Posts Tagged ‘Cybele’

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Gender-Changing in Gods and Daimones

November 21, 2009

The theme of gender-changing, whether by one’s own hand or choice or by another’s, occurs frequently in Hellenic mythologies. It is accompanied, often, by gender-reversal; by gods and daimones acting as the opposite gender, rather than actually becoming the opposite gender. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the gender fluidity of the gods (and certain gods in particular), and part to the necessity of their act for their own gain, or for the gain of the entire kosmos. In this essay, I will be discussing, in-depth, the three most notable occurrences of gender-changing – Hermaphroditos’, Agdistis-Rhea-Kybele’s, and Attis’.

The most memorable case of gender-changing is that of Hermaphroditos, the god of hermaphrodites, effeminate men, masculine women, transsexuals, transgenders, etc. Hermaphroditos’ gender-change (or, more correctly, gender-merge) is also his primary mythology. He is rarely named in the literature that points to the Erotes, although he is numbered among them, both by his parentage and divine function; and even the mythology of his birth is short and barely-considered. His pre- and post-merge mythology is barely touched upon; despite his Olympic parentage, he seems to have been all but forgotten by the Classical writers, in all respects other than detailing his merge with the nympha Salmakis.
Hermaphroditos (or Atlantius, as he was once/otherwise known, according to Hyginus, Fabulae, 271), ‘whom in Mount Ida’s caves the Naiades nurtured’ (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.28ff), was a youth comparable in beauty only to Adonis, Ganymedes, Endymion, Hyakinthos, Narkissos, Hylas and Khrysippos. It is interesting to note, here, that several of these most beautiful youths–Adonis, Hyakinthos and Ganymedes and, to a lesser extent, Hylas–all experienced a gender reversal, which will be discussed in Gender-Reversal in Gods and Daimones.
When he was fifteen–‘when thrice five years had passed’ (Met, 4.28ff)–Hermaphroditos ventured from Mount Ida, ‘eager to roam strange lands afar’ (Met, 4.28ff), and eventually came upon Salmakis’ ‘limpid shining pool’ (Met, 4.28ff). Salmakis, upon seeing the beautiful youth, declared her love for him. He, who ‘knew not what love was’ (Met, 4.28ff), rejected her as she ‘besought at least a sister’s kiss’ (Met, 4.28ff). Pretending to accept his rejection, the nympha Salmakis withdrew from sight; and Hermaphroditos, thinking himself alone, stepped into her pool and ‘stripped his light garments from his slender limbs’ (Met, 4.28ff). Salmakis watched him until he dived into the pool; and that–in succumbing to the pull of her water–made him hers, seemingly, for she ‘flung aside her clothes and plunged far out into the pool and grappled him’ (Met, 4.28ff). Hermaphroditos struggled to free himself and, at last, she managed to gain such a hold on him that ‘her clinging body seemed fixed fast to his’ (Met, 4.28ff), and she beseeched the gods to never let their bodies part. The gods (though it is unknown which gods) accepted the prayer and ‘both bodies merged in one, both blended in one form and face . . . they two were two no more, nor man, nor woman–one body then that neither seemed and both.’ (Met, 4.28ff) Hermaphroditos, now merged with Salmakis, emerged from the pool, saw that ‘the waters of the pool, where he had dived a man, had rendered him half woman’ (Met, 4.28ff) and beseeched his divine parents, Hermes and Aphrodite, that ‘whoso in these waters bathes a man emerge half woman, weakened instantly’ (Met, 4.28ff). His parents agreed; and ‘drugged the bright water with that power impure’ (Met, 4.28ff).
Diodorus Siculus described Hermaphroditos, after the merging with the nympha: ‘Some say that this Hermaphroditos is a god and appears at certain times among men, and that he is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman, in that he has a body which is beautiful and delicate like that of a woman, but has the masculine quality and vigour of a man.’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 4.6.5.) Diodorus Siculus then continued to note that ‘there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do they have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good.’ (Library of History, 4.6.5.)

