Circe

     In Greek mythology, Circe was a goddess who lived in a beautiful mansion on an enchanted island.  She had the power to turn men into animals.  All around her manor were docile lions and wolves and owls and boars–all of them her former lovers.  She had changed them into animals to enslave them and keep them with her forever.

      In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew stop to rest on her island.  Circe invited them into her mansion prepared a feast for them.  She cast a spell over the food, and after the men ate of it, they were transformed into pigs!  

      Only one man escaped.  He ran back to the boat to tell Odysseus (who had stayed behind) what had happened.  

       The hero-king set out to rescue his men.  His protector, the goddess Athena, sent the messenger god Hermes to help him.  Hermes gave Odysseus a special herb to protect him from Circe’s witchcraft.  Odysseus went to Circe’s house and threatened her, drawing his sword.  

     Circe was enamored and took him to bed (Odysseus got laid a lot).  Then she changed his crew back into their human forms.  

      She made Odysseus and his men stay with her on her island for a year.  She was in love with him and didn’t want him to leave, but eventually she released him and sent him away with instructions on how to travel to the Underworld. 

        My other favorite mythological goddess is Artemis, goddess of the moon and the wilderness and protector of young girls.  She caught a creep spying on her while she bathed in a lake and she did what every poor woman who’s ever been spied on by a masturbating asshole would like to do: she turned him into a deer, and he was devoured by his own hounds.  I think that’s awesome.  I think I will be Artemis next Halloween.

“Come in and stay for a spell!” HA! lame joke

love the owls, but I don’t get it.  Is she teaching them to read or something?

my favorite



3 thoughts on “Circe”

  1. Greek mythology is as fascinating as the bible for what it says about men’s relations with and fundamental fear of women. In the Circe myth the fear is of enslavement and reduction to the status of a kept pet. Not a bad definition of a submissive, no?

    Odysseus’ triumph over Circe is simply a face-saving reassertion of patriarchal bragging rights.

    There’s a hilarious, hallucinatory take on the Circe myth in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in which Leopold Bloom ‘submits’ to Bella Cohen in her somewhat anarchic whorehouse.

    Artemis is interesting because of her protection not only of young girls but also of the unborn young. Why would the goddess of the hunt protect the unborn young? Same reason that there’s a close season, in my view.

    For this reason she opposed the Greeks departure for Troy. In Aeschylus’ Oresteian trilogy she sends contrary winds to prevent the Greeks from sailing, and sends the soothsayer a dream about the death of a pregnant hare – a warning in advance of her anger at the massacre of innocents that will, at some future date, be the inevitable consequence of the taking of Troy.

    Agamemnon’s response is to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia in the hope that this brutal offering will sway the gods in favour of the enterprise. Not a good idea. A lot of seriously bad shit results from this.

    1. Hi Tony!

      Thanks for leaving such an awesome comment.

      I love love love Greco-Roman mythology. I enjoy reading mythology from all sorts of different cultures, but the Greek stuff is my favorite. The gods are so human, and they have such complex relationships with each other.

      What is also interesting is that they were not the Morality Police. Unless one of them fell in love with you and wanted to fuck you, or was using you as a pawn against another god, or unless you angered one with your arrogance and hubris, they did not care about you or what you thought or how you lived. Compare this with Yaweh, who is in your brain all the time like some cosmic asshole Big Brother and judging every thought you have.

      Anyway, Circe is a totally transparent representation of male fear and fantasy, I agree. Odysseus is a total asshole, even sacrificing his own men, and I like the way (NOT) that he gets to shag half the women around the Mediterranean while his lonely wife has to wait and fend off suitors.

      I guess it’s not fair to judge them according to our morals, though. One of my professors taught me that they did not have morals as we understand them (morals were introduced by the Jews), they had VALUES, but not morals. Odysseus killed all the suitors in that bloodbath at the end not because they wanted his wife, but because they were Eating All His Stuff. And you don’t fuck with a man’s stuff.

      I never thought about the connection between protecting young girls and the unborn and hunting, but it really makes sense…

      Another thing I like about Greek myth is that we all end up in the same craptastic afterlife. Some are set apart for special punishment, but otherwise we all just hang out in the glum together. I mean, that’s democracy.

      I forgot about the pregnant hare. Now I want to re-read it tonight.

    2. I like this poem by Rita Dove, about Persephone (told in first person). When I was a little girl I identified with Persephone very much. She is another one of my favorites.

      THE NARCISSUS FLOWER
      I remember my foot in its frivolous slipper,
      A frightened bird… not the earth unzipped

      but the way I could see my own fingers and hear
      myself scream as the blossom incinerated.

      And though nothing could chasten
      the plunge, this man
      adamant as a knife easing into

      the humblest crevice, I found myself at
      the center of a calm so pure, it was hate.

      The mystery is, you can eat fear
      before fear eats you,

      you can live beyond dying –
      and become a queen
      whom nothing surprises.

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