Athenapallas's Blog

May 15, 2016

HOW THE PARTHENON MADE ME CRY

The following post was published five years ago and now at last I have finished my novel:  

DIGGING UP THE DEAD

 Greek Mythology Meets Coal Mining

by Narelle Scotford  With Art by Selina McGrath

It  has been a long journey but the experience recorded in this post has become part of this extraordinary novel…. to learn more follow the link at the end of the post… now read on…

I arrived in Athens  accompanied by a flight full of Greeks from Melbourne making their annual pilgrimage to the islands of their youth. After listening to conversations that criss-crossed the plane in that peculiar antipodean version of Australian Greek, peppered with Ozzie slang and words in English with the Greek endings, I was in a state of exhausted anticipation. However I managed to find my way via the Metro to my Hotel in Plaka and somehow my energy returned.

I needed to seek out my temple, the PARTHENON. Walking through Plaka’s seedy but somehow charming streets, passed hawkers and markets full of trashy goods and hopeful shopkeepers I abandoned the map and chose one of the many marble-paved lanes that headed upward to the Acropolis.                

Here the seediness disappeared as I passed  quaint tavernas

with smiling owners touting for business,

Athenians in intense conversation,

with only a few tourists in sight.

Then looking up to see what appeared to be a giant wall, columns peaking over it, what is that? Many steep steps in narrow lanes all leading up, following  a wider path not wanting to look up to my left, that must be it, it’s so large,steep, high, a mountain of a rock but where is the PARTHENON?

The  Acropolis, the Uluru of Western Culture, and I felt like I was an ant, my cloak of knowledge abandoned, falling off. I tried not to look at it, maybe this was not it,  and maybe the PARTHENON doesn’t even exist except in my imagination.

I stopped to listen to a lone Greek player of a kind of medieval lute or sitar, soft sounds in a minor key as I sat beside him on the pavement. I hummed the chords quietly, we talked slowly with him respecting my meditative state as he waved away people who tried to take his photo. I felt my heart opening, breaking at the same time, saying at last I’m Home. I said goodbye to the slim fine-boned intelligent man whom later I would call Dimitri as he became my friend and guide. He stood and shook my hand, thanking me for stopping and sitting beside him. No-one ever does that, he said in perfect English. Was he Hermes the Divine Messenger?

The smog was lifting and the sun shining more than I expected, the pink white rows of houses and small apartment blocks sparkled from this distance, their shabbiness turned into jeweled boxes as I looked across the plains of Attica. I realised as I looked up again at the rock, it felt like the backside of the Acropolis with just a hint of columns above what appeared to be giant city walls. No wonder Pericles chose this place on which to build his monument to the glory of  the Athenian Empire!

As I reached the car park and tourist office I could see the magnitude of the rock, it truly was a fortress. I bought a 4 day ticket and withdrew as  tourists swarmed, not wanting to join them. I wandered into the Pnyx, hurried off the wider path into narrow tracks in the bush, surrounded by ancient debris, feeling the presence of the past, still hardly daring to look up to my left towards the PARTHENON. Seeking shade and solitude. Found the prison of Socrates, caves in a rocky outcrop  with bars across the interior,wondering how it was for him as he waited to take his poison receiving his students and friends all of whom were offering him escape in exile which he refused. I wanted to climb up the rock to get  a better view but could not, I crouched behind a bush to have a pee hoping the cops on motorbikes don’t see me. At last I lay down exhausted, my view of the Acropolis and its elusive temple obscured by the fir trees scattered among the pine cones. I sat down with my back to a tree and then I saw framed in its branches the unmistakable PARTHENON, hardly daring to look at it as if its shining might blind me like Tiresias. I had no camera with me to capture this first image, the photo below was taken at 8am the next day when I was alone on the Acropolis except for a few workers.

Now the sun was at its zenith, no clouds, bright bright blue sky and here I am, am, am. Tears coursed down my face, my whole body shook with joy, relief, pneuma, knowing, gratitude and awe. I lay there and the only words that came to me were, now I can die. I’ve seen all I want to see, if I die now it doesn’t matter. Transcendent  was the word that came to me later as I encircled this experience and found more and more places to catch this image and blend it into my psyche forever. I sat upon  a rock nearby while my image of the corner of the PARTHENON grew and grew, shone and shone, two long thin cranes appeared like beacons above this wounded cultural icon of the West, here at last we were restoring Pericles’ vision of the embodiment of sophrusune/balance after centuries of pillage,theft, misuse, war and pollution – or was it just as it should be with its complex history still present?

I hoped the restoration would not result in it becoming a plastic caricature of itself. I tried not to load it up with concepts and kept coming back to my body, exhausted, tingling, awake, aware, feeling ‘zoie’ divine breath, everything in my life that had led to this moment , an older woman, ‘xseni’ foreigner, from 9000 kilometres away, guardian of the temple, Athena inside me, calling to passers-by ‘Ela etho’, look up, stand here, they obeyed and thanked the strange woman lying on the ground as if I must somehow belong here.

I can still feel that moment within me, it is enshrined forever no matter what ugly and sad realities I must inevitably encounter here and elsewhere on my journey.

 

http://www.scotford.com.au

 

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July 18, 2011

WITNESSING THE ATHENS UPRISING May/June 2011

Narelle Scotford, the writer of this blog, visited Greece in May and June this year. Although of course her alter ego has resided for 2500 years in Greece, this was Narelle’s first trip. Long long ago she was a Greek bride and learnt to speak, read and write the language of her beloved Greek Gods and Heroes. In preparation for her trip she studied Greek language, mythology and history again as well as re-learning how to make Greek coffee and sampling the culinary delights of the great cooks in her Modern Greek class at Sydney University.

Narelle arrived in Athens at the beginning of the recent unrest finding a small hotel half a block from Syntagma Square. She  wandered around the square on her first day where only a handful of students were gathered and after this she was there every day until she left Athens for Delphi and for her attendance at a  Buddhist  retreat north of Athens in the company of other Athenians.

The following photos and comments are her personal record of her time in Athens. She left Athens a few days before the Parliament passed the Austerity Measures Bill when TV screens around the world showed over and over again violent images of what was happening on the streets. More about that later in the post……

Greek Cops Waiting

 
 
 
 
 
 
It was a common sight to see groups of cops (police) on bikes or foot around the square and gradually as the week  progressed their presence became more obvious particularly towards evening when the people were starting to gather in Syntagma Square for the evening discussions, speeches and songs.
 
 
 

Beginning of the Tent City in the Square

 
 
 
 
At this stage there were just a few tents and people were busy talking as usual and some were creating makeshift signs.
 
It looked more like a scout camp than a revolution.
 
Most of the young people I met spoke good English but appreciated my attempts to converse in my faltering Greek.
 
They were pleased I could read their signs some of which I will show and translate below.

Greek Parliament

 

Fancy Dress Soldiers on their way to guard the Parliament

 
 
 
 
 
 
           

What We Need!

                                                                                                   

 This is the first sign I saw after I started going to the Square, as you can see it
is Texta on Cardboard, hardly high-tech. Before I had a chance to translate it (always tricky as Greek Capital letters are often different to their lower case equivalents) I thought it must be a kind of  Bill of Rights or List of Political demands but no, it is nothing of the sort. Ever practical they were asking for:
 
CLOTH,CARDBOARD,PAINT,TEXTA PENS, SELLOTAPE,ROPE, BRUSHES,
TABLES,CHAIRS,TENTS,PORTABLE LAMPS, MICROPHONES,WATER, RUBBISH BAGS, NOTICE BOARDS, MORE TENTS, FLOODLIGHTS.
 
When I asked where these would come from they told me ‘the people’ and they were right, as the days went by all this as well as food and drink and sleeping bags, linen, clothes etc were donated by ‘the people’.
 