The above quote of Diodorus Siculus can be applied, in turn, to the monster-god Agdistis, born of the Phrygian Sky God and Earth Goddess–Ouranos and Gaia–who would later become Kybele, equated with Rhea as Rhea-Kybele, mother of the gods.
Agdistis was, according to Pausanias, born when Ouranos (or, rather, the Phrygian sky god – who Pausanias equates with Zeus, strangely), ‘let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female.’ (Pausanias, Guide to Greece, 7.17.8.) Fearing Agdistis–the bi-sexed, and therefore aggressively, and by some accounts, literally insanely, sexual god–the other gods ‘cut off the male organ’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8), thus effectively changing Agdistis, a bi-sexed god, to Rhea-Kybele, a solely female god. An almond tree grew from Agdistis-Kybele’s castrated organ, and a nympha daughter of the river-god Sangarios ‘took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child.’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8.)
The child born was the youth Attis; and as he grew, his beauty, which was ‘more than human’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8) drew Agdistis-Kybele’s eye. She fell in love with him; and he ‘conquered the towered goddess with pure love’ (Ovid, Fasti, 4.222). Attis swore to her that he would ‘desire to be a boy always’ and that if he ever cheated, the one ‘I cheat with [will] be my last’ (Fasti, 4.222). He cheated, either by having an affair with the nympha Sagaritis (Fasti, 4.222) or by an attempt at marrying a king’s daughter (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8).
Agdistis-Rhea-Kybele, in divine wrath and madness, either then killed Sagaritis–by cutting down the nympha’s tree; ‘her fate was the tree’s’ (Fasti, 4.222)–or showed up at the wedding of Attis and the king’s daughter, whilst ‘the marriage-song was being song’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8); either version, though, caused Attis to descend into instant madness. Attis ‘bolts to Dindymus’ heights’ (Fasti, 4.222) and ‘went mad and cut off his genitals’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8), until ‘no signs of manhood remained.’ (Fasti, 4.222.) According to Pausanias, she then ‘repented of what she had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay’ (Guide to Greece, 7.17.8); effectively, then, immortalising him.
This myth–beginning with Agdistis’ conception and ending with Attis’ immortal rebirth–has several common themes. The first, of course, is gender-changing; Agdistis, the bi-sexed, became Rhea-Kybele, a mother goddess, and simultaneously impregnated Sangarios’ nympha daughter, and thus became a father goddess, too. Attis, the boy born of the nympha and Agdistis’ castrated genitals, castrated himself, in turn, and ‘became a model: soft-skinned acolytes toss their hair and cut their worthless organs’ (Fasti, 4.222), thus effectively changing his own gender – and although his gender was changed by his own hands, it was caused by Agdistis-Rhea-Kybele. The second important theme is accidental pregnancy: the Phrygian Sky God’s/Ouranos’ impregnation of Gaia, the Earth, creating the bi-sexed Agdistis; and then Agdistis’ castrated genitals’ impregnation of Sangarios’ daughter, creating the lovely Attis. The entire myth continues the theme of ‘creatures of two sexes are monstrosities’, as suggested by Diodorus Siculus; and is a reoccuring theme within Hellenic mythology. Perhaps the other gods are wary the raw, fertile, mad power of bi-sexed gods; or, perhaps it was simply the prejudices of Classical society, made into divine acceptance through the mythos.

In Gender-Reversal in Gods and Daimones, I will be further exploring the gender switches in the Greek mythos; including Zeus’ gender-switch into Artemis, Adonis’ androgynous nature, Ganymedes’ and Hyakinthos’ apparent femininity and feminine values; and others.

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Rhea-Kybele and Lions

October 10, 2009

Classical writings and art portray Rhea (identified with the Anatolian Kybele, thus forming Rhea-Kybele) as accompanied by, or as riding, lions. To understand exactly why this is—why Rhea-Kybele is so intimately connected with lions—one must look first to the Classical mythologies, and then to the symbolism of the lion.

Rhea-Kybele, as the mother of the gods Demeter, Hades, Hera, Hestia, Poseidon and Zeus, carries titles such as Mêtêr Theôn (mother of the gods), Mêtêr Megalê (great mother) and Mêtêr Isodromê (fast-paced mother). In myth, she is the wife (or ex-wife) of Kronos, the Titane god of destructive time; according to writers such as Hesiod, Pindar and Apollodorus, Kronos took to devouring each of their children, due to a prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of his children. Naturally, Rhea hated this and so when Zeus was born, she hid him away in the mountains, and appointed warrior daimones (spirits) to guard him. These daimones are known by multiple names—they are named the Kouretes of Krete, the Korybantes of Phrygia, the Gigantes of Arkadia, the Daktyloi of Troad or the Kabeiroi of Samothrake—but are, according to Strabo (in Geography, 10.3.7), the same group of spirits. These warrior daimones (which I will, for the sake of ease, name as the Kouretes) guarded the infant Zeus as he aged. According to Oppian, Kronos discovered Zeus when he was a child, and turned Zeus’ guards into lions: ‘And when the son of Ouranos beheld the lusty young child he transformed the first glorious guardians of Zeus and in vengeance made the Kouretes wild beasts. And since by the devising of the god Kronos exchanged their human shape and put upon them the form of Lions, thenceforth by the boon of Zeus they greatly lord it over the wild beasts which dwell upon the hills.’ (Oppian, Cynegetica 3.7.)

The second account of how Rhea-Kybele became so linked with lions is in the myth of Hippomenes, as described by Ovid. According to this, Aphrodite aided the hero Hippomenes in his race for the hand of Atalantê; however when Hippomenes won, he failed to give Aphrodite her dues, and she, incensed, drove Hippomenes and Atalantê to the temple of the Mater Deum (the Mêtêr Theôn; Rhea-Kybele). When they arrived, Aphrodite roused desire within them, and, they ‘entered here and with forbidden sin defiled the sanctuary’ of the Mater Deum. As punishment, Rhea-Kybele changed them into lions: ‘Therefore their necks, so smooth before, she clothed with tawny manes, their fingers curved to claws; their arms were changed to legs; their chests swelled with new weight; with tails they swept the sandy ground; and in their eyes cruel anger blazed and growls they gave for speech. Their marriage-bed is now a woodland lair, and feared by men, but by the goddess tamed, they champ – two lions – the bits of Cybele.’ (Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.681.)

These accounts, though, are somewhat contradictory. In the first, the metamorphosised Kouretes are placed at Rhea-Kybele’s side as a blessing and honour; in the second, lions are her attendants as a warning and a curse. In order to decide which account best fits, one must look to Rhea-Kybele’s relationship to the lion, and, also, to the way that the Ancient Greeks viewed the lion – the symbolism of the lion.

Firstly, The Homeric Hymn 14 to the Mother of the Gods describes how the Mêtêr Theôn is ‘well-pleased with the sound of rattles and of timbrels, with the voice of flutes and the outcry of wolves and bright-eyes lions.’ Secondly, according to Valerius Flaccus, Rhea-Kybele was furious when Cyzicus killed one of her lions and hung its head to shame her: ‘Cyzicus upon his swift horse . . . with his javelin he slew a lion that was wont to bear its mistress through the cities of Phrygia and was now returning to the bridle. And now (Madman!) hath he hung from his doorposts the mane and the head of his victim, a spoil to bring sorrow to himself and shame upon the goddess. But she, nursing her great rage, beholds from the cymbal-clashing mountain the ship with its border of kingly shields,  and devises against the hero deaths and horrors unheard of.’ (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 3.20.) Thirdly, Nonnus describes how Rhea-Kybele’s home contains her lions, and how they are fed ambrosia – the food of the gods – by her castrated son and lover, Attis: ‘he entered the divine precinct selfbuilt of Rheia, mother of mighty sons. He freed his ravening lions from the yokestraps, and haltered them at the manger which he filled with ambrosial fodder.’ (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 25.310.)

The above sources do not indicate a hatred of Rhea-Kybele for lions; they, in fact, indicate quite the opposite. She is ‘well-pleased’ with her lions; the slaughter of them causes her ‘great rage’; and her own lover cares for them and feeds them ‘ambrosial fodder’, thus granting them immortality. This all suggests that Rhea-Kybele’s lions are not kept around her as a warning or curse; but as a blessing, as an honour to those who so protected her son, Zeus. In order to confirm—or deny—this suggestion, one should look to how, exactly, the people of the ancient cultures of the time viewed the lion.

Ancient Egyptians sometimes portrayed their pharaohs as sphinxes, thus identifying them with lions. Therefore sphinxes (and lions) were identified with power, rule and protection – interestingly, this is echoed in Rhea-Kybele’s turret crown (as identified by both Ovid and Propertius), which emphasises her nature as a warrior goddess concerned with protection of the city. The Egyptians associated two of their goddesses, Bast and Sekhmet (both originally identified as having the head of a lioness), and the god Maahes, son of either Bast or Sekhmet, with lions. Bast is the Egyptian god of pleasure, festivity, cats, ferocity, perfumes, vermin and the destruction thereof, women, mothers and motherhood and protection; Sekhmet of warriors, hunters, protection, women, motherhood, bloodlust, menstruation, death, disease and deserts; and Maahes of war, weather, knives, hunting, strength, power and protection of matrilineality. It can therefore be assumed that the Egyptians identified lions with such things as power, war, hunting, protection, women, disease and death.

