetry:

Human-seraph hybrid embodiment

of love poetry plucking your cithara

under Grecian golden globe.

~~~

Sea salted air beckons all who catch

a wisp, a glimpse of your grand

pulchritude pulsating with scents

of slight oregano and plentiful jasmine.

~~~

The lightly brisked

breezes tease your deep

mahogany tresses making

them dance a slow motion susta.

~~~

Your irises possess

emeralds—the green this land

lacks. A black ink-tipped quill

rests behind your left ear.

~~~

With a sharp-edged stone

you carve into a tablet

in archaic Greek:

“A love star-crossed is merely a love

out of this world, of outer space,

blessed by the Gods,

that society is envious of”.

~~~

Urania tends to disagree

for the stars and planets see all.

Both seize the fates of all.

©Eva Xanthopoulos (Eva PoeteX). 2016 .-

*Previously published in Harbinger Asylum Poetry Magazine.

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"Erato" (Muse of History). Detail, "Apollo and his muses" by Charles Meynier. 1800.

“Erato”. Detail, “Apollo and his muses” by Charles Meynier. 1800.

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About Eva Xanthopoulos (Eva PoeteX):

Eva Xanthopoulos (pen-name Eva PoeteX) is a prolific Greco-American Author, Poet, and Artist who creates and dwells in the Greater Cleveland area. To date, hundreds of her writings have been featured in various publications, including The Golden Lantern, Mystic Living Today, Journey of the Heart, The Journey Magazine, and more. Eva has also collaborated with a multitude of musicians worldwide like Grant Wish, Audiosapian, Electrosurrogate, and Replicant Core.

Currently, Eva is the Founding Editor of Poehemian Press and the Co-Creator of the self-development website Etheric Archives.  Additionally, she is the author of several books, including Esoterra and the Sought After Blood Lines Fantasy Series. Eva has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University.

When she’s not writing, Eva loves to read her weight in books (while sipping rooibos chai tea), go on epic adventures with her bike, and practice Yoga Nidra. To find out more, visit her website.

You can also  follow Eva on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

~~Thanks so much for being here as a guest author/ poet, dear Eva~~

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Eva Xanthopoulos (pen-name Eva PoeteX).

Eva Xanthopoulos ( Eva PoeteX).

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 The Escapist (Sought After Blood Lines Book 1). Click on the cover to purchase it.

“The Escapist” (“Sought After Blood Lines” Book 1). Click on the cover to purchase it.

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Blurb:”The Escapist” (“Sought After Blood Lines”).Book by Eva Xanthopoulos:

“While the town´s people of Eternicca find Vyvianna’s heart of gold to be both endearing and noble, she deems it to be her ultimate curse and is determined to rid herself of it no matter what the cost. Hailing from a lineage touched by a rare form of magick in a barricaded kingdom where all-things magickal are met with torment and wrath, she must keep her secret tucked away forevermore. Will she be able to mask her inner glisten or will it inevitably shine through and expose her to the cunning, ever-ruthless King Zollamedes? And no matter how many challenges transpire, will Vyvianna’s heart keep its golden reputation or will her ribcage soon become the home of an obsidian core, succumbing to a ruthlessness only tyrants should wield?”…

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse
http://goodlucksymbols.com/nine-muses/
http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Mousai.html
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Muses.html

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mnemosyne1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Remembering Mnemosyne

She is one with memory,
Closer to the past than the present,
With a future that pops forth nine muses who
Walk with mythically-lined toes full of
Musicality, poetic verse, and
Laughter for miles.
~~~
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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