 
  

Love this tent!

              

More and More Tents

                                                                                              

 

REAL DEMOCRACY like we had 2500 years ago!

 
 
 The young Greek students who painted this sign and set up their website were well aware of the sorry history of their failed political process where cronyism, elitism and bureaucratic feather bedding had eaten away not only at their democracy but also their economic and  civic resolve. 
They all knew how Western Democracy and its many imitations around the world started here, when each of the 12 tribes of what was then Greece or Attica sent a representative to live and work  for one month in what was then their National Assembly returning home afterwards to allow another member of their community or group take their place.
 
 
 

In the name of Melina Mercouri

          
A visit to the New Acropolis Museum is a must for any traveller to Greece if only to realise how much has been stolen from  the birthplace of democracy by many of the countries whose citizens make their pilgrimage here.
The new Museum stands out for its modern architecture which aligns itself with the Parthenon way above  on the Holy Rock called the Acropolis.  What made the most impact inside the museum  for me was not the few marvellous sculptures that have managed to survive, but all the gaps left in the Museum’s mockup of the Parthenon where images of the Gods and mighty heroes of our shared mythology and history have been hacked away and taken to museums and private collections all over the world. If all these stolen artifacts and works of art could be valued and Greece compensated for them imagine how their economy might be!
                                                                                                             

Global Stooges

     

No word needed here

Individual citizens express their anger and frustration at what feels to them to be a return to a kind of dictatorship with the ordinary people having no say in  their future.

 
 

Man with a Mission

                    at first I did not realise what this man’s mission was until I saw the reference to the Bible, John 14:14. Standing at the top of the steps with the Parliament as his backdrop and looking down on all the activity in the Square,  seemed oddly appropriate when I translated his biblical quote: If you ask for something in My Name I will do it’.
 
 

Message from France

     

Riot Police Relaxing outside the Parliament

         

Syntagma Square Filling Up

Every night more and more people would gather in the Square I would walk there for a while and then go into nearby Plaka the old area of Athens to my favourite tavernaki to eat and listen and talk with other people working or dining there. Most of them depended on tourism and were worried on the effect of all this activity, noise and crowds on the tourists. Many were sanguine about it saying nothing will change, it never does.  ‘We have been living in a dream and now it will become a nightmare,’ one philosopher told me.
 
I came back to Athens on the night of the  biggest demonstration ever(over 200,000 people) travelling on the metro which was packed with well dressed well spoken people all heading for the Square. They advised me to take the back exit from Syntagma station which I did but the crowds were just as thick and it took me a long  time to find my way through them to my friends.
Back on my hotel balcony late at night I could still hear and see the crowds singing, shouting and blowing whistles and banging drums. I fell asleep to this cacophony wondering about the clash of pragmatism and idealism,the need for economic independence, civic responsibility, true democracy, the battle of the Titans, Heracles 12 Labours, Odysseus’ 20 year journey home to his faithful wife Penelope, and the mighty Achilles defeating Hector on the plains of Troyzzzzz zzzzzzzz.
 
Later at home in Australia watching the violent images from the Square where I had spent so much time, I was at first sad and then angry particularly when I had a message  from a friend in Athens I trusted who told me the rioters were paid provocateurs who had nothing to do with the People’s Movement I had been privileged to witness during my time in Athens.
                                                                

January 20, 2011

DISCOVERY : A REVIEW of wrack

 Athena has retreated to her cave at Santorini ( see 2010 August 27 )   and has asked me  to do a guest post .

Recently I was visiting ‘my home away from home’, the serene women’s pool at Coogee. In the change room is a reading corner where swimmers leave books for others to read.

This time I picked up a book entitled wrack and it was this word that grabbed me. Intrigued I read the extracts from the reviews on the back and realised that the author’s name, James Bradley, was familiar but I was sure I had not read any of his work. The reviews used words like ambitious, intelligent, provocative, ingenuous, sensuous, erudite, and the short précis sounded enticing.

However I was at first sceptical, jaundiced from the struggle with my own writing and the glut of both popular and literary books that tumble off the shelves and disappear into oblivion.

With nothing else to read while I lay in the shade between swims I panicked, hoping this book might live up to its marketing hype. It was after all by an Australian writer with a peculiarly Australian story emanating from the controversial maps of the journeys of Portuguese explorers to Australia nearly two hundred years before the discoveries of Cook and Banks.

I couldn’t help wondering about the journey of this book from its no doubt proud display in a major bookshop in 1992 to some second-hand bookshop or exchange where it was sold for $2.95, maybe to the person who had left it here, and now it came free of charge to me, perhaps not the first women’s pool reader.

No wonder writers struggle to make a living just from their writing.

As a writer and would be novelist now happily blogging, writing songs, and little books, I thought of all the energy and emotion I had put into my several unpublished novels, so I approached this novel with both trepidation and humility.

This was James Bradley’s first novel published in 1992 when he was already a published  poet and editor of an anthology of Australian writing, so the inside cover told me.

I had left my iPhone at home but even if I’d had it with me I would not have googled him.

I wanted to see if indeed I had happened upon a treasure and I didn’t want to be influenced by anything else but my own reading here and now in January 2011.

As I turned the first two pages I liked what I saw, a dedication to the memory of his grandfather and an extract from the shorter Oxford dictionary with seven meanings for the word wrack some of which I didn’t know, and in reading those definitions I started to feel a sense of excitement as to what was to follow.

Then I was delighted to find a list of Maps that were included in the book as well as a table of Contents including Acknowledgements which I quickly scanned. So far so good. But it got better.

A Prologue headed by a quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream was followed by an extract from the journals of a William Townshend the Surgeon aboard His Majesty’s Vessel Berkeley written on the 17th August 1794 telling of the discovery of a shipwreck believed to be of Portuguese or Spanish origin witha  ship design not seen for over 200 years. And amongst the debris a box containing papers with the name De Cueva and the date 1519.

 No comment was made by the author about this extract except to follow it with a page from Mathew Flinder’s Voyage to Terra Australis 1814 alluding to a French chart that showed an extensive country south of the Moluccas called Great Java which agreed with the extent and position of Terra Australis and could have been the result, wrote Flinders, of observations of the Portuguese on their voyages from India before and after 1540.

Then someone asked the question, How to tell this story, where to begin?

When I first read this page and half I was not sure who was asking this question of me, the reader, using both the first person plural we and second person you.  Not knowing was good. Here was the theme and that was also good. 

Perhaps it begins in a storm…..or there are patterns we can detect in the motion of the sand…..symbols which might trace out a story of love and death. About loving and dying…..emotions moving like tides like rivers deep within the sand…feeling stealing across the years like shifting hills slowly inexorably burying all that lies before them……

The poet was speaking here and then suddenly we were into the story with the introduction of one of the main characters, David, the present day Archaeologist who was supervising a dig for what we already knew would be related to that ship and that name and those maps.

 The short first chapter headed Discovery was not just about this, it was the start of a complex, compelling historical murder mystery linked to the present by archaeological secrets, rivalries and obsessions, and including two beautiful, terrifyingly real love stories.

I couldn’t finish this book at the pool, I had to dive in and swim to come up for air so immersed was I in its pages, so I took it home to devour it over the next week. I was fascinated and sometimes annoyed by the structure but full of admiration as to how the writer almost managed to pull it off.

It didn’t matter if I found some of the transitions from present tense to past, or changes in narrator or lack of punctuation or the interjection of succinct essays on the political history of European expansion challenging, since I had experimented with all such devices in my own writing and I knew how well this writer was handling these.

And above all, the story, the characters and the clear but lyrical prose carried me into worlds that I knew and didn’t know, the familiar and the strange interwoven in a book that doesn’t quite fit any genre,  resulting in a reading experience rivalling some of my best.

Original, exciting, seriously scary in parts and oh so erotic with a sometimes perverse edge, are some more epithets I would add.  And hurrah for a man who can write erotic scenes so well!

I googled James to find out more and I remembered why his name was familiar, his blog  had been recommended in Newswrite the journal of the NSW  Writers’ Centre, and  he’d had gone on to win further acclaim with his next two novels. His blog is generously full of ideas, information, provocative essays, comments, videos, cartoons,  and the longest blog roll I’ve ever seen. Well worth a visit particularly his video interview about his book The Resurrectionist.

However there is nothing like the experience of reading a great novel, lying in the sun overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean in this land we now call Australia or the map calls Great Java.

Wrack will stay with me a long time, it is already in my psyche burrowing away and prodding my wretched muse to do its work. I don’t want to part with this book yet but eventually I will take it back to the pool and let someone else have the joy of Discovery of this treasure. And I will buy  a copy of The Resurrectionist.

January 2, 2011

2010 YEAR IN BLOGGING FOR ATHENAPALLAS

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow which means healthy blog we think you did great!

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 92 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 35mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 13th with 59 views. The most popular post that day was Warrior Goddess ready to do battle.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were healthfitnesstherapy.com, ahhserenity.wordpress.com, obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc, mail.live.com, and hitztvshows.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for spider web, spider’s web, spiders web, giant spider web, and erecthion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Warrior Goddess ready to do battle April 2010
6 comments

2

WHY I NEVER DESTROY A SPIDER’S WEB June 2010
1 comment

3

Modern Hermes or How Twitter saved Australian Literature April 2010
11 comments

4

HOW ATHENA CAME TO ASK A QUESTION ON NATIONAL TV June 2010
6 comments

5

Melting Aphrodite, Eros and Growing Old Disgracefully. September 2010
2 comments

December 20, 2010

WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN IN 2010?

Filed under: Athena's musings,Modern Athenas,Who am I? — athenapallas @ 8:47 am
Tags: , , , ,

Our Lucky Land

How can I write anything meaningful about Christmas when thirty desperate people have lost their lives trying to come to our  so-called lucky  land.

A land that unlike most places that these people have escaped from is peaceful, prosperous and supposedly welcoming and inclusive.

How have we so easily forgotten that we all came to this country as refugees or even prisoners and occasionally free settlers but usually escaping from persecution, or class hatred or poverty or the harsh winters of Britain or Europe in which our babies died.

As I walk along my street in Leichhardt I often pass a woman on her way back from  the shops. She walks lopsided, gripping plastic shopping bags and I notice her unsuitable shoes, her sad eyes, her dropped face and her thinning dyed black hair, and I wonder about her.

I usually try to make eye contact and say Hello, but mostly she does not see me, or if she does she gives a hardly perceptible nod of her head.

A part of my professional mind thinks she must be depressed, another part of me gets annoyed at her avoidance and concerned that she doesn’t seem to know how to look after herself, or as I think she should, by using a trolley, or wearing a hat and more suitable shoes for her shopping trip.

Last week I looked towards her house to see if she was coming down the street.

I could see her outside her gate because she was wearing a bright orange pants suit so different from her usual dark attire. As I approached her, I smiled and said, ‘I love your orange pants suit, the colour really suits you.’

Her face lit up like she was a young woman again, standing in the moonlight with her sweetheart, and she smiled at me.

 ‘I bought it at Millers. I buy all my clothes there..so cheap.. my daughter buys me other things not necessary…

And so she started to talk and tell me her story.                                         

‘ We came here from Italy in the 50’s,  a village north of  Roma,                        

my husband he was a good man, he worked for the big builders

in the city, he built Australia Square, we had a good life here,

then he has the head thing and he nearly died, he was only 45,

I nursed him for ten years but he was good man,

and the neighbours here very kind people, I have lived here 50 years, 

I have two daughters they work in the city they do well,

we very lucky, I have been robbed three times in this street,

once they knocked me down and took my bag,

and I fell on my leg, I’m ok now, I have a 26 year old grandson,                                                      Village in Italy

I say to him you can put me in the place in Marion St but he says no,

you don’t need that, Nona, I’m lucky I know people here,

the woman in your house was my friend she died of  cancer long time ago….’

