A PSA I posted to Reddit: “Deity work” is not dangerous!   Leave a comment

OMG. This is just wonderful.

rotwork

You, yes you, all the way in the back:

“Deity work” is not dangerous.

This is an insidious lie that damages communities, and activelyharms people.

Gods, and having relationships with them, are not any more dangerous than interacting with any other human being. It is no more dangerous than getting behind the wheel of your car. It is no more dangerous than showing up to work. It is no more dangerous than cooking dinner.

That is, thereisa risk. But it is not what you seem to think it is: it is dangerous if you lack basic respect for that – or in this case,Whom- you are interacting with.

You know who claims gods are dangerous? People who are selfish assholes. People who want to convince you they have special abilities or training that you don’t. People who want power and attention. People who wrongly, stupidly,

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Posted February 13, 2021 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

The Erinyes   2 comments

Yay! My LSQ is out! Let’s see if the link actually posts. WP has been giving me problems with this.

No. Okay. C&P the whole thing.

The Erinyes

The temple of Apollon at Delphi in the pearly light of dawn. The Pythia, oracle priestess of the god, enters the temple to commence morning prayers.

Seconds later she runs out, screaming. Looking in through the open door we can see an exhausted and terrified young man, dripping blood. He is seated upon the omphalos, the huge boulder within the sanctuary that is the sacred navel of the world. He holds a bloody sword and an olive branch wreathed in white wool.

He is surrounded by women, sleeping on benches.

And oh, such women. Rustling, murmuring, heaving like a herd of seals in their black rags and tattered feathers. Even in their slumber they incite mindless terror.

Thus opens The Eumenides, the third play in the trilogy of the Oresteia by Aeschylus. Orestes has made it to the temple of Apollon to seek sanctuary from the terrible Erinyes, or Furies, who are seeking vengeance for his murder of his own mother. But if he dares move from the omphalos, they will be upon him.

Legend has it that brave warriors screamed and fainted when the skene door opened to show the Furies surrounding the hapless Orestes. Pregnant women miscarried on the spot (belying the conventional wisdom that women weren’t allowed into the theaters).

It was a sensation.

Hyperbole, most likely, but it underscores the fear with which the ancient Greeks regarded the Erinyes, ancient goddesses of justice and retribution. The punishments are terrible. Orestes was right to shelter in the only place that might give him sanctuary from their vengeance. Madness, disease, starvation, and agony are just a few of the weapons in their arsenal. In some ancient depictions they just look like winged women, but in most they are ghastly, with snakes entwined in their hair and coiled around their waists, carrying whips, with the faces of hags. In later works they’re said to serve Hades and Persephone by torturing criminals for eternity in a prequel to the Christian Hell.

If the attention of these goddesses seems extreme, consider what it must have been like to live in a society with no police force, jail, or rehabilitation systems. Travelers could die if not given shelter, but who today would unlock the door and welcome an unexpected stranger to their hearth? Without ironclad taboos against foul play, endless clan vengeance was the only recourse (and indeed, that is at the heart of Aeschylus’s trilogy.) Fear of divine retribution was all that kept citizens of a nefarious bent from preying upon the more generous of the population.

Their parentage differs according to source, but most consider them born of the drops of blood that fell to the earth when Kronus castrated his father Ouranos. They are more ancient than the Olympians, and while some say they bring about the will of Zeus, a more likely explanation is that the god of Law rarely has cause to interfere with the punishments meted out by these goddesses. They number at least three: Alekto, or Anger; Magaera, or Jealousy; Tisiphone, or Avenger. Crimes against the natural order are the ones most likely to get their attention—violence against family members, particularly the elderly or very young; murder, especially within a family (killing in battle is exempt); hubris, or disrespect toward the gods; violation of xenia, the ancient law of reciprocal hospitality.

Orestes is the only recorded victim who escaped their wrath, and it took a gigantic societal shift for it to happen. After a trial with the Erinyes as prosecutors, Apollon as defense attorney and Athena as judge, the court system takes over judgment in these cases. The Furies are forced to accept being relegated to protective spirits, propitiated in a temple built for them in Athens and being re-named the Eumenides, or Kindly Ones. Clearly this is an effort to keep them pacified, like referring to meddlesome fae as the Good Folk.

Theseus, that bold-faced buccaneer, gets rescued from being stuck to a stone chair and whipped endlessly by the Furies when Herakles comes along and yanks him free. He leaves behind the skin of his buttocks, later healed by a skin graft from a sheep. His descendants are said to keep warm in winter from wearing the wool grown on the arse of their esteemed ancestor.

But if you’re not lucky enough to have a mighty hero, or in Orestes’s case a god or two, in your court, you’re going to have to rely on purification and atonement. Herakles himself learned this lesson after murdering his wife and children, then suffering madness at the hands of the Erinyes. His purification ritual was so intense that it became the basis for the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, which provide appropriate cleansing for the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, which require stringent ritual purity. The Argonautika describes rites used by the witch Circe to free a murderer from torment by the Erinyes, and other sources tell how one can use the blood of a piglet or a nice fat steer or, more reliably, the intercession of Apollon. But atonement of some sort is always required. No free rides when it comes to the Erinyes.

Voices in the wind. They shriek and gibber. Fear knots in the pit of your stomach. They are coming.

Search your mind. Have you violated the ancient laws? Have you disrespected your parents or abused the elderly? Committed murder? Have you behaved improperly toward a supplicant of your favor? Worst of all, have you violated xenia?

If so, beware. The goddesses who govern curses that haunt any of these types of criminality will pursue you relentlessly, to madness, death, and beyond.

Better start running.

https://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Erinyes.htmlhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erinyeshttp://www.neokoroi.org/religion/gods/eumenides/

Posted January 25, 2021 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

The Future Is More Than Us   3 comments

This post, by Kaye, is so damn good. So friggin’ good.

Posted January 16, 2021 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Dark Pools   5 comments

look, just look at these wonderful images and the evocative, gorgeous poem from Dver! like moving through a dream.

https://imwalde.wordpress.com/2020/12/15/dark-pools/

Posted December 16, 2020 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

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