Ancient Greeks “borrowed” the sphinx from the Egyptians in their own Sphinx, one of the Theres, who presided over matters such as destruction, bad luck, riddles, strangulation and the death of young men. The Sphinx is often said to have been sent by one of the gods—usually Hera (as identified by Apollodorus, The Library 3.5.8)—as a punishment to the people of Thebes, and as thus would have connection to Hera’s domain: women, marriage, weather, the heavens, motherhood, etc. This forms an interesting parallel to the Nemean Lion (said by some, such as Hesiod, to be the brother of the Sphinx), whom Hera ‘trained up and settled among the hills of Nemeia, to be a plague to mankind’ (Hesiod, Theogony 327ff). Bacchylides (Fragment 9), Callimachus (Aetia Fragments 55 and 108) and Aelian (On Animals 12.7) also describe Hera as having nurtured or sent the Nemean Lion. Due to their links to Hera (and, sometimes, to each-other), both the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion can be said to be associated with women, wrath, war, death, destruction, revenge, mothers, motherhood, marriage, the (night) sky, and so on. One must also consider Rhea-Kybele’s nature and influence; she is considered a goddess of women, marriage, childbirth (and mothers and motherhood), fertility, sexuality, madness, destruction, protection, and so on.

Linking together the views of the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, one can presume that these ancient cultures viewed lions as being connected to women, disease, death, hunting, war, power, destruction, mothers, motherhood, childbirth, fertility, protection of cities, madness and protection of women. Because of this, and the manner in which the above-mentioned sources (concerning Rhea-Kybele’s relationship to the lion) portray Rhea-Kybele’s apparent affection for lions, the suggestion that lions are at her side as an honour, rather than a warning, seems more concrete.

Because of all this, one can further understand the nature of Rhea-Kybele. Her links to motherhood, women, fertility, protection, war, death and destruction become even more pronounced; and as such, the links between lions and these matters becomes more solid. In conclusion, then, Rhea-Kybele, when accompanied by her mountain-roaming lions, gains further prestige and connections as an incredibly powerful goddess. Her lions remind onlookers of the benefits of her favour, and of her love for warriors, women and the fertile wilderness – even with their humanity destroyed, her Kouretes linger at her sides, loving and protecting her with everything they have.

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Read Write Prompt #16

October 10, 2009

Read Write Prompt #16: It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again!

Rhea-Kybele – motherhood.

The eyes of a woman, burning with pain
Not yet–or ever–known to human men.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
As she waits for her children to be born.

She supports herself when her old man flees.
Two children, now fatherless; they have her.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love;
She will do all she can to keep them safe.

Her children grow, blossoming like flowers,
And soon they are heartbreakers, heartbroken.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
And when they need her, she is there for them.

The time comes for them to leave their nest-home;
The mother blinks back tears and kisses them.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love.
They need to do this; and she must let them.

They return, years later, with grandchildren;
Noise once more fills the mother’s lonely house.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
And when they leave, the mother turns away.

She grows old, trapped away in her world; she
Is kept away from the children she loves.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
And she knows that she has done all she can.

Winter begins to make her thin bones ache;
She moves slowly, lest the pain destroy her.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love;
Her children return, old themselves; she smiles.

In her final days, it is not only
Her lovely children watching over her.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
As day turns to night; and she slips away.

The mother of all, Rhea-Kybele,
Meets her in the twilight between the worlds.
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
As the Mighty Mother kisses her brow.

The mother asks her, “What should I do now?”
Rhea-Kybele smiles. “Be who you are.”
The pain, though, is blurred with the edge of love,
And the mother’s soul can finally rest.

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Read Write Prompt #14

October 9, 2009

Read Write Prompt #14: Love Poem to your Crooked Toes, or Writing An Ode.

Rhea-Kybele: the human body.

There is nothing in this world
Quite so lovely as the human body.
I pass golden fingers over their cold warmth
And delight in the boundary of their skin.
Sometimes, I hook my fingers under their ribs
And wait for the crunch, the snap,
That tells me I’ve found exactly what I was looking for.
And then I pull out their heart, still beating.

There is nothing in this world
Quite so lovely as the human body.
It is Aphrodite’s in life, and Persephone’s in death,
But, always, it belongs most to me.
I drive the needs of the limbs, the yearning
For completion, for sex. I drive childbirth,
That moment when everything changes, and
Nothing is as important as this new, fragile babe.

There is nothing in this world
Quite so lovely as the human body.
I adore it, truly. I kissed Attis as both boy and girl,
And loved neither more – I loved only the feel of his lips,
Then her lips; soft and firm, yielding and not.
The body doesn’t deny my pleasure; it wants me
As surely as a babe wants to breathe.
Nothing can change that, and nothing ever will.

There is nothing in this world
Quite so lovely as the human body.
The hair, silky-soft; the liquid eyes; the slope of the nose.
The rosebud lips; the gently-curved ears; the arch of the throat.
The smooth chest, breasts, stomach, lower.
Arms, wrists; thighs, toes.
Truly, is there anything so lovely as all of that?
I think not; and should I, a goddess, not know?

Nothing.
There is nothing in this world
Quite so lovely as the human body.
That is the truth, and that is life.

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Aphrodite-Ananke and Creation

September 27, 2009

When you hear the name ‘Aphrodite,’ it is highly likely that you immediately understand who it is one is speaking of – after all, Aphrodite (and the Roman goddess that she was identified with, Venus) is a popular figure even outside of Hellenic Polytheistic circles. However, unless you have delved quite deeply into the Greek mythologies, it is unlikely that you will know who ‘Ananke’ is. She is not a mainstream goddess; she is not Olympian nor an attendant of such, but rather she is one of the gods—the Protogenos or primeval gods—who are principally responsible for the creation of the cosmos and everything within it.

Simply put, Ananke is the god of compulsion, necessity and inevitability. She was born the sister-mate of the Protogenos Khronos, king of time—who is deeply identified with Aion, the Protogenos lord of eternity—and from their embrace Phanes first begun. Phanes, the primeval god of creation and generation, equated with Hesiod’s Elder Eros and the more well-known (and oft-called ‘younger’) Eros, god of love and the son of Aphrodite.

In my personal view of How The Kosmos Came To Be—based on a mix of classical sources—in the beginning, and for unknowable eons, all that existed was Khaos; the deep mists of the void. Khaos existed, and nothing else: she did not breathe, she did not think, she did not live. And yet stirring in her misty womb—perhaps over hundreds of thousands of years; perhaps for even longer—were the Protogenos gods Ananke and Khronos-Aion. Nature, of course, abhors a vacuum; and so it was the eternal pull of inevitability that pulsed together in the barely-there body of Khaos until, finally, the moment arose and Ananke and Khronos-Aion were born, tangled together.

From Khronos-Aion and Ananke’s violent, and yet utterly sexless, embrace, Phanes’ egg was produced; it grew in Ananke’s womb until the time came for it to emerge. And yet there was, truly, no way for the egg to emerge: there was yet no Phanes, no Protogenos pull to reproduce – and so they could not, did not, reproduce. It was only when Phanes hatched from his egg, deep in Ananke’s body, that they became truly, sexually formed: and at that moment, Ananke was torn apart by the immense pressure of generation, life, sex – the immense pressure that was Phanes. Thus, now, Ananke’s divinity rested with Khronos’ still, but she was utterly formless—more so, even, than Khaos.

Phanes’ arrival—his necessary arrival—into the kosmos kicked everything into action. The other Protogenos offspring that had been stirring within Khaos were instantly born – Erebos, Nyx, Tartaros and Gaia; darkness, night, the stormy pit beneath the earth and the earth itself, respectively. Phanes pulsed, everywhere: the Protogenos gods crashed together and life exploded in the far-reaching darkness of the kosmos.

Gaia, with only Phanes’ massively sexual influence and no tangible partner, produced children such as Ouranos, the heavens, whom shortly thereafter became the father, with Gaia, of the twelve Titanes. The Titanes were led by Kronos, god of destructive time, and the bi-gendered god Agdistis, who would later be castrated and become the goddess Rhea-Kybele. However, not all was as perfectly peaceful as it may sound: and the first war between the gods was not long in arriving.

After the Titanes’ births, Ouranos and Gaia continued to come together—he descended nightly to lie with her—and they produced more children, the Hekatonkheires (six hundred-handed and fifty-headed gigantes). The Hekatonkheires were so awful and terrifying to look upon that, after the birth of the first, Ouranos took it upon himself to force each back into Gaia’s womb. This caused her immense pain, and she eventually went to her Titane sons to ask them for their help. Only Kronos agreed to help.

Kronos, as is rather well known, ambushed Ouranos as he descended to lie with Gaia, and castrated him. The severed genitals of the god landed in the sea, mixing with Thalassa’s Protogenos sea-womb – and Aphrodite began to take shape. Over the course of the hundreds of years during which Aphrodite was formed, Agdistis became Rhea-Kybele, Rhea and Kronos’ Olympian children were born, Kronos swallowed all of the Olympians but Zeus, and Zeus, when old and powerful enough, waged war with the Titanes and won the reign of the kosmos.

As such, this time was not yet right for Aphrodite: the Moirai spun the threads of violence, hate and pain, and there was then no opening for a god such as Aphrodite who encompassed both spectrums of emotions and bodily states; the good (such as love, piety and friendship) and the awful (war, torture and death). And as she was growing—slowly and steadily, in the womb of deep Thalassa—the divine essence of Ananke remained torn apart. That essence resonated with Aphrodite’s own: for both are gods of compulsion, of necessity, of want and need and inevitability, and both longed for completion – Aphrodite for the wars to cease and to be born, lovely and whole, and Ananke to return to her mate Khronos-Aion, who continued to turn the heavens without her.

It was inevitable, in and of itself, that Ananke’s loose divinity would be attracted to Aphrodite’s. They drew steadily closer—Ananke filtered through Thalassa’s womb and delighted in the contact with a fellow yearning divine—until, in a burst of what truly could only be described as fate, their essences merged together. Ananke ceased to exist; Aphrodite alone never truly existed. They became one: Aphrodite-Ananke, the Protogenos, Titane and even Olympian goddess of the necessity of procreation, the compulsion of love, and the inevitability of beauty in a world created by such gods as these.

The war between the Olympians and the Titanes ended shortly after, and the time came for Aphrodite-Ananke to, slowly, be born. At this time, Phanes’ influence was still everywhere, pushing at anything and everything to create, create, create; and it was here that ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Eros’ first met, as she was being born and he was there to urge her on (and yet he was her own child: for he was the son of Ananke and Khronos, and her essence was now so wound with Ananke’s that it would have been impossible—truly, truly impossible—to separate them; they had totally become one).

From the very first, Aphrodite-Ananke and Phanes connected. As the resonance between Aphrodite and Ananke had occurred, it occurred now between Phanes and Aphrodite-Ananke – but the end result was much different. Instead of their essences merging, Phanes wrapped himself around the child-goddess and all but suffocated her in his embrace. From this, a seed of divinity flickered in Aphrodite-Ananke’s womb—a connection—and Phanes poured his entire divinity into Aphrodite-Ananke in a tidal wave that shook the childhood from her essence and brought about, simultaneously, the rapid development of the child, or rather the children, within her womb.

She gave birth to Phanes immediately: he was now born again as Phanes-Eros, Phanes-Himeros and Phanes-Pothos – the gods of love, desire and passion. By the time that she finally reached the shore of Cyprus, Zeus immediately met her and ordered that she join the Olympian gods, perhaps recognising the Protogenos stir in her eyes and smiles, and she, in turn, asked Nerites to join her. He refused, and refused again the wings she would offer him, and the first instance of her wrath against a wrongdoer of love occurred; she turned him into a shellfish, and gave the wings to her Erotes, instead.

And, thus, Aphrodite-Ananke became known as simply Aphrodite, and her sons not as Phanes-Eros, Phanes-Himeros and Phanes-Pothos, but simply Eros, Himeros and Pothos. It is these words that even I most commonly use, due to ease, but the deity I refer to each time is the same: ‘Aphrodite’ is the mixture of the essences of Aphrodite and Ananke; ‘Eros’ is Phanes reborn as Eros; ‘Himeros’ is, likewise, Phanes-Himeros; and, finally, ‘Pothos’ is Phanes-Pothos.