Mythology Monday: The Muses

The Muses, Hercules, Disney, Greek mythology retelling, Daughters of Zeus, Kaitlin Bevis

The Muses (Mousai) were the goddesses of inspiration in Greek Mythology. The were known to inspire music, song, dance, and poetry. They were also considered goddesses of knowledge, who remembered all things that had come to pass. The Muses were the very best at whatever they represented, a fact frequently proven when a foolish mortal tried to challenge them.

Most people know of nine Muses, but that wasn’t always the case. According to theoi.com, “They were originally regarded as the nymphs of inspiring wells, near which they were worshipped, and bore different names in different places, until the Thraco-Boeotian worship of the nine Muses spread from Boeotia over other parts of Greece, and ultimately became generally established.”

 

The Titanides

Three or four ancient Titan-goddesses of music who formed the first generation of Muses in some versions of the myths.

Melete (Practice, ponder)- the Muse of thought and mediation.

Aiode (Song)- the Muse of voice and song

Mneme- the Muse of Memory

Thelxinoe- the Muse of the Heart’s Delight

Arche (origin)- the Muse of Beginings

and Mnemosyne The daughter of Uranus and the goddess of memory and remembrance and the inventress of language and words. She was also a minor goddess of time. She represented the memorization required to preserve the stories of history and the sagas of myth. She was also one of the oracle goddesses like Dione, Themis, and Phoibe. She also presided over a pool in the Underworld that acted as a counterpart to the Lethe.

Mnemosyne is credited as being the mother of the Muses most of the time. The story goes that she slept with Zeus for nine consecutive nights to conceive them.

The Nine Muses

The Nine Muses, made famous by Hesiod were  considered daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne most of the time. But sometimes they are considered daughters of Uranus and Gaea, or in rare cases, minor nymphs. They are frequently associated with Apollo.  They either lived on Mount Helicon, Mount Parnassos, or near Mount Olympus.

Calliope (Kalliope) was the leader of the nine Muses, and she was the goddess of epic poetry, so that means she was most frequently the goddess invoked at the beginning of Epics.  She also bestowed the gift of eloquence upon kings and princes. She’s Orpheus’s mother, so she’s already been featured in a Mythology Monday.

Clio (Kleio- To Make Famous)  was the Muse of historical writings and lyre playing. She is sometimes referred to as “The Proclaimer.” Clio was the mother of Hyacinth and in some versions of mythology Hymenaios. and Linus,

Erato (Lovely or Beloved) was the Muse of love poems and mimicry. She charms the sight (as in love at first) and is often accompanied by Eros.

Euterpe (giver of much delight) was the Muse of music or lyric poetry.

Melpomene (to celebrate with dance and song, to sing, melodious) was originally the Muse of chorus, but she later became the Muse of tragic plays. In some myths she is the mother of Sirens.

Polyhymnia (many praise) was the Muse of religious hymns and sometimes sacred poetry, dance, eloquence, agriculture, geometry, meditation, and pantomime. She was also known as Polymnia and is the namesake of one of my favorite Madeline L. Engle characters.

Terpsichore (delighting in dance) was the Muse of choral dance and song.

Thalia (the joyous, the flourishing), not to be confused the Grace by the same name, was the Muse of comedy drama and idyllic poetry. Sometimes she and Apollo are credited as the parents of the Korybantes, the armed and crested dancers who worshipped the goddess Cybele with drumming and dancing.

Urania (Ourania) was the  Muse of astronomy and astronomical writings. In some versions of the myths, she can read the future in the stars. Sometimes she is the mother of Linus or Hymenaios. She is associated with universal love. She is sometimes identified as the oldest of the Muses and was said to have inherited Zeus’ majesty and power and the beauty and grace of her mother Mnemosyne. During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets and is invoked in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

The Appolonides

The Appolonides were three daughters of Apollo who were sometimes considered to be a younger generation of Muses. They were worshipped at a shrine in Delphi. They also came in sets of three).

Cephiso (named after the river near a shrine in Delphi), Apollonis, and Borysthenis

Nētē, Mesē, and Hypatē- Named after the strings on a lyre.

Some other mentions of Muses include: Neilo, Tritone, Asopo, Heptapora, Achelois, Tipoplo, and Rhodia, but other than being listed among the Muses, not a lot else is said about them.

 

FAQ Friday: Demeter’s Soul

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

Super-ultra-mega-spoiler warning for Iron Queen.

 

 

 

You have been warned……

 

 

A reader asked what happened to Demeter at the end of Iron Queen. “There was the part with the sad goodbye of her transferring her powers to Persephone, so was that it? Did she die?”

Yes. Demeter willed all her power to Persephone to force the coming of age rite that enabled her daughter to use the full breadth of her power safely. There wasn’t even enough left to maintain a soul. Why?

Well, gods can either be created or born. Demeter wanted Persephone to be born, to experience infancy, childhood, adolescence, and all the human rites of passage. But until she came of age, Persephone was essentially human physically speaking. As she drew closer to maturity (defined by the moment a body is at its absolute peak, frozen in time just before it starts to decline, so there’s variation from god to god), her body could handle more power, but not enough to deal with fealty from the entire Pantheon so she could defeat Zeus. And anything less, and she wouldn’t have been able to defeat Zeus.

Persephone deals with the fallout from that grief in the Aphrodite trilogy.

The Performance Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editThis is a short and sweet genre that focuses around a big performance. A play, a big game, a race. The subgenres must be strong in this one, because that big event has to really matter to the character in order for the reader to interact with it. Rocky is a good example of a performance genre piece.

Next week, we will be moving out of external genres and into internal content genres, which focus more on what’s happening inside the character as opposed to the outside forces working within the plot. Can’t wait!

 

FAQ Friday: How will SPOILER impact Persephone in the long run.

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

Super spoilerific post for anyone who has not yet read Iron Queen. Fair warning…

A reader who just finished Iron Queen emailed the following. “This can’t be where Persephone’s story ends! The pantheon hinted that Zeus killing his parents might have been part of what drove Zeus crazy. Plus she’s a triple realm-ruler now, and she lost her mother, and Hades seemed to be a bit unhinged at the end. So what’s in store for her in the future? Are we ever going to see that?”

Short answer:

Yes.

Longer answer:

The sanity thing was just Athena speculating. Zeus was unhinged from birth. Something about his father attempting to kill him, his mother hiding him by tying him upside down to a tree for years, and spending his early years training him to kill his father. The whole slicing his dad open and rescuing his siblings thing only to find himself at once their savior and an outsider to their very tight inner circle, formed by years of being all they had in The Before was also fairly hard on his psyche.

As for the weight of ruling three realms, losing her mother? That gets explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy. Persephone’s adapting to her new role as queen of the Pantheon and her grief/trauma from everything that happens in Iron Queen. She gets a few POV chapters in Venus Rising to really emphasize that arc, but the Pantheon as a whole has to do a lot of adjusting throughout the trilogy. In the Persephone trilogy, the gods of the Pantheon were separate entities. They were used to working around each other, but they hadn’t truly worked with each other in centuries until the end of Iron Queen. Now they’re realizing they can’t just ignore each other until a big epic battle. That’s the very mentality that left them vulnerable to Zeus. There’s a lot of growing and adjusting that needs to happen.

As for Hades…this is lightly addressed in Aphrodite, and addressed more in depth here, but broad strokes, he’s not unhinged. He’s just mildly traumatized. He went through a lot in Iron Queen. Dealing with Zeus brought up a lot of horrible memories for pretty much everyone in the Pantheon. He also felt every second of Persephone’s torture, and he had to rip her arm off, and she’s waking up from nightmares where Zeus wore his face. That’s a lot to deal with even without the fact that he’s dealing with the fact that Zeus, Demeter, and Apollo are dead. They don’t think of each other as siblings, but that is millennia of history, good and bad. Then there’s the fact that he just kind of destroyed Zeus’s soul, and there’s some emotional baggage with that. And he also witnessed one of his worst fears (that his past will hurt the people he loves), come true for Poseidon.

It’s a lot. And I included that final scene to show that what happened with Zeus didn’t just happen to Persephone. She and Aphrodite weren’t his only victims, and they aren’t the only ones who need to come to terms with the events of Iron Queen. If Hades, the guy with millennia of experience getting over horrible things and a library full of self-help books, is rattled, you can bet every other god in the entire mythology is. And that will be explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy.

