9/21/09

Goddesses of the Week: Eileithyia and Leto

Leto, Artemis and Aphrodite, from Parthenon ea...Image via Wikipedia

This one is for Lisa, who, if she hasn't given birth already is probably just about to.

First thing: Breathe.
Second thing: Hold tight to your partner.
Three: In between contractions send a call out to Eileithyia, Greek goddess of childbirth and labor.

You want Eileithyia on your side because she can speed up your labor or delay it. You're going to have to trust me here. I had my first daughter in two and half hours and my second in about forty minutes so I know what I am talking about.

If you are unwittingly carrying Zeus's child, however, go ahead and get that epidural. Things might take a while. When the Titan goddess Leto was pregnant with Artemis and Apollo, Zeus's wife Hera pursued Leto to the ends of the earth. Poor Leto finally found a place to hide on the floating, and hence unplottable, island of Delos. When Hera couldn't find Leto, she did the next best thing: she kept Eileithyia from coming to Leto's aid by pulling out about 1,000 pictures of her last trip to Crete and forcing Eileithyia to see every last one of them.

Finally, the messenger goddess Iris came. "Dude! You're totally needed," she told Eileithyia and Eileithyia made her escape. The minute Eileithyia landed in Delos, Leto was ready to deliver.

Now, goddesses are kind of like doctors. Just like your pediatrician takes over once the baby is born, you'll want to channel a different goddess once your baby is safely delivered. Once you here that piercing "Waaaahhhhh," send a new call out to Leto herself. She is a goddess of motherhood and a protectress of the young, and, having raised two over-achievers herself, she knows all the things you need to do to make sure your kids get into top colleges. (Think unusual talents that impress college recruiters: Her son Apollo, for example, invented music and controlled the sun.)

Channel these goddesses: Believe me, you'll know when you need them. (Sending you good thoughts, Lisa. Best wishes and take care.)

Need a goddess: That's why I'm here. Tell me your need and I'll see what I can do.
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23 comments:

pasadenaadjacent said...

Margaret
your a speed birther

Margaret said...

I know. I'm a little vain about it.

Petrea said...

Margaret I'm beginning to think you're a bit of a goddess yourself.

Lynne said...

I notice you didn't share this info with me, your own sister! 40 hours of hard labor, that's not even counting the early labor stuff. And you obviously knew about it since you are such an over acheiver birther! Hmph... This was probably to punish me for borrowing that shirt without asking in 1979.

Margaret said...

Lynne: I may be vain, but I'm not cruel. And I think I was the one who borrowed the shirt. My bad.

... daisy... said...

I admire mothers! I hope one day I'll be blessed with the same miracle...
Huge hug to all of you who have children or are about to have them! ;-)
Margaret you're great! :-)

Cafe Observer said...

Without taking a second to take a 2nd look, the pic 1st looked like some prehistoric monster.

pasadenapio said...

Eileithyia and Leto have lost their heads over this!

Jean Spitzer said...

Are the headless goddesses more of Hera's work?

Shanna said...

The goddesses may have lost their heads, but - wow - I do love that transparent drapery.

Petrea said...

Sort of off the subject but it's sad and weird and gorgeous and wrong and right to go see the Elgin Marbles (some of which you've pictured) at the British Museum. They're beautiful but displaced. These sculptures should grace a temple, and they once did. When I saw them ten years ago they were gracing a basement display room.

Shell Sherree said...

And I guess those 1000 pictures were in the form of a good old-fashioned 'slide night'...

Rois said...

I need a goddess.Someone who will help me transition from having been home full time to working full time,all while dealing with a chronic illness.Oh and a boss who thinks I should have mastered a totally new computer program in 2 days on top of learning all of the other details of my new job.
Maybe I need more than one,maybe a whole sisterhood of lovely ladies.
Thanks and I love your blog.
Rois

Margaret said...

Daisy: Motherhood is great, but, you know, dogs are easier and they are always grateful.

Pup: the poor headless goddesses. They'd be heartbroken to think they look like monsters.

PPIO: Very witty.

Jean: Poor Hera, the shrew of every story. I think I might have to make her a goddess of the week so she can get some respect.

Shanna: I love that drapery too. I'm glad you mentioned it.

Petrea: I didn't know that. They are so gorgeous. In a temple they must have been magnificient, but I bet they are still impressive even in a basement.

Shell: Slide night: That is just what I was thinking.

Rois: You are in the queue. In the meantime, good luck. That's a lot to deal with. I hope you at least like the new job.

Desiree said...

Gorgeous photo and post--so wild.

gaelikaa said...

From the moment childbirth became hard labour, women have been looking for help, understandably so. We must understand that birth is safe, our bodies are designed to give birth, we must choose life and move with the processes of life. gaelikaas record: four normal deliveries, no epidural, no labour more than eight hours. I think that we Celtic women are pretty much tuned in. Now if Leto had been a Celt....

altadenahiker said...

I think this is the sweetest post of all.

pasadenaadjacent said...

Just got back tonight from seeing "Pompeii and the Roman Villa" You might want to make a run over to LACMA and catch it. The most beautiful room of reconstructed (not to be confused with recreated) original frescos. Goddesses everywhere

show ends October 4th
hurry

... daisy... said...

:-DDD Yes you're right. I'd love both: a dog and a (or even 2-3) kid! :-)))

Margaret said...

Gaelikaa: If Leto had been a Celt, she would have dashed Hera's brains against a rock. Those Celt goddesses are tough, but I've had a hard time finding out much about them. Some things I've read say that since our knowledge of Celtic deities come from the legends recorded by Catholic monks, a lot of the the stories of goddesses have been lost. Is that true?

PA: I really want to see that exhibit, but it sounds like I better get busy.

gaelikaa said...

Oh it could very well be! You know about St. Brigid, the 'Keeper of the Flame'? She is suspected to be a goddess in disguise. A Celtic goddess disguised in a nun's habit, if you please. But there was no 'Catholic' as such, in that time. Christendom was all one. If you discount those orthodox types east of Constantinople. The Irish monks were a scholarly lot who liked their mead (alcoholic beverage) and they were not so easily reined in by Rome. In fact one of the theories behind why the British invaded Ireland was because they got a lot of encouragement from the then Pope who felt that the Irish branch of the Church was getting way out of hand. The Irish had a lot of cultural practises which were considered out of line with Christianity. Isn't it rather ironic considering later developments? Maybe it is just as well Leto wasn't a Celt!

Mandie said...

Celts are fast birthers? For me, it was true (my son was born within two hours, my daughter was thirty minutes) but I seem to be the only one in my family to accomplish such a task.

Margaret said...

Congratulations, Mandie. So glad you are well, and thanks for letting us know.