Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.

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Constellation Andromeda: the chained woman

I greatly enjoy looking at the night's sky although I can barely make out any of the constellations. As a new and regular series on Baring the Aegis, I want to share with you my study of the mythology behind various constellations. Today, I'm starting with Andromeda.


Androméda (Ἀνδρομέδα) is a princess, the daughter of Cepheus, king of Aethiopia, and his wife Cassiopeia. One faithful day, Cassiopeia boasted to an attentive court that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids. The father of the Nereids, the sea God Nereus, heard Cassiopeia's prideful boast and brought his grievance to Poseidon. Poseidon ruled in favor of Nereus and sent Cetus, a huge sea monster, to ravage the coasts of Aethiopia. Cepheus, desperate, visited the Oracle of Apollo to hear how he could solve the suffering of his people. The Oracle told his that Nereus would only be appeased when he sacrificed his daughter to Cetus.

Although Cepheus was reluctant, he knew it was the only way to keep his people safe, and so he took Androméda to a cliff overlooking the water and chained her to the rock. It is this image that was immortalized in the sky. Androméda was not sacrificed, though; Perseus, on his way back from defeating Medusa, came upon her and turned Cetus to stone with the Gorgon head. He married Androméda and took her off to his native island of Serifos. They had many children; sons Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, and Electryon, as well as daughters, Autochthe and Gorgophone. After Androméda's death, Athena placed her among the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia.

The Andromeda constellation is visible at latitudes between +90° and −40°. It is best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of November.

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Elani Temperance is a twenty-seven year old woman, who lives with her partner in The Netherlands. She has been Pagan for a little over twelve years and has explored Neo-Wicca, Technopaganism, Hedge Witchery and Eclectic Religious Witchcraft before progressing to Hellenismos. Although her home practice is fully Hellenic, she has an online Neo-Pagan magazine called 'Little Witch magazine' (www.littlewitchmagazine.com) in which she and several co-writers try to cover the whole gamut of Neo-Paganism. Baring the Aegis is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BaringTheAegis

Comments

  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan Thursday, 13 September 2012

    I love stellar mythology, as well. :) I find it rather ... uncomfortable, though, how little agency Andromeda has in this story. Everything happens *to* her. Someone needs to (re)write the story from her point of view, like Bradley did with the Arthurian mythos.

  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance Friday, 14 September 2012

    I wrote about the role of men and women in Greek myth before* and noted then, that is wasn't the most balanced. Androméda did end up living happily ever after so there is that.

    I would like a modern retelling but, for me, it wouldn't replace the original one. Bradley's writing is quite beautiful, though.


    * http://baringtheaegis.blogspot.nl/2012/06/g-is-for-gender-roles-in-greek.html

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