 The rain is starting to spot her lovely orange jacket but still she continues to talk.

So much history and so much to be thankful for despite all she has gone through.

No wonder some days she looks grim and does not see me. Now, however she will see me, I know her name and I  have welcomed her into my world without judgment.  And we can at last be true neighbours.

What a pity we don’t do this more often.

My Bella in Tuscan Village

December 5, 2010

ATHENA SINGS WITH JONAH AND THE WAILERS

 

Athena sang with Jonah and the Wailers at the Basement earlier this year. If you like the sound and energy of this wonderful Acapella group you can see them and Athena at their final concert for the year, End the year on a HIGH NOTE, at the Mosman Art Gallery, December 12th at 3pm. You can purchase your tickets online and find out more about this wonderful concert.

September 28, 2010

Melting Aphrodite, Eros and Growing Old Disgracefully.

Filed under: Athena's musings,Modern Athenas — athenapallas @ 10:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Athena stared at  the  melting statue of Aphrodite in horror 

 Only half of her face remained intact an arched brow,

a high forehead and the end of a once handsome nose.

 Her mouth sank into oblivion as did her chin,

and rough tears scarred her cheeks.

The drape of her gown covered fallen breasts

which had once been proud and firm.

Her waist was no more and her hips slid down to her legs

hardly more than a fusion of whatever material the sculptor had used to fashion his creation,

a cruel mirror image of what happens to  even the most perfect female body. 

When this excerpt  was read to a group of older women writers it provoked a discussion

which revealed the full extent of the grief and anger women can  feel as they age.

 It is not simply the grief of vain frustrated women  but of  intelligent vibrant older women living in a society

that puts so much store by how women must look to be attractive and successful.  

As a result older women walk along the street like invisible ghosts.

If a male is coming towards you they do not make eye contact unless they are under six years of age and mostly they do not move over to their side of the pavement, so you do, lest there is a collision.

Older women flock to book clubs, singing groups and ballroom dancing where even an ordinary boring little man can be feted as a hero. In the choir if a male turns up, even if he has curly nose hairs the ladies clap him in.

In the book club the sole male can dominate the conversation while other more interesting contributors are ignored.

At the RSL  dance time older men, even those who need walkers to get into the building,  can take their pick from the many women of all ages who love to dance. Older women who are great dancers can find themselves as fading wall flowers,  a  uniquely harrowing experience for women who were great lookers in their youth.

So how can older women come in contact with good male energy, when the pool  of unattached men gets smaller and smaller as you age,  and  where can older women  find male companionship or even an occasional roll in the hay?

You can widen the pool by going younger but if you do you run the risk of being stigmatised as one of those awful coogars as well as catching all those nasty modern sexual bugs.

Your young lovers can be the men that younger women have rejected as not being suitable husband material

 not good-looking,intelligent,successful, sensitive,erotic etc etc enough .

If you are into educational makeovers then you could take on one of these younger men

and have some fun but beware you can never be seen in public

and eventually he will go to younger and  more fertile pastures.

You could steal another woman’s husband, partner or lover,

after all many men love to play the field and are turned on

by what they think will be a

desperate erotically charged older woman.

Keeping up this mirage can be exhausting and there will be some nights

when it is all too  much and all you want is to don your flannies and  sink alone into your large snuggly comfortable bed complete with chocolate, fluffy dog or soft toys, I-phone music, and books books books!!

And if by chance you mange to meet a  randy widower at his wife’s funeral who comes on to you(don’t laugh it’s happened) beware you may find out  you need to make up for all the deficiencies of the first model as well emulate her great virtues. And if you survive this late life coupling you may find yourself caring for an older man who does not age as gracefully as you and whose grown up children are absolutely delighted they don’t have to worry about poor grumpy old dad anymore as long as you sign an agreement not to take their inheritance.

So for attractive, intelligent, agile, warm-blooded  older women

what is the answer to the disappearance of male energy from your life?

Withdraw thankfully from the futile chase and accept and celebrate who and where you are.

Surely not you say!                         YES I DO!                                                                                                 

Fill your life with family, friends, travel, some form of exercise 

such as yoga, pilates, tai chi  (avoid lawn bowls at all costs)

but climbing this mountain in Meteora Greece may be too ambitious;

creative and/or educational pursuits like writing, painting,

learning a language, ecstatic dancing, 

or sculpturing your own version of Aphrodite;

good works and/or political action, like feeding the homeless, greening your neighbourhood, becoming a mentor to troubled young women, signing petitions, attending council meetings;

and  last but not least some form of spirituality that honours you and your life path.

THEN watch yourself blossom even as you face the inevitable crises that life/death will throw your way

(don’t take to reading the Obituary columns).

And as you love yourself more and value the sisterhood of women some positive male energy will be attracted to you. It may be in new and better relationships with a brother, cousin, son, son-in-law, grandson,neighbour, blogger, fellow walker or it may be with a stranger with whom you stop to talk (preferably not the local bikie gang chief)  or the person you meet in your charitable activities, (but remember charity does not mean taking him home).

And all of this will enrich your life so that eventually you will wonder

Meteora

how so much of your time in the past was given over to

the imaginary other who is no more.

And DON’T PANIC if you still can’t give up the fantasy

 of the perfect  male lover/companion

you won’t find him in the monastry at Meteora but

you just may find him hiding under a toadstool in the bottom of your garden!

After writing this post I was walking my dog singing all the gospel songs I sing with the Acapella Group, Jonah and the Wailers. Suddenly a man  stopped  as I was passing, his face transformed by the most beautiful smile as he looked at me. Nothing was said. But it was a moment when his maleness met  my femaleness and it felt so good to be alive and well in this great city of ours.

My dear twin brother would say ‘that silly man smiled at you because he thought you were stark raving bonkers’.

And maybe he’s right.

June 4, 2010

WHY I NEVER DESTROY A SPIDER’S WEB

Filed under: Athena's musings — athenapallas @ 3:03 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

There are not many episodes in my history that I truly regret, even the skinning of the giant Pallas to make my aegis, or the killing of the Trojans when I fought beside Achilles and Odysseus.

None of these acts of naked aggression, regrettable though they were, sit as heavily on my heart as my treatment of Arachne.

Some mischief-making nymphs came to tell me about a wonderful weaver, a peasant girl in Lydia who was considered my rival since I was also the Goddess of weaving and spinning.

I disguised myself as an old woman and went to investigate their claims. I was amazed by the vastness and intricacy of her weaves and I realised I was in the presence of a true artist.  I hung around admiring her work and listening to the praise that was heaped upon her.

You are the best weaver of all time, you have excelled you teacher Athena, were some of the exaggerated tags which she accepted so willingly. I wanted to immediately transform and thrust my spear into her heart. But I did not, after all I was a discerning and usually compassionate goddess in peacetime.

Instead I counselled her to behave with more modesty.

‘Old woman,’ she replied, ‘ how can I help it if my talent is so recognised, I have worked long and hard at my art.’

‘But surely there is no weaver who does not owe their talent to Athena ? I replied.

‘Not I, dear crone, I alone have achieved this great feat.’

With that I threw off my disguise and the contest began. She created a masterful tapestry depicting the more salacious love affairs of the Gods. I answered this with one that showed all the Olympian Gods defeating  the mortals who dared to defy them.

 She looked at me with those innocent blue eyes as if she had no idea of the extent of my wrath.  Soon she was to find out. I hit her with the shuttle of my loom and then I destroyed all of her vast gallery of unique tapestries.

Later I heard on the nymph line that Arachne had hanged herself, distraught that she would never weave such tapestries again. I was so smitten with remorse that I resurrected her as a spider so she could forever weave the most beautiful webs in the world. Some would say this was part of my revenge, and it is that judgment which haunts me to this day.

Now when I walk down the front path to my gate, I always make sure I do not disturb the spider webs, and I caution visitors to do the same.

For these webs are the examples of the most skilful weaves in the whole of nature and the are also a reminder of the never-ending consequences of pride and envy.

May 21, 2010

EROS CAME TO MY CAFE TODAY

Filed under: Athena's musings — athenapallas @ 2:00 pm
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How is it that a short ageing man, his black t-shirt bulging over his far too tight belt,

his sparse hair limply falling over his face, his bristly cheeks undisguised, 

can engage the attention of a 21st century Aphrodite.

Tall and oh so slim, extravagant streaked hair  casually held in place with an unseen clip behind her head revealing the the face of a goddess, exquisite neck and shoulders smooth and creamy as alabaster, breasts hidded discreetly under a ribbed and scooped white top, her long body and legs underneath a floral skirt that swished alluringly as she walked between the tables in her soft grey leather boots.

Across the room an older woman, her greying hair cut short to disguise its texture, her large breasts covered by a cleverly draped black cardigan, was talking earnestly to  a modern Adonis.

He was not tall, but perfectly formed with skin that if she were to touch it would feel like the soft skin of her grandson. His dark eyes under darker eyebrows creased above a shortened Grecian nose,  his wet black hair carelessly caressed as he spoke. His red shirt was starting to open  in her presence and if she dared to look down she would have noticed the bulge in his, oh so tight, denim leggins.

He saw the older and the younger woman in her face. He saw her straight fair hair reaching all the way to her waist, the curve of her perfect breasts and her strong body standing firmly on shaped legs.  He saw her desire and her joy dancing with his energy as she talked with him. He wondered if she could ever believe in their coupling unmarred by stereotype and expectation……

He looked across the room at the pearly Aphrodite and smiled at her.

She smiled back as she gave the ageing Adonis his bill.

May 10, 2010

Beware of love messages scratched on old columns

Filed under: Athena's musings,Athena's ragings — athenapallas @ 5:47 pm
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My lost love returned today to tell me he loved another goddess.

How does Athena the virgin warrior goddess have a lost love?

The centuries are littered with Adonai who favoured her from time to time.

There was one God who won her heart.

He was  a son of  Apollo and  Aphrodite, who had caught him

gazing at her naked before she was about to couple with Adonis.

In punishment he was smitten with blindness, and when I met him

I swore one day he would see me clearly and love me forever.

I have watched over him for decades, mending his broken heart when others hurt him, whispering love words in his ear, stroking his tired limbs and making up special potions to help him believe that one day he would see.

Sometimes his rages would be so great or his grief so deep that I could not reach him.

So I went to other places where I was needed and I could do battle and win.

In all this time despite what I would say or think about him,  I loved him. He was not the most beautiful God I had known nor even the most powerful. When he loved me, my heart would melt and I would become like a child of Eros longing for undying devotion and erotic entanglement forever.

I thought I had  been cured of this malady of mine. However,when I read the message he had scratched on the column outside my temple, my heart lept and I ordered him to meet me.

He came and I hardly recognised him.

His head was bare, his eyes were open and it was not me he was seeing, it was the other.

Now he was no longer angry, now he could see clearly and now he no longer loved me.

I wanted to tear my aegis into a thousand pieces and throw cruel spikes in front of him where ever he walked. I wanted to rip off my helmet and my robe, utter the most heart rending cries ever heard across the universe or the centuries.

But I did nothing. I listened to his story and gave my version with a numb heart.

It was later that my heart opened enough to start to feel the relief and the freedom.

And when that happened real compassion for both of us started to emerge. 

What to do with that compassion has become my next mission.

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