Mythology Monday: Hera

Hera, Goddess-Queen, Greek Mythology, Daughters of Zeus series, Kaitlin Bevis

I killed the gods. Isn’t that what you wanted to know? I see no reason to go through this charade. We both know where I belong.

But you won’t put me there, will you, Hades?  You can’t stand the thought of me wasting away in your hell-realm of darkness. Waiting in the endless shadows like The Before.

You love me too much for that.

~@~

Oh wow, where to begin on Hera. She is featured in nearly every Greek Myth, and personality wise grew more volatile with each retelling. Most of her mythology has actually been covered in other blogs, but this still may run a little long. Here goes…

Hera was the youngest of the “Big Six,” the children of Cronus and Rhea who led the rebellion against the Titans. I feel like I’ve discussed the Titanomachy, the myths surrounding Creation, her role in Jason and the Argonaut’s adventure, her role in Hercules, Dionysus, and Hephaestus’s life, and the Judgment of Paris enough in other blogs. She was the God-Queen, wife of Zeus, and the goddess of marriage, which was somewhat ironic because you’d be hard pressed to find a less faithful husband than Zeus. But Zeus was nothing if not charming. He won Hera’s heart by transforming into her favorite bird (a cuckoo). She took him home, made him her favorite pet Shaggy Dog style, and Zeus took notes on how to win her over.

At their wedding, Gaia gave her a grove of beautiful golden apples, which the Hesperides guarded until Hercules came along. 

Hera had several children by Zeus: Hebe, Ares, and Eilythia, and possibly Hephaestus, though he might have been created by Hera alone as revenge for Athena. If not, Hephaestus, then she gave birth to the monster Typhaon by striking the earth crying out…

“Hear now, I pray, Gaia and wide Ouranos above, and you Titanes gods who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartaros, and from whom are sprung both gods and men! Harken you now to me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength–nay, let him be as much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Kronos!” Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 300 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.)

Hera was nothing if not dramatic.

This is also likely how the War of the Giants started because turns out, Typhaon was ugly and Hera was ashamed of him, so she threw the child away (or gave him to the drakaina), and he caused all kinds of trouble with men before trying to take over Olympus.

According to some sources, she was a little like Persephone because she had different names depending on her stage in life. As a maiden, she was known as Pais (which also means girl), as Zeus’s wife, she was Teleia, and as a “widow,” (not in the sense that her husband was dead, just dead to her because she was so mad) she was Hera. You can guess which stage of life she lived in the most.

On at least one occasion, she and Poseidon were at odds over the worship of a particular region (Argolis). She claimed the land, but they lived off the sea, so he withdrew the sea because he’s petty like that. The rivers in that region are only rivers when there’s been rain from the sky.

An endless string of women (Semele, Leto, Callisto, Aegina and Aeacus, Elara, Echo, Lamia, Io— turned into a cow, Inyx– turned to stone,  Othries-learned enough from the other two to go into hiding and just leave her child out in the woods rather than risk a lifetime of pain, Gerana– claimed to be more beautiful than Hera and got turned into a crane, Chelon- disrespected Hera and got turned into a turtle,  and even Aphrodite to name a few) suffered Hera’s wrath along two notable men. One named Ixion. He tried to rape her, so she had Zeus tie him to a wheel, set it on fire, and used the  air keep it in motion. The other was a prophet referenced in the Iron Queen named Tiresias. Tiresias had been changed from a man to a woman back to a man again at the amusement of the gods. When Zeus and Hera asked him which form got the better deal when it came to sex he declared that “on a scale of ten, women enjoy it nine times to men’s one.” Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 71 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :

Hera didn’t like his answer so she blinded him, but Zeus was pleased enough that he turned hm into a prophet.

Sometimes Hera was nice. When a priestess of Hera impressed the goddess with her devotion so much that Hera offered her anything she wished. The woman wished for the best gift Hera could give to her children, so Hera promised when their time came, they would die peacefully in their sleep.

You’ll notice some names missing, like Minthe and Leuce. Hera had nothing to do with their transformation, nor did she and Hades have an epic romance as my book insinuated. But if they had, cursing those two women would have been very much in her character, so I figured that added a layer without too much of a stretch.

Hera is a complex character, and I’ve likely only scratched the surface of her mythology.

 

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

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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.

 

 

FAQ Friday: Joel

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So this is a spoilerific post. If you haven’t read Daughter of Earth and Sky, continue at your own risk.

I’ve seen several emails from readers praising all things Hades and wondering why she was ever remotely tempted by Joel. The answer to this is actually fairly messed up.

Charm.

Well applied charm works by rationalizing the foreign thoughts and impulses into something the victim wants to do. Several times during Daughter of Earth and Sky Persephone had thought patterns like this.

“I could do my run at three instead,” he suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

And just like that she’s running with Joel daily. Here’s another example.

 

“Sorry, Joel.” I brushed the grass off my legs. “I should probably be going.”

He caught my eye. “Aw come on, how long does it take to drink a smoothie?”

I found myself smiling. “Fine.”

And here’s another example.

I felt a pang of guilt flash through me when I saw Joel waiting for me at the bridge. Melissa was right. I was leading him on. I wasn’t sure how it had happened. We’d progressed from our daily jog, to a daily jog and smoothie. Then to a daily jog, smoothie, and occasional dinner. Now it was a daily jog, smoothie, occasional dinner, and occasional movie. We weren’t going out, and I had no interest in dating anyone other than Hades, but every time Joel suggested something and looked at me with those big blue eyes, I found myself agreeing. It was just so easy to be normal around him. For those short bits of time, I could forget about Hades and Thanatos and the Underworld.

“I gotta say, I liked your other outfit better.” Joel motioned to my Disney princess running shirt and pink shorts.

I laughed nervously. I hadn’t switched into different running clothes because Hades had made that comment, but because the way Joel looked at me sometimes made me want to wear a shapeless sweat suit. But this was Georgia. Sweating to death was a distinct possibility.

Joel grinned at me, and I forgot all about that. He was too nice to lead on. I needed to end this.

“You ready?” Joel asked, eyes searching mine.

“Yup!” We could talk after the run.

I ran faster than I ever had, beating Joel and my goal. I collapsed on the grass when I finished my third mile, grinning like an idiot.

“You’re in a good mood,” he noted.

I pushed myself up on my hands. “Hanging out with Aphrodite, running with you, it’s weird, but . . . ” I struggled to explain it. “I feel like I get to be me again, for just a few minutes. It’s really nice.”

“Who else have you been?” He sat beside me, eyes lingering appreciatively on my legs. He caught my reproachful look and gave me an impish smile. “You can tell me anything you know. I won’t tell anyone.”

And suddenly I wanted to tell him. Not everything, but Joel was so easy to talk to, I bet he’d understand what I was going through better than most of the gods.

And one more…

He met my eyes, leaned closer, and I knew he was going to kiss me. I thought of stopping him. I shouldn’t have led him on this long. But . . .

I let him kiss me, releasing him from the charm that would compel him to forget this conversation. His lips on mine were warm and eager. Completely different from a kiss from Hades. Hades was always fighting a battle with himself, trying to hold back. Joel had no such reservations.

My stomach turned at the thought of Hades, and I pushed Joel away. This was wrong. I didn’t want to do this. Why was I doing this? I knew it was just kissing, but I didn’t want to kiss anyone else. I just wanted Hades.

“What’s wrong?” Joel’s bright blue eyes searched my face.

I stared at him wondering that myself. What was wrong? Joel was a perfectly nice guy, and I liked him before. 

See. Aside from a passing mention in the first book, Persephone didn’t willingly give Joel the time of day a single time during the entire book. He spent the entire book slowly forcing her trust, forcing a relationship, and working with Thanatos and Aphrodite to isolate her from everyone else she could turn to. It’s pretty messed up.

 

FAQ Friday: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky?

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Q: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky in format/language/country/for free.

I get variations on this question a lot and for obvious reasons, I am all too happy to answer.

First, some links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible and many, many more.

Daughter of Earth and Sky is available in print, all the major electronic formats, and as an audiobook narrated by yours truly. Print wise, you can order it wherever books are sold, but unless you happen to live in Athens, Georgia, the odds of you walking in and seeing it on a shelf are slim, so you will have to special order it.

Internationally, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available through Amazon and to my knowledge Amazon alone. It is at this point in time only available in English.

Audiobook wise, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available on audible,itunes, and good ol’ amazon.

Daughter of Earth and Sky occasionally goes on sale for .99 cents, but my publisher has not yet offered it for free. As far as I know, they have no plans to.  If you really, really, really want to read my book, but can’t afford it even on sale (trust me, I feel your pain. I have lived in the red) the best suggestion I can offer is your local library. If they don’t have a copy and you request it, chances are they will buy more than one of copy, so not only do you get it free, but it also helps me in terms of sales and exposure. We both win. My books are all available on overdrive, so if your library offers eBooks, there’s a good chance they already have it in an electronic format or can easily obtain it via request. You can even request the audio version. If you’re asking for my recommendation for a good pirate site, let me tell you three quick things.

  1.  While I am truly flattered that you want to read my book enough to commit theft, I’m not J.K Rowling (not that she deserves to be robbed either). I need every penny of my royalties to scrape by.
  2. I have it on good authority from the many, many, many readers who have emailed me complaining their stolen copy of my book infected their computer, that a good chunk of those pirate sites claiming to have my book are bad news.
  3.  When real copies of my book go up, they are pretty quickly taken down, and they stay down for one very important reason. My publisher takes piracy very, very seriously. When they see their products being stolen, they act on it beyond just sending take down notices.

I have an E.d.S in School Library Media, so accessibility is very important to me. If you cannot obtain a copy of my book for any reason at all, email me using the contact me form on this website. I’ll see what I can do.

 

 

Mythology Monday: Deities Associated with Asclepius

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Short and sweet Mythology Monday today because I had a few too many more notes on Asclepius to include in last week’s post.

Asclepius had a wife and a handful of daughters who were all associated with healing, and there’s a bit of repetition and overlap among them, so bear with me.

Epione was Asclepius’s wife. She was also the goddess of the soothing of pain, and by most accounts, mother to the goddesses listed below.

Hygeia (Salus) was the goddess of good health, the reason why good health is called hygiene, and an all together different goddess than her sister Aegle (Aigle) who was the goddess of the radiant glow of good health and shared her name with a variety of other goddesses.

Akeso was the goddess of curing illness. She’s different from her sister, Panacea (Panakeia) the goddess of universal remedy (or as gamers might know her, the cure-all), because she stands more for the process of getting better rather than the cure itself. Iaso was also a goddess of recovery, but not cure-alls and not the process of getting cured.

Paeon (Paion) The physician of the Olympian gods. He was sometimes considered a unique god, other times he was considered an epitaph of Apollo or Asclepius.

P.S Persephone is on sale from May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word.

Venus Rising Cover Reveal!

9781611947526

Venus Rising has a cover, too! I love it :D. And check out my blurb.

The final battle . . .

Aphrodite is in big trouble this time. She’s stranded on the island of the DAMNED–without powers and without her beloved Ares. Worse, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the demigods figure out she’s a goddess. If that happens, she’ll wish she were dead.

Help arrives in the form of an unlikely ally. But Medea has her own demands, and if Aphrodite wants to survive–not to mention find Hades and the weapons cache–she has to meet them.

But all their plans take a back seat when they find themselves in even more pressing danger. When Medea moved the island, she rendered it unstable. Now it’s breaking apart and sinking. In the chaos, the demigods have risen up, blaming the gods for their misfortune. Nobody is safe from the demigods . . . especially a Pantheon sympathizer like Aphrodite. And they’ve come up with a deadly test to uncover any imposters.

Aphrodite knows she can’t do this alone. It will take the whole Pantheon to get her out of this mess. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find her first . . .

 

You can preorder Venus Rising today! In celebration of my new cover and upcoming release, Persephone will be on sale starting tomorrow, May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word. If you want to get caught up, now is the time.

FAQ Friday: Can I read Daughter of Earth and Sky first?

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A reader asked if they can start with Daughter of the Earth and Sky.

If you’re like me, you sometimes stumble upon book two in the library or win it in a giveaway, and you just want to know if you should open the book or if you’ll be so hopelessly lost it’s not worth the bother. I recapped well enough in book two for a new reader to be able to pick up in book two. So yes, you can.

However, I suggest finding a copy of book one if you can (it’s free in audio form if you sign up for my newsletter), because while you will get what’s going on thanks to recapping, you aren’t going to appreciate it as much as a reader who was “there.”

