Mythology

Uranus

Uranus is one of the Ice Giants, composed of ice, rock and various gasses.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and the coldest planet in the solar system, reaching as far below as -224 degrees celsius.
The wind speeds on Uranus are fierce, reaching as much as 900km/ph.

Uranus is the slowest orbiting planet, taking 84 earth years to complete a cycle around the sun, spending seven years in each zodiac sign.
A day on Uranus consists of twelve earthly hours.
Uranus stands alone from all other planets in the solar system, with its axis laying almost on its side, so Uranus virtually rotates sideways, like a rolling ball.
This creates some interesting phenomena, with the southern and northern poles being either toward or away from the sun’s light for half of a Uranian year.
Each pole gets around 42 years of continuous sunlight, followed by 42 years of total darkness.

uranus

Another interesting feature of Uranus is diamond rain.
The atmosphere of Uranus is concentrated methane, a hydrocarbon.
The pressure within this atmosphere is six million times that of earth.
This intense pressure turns the atmospheric methane into diamonds, which then fall from the sky.
Uranus literally rains diamond.
It has also been postulated that Uranus could consist of liquid diamond, with great burghs of solidified diamonds floating among this crystal sea.

It has been observed, during the last few decades, that Uranus is subject to extreme seasonal changes, particularly around the times of its solstices and equinoxes.
Dark spots have been observed, as well as changes in its cloud cover.
The poles have also been observed to lighten in color as they turn towards the sun.

Like Saturn, Uranus also has rings.
The rings are very dark and hard to see, so have only recently been discovered.
Uranus also has twenty-seven moons in its orbit, the largest of which, is roughly half the size of our earthly moon.

 

Uranus is the only planet to have been named after a Greek God, Ouranos.
The other planets all take the names of Roman Gods, though the pantheons are fairly interchangeable.

Ouranos

Ouranos

Ouranos is of the old Gods.

God of the heavens, he was literally seen as the sky.

Ouranos’ consort is Gaia, Mother Earth.
He is both her son and her lover, in the Divine tradition.

Ouranos and Gaia bore together many children, the first of which were twelve sons and six daughters.
These, the first children of Gaia, were all terrible monsters.
Ouranos was disgusted by his monstrous offspring, and wished to rid them from the earth.
He took them all and placed them deep under the soil, in the very belly of Gaia.
This caused Gaia terrible pain.

She was also furious that the father of her children would treat their offspring so badly.
She conspired with her five Titan sons to rid her of her burdens, both those in her stomach and of her husband.

Each night, Ouranos, being a predictable lad, would descend earthward to make love to his wife, Gaia.
The Titans each took up positions along the compass points at the ends of the earth, with one waiting in the centre.
As Ouranos came to his wife, the Titans sprang their trap, each brother helping to hold him down, as the one in the centre bearing a scythe, sliced at Ouranos, relieving him of his manhood.
He was castrated by his own sons, at the behest of his wife.

Gaia

Gaia

The Titan took the severed part and threw it, out over the land and into the ocean.
From the drops of blood sprang the Gigantes and the Erinyes.
In some myths, Aphrodite, born of the sea, sprang from the drops that landed upon the waves.

The Titans, having overthrown the rule of their Father, took ownership of all that was formerly his.
Yet, Ouranos prophesied the downfall of the ruling Titans, and in this he was correct.
In turn, Cronus was overthrown by his own children, who would then take their place as the Twelve Olympians.
The Titans, with the exception of some, where then thrown into the deepest bowels of Tartarus, where they perished in darkness.

Uranus is a bit of a mover and shaker when it come to planetary influence.
Uranus heralds sudden change, revolutionary and unconventional ideas, discoveries, inventions of the modern age and individuality.
This is the planet of the radical, the avant-garde, the eccentric and the genius.
Those that shake up the status quo, instigating radical new ideas and new ways of thought, come under the influence of Uranus.

The big and sudden changes that Uranus brings about can be shocking and even upsetting.
Change is always hard, but if we look to the bigger picture, we can see these new ways and new ideas are for the better.

In broader society, these changes are what we refer to as the ‘end of an era’, yet, on the heels of each ending, dawns a new beginning.

The Fool - Gilded Tarot

The Fool – Gilded Tarot

In the Tarot, Uranus corresponds to The Fool.

The Fool stands on the brink of big changes, ready to fling himself, head first, into experience and all that the world has to offer.

He is carefree and full of youthful exuberance, he believes he can change the world.

This is a card of the rebel, the individualist, the counter-culture.

Those who defer from social norms, who break the mold, who do thing their own way, come under the rule of The Fool.

Page Wands

Page of Wands – Witches Tarot

The energetic and enthusiastic energy of the Page of Wands also encompasses Uranus energy.

She too, is ready to set out into the world.

Unable to contain her excitement, she shouts it out to the world, her journey of discovery about to begin.

 

Correspondences Of Uranus:  

Elements: Air

Direction: East

Zodiac: Aquarius

Stones: Aventurine, Diamond, Quartz, Blue Topaz. Rough and unpolished stones and crystals.

Colors: Cyan, Electric Blue, particularly in bright neon hues.

 Click here for Magical Jupiter

 

Categories: Astrology, Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Twelve Labors of Heracles

T is for the Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Heracles

Heracles

Zeus, King of the Gods, is well-known for his philandering ways, and as such, has fathered many (if not most!), of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses.

One affair that had far-reaching consequences, was his dalliance with the mortal, Alcmene.

 

Up to his usual tricks, Zeus had disguised himself as Alcmene’s husband, who was away at war, to have his way with the beautiful mortal.

His charade succeeded, and Alcmene became pregnant by the God.

Later that night, Alcmene’s true husband returned home unexpectedly, and made love to his wife and impregnated her.

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When Hera, wife of Zeus, discovered her husband’s infidelity, she was furious, and took it upon herself to stop the birth of her husband’s illegitimate son.

She did succeed in delaying the birth, by tying her clothing in knots.

But after being tricked into believing the baby had been born, she untied the knots and Heracles, later known as Hercules, was born.

 

Hera hated this child with a passion, he was a living, breathing reminder of her husband’s wayward ways.

She first attempted to dispatch of him when he was still in his crib, sending two venomous snakes to bite him.

Heracles was found in his crib, playing with the two dead snakes as if they were toys.

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As a grown man, Hera’s hatred had not dwindled for the Demigod.

She sent him insane, so as he murdered his wife and children.

When the fugue lifted from his mind, Heracles was filled with remorse, and prayed to his God, Apollo, for guidance.

As a part of his sentence he was told that he had to serve King Mycenae for twelve years.

Unsatisfied with this punishment, Hera and her agent, Eurystheus, then set Heracles Twelve Labors to complete.

Twelve Labors, that the Queen of the Gods dearly hoped would result in his death.

 

1.  Nemean Lion: 

The first Labor set for Heracles, was to slay the Nemean Lion and bring its skin back to Eurystheus, Hera’s agent,  in Mycenae .

The lion was terrorising the people of Nemea, and the populace lived in fear of the marauding beast.

The skin of the lion was as tough as armour, protecting it from the weapons the desperate people were using against it.

 

Having tried all that they could to dispatch the lion, the people had become resigned to the terrifying presence of the, seemingly immortal, beast.

It was then that Heracles showed up, equipped with his weapons of a bow and arrow, a club made from an olive tree ( of which he had uprooted with his bare hands), and a powerful bronze sword.

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Upon hearing the plight of the terrorized villagers, Heracles was even more determined to defeat this mighty foe.

Heracles then faced off with the lion, using all his weapons in turn, and finding them, one after the other, ineffectual.

Finally, in frustration, he threw himself upon the lion, tackling it to the ground, where he stuffed his arm down its throat and choked the great beast to death.

 

The real test began as he set out to liberate the lion of its skin, of which he was to bring back to Eurystheus, as proof of his success.

Heracles struggled for hours, yet could not even force a blade through the tough hide.

He was at the point of admitting defeat, when an old woman appeared out of the watching crowd.

( The old crone was actually Athena in disguise.)

She suggested that maybe the lion’s own claws would be the tool for the job.

She was right, and Heracles’ then made short work of removing the tough skin.

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Heracles immediately put the skin to use, wearing it as armor.

Upon returning to Mycenae , to report his success to Eurystheus,  the King was so terrified by the sight of Heracles, donning his blood spattered lion hide, that he hid from him within a large bronze jar.

From this point on, the King would only communicate with Heracles through the mediation of a Herald.

 

 2. Lernaean Hydra:

The Hydra was a giant water-dwelling serpent.

As well as having nine heads, the Hydra also emitted toxic fumes, to poison the unwary.

At the bottom of its watery lair, lay a hidden entrance to the Underworld, a gateway the Hydra protected fiercely.

An offspring of Typhon and Echidna, and sibling of the Nemean Lion,  the Hydra was a formidable beast, one that Hera was sure would finally kill off Heracles for good.

 

As Heracles entered the Hydra’s swampy lair, he tied a cloth over his nose and mouth, to protect himself from the noxious fumes, then fired off some flaming arrows to announce his arrival to the great serpent.

As the Hydra advanced upon him, Heracles took to it with his sword, cutting off the serpentine heads, one after another.

Heracles soon found this task to be futile, as he watched new heads growing out from the sheared off necks.

The regenerative ability of his foe had him stumped, and he called upon his nephew and friend, Iolaus, for advice.

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Armed with a new strategy, Heracles again faced the Hydra.

This time, as he lopped off each head, he would dip his sword in the Hydra’s corrosive blood, using it to cauterize the neck and prevent a new head from growing in place of the old.

This tactic worked flawlessly, and Heracles had soon annihilated his immense adversary.

 

When Eurystheus heard that Heracles had enlisted the help of Iolaus in defeating the Hydra, he declared the second labor would not count towards the tally.

Heracles’ great victory against the Hydra was void, and he was then set an extra task to compensate.

 

3. Ceryneian Hind:

The Ceryneian Hind was an enormous animal that was sacred to Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt.

The Hind had golden horns, like a stag, and hooves of bronze.

It was also extremely fast.

The Hind was said to be so fleet of foot, that it could outrun an arrow.

The Hind had even escaped Artemis, when as a child, she captured four hinds to draw her chariot.

The Ceryneian Hind escaped the Goddess, as it fled across a river.

Artemis was so impressed by this agile animal, that she named it sacred to herself.

 

Heracles’ Third Labor was a little different.

Having proved his extensive strength, in already killing two daunting monsters, Eurystheus became a wee more cunning in setting the next task.

He knew that if Heracles succeeded in catching the Hind, he would surely incur the wrath of the fearsome Goddess, Artemis.

 

Heracles set out to track the Hind.

He searched its known haunts for several days, but had not sighted the animal.

Tired and weary from his search, Heracles lay down to sleep.

The next morning, as he awoke, he spotted a metallic glint through the trees, and jumped to attention.

In the distance, he observed the Hind, the sun glinting off its golden antlers.

 

Heracles tracked the swift Hind for many days, and through many lands.

The Hind was so fast, he found he could get nowhere near close enough to actually catch it.

Again, he decided that this task would need some careful strategy, not to mention patience.

Ceryneian Hind by mrConceptual

Ceryneian Hind by mrConceptual

After tracking the hind for a whole year, Heracles watched as the ever-moving animal finally came to a stop.

He watched as the hind halted at the side of a river, and bowed its head to drink.

Heracles reached for an arrow, one that was not tainted with the blood of the Hydra, as most of his arrows were.

He drew back his bow and shot the hind in the leg, rendering the animal lame.

Only then, with the Hind incapacitated, was he able to get close enough to finally catch it.

 

On his way back to the palace, leading the Hind along behind him, Heracles came across Artemis and her brother, Apollo.

Artemis was furious at the sight of her injured Hind, but soon softened, as Heracles begged her forgiveness, explaining that catching the Hind was a part of his atonement.

Artemis forgave him, when he promised to return the Hind to her, unharmed.

 

When Heracles returned to the palace, Eurystheus declared that the Hind was to now become property of the King.

Remembering his promise to Artemis, Heracles agreed.

But as Eurystheus approached to take the Hind from him, Heracles dropped the lead and the Hind sprinted off into the forest and back to its mistress.

Eurystheus was livid, but Heracles shrugged and said it was too bad that he was not quick enough.

 

4. Erymanthian Boar:

The Erymanthian Boar was another vicious creature that lived in the mountainous country of Erymanthos.

The Bore possessed colossal and hazardously sharp tusks, capable of tearing a man to pieces.

The rugged area in which it dwelt, was a favored hunting ground of the Goddess Artemis and also home to a large population of Centaurs.

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Heracles, gaining acumen along the way, now understood the value of knowledge  in his mammoth quest.

It was in this spirit, that he called on Chiron, the wise-man of the Centaurs, before he faced the might of the Erymanthian Bore.

This was a smart approach, as Chiron advised Heracles to frighten the Bore, by making a racket of noise, to drive the beast into thick snow.

Heracles did just this, and when the Boar became trapped in the deep snow, he captured it easily and without fuss.

 

Heracles dragged the rope-bound Boar back to the palace, to be viewed by Eurystheus.

When he arrived, the man was so terrified by the dreadful boar, he hid in his chamber pot, begging Heracles to take the ghastly beast away again.

Heracles obliged, and released the animal back into its mountainous home.

 

5. Augean Stables:

Eurystheus and Hera were getting more and more agitated.

Not only was Heracles victoriously completing each Labor he had been set, he was also becoming a champion of the people, having now rid several communities of the beasts that held them in terror.

This time, he had decided on a more mundane task to set the fearless warrior.

 

The Augean Stables were owned by Augeas, and were home to the largest herd of cattle in the country.

The cattle were a Divine gift to the King and were, each one, immortal.

Being  immortal beings, they were blessed with extremely good health, and as a result, produced a prodigious amount of dung.

The big catch being, the stables of these divine beings had not been cleaned in over thirty years.

Augeas, sure of the impossibility of the task, wagered that he would give Heracles one-tenth of his cattle, if he could complete the job in one day.

 

Upon arriving at the stables, Heracles was overwhelmed at the site of the massive piles of dung, which, like the stables themselves, appeared to stretch on to eternity.

Again, having learnt that wisdom and cunning were his best weapons, he took some time to scout out his surroundings.

His eye fell upon the two rivers that ran by either side of the stables.

hercules-cleaning-augean-stables_0

Heracles quickly set to work, piling rocks along the riverbeds.

This makeshift dam he created soon had the two rivers diverted and running right through the stables.

The fast current washed through, around the hooves of the cattle, washing away every speck of dung, in record time.

Heracles was very pleased with himself and his ingenuity, and no doubt so were the, now spotlessly clean, cattle.

 

When Heracles approached Augeas about his promised cattle, Augeas refused to honor his wager.

Heracles killed the King, giving the Kingdom to Augeas’ son,  Phyleus and leaving with his squarely won cattle.

 

Returning to the palace to announce another successful completion, Heracles was met with a defiant Eurystheus, who denounced his effort, saying that he had not actually cleaned the stables himself.

He also claimed that because Heracles had been paid for his efforts, the cattle, the task had again been defaulted and he was to now be set another extra Labor.

 

6. Stymphalian Birds:

The Stymphalian Birds were an avian menace.

With claws and beaks of brass and sharp metallic feathers which they could shoot at their prey, they were a force to be reckoned with.

As if this weren’t enough, their very droppings were highly toxic.

The Stymphalian Birds were the pets of Ares, the God of War, and these birds were certainly fit for a warriors pet.

Jordanov_Herakles-Stymphalion-birds

The Birds resided in a dense and dark forest, around the area of Lake Stymphalus.

Heracles knew that this Labor could well be his last, as he entered a forest so dark that he could barely see, and knowing his adversaries could swoop down upon him at any minute, death from above.

Knowing this, he had first gone to seek advice from Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.

Athena suggested scaring the Birds into the air, so Heracles would then have a clear target.

Together, Heracles and Athena went to Hephaestus, a God famed for his skills at the forge.

Explaining their plan, they worked with Hephaestus to craft a pair of large, bronze clappers.

 

As Heracles entered the gloomy forest, he began banging his cymbals together, making such a cacophony, that the Birds took to the air in fright.

Heracles was quick on the draw, shooting the birds down, one by one, with his poisoned arrows.

Although he did mange to hit most of them, the Birds were great in number, and a few managed to escape.

The Birds that did get away, however, were never again to return to Greece.

Heracles had managed to clear the forest of the  dangerous Birds.

 

7. Cretan Bull:

The Cretan Bull was a handsome white bull that was sent to King Minos by Poseidon, God of The Sea.

When the sovereignty of King Minos was under threat, he called upon Poseidon for help, asking the powerful God to send him a sign that he, Minos, was the true King of Crete.

Poseidon obliged and sent a beautiful white bull, that emerged from the sea.

The condition of Poseidon’s aid, was that Minos would then sacrifice the Bull back to the Sea God.

But when Minos sighted the Bull, he was in awe of the magnificent creature and refused the sacrifice, preferring to keep the Bull to introduce into his own cattle’s bloodline.

Poseidon was furious at the King’s defiance and caused the King’s wife, Pasiphae, to fall madly in lust with the handsome Bull.

