The All-Prevailing Night   Leave a comment

My latest LSQ blog is up, dears!

At the dawn of creation emerge the Protogenoi, the primordial gods who set in place the very foundations of the cosmos.

One of the first children of Kaos from whom everything else flows is Nyx, the goddess of night. Modern folk tend to conflate her with her sibling and mate Erebos, or Darkness, but they are not the same being. It is through the union of Night and Darkness that Hemera, the goddess of Day, and Aethyr, the bright upper air, come into being.

Night and Darkness bear within them the seeds of Light.

Nyx has a host of other children, most conceived parthenogenetically. Hypnos (Sleep), Thanatos (Death), Moros (Doom), Oizys (Pain), the Keres (Destroyers), the Moirai (Fates), Eris (Strife), Geras (Old Age) and Hades’ ferryman, Kharon, are just a few of her unsettling offspring.

One shouldn’t get too hung up on the family trees of the Protogenoi, though, as they get scrambled into all sorts of interesting combinations by various sources. The main thing to keep in mind is that she’s one of the very first.

Nyx was envisioned by ancient authors as being the mists that veil the sky at eveningfall and obscure the light of day. Hemera scatters her mother’s mists with the rising of Helios the sun and allows Aethyr to shine through.

Like all the Protogenoi, Nyx is viewed with a mixture of caution and reverence by the ancient Greeks. Some describe her as a figure of terror, driving a shadowy chariot drawn by raging, inky horses. Yet others speak rapturously of her diaphanous veils, stars gleaming through the mists and swirling around her.

The Orphics regard Nyx as a field of unknowability, without personality or consciousness as we understand it. We conceive of her as a goddess and ascribe human-like attributes to her because we need these handles in order to wrap our minds around the idea of her. But, as we can see from the almost non-existent cultus to her in the ancient world, praying to her or setting up shrines and rituals to propitiate her or attempting to communicate with her directly indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of her nature. Her darkness is indicative of her being utterly beyond our comprehension. She is only a single emanation from Kaos, the potential in which everything exists but is not yet manifest. She is a cauldron. A melting pot. A womb.

Watch the sun sink and the veils gather. Observe the way the eastern sky brightens in concordance with the sunset flare of colors, then faints into the arms of Erebos. Wonder at the stealthy debut of the stars as they prick through the deepening blue. The sky at dusk is so entrancing that night will likely enfold your world entirely before you look around and realize how engulfed you are in the cloak of Nyx.

You’re not outside of her. You are part of the warp and weft of her being. Like the stars themselves, you gleam in her veils. Breathe her into your lungs and belly. You are a creature of the night.

Don’t worship Nyx with shrines and statues. Immerse yourself in her.

Her very self sparkles with stars.

You are one of them.


https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Nyx.html#Cosmogony
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyx
http://www.hellenion.org/nyx/orphic-hymn-to-nyx/
https://www.hellenicgods.org/nyx—nyx

POSTED IN WAIFS, WOLVES & WARRIORS – WOMEN IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY

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Posted November 18, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Story is live!   Leave a comment

My friend Julie sold this story for MONEYS and I’m so impressed, not just with the sale but with the deft hand and sure tone of this dark little tale. Go read it!

PersephoneKnits

Hey, my flash story is up on Daily Science Fiction!

Public Service

It’s my first pro-sale, and you should go read it. Leave me a few rockets while you’re there and sign up for their daily stories right to your inbox! They are a sweet market for little stories that pack a wallop.

Thank you!

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Posted November 14, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

THE REINOS HALLOWEEN (SAMHAIN) TAROT SPREAD   Leave a comment

I’m always eager to learn new spreads if they’re actually good and thoughtful. I kinda love this one.

Danie's Doodles

What does this time of year mean to me? This time of year many cultures believe the veil between life and death is at its most thin. It is a time to honor our ancestors and show them what we have become and/or remember to follow their guidance as we continue to grow.

No description available.

  1. UNDERGROUND: HERITAGE

We start with the past from before you were born. Our cultural identity and family heritage forms the soil in which our roots may grow. This is why being uprooted through trauma can be so damaging to us, and the need for a family history can be very strong.

The cards underground lie sideways in rest. These cards might represent people who are resting in their graves, long gone, fertilizing the soil of your tree. If you want a more “tight” reading, you may choose to lay one card that represents your heritage… However…

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Posted November 1, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

The Lonely   Leave a comment

My friend Julie has her beautiful story ‘The Lonely’ published in Psychopomp magazine! You should go read it right now!
https://psychopompmag.com/issue-7-2-summer-fall-2020/

Posted October 1, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

In the Shadow of the Spires   Leave a comment

dooods!

our little anthology and the upcoming live reading are getting some press attention!

you should totally come. goodies will be handed out!

🙂 khairete

suz

Posted September 17, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Antigone the SJW   2 comments

Dears! My latest at LSQ is live. Check it out!

Antigone is probably not a lot of fun to go out drinking with. In addition to being morally upright, devoted to family, committed to doing the right thing no matter how difficult and devoutly pious, she is inflexible, judgmental, argumentative, and maybe even a little priggish.

Antigone’s play was written by the great playwright Sophokles who was famous for creating the “tragic hero”, a character faced with a crisis in which disaster can only be averted by compromise which entails a total betrayal of something they hold supremely important. They refuse to accept the compromise despite persuasion, threats, or violence, resulting in being termed “deinos”, a term which means terrible, wondrous and strange, and ending in destruction. Most Sophoklean heroes are both admirable and repellent, and Antigone is no exception.

She stands in splendid isolation.

Antigone’s story is set in Thebes, a city viewed by golden age Athens as a place where conflicts and dilemmas get pushed to their limits and resolution is impossible. Its concerns with polis (city-state) politics is especially interesting considering its first production during the height of Athens’s glory, then resurfacing sixty years after Sophokles’s death when the famous orator Demosthenes read to his political opponent Kreon’s speech on the proper loyalties of a citizen. Even Aristotle quotes the play repeatedly in his treatise Politics.

Antigone and her siblings are the children of Oedipus and his mother/wife Jocasta, whom he married with neither of them knowing the other’s identity. This family is ill-omened right out of the gate. The two boys, Eteokles and Polynices, are dead, having just killed each other in the battle for the soul of Thebes told more fully in Aeschylus’s Seven Against Thebes. Antigone and her sister Ismene are left to mourn them as their uncle Kreon takes over the rulership of Thebes. His first act as king is to declare Eteokles, who fought on behalf of Thebes to hold the throne, a hero, and Polynices, who attempted to enforce his claim on the throne by attacking Thebes, a traitor. Eteokles is to be buried with full honors, Polynices to be left unburied for the scavengers. Anyone who attempts to bury him will be stoned to death.

Antigone is having none of it.

She tells her sister that she plans to defy Kreon and bury Polynices, in accordance with both divine law and family obligation. Ismene, while sympathetic, is afraid of the anger of the new king, and points out that they owe him their fealty both as head of their oikos (household) and their ruler. Antigone flares up at this and declares that even if her sister has a change of heart and wants to help, Antigone won’t let her, pointing out that “Even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory,” and, “I have longer to please the dead than to please the living here.”

Ismene, representing the obedience expected of a good ancient Greek maiden, fears for Antigone and begs her to at least do the burial honors on the sly. Antigone sneers at her for her cowardice, adding, “I will suffer nothing as great as death without glory,” before sweeping out on a wave of self-righteousness, leaving poor Ismene to flounder in her wake, meeping her terror and love for her sister.

Kreon is a bloviator. In his declaration of his own kingship he extols his own virtues as a man who has been tested and demonstrated amply his own character, principles, and judgement, as well as mansplaining how anyone who places friendship over patriotism is worthless. “Such are my standards. They make a city great.” Even the admiring chorus, consisting of the elderly citizens of Thebes, is a little anxious about the absolutist statements. Their concern gets them browbeaten into abject accord with their king.

When a messenger enters and, after some hemming and hawing, delivers the news that an unknown person has performed the rites over Polynices’s corpse, the chorus suggests timidly that it might be the work of the gods. Kreon erupts in fury that anyone could defy his edict, let alone think the gods would care about the disposition of the body of a traitor. He leaps to the unfounded assumption that his soldiers have been bribed, and promises the hapless sentry who brought the news that unless he produces the traitor, Kreon will “String you up alive and wring the immortality out of you.” After being denied the opportunity to speak in his own defense, the sentry declares that he’s heading for the hills, leaving the chorus to mutter about doom and evil portents.

But the sentry is back before too long, hauling a bound Antigone with him. He tells his irascible king that he and his men were wronged by Kreon’s harsh words, but since they caught the real perpetrator in the act they felt duty-bound to bring it to Kreon’s attention. He adds that nonetheless he’s decamping, as he wants nothing more to do with Thebes’s jerk-in-chief.
He gives the story in gory detail, describing the slimy, softening corpse and its smell. A dust storm blinded them, but when it passed they saw the wailing girl, scooping up dry dust to scatter over her brother and pouring libations from a fine bronze urn onto the corpse. She did not flinch from arrest nor make any attempt to lie or evade her captors. When Kreon demands she speak she shrugs and says, “I did it. I don’t deny a thing.” She informs her uncle that she is obeying divine law which supersedes that of a mere mortal king and that dying will be a small pain compared with the dishonor Kreon offers her brother.

The chorus shake their heads, mumbling about how like her father Oedipus she is—wild, passionate, unable to bend in adversity. But Kreon vows to break her, as tempered iron, spirited horses, and slaves all break when their lord and master lowers the boom. He accuses her of insolence, not just for her actions but her lack of shame over them, then whirls on poor Ismene and accuses her of complicity.

Ismene is in hysterics but Antigone is coldly scornful. She asks what, other than her arrest and execution, her uncle wants of her and snaps at him to stop moralizing and get on with it. She mocks the chorus for being wimps and accuses Kreon of being power-drunk, causing Kreon to shout, “Go down below and love, if love you must. Love the dead! While I’m alive no woman is going to lord it over me.”

Antigone will not even allow her devastated sister to share her fate. “Never share my dying, don’t lay claim to what you never touched. My death will be enough.” At this point Ismene lets us know that Antigone is actually engaged to Kreon’s son Haemon by pleading with Kreon to consider this, but Kreon sniffs that “There are other fields for him to plough.” He has guards take the girls away as the chorus moans about generational curses.

Haemon tries to soften his dad’s position by promising filial obedience, which does indeed please the king. Kreon tells his son that being married to a disobedient woman would be a misery and to spit her out and let her make her bed among the dead. Haemon points out that although unmaidenly, Antigone’s position is noble. That while he’s proud of his dad, maybe just a smidgeon less self-righteousness might not hurt, and that no one is infallible. A bitter, sharp exchange follows, ending with Kreon accusing his son of being a woman’s slave, and Haemon calling Kreon crazy and hinting darkly that Antigone’s death will cause another death. Kreon splutters that he’ll bring the dang girl out then and there and kill her in front of Haemon. Haemon rushes out yelling that Kreon will never see him again. When the chorus prophesies that Haemon might do something stupid in his rage, Kreon replies wearily that nothing his son can do will save the girls. The chorus, aghast, asks if he’s really planning to execute both of his nieces. A crack appears in his armor of fury and he commutes Ismene’s sentence and changes Antigone’s from stoning to being walled up in a cave.

Left alone to ponder all of this awfulness, the chorus talks about the terrible, destructive power of Love. When Antigone is escorted back to stand before them, they bemoan having to watch her go to her fate while she weeps that her bridal bed will be that of Hades, not her longed-for husband. They all agree that this is a continuation of Oedipus’s ghastly story of passion, incest, and murder. Kreon, entering just in time to hear this last, counters with, “Your own blind will, your passion has destroyed you.” Denying her last request to say goodbye to her loved ones, he orders the guards to take her away and immure her swiftly. She is dragged out lamenting her unjust fate, calling upon the gods to witness that she never transgressed, and to mete out to her tormentors a fate at least as horrible as her own.

The blind seer, Tiresias, tells Kreon that the gods are angry with him and that perhaps he should rethink some of his recent decisions. After a furious argument in which Kreon accuses Tiresias of taking bribes, the seer storms out. But Kreon is shaken despite himself. He tells the chorus that he will go himself and set Antigone free, leaving them to praise Dionysos in their relief.

But it’s short-lived.

A messenger enters and tells them that despite all the great things Kreon has done for Thebes he is not to be envied. Kreon’s wife Eurydice comes along and asks why all their faces are so long. The gruesome details unspool. The messenger went with Kreon to Polydices’s poor disintegrating body and washed and buried it properly. Upon returning to the city, they heard a long wail, which Kreon recognized as the voice of his son. They rushed to Antigone’s tomb and dragged away the rocks, only to find her hanging from a noose made from her own veils. Haemon clung to her, shrieking, but when Kreon tried to pull him off, Haemon spat at him and lunged at him with a sword. Kreon ran away and Haemon threw himself upon the sword, clutching his wife-to-be’s body to him. Upon hearing this dreadful news, Eurydice leaves without saying a word.

As the chorus and the messenger speculate uneasily on the queen’s next move, Kreon enters with Haemon’s body on a bier. As they all mourn, another messenger arrives to deliver the news that Eurydice has also committed suicide. Her body is brought out on an “ekkyklema” (a “rolled-out thing”). Confronted with all this death, Kreon is overcome with horror and grief. “Come, let it come! The best of fates for me that brings the final day, the best fate of all! Oh quickly now—so I never have to see another sunrise. Whatever I touch goes wrong—once more a crushing fate’s come down upon my head.”

The play ends with the chorus saying, “Wisdom is by far the greatest part of joy.”

Antigone is an early Rosa Parks, performing a dangerous act of civil disobedience. She undervalues her duty to her polis, maybe, but then we have to look at Kreon undervaluing his to family and oikos. Kreon believes that citizens must obey laws even if they disagree or there will be anarchy; Antigone that individual understanding of right behavior supersedes human law or there will be totalitarianism. Finding a balance is no less a problem today than it was in 5th century BCE Athens.

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/Antigone/antigone.html

https://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Theatre/#:~:text=Greek%20theatre%20began%20in%20the,influenced%20Hellenistic%20and%20Roman%20theatre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigone

POSTED IN WAIFS, WOLVES & WARRIORS – WOMEN IN GREEK MYTHOLOGYTAGGED ANTIGONE, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
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Posted September 16, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Book Design for Pagan/Polytheist Titles   Leave a comment

via Book Design for Pagan/Polytheist Titles

 

Dver is scaling back her Winged Words Book Design, so contact her through the method she describes here if you want her to do your book. I’m crazy about the way she produced my book, I absolutely love the way it looks.

Khairete

Suz

Posted August 8, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Hestia the Enigma   Leave a comment

dears, my newest LSQ blog post is live! this month the focus is the Fire-Hearted Hestia.

Hestia the Enigma

enjoy!

i’m going to get back to actual blogging here before too long. it’s weird how i’ve been so completely not ready to do it all during the pandemic thus far.

Posted July 17, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

In the Shadow of the Spires   2 comments

dears! my writers’s group has a new book out, an anthology of noir tales set in Frederick like the last one, Intersections. this one is called ‘In the Shadow of the Spires’ and i’m delighted to have a story in it, one i like a lot. if you happened to read Intersections and my story ‘Portals’, you’ll recognize the protagonists of this one, as they’re introduced briefly there.

In the Shadow of the Spires: A Collection of Noir Tales from the Frederick Writers Salon by [D. M. Domosea, Tisdale Flannery, Dale Grove, Michael Harris, Amanda Linehan, JJ Mikel, Anna O'Keefe, A. Raymond, Leslie Skyrms, Suz Thackston]

want a little sample? mine’s the first story in the book so you won’t have to scroll far.

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B08BY6Q8WS&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_NYi.EbGSVN4XK

🙂 khairete

suz

Posted July 1, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Ariadne, the Cretan Princess   2 comments

i’m slow on the uptake, as i’ve been writing for LSQ for a couple of years now, but it just occurred to me that i should repost my blogs for them here in my own blog.

duh.

Ariadne, the Cretan Princess

Ariadne, the Cretan Princess

Ariadne did not respond to my Facebook friend request. In fact, none of the usual methods of introduction worked, not the hopeful offerings left in the orchard, not the poring over source material and internet links, not standing under the starlight and chanting her name.

Finally, after several fruitless weeks, I tried something different. I carried raw milk and a chocolate truffle into the almost-full moonlight, poured out the libation onto the roots of the Dionysos pine tree and began to dance.

Her story ran through my mind like brilliant threads on a loom. You know it. The Cretan princess who fell in love with the dashing hero, Theseus, defying her father to help him. The one who devised the ingenious method of bringing her lover safely back through the labyrinth by giving him a ball of yarn, which he unrolled, then followed back out after killing the Minotaur.

What sort of relationship did she have with her monstrous half-brother, with his man’s body and bull’s head and carnivorous appetite? How about her bloodthirsty father, Minos, who had the labyrinth built to contain his stepson, then demanded an annual tribute from Athens of boys and girls to feed the beast? And what of her sexually adventurous mother, Pasiphae, who slaked her lust for Minos’ prize bull by donning a cow suit? Was Theseus a real love for her or just a girlish infatuation with a famous hero?

Most importantly—did he abandon her, did she die, or did she really become the cherished bride of Dionysos? Accounts vary wildly. Some say Theseus absentmindedly sailed off, leaving her sleeping on the beach. Others insist that she was pregnant and her lover wasn’t interested in becoming a daddy. There are accounts that claim she died in childbirth, others that Artemis took her down with her deadly arrows. But how then did she end up with her own constellation?

Unanswered questions spun in my mind, then whirled off into the night sky as I danced. All conscious thought slipped away, bit by bit, as the spiral dance took possession of me. The dog and cats kept pace with me for a while, then dropped out and went about their individual night journeys as I danced and danced, in front of the shrines, between the trees, a complex pattern through the orchard, around the house, down the driveway, up onto the deck with the early mosquitoes buzzing in my ears.

Eventually, I realized I was not alone; Ariadne whirled beside me, spun circles around me, pirouetted past me, casting a silvery shadow on the cold grass.

The dance took all my breath, leaving none for speech. We danced together, the Cretan princess and I, the wild wind blowing our hair across our faces, Orion’s Belt pointing to the pure radiance of Venus, the moon tossed amid the branches of the orchard trees who danced along with us.

The princess, the bride, the goddess is forever young, but I am old and heavy-limbed. Finally I could dance no more, and collapsed on the bench at the Demeter shrine to catch my breath. Eyes glinting, Ariadne prowled around me, her hair in tangled ringlets, dangling past her hips. She was so heart-stoppingly innocent, a lamb, a kitten, so unaware and at risk in the windswept night. I wanted to cradle and protect her, take her inside, keep her safe, wall her away from wild things and spirits who would prey upon her heedless gaiety.

But a glimpse of those wide topaz eyes held me back. For all her innocence, she is supremely dangerous. A young tigress, to be admired and even adored, but never approached without the full understanding that she might kill you. It could be deliberate, or absent-minded, or even affectionate, an annoyed swat with razor claws. She might be sad when she wanted to dance or play with you again, but there would never be remorse, for there would be no malice. She might dance ecstatically with you, exuberant and mesmerizing, then become over-excited and take a bite out of you. She would dance away, laughing, with crimson lips and bright eyes, then return and prod your bleeding corpse, baffled at your limpness.

But so sweet. So compellingly, irresistibly sweet.

No wonder Theseus fled from her in terror when he realized that the amoral feral nymph he had mistaken for a mere princess might kill him in his bed. No wonder Dionysos fell in love with her and crowned her his bride. She’s the epitome of a maenad.

My cats prowled with her, wary but intrigued. The dog pressed tightly against my legs, trembling slightly.

The princess did not speak to me. She pulled my hair, tugged at my hand, tried to entice me into dancing with her again, but the fire had drained from my limbs, and all I could do was watch her in wonder. She bared her teeth at me, and for a long, chilling moment I thought she might go for my throat, but she turned away and wandered disconsolately between the cherry trees, a silver-white blossom drifting down to catch in her hair. The cats followed her, and for a while the four of them danced together, leaving dark prints in the silvered dew.

The dog whined, looking up at me pleadingly. I looked down at her and rubbed her ears, scratching under her collar.

When I looked up, Ariadne was gone. The cats were making their way back to us with delicate steps.

I looked up at the moon-bright sky, finding the Big Dipper’s handle and following it down toward the north-east horizon, where Ariadne’s constellation, the celestial crown, was just starting to blaze.

https://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Ariadne.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ariadne-Greek-mythology

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Posted May 18, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized