Sunday, February 1, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Selene is the Greek Goddess of the Moon. There were many Goddesses associated with the Moon in ancient Greece, but Selene was the one Who was the Moon personified.

She rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by winged white horses or mules. She was usually depicted either with the crescent moon behind Her head, or with Her luminous veil in a wind-blown arc over Her head.

Selene's great love was the beautiful shepherd boy Endymion, Who spent His life in a perpetual state of unaging sleep. The stories aren't agreed on how He came about this quirky immortality--some say it was a reward from Zeus, and chosen by Endymion Himself to preserve His beauty; others that it was in fact a punishment from Zeus after Endymion fell in love with Hera. Some say that Selene Herself created the condition, so that She might always be able to gaze upon His beauty, and so She would always have Him all to Herself. At any rate, She is said to have had fifty daughters by Him, Who represented the fifty months of the four (lunar) year Olympiad.

This odd arrangement may have been a compromise as two myths collided; and Endymion may originally be a Karian Moon-God Himself. A cave and spring on Mount Latmos in Asia Minor was dedicated to Him, and said to be the place where He slept; the waters were apparently rich with minerals, as they were said to be moon-white in color, leaving white deposits around the edges of the spring.

Selene was sometimes held up in the Greek myths as an example of how passion can bring even the loftiest of us low, as She was a Goddess loving a mortal youth, and She is mocked here and there for being brought to such a state by Eros. In Selene's case, She descends from Her place in the heavens to have sex with Endymion on earth.

But one might also say that Her love for Endymion grounds Her, quite literally, and that because of it She walks with Her feet firmly planted on the earth; and also, that though She is Goddess of the Moon, which waxes and wanes and is always changing, She finds a stability and constancy in Her love for Him.

There is a sort of liminal quality to Selene's tale, dealing as it does with themes of both heaven and earth, change and stability; and it is worth it to remember that though the Moon is constantly changing (to our eyes, anyway), its cycle is so regular that we measure time by it; and that sometimes balance is to be found in movement.

This is the week that leads up to Brighid the Bright's day, the time (in the north) when the very first stirrings of Spring can be seen; even in my neck of the woods, New England, if I were to brave the cold and poke around under the snow I would likely find the daffodils' shoots just beginning to emerge. The darkness is losing hold, surely and steadily; and though right about now I know I for one need that reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel, I think this card is calling us to sit and ground in that darkness a little while longer, and be with the cold earth.

What does She have to say?

Oh, he is so beautiful. We are a perfect pair: I change, and he is steady. Also through me a little of the light of heaven is to be found on earth. But oh, mostly he is beautiful.

Celebrate the night, while it is still Queen, and find in that darkness what is lit by the Moon. The shadows are long and dark; much is unknown; yet it is so beautiful. Be in that stillness and that silence now. Watch the shadows move across the face of the earth. Know that the stillness and the movement both are the same thing.

That is, I suppose, a bit cryptic; though certainly in keeping with the opposites being part of a greater whole theme.

What do you think?

To read more about Her, go here.


Genie Sea said...

This perfectly encapsulates the magically attraction that the Earth and the Moon have for each other. Irresistibly drawn to each other, we are irresistibly drawn to them.

I love the lines, colors and details of your drawings. They are very unique, but as well evocative of ancient times.

Unknown said...

I think she is inviting us to put together our opposites... our contradictions... our paradoxes... and to dream about them and put them to physical life.

I think it was lovely to get Selene... I am in love with Pasipae, the Cretan Moon... and I feel the share the same Nature, so, it is very "home coming".

Thalia said...

Thank you, Genie Sea.

Pasiphaë, Shining on All, that's an epithet of Aphrodite too, isn't it?

I wrote all this without even considering what phase the Moon was at, which this week is first quarter to almost full, it looks like (from a glance out the window, I hasten to add, not from actually looking at a calendar). So this week waxing or increase is a theme, too.

It feels to me like this is the last week of rest or introspection before something is created. Something good and bright.

Unknown said...

The epithet of Aphrodite that I found that looks like that is Pafih or Paphiê, meaning of Paphos, used in Cyprus.

But indeed, shinny Aphrodite when She wants to lol

Things are increasing indeed here... I see the movement of the moon into my work, showing faces through the week...

Thalia said...

I am not sure, now, Pietra, where I got that bit about Pasiphaë being an epithet of Aphrodite; it's been written into the draft I've got for Her, so I must have found it somewhere reputable (this is why actual scholars have notes, isn't it?). It's not listed on the Theoi site, which makes me think perhaps it was a misreading on some author's part. I need to track that down.

Unknown said...

Theoi site is a big reference to us all LOL

But, still, if you want to work on Pasiphae, the Cretan one, you have all my best wishes and whatever help you may want!!!!