Some years ago, when I was researching about Pandora for my short story collection Accursed Women, I learnt there was an error in translation of a word. The significance of that mistranslation changed the way in which the myth was told and, subsequent interpretations through art and spin off stories. You can read about my blog post here: Idle curiosity of malicious intent. While researching about the origins of Easter, I learnt (many of you may already know this) that the Greek word ‘Pascha’ meaning Passover was mistranslated as Easter.
There were a number of distinctive symbols the Minoans cultivated that had significant importance in their rituals and way of life. These distinguishing elements were not unique to the Minoans, which distinguished historians have identified were more cross-cultural, much like the representation of the Mother or Earth Goddess. The origins and similar features are evident (see article by J. Alexander MacGillivray) yet the purpose of the Minoan symbols evolved according to their needs and religious tenets. The main icons were the labrys, the bull horns, bees, and snakes.
The Olympian Gods series is now over and here is your chance to vote for your favourite god or goddess. You may have made up your mind before you read my posts, then again may have changed your opinion after reading my interpretation of the multi-faceted and personality quirks of each. If you need a refresh, click on the names of each god/goddess. I, for one, am looking forward to the results.
Rites and rituals form a part of our daily lives whether we participate consciously or not. Today, ‘rites’ and ‘rituals’ can relate to a series of actions or behaviour done regularly, such as going to work every day. It can also relate to certain conventions or habits like players gathering in a pre-match huddle. Each word can be defined as:
Rites: a formal act prescribed in [religious] ceremonies.
Collins Dictionary, 1989
Ritual: a prescribed order for performing a ritual ceremony that is consistently followed.
Collins Dictionary, 1989
Greek and Roman calendars were filled with religious festivals. They were quite strict to ensure these special days were observed and particular rites carried out. A lot of these religious festivals pre-dated the written word and over time adapted and changed to suit the needs of the current times. Nothing new about that. One of the most interesting and intriguing festivals was the Eleusinian Mysteries, it even rivalled the attempts of the Roman Catholic Empire to stamp it out. Of course, it happened but its popularity and ‘pagan’ elements was eventually subsumed into the Christian faith. Its rites were distorted and no longer recognisable but to gain control and following, the Roman Catholic Empire took as its own.
Since the dawn of time women have been regarded as the ‘fairer’ and ‘weaker’ sex, aphorisms which are out-dated. However there were a number of role models who rallied against these stereotyped terms. Cleopatra, a strong and intelligent woman who ruled a country; Joan of Arc, who was burnt at the stake because men (the English with whom the French were at war with at the time) were scared of her ability to lead an army and the fact she was a girl who commanded loyalty; and Margaret Thatcher who was Prime Minister of England for a long time (11 years), a very influential and respected international leader. In Greek Mythology, there was a female whose characteristics reflect those just mentioned—Artemis, the Goddess of the hunt and childbirth.
In recent years due to the increasing popularity of cooking shows, a number of ‘cooks’ have become famous, with Nigella Lawson as prime example. Of course Julia Childs must be included, she did pave the way for cooking shows on television. But credit must be given to Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth. If it wasn’t for Hestia, the concept of home and hearth would perhaps never be realised.