At a time when we’re all staying at home and trying to find ways to make it interesting (provided we’re not ill), it might be worth taking a look at the hearth-goddess Hestia. She tends to be overlooked, and doesn’t have a lot of myths, but now is a good time for a reappraisal of this quiet but essential goddess.
Eir is a puzzling figure in Norse mythology. Snorri Sturluson, who set out to explain Norse mythology in his Prose Edda, explains Eir in two different ways in the two main books, Gylfaginning and Skaldskaparmal.
You wouldn’t expect a Norse myth to be a parable on economic exploitation, and how bad deeds rebound on the doer. Grottasöngr, a story of how king Frodi forced two giantesses to work a mill without cease, and thus wrought his own destruction, is an unusual myth.
Serinity Young’s Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics, and Other Airborne Females, is a cross-cultural, multi-period, feminist study of flying women in myth, literature, ritual, and history. Through examination of sky-going females evident within the religions and iconography of the Ancient Near East, Europe, and Asia, as well as in shamanic, Judeo-Christian, and Islamic cultures, the author creates a typology of flying women through history that culminates in an examination of 20th century fictional airborne women and real female aviators.
The Roman Empire was never shy about adopting deities from other lands. Isis, Mithra, Cybele all became wildly popular, perhaps because their cults were different from the staid Roman deities. All three of these cults came to Rome, but others had the Romans come to them.
Several years ago I wrote a post about the legend of Ys, which sank because of Queen Dahut’s misuse of magic (and sexual predation). It interested me because her legend somehow got grafted onto Arianrhod, and repeated endlessly on the internet.
This is another story about how someone’s flaws and overweening ambition led to the sinking of an island, but this story comes from the Azores, and features a Prospero-like sorceror.
Originally the early Latin goddess of vegetation, a patroness of vineyards and gardens, Venus became deliberately associated with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and assumed many of her aspects. The name of Venus then became interchangeable with Aphrodite as most of the tales of these two goddesses are identical. However, like every Roman gods with their Greek counterparts, there were differences. Venus arguably became more popular in ancient Rome, and became more ingrained in the city life. She took on the aspect of a gracious Mother Goddess full of pure love as well as assuming the divine responsibility for domestic bliss and procreation.
One thing that’s always puzzled me about the theory that Indo-European languages are a guide to the mythologies of the peoples who speak them is the reluctance to take up the question of Diana and other “Divine” goddesses. After all, if *Dyéus is the sky-father, are Diana, Divona, Dione and Divuša sky-mothers?
In my house we’ve always kept our Christmas tree up until January 6th, or Old Christmas Day. This is the last of the twelve days of Christmas, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Traditionally, people stopped work for the 12 days, putting aside time to socialize and have some fun.
James Frazer has a lot to answer for.
He was born in 1854 in Glasgow, Scotland. He became a Fellow of Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge. From there he leapfrogged sideways into folklore studies and comparative anthropology, two disciplines he knew nothing about (although to be fair, at the time, neither did anyone else really.) His masterwork was The Golden Bough, two volumes of meticulously researched albeit fairly wrong comparative mythology from all over the world.
Find out more about James Frazer, Lady Raglan, and the Green Man.
And read Lady Raglan’s original article. (PDF link)