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Dark Earthy Death Goddesses and How To Pronounce “chthonic”

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The dictionary definition I like best is, “[thon-ik] of or pertaining to the deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling under the earth.”1 This doesn’t mention death, but the whole “under the earth” part should clue you in. I use “chthonic” as frequently as I can in real life, although I generally avoid it on the site because it’s not a terribly well-known word (the spell-check on my blog refuses to recognize it) and the site’s supposed to be ACCESSIBLE. Nonetheless, people who come to the site should know the word, because it has everything to do with why I made the site in the first place.Persephone, by Linda Joyce Franks

The principal myth2 of Demeter and Persephone, for example, is all about how the daughter of an earth and fertility goddess is taken into/under the earth to become the queen of the dead. It’s hard to get more chthonic than that! Stories like these, where female deities are the mysterious connection that humanity has with its mortality – birth, sustenance, and death – are excellent examples of how divine feminity has been presented by all kinds of people, both patriarchal and feminist. Some are identifying the feminine with bestial nature and evil in contrast to the supremity of heavenly gods while others are “reclaiming” our connection to a tangible power.

There is plenty of danger in both readings since the interpretations are virtually two sides of the same coin, but it seems likely to me that such connections are as old as the chthonic myths and deities themselves. An enormous difference between contemporary Western celebrants of such dark, earth, death goddesses and our ancient Greek counterparts is that we just don’t have too many examples to work with!

This site is dedicated to the feminine characters of Greek mythology principally because these have been neglected and forgotten. But as the women have been forgotten, so have the chthonic deities and myths that have formed such a crucial part of so many cultures’ religions.

1. “chthonic.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 24 Jun. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chthonic>.

2. As presented in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter


Comments

4 responses to “Dark Earthy Death Goddesses and How To Pronounce “chthonic””

  1. […] Dark Earthy Death Goddesses and How To Pronounce “chthonic” An enormous difference between contemporary Western celebrants of such dark, earth, death goddesses and our ancient Greek counterparts is that we just don’t have too many examples to work with! This site is dedicated to the feminine … […]

  2. Mandakini Jain Avatar
    Mandakini Jain

    You have no idea how much your site has helped me. I wouldn’t have survived without this site and your writing is just wonderful. It really funny and kept me interested the whole time. WOW.

  3. Eleanor Avatar

    I absolutely love your website. It’s the best Greek Mythology site I have ever visited. Your writing is interesting and fun, and everything is packed with really helpful, and extremely interesting, information. Thank you so much. 🙂
    Triple thumbs up to all the work you must have put in!! It’s highly appreciated. =]

  4. Realy great site could not stop reading.I think Ive found the right goddess I was looking for. I found a pendant in a charity shop .Its a goddess holding a wreath in her left hand and a pomegranet or apple in the right hand.Have I found the correct goddess ?you will definately know. KORE/PERSEPHONE

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