Posts Tagged ‘Eternity’

h1

Beauty of Eternity

January 30, 2010

Sometimes I feel you here—
The magic of sunshine, the golden haze
That spreads down from the clouds
To hang as a crown atop my head.

I whisper your name in the shadows,
And dream of your eyes, heavy-lidded
With smoky rapture, with the ecstasy
Of a thousand nights, of all lovers.

Your couch is the most sweet of all,
And it is also the most transient,
Torn away in a moment of bitterness.
The beauty of the eternity lies here, now—

With you, my goddess.

Advertisements
h1

Persephone

December 1, 2009

I sing of thee,
Night Queen,
fervent lover of the darkest lord;
Iron Queen,
unbending ruler of the dead;
Bright Queen,
removed from a mother’s shadow;
Winter Queen,
ethereal, smoke-born maiden;
Infernal Queen,
keeper of the natural balance;
Motherly Queen,
defender of the dying and forsaken;
Summer Queen,
bringer of life and fertile love;
Young Queen,
champion of the lovelorn;
Vengeful Queen,
mistress of the fair Eumenides;
Lovely Queen,
bringer of moonlit magic;
Shadow Queen,
saviour of the broken;
Child Queen,
keeper of the earthly fruits;
Patient Queen,
unmovable in justice and honour;
Ghastly Queen,
lady of the shades of the dead;
Eternal Queen,
existing in the shadow-world;
Persephone,
bringer of light to dusky Dis.

h1

Gates of Memory

November 18, 2009

Smoke curls shiver through
The frost-tinted air.
Mnemosyne waits, her
Fingers curled into
The thick fur of her
Dark, panting foxes.
Their breath melts the ice,
Brings warmth to her cheeks,
White and smooth as bone.

Time falls around her;
Ribbons of flame that
Dance to the music
Of her thumping heart.
She catches it in
Her hands, and blows the
Streams of yesterday
Into the air, bright
As twilight shadows.

Her free hand rests on
The bronze gate of time,
Of fluttering life;
Memory, pulsing
Beneath her pale skin,
Trapped in the abyss.
She looks ahead, then,
And smiles with too
Many, jagged teeth.

h1

Oblivion

November 14, 2009

The soft silence of the dead yields to the
Whispers of Lethe: her lazy streams drift
Through low-swirling shadows like rich, lovely
Honey poured by the hands of the Mousai.

Her movements are as slow and careful as
Her trickling streams. Her liquid eyes smile
With gentle promise; as though her dusky
Bed holds all the secrets of this dark world.

Music hums between her pale fingers, quiet
Enough not to disturb the shades that trail,
Silent as Thanatos himself, in her
Wake. She shines with life in this place of death.

She glides, feet skimming her streams, to the lake
That lies where her waters end. She reaches
Out to kiss the goddess that waits; her lips
Brush Mnemosyne’s, soft as oblivion.

h1

Why Persephone?

October 6, 2009

In my quest to better understand Persephone, I have found myself pausing at this particular point. Why is it that Hades chose Persephone—or Kore—to be his wife? It was not merely her maidenhood, her sexual innocence; and nor was it her gentle, sunlit nature. To boil it down to her as the ‘essence of spring’ does an injustice to this goddess – for she is the embodiment of change, of all of the seasons, of the natural order. But as Kore, she was not such things. She was just Demeter’s daughter, just the maiden accompanied by nymphs. And yet Hades saw something in her, this girl—or rather, this pretty puppet, a flower not yet opened—and he fell in love with her. The heart of one such as Hades was warmed by her and, inflamed by Eros’ eager smiles, he stole her away.

I believe that Hades recognised his equal in Persephone. He did not part the earth and incite Demeter into almost killing gods and humans everywhere just so that he could have a pretty little doll sit on his lap. No: he brought her into the Underworld and helped her become his equal. And she, in return, accepted the pomegranate seeds—Hera’s seeds; the seeds of marriage—and they were wed.

One might wonder how, and why, Hades and Persephone are equals. Prior to his abduction of her, they were not: in spirit they were, but in terms of influence they were all but opposites. Persephone was responsible only for spring growth, for the gentle blossoming of flowers; and Hades was the King of the Underworld. Persephone was also living her immortal life in Demeter’s shadow; she was watched constantly by her, and those that vied for her hand were turned away by her mother, not by her. If Hades had not abducted Persephone she, arguably, might never have reached her full potential: she would have likely lived forever in her mother’s shadow, responsible only for the beginning of spring.

With the help of Zeus and Gaia, according to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hades was able to steal away Persephone, unnoticed by all but Helios and Hekate. There is significance in this: Helios, lord of the sun, sees everything that occurs throughout the day; Hekate, queen of necromancy and ghosts, would know of everything that occurs throughout the night. Thus the transition of Kore to Persephone—girl to woman—is echoed not only in Persephone’s annual return from the Underworld and the awakening of the earth, but also in the time in which she was taken: at dusk or dawn, the in-between times.

In art and myth, Persephone is often described as a “young” goddess. She is a youth; stolen from the sunlight before she can achieve her true form, and yet she is not a child. She is at the in-between stage, the ‘dawn’ of womanhood: she is the quintessential woman-child. In abrupt, modern terms, she is a teenager. She does not yet know the delights and sorrows of being a woman; she is not a matron, and she will never be a crone. She is caught at a stage of hormones, a twist of cool logic and sharp emotions – and thus can be seen in how she behaves as Queen of the Underworld.

Persephone’s relationship with Adonis (which I will discuss in more detail further on) is an echo of this transition. After his death, he spends half of the year in the Underworld with her, and half with in the world above with Aphrodite. To coincide with this, Adonis would spend the autumn winter months with Persephone, and the spring and summer months with Aphrodite: thus their relationship echoes the themes of life-death-rebirth that are so common in the Greek mythologies.

When Persephone is stolen from the world, Demeter proves that she is willing to go to any lengths to get her back. She refuses to let the living things taste fruit and feel warmth—both fruit and heat here symbolising life, as food and energy are required for most, if not all, life-forms. (It is also ironic, then, that the only fruit that can be found in the Underworld—the pomegranate—still grew without Demeter’s influence; if she had killed that, too, Persephone might never have become the Queen of the Underworld.) Thus both Demeter and Persephone are here goddesses of winter; of the hard, cruel, cold months where—and this would have been particularly true in antiquity—jagged, icy death reigns and humanity becomes the prey, rather than the predator.

And then, when Persephone returns from the Underworld, she and her mother bless the earth with life – the flowers begin to grow; the fruits shine; the snows recede. Demeter and Persephone, then, are goddesses of the seasons—for Demeter brings about the changes of summer and winter and Persephone rules spring (as Kore, the maiden, goddess of spring growth) and autumn (as Persephone Karpophoros, the bringer of fruit, goddess of the harvest).

As Queen of the Underworld, Persephone is a much more merciful, benevolent ruler than Hades – and such is shown in how she treats the (would-be) heroes that find their way into the Underworld. When Herakles entered the Underworld, he was ‘welcomed like a brother by Persephone’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History); and according to Apollodorus in his Bibliotheca, Herakles passed up victory in his wrestling competition with the Underworld god Menoites ‘at the request of Persephone.’ When Psykhe reached Persephone’s palace, she ‘declined the soft cushion and the rich food offered by her hostess,’ (Apuleius, The Golden Ass) and when she reported the trial that Aphrodite had tasked her with, Persephone immediately filled the box of beauty for her. Persephone took favour on Sisyphus and released him from the Underworld; and when Orpheus sang of his love for Eurydice, he ‘persuaded her to assist him in his desires and to allow him to bring up his dead wife from Haides’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History).

However, Persephone also proves that she is not a goddess with whom one can trifle with; when Peirithoos plans to kidnap her from the Underworld for his wife, the youth Persephone blossoms into a woman and deals swiftly with him: ‘Peirithoos now decided to seek the hand of Persephone in marriage, and when he asked Theseus to make the journey with him Theseus at first endeavoured to dissuade him and to turn him away from such a deed as being impious; but since Peirithoos firmly insisted upon it Theseus was bound by the oaths to join with him in the deed. And when they had at last made their way below to the regions of Haides, it came to pass that because of the impiety of their act they were both put in chains, and although Theseus was later let go by reason of the favour with which Herakles regarded him, Peirithoos because of the impiety remained in Haides, enduring everlasting punishment; but some writers of myths say that both of them never returned.’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History).

In discussing Persephone and her transition—after her abduction at Hades’ hands—from child to woman, it is inevitable that one must discuss who she has ever taken as a lover. Unlike many of the gods, Persephone did not have numerous lovers – only Hades (to whom she gave birth to the Erinyes, according to the Orphic Hymns 29 and 70), Zeus (to whom she birthed Zagreus, according to the Orphic Hymn 29, Hyginus, Diodorus Siculus, Nonnus and Suidas; and Melinoe, according to the Orphic Hymn 71) and Adonis.

Persephone’s infamous love-affair with Adonis produced no children, and, strangely, did not incite the jealousy or wrath of her husband Hades (though Ares, only the paramour of Aphrodite, was envious enough of Adonis to kill him, according to some classical writers). It could be argued that Persephone’s relationship with Adonis is symbolic of the process of rebirth. Before his death, Adonis spent a third of his year with Persephone—I suggest that this third was the very end of autumn, the whole of winter, and the very beginning of spring. As such, Aphrodite would be cold and in mourning in the months when sex and love would, especially in antiquity, have not been at the forefront of the minds of humankind; and his emergence from the Underworld would coincide with Persephone’s own. Thus the relationship of Adonis, Aphrodite and Persephone would symbolise the entire theme of life-death-rebirth: Aphrodite as the ruler of life, Persephone as the ruler of death, and Adonis as the transition between their realms. Adding to this, both Aphrodite and Persephone share the epithet Despoina—the ruling goddess, or the mistress—and this, I think, lends further credence to the idea proposed.

