The Stories Behind the Name

A Brief Primer

 

Kallisto

(trans. most beautiful)

In Greek mythology KALLISTO was a daughter of the Arcadian King Lykaon and Nonacris. She was a hunting companion of the Goddess Artemis, imitating her dress and remaining, under oath, a virgin for the Goddess.

There were several contradictory versions of her story but ancient writers all agreed on a number of details:–that she was seduced by the god Zeus possibly in the guise of her Goddess companion, Artemis (or possibly Apollon), transformed into a bear, bore a son named Arkas, and was hunted down as a beast on orders of Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife.

 

To save her, Zeus intervened, placing her amongst the stars as the constellation Ursa Major to prevent being slain by her own hunter-son, Arkas.

 

 

Gaia

(trans. earth)

In Greek mythology GAIA, who came into being at the point of Creation from Chaos and Aither, was the Goddess of the Earth. She was one of the primoridal elemental deities born at the dawn of creation.

Gaia was the great mother of all creation–the heavenly gods were descended from her through her union with Ouranos (Sky), the sea-gods from her union with Pontos (Sea), the Gigantes (Giants) from her mating with Tartaros (the Pit), and mortal creatures born directly from her earthy flesh. As Gaia was the source from which arose the vapours producing divine inspiration, she herself also was regarded as an oracular divinity, and it is well known that the oracle of Delphi was believed to have at first been in her possession, and at Olympia, too, she had an oracle in early times.

The surnames and epithets given to Gaia have more or less reference to her character as the all-producing and all-nourishing mother.

 

 

 

 

Quoted from THE COSMOGONY OF HESIOD

“Verily at first Chaos [Air] came to be, but next wide-bosomed Gaia (the Earth), the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartaros ( the Pit) in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them.

 From Chaos came forth Erebos (Darkness) and black Nyx (Night); but of Nyx were born Aither ( Light) and Hemera (Day), whom she conceived and bore from union in love with Erebos. And Gaia first bore starry Ouranos ( the Heavens), equal to herself, to cover her on every side. And she brought forth long Ourea (Mountains), graceful haunts of the goddess Nymphai (Nymphs) who dwell amongst the glens of the mountains.

She bare also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontos ( the Sea), without sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Ouranos and bare the Titanes (Titans), deep-swirling Okeanos (Oceans) [the earth-encircling river, Koios, and Krios and Hyperion and Iapetos, Theia and Rheia, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Kronos, the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire.”

Published by

Tony

Tony Burnett is an award winning poet and songwriter. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in over 40 national literary journals and anthologies including, most recently, Tidal Basin Review, Fringe, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014, Red Dirt Review, The Vein, Toucan Magazine and Connotation Press. He currently serves as board president for the Writers' League of Texas, a 1200 member non-profit supporting Texas writers in all stages of their careers. He lives in rural central Texas with his trophy wife, Robin.

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