Tag Archives: Greek mythology

Fae Friday: Summer Vibes

Ipogeo di via livenza, diana cacciatrice

Goddess Diana hunting, Roman fresco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Alexander Pope’s exquisite imagery in an excerpt from his poem, Summer.

Diana the Huntress by Orazio Gentileschi (17th-century)

Diana the Huntress, Orazio Gentileschi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear! 
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow’rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.

Solstice Blessings,
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Tuesday Tales: Writing Hug

Welcome to Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their works in progress based on word and picture prompts. We’re a book hungry troop that enjoys reading as much as you do. Today our word prompt is hug. My excerpt is from a new paranormal fantasy I’ve started. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

She held the electronic device to the edge of the door and waved it slowly up and down. She had paid good money for this little trickster. It performed efficiently, as expected. With a low muffled thud, the impressive metal door popped ajar. Marta checked her watch. Twelve minutes until the guard’s next rounds. More than enough time for her to get the prize.

Once inside, she positioned a special strip before pushing the door closed. Keeping her trek silent was accomplished by a death hug around her cross body tool bag. Moving like her cat Kali in hyper stealth mode, she made her way down the corridor and across the expanse of the Egyptian room. Ignoring the stunning displays of gold jewelry and ornate sarcophagi that normally enthralled her, she kept her focus on the mission. She exited the Egyptian room by means of a side door. From there it was a simple matter of a short hallway leading into what her quirky brain had termed Elysium since concocting this caper.

The Greek room looked sparse compared to some of the others. Items were only now being delivered, and displays took time to arrange. A few mesmerizing pieces had been already placed, however, and a set of comedy tragedy masks particularly called to her. Maybe she had enough time—no! Keep to the plan. She hadn’t been successful at this for years by deviating from a tried and true pattern. Take little. Leave a lot. Besides, she only dealt in jewelry.

She avoided eyeballing any other displays and made her way to the back of the room where delivery items were still boxed. Knowing exactly where to look was crucial. And she did. She levered the top off one of the large boxes and surveyed its contents. So many little cases and all containing treasures. Her throat closed up, and swallowing was difficult. She squeezed her gloved hands into fists to stop her itchy fingers from scarfing them all up. She sought out a small square case in a coppery color. Opening it, she gave a quick intake of breath. The necklace nestled like a harvest moon atop the red silk lining. She frowned. A splendid  ring lay adjacent in its folds. It hadn’t been there earlier when she scoped things out. Or was she so focused on the necklace and pushed for time that she simply didn’t see it? Sloppy.

She glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She shut the case and slipped it into her pocket, and then reclosed the large container. Moving fast, she retraced her steps. Kali on a midnight run. She was securing the outside door when the glow of a flashlight bobbled down the hallway. She used the device again, this time to seal the lock.

Heart pounding, she ran down the alley to her car.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet based on the word prompt hug. Thanks for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Demeter’s Joy

FredericLeighton-TheReturnofPerspephone(1891)

Frederic Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DEMETER’S JOY

Most of us have lost someone dear in our lives, whether a husband, child, parent, or friend. The hurt is unbearable. We can understand Demeter’s deep, gut wrenching sorrow at the sudden, stark disappearance of her beloved daughter Persephone, taken by the dark lord of the Underworld. In her misery the world turned barren and frost laden, and she did not care. She couldn’t care. Her agony was too great for her to summon up any shred of compassion for anyone else. The earth and earth dwellers who had been under her patronage now receded from her heart. Neither did she mingle with her fellow gods, as their pastimes were shallow and trivial. Only her grief was real. And then her anger.

Evelyn de Morgan - Demeter Mourning for Persephone, 1906

Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, translated by Gregory Nagy:

She would never go to fragrant Olympus,
…never send up the harvest of the earth,
until she saw with her own eyes her daughter, the one with the beautiful looks.

She begged heaven and hell to return her daughter. Begged from the deepest, most rage filled recesses of her soul. Time passed. Her pain continued. And then, in a miracle, her daughter returned.

I can imagine Demeter taken right out of her mind by the sheer overwhelming joy of the moment.

Alfred, LordTennyson put it this way:

Queen of the dead no more — my child! Thine eyes
Again were human-godlike, and the Sun
Burst from a swimming fleece of winter gray,
And robed thee in his day from head to feet —
“Mother!” and I was folded in thine arms.

Demeter rejoiced, for her daughter was by her side

Walter Crane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Interlinear Translation
edited & adapted from the 1914 prose translation
by Hugh G. Evelyn-White:

And the whole earth laughed for joy.

To you and yours, best wishes to relish the beauty and pleasures of spring.
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Astraea the Star Maiden

Salvatore Rosa 005

Astraea by Salvator Rosa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today is the Feast Day of the Star Maiden, Astraea. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker traces the birth of Astraea to Libya. During the Phoenician era of the Libyan region, a cultural hub sprang up in the great city of Carthage. The apex of the energy featured Astraea, a winged goddess who holds the scales of justice in balance. Astraea later went on to influence the Greek and Roman eras. She loved humans and sought to teach them to express the important values of justice, fairness, and purity.

By faire Astræa, with great industrie,
Whilest here on earth she liued mortallie.
For till the world from his perfection fell
Into all filth and foule iniquitie,
Astræa here mongst earthly men did dwell,
And in the rules of iustice them instructed well.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

The ancient Greeks described five ages of man, starting with the Golden Age. Each subsequent age further deteriorated in morals and actions. Disgusted by the growing degeneration and evil of humans, one by one the gods left the earth. Astraea was the last of the immortals to depart, doing so during the Iron Age. She stayed here longer than the other gods because of her compassion and hope for the ultimate goodness of mankind. Finally, even she could no longer withstand the violence, brutality, and greed. With sadness, Astraea fled from earth and reclaimed her place among the stars.

Now when the world with sinne gan to abound,
Astraea loathing lenger here to space
Mongst wicked men, in whom no truth she found,
Return’d to heauen, whence she deriu’d her race;
Where she hath now an euerlasting place.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

As divine virgin she is affiliated with Virgo.

And is the Virgin, sixt in her degree,
And next her selfe her righteous ballance hanging bee.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene

It is believed that when Astraea returns once more to earth, setting a golden shod foot onto the beloved verdant mantle of her former home, she shall usher in a new golden age of enlightenment for humankind.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: The Dreamer

 

James Tissot - The Dreamer

The Dreamer James Tissot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hesiod speaks of dreams as the children of the goddess Nyx (Night), and siblings to Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death). Morpheus is the leader of the gods of dreams. This dark, resplendent family dwells in the western seas near the setting sun and realm of the dead. Traveling toward a dreaming person, true dreams glide from the West through a gate of horn and illusory dreams through a gate of ivory. Only the Olympian gods, Hermes in particular, have domain over Morpheus and the dream gods, and use dreams to communicate with humans. At times the Olympian gods create dream figures of their own that travel to the chamber of the dreamer or morph into a different form and appear in dreams. A dreamer so visited is truly blessed.

I love that the remarkable musician Michael Levy allows us to hear the lyre of the ancients. His work can be purchased on iTunes.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Rainbow Goddess Iris

RainbowAfter three weeks of being in vacation mode, it is terribly difficult to return to the everyday world. Forgive me, but I really loved being at Daytona Beach with the rejuvenating wind and waves, reveling in beach nightlife with music and fire twirlers, at the crazy car races where Tony Stewart and other drivers go 200 mph, on a picnic at a beautiful tucked away springs in the forest, at the old fort and wax museum in St. Augustine, relaxing in the pool at night with a peach margarita, just spending time with family. It was all wonderful. My son, Snickerdoodle senior, took a gorgeous picture of a rainbow while we were at Daytona Beach last week, and I wanted to share it with you. Of course to me it has a heartfelt mythological energy.

In Greek mythology the goddess Iris is the painter of all our breathtaking rainbows. Her name possesses a double meaning, rainbow and messenger, and Iris performs as the personal messenger of the great goddess Hera. In one of my paranormal fantasy romances in progress, Iris descends to earth to bring a message to the heroine. She appears in a colorful fae drawn cart arching down from the sky to the edge of the sea where the heroine, outcast from the parallel Wytchfae world, runs a tiki bar. Oh, and yes, our Daytona hotel had a tiki bar. Are my books drawn from life or are my life symbols born in books? It’s hard to say.

Iris and Jupiter

Iris and Jupiter by Michel Corneille the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Iris was born of the cloud nymph Elektra, called “amber majesty” and a powerful sea guardian named Thaumas. Spanning the world of the sky and the sea, Iris energizes the clouds, encourages rain showers, and paints glorious rainbows. Our chakras have the same colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Iris also runs errands for Hera and other deities, and the rainbow is a remarkable symbol for communication from the ethereal dimension to the human world. She has no lover or children, and I see her as young, beautiful, and eternal. She obviously cares for humankind to create such lovely rainbows for us.

There’s still several weeks of summer remaining. Let’s enjoy every moment. Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Lovers Penelope and Odysseus

Odysseus und Penelope (Tischbein)

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Penelope and Odysseus

Penelope gained fame as the faithful wife who thwarted suitors and awaited her husband for the twenty years it took him to fight the Trojan War and return home to their kingdom by the sea. The war lasted ten years, so why did it take Odysseus twenty? The Odyssey relates the story.

“Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy.”

After playing a key role in the Greek defeat of the Trojans, Odysseus was all set to make it back home to Ithaca within a few weeks. Unfortunately, he made the egregious error of offending the powerful god of the sea, Poseidon. These days our society is rampant with political correctness and the need not to offend. So what did such an offense look like around 1150 BCE? After being at the mercy of a gigantic ravenous cyclops, Odysseus freed his remaining men by tricking the cyclops and then taunting him once they were safely out of danger. Not cool. Said cyclops turned out to be Poseidon’s son and prayed to his father for Odysseus to wander the earth for many years. “Done,” agreed father who, as a Trojan supporter, held a grudge against Odysseus anyway.

Odysseus’ return home was fraught with all sorts of interesting, horror laden, and disastrous episodes and took ten years instead of three weeks. Good thing or we wouldn’t have The Odyssey. I should point out that numerous episodes involved seductive women such as Sirens,

“No one ever sailed past us without staying to hear the enchanting sweetness of our song—and he who listens will go on his way not only charmed, but wiser, for we know all the ills that the gods laid upon the Argives and Trojans before Troy, and can tell you everything that is going to happen over the whole world.”

the powerful witch Circe,

“When they reached Circe’s house they found it built of cut stones, on a site that could be seen from far, in the middle of the forest. There were wild mountain wolves and lions prowling all round it—poor bewitched creatures whom she had tamed by her enchantments and drugged into subjection.”

and the hypnotic nymph Calypso.

“As she spoke she drew a table loaded with ambrosia beside him and mixed him some red nectar.”

As a man Odysseus didn’t have to be technically faithful to his wife. For reader sympathy, he just had to be more or less headed back toward her direction. Besides, he honestly was under magical spells most of the time.

Meantime, Penelope thwarted greedy suitors by promising to choose a husband when she finished her tapestry, but each night unraveling the sewing she had performed that day. The suitors grew angrier as the years passed and the desperate subterfuge continued.

“It is your mother’s fault not ours, for she is a very artful woman. This three years past, and close on four, she had been driving us out of our minds, by encouraging each one of us, and sending him messages without meaning one word of what she says. And then there was that other trick she played us. She set up a great tambour frame in her room, and began to work on an enormous piece of fine needlework.”

When Odysseus finally washed up on the shores of Ithaca, he was the only one left of his men. All the rest had perished along the way. After fighting off the 108 suitors clamoring for Penelope and the throne, Odysseus resumed his rightful place as king. In my mind he and Penelope lived out the rest of their lives in blissful marital harmony. They deserved it.

“Happy Odysseus, son of Laertes,” replied the ghost of Agamemnon, “you are indeed blessed in the possession of a wife endowed with such rare excellence of understanding, and so faithful to her wedded lord as Penelope the daughter of Icarius. The fame, therefore, of her virtue shall never die, and the immortals shall compose a song that shall be welcome to all mankind in honour of the constancy of Penelope.”

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: Maia

075MAIA

Mother of Hermes! and still youthful Maia!
John Keats

With winter harshness behind us and intolerable summer heat not yet a reality, we greet the loveliest month of spring. Maia was a Greek goddess who, naturally, also appeared in the Roman pantheon. She was the daughter of the Titan Atlas, renowned for carrying the earth on his shoulders, and Pleione, who protected sailors. Maia’s name origin relates to mother, grandmother, or perhaps wise one. She was the eldest of seven sisters, represented by the Pleiades in the splendor of the night sky. Seeking solitude from the attentions of the king of the gods, Maia took herself to a remote cavern. Zeus, however, followed her to her dim starlit abode, with the end result being a newborn son, the fleet footed messenger god Hermes, Mercury to the Romans.

Maia, daughter of Atlas, shared the sacred bed of Zeus
and gave birth to Hermes, renowned herald of the gods.
Hesiod, Theogony702

The Romans connected Maia to a goddess of spring and the green growth of nature, and also to fire, including the heat of sexuality and regeneration. For centuries folklore celebrations centered on the maypole, which is a vibrant way of honoring spring. On the Wheel of the Year, the corresponding holiday is Beltane, a cross corner day falling halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice where participants gather around a celebratory fire.PURPLE Azaleas 2a

In whatever ways you honor spring, Maia, and the rebirth of light and energy, I wish you greenery and colorful blossoms to sparkle up your days.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

More: Patricia Monaghan, The Book of Goddesses and Heroines

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2014/04/beltane-traditions/
http://www.pleiade.org/pleiades_02.html 

Mythic Monday: Scorpio Goddess Hecate

AN00969955 001 l

Richard Cosway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“He then the name invokes
Of Hecate; abundant honour straight
Shall follow on his path, if to that prayer
Gracious the goddess leans and opulence
Attends his footsteps; for the power is hers.”
     Hesiod, translated by Sir Charles Abraham Elton, from Theogony

“It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.”
     John Keats, from On the Sea

As the Wheel of the Year swirls into late autumn, the energy of Scorpio mirrors the cooling of earth and the slow descent into dormancy. The mood becomes more distant, less fiery and emotional, yet not detached in the way of an air sign. Rather, the sense is of the closeted dampness of inner earth, where mysteries abound and life and death intertwine. Scorpio is self-aware and also cognizant of various realities. During this time of year we survey with wonder the changing colors around us, the dying of what was new last spring, and we are beckoned toward attentiveness to life’s mysteries. It is time for us to feel the energy of that which cannot be seen with the eyes. There is immense power now. Magic abounds. Honor the mystery and learn from it, while protecting your own sense of self. Things are not always what they seem, and differentiation of your spirit among many is a worthy task. I honor the great goddess Hecate as the 2015 patron goddess of Scorpio.

Although Hecate is considered a Greek goddess, Barbara G. Walker in The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myth and Secrets traces her beginnings back to ancient Egypt, where she was known as Hekat, the powerful goddess of midwifery and magic. Other spellings are Heket and Heqit. Hekat’s powers flowed from the very source of death and creation. As cosmic midwife, she brought spirit into the body and the world of the living. As priestess, she accepted spirit back into the underworld realm at death. Hekat evolved from an even earlier power, the heq or tribal matriarch of pre-dynastic Egypt. The tribal matriarch commanded the sacred mother’s words of power called the hekau. These magical incantations were vital to gain entrance into various areas of the underworld.

Hecate, or The Night of Enitharmon's Joy, Butlin 316

William Blake [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To the ancient Greeks, Hecate was a Titan, one of the divinities preceding the Olympic gods. Only she and Zeus had the unique power of being able to grant or withhold at will anything from humankind. Some say her worship came to Greece from Thrace. As cosmic midwife Hecate retained her association with the mysteries of life and death. She existed as a trinity, ruling heaven, earth, and the underworld. In heaven she was the moon Hecate Selene, on earth she was Artemis the Huntress, and in the underworld she became Persephone the death goddess. From the trinity of maiden, mother, and crone, Hecate was most aligned with the dark crone aspect. Hebe or sometimes Persephone denoted the maiden. Hera or sometimes Demeter represented the mature woman. As a triple goddess, Hecate was closely associated with moon goddesses Selene, Artemis, and Diana. Offerings were left for her at crossroads where three roads met. She was the queen of witches and magic, and as Diana this association extended through Roman times and the many centuries following. She was invoked at crossroads at the midnight hour, and magical rites were performed in her name. She was sought after for her powers of healing, guidance, prophecy, and compassion for humanity.

May we all be blessed by the healing and reverence of hidden mysteries as bestowed by one of the most ancient goddesses, Hecate. When you look up at the waxing moon tonight and the full moon five days from now, perhaps you’ll think of the moon goddesses of old.

GuardianoftheDeep_SM (1)Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

Mythic Monday: Libra Goddess Astraea

Libra Hevelius

By Johannes Hevelius [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As the Wheel of the Year swirled into full autumn, the energy of Libra rose to the forefront.The thematic energy morphed into awe in the face of dramatic change and the increased serenity that comes from a cooling earth and slowing activity. One day the leaves are green and barely tinged with color, and the next they splash out their wild abandon with vibrant scarlet, orange, and gold. The time is ripe for turning your thoughts inward to examination of values, goals, and any mental adjustments that may be needed. It is a chance to take stock during this passage toward stillness. The beauty of maturing nature mirrors the fullness of your inner self as it readies for a calmer season. For many people autumn is an opening of bejeweled inspiration and artistic expression. We feel uplifted and renewed. Allow the universal creativity to flow through you in expressions of love, caring, and beauty. Libra thrives on symmetry, balance, and divine justice. Seek internal equilibrium and a quiet grace. Libra is mellow while experiencing ascendency. Allow yourself to be calmed and soothed by Libra’s nurturing spirit. I honor the goddess Astraea as the 2015 patron goddess of Libra.

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker traces the birth of Astraea to Libya. I suspect the origins come from the Phoenician era of the Libyan region, during the cultural apex of the great city of Carthage. Astraea, the goddess we recognize as holding the scales of justice in balance, went on to influence the Greek and Roman eras. The latter deemed her “the Starry One.” As divine virgin she is affiliated with both Virgo and Libra. The most wonderful story pertaining to Astraea illustrates her compassionate capacity. The ancient Greeks spoke of five ages of man, starting with the Golden Age, and with each subsequent age further deteriorating. Disgusted by the growing degeneration and evil of humans, one by one the gods left the earth. Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave, doing so during the Iron Age. She stayed here longer than the other gods because of her compassion and belief in the ultimate goodness of mankind. Finally, even she could no longer withstand the deception, brutality, and mighty self-interest. With sadness, Astraea reclaimed her birthplace among the stars.

May we all be blessed by the beauty, grace and genuine solicitude bestowed by Astraea.

GuardianoftheDeep_SM (1)Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance