Posts Tagged "athena"

Why Winter? Demeter Knows Best | Persephone Snacks

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was no such thing as winter. This distressed skiing enthusiasts but pleased everyone else since snowplows hadn’t been invented yet.

Meanwhile Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, wandered around the earth wearing flimsy gauze dresses and making the crops grow. Somewhere along the line, she and Zeus had a daughter named Persephone.

Persephone was lovely and Hades, the god of the underworld noticed. Hades invited Persephone to leave the lovely topsoil and dwell (and by “dwell” I mean dwell) with him in the underworld.

Persephone had eaten exactly 6 pomegranate seeds. (Hey—sometimes a girl has to snack.) DearKidLoveMom.comPersephone said thanks but no thanks. You remember that gods don’t like being told no, right? Hades lifted an eyebrow and said, “No?”

Persephone raised both eyebrows and repeated herself. Hades frowned, picked Persephone up, threw her over his shoulder, and took her back to the underworld.

Persephone was not happy. Demeter (her mother) was even less happy. Demeter raged, she ranted, and then she went into a full-fledged funk.

Have you ever seen a goddess funk? Not pretty. And when Demeter funked, the whole world funked with her. Plants turned brown, crops withered, and people went hungry.

Now Zeus was pretty good at ignoring things he didn’t care about, but with the whole world hungry sacrifices to the gods weren’t being made and that got his attention.

Zeus went to talk sense into Hades (and by “sense” I mean tried to talk him into giving Persephone back). Hades refused. They argued. Finally, they consulted the rule book.

According to the Rules, if a person eats while in the underworld, they are stuck there forever (keep that in mind during your travels).

They quickly scoured the various meals Persephone had refused to eat—and discovered that she had eaten exactly 6 pomegranate seeds. (Hey—sometimes a girl has to snack.)

Zeus therefore decreed (being the chief number one honcho god he got to do the decreeing) that Persephone would be returned to her mother for 6 months of the year, but for the other six (one for each aril) she would have to return to Hades and the underworld.

Therefore, for six months of the year the earth is warm and happy. Plants bloom and crops are bountiful while Demeter is happy having her daughter at home. The other six months, Persephone returns to the underworld and Demeter returns to her snit. The earth is cold and barren. You might think Demeter would have gotten over it by now, but you’d be wrong.

It’s a mom thing.

Love, Mom

Read More

The Story of Tantalus, DearKidLoveMom Style

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was a blank page in the book of Greek mythology, so a story was written to fill it. This is that story.

As you probably guessed, it’s not a happy story because it’s Greek mythology and we have all that pathos to deal with. Also, the Greeks didn’t see a lot of benefit in telling happily-ever-after stories.

And the Greeks were human, so they messed up.

Most of them messed up on a human scale and we don’t know anything about them. Occasionally, someone would mess up on a colossal scale, and BAM! myth.

Here’s one of those stories.

Tantalus was a King. His dad was Zeus, and which made him half-deity, but it turns out that when you’re a twit being half a god is insufficient. (Remember, Zeus had about half a gazillion half-mortal children.)

The gods liked Tantalus (no clue why, except possibly because he could hold his liquor) so he was frequently invited up to Olympus for dinner.

If you had been invited into the Olympus kitchens, and if you’d happened to look in the pantry, you’d know that pretty much all the god ate and drank was ambrosia and nectar. Repetitive, yes, but on the plus side, it’s the food of the gods and therefore pretty dang yummy. Not available at your local McDonald’s.

Being something of an idiot, Tantalus stole some ambrosia so that he could impress his mortal friends.

The gods did not like that, but they didn’t really punish Tantalus. Instead, Zeus had A Serious Talk with his son who promised to behave himself.

He lied.

Adding to his rap sheet, Tantalus branched out from theft and told some Very Important Secrets that Zeus had confided in him.

Think that’s OK? Er, no.

Within a short amount of time, Tantalus had proven that he wasn’t really the Best of All Possible Personages. The gods (for reasons no one can fathom) continued not punishing him thinking he’d learn and start acting his age.

