ANESIDORA and the stinging insects

ANESIDORA is better known as Pandora. Her name means ‘she who sends up gifts from below the earth’. Before her creation the world was a paradise filled only with men who lived without worry or strife. However things started to change when Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gifted it to the men. For this act  Zeus punished not only the God himself  but the men as well. It is said that their punishment was the creation of the first woman, Anesidora, who was to be the first of a race of women. She was a personification of the Earth, and as such was shaped and moulded from Earth itself. When completed she was sent to the men holding the gift of a sealed jar . She was told not to open it, but her curiosity (and agency?) overwhelmed her and she decided to remove the lid of the jar. Her excitement turned to horror as from the jar there flew out many sorrows:  disease, poverty, misery, death and sadness – all in the form of stinging insects. They stung her voraciously, but despite her pain she managed to close the jar.

One last buzzing creature, HOPE, was still trapped in the jar and so was unavailable to mortals. It is said that the world remained extremely bleak for some time, until Anesidora  to revisited the box once again, at which point Hope fluttered out. I contemplate what this myth might be saying? Perhaps that humankind will always be given hope in times of evil? Perhaps an enquiry as to why there is evil in the world ? which may further pose the existential question of whether there is a greater Good or God or Goddess that delivers us from evil?

The dark aspects that are so prominent in this story not only talk to us of our human MORTALITY  but is blatantly a mythic root story of MISOGYNY. The story of Anesidora, like Eve tells the tale of  ‘the evil of women’ and firmly points the blame at women for the bringing of suffering to all of humanity. Eve too was the first woman, and she too was made responsible for destroying an innocent, all-male Paradise and unleashing suffering ever after………I AM BLAME

ANESIDORA-PANDORA and the stinging insects
I AM BLAME

From Hesiod: 8BC

“You are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire – a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction

From her is the race of women and female kind:
of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who
live amongst mortal men to their great trouble,
no helpmates in hateful poverty, but only in wealth.

Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.”

 

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CIRCE working her magic…..

                          A foreword of the book CIRCE by Madelaine Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.“When I was born,” she begins her tale, “the name for what I was did not exist.” Circe’s witchcraft originates in her rage and jealousy, itself the result of years of harsh treatment.”

She is the woman deemed unattractive, worthless and  pushed to the edges of society. She is a single mother.  Although she has lovers mostly she is isolated and alone ; but as the voices in her head wane she finds her power and builds her knowledge and understanding  of the magical uses of plants and flowers. She walked into her power as a PHARMAKIS – the ancient name for witch. Witches have long been seen as symbols of feminine evil, but among feminists, witches are a symbol of women exerting their power in a world that suppresses them. Persecution of witches still exists in our world today. Powerful assertive women have always been feared by the patriarchy, and are often labelled as ‘witches’ as meant to be a misogynistic insult. Circe embodies our feminine power, our self-sovereignty …….I AM PHARMAKIS

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/07/cursed-from-circe-to-clinton-why-women-are-cast-as-witches?

Circe working her magic
I AM PHARMAKIS

 

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APHRODITE …rising from the Foam

Venus in Scorpio turned backwards on the 5th…. bringing focus and intensity to our relationships and how we see love in others and ourselves. We may wobble  in the dark and muddy waters of Venus for a while until she moves forward once again in the sign of  Libra -Nov 16th) to become the dazzling morning star in our skies . So until then  passion, scrutiny and a bit of roaring may prevail! If we can turn down the heat a bit of contemplation may help …so I thought I would release Aphrodite to join us in the rough seas……

APHRODITE  was the goddess of  love, procreation, pleasure and beauty, whose mythical birthplace was in Paphos, Cyprus. It is said, that she was conceived from the severed genitals of the God Uranus that were thrown into the sea . White foam arose and spread around the genitals and the sperm and the sea mixed alchemically, leading to the conception of the Goddess. Aphrodite  arose from a rock in the sea. She was carried to the shore on a shell amidst a shower of roses to be met by nymphs and deities who attended her. Her name means ‘risen from the foam’. Her cult was derived from the ancient Phoenician  goddess, Astarte. She was a warrior Goddess and the patron Goddess of prostitutes, which was a common aspect of life in Ancient Greece. As an archetype Aphrodite embraces a woman’s enjoyment of love , sexuality and sensuality.

On a deeper level she  is the personification of the state of being we know as to be  IN-LOVE. The essence of that state is a powerful, sensual, heightened experience making life   ‘madly’ elevated, and enhanced. At such times we feel connected, fascinated, engrossed  and more ‘alive than our normal state of being.  All creative and romantic experiences can lead us to fall  in-love. She is our passion and desire. Such times lead us to rise up and meet the heights of the Aphrodite archetype foaming with intensity, creation, fulfillment and meaning. Of course, none of us need much warning that Love , in all its guises, is the most complicated of things, which can bring out the very best or the very worst in us. 💙

“I will sing of stately Aphrodite, gold  crowned and beautiful, whose dominion is the
walled cities of all sea-set Cyprus. There the moist breath of the western wind wafted her
over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam.” ~Homer

APHRODITE rising from the Foam
I AM IN-LOVE

 

 

 

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ARTEMIS – Huntress of Souls

Artemis was one of the principle Goddesses of Greek Mythology. Her parents were Zeus and Leto, her twin brother, Apollo. She was a virgin Goddess, and was adamant about not relinquishing  her power to the rule of men. She was fiercely protective towards women who were being harassed or threatened , and also protected them on their journey of giving birth. Known as ‘the Goddess who roves by night’, Artemis was as wild as the wind and as such she protected the wild places, the wilderness,  and the animals that lived within them, sometimes shape-shifting into an animal herself.  She was the 2 aspects of hunting…She who hunts and She who is hunted….She who gives and She who takes away. And so in Ancient Greek times hunting was sacred and seen to be carried out on behalf of  Artemis, for which there were strict rituals ruling this practice of killing.

‘Artemis, as soul of the wilderness, gives expression to the place in the psyche where humanity feels itself to be free from human concerns, and so at the same time open  to the immense untameable powers of nature. The figure who came alive in the Greek imagination conferred an absolute sacrality upon the wilds of nature and the wild place of the human heart that reflected them.’ …..The Myth of the Goddess – Ann Baring and Jules Cashford

Artemis’s symbol of power was her huntresses bow and arrow which also directed her total focus and relentless determination. Never tiring, she was independent and self-reliant…..I AM AGENCY

I depict her standing among the herb Artemesia – Mugwort…a protective herb against insect bites and can also be drunk and used as a smudge for protection in rituals.

ARTEMIS – Huntress of Souls
I AM AGENCY

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HYGEIA feeding the serpent

The Goddess of Health was the daughter of Asclepius, the God of medicine. Ancient Greek mythology tells of  Hygeia tending her father’s temples with a bowl of medicinal potion from which the serpent of wisdom drank. Hygeia (Hygiene)is the personification of good health, both mentally and physically, and is associated with health maintenance, cleanliness and the prevention of disease. Her sisters were  Panacea who was associated with the concept of treatment and Iaso who personified remedies. Hygeia is always seen draped with a serpent who is feeding from her bowl. Many of us associate the snake with poison but in the ancient world they were seen as creatures of power, wisdom, transformation, healing and regeneration. Hygeia’s symbol was the bowl and serpent and today, the ‘Bowl of Hygeia’ is used by many pharmacological associations worldwide.The original Hippocratic Oath began with “I swear by Apollo the Physician and by Aesculapius and by Hygeia and Panacea and by all the gods …”   She teaches us to care for ourselves and to keep our mortal bodies as healthy as  possible ….. I AM HEALTH

HYGEIA feeding the Serpent
I AM HEALTH

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The Dawning of EOS…Still I rise

EOS is the Greek Goddess of Dawn and the morning star.  She is described by the ancient poets as a beautiful maiden with ‘rosy fingers,’ bearing the morning star upon her forehead. She is the beauty and radiance which bathes the Earth as each morning she opens the gates of heaven to allow the Sun to rise. Her brother is the sun god Helios and her sister Selene, the moon Goddess. It is said that EOS also dispenses the dew of dawn. She is an archetype that represents all beginnings, and the motivation to rise up and receive the glorious beauty of moving forward without fear. She lights us up enabling us to see new ways and brave new horizons.

“Night’s darkness is the bag that bursts with the gold of the dawn.” 
– Rabindranath Tagore

The Dawning of EOS
I AM DAWNING

Still I Rise

ByMaya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
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CALLIOPE – The Muse of Poetry

CALLIOPE was one of The 9 Greek Muses. These Goddesses were all facets of the Great Goddess. They who ‘breathe’ inspiration and embody  those who will take the time to be still and to listen. The ancient Greeks believed that it was the muses that inspired creativity and the Arts, and therefore any places devoted to learning and the arts was seen as a sacred place – the MUSEUM. Calliope was the muse of heroic poetry. According to Hesiod, she was also the wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive. Here Calliope has embued the poet with the feelings of being worn down, having no space, and not listening. I love this poem, written by my dear friend Rose Cook,  it always makes me stop, rest a while … and breathe.❤️  I AM WORN DOWN

A poem for someone who is juggling her life’ by the poet Rose Cook.  From her book ‘Notes from a bright field’ (Cultured Llama, 2013)

CALLIOPE The Muse of Poetry – a poem by Rose Cook
I AM WORN DOWN

 

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