Monday, 4 July 2011

Dark Queen of Light

Circe - The beautiful sorceress and goddess of shapeshifting!!!

This post "Dark Queen of Light" is my own invented title to describe the enchantress Circe. Circe is considered to be either a witch queen, nymph or a goddess. She hails from Greek mythology, that was set in an unknown undated era called the Golden Age, hence Circe being "dark queen" from the time of "light".

According to myth, Circe has divine parents but different family trees. In one version, her father is Helios the sun god and her mother is Perse the oceanid. Of her siblings, Circe's brother is Aeetes, king of Colchis and her sister is Pasiphae, mother of the minotaur. She also has a famous niece, Medea, princess of Colchis. Following in her aunt's footsteps, Medea is a sorceress and enchantress. Medea later married Jason of the Argonauts. Her family have been long protectors of the magical and sacred golden fleece. In another family tree, Circe is the daughter of Hecate, the dark goddess and Hermes, messenger of the gods.  

Circe lived alone in a magical island called Aeaea. She was in company with her servants and maids (most of them were nymphs). She had many animals around her. There were also lions and wolves roaming her palace grounds.

She captured the heart of Odysseus, and he lived with her during his long adventure. Circe turned men into beasts. She transformed the sailors of Odyssues into swine. Her magic involved herbs and potions, healing, weaving, creating the power of visionary, necromancy and shapeshifting.

Circe is also spelled as "Kirke" :"Kirke's name was derived from the Greek verb kirkoƓ meaning "to secure with rings" or "hoop around"--a reference to her magical powers."

Her children were Latinos Agrios, Telegonos and Nausithous fathered by Odysseus and Latinos, fathered by Telemakhos, Phaunos (Faunus the horned goat god) fathered by Poseidon.

"...when Odysseus on his wanderings came to her island, Circe, after having changed several of his companions into pigs, became so much attached to the unfortunate hero, that he was induced to remain a whole year with her. At length, when he wished to leave her, she prevailed upon him to descend into the lower world to consult the seer Teiresias. After his return from thence, she explained to him the dangers which he would yet have to encounter, and then dismissed him."

She appears in the Odyssey as well as the story of Jason and the Argonauts.

"Medea, daughter of Aeetes the black-hearted king, answered all her aunt’s questions, speaking quietly in the Kokhian tongue. She told her of the quest and voyage of the Argonauts, of their stern ordeal, and how she herself had been induced to sin by her unhappy sister and had fled from her father’s tyranny with Phrixos’ sons; but she said nothing of the murder of Apsyrtos. Not that Kirke was deceived. Nevertheless she felt some pity for her weeping niece." 

Also Glaucus and Scylla:

"Scylla, daughter of the River Crataeis, is said to have been a most beautiful maiden. Glaucus loved her, but Circe, daughter of Sol [Helios], loved Glaucus. Since Scylla was accustomed to bathe in the sea, Circe, daughter of Sol, out of jealousy poisoned the water with drugs, and when Scylla went down into it, dogs sprang from her thighs, and she was made a monster. She avenged her injuries, for as Ulysses sailed by, she robbed him of his companions."

These are short snippets taken from a variety of literature found on Theoi site.

She also had a fondness for men Calchus and Picus.

The goddess Circe is also a representive of the secret powers of women and the earth. She was able to turn others into snakes, serpents, fish and other animals to imprison them. This is symbolic of how strong women capture the hearts and minds of people at large, by using trickery and psychology to control destiny. Such famous women who have used magical qualities that captivated people and made them see things that were not there include a variety of film starlets, artists, writers, musicians and even female politicians. These women are also able to transform the thoughts of feelings of people with just a few clever words. Some of it, although not deliberately, was necessary and done out of the pureness of healing, and to encourage others to listen, and to perhaps even sway opinion. Women such as this are considered powerful women. They are found throughout history. On a smaller level, an individual woman, particularly someone who feels she has not done much to show for it, has done. Circe is not merely a dark figure of a powerful woman. She's also a guardian of nature's secrets. She can love, bring fruit, cure, heal, mother and protect just as most women can.

Read more about Circe:
CIRCE at Theoi
Circe at Myth Encyclopedia
Greek Gods and Goddesses - Circe
Coven of the Goddess
Circe - Tales of Greek Myth

Classic literature of Circe:
Hesiod's "Theogony" and "Odyssey" by Homer.

The picture above is "Circe" by Cemac

Check out my other blog entry "Light Queen of Dark"

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