Singing For Her


June 2016

Obscure Gods: Oxylus

This daimon lives in the forests of Mt. Oeta and Othrys in
Malis. Usually he is described as the son of Oreios (the Mountain) and married
to Hamadryas. His daughters are the famed Hamadryads. He is mentioned by
Athenaeus in the Deipnosophistae in passing, and credits the lore to
Pherenikos. Each of his daughters was associated with a different tree: Carya
(walnut), Balanus (oak), Craneia (cornel), Morea (mulberry), Aegeirus (poplar),
Ptelea (elm), Ampelus (vine), and Syke (fig).

Ephorus tells us that Oxylus travelled from Aetolia to Elis,
and founded the city of Elis. This Oxylus is a heroic figure, whose statue stood in
the agora, and there was an old tomb there that was said to belong to him.

Another Oxylus was from Aetolia, descended from Endymion and
Aetolus. He had lost an eye to an arrow, and he met the Heraclidae. The
Heraclidae had been to Delphi where the Oracle had given them a cryptic
message, and Oxylus seemed to fulfill it. They declared him their leader. The
new chief told them that they should be successful in battle if they became a
naval force. So it was that the Heraclidae built their fleet at Naupactus.
Strabo tells us that Oxylus and the Heraclidae established the original
Olympian Games. Oxylus was credited with killing either Thermius (his brother)
or Alcidocus with a discus on accident. When the Heraclidae had found him, he
was in exile for the murder.
His son Aetolus (whom Oxylus had with Pieria) died at a young age, and an
oracle warned them to bury him neither in nor outside of Elis. Thus it was that
they buried him under the gate that lead toward Olympia. Pausanias mentions
that there were sacrifices offered to the boy annually. Dryope, a beautiful
princess who caught Apollo’s eye, was the daughter-in-law of Oxylus, being married
to his son Andraemon.

 As a hero, Oxylus seems to have something of the wiley Odysseus. 
As a daimon, we know very little of the being, it seems.
There are no mountains here where I live, though the forest is broad and healthy. Who knows? Maybe I can find a little bit of Oxylus’ spirit when I walk amidst the trees nonetheless. 

Athanaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophists,
Loeb Classical Series, trans. Charles Burton Gulick, Harvard, 1927.
Niebuhr, Barthold Georg The Greek Heroes,
Cassell & Co. 1910.
Page, D.L. Further Greek Epigrams,
Cambridge, 1981.
Scanton, Thomas F. Eros and Greek
, Oxford, 2002.
Schmidt, Joel. Larousse Greek and Roman
, McGraw-Hill, 1980.
Smith, William. A Dictionary of Greek and
Roman Biography and Mythology
, vol. 1, Murray, 1880.


Wordsworth, Christopher. “The Pagasean Gulf and Mount
Othrys,” Greece Pictorial, Descriptive
and Historical, and a History of the Characteristics of Greek Art,
Murray, 1882. Via wikicommons:




the Vortex at the centre generated by surrounding fans causes this light fabric to dance. 

work by Daniel Wurtzel


“In olden times, the earth thundered with the pounding of horses’ hooves. In that long ago age, women would saddle their horses, grab their lances, and ride forth with their men folk to meet the enemy in battle on the steppes. The women of that time could cut out an enemy’s heart with their swift, sharp swords. Yet they also comforted their men and harbored great love in their hearts… After the frenzied battle, Queen Amezan leaned down from her saddle and realized in despair that the warrior she had killed was her beloved. A choking cry filled her throat: My sun has set forever! 
– Nart Saga 26 (from Adrienne Mayor’s The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World.) 



Fertile /fərdl/ adjective:

(of soil or land) producing or capable of producing abundant vegetation or crops.

“Fertility” represents the things in life that keep us alive:
– Fleecey flocks.
– Cows or something. Bulls, too. Oxen. Y’know.
– Growing fields.
– Grape vines.
– Bees zipping around pollinating medicinal plants.

See where I’m going with this? There’s no point in having a baby if you’re starving. Anyone who tells you that “fertility” is primarily concerned with having children has not thought through the subject they’re discussing well enough. Yes, insofar as establishing and maintaining lineage, it’s probably important to some people (I am not one of them). But I think the fact that everyone needs to eat is way more important to discuss than… well, you know.


Inscribed stone altar in honor of Empress Sabina worshipped as Artemis Kelkaia (the name for the “torch-bearing goddess of crossroads” or the “Nurturer” source @nehetisingsforhekate ) from the 2nd century CE from Nicopolis

Remember why you became a polytheist. Perhaps you prayed and Someone unexpected answered. Perhaps a Goddess tapped you on the shoulder and said “you’re mine.” Perhaps you realized that the world is better explained by many Gods of limited power and scope than by one all-powerful God and you decided that following Them was the best way to order your life.

It’s hard to be spiritual when your roof is leaking. If your current situation has dampened your enthusiasm for the Gods, Their virtues, and Their work, it’s understandable. And usually, They understand too – They tend to have a longer and wider perspective than we do. But whatever your reason for becoming a polytheist, it was valid then and it’s still valid now.


Egyptian Gods and Goddesses by ReaperClamp

Row 1> Anubis, Bastet, Geb, Hathor
Row 2> Horus, Isis, Khnum, Neith
Row 3> Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah
Row 4> Ra, Sekhmet, Seshat, Set
Row 5> Sobek, Thoth, Tefnut, Wadjet


Erna de Vries | Beneath The Surface | encaustic, copper and photo transfer, 12"x16" /sm

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