 

 

The Society Genre

The Story Grid, genre chart, #amwriting, #amediting

Society Genre stories tend to be idea stories, and there’s a lot of interplay between them and dystopian stories. They’re often used to present an argument for or against a political argument, they tend to be of the “let’s follow your logic to its conclusion” slippery-slope thought process.

These tend to focus on multiple POV’s to get a better look at how the issue impacts others, but that’s not a requirement. Some of the most famous examples only follow one character.

These absolutely require a sub-genra, so the specific beats are going to be dependent on which sub-genre you go with. The Handmaid’s Tale is absolutely an idea story and a society story and a woman vs. society story and a horror story and so on.

Some sub-genres within this sub-genre include, Domestic Society.  This focuses on the family dynamic. The core value tends to be the well being of the individual vs. the family unit. The core event tends to be a showdown where what’s good for one clashes with what’s good for all.

Women’s Society tends to concern the struggle of the individual woman versus the patriarchy. The core event of the story is the rebellion or submission of the female protagonist (think Handmaid’s Tale).

Political Society (I would argue all of these are to some degree political, especially women’s society) deals with the struggle for power. The core value is power vs. impotency, and the core event tends to be a revolution. This Les’ Mis, though that also falls squarely under…

Historical Society where any one of the above approaches is used but in a hind-sight being 20/20 kind of way. For this genre to be successful, it needs to be applicable to the modern day. Like how The Crucible, a story about the Salem Witch Trials, was also about McCarthyism. Coyne goes on to say that “using historical details enables the writer to comment on a particular taboo or highly charged moment in contemporary life through the prism of the past.”

Coyne also lists biographical stories within this genre, but I think biographies are something unto themselves. It just depends on how the person telling the story decides to frame it.

Mythology Monday: Attendants of Zeus

Zeus, Greek mythology, young adult greek mythology retelling, mythology monday

All the gods served Zeus to some degree, but there were many who pretty much only existed in Greek mythology to serve Zeus. Since none of them have enough associated myths to merit their own blog post, I thought I’d group them together.

Zeus’s Winged Attendants

Zeus had four winged attendants who stood at his throne and acted as his enforcers. Their position was awarded to four children of Pallus and Styx because they assisted Zeus during the Titanomachy.

Bia– The personification of force and raw energy.

Cratus (Kratos)– The personification of strength, might, power and sovereign rule.

Zelos (Zelus/Invidia)–  The personification  of rivalry, emulation, jealousy, envy and zeal. He may have been a facet of Agon, the spirit of contest. He was also sometimes equated with Phthonos the god of romantic jealousy and was closely connected with the Eris. His Roman name, Invidia, meant to look against in a hostile manner, and his Greek name is where we get the word Zeal. His Roman persona is sometimes grouped in with the seven deadly sins.

Nike-  The goddess of victory. Any victory, not just war but also friendly competitions. Nike was also Zeus’s personal charioteer. Most of the time, Nike was worshipped as a singular goddess, but in some tellings she’s a facet of Athena or she’s a host of goddesses know as the Victories. Now she’s most famous for the shoes named after her.

Zeus’s other attendants: 

Ganymede- A super hot Trojan prince that Zeus abducted while he was in eagle form and brought to Olympus to be his cupbearer (taking Hebe’s place)/plaything. But it was totally okay because Zeus gave his father horses. The prince was transformed into an immortal being and is often considered the god homosexual love. Ganymede is associated with Eros and Hymenaeus. He’s also one of the stars in the Aquarius constellation.

Themis- The Titan goddess of the divine law, order, custom and tradition established by the first gods. She was also a prophetic goddess who presided over the oracles of Delphi (so she was also present at the birth of Apollo and Artemis). She introduced law, order, and themis (divine law) to mankind. the leader of the assembly, and the personal councillor of Zeus. In some myths she was married to him. She is closely associated to Demeter, Gaia, and Nemesis who often delivered her justice. She was the mother of The Hours, The Fates, and she might have been the mother of a nature goddess of the forest called Natura, Dike, and Prometheus. Themis was just but never wrathful. She didn’t tend to get involved with schemes of petty revenge.

Litae– A group of elderly goddesses of who delivered the prayers to Olympus. They were either daughters of Zeus or maidens who just so happened to serve Zeus. Their opposites were the Ate, the spirits of delusion and folly. Ate (Folly) may have also been a singular daughter of Zeus that the Litae could not keep up with no matter how hard they tried. If people respected them, they were rewarded, if not, Zeus would send Ate to terrorize the disrespectful mortals.

FAQ Friday: Is Iron Queen the last Persephone book?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

I get asked a lot if Persephone is ever going to return as a main character. Short answer, no. Iron Queen is the last book in the Persephone portion of the Daughters of Zeus series.

Slightly longer answer: The ripples the events that occurred in the Persephone trilogy caused are still ongoing. Aphrodite’s trilogy focuses heavily on what comes next for the Pantheon after the boss battle in Iron Queen, and Persephone plays a major role in the Aphrodite’s trilogy. She even narrates a few chapters in Venus Rising. The ending of Venus Rising for sure will have an impact on Persephone’s future, so she will certainly appear in Artemis’s trilogy, possibly even as a POV character somewhere down the line.

 

The War Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to edit The War Genre tends to be pretty straightforward. There’s a war, people fight in it. Pro-War Stories focus on Good VS. Evil, like Wonder Woman. There might be a nod toward the fact that fighting is bad, but at the end of the day, one side is fighting for the betterment of mankind, the other is evil. The war was necessary, in other words. It was right.

Anti-War stories like Once Upon a Forest focus on the shades of gray and how both side are good and evil and war sucks for all involved.

Neither of these are wrong or right, just different approaches to the same type of event.

The core emotion in a war story is either excitement, fear, or intrigue. The core event is a big battle.

Shawn Coyne identified a subplot within war stories called the brotherhood variation. It has a core value of honor vs. disgrace, and the subplot focuses on friendships and relationships among those affected by the war. Love stories are another oft-used subplot within war stories. These two technically follow the same beats, it’s just what the focus is centered on that makes the difference.

War Stories have definitely been used in YA books as sub-genres, particularly in dystopian stories. Even I dabbled in this sub-plot in my novel, Venus Rising.

What are your favorite war stories?

Mythology Monday: Gods of Love, Marriage, and War Associated with Aphrodite

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, as imagined in the young adult, greek mythology retelling, The Daughters of Zeus series by Kaitlin Bevis. Red hair, aquamarine eyes, and creamy skin

It’s no secret that Aphrodite got around. Mostly with Ares, but there were other gods thrown in there. She had a lot of children and was associated with a lot of gods. And while most of major gods associated with her have their own Mythology Mondays, there were a few odds and ends of note that I thought would fit nicely in a combined blog post.

The Erotes were winged gods of love. The gods of marriage were often counted among them. A flock of these accompanied Aphrodite. The three primary erodes were….

Himeros– The god of sexual desire. He is either a son of Aphrodite or one of the two dogs (along with Eros) who greeted her when she was born from sea foam. He’s often paired with Anteros, the god of reciprocal love.

Pothos– The god of sexual yearning. He’s sometimes considered the son of Iris and Zephyros (the west wind), or he’s a son of Eros.

and Eros.

Anteros, The God of Reciprocal Love, was also sometimes considered an Erotes. and the avenger of the unrequited (I love that title). He’s a son of Ares and Aphrodite or Poseidon and a Neriad.

Gods of Marriage were Gods associated with different aspects of Marriage in Greek Mythology. You’d think these would mostly associate with Hera, but for the most part they were strongly linked with Aphrodite.

 Harmonia

Hebe (Juventas)-The goddess of youth and cupbearer to the gods until Ganymedes came along. She was given to Hercules as a wife after he ascended to Olympus. She’s the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She helped her mom enter her chariot, attended to Aphrodite, and was the patron goddess of young brides. In some depictions, she has wings. She can also grant eternal youth.

