In Defense of Maia

In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s look at a Greek goddess who most overlook.

Brief History: As most Greek Myths do, this one starts with Zeus being a habitual predator. Maia did not like the company of other gods, so she lived in a mountain cave, yet somehow Zeus managed to knock her up. Hermes, the result of this assault, was a difficult baby as he liked to sneak out of the cave when his mom slept and mess with Apollo. She stood up for her child, refusing to believe an infant could do such things (nevermind that gods do weird stuff as babies in all of these stories). Beyond her own son, Maia acted as surrogate mom to another of Zeus’s kids, Arcas, when his mother Callisto was turned into a bear by Hera. Arcas grew up to be a king who taught his people how to weave and bake bread, talents he probably learned in a cave from his foster mom.

Analysis: Maia is also a Greek word for midwife. The Romans celebrated the introverted nurturer at the start of the moth of May. May is also when the U.S. celebrates Mother’s Day in May. Coincidence. . . probably since most mother’s day festivals in the Roman times were to two entirely different goddesses, Rhea and Cybele.

Blame It on the Victorians (technically Edwardians and Roaring 20s): Before the American Civil War, an activist named Ann Jarvis started a club of women called the Mothers’ Day Work Club. Their goal was to improve sanitation and health care especially when it came to sick children. The clubs volunteered during the Civil War to help keep down disease in the camps. In 1908, three years after Jarvis died, her daughter Anna petitioned for a holiday honoring the sacrifices of mothers. President Woodrow Wilson (who I have other choice words about that will remain out of this particular blog) made it a national day in 1914. It didn’t take long before capitalists turned Anna Jarvis’s day into a commercial gain. As more greeting cards and flower sales began each May, Anna Jarvis hated what her own idea had become. ‘Merica strikes again.

Last Thoughts: In honor of Maia, these blogs will be on hiatus until Phoenix Fan Fusion. . . no it’s just cause prepping for con is exhausting. Blogs will return in late May/early June.

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Anna Jarvis

Anna Jarvis

In Defense of Eros and Psyche

Fine, society! You win! It’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll do something Valentine-y. So here’s very, romantic and, surprisingly hopeful, Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. 

Brief History: Originally written down in the 2nd Century CE (Common Era) by a Roman philosopher, this myth is the tale of how Aphrodite’s jealousy caused her to gain a daughter-in-law. The Goddess of Love ordered her son Eros (also known as Cupid, before he was drawn as a Cherub with a diaper) to make certain a young beauty named Psyche married the most hideous man Eros could find. Instead, Eros was careless (meaning he did it on purpose) and scratched himself with an arrow, resulting in his own love and marriage of Psyche. However, being a stuck-up god, Eros believed that a marriage between himself and a mortal could never work with 100% honesty. So, he only met with Psyche in the dark, informing her that if she ever looked upon him in the light he would leave. As always happens in this story, she is manipulated into holding a candle over Eros. Seeing that her husband was hella hot, Psyche got careless and dripped wax on him. Eros left her and in order to win him back she had to perform a series of tasks. The last task, a trap set by Aphrodite, resulted in Psyche’s death. Eros, having seen how sorry, brave, and determined his wife had been, appealed to Zeus to grant her immortality. And so Psyche was reborn as a goddess.

Analysis:  So Eros is the embodiment of love (real love, not the mind games his mom played on men) and Psyche is the embodiment of the soul. The story is literally the marriage of heart and soul. It’s not just a jazz song the middle school kids learn at piano lessons.

Blame It on the Victorians: Victorians loves literature where women are punished for being curious or independent. Have I mentioned this before? I feel like I’ve mentioned this before. Although really it was the poets of the 19th century who felt the need to retell the story over and over again. Instead of the Victorians, it’s actually medieval monks who got their (I’m sure) grubby hands on this story and tried to turn it into a tale about punishment for (gasp) physical love. Psyche being seduced by her husband is the loss of soul in women instead of redemption of the original myth. 

Last  thoughts: This might have been a bit of a ploy to advertise an upcoming FSF project… just saying.

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