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Pasiphae, burning with lust, went to the craftsmen Daedalus, to help her.

He constructed for her, a hollow wooden cow, in which Pasiphae could hide.

The contraption worked, and the Bull soon mounted the wooden cow, and consequently Pasiphae, hidden inside.

Pasiphae fell pregnant to the Bull, and eventually gave birth to a creature that was half man and half cow.

This creature would go on to become The Minotaur.

(The story of The Minotaur is another great myth, and one I will post in full soon.)

 

As well as striking the King’s Wife with uncontrollable lust, Poseidon also struck the Bull with a violent temper.

The marauding Bull was wreaking havoc on the city of Crete, so the arrival of Heracles was a welcome sight to the terrorized populace.

Having earned a name for himself by this stage in his Labors, the people knew Heracles could liberate their city from the intimidation of the rampaging Bull.

When Heracles arrived in Crete, the King begged Heracles to capture the Bull and take it away from his city.

This worked well for our hero, as the object of his seventh Labor, was to present the Cretan Bull to Eurystheus, who wanted the Bull to sacrifice to Hera.

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Heracles stood his ground, as the mad Bull charged down upon him.

At the last-minute, he stepped aside, slipping a lasso around the Bull’s neck.

At the very moment that the Bull felt the restraint of the rope, it calmed down and became tame once again, allowing Heracles to lead it calmly back to Eurystheus.

 

As Eurystheus prepared the bull for the sacrifice, Hera’s anger could be felt.

Hera refuse to accept the sacrifice, as once more, the capture of a marauding beast had given glory to Heracles, whom she was now hating more than ever.

So Heracles gladly released the, now amenable, Bull to wander the city,  then on becoming known as the Marathonian Bull.

 

8. Mares of Diomedes:

The eighth Labor of Heracles involved stealing the four Mares of Diomedes.

No ordinary horses, these mares were vicious and savage creatures, with a penchant for human flesh.

The Mares of Diomedes were beautiful, wild and completely uncontrollable.

They belonged to the Giant, Diomedes, the King of Thrace and son of Ares and Cyrene, himself not one to be taken lightly.

 

Unfortunately for Heracles, he was unaware of the Mares liking for human flesh and only reckoned on Diomedes being the challenge of this task.

He did not understand that the horses were kept tethered to a strong bronze railing for the protection of the people.

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For this Labor, Heracles had enlisted the help of one of his male lovers and his friends, to help lead the Mares away from Thrace.

Slipping in to the city under the cover of darkness, the thieves were nonetheless discovered as they untethered the Mares.

As Diomedes gave chase, Heracles instructed the boys to keep going with the Mares, while he would turn back and fight off the angry Giant.

Heracles successfully fought and killed Diomedes and then made his way back to the group, dragging the body of the great Giant behind him.

When he arrived, he found the horses grazing sedately, but no sign of his lover or his friends.

Heracles was horrified when he realized what had happened, the Mares had devoured the boys, leaving only bloody rags as evidence of the atrocity.

In his anger at losing his young lover, Heracles then fed the body of Diomedes to his own horses.

 

The upshot of this was that eating human flesh calmed the Mares and rendered them controllable.

In their now sedate state, Heracles was able to easily bind the mouths of the Mares shut and then easily lead them back to Eurystheus.

 

Unlike many of his other captured monsters, the horses were too dangerous to be set free.

Eurystheus ordered them taken back to Mount Olympus to be sacrificed to Zeus.

But Zeus refused the sacrifice, knowing that the horses held the flesh of man in their stomachs, he deemed them unsuitable and sent a wild pack of lions to kill and devour the Mares, thus putting an end to the flesh eating equines.

 

9. Girdle of Hippolyte:

Heracles’ Ninth Labor took him to the land of the Amazonian women, a fierce race of all-female warriors, whom had perfected the art of fighting on horseback.

Hippolyte was the Queen of the Amazons and Heracles’ objective was to steal the golden girdle she wore around her waist.

Heracles, having anticipated opposition, recruited a posse to fight alongside him in his quest to obtain the girdle.

But instead of meeting a hostile opposition, Hippolyte fell in love with Heracles at first sight.

She gave him her girdle of her own free will.

amazons-riding-battle

All went well, until Hera, dissatisfied with developments, stirred up the Amazons by spreading a rumor among them that Heracles was really there to kidnap their Queen.

At the same time, one of Heracles’ companions, Theseus, fell in love with Hippolyte’s sister, Antiope, and spirited her away on horseback.

This caused a great battle, but Heracles was victorious and escaped with the girdle, as did Theseus with Antiope.

 

10. Cows of Geryon:

Geryon was a formidable Titan who inhabited a small island in Hesperides.

Geryon was a strange mass of three bodies meshed into one.

He had six arms, three heads and two legs, making him a staunch opponent.

Geryon lived alone on his island, with only a  herd of cattle and a two-headed dog, Orthrus, whom was the brother of Cerberus.

 

As Heracles made his way to the island of Geryon, he had to face the blinding heat of the Libyan desert.

He made his way across the sweltering sands, but became so frustrated with the sizzling heat of the sun, that he proceeded to shoot his poisoned arrows at Helios, the Sun God.

Helios begged him to cease and Heracles demanded the golden cup that Helios used to sail across the daytime sky.

Helios relented and Heracles sailed across the desert and ocean with ease, until he reached the island of Geryon.

 

When he reached the island, he was met with the intimidating presence of Orthrus.

But not to be deterred, he took his olive wood club and struck the hound dead.

When Geryon came to see what all the fuss was about, Heracles shot him with a poisoned arrow.

Heracles was such a strong marksmen, that his arrow pierced the three bodies of the Titan clean through.

Geryon staggered, fell and rose no more.

geryoncattle

Heracles then proceeded to herd the cattle back to Eurystheus.

