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Apollo

By Friday 30 October 2009Paganism

I love the greek god Apollo. He is a deity that I like what he stands for, creativity, lover of the arts, beautiful, admire of beauty (both physically, emotionally and spiritually). Here is some quick facts about Apollo:

Apollo’s Appearance: A young man with curly golden hair.
Symbol or Attribute: The Sun itself, the lyre (a type of musical instrument), the bow, and the chariot he drives across the sky daily.

Apollo’s Strengths: Creative, handsome, supportive of all the arts of civilisation.

Weaknesses: Like his father Zeus, Apollo is all too happy to enjoy the charms of nymphs, as well as the occasional youth, and his conquests number in the dozens.
(From http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/mythapollo.htm, Last accessed: 30th October 09)

Yet believe it or not, I can’t find a good statue of Apollo for my altar anywhere in the UK. A statue that truly represents what Apollo means to me. My good friend Kay told me that I she was going on holiday so I showed her what sort of statue I wanted (from images on the Internet). When she went away, she picked me one up and here it is:

The photo took on my Blackberry Storm and it really doesn’t do it justice. On the photo you can’t see the detail and the true quality of the statue.

One of the main reasons that I love Apollo is because he is bisexual. He has had both female and male lovers. As a gay man I am most interested in his male lovers of which there were two. Here are the stories:

Apollo & Cypatissus

In Greek mythology, a myth set in Chios tells of Kyparissos (Greek: κυπάρισσος, “cypress”) — or Cyparissus (Latin: cupressus, “cypress”) — a young boy and son of Telephus. Though the mythic context and the setting is Hellenic, the subject is essentially known from Hellenizing Latin literature and Pompeiian frescoes.[1]

Apollo gave the boy a tame deer as a companion, but Cyparissus accidentally killed it with a javelin as it lay asleep in the undergrowth. The gift of a hunter’s prey is an initiatory gift in the sphere of the hunt, a supervised preparation for the manly arts of war and a testing ground for behaviour (Koch-Harnack 1983). The tameness of the deer may be purely Ovidian. In a late reversal of the boy’s traditional role, perhaps an interpretation applied by Ovid,[2] Cyparissus asks Apollo to let his tears fall forever. Apollo turns the sad boy into a cypress tree, whose sap forms droplets like tears on the trunk.[3] Cypress was one of the trees Orpheus charmed.

According to a different tradition Cyparissus was the son of Orchomenus, the brother of Minyas, and the mythical founder of Kyparissos in Phocis, which later was called Anticyra.[4] (From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyparissus, Last accessed: 30th October 09)

Apollo & Hyacinth

Hyacinth, the young son of the King of Sparta, beautiful like the very gods of Mount Olympus, was beloved of Apollo, shooter of arrows. The god often came down to the shores of the Eurotas River, leaving his shrine in Delphi unattended, to spend time with his young friend and delight in boyish pleasures. Tired of his music and his long bow, Apollo found relief in rustic pastimes. He would take Hyacinth hunting through the woods and glades on the mountain sides, or they would practice gymnastics, a skill which Hyacinth then taught to his friends, and for which later the Spartans would become renowned. The simple life awoke Apollo’s appetites, and made the curly-haired boy seem more charming than ever. Apollo gave him all his love, forgetting he was a mere mortal.

Once, in the heat of a summer afternoon, the lovers stripped naked, sleeked themselves with olive oil, and tried their hand at discus throw, each vying to outdo the other. The bronze discus flew higher and higher. Finally, the powerful god gathered all his strength, and spun and wheeled and let fly the shiny disk which rose swift as a bird, cutting the clouds in two. Then, glittering like a star, it began to tumble down.

Hyacinth ran to meet it. He was hurrying to take his turn, to prove to Apollo that he, though young, was no less able than the god at this sport. The discus landed, but having fallen from such a great height it bounced and violently struck Hyacinth in the head. He let out a groan and crumpled to the ground. The blood spurted thickly from his wound, coloring crimson the black hair of the handsome youth.

Horrified, Apollo raced over. He bent over his friend, raised him up, rested the boy’s head on his knees, trying desperately to staunch the blood flowing from the wound. But it was all in vain. Hyacinth grew paler and paler. His eyes, always so clear, lost their gleam and his head rolled to one side, just like a flower of the field wilting under the pitiless rays of the noonday sun. Heartbroken, Apollo cried out: “Death has taken you in his claws, beloved friend! Woe, for by my own hand you have died. And yet its crime was meeting yours at play. Was that a crime? Or was my love to blame – the guilt that follows love that loves too much? Oh, if only I could pay for my deed by joining you in your journey to the cheerless realms of the dead. Oh, why am I cursed to live forever? Why can’t I follow you?”

Apollo held his dying friend close to his breast, and his tears fell in a stream onto the boy’s bloody hair. Hyacinth died, and his soul flew to the kingdom of Hades. The god bent close to the dead boy’s ear, and softly whispered: “In my heart you will live forever, beautiful Hyacinth. May your memory live always among men as well.” And lo, at a word from Apollo, a fragrant red flower rose from Hyacinth’s blood. We call it hyacinth, and on its petals you can still read the letters “Ay,” the sigh of pain that rose from Apollo’s breast.

And the memory of Hyacinth lived on among the gentlemen of Sparta, who gave honors to their son, and celebrated him for three days in mid-summer at the Hyakinthaea festival. The first day they would mourn his death, and the last two they would celebrate his ressurection.
(From: http://www.gay-art-history.org/gay-history/gay-literature/gay-mythology-folktales/homosexual-greek-mythology/apollo-hyacinth-gay/apollo-hyacinth-gay.html, Last Accessed: 30th October 09)

If I was to invoke a god (take a god or goddess’ spirit with in your physical body) in the future it would be Apollo.

Kay and I are planning a Psychic Party / Home Warming at the end of November and the invites have gone out via Facebook. So check your Facebook inbox for invites, should be a good evening of fun.

Write soon,

Antony

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