Apparently stealing ambrosia is a gateway crime because then Tantalus went overboard. And when he went overboard, he went big time.

Tantalus invited all the god of Olympus over to his palace for dinner. Either he ran out of food (unlikely—he was King) or he decided to test his guests.

He killed his youngest son, Pelops, roasted him, and served him. Ewww.

Demeter (you remember her) wasn’t paying attention and nibbled some shoulder. The rest of the gods didn’t eat. And when you combine hungry with disgusted with divine anger, you go way beyond hangry.

Zeus immediately went from “Awww, kids will be kids” to ranging fury. He restored Pelops’ life (Demeter made him a nice arm of ivory since she’d eaten his original appendage).

Then Zeus decided to punish Tantalus. First he crushed Tantalus and his kingdom (presumably not Pelops, but I’m not sure). Then he got serious about punishing.

Zeus took Tantalus to the lowest level of Hades and put him in a lake. A lovely lake full of sweet water with a fruit tree branching over the lake right to where Tantalus was imprisoned. Then Zeus cursed Tantalus with hunger and thirst. Yet whenever Tantalus bent to drink from the lake, the water moved away from him. And when he reached for some of the fruit, the tree moved the branch just out of his reach.

Tantalizing story, no?

Love, Mom

Read More

Sisyphus | The Man, The Myth, The Rock

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, in a not-so-nice part of Greece (back in the time of Mythology), there lived a king named Sisyphus. By the sound of his name you might think that he was bullied a lot. You would be wrong because he was meaner, nastier, and more powerful than anyone else. Also he was king and had a lot of soldiers at his command.

Sisyphus had lots of bad habits like chewing with his mouth open and killing travelers and guests. (Killing guests back then was an especially Wrong Thing To Do.) But Sisyphus had a marvelous time being a despot and decided that Manners weren’t going to intrude on his tyranny.

For reasons that are complicated and not all that interesting, Zeus got good and mad at Sis. Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain up Sisyphus in the lowest level of Hades.

On the one hand, Thanatos was a minor figure in Greek mythology. On the other hand, he was Death, so chaining people in Hades was well within his job description.

Sisy didn’t really like the idea of being chained up, so he tricked Thanatos by asking Thanatos (who after all wasn’t the god of wisdom) to demonstrate how the chains worked. Flattered, Thanatos obliged and Sisyphus trapped Thanatos in the aforementioned chains.

Back in the rest of the world, while Thanatos was chained up no one could die. For a short time, this wasn’t a big deal, but people were pretty accustomed to Death, especially the warriors who liked to see people die (because that was the whole point of fighting). Ares (our favorite god of war) was particularly put out, so he freed Thanatos and turned Sisyphus over to him.

Because of his trickery in this and other things and his hubris in thinking he was more clever than Zeus (have we not been clear that it is never wise to think you’re smarter/prettier/stronger than one of the gods), King Sisyphus was punished. And the Greek gods were known for their ability to punish people.

Sisyphus was made to push an enormous boulder up an even more enormous hill. Only just before he got to the top, the enchanted boulder would roll away from him and to the bottom of the hill. Rinse and repeat for all eternity.

Love, Mom

Read More

How Much Do You Know About Pandora?

Dear Kid,

Waaaay back, before Pandora was a music station, even before Pandora was jewelry, she was a box. More accurately she was a myth. Even more accurately she was a Miss in a myth with a myth-sterious box.

Maybe I’d best start at the beginning.

NOT what Pandora found in her box. DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, Zeus got mad at Prometheus (who had given fire to the humans). As we know, Zeus had anger management issues. Anger issues, combined with cunning, combined with god-like power is a potent mixture, and Zeus was nothing if not potent.

So he decided to get back at Prometheus and his brother (Epimetheus) and all of mankind. He was that kind of a god.

Zeus had Hephaistos (I don’t think we’ve talked about Hephaistos. He is/was the blacksmith god, the god of volcanoes and melting metal and stuff like that. Known as Vulcan in Roman mythology and Birmingham, Alabama.) forge a beautiful woman. Don’t ask why a smith should be the one to forge a beautiful woman—that’s how the story goes.

Zeus named the woman Pandora (which means “all-gifts”) and gave her as a present to Epimetheus.

Now, my dear child, what have we learned about gifts from the gods? Basically that you’re in deep doo-doo. You will offend the gods if you refuse the gift (gods do not accept rejection well) and you’re clearly screwed if you accept the gift (gifts come with strings and conditions and other problems).

Faced with the choice of offending Zeus and getting a beautiful bride or offending Zeus and getting nothing, Epimetheus went with Door Number 1 and chose to marry Pandora. (For the record, Prometheus warned him not to, but since when do siblings really listen to each other?)

Zeus also did one other sneaky thing. He gave Pandora a box. With a really big lock on it. And told her never, ever, ever under any circumstances whatsoever was she to open the box. And he gave the key to Epimetheus.

I told you Zeus was pissed, right? Because no way could Pandora (who had been made for beauty not brains) avoid thinking about what was in the box.

And the more she thought about what might be in there, the more she wanted to open the box. And the more she wanted to open the box, the more she begged Epimetheus for the key. And the more she begged him for the key, the more he said no (why he didn’t take it to the vault is beyond me). And the more he said no, the more she absolutely positively had to see what was in the box.

One day, Pandora opened the box. (Reports on how she opened it vary. It may have been that Epimetheus fell asleep and she stole the key. It may have been that she just broke the big lock. It may have been that the lock was just a small seal and not a big deal to break. Investigative journalism was not very thorough in those days.)

The very instant the box cracked open, all the troubles we now know about flew out. There was disease, and worry, and crime, and hate, and envy, and sloth, and short hems, and ugly shoes, and badly applied makeup, and strife, and every other bad thing you can think of (as well as several you can’t possibly imagine).

Pandora slammed the box shut (bam!) and tried to catch all the bad things to put them back in the box. But they were well and truly gone. Still Pandora could hear one last thing in the box. She was afraid to open it, but eventually she did. Out flew one last little thing.

It was beautiful. It was Hope. Zeus had included Hope in the box to keep people going when the nasties got to be too much.

Love, Mom


Read More

The Story of Medusa and Pissing Off the Gods

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden who was one of Athena’s priestesses.

Since we’re talking about Greek mythology, it will not surprise you to learn that the beautiful maiden made a Horrible Mistake and royally pissed off Athena. As previously noted, one should not go around angering the gods.

As you doubtless (without a doubt) remember, Athena is the goddess of Wisdom and War. Which means not only can she kick your butt to New Jersey and back, she’ll be smart about it.

In this particular case, Beautiful Medusa’s (that was the beautiful maiden’s name) Big Mistake was temporarily forgetting that (as a priestess of Athena) she was supposed to be celibate. She married Poseidon who immediate made sure she wasn’t celibate a moment longer.

Athena was less than amused to see one of her priestesses poo-poo her vows and turned Beautiful Medusa into Hideous Medusa. Hideous Medusa was beyond unattractive. She had snakes instead of hair; horrid, bloodshot, bulgy eyes; and her skin was ghastly green. Seventeen Magazine did not ask her to pose for their August cover.

Just to make matters worse (and by “worse” I mean more interesting for the story), Athena cursed Medusa so that anyone who looked at Hideous Medusa would turn immediately into stone.

Note: It is impossible to eat chocolate if you’re made of stone.

Hideous Medusa was greatly unhappy (duh) and wandered around Africa shedding hair-snakes which is why there are so many poisonous snakes in Africa.

Eventually Medusa was killed by Perseus, but that’s another story for another day.

Interesting, when Perseus killed Medusa, she gave birth to Chrysaor and Pegasus (the white, flying horse with beautiful wings, second only to unicorns as the animal little girls want to have. Or be.). If you’re into genealogy, Poseidon was the papa (you remember the whole lack of celibacy thing, right?).

Now you know.

Love, Mom

Read More


Can't remember to check for new posts? No prob. I'll send it to you.

Online Marketing

Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Blog Directory
%d bloggers like this: