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Primal forces of the Greeks

Chaos (no known sex) –Chaos is from the Greek word Khaos, meaning "gaping
void". There are many explanations as to who or what Chaos is, but most
theories state that it was the void from which all things developed into a
distinctive entity, or in which they existed in a confused and amorphous shape
before they were separated into genera. In other words, Chaos is or was
"nothingness."

In magical terms come people could see Chaos as an analogy for the abyss of
the kabala. However this would be wrong. Chaos has rules, it has a pattern.
The abyss is madness, formlessness and the dissolution of everything you know
and realise all rolled into one. Using Chaos as an agent in a spell, i.e. calling or
summoning its power would be foolish indeed unless you where of sufficient
experience to be able to recognise the pattern that would emerge from such
spell work.

Oceanus (male) –The personification of the vast ocean. As geography became
more precise, Oceanus began to refer to the water outside of the Pillars of
Heracles, or the Atlantic Ocean. He was the father of all rivers by Tethys. The
couple also had the Oceanids which personified springs and smaller bodies of
waters, like lakes and ponds.

The primal water force in magical work can bring about strong emotional and
changeable effects. As can be seen by his tales and notes, he is a strong
creation force bringing about rivers, nature spirits and other offspring. As with
all primal forces care should be taken when calling upon them in spell work.

Eurynome (female) – not much is known about Eurynome as the all mother
figure in myth. Her name is meant to mean "far-ruling" or "wide-wandering"
which could hold the clue to her powers, but without more information it would
be foolish to use her in any work. It is interesting that she is associated with
wisdom and creates primal desire. It could be said that if she is far ruling she
would be knowledgeable. So is this a reference to knowledge and wisdom
creating desire. It is a logical progression.

Ophion (male) - in Greek mythology, a huge serpent. A primal god who ruled
the world with his mate, Eurynome, before the reign of the titans. When he
became unruly, Eurynome banished him to the underworld. In other myths it is
the titans who banish him to the underworld. It is a common myth, that a
serpent is banished to the underworld.

If you see the underworld as being a symbol of death and the serpent as being a
symbol of wisdom this is a veiled allegory to the idea that wisdom will allow you
to see or visit the realms of death and survive. However I would not recommend
trying without a lot of practise. Maybe more to do with astral travelling than
physically being dead for a while.

Erebus (male) - Erebus was known as the embodiment of primordial darkness,
the son of Chaos (who was the void from which all things developed). According
to Hesiod's Theogony, Erebus was born with Nyx (Night), and was the father of
Aether (the bright upper atmosphere), Hemera (Day) and Charon, the ferry-man
who took the dead over the rivers of the infernal region.

Here we find the beginning of cosmology beginning to take place. Primordial
darkness along with night brings about atmosphere and day. Not sure why the
ferryman is with the other two though. Maybe a mistake somewhere along the
line or maybe the ferryman is seen as a particular star passing along the night
sky. Worth meditating on.

Erebus should be seen as primordial darkness and as such would be a
frightening power to call upon. Darkness is not night, since night has some light
in it. This is pure blackness and as such would be a very frightening experience.
This is one step away from the abyss and should only be called upon if you know
what you are doing. I would not partake of any ritual that included this entity.

Nyx (female) - Nyx is the goddess and embodiment of the night. According to
Hesiod in his Theogony (11.116-138), "From Chaos came forth Erebus and black
Night Nyx; of Night were born Aether being the bright upper atmosphere and
Day Hemera, whom she conceived and bore from union with Erebus her brother".
Also attributed to Nyx and Erebus is Styx, the goddess who ruled over the river in
Hades and was thought to be hate.
Also from the Theogony (11. 211-225); "And Night bore hateful Doom Moros and
black Fate and Death Thanatos, and she bore Sleep Hypnos and the tribe of
Dreams. And again the goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare
Blame and painful Woe, and the Hesperides who guard the rich golden apples
and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bore the Destinies
and ruthless avenging Fates who were regarded as old women occupied in
spinning, Clotho the Spinner of the thread of life and Lachesis the Disposer of
Lots, she who allots every man his destiny and Atropos She Who Cannot Be
Turned, who finally cuts the thread of life who give men at their birth both evil
and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods, and
these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner
with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bore Nemesis Indignation to afflict mortal
men, and after her, Deceit Apate and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-
hearted Strife.

So from that it is thought that Nyx without any male influence bore Moros
(destiny), Thanatos (death), Hypnos (sleep), Nemesis (divine vengeance and
justice), Oizys (pain and distress), Philotes (affection), Apate (deceit), Geras (old
age), Phthonus (envy) and the fates.

Just looking at the list you can see that there is a large amount of negative
connotations placed upon the night. It is seen as something bad or to be feared
although at this time it probably was something to be feared. The one surprise is
that although there is affection, there is no sex or love. I guess this would be
covered by Eros in desire. Even more interesting to me though is the idea that
fate and destiny are linked in to the night. Maybe showing a more mystical side
to the ancient Greek pantheon?

Nyx is the first power that I would have no problem using in spell work. To be
honest as a night goddess she seems a lot more pleasant than some night
goddess’s I have come across.

Tartarus (male) – while Hades was the place of the dead, Tartarus became
known as the place where punishments where handed out. Very much like the
Christian idea of hell today. As one of the first primal forces, Tartarus could be
seen to be punishment? Or maybe judgement?

In The Iliad (c. 700), Zeus asserts that Tartarus is "as far beneath Hades as
heaven is high above the earth." As a place so far from the sun and so deep in
the earth, Tartarus is hemmed in by three layers of night. It is a dank and
wretched pit engulfed in murky gloom. It is one of the primordial objects that
sprung from Chaos (along with Gaea (Earth) and Eros (Sex)).

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about Tartarus the deity as
opposed to the place. If the two are seen as the same however we can see that
the deity is seen as a punisher, a prison of some sort. Although later placed
below Hades, I would suggest that they would be side by side.

Gaea (female) - Gaea, known as Earth or Mother Earth (the Greek common noun
for "land" is ge or ga). She was an early earth goddess and it is written that Gaea
was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe.
Parthenogenetically (without male intervention), Gaea gave birth to Ourea
(Mountains) and Pontus (Sea).

Gaea took as her husband Uranus, and their offspring included the Titans, six
sons and six daughters. She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters
that became known as the "Hecatonchires". The spirits of punishment known as
the Erinyes (furies) were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus. The Gigantes, finally,
were conceived after Uranus had been castrated by his son Cronus, and his
blood fell to earth from the open wound.

To protect her children from her husband, (the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires,
as he was fearful of their great strength), Gaea hid them all within herself. One
version says that Uranus was aghast at the sight of his offspring so he hid them
away in Tartarus, which are the bowels of the earth.

Gaea herself found her offspring uncomfortable and at times painful, and when
the discomfort became too much to bear she asked her youngest son Cronus to
help her. She asked him to castrate Uranus, thus severing the union between the
Earth and Sky, and also to prevent more monstrous offspring. To help Cronus
achieve his goal Gaea produced an adamantine sickle to serve as the weapon.
Cronus hid until Uranus came to lay with Gaea and as Uranus drew near, Cronus
struck with the sickle, cutting the genitalia from Uranus. Blood fell from the
severed genitals and came in contact with the earth and from that union was
born the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash
trees).

After the separation of the Earth from the Sky, Gaea gave birth to other
offspring, these being fathered by Pontus. Their names were the sea-god Nereus,
Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.

It was Gaea who saved Zeus from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had
been born, Gaea helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to
trick Cronus in to thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that
one of his children would depose him, and so to get rid of his children he had
swallowed them, Gaea's trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete.
Gaea being the primordial element from which all the gods originated was
worshiped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was
supplanted by other gods.

There are so many interesting elements in the stories of Gaea. We see that she
can be generous (in rescuing Zeus) or vengeful in helping to castrate Uranus.
That she gives Cronus a sickle is interesting in its self. She embodies all aspects
of the earth in her stories, even to the point of giving birth to both ugliness and
beauty.

Also the idea that earth and sky are linked until something happens that severs
it seems to be a universal theme in many mythologies.

I would say that Gaea is the primordial witch’s goddess and as such every witch
should be spending just a little time getting to know her.

Uranus (male) - Uranus, also known as Ouranos, was the embodiment of the sky
or heavens, and known as the god of the sky. He was the husband of Gaea (the
earth) and according to Hesiod, their children included the Titans: six sons
(Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus and Cronus) and six daughters (Theia,
Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys). There were other offspring: the
Cyclopes, (who were named Brontes, Steropes and Arges and were later known
as "one eyed giants"), and also the three monsters known as the Hecatonchires,
who each had one hundred hands and fifty heads. Their names were Briareus,
Cottus and Gyes. Other offspring of Uranus and Gaea were the Erinyes, who were
spirits of punishment and goddesses of vengeance.

A slightly differing version of the castration myth tells of Uranus being so vast
that he could cover Mother Earth (Gaea) and easily take advantage of her
fruitfulness, but Gaea tired of her exuberant fertility and begged her sons to free
her from the excessive embrace of Uranus. All refused except Cronus. Armed
with a sickle he castrated Uranus, and the blood which fell from the mutilation
gave birth to the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the
manna ash trees). And when Cronus threw the sickle into the sea the island of
Corfu, home of the Phaeacians, sprang up).
After Uranus (the sky) had been emasculated, the sky separated from Gaea (the
earth) and Cronus became king of the gods. Later, Zeus (the son of Cronus)
deposed his father and became the supreme god of the Greek Pantheon.

The idea that a wounded or castrated gods can become a king or “all fatherer” of
the gods is another re-occurring myth that shows up time and time again. The
difference is there is no healing part to this myth which is strange.

Eros (male)-The Greek god of love and sexual desire (the word Eros, which is found in the
Iliad by Homer, is a common noun meaning sexual desire). He was also worshiped as a
fertility god, believed to be a contemporary of the primeval Chaos, which makes Eros one of
the oldest gods.

In the Dionysian Mysteries Eros is referred to as "protagonus", the first born.

From the early legend of Eros it is said that he was responsible for the embraces of Uranus
(Heaven or Sky) and Gaea (Earth), and from their union were born many offspring. It was
also written that Eros hatched our race and made it appear first into the light (Birds, by
Aristophanes). Although one of the oldest gods, he was a latecomer to Greek religion. He was
worshiped in many regions of Greece, at Thespiae there was an ancient fertility cult, and in
Athens he and Aphrodite had a joint cult. Also in Athens the fourth day of every month was
sacred to Eros. Sometimes Eros was worshiped by the name Erotes (which is the plural of
Eros); this personified all the attractions that evoked love and desire, this included
heterosexual and homosexual allurements.

Eros is usually depicted as a young winged boy, with his bow and arrows at the ready, to
either shoot into the hearts of gods or mortals which would rouse them to desire. His arrows
came in two types: golden with dove feathers which aroused love, or leaden arrows which
had owl feathers that caused indifference.

The Greeks regarded him as most beautiful and handsome, the most loved and the most
loving. They placed statues of him in gymnasiums (as most athletes were thought to be
beautiful). He was depicted on every form of utensil, from drinking vessels to oil flasks,
usually showing him ready to fire an arrow into the heart of an unsuspecting
victim

Erinyes (female) - Not so much deities as spirits of vengeance. Erinyes (the
angry ones) were representing the anger of the dead. The Erinyes had snakes for
hair and blood dripped from their eyes. They also had bats' wings and dogs'
heads.

There were three of them, Alecto (unceasing), Megaera (grudging), and
Tisiphone (avenging murder). This they did by afflicting the person they were
chasing with madness.

Cyclops (male) – The Cyclops was a race of one eyed giants. They were placed
in Tartarus by Uranus but were later released by Zeus. They were forgers and
masonry experts who helped create Zeus thunderbolts, Poseidon’s trident and
several other artefacts.

There were originally three of them, Arges (bright), Brontes (thunderer),
Steropes (lightener).

Hecatonchires (male) – the hundred handed ones. A race of giants with fifty
heads and one hundred hands each. Like the Cyclops, they were pushed into
Tartarus by their father Uranus, but released later by Zeus and they helped
overthrow the titans by throwing rocks at them.

There are four recorded names for them. These are Briareus (the vigorous),
Aigaion (the sea goat), Cottus (the striker), and Gyges (the big limbed). It is
unknown whether they had a cult or any associations but if they did it is
theorized that they would personalize the gigantic forces of nature.

Gigantes (male) - In Greek Mythology the Gigantes were (according to the poet
Hesiod) the children of Uranus and Gaea. They were involved in a conflict with
the Olympian gods which was eventually settled when the hero Hercules decided
to help the Olympians. The Greeks believed some of them, like to lay buried from
that time under the earth, and that their tormented quivers resulted in
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Styx (female) – Styx which means hate is the Greek goddess of the river of
death in the underworld. She was usually said to be the daughter of Erebus and
Nyx.

Aether (male) - The personification of the pure upper air in which the gods
reside, in contrary to the 'aer', the lower air which mortals breathe. In the early
Greek cosmologies, Aether is the son of Erebus and Nyx, and the brother of
Hemera. He is one of the elements of the cosmos and in the Orphic hymns he is
mentioned as the soul of the world from which all life emanates.

Hemera (female) - Hemera is the Greek goddess of day. She was born from
Erebus, darkness, and Nyx, night. Hemera emerged from Tartarus as Nyx left it
and returned to as she was emerging from it.

Charon (male) – Charon was the god who ferried the dead across the river into
hades. If a coin was not placed on the dead person to pay for passage prior to
the funeral then the dead soul would wander never being able to get into the
underworld.

Ourea (male) - The Greek personifications of mountains. Each mountain was
said to have its own god. They are of the Protogenoi: the first-born elemental
gods, children of Gaia. Theogony (129-131), Argonautica (1.498).

Pontus (male) - Pontus is the personification of the sea and the son of Gaia and
Uranus. With Gaia he fathered Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.

Nereus (male) - A wise and gentle sea-god, a son of Pontus and Gaea. He is the
father of the fifty Nereides by Doris. Nereus, known as the Old Man of the Sea,
had the gift of prophecy and could change himself into any shape (Theogony
233-264). Heracles, seeking the location of garden of the Hesperides, asked
Nereus for directions but he refused to help him. Heracles seized the god and
held him fast and despite changing into many forms Nereus could not escape
Heracles' powerful grip. Finally, Nereus relented and told the hero where to find
the garden.

Nereus and Doris and their fifty daughters mainly dwelled in the depths of the
Aegean sea. He had a temple near Trachin in Thessaly (Metamorphoses I, 177-
198; XI, 346-409).

Thaumas (male) - Thaumas ("wonder") is a Greek sea god and the son of Pontus
and Gaia. By the Oceanid Electra he fathered the Harpy and Iris.

Phorcys (male) – a sea god, who is responsible for fathering a host of Greek
monsters along with his sister Ceto.
Ceto (female) - Ceto is the daughter of Gaia and Pontus. She is the sister of
Phorcys, who was also her husband, Thaumas and Eurybia. She is the
personification of the dangers and horrors of the sea. Her name eventually
became a name for any generic sea monster. Ceto is regarded as the mother of
the Gorgons and many other monsters.

Eurybia (female) – the sea goddess with "who has a heart of flint within her”,
Hesiod, Theogony, 239. Most notable as being a consort of Poseidon. She was
considered a minor sea deity.

Oizys (female) - According to Hesiod (Theogony, 214-215), the female
personification of pain and distress. She is a child of Nyx.

Phthonus (male) - The Greek personification of envy. Phthonus was said to have
married many different women and killed most of them because he suspected
that they cheated on him. He was usually thought of as the son of Nyx.

Philotes (female) - The Greek personification of affection. She is usually
ascribed as the daughter of Nyx and sister of Apate ("deceit"), Geras ("old age"),
and Eris.

Apate (female) - Apate was the Greek goddess of deceit, daughter of Nyx. Apate
was one of the spirits inside Pandora's box.

Geras (male) - In Greek mythology, Geras was the god of old age. It was
considered a virtue whereby the more gēras a man acquired, the more kleos
(fame) and arete (excellence and courage) he was considered to have. According
to Hesiod, Gēras was a son of Nyx. He was depicted as a tiny shrivelled up old
man. Gēras's opposite was Hebe the goddess of youth.

Moros (male) - Moros ("destiny") is the Greek personification of doom. He is the
son of Nyx and the brother of Thanatos.

Thanatos (male) - The Greek personification of death who dwells in the lower
world. In the Iliad he appears as the twin brother of Hypnos ("sleep"). Both
brothers had little to no meaning in the cults. Hesiod makes these two spirits the
sons of Nyx, but mentions no father.

Thanatos was portrayed as a youngster with an inverse torch in one hand and a
wreath or butterfly in the other. He appears, with Hypnos, several times on
Attican funerary vases, so-called lekythen. On a sculpted column in the Temple
of Artemis at Ephese (4th century BCE) Thanatos is shown with two large wings
and a sword attached to his girdle.

Hypnos (male) - Hypnos is the personification of sleep in Greek mythology. He is
the son of Nyx, and the twin of Thanatos ("death"). Both he and his brother live
in the underworld. He gave Endymion the power of sleeping with open eyes so
he could see his beloved, the moon goddess Selene.

Hypnos is portrayed as a naked young man with wings attached to his temples,
or as a bearded man with wings attached to his shoulders.

Nemesis (female) - In Greek mythology, Nemesis is the goddess of divine justice
and vengeance. Her anger is directed toward human transgression of the
natural, right order of things and of the arrogance causing it. Nemesis pursues
the insolent and the wicked with inflexible vengeance. Her cult probably
originated from Smyrna. She is regarded as the daughter Nyx according to
Hesiod.
She is portrayed as serious looking woman with in her left hand a whip, a rein, a
sword, or a pair of scales. In the Hellenistic period she was portrayed with a
steering wheel. Also called Rhamnusia, from a temple and statue of her in
Rhamnus, a village in the northern part of Attica. The epithet Adrasteia "she
whom none can escape", properly of the those of the Phrygian Cybele, was later
applied to her.

Moirae (female) – the three fates of Greek mythology. They measured, weaved
and cut a person’s thread to determine the length of their life. They were
considered part of the normal order of things and nothing could move them. It is
unclear whether the gods were under their rule, but the common consensus is
that they were. There were three of them.

Atropos was the fate who cut the thread or web of life. She was known as the
"inflexible" or "inevitable" and cut this thread with the "abhorred shears."

Clotho is the spinner, and she spins the thread of human life with her distaff.
The length of the string will determine how long a certain person's life will be.

Lachesis - The Disposer, she measures the length of the thread of human life
spun by Clotho and determines its destiny.