10/19/09

Goddess of the Week: The Graces

The Three Graces, HermitageImage via Wikipedia

Happiness: the holy grail of emotions. It's hard to find and even harder to hold on to, which is why, when it comes to happiness, you need more than one goddess. You need three. Namely, you need the Greek graces. They're sort of like the muses, in that they are sisters who hang out together and who, because they do good deeds instead of start wars, are considered minor deities.

Aglaia (goddess of splendor), Euphrosyne (goddess of joyfulness ) and Thalia (goddess of rejoicing) were daughters of Zeus and...hmmm....It was always so hard to tell with Zeus. They might have been Hera's daughters, but they might have been Eurynome's daughters. It's a little awkward so we'll leave it at that.

The point is, these sisters liked to have a good time. They liked to dance and listen to music. They hung out with party boys Apollo (god of music), Dionysus (god of wine) and Hermes (the messenger god who invented Whoopie Cushions and squirting lapel flowers). They were also attendants to Aphrodite, who also liked to have a good time and who had children with Apollo, Dionysus and Hermes.

But don't go thinking the Graces were a bunch of slutty Paris Hiltons in togas and stilettos. Oh, no. The Graces were no floozies. They were good friends who recognized that life gives you two choices: you can cultivate despair or you can cultivate joy. They cultivated joy.

Like this one time. Aphrodite was totally bummed because her husband Hephaistos had arranged for all the gods to see him catch Aphrodite and the war god Ares in bed together. Afterwards, Aphrodite was so embarrassed that she slunk off to Cypress and became so despondent that she wouldn't even blow dry her hair. The Graces went after her. They listened to Aprodite's laments. They ran her some bubble baths. They took her shopping. They gave her some chