Tag Archives: Greek myth

Artists, Like Greek Gods

4 Mar

Oscar-Wilde-oscar-wilde-32649611-400-674

“Artists, like the Greek gods, are only revealed to one another.”

~ Oscar Wilde

 

Greece’s Naughty Octopus

21 Jun

A few months ago my father emailed me to tell me about his new pet.  In New Jersey, he tried to literally bring the ocean into our house.  He kept all sorts of salt water fish, starfish, shrimp, and sea horses in huge tanks that took up the length of our living room wall.  Now in Greece, he’d apparently fished an octopus out of the ocean.

Over the course of several weeks, he emailed me stories about his pet octopus’ silly antics.  It was a curious octopus, always watching him.  One day, though, the octopus grew despondent.  No amount of feta cheese improved his happiness.  My father decided it was time to release him back into the ocean.

Now you may remember that my father lives in the Peloponnesus in Greece, near where the Greek poet Arion, who sang and danced for the gods, was rescued by a pod dolphins after being kidnapped by pirates.

Currently, the Ionian Dolphin Project is studying dolphins of the non-mythological variety in a different region of Greece, the island of Kalamos.  Catalan biologist Joan Gonzalvo reported on the blog that he recently witnessed an octopus attach itself on top of a, um, rather sensitive, private area of a bottlenose dolphin.  With the octopus still attached, the dolphin leapt out of the sea, and the scientists got some awesome photographs.

Speaking of Catalan, don’t forget to check out the Human Tower events happening throughout New York.

 

Death by Pomegranate

19 Jun

Branching out from writing of roses, of the myths and memories and makeup surrounding them, we turn to the Greek vegetation goddess, Persephone, also known as Kore.

The daughter of harvest-goddess Demeter and Zeus, Persephone represents the changing of the seasons.  One day she was out gathering flowers with Athena, goddess of wisdom, and Artemis, goddess of wild animals, when she was abducted by the god of the underworld, Hades.  There, she was tricked into eating the seeds of the pomegranate.  Because she ate four juicy seeds, she was relegated to spending four months of the year in the underworld.  Therefore, she is like vegetation itself, disappearing after the harvest.

In ancient Greek culture, the pomegranate was thought of as the “fruit of the dead.”  In fact, according to Greek Orthodox tradition it was not an apple that Eve ate in the Garden of Eden but rather a pomegranate!  Today, Greek Orthodox believers use pomegranate as an ingredient in koliva, the ritual food prepared for the memorial Divine Liturgy after a death.

Greek Goddess Skin with Korres Pomegranate Toner & Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment

4 Jun

Thanks to Persephone eating those seeds of the pomegranate, we now experience the changing of the seasons, according to Greek mythology.  Now that spring has sprung and summer is around the corner, modern Greek goddesses are spending more time outdoors and less time caking on makeup.  These warm months are all about catching free summer concerts in the park, vineyard hopping in the Hamptons, and stalking the Coolhaus truck without worrying if your makeup is sweating off.     

The Korres Pomegranate line is perfect for baring your skin this season.

I really love how gentle the Korres Pomegranate Toner is.  I have delicate, sensitive skin and so many toners are just too harsh.  The Korres Pomegranate Toner feels like water—mythical water.  There is absolutely no stinging sensation, and my skin doesn’t feel tight after using it.  Even though it doesn’t feel icy or tingly, I’ve been able to see from my cotton ball that it is working hard to remove impurities.

According to Korres, the Pomegranate Toner:

_Helps purify the skin’s surface by removing excess dirt, oil and impurities while minimizing the look of pores and helping to reduce the appearance or look of redness
_Leaves skin feeling fresh, and looking smoother and more matte
_Formulated with skin conditioners to leave skin feeling soft

It also happens to have a fresh, youthful aroma–unlike most toners, which tend to smell like rubbing alcohol.  Korres Pomegranate Toner has a sweet and invigorating smell.

Even better smelling is the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment.  However, this product takes about eight weeks to work.  The benefits are impressive, according to Korres:

Breathable, oil absorbing formula to minimize the look/appearance of pores and redness and leave skin with a smooth, matte finish throughout the day.

KEY FEATURES & BENEFITS
_Instantly fills in pores to create a smooth, even skin surface texture.
_Clinically proven after 8 weeks to significantly reduce the visibility of pores (94% of subjects), the appearance of redness (84% of subjects), and improve the overall appearance of skin (88% of subjects)

I’ve been using it only for a few weeks now, and even though it’s probably the best-smelling face-care product I’ve ever used, my skin was shiny as ever in the photos snapped for my MFA graduation and the Mediabistro event I attended. I think my foundation actually rubs most of the product off when I apply it, though, so through trial and error I’ve learned to make sure the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is completely dry on my face before applying any face makeup.  (Beauty tip: Apply the Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment all over your face or t-zone, and while it’s drying apply your eye makeup to save time.  It should only take about 20 seconds to dry, and then you can apply foundation.  However, even then, pat your face makeup on gently because if you rub it, the mattifying treatment will come off in the process.)  Even so, the Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment seems to work better for days when I’m not wearing any other face makeup on top of it.  And really, in the summer I don’t want to wear a lot of makeup anyway.

Neither of the scents linger, which is a positive for skincare, but if Korres offered a pomegranate perfume I’d be the first in line.  It’s the perfect daytime scent for summer months.

Greece’s fastest-growing natural skincare company not only draws its inspiration from the flora of Greece, where pomegranates have grown for centuries, it also is committed to eco-friendly practices.  The sleek and sophisticated packaging for Korres Pomegranate Toner and Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment is recyclable, and neither of the products are tested on animals.

So go ahead and channel your inner Greek goddess this summer, knowing that you don’t have to wear a lot of makeup to look beautiful.

Chloris and the Greek Myth of the Rose

21 May

 

The Greek myth of the rose is one of my favorites.

Chloris, the goddess of the flowers, was in the forest one day when she tripped over a beautiful nymph lying lifeless.  Chloris was so overcome by the nymph’s fate that she reached out to the other gods to transform her into a flower.

Aphrodite gave her beauty.

Dionysus, the god of wine, gave her nectar for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

The three Graces—the Charites known as Thalia, Euphrosyne, and Aglaea—gave her charm, joy, and brilliance or splendor.

Mighty Aphrodite: Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial

10 May

I’m in love with all the flowers that are blooming around the city right now.  Seeing delicate flowers push out of the ground and bloom in spite of in this concrete jungle inspires me.  It shows that even here in New York City, where you have to push for a spot on the subway and climb five flights of stairs to your overpriced, walk-up apartment, you can be tough and beautiful.  It’s like wearing a flower-print dress and a leather jacket.  Or like dark chocolate with rose hips.  It’s like having a fancy picnic in the shadow of skyscrapers in Central Park.  It’s like a wild rose.

Writing and editing around the clock, I haven’t exactly been getting a lot of sleep lately.   That’s the plight of a modern New York woman, though, isn’t it?  Sacrificing sleep to follow one’s passion.  I’m finally stepping out from behind my computer screen, to give a reading, though, and I don’t want to actually look like I’ve been burning the midnight oil.  I want to look picture-ready for my reading and graduation.  This is a time to celebrate!

I was so excited to discover Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial.  It uses wild rose oil to give a natural, healthy glow to skin.  It’s facial in a jar!  That means saving the time of actually going to the dermatologist or beautician to get a facial.  Just put it on before you go to sleep and wake up the next morning moisturized and radiant.  When Korres offered to send me the Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, I was so happy because they’re one of my favorite Greek beauty companies.  Founded out of Athens’ oldest homeopathic pharmacies, Korres creates products that are natural and certified organic.  The Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial doesn’t contain parabens, synthetic dye, or animal by-products and is not tested on animals.  Korres’ Greek homeopathic roots and the company’s commitment to both beauty and environmentalism make Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial is indulgence one can feel good about!

After a long day of editing, a dinner meeting, and attending a reading, I was more than ready for bed by the time I got home the other night.  I felt so indulgent as I applied The Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial for the first time.  It smelled heavenly.  The facial is made with a fragrance, but it doesn’t smell overwhelmingly of rose.  More so, it has the intoxicating fragrance of beauty and sophistication.  It’s a bit powdery and old-fashioned, a luxurious aroma that drifted me off to sweet dreams.  Even though I have sensitive skin, the perfume did not irritate my skin.  Wild rose extract (Rose canina) is a natural source of Vitamin C, and so it actually soothes skin.

The Korres sleeping facial is made from a traditional recipe of Vitamin E, soybean oil, rosemary leaf extract, rose hip oil, and jojoba oil.  A clinical study showed that 100% of subjects who used Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial had “improvements in skin’s moisture levels and texture” and “visible reduction in appearance of expression lines.”  Meanwhile, 84% saw “improved skin radiance” and 78% “had visibly improved skin smoothness.”  If you ever read the fine print of beauty and skincare products, you know that those are pretty astounding statistics.

In Greek mythology, roses were actually white until the goddess Aphrodite was pricked by a rose when she was hurrying to save her protege, Adonis, and her blood stained the white rose petals red.  Women have been rushing about since ancient times.  Hey, we’ve got proteges to look after!  But sometimes we need to slow down, indulge in an impromptu picnic in the park, and take care of ourselves.

Profile of the Greek Cupid

14 Feb

 

Out of the opposites-attract romance of the goddess of love and the god of war sprang forth Eros.  It comes as no surprise that his genes of love and war make him the god of passion!

Early depictions of Eros show him as a stunningly handsome man, but today he’s portrayed as a winged boy.  He is the Greek Cupid.  He has a bow and arrows, which he seems to shoot at random.

Eros is so handsome that he must shield his beauty from his own wife.  Go Greece tells the story:

Problems ensue when Eros (called Cupid in this story) falls in love with Psyche. His radiance is such that for her own safety, he insists that she must never look upon his face, and he only visits her at night. At first, she’s cool with this, but her sisters and family insist that her husband must be a grotesque and dangerous monster. Finally, to shut them up, one night she lights a lamp and sees his glorious beauty, which doesn’t blast her but does make her tremble so hard she shakes the lamp. A few drops of hot oil dribble on her beloved, burning him, and he flies away from her in physical pain compounded by the pain of knowing she doubted him.

The doomed romance of Eros and Psyche reminds me in some ways of the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife, which inspired the eponymous heartbreaking song by the Decemberists.

Provincial wisdom often says love makes you blind.  Too often that rings true.  However, these stories speak toward another type of love that is beautiful and sacrificial, and that sometimes we need to have more trust and more faith in the person we love.

Gripster: 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade & Greek Mermaid Myths

20 Jun

I hit the beach for the first time this year for the 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade.  I’ve been going for a few years now, so I was kind of surprised when friends asked me what it is.  It’s pretty much what it sounds like.  It’s kind of like an all-mermaid version of the Village Halloween Parade.  A lot of the outfits are scandalous, but the parade is so much fun!

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the world’s largest art parade.  It was founded in 1983 by the same not-for-profit arts organization that produces the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.  The official website describes the Coney Island Mermaid Parade:

The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression. The Parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed.

You probably know that Neptune is the Roman version of the Greek god Poseidon, the god of the ocean.  (If you’re curious about Poseidon, check out my blog entry “Gripster: Portlandia, Hipsters, and Greek Myth.”)  What I was curious about was mermaid Greek mythology.  I always think of the sirens that the cunning Odysseus outwitted as mermaids, when in fact they’re actually half woman, half bird.  So what does Greek mythology actually say about mermaids?

According to myth, Alexander the Great’s half-sister is a mermaid.  Thessalonike was born to King Philip II of Macedon and his concubine, Nicesipolis, in 252 or 345 BC.  According to legend, Alexander the Great bathed Thessalonike’s hair in life-giving water that he retrieved on his quest to find the Fountain of Immortality.  When her older brother died when she was only nineteen years old, Thessalonike tried to drown herself.  In death, Thessalonike transformed into a mermaid, according to legend.

Mermaid Thessalonike lived in the Aegean.  She stopped ships, asking, “Ζει ο Βασιλιάς Αλέξανδρος?” (“Is King Alexander alive?”)

If the passing ship answered, “Ζει και βασιλεύει και τον κόσμο κυριεύει” (He lives and rules the world), she calmed the waters.

If the ship answered anything less positive, she caused a severe storm that would spell death to all sailors.

I took some 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade pictures.

I hear 2011 is the year of the mermaid trend.

The Buzz on Flash-mob Bees, Bowery Bees, and Greek Bee Myths

1 Jun

Oh my goodness, did you guys hear about the bees that took over Little Italy yesterday??  Apparently, thousands of bees decided to meet up at lunchtime in front of the Italian American Museum on the corner of Mulberry and Grand.  They swarmed a mailbox, completely covering its side.  This leads me to ponder two questions:

1.  Are these flash-mob bees the insect contingent of Improv Everywhere?

2.  What sort of sweet notes would a bee mail to his honey?

It also reminds me that I still haven’t told you about Bowery Bees.  On Sunday, May 8, my photojournalist friend Annie Ling and I went to the Festival of New Ideas for the New City, an incredibly thought-provoking art initiative that brought artists and thinkers together to explore ideas that could shape a new New York.  One of the collaborations was between Anarchy Apiaries, a Hudson Valley apiary run by beekeeper-artist Sam Comfort, and the Bowery Poetry Club, a performing-arts venue founded and run by poet Bob Holman.

After a brief talk on bees, we climbed up to the rooftop of the Bowery Poetry Club for the unveiling of the apiary.  Sam had brought the bees down from Germantown that morning and set up hives so that Bob could start the rooftop apiary Bowery Bees.  Standing amidst the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s East Village, we witnessed the queen bee do her dance.

Even though I was afraid of getting stung, I have to admit it was rather spectacular.  My parents have a large garden in Greece, where they gather olives to make their own olive oil, and I tried to convince my dad he should set up some beehives.  Bee myths play heavily into Greek mythology and Greek literature.  Bee emblems appear in ancient ruins on the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes.

Bowery Bees honey can be bought at the Bowery Poetry Club, located at 308 Bowery, between Houston and Bleecker.

How do you like the antenna?

Gripster: Portlandia, Hipsters, and Greek Myth

21 Jan

The new IFC series Portlandia has been getting major press.  My eyes have been rattling around in my head, they rolled back so far.  Are hipsters still in?

But, after seeing this clip about how in Portland the dream of the nineties is still alive, I’m amused.  Plus, I love Fred Armisen.

Portlandia is also the name of a sculpture located at the entrance of the Portland Building (1120 SW 5th Avenue, in Portland, Oregon).  Sculpted by Raymond Kaskey, it’s based on Portland’s city seal, which features a woman, the Queen of Commerce, in Classical garb, brandishing a trident.  Wikipedia quotes The Morning Oregonian as stating on March 22, 1878, that the lower portion of the seal contains a wreath of myrtle.

Sound familiar?

The Greek muse Erato was often portrayed wearing a wreath of myrtle and roses.  Interesting, since Portland is none other than the City of Roses.  Erato, the muse of lyric poetry, is often depicted carrying a lyre; however, Portlandia carries a trident, which is the traditional symbol of the Greek god Poseidon.  The irony here is that with its sheaf of grain, the city seal was supposed to recognize Portland’s agrarian, which a pitchfork would have symbolized.  The similar-looking trident symbolizes fishing, and Poseidon used it to wreck havoc on the land by creating earthquakes.  Of course, the Queen of Commerce is standing by a body of water so perhaps she is also Queen of the lower Columbia River.

Another possibility is that Portlandia is based on the Greek goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite.  Aphrodite is often depicted with myrtle and roses.  She is often positioned by the sea, but she holds a scepter instead of a trident.  Aphrodite is the Greek incarnation of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, whose symbol is the star.  In the seal of Portland, a star hovers above the Queen of Commerce.

It’s interesting the way Greek mythology resurges, insinuating itself in pop culture.  Does this mean we might be seeing Greek hipsters—Gripsters—in Portlandia?

Portlandia airs tonight at 10:30 on IFC.