Hymenaios– The god of the weddings and the marriage hymn. Hymenaios was s son of Apollo and one of the Muses or, depending on the myth, Aphrodite and Dionysus. In other versions of the myth, he was a pretty mortal boy that Apollo saw and decided to turn into a god/plaything. In far later stories, he was a mortal boy who fell in love with a girl far above his station, so he disguised himself  as a woman and followed the woman he loved to a women’s only religious ceremony. But en-route, the women were captured by pirates. Hymenaios helped the women plot their escape, and after they were all safe and sound, he was allowed to marry his beloved. Their marriage was so happy, the people of Athens held festivals to honor them and the couple later became associated with marriage.

Peitho (Suadela)– The goddess of persuasion, seduction, and charming speech. She was a handmaiden of Aphrodite and is one of the goddesses of marriage. Often she’s viewed as a facet of Aphrodite. It’s possible she was an Oceanid or a daughter of Aphrodite, and she is often numbered as one of the Charities. Some sources say she was the wife of Hermes, others say she was the wife of  the hero king Phoroneus, and the mother of  the heroes Aegialeus and Apia.

Odds and Ends: 

Phobos and Deimos- More spirits or personifications than gods, Phobos and Deimos were the twin sons of Ares and Aphrodite. They personified terror and dread (Deimos) and panic and flight (Phobos). Mar’s moons are named after them, as are Sailor Mars’s ravens. They were most notably worshiped in Sparta.

Dione– Dione is the mother of the second Aphrodite in Greek mythology (though it’s interesting to note that her name is just a feminine form of Zeus). She was a Titan Goddess of prophecy, and the oracle of Dodona in Thesprotia. Her sisters were also oracles. Phoibe was the oracle of Delphi, Mnemosyne the oracle of Lebadeia, Themis was another oracle of Delphi and Dodona. Some sources identified her as an ancient wife of Zeus (as was Themis, go figure).

FAQ: Melissa

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

Not exactly a question, but I get a lot of readers emailing me to say they loved Melissa in book one

And hated her in book two.

And I just wanted a moment to address that.

I completely understand the feeling. Melissa’s making demands and being super inconsiderate to what Persephone’s going through in book two. Persephone is super annoyed with her, so the reader should feel that way as well. Technically all this Melissa hatred means is that I’ve done my job.

But it still makes me a bit sad because Melissa’s one of my favorite characters. She’s not very considerate to Persephone in book two because she has no idea what’s going on in Persephone’s life. She cut herself out of the equation, so that’s on her. But if my former best friend called me at 3 in the morning during finals week and only gave me vague responses as to why, I would not be sunshine and rainbows either. The fact that she showed up at all means she’s a better person than I’d probably be.

I’m a horrible person when I’m sleepy. No. Really. A horrible person.

As for cutting herself out of the equation, Aphrodite was doing a lot behind the scenes to prey on Melissa’s self-esteem issues. Add that to…

The Joel drama (which you can read all about in That Moment When)

The fact that she literally died at the end of Persephone

and everyone but Persephone, including her own mother, was willing to let that happen

The mind trip it must be to be born and bred with a purpose you have no say on

Being magically forced to keep a secret from your best friend for years

Eagerly waiting for the day she finds out what she is only for her to get all distant and has problems that you can’t possibly begin to understand despite the fact that understanding and being there for her was the only purpose in life you were ever supposed to have…

Oh yeah, and she’s human and normal and surrounded by the supernatural constantly. Her best friend could be best described as an unearthly beauty. And she has super powers.

And she complains about them.

A lot.

I’m a reader. I’ve spent my entire life burying my nose in stories where the fantastic is possible. I cannot imagine anything worse than knowing it’s all out there, it’s all real, but not for me. I can’t imagine being surrounded by those magical one-percenters, the chosen protagonists, and not getting jealous. Much less being expected to listen to them whine about problems I’d kill to have and then be completely expected to die for them.

Melissa has a ton to process. And she does so in a flawed way. And I wish I could write more from her point of view to fully convey that, because from a writing standpoint, she’s a super interesting character to place in a scene. She brings an entirely different dynamic to every line she’s in.

But what is fun for the writer is not always fun for the reader. The reader is invested in Persephone’s POV, so what she feels, hurt, annoyed, betrayed, the reader feels. And that’s a good thing.