But Hera was determined to make this as hard as possible, so peeved was she with the continued victory of the hero.

Hera sent a gadfly to sting the cattle, so that they scattered in different directions.

It took Heracles over a year to round them all up.

As Heracles and his cattle reached a river crossing, Hera made the water rise until the river was unpassable.

Heracles then set about piling up stones, to build a crossing for the cows.

 

He eventually made it back to the court of Eurystheus and the cattle were sacrificed to Hera.

 

11. Apples of Hesperides: 

The Hesperides were a trio of nymphs, who tended a beautiful orchard in a far western corner of the world.

The orchard grew apple trees, of which bore golden apples that were capable of bestowing immortality upon those who ate of them.

The apple trees grew from the branches that were given as a wedding gift to Hera, from Gaia, when she was married to Zeus.

As well as the nymph guardians, whom Hera didn’t fully trust, (they were known to partake of the golden fruit themselves), Hera had placed a hundred-headed dragon that never slept, among the trees.

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The garden was so well hidden, that Heracles had no idea of its location, until he caught the Sea God, Nereus, who pointed the way.

When he reached the garden, he came upon the Titan Atlas, father of the Hesperides.

Atlas is charged with holding up the sky, and Heracles tricked him into retrieving the apples for him, in exchange for holding up Atlas’ burden.

Being the Father of the Nymphs, Atlas was free to pass through the orchard unmolested.

When Atlas emerged from the orchard, his arms laden with the golden apples, he decided he did not want to take the weight of the heavens back, offering instead to deliver the apples himself.

Again, Heracles tricked him, asking the Titan to take back the great weight, so as he could make himself more comfortable.

When Atlas again took up the heavens, Heracles picked up the apples and walked away, leaving Atlas to his burden.

 

12. Cerberus:

Cerberus was the fearsome three-headed hound of Hades, God of The Underworld.

Cerberus guarded the gates of The Underworld, preventing the living from entering and the dead from leaving.

 

Heracles’ Twelfth and final Labor, was to capture this mighty hound.

His weapon this time around was kindness.

Cerberus and Hades

Cerberus and Hades

But first, Heracles had to learn how to pass into the Underworld.

He had himself initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, to learn the methods and mysteries of entering The Underworld.

Yet, it was only with the help of Hermes, who passed in and out of The Underworld regularly, that Heracles was able to negotiate his way to the lair of Cerberus.

Hermes aided Heracles in locating an entranceway and then helped him catch a ride with Charon, the Boatman, across the rivers of Styx and Acheron and into the domain of Hades and Persephone.

 

When Heracles arrived he threw himself before the thrones of Hades and Persephone, King and Queen, and told them of his penance.

When he gave his word that Cerberus would not be harmed, the royal pair gave their consent, allowing Heracles to lead Cerberus back to the surface.

Heracles returned to the gateway and won over the guard dog, by lavishing him with affection, (and probably a few cakes, a favorite of Cerberus).

He then led the dog back to the surface and to the palace of Eurystheus.

When he arrived, Eurystheus was so terrified by the site of the mighty Cerberus, that he hid himself inside a large stone jar and refused to come out.

As Cerberus walked the earth, his spittle fell to the ground, from which grew the first poisonous plant, aconite.

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Heracles returned the dog back to his master, and with which, he had finally completed his long labors and achieved his own redemption.

It is even said that, upon completion of his tasks, Hera forgave him and blessed him with immortality, giving him his rightful place as a Demigod.

 

More Mythology?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Herne the Hunter: a short story

Just had to share this with you, a great tale of Herne the Hunter.

Herne the Hunter: a short story.

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rose Quartz

R is for Rose Quartz.
image

Rose Quartz is the stone of the heart, promoting love, friendship and harmonious relationships.

The loving energy of this stone is also calming and comforting.
Rose Quartz aids in healing a broken heart, easing tension, sadness, stress and loneliness.

The most common use of this stone is to attract and keep love.
Rose Quartz is the best stone to use for love spells and attracting love, friendship and romance.
This lovely pink stone brings harmony to relationships, but also promotes self-love and acceptance.

Rose Quartz is also used to preserve youth and beauty, as it is said to rejuvenate the skin.

Rose Quartz is sacred to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love.
Ares, God of War and Husband of Aphrodite, became jealous of his Wife’s lustful attraction to Adonis.
Ares changed himself into a boar and attacked the beautiful God, mortally wounding him.
When Aphrodite heard the cries of Adonis, she rushed to his aid.
As she reached the dying God, laid upon a patch of briars, she caught herself on a thorn.
She cradled her dying love and the blood of Aphrodite and Adonis combined, staining the white quartz pink.

Zeus took pity on the mournful Aphrodite, and restored Adonis to life for half of each year.
So Rose Quartz became a stone of love and reconcilled love.

Element: Water
Chakra: Heart
Planet: Venus
Astrology: Libra and Taurus
Sabbat: Beltane
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Categories: Mythology, Pagan Blog Project, Stones & Gems | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Prometheus

P is for Prometheus.

 

Heinrichfueger1817PrometheusFire

Prometheus is the Titan God who brought fire to mankind.

He also brought to us the art of Crafts, which he himself invented.

But before these things, Prometheus created mankind.

 

Born of Iapetus and Clymene, Prometheus was a bit of a rebel.

He scorned the Gods and ridiculed Zeus.

Though, during the Titanomachy (A war between the Old Gods and the new), he was one of the Titans that fought alongside the Gods.

 

Prometheus’ trouble started with the creation of mankind.

Under the orders of Cronos, Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus, carefully crafted creatures from clay, which they made in the image of The Gods.

Athena then took the figures and breathed life into them, thus creating man.

Epimetheus’ creations became the beasts of the wild, and when given life, turned on their creator and savagely attacked him.

man

Zeus was not at all happy with these creations and forbid Prometheus teaching them the ways of civilization, so mankind was left in a very primitive state.

