So was Venus born of the sea with this little kernel of salty honey in her, which only caresses could bring out of the hidden recesses of her body.
Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and desire. First of a series on Greek gods and goddesses!
In the Bosphorus, Argimpasa was identified with Aphrodite
Ourania. This Scythian Goddess bears the traits of a native Great Goddess, and
seems to have heavily influenced how the Greeks at Apatourum understood the
Golden Goddess of Love.
Herodotus saw the connections between the two, and tells us
that there were oracles who worked for Aphrodite called the Enareis, who seem
to have been trans*persons, though it is tricky to apply our modern understanding
of what that means to such a different society.
Unlike the Greek Aphrodite, Argimpasa is closely associated
with the dead, and has many images buried in graves. She is associated with a
fish-woman, Derceto, who, it was said offended Aphrodite, and killed herself in
a deep lake in Ascalon. In so doing, she was turned into a fish, with the head
of a woman. Derceto herself is sometimes
known as Derceto-Atargatis, suggesting that She is a Goddess in Her own right.
Argimpasa is seen dancing with Satyrs and Maenads,
celebrating orgiastic rites.
All that said, Argimpasa differs from Aphrodite in
significant ways. She is a vegetal-fertility goddess with a distinct chthonic
streak. Some of the images associated with the cult have her in a semi-bestial
state, with two tentacle or serpentine legs (coins and gems from the ancient
world often show Abraxas with the same feature.) She is winged, and rides lions
and griffins. She is associated with funerals.
She is the Goddess of Love (thus Her association with
Aphrodite) and War, Death, and Destruction. She is also a Mistress of Animals,
something also shared with Aphrodite.
Argimpasa is also crueler and more violent in her character,
than Aphrodite (who, in spite of her association with Ares, ran home to her
mother in the Iliad when she was hurt in battle).
Argimpasa shares many traits also with Anahita and Astarte.
She is a mistress of the celestial waters, and rules sovereignity, fecundity,
and is generally multi-functional. She was served by eunuch priests from the
highest class families and even was the patron of royalty.
Many of the surviving images of Argimpasa-Aphrodite display
an enthroned Goddess with a man facing her. She is often robed and veiled,
sometimes holding a mirror or a small vessel. Her image seems to be a popular
choice for diadems and headdresses in gold.
Ultimately, it seems that Argimpasa is a Goddess spanning
both heaven and earth, life and death. She brings love, and pain. For the
Scythians, who were one of the people that the Greeks understood to be Amazons,
She encompassed many things, and came with them into the afterlife. A truly
vast Goddess, as broad and powerful as the plains which carried Her people.
Jacobsen, Esther. The
Art of the Scythians: the Interpenetration of Cultures at the Edge of the
Hellenic World, Brill, 1995.
Shenkar, Michael. Intangible
Spirits and Graven Images: the Iconography of Deities in the Pre-Islamic
Iranian World. Brill, 2014.
Ustinova, Yulia. “Aphrodite Ourania of the Bosphorus: The
Great Goddess of a Frontier Pantheon,” in Kernos 11, 1998. p.209-226
Supreme Gods of the Bosporan Kingdom: Celestial Aphrodite and the Most High
God, Brill, 1999.
Unknown, “Golden Deer,” Scythian, 6th c. BCE, now
in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. Photo by Yelkrokoyade, 2011. Via
“Silver Demetrius, with Derceto from Ascalon,” photo by Yak,
2007. Via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Derketo.jpg
Honey bee larvae in Royal Jelly. When honey bees are in need of a new queen, worker bees secrete a jelly that the larvae feed on until fully developed. While all honey bee larvae will taste this jelly, it is only the chosen larvae that are fed the jelly longer then three days. This royal jelly will give these larvae the queen body morphologie.
Episkopos: Guardian, One who Watches Over, Overseer: PGM IV
This turn of phrase was given to Hector, and to many
different Gods. They are guardians over oaths and compacts, over the mind.
Tutors can be episkopos as well. In Athens, there was an official called
episkopos, which was responsible for surveying the vassal states in the League.
The term can also imply success, reaching, and touching.
Athena Episkopos watched over Athens, as Solon (and only
Solon) tells us. And yet, he also tells us that Athena did not guard the
particulars, and did not stop the breakdown between those who were not
fulfilling their obligations.
Plutarch called Pheidias, the man attributed for the
construction of the Parthenon, the Overseer of Everything (episkopos panton).