Persephone’s relationship with Zeus was one of the most devastating of unions: the King of Life and the Queen of Death. As such, perhaps Zagreus was doomed from the very offset – born of trickery and lies, for, according to such authors as Nonnus, Zeus took the shape of a drakon (a dragon; a serpent) and ravished Persephone. Zagreus was a colossal explosion of Fate—for Zeus and Persephone both influence it, and have been influenced by it—as well as the primal stirrings of desire. Thus Zagreus—and, in turn, Dionysos—is a god with influence over life, death and fate, for he commands his followers to take their destinies into their own hands and twist them into oblivion.

In answer to the question proposed by the very title of this essay—Why Persephone?—I give this: Hades chose Persephone because she was his perfect opposite: feminity to his masculinity, warmth to his cold and light to his darkness. Between them, Hades and Persephone are, also, the very embodiment of two principles that rule supreme in the psyche of humans – the notion of life after death, and the promise of rebirth. They are fair rulers of the Underworld and just governors of fate; and in their capable hands, I am assured that the flow of life, death and rebirth will continue as long as the Moirai—the Fates—see fit.

h1

Serpentine

October 4, 2009

You are the slow crawl
Of eternity;
Incorporeal,
Serpentine lover.

Lord of the wheel of
Time, necessity;
The Zodiakos
Yield to You alone.

Creator of need,
Of pulsing hunger;
Of far-reaching Phanes,
The father of all.

The passing of time,
The fate of all men,
Is both a blessing
And a curse from You.

You are the King of
A generation
Of kings: but You are
Supreme, above all.

I offer to You,
Lord of the kosmos,
My eternal soul;
It is Yours alone.

Supreme Aion, Lord
Of the Moirai and
Those who govern them,
I ask You one thing:

Please, my King, do not
Be moved to anger
Against me; let me
Stir not Your fury.

I submit to You.
My body, my mind,
My soul; I give all
Unto You, Time Lord.

I hope only that
You are pleased with my
Offering; for I
Would serve You always.

h1

Golden Dawn

October 2, 2009

Rosy-fingered girl,
Bringing change in her
Easy smiles and the
Pulse of golden light
That clings to her skin.

She changes even
As she pulls herself
From her tangled dreams;
Humanity drifts,
Hazy, barely there.

In the twilight hours,
When she is not yet
Awake, but not still
Lost in her dreamworld,
She glows with promise.

From her bed she comes,
Lifting up her hands
So that her skin gleams
Ruby-red in the
Dim morning sunlight.

Selene meets her;
Her eyes droop from the
Tiredness that comes
From her eternal
Desire to sleep.

“Morning, sweet sister,”
Eos murmurs; her
Eyes shine with rosy
Laughter, daring her
Sister to argue.

She does not retort.
Instead, she presses
A shy kiss to her
Sister’s radiant
Brow, and walks onwards.

Eos carries on–
Alone, so alone–
Towards her shining
Brother’s ever-warm,
Candle-lit chambers.

The Horai meet her,
And make her pause so
That they can string beads
And pretty flowers
Into her gold hair.

“Stay with us awhile,”
One whispers, bending
To reverently
Kiss the sunshine-sweet
Lips of the Dawn Queen.

“Yes, stay,” another
Sighs, pressing her warm
Cheek to the Queen’s, and
Smiling as Titane
Light slips between them.

“I must not linger,”
Eos objects, but
She desires no
More than to dance with
Them, and they know it.

Eventually
The Horai part, but
It is not Eos
Who makes them move; it
Is the hum of fate.

She continues forth,
Ignorant to the
Gazes of her bright
Brother’s guards – they would
Not dare to harm her.

Her radiant hands
Push open the doors
To his lovely rooms;
His gleaming birds take
To the air, singing.

He, lying in his
Bed of white petals,
Lifts his head and glows
So brightly that it
Hurts even her eyes.

“Is it my time now?”
Helios asks, his
Golden eyes meeting
Her own. She nods, smiles,
And says one word: “Yes.”

She helps him rise from
His soft bed and to
Clothe himself in the
Delicate, purple
Robes he wears each day.

They exchange idle
Kisses to pass the
Time as he dresses;
The room grows heavy
With perfumed hunger.

Their kisses become
Sharper; lined with teeth
That yearn to nip and
Scrape over bare flesh
In the morning hours.

Dawn rises and the
Sun shines on, on, on;
They lie together,
He in his robes, she
In nothing at all.

Helios kisses
Her brow, smiling as
Brightly as the sun
That draws its daily
Heat from their embrace.

The day passes in
A blur of red heat,
Of beating hearts – though
No blood ever sweeps
Through their golden veins.

The day ends
And they seperate;
Each returns to their
Own bed, exhausted
By eternal love.