A meeting was set between The Gods and man, in order to set some ground rules.

Firstly, Zeus demanded sacrifice from these new beings.

 

Trying to lend a hand to his beloved creations, Prometheus slew an ox, and divided the spoils into two piles.

In one pile he took the meat and most of the fat and covered it with the awful looking stomach and entrails, in the other he laid the bones and dressed them artfully with the remaining fat.

Zeus saw through this trickery and decided to turn it into his gain.

He knew if he picked the pile of bones, he would then have an excuse to vent his anger onto man and in doing so, get back at Prometheus for creating them in the first place.

So Zeus chose the pile of bones.

(This is also where the origin of sacrifice comes from, where the humans get the meat and the Gods the bones.)

Zeus now had an excuse to be angry, now that mankind had tricked him, and he denied them the secret of fire.

early_neanderthal_man

Prometheus loved his creations, and it hurt his heart to watch them shivering and cowering throughout the winter and dark of night.

He made the decision to go against Zeus and help mankind to better themselves.

This was to be a big mistake, for him at least.

 

One night, while The Gods slept, Prometheus crept into the workshop of Hephaestus, and stole the fire from his forge.

He hid the flame inside the hollow of his staff and set out to Earth from Olympus, where he gave this wonderful gift to his loved creations.

No longer cold, hungry and focused only on survival, mankind began a path to enlightenment and civilization.

This treachery made Zeus furious, as one God cannot take back what another has given and he now took out his anger on Prometheus as well as mankind.

For mankind, he cursed them to a life of suffering and torment, such evil that they would long for death.

For Prometheus he devised a horrendous torture.

Prom and eagle

Zeus had Prometheus carried to Mount Caucasus and chained to a rock.

There, he set upon him an eagle, by the name of Ethon.

Thus began 30 000 years of torment for the Titan God.

Ethon would spend the day tearing Prometheus apart and picking at his liver.

At night he would cease the torture, allowing Prometheus to heal and regenerate.

The next day, the tearing and rending would begin anew.

 

This would have been the eternal fate of poor Prometheus, had not Heracles come along, on one of his twelve labors.

Heracles shot the eagle with an arrow, ending the torment of the Titan.

The years had calmed Zeus’ anger and he now invited Prometheus to return to Olympus, on condition that he still carried the rock he had been chained to.

So even though Prometheus had been freed, he carried with him always the weight of his crime.

A-Herc-Prometheus

But Zeus was not yet finished with mankind.

He asked Hephaestus to collect and mingle together the best and worst of life experience.

Mud and pure snow, the love of a mother and the savagery of the beast, the bloom of a rose and poisonous venom, all these things and more did Hephaestus forge together.

This creation of love and hate was then molded into substance and given the shape of a girl.

Zeus took this model and breathed life into her.

She held the beauty of  a Goddess, yet contained all that Hephaestus had mixed together to create her.

Zeus gave her the name of Pandora.

 

Zeus sent this beautiful creation to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus, Creator of Beasts, and he quickly fell in love with this beautiful woman.

At their wedding the Gods showered them with gifts, among them, a box, given by Zeus, with instruction that it may never be opened.

Unfortunately, Pandora was also endowed with an innate sense of curiosity.

It soon got the better of her and she opened the box, unleashing all the sadness and horror known to man.

pandora

Realizing what she had unleashed, Pandora quickly closed the box, trapping the last thing it contained inside.

That thing was Hope, and hope remained trapped in the box, withheld from mankind, until Prometheus bestowed his last kindness upon man.

Prometheus opened the box, for the second and final time, and freed Hope.

 

The following video is a Wendy Rule song, entitled Prometheus.

Wendy Rule is an Australian Witch, with a very enchanting voice.

This song covers the torment of Prometheus, capturing the feel of the myth perfectly.

Enjoy..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Orpheus

O is for Orpheus.

The magical song of Orpheus

The magical song of Orpheus

Orpheus was quite an important figure in Ancient Greek mythology.

Considered as the chief representative of song and music, Orpheus was most famous for his perfection of the lyre.

Originally a priest of Dionysus, Orpheus was well-known as a practitioner of magick and ritual, and was also the one who introduced initiatory and purificatory rites to mankind.

 

Orpheus was a very skilled musician.

His lovely lyre was given to him as a gift from Apollo, who in some myths is said to be his father.

The lyre was originally made by Hermes, which he had fashioned out of a turtle shell.

As Orpheus played his blessed lyre, he could charm the hardest of hearts, make the trees and rocks dance, change the course of rivers and tame wild beasts.

Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus was in love with the beautiful Eurydice.

Unfortunately for him, Eurydice has also attracted the attentions of Hekate, who desired her as a Maenad, a wild group of women who worshipped and served the God of Wine and Ecstasy, Dionysus.

Hecate weaved her charms over Eurydice, drawing her to the Maenads.

But Orpheus became aware of the spell on his beloved, and combated it with the sacred sound of his music.

 

Not to be deterred, Hekate sent Aristaeus, who also had designs on Eurydice, to snatch her away from Orpheus and into the cult of Bacchus.

Frightened, Eurydice fled from his advances.

During her escape, she trod on a snake hiding in the grass and was fatally bitten.

Orpheus enchants

Orpheus enchants

Orpheus was overcome with grief at the loss of his love and began to play the most saddest and mournful tune ever heard, upon his lyre.

The trees, rocks, rivers and nymphs, were deeply affected by his sad songs, and all cried along with the stricken Orpheus.

This went on for some time, until Orpheus hatched a plan.

He would travel to the Underworld to convince Hades and Persephone to return his Eurydice to him.

 

Orpheus went first to Hekate, to whom he played his mournful songs.