 

Mythology Monday: The Charities and The Graces

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“There’s a girl. She’s…” Adonis’s voice rang out of the room. “You’re going to want to see this.”

I led us to the last small room with glass walls, every step a lesson in agony.

Adonis stood in the doorway. “I don’t recognize her, but…” Adonis swallowed audibly, stepping aside so we could see the skeletal figure lying atop the metal table. “She doesn’t look good.

“Who is that?” I demanded with a gasp as we crowded into the room. The smell of infection almost overwhelmed me.

The goddess was connected to an IV, lying unconscious on a metal table, just as Hades had been. But unlike Hades, she was skin and bones. Pockmarked scars crisscrossed her flesh. Scars. The age of them told me just how long it had been since she had any access to her own divine healing abilities.

Hades worked a muscle in his jaw as he looked her over. “Aglaia.”

The name clicked into place. She was a Daughter of Zeus, one of the Graces. Her sister, Thalia, had mentioned she was missing back before we bought Zeus. But we’d assumed he’d already killed her.

Gods, this poor girl. Her gaunt skin rose and fell with shallow, pained breaths. I could hear the death rattle in her chest over the sound of the fight behind me. The Graces were harmless, alive only because Zeus had passed on token amounts of charm. But even without the poison, she couldn’t have had enough power reserved to heal from what they’d done to her.

They wanted to see what made me tick, Adonis’s haunted voice echoed in my mind.

Hades let out a long breath. “She went missing back when Zeus…” His throat bobbed as his ice blue eyes took in a fate he hadn’t quite escaped from yet. “We assumed he killed her.” He put a hand on her forehead and closed his eyes. “She’s gone.”

My heart wrenched. I hadn’t known her, but I knew of her. The Graces lived up to their name. They were harmless and kind. She didn’t deserve this. And every god lost was an irreparable blow to our species as a whole.

“The machines say otherwise,” Adonis said, pointing at the beeping machines monitoring her.

Hades gave him an icy look. “I know death when I see it.”

 

~@~

 

The Charities, also known as the Graces, were goddesses of sugar, spice, and everything nice. Basically. (Okay, the official list is joy, pleasure, mirth, beauty, dancing, feasts, marriage and banquets. Thank you Theoi).

The Graces acted as handmaidens for Hera, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. There were three primary Graces and a bunch of minor Graces mentioned in random throwaway lines of Greek mythology.

The three primary Graces are Aglaea (Charis), Euphrosyne, and Thalia. Aglaea was a goddess of beauty, and Hephaestus’s second wife. She plays a minor role in Love and War and Venus Rising. Euphrosyne was the goddess of good cheer. Thalia (the Grace, not the Muse) was the goddess of festivities, (except in Sparta, where the third Grace was Cleta). Thalia plays a minor role in Iron Queen.

The primary graces were most often considered to be daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, but sometimes they were mentioned as daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite, or Helios and Aegle.

 

Of the younger graces, (most of whom were Hephaestus’s and Aglaea’s kids) the most notable was the oldest, Pasithea. She was Hypnos’s wife and the goddess of rest and relaxation. Others included Auxo, who might have been a Grace, might have been a Hora (Seasonal deities) or might have been a title for Persephone; Peitho, the goddess of persuasion; Antheia, goddess of flowers; Eudaemonia, goddess of happiness; Euthymia, goddess of good cheer; Hegemone; Cleta; goddess of fame and glory; Paidia, the goddess of amusement; Pandaisia, the goddess of rich banquets; Pannykhis, the goddess of night parties; and Pheanna.

You’ll notice a lot of repeats, cross-overs, and straight up emptiness in that list. That’s because the Charities were often depicted in art work, but few mentions of them survived in actual writings. For my purposes, there are only three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQ Friday: Persephone’s age and spoilers

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Persephone.

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The question asked by a reader was “I get why Persephone didn’t think to ask, but how come Hades didn’t immediately realize Zeus was still alive by the fact that he had a sixteen year old daughter?

That’s a really good question. Gods get a lot of perks that humans don’t when it comes to reproduction. For instance, children are a consensual choice between two divine partners. So, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that god magic allowed Demeter to postpone her pregnancy until she felt she’d charmed enough priestesses to maintain worship to keep herself and her child alive. At least that’s my theory.