Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Time for Much Needed Peace

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.
Chinese philosopher, Lao-tse (6th Century BCE)
During this time of sadness when violence and hatred seems to be increasing, may we turn our attention to the Greek Goddess Eirene (also known as Irene) who is the Goddess of peace, as well as being the Goddess of Spring (eiar, eiarinos).  For the ancient Greeks late spring was regarded as the usual campaign season and naturally the time when peace was most at risk.

Eirene, being one of the Horai, Goddesses of the seasons and who were also the keepers of the gates of heaven, was naturally called upon by many at this time.  Her sisters were Eunomia (Goddess of Order or Good-Pasture) and Dike (Goddess of Justice).

    "How far peace outweighs war in benefits to man; Eirene (Irene, Peace),
the chief friend and cherisher of the Mousai (Muses);
Eirene (Peace), the enemy of revenge, lover of families and children,
patroness of wealth. Yet these blessings we viciously neglect, embrace wars;
man with man, city with city fights, the strong enslaves the weak."
Euripides, Suppliant Women 484 ff (trans. Vellacott) (Greek tragedy c5th BCE)

In classical art Eirene usually appeared in the company of Eunomia and Dike bearing the fruits of the seasons.  Statues of the Goddess represented her as a maiden holding the infant Ploutos (Wealth) in her arms. In this guise Eirene was often identified with Demeter and Tykhe.
She was particularly well regarded by the citizens of Athens.  After a naval victory over Sparta in 375 BCE, the Athenians established a cult for Peace, erecting altars to her.  They held an annual state sacrifice to her after 371 BCE to commemorate the Common Peace of that year and set up a votive statue in her honour in the Agora of Athens.
"Listen, Moirai (Fates) ... hear our prayers ...
send us rose-bloomed Eunomia (Good Order) and her bright-throned sisters Dike (Justice) and garland-wearing Eirana (Peace),
and make this city forget its heavy-hearted misfortunes."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 101 (from Stobaeus, Anthology) (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric BCE)


No comments:

Post a Comment

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again
The second edition of "Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats" is now available through or direct from the author (Australian customers only) for an autographed copy.

Great Goddess Isis

Great Goddess Isis

Exhortation of Isis

You are She in the dust of whose feet is the hosts of Heaven,
Whose body encircles the Universe,
Who turns the Earth in its orb,
Who gives light to the Sun,
Who rules the World.

You tread death underfoot.
To Thee, the stars are responsive,
To Thee the seasons turn and the Gods rejoice
And the elements are in subjugation.

You are She that is the natural Mother of all things,
Mistress and governor of all elements,
The initial progeny of worlds,
Chief of Divine powers,
Queen of Heaven,
Principle of all the Gods celestial and the light of Goddesses.

At Your will are disposed the planets of the air,
The wholesome winds of the seas
And the silences of the unseen world.