Mythology Monday: Eilethyia

Eilythia, Goddess of childbirth, Greek myths, Daughters of Zeus, Iron Queen

I yawned and inspected my nails. Divine meetings were boring as hell.

Hades stood in the front of the room, his dark clothes sucking in the cheery brightness of Demeter’s home like a black hole. “Who are we missing?” Hades paused, deep in thought, gaze fixed on Demeter’s white couch. “Is anyone else still around?”

“Hebe?” Ares suggested. He hadn’t shed the jacket, despite the stifling heat of the overcrowded home.

I winced, expecting an onslaught of information and images to rush over me, but there wasn’t much to know about Hebe. She was the goddess of youth, and apparently—

“Dead,” Hades confirmed.

I would have thought a goddess of youth would be safe. This culture seemed to worship it enough.

“Eileithyia?” one of the muses asked, referring to the goddess of the pain of childbirth.

Wait, seriously? I racked my brain and came up with hundreds upon thousands of useless gods of mists and doorways and clouds. No wonder so many of the gods were dead. What a waste of worship.

Eilethyia (Lucina or Natio) was the goddess of the pain of childbirth. Some versions of the myth say she was actually two goddesses, one who furthered birth and one who protracted labor. Others indicate she was an aspect of either Hera or Artemis. She’s sometimes a daughter of Zeus and Hera, sometimes she’s considered linked to the Fates and outdate Cronus himself.

Eilethyia was sent by Hera to stop Hercules’s mother’s labor, but she failed. Otherwise, she’s not featured in many stories (though she was worshipped by several cults). It’s no wonder she didn’t last long in my universe.

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