Affected by his emotive notes, Hecate agreed to lead him into the Underworld, and they proceeded down, deep into a cave, where they came to an entrance way.

In the Underworld

In the Underworld

Orpheus sat at the foot of the thrones of Hades and Persephone, King and Queen of the Underworld, and played to them the tune of his broken heart.

Such was the power of his music, the whole of the Underworld stopped, and mourned right alongside the devastated Orpheus.

Even the terrible Erinyes had tears rolling down their cheeks, such was the beauty of his sad song.

 

Tender hearted Persephone, begged her husband to grant this terribly sad man his wish, to return to him his great love.

Hades conceded, and granted Orpheus his deepest desire, he could take Eurydice back to the surface with him.

His one condition being that Eurydice must walk behind him, and Orpheus must, under no circumstance, look behind him until he had reached the upper world.

Loss of Eurydice

Loss of Eurydice

His lover returned to him, Orpheus and Eurydice began the journey back to the surface.

But in his anxiety, Orpheus glanced back behind him, only to see his beloved Eurydice being pulled back into the depths of the Underworld.

His lover was, once again, lost to him, this time forever,

 

Orpheus was now completely overcome with grief.

He wandered, a lost and broken man, through the forest, shunning all human contact and wishing only for his own demise, so that he may be reunited with his lost love in the Underworld.

Once a priest of Dionysus, he gave up on his God, a God that had allowed such an awful fate to become him.

Instead, he turned himself over to the light of Apollo.

Fury of the Maenads

Fury of the Maenads

 

One morning, Orpheus made his way to the oracle of Dionysus, to make his daily devotion to the rising sun, his God, Apollo.

It was there he was set on by a drunken and reveling pack of Maenads, furious at the sight of Orpheus, who had forsaken their God for another, and now dared to worship this new God at the sacred site of Dionysus.

The maenads, in a frenzy of madness, lust and intoxication, tore the poor Orpheus to pieces, ending his misery for all time.

In the fracas, Orpheus’ head was torn from his body, his magickal lyre ripped from his hands.

The maenads tossed both his head and lyre into the river, where they floated, still singing and playing the mournful tunes he had played in his sad life.

Eventually they washed ashore and his head was buried, a shrine built on the burial spot.

Only then, did the mournful song of Orpheus cease.

 

Lyra

Lyra

His lyre was carried back to Olympus by The Muses, daughters of Zeus, and was put to rest among the stars.

Orpheus was returned to the Underworld, where he was finally reunited with his lost love, Eurydice.

 

Categories: Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lilith

L is for Lilith.

lilith

Lilith is well-known as a female demon, personally I think she was an independent and willful woman, qualities not highly prized by early Christian and Jewish religions.

 

It would seem that two different versions of the bible, or Book of Genesis, contradict each other.

The first version states that God created man and woman at the same time.

The second, the one most people are familiar with, states that God created Adam first and later created woman from his rib.

Hmm, bit of a difference in these versions.

 

One solution the Jewish Rabbi’s came up with, was to give Adam two wives, the first being Lilith.

Lilith was a bit before her time here.

A modern, empowered and independent woman, she refused to submit to Adam’s will, to lie down and be the submissive plaything that he demanded.

Lilith and Adam by Dargonelez

Lilith and Adam by Dargonelez

Lilith soon tired of his nagging and demands, she spread her wings and flew right out of The Garden of Eden, leaving Adam to his own devices.

She set up her home by the Red Sea, where she took demons as her lovers.

She was apparently very fertile too, giving birth to one hundred children each and every day!

 

Of course, Adam was not pleased with this development, so he took his complaints of this flighty woman straight to God.

Upon hearing this news, God sent three of his angels to retrieve the absconded Lilith.

No way was she going back to that!

She refused the demands of the angels, cursed their very existence, and remained, defiantly, in her home by the Red Sea, with her lovers and her children.

Pregnant Lilith By Mani Price

Pregnant Lilith By Mani Price

Upon the return of the angels and their news, God was furious.

If Lilith would not return to Adam and The Garden, he would take away every last one of her children.

In her anger at losing her children, Lilith devoted herself to kidnapping, or strangling, the newborns of others, her fury directed especially towards boys.

She would also terrorize mothers-to-be as they were in labor.

Her theory being, if she couldn’t have her children, then no one else would have theirs either.

 

The one catch of her new sport, should she see the angels themselves, or amulets bearing their names, she would leave the mother and child unharmed.

Amulets placed in the corners of a nursery of birthing room are said to repel the vengeful Lilith.

There is a superstition, that if a child laughs in its sleep, it is a sign that Lilith is present.

A tap on the nose of the child, will make her retreat.

 

Lilith is also used as an excuse for Christian men who experience wet dreams.

Lilith, as succubus, must have seduced them in their sleep!

If she succeeds in her seduction, she will become pregnant with a demonic son.

These men took to sleeping with their hands cupped over their genitals, clutching a cross, in order to repeal Lilith’s nocturnal advances.

Succubus by Arsenal21

Succubus by Arsenal21

So, Lilith is left to seduce her demons and pious men, propagating her demonic children at every chance.

Lilith must surely be one busy woman, as, in Medieval Europe, she is said to be the wife of Satan.

She is also known to have a lover, by the name of Samael, a son of god.

To Samael, Lilith bore three half-god, half-human children, the Nephilim.

 

Adam was given a more acceptable replacement, the docile and submissive Eve. But again he had his problems, when his second wife ate the forbidden fruit.

But that’s another story, and one most are familiar with.

 

There is an interesting parallel between the story of Lilith and The Lamia, of Greek Myth.

The Lamia are demonic nymphs of the Underworld, who appear as beautiful women.

The Lamia were considered to be part of Hekate’s crew.

Their purpose was to steal the souls of children and young, good-looking men.

This is likely the beginnings of the myth of the Succubi.

 

 

The roots of Lilith go back much further than her Hebrew demonization.

She carries similarities to Goddesses of many myths and beliefs.

She could have originally been a Babylonian Goddess, where she ruled primal wisdom, and was a Goddess of Animals, again similar to Hekate.

Another suggestion is that, alongside Persephone and Hekate, she guards the gates of the Underworld.

Knowledge

Knowledge

In researching this article, I came across suggestion that Lilith gained great knowledge from Samael and used it to become the first witch.

But I also can’t find anything that really substantiates this.

 

I think Lilith is a great example of the demonization of Goddesses, and women in general, by the church.

With ancient deities, such as Lilith, their original stories and mythologies become lost and they are stuck with the title of demon.

 

Lilith corresponds to the element of Air and the Waning Moon.

Her animal is the Owl and Snake.

 

Invoke Lilith for work with:

Shape-shifting or Skin Walking, Sex Magick and Erotic Dreams. 

Lilith by Notvitruvian

Lilith by Notvitruvian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Boreas – The North Wind

I am Boreas, the Wind of the North.

Boreas - Old Man Winter

Boreas – Old Man Winter

I am the bitter chill of mid-winters night,
The snow which falls through the darkness,
frost settled on frozen and arid ground.

I am the frigid northern wind, which howls around the eaves.
I am the grass that crackles beneath your step, brittle ice on a winter night.

I am old age.
The grey which streaks your hair,
The arthritis creeping into your joints.
I am the wrinkle on your brow,
The unease of your mortality.

I am midnight.
The deep darkness of night, the longest of the year.
I am the deep stillness of that night, the quiet of the earth.

I am Yule.
The Winter Solstice, my darkness never wanes.
I am the earth, sleeping, barren, unforgiving.

I am the Earth.
The subterranean stillness, the soil which cloaks you in death.
I am stillness, peace, the depths of the unchartered cave.

boreas

I am North.
I am winter.
I am Earth.
I am darkness.
I am midnight.
I am old age.

I am Boreas, the Wind of the North.

 

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology, The Elements | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Erinyes

E is for Erinyes.

Erinyes torture a criminal

Erinyes torture a criminal

The Erinyes, or Furiae, are the avengers of the Underworld.

The are particularly concerned with crimes against the parents, as in matricide or patricide, probably because they were born from such a crime.

The usual number of  them is given as three, with the names Alecto, Tisiphone, and Magaera.

They are commonly depicted as winged, ugly hags, their limbs wound with poisonous serpents and savage-looking whips held in their hands.

Not a trio you would want to piss off.

 

The Erinyes are the daughters of Titans, Gaia and Ouranos, or Uranus.

After Ouranos had relegated his three eldest offspring to Tartarus, Gaia and their son Cronus, God of Time, conspired to castrate the unwitting God.

In this, they succeeded and from the blood of the reduced God, sprang the Erinyes.

 

As well as crimes against the parents, the Erinyes would rain down revenge against those that have committed murder, perjury, or crimes against the Gods.

The most severe of the Erinyes’ punishments was to drive one to madness.

Vengence

Vengence

The Erinyes reside in Erebos, the ‘entryway’ to the Underworld.

Here, they await the call that an evil soul has entered their domain, and they head for the dungeons, their implements of torture at the ready.

They Erinyes serve as jailers in the dungeons, the deepest bowels of Tartarus.

 

If the Erinyes judged a soul to be good, they could purify the soul of it’s sins and let it pass through.

But if you were judged to be wicked, it was the dungeon of the damned for you, the territory of the vengeful Erinyes.

Here, they would torture and torment the evil soul for eternity.

The Erinyes are a fearful complement, if you have led a life of evil.

The wrath of the Erinyes can only be halted through ritual purification and the completion of a set task of atonement.

Torture and Torment of the Erinyes

Torture and Torment of the Erinyes

The Erinyes are connected to Hades and Persephone, King and Queen of The Underworld, who they serve, in dealing with the souls of the damned.

They also have a connection to Hekate, she who is there as a witness to crimes of murder, and is also a guide through the Underworld.

 

Categories: Mythology, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Amethyst

I only found this myth today, and have to share it with you.

Bacchus

Bacchus

Bacchus, the God of Wine and Intoxication, had fallen under the spell of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

Bacchus was certainly trying his luck here, as Diana is a virgin Goddess, holding sacred her chastity.

Diana

Diana

Bacchus made his advances towards the beautiful Goddess, and was swiftly rebuked.

This made the God furious, so he turned to his beloved wine, quickly reaching a rolling state of drunkenness.

The drunker he became the more his anger boiled.

Drunk and plotting revenge, Bacchus swore that the next mortal maiden who crossed his path, he would put to death.

 

Amethyst

Amethyst

A sweet young maiden, by the name of Amethyst was making her way to the altar of Diana.

Bacchus marked her for his revenge and set loose a pair of ravening tigers to swiftly dispatch the girl.

As the tigers approached her, Amethyst asked her Goddess for protection against the maddened beasts.

tiger-face-snarl-hiss-close-up_20246_990x742

Diana is the Goddess of the Hunt, but even she had no time to draw her bow.

Thinking quickly, she transformed Amethyst into a crystal, bright, clear and sparkling.

 

Upon Amethyst’s transformation, Bacchus had a moment of clarity, realising that the mortal girl had nothing to do with his grudge against Diana.

Full of remorse, he got on his knees before the crystal and begged for Amethyst’s forgiveness.

He then took his sacred wine and poured a libation over the sparkling gem.

The wine soaked the crystal, turning it a beautiful shade of purple.

Amethyst Cluster

Amethyst Cluster

Bacchus had previously imbibed most of the wine, and the libation he poured did not soak the crystal completely.

This is why Amethyst is often clear at the base and purple on top.

It is said that Amethyst prevents drunkenness, as the wine is already contained within the crystal.

 

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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