He also tells us that Pheidias was the close friend to Perikles and that he was
the episkopos over all the social projects that Perikles enacted.
In the Eumenides, we see the Gods discussing the power
structure of the household, and Athena declares that the man of the house is
the episkopos. Clearly guardianship carries responsibilities.
Hekate Episkopos is found exclusively, so far as we know, in
the Greek Magical Papyri. We’ve come to PGM IV 2708-2784 often over the course
of these articles. The invocation of the Goddess is chock full of epithets and
descriptions, and the power of it washes through the reader. It is little
wonder that we find Hekate as Overseer and Guardian here. This particular
epithet echoes others that have an earlier provenance. Hekate is not only Episkopos,
but she is also Empylios (At the Gate),
Epipurgidia (on the Tower), Limenitikos (Of the Harbor), Medousa (Protector),
Prodomos (of the Vestibule), and Propylaia (One before the Gate). Each of these
titles suggest that Hekate is watching over, guarding the domain in question.
With the arrival of Christianity, episkopos became the title
for the bishops in Greek, and the epithet gives its name to the Episcopal
Leonardo. “PGM 2708-2784: Invocation of
Hekate”, on Voces-Magicae.com: http://voces-magicae.com/2015/08/05/pgm-iv-2708-2784-invocation-of-hekate/
Shakespeare, Brent. “Pastor = Bishop = Elder (Part I),” on ADVindicate: http://advindicate.com/articles/1695
Anhalt, Emily Katz. Solon
the Singer: Politics and Poetics, Rowman & Littlefield, 1993.
Crotty, Kevin. Law’s Interior: Legal and
Literary Constructions of the Self, Cornell, 2001.
Farenga, Vincent. Citizen and Self in
Ancient Greece: Individuals Performing Justice and the Law, Cambridge,
Lewis, John David. Solon the Thinker:
Political Thought in Archaic Athens, A&C, 2013.
Neils, Jenifer. The Parthenon: From
Antiquity to the Present, Cambridge, 2005.
Unknown and Josias Belle. “Athena wearing the aegis,”
Sardonyx cameo (late 1st c. BC) mounted in gold by Josias Belle in
the 17th c. from the Cabinet des Medailles. Via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cameo_Athena_CdM_Babelon17.jpg
“The Triple-Body Goddess Hekate,” at Mezeul National Brukenthal, photo by
ChristianChirita, via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hekate_IMG_6523demetra1.
Witchcraft is not a competitive sport.
You lose nothing by being pleasant to another witch and accepting that their practice is their practice.
You don’t have to explain how your rituals are better, your altar is more correct, your gods (or lack of gods) makes your practice better, your tools are more authentic. We have no podium for you to stand on. No gold medals to give you. No accolades to award you.
There is nothing to win, but there is always something to lose
Witchcraft can be intensely personal. You can lose the trust of another. You can lose potential friendships. You can lose invites to the next ritual. And you can lose the ablilty to grow and learn why another’s practice may be perfect for them.
This post is brought to you by my own current magical slump that I’m going to be working at pulling myself out of. So let’s all go at this together. Please feel free to add whatever ideas you have when you reblog! 🙂
– find a challenge online to do something everyday. Whether it’s witchy, tarot, religious, whatever you feel like. Add a reminder on your phone to show up every day, or leave post its on places you’ll see.
– find some songs that make you feel ethereal and add them into your current music playlist. Then they’ll show up at random and help swing your mindset to magic.
– wear an item that makes you feel powerful, like that pentacle or tree of life that’s been sitting on your dresser for a while.
– take a walk somewhere with a lot of nature. If it’s somewhere wild like the woods, bring a plant guide and a bag, forage a bit. Then you can dry them out and expand your magical components.
– Never forget about kitchen witchcraft, even if you’re not a kitchen witch. We all eat, and many of us cook to some degree. Even if you just look up the magical correspondences of hummus and peanut butter. Tape the list to the jar, then you’ll be reminded every time you grab a snack.
– Have a movie night for yourself with a selection of movies/TV shows featuring a (somewhat)more realistic version of magic. Try Practical Magic, Mists of Avalon, The Craft, The Secret Circle, etc
– Throw a drawstring bag of your favourite crystals in the jeans you always wear
– light incense for absolutely no reason. Scented candles, diffusers, and essential oil burners work great too
– Try to meditate once a day. Set a time if you can. Even if it’s just 15, 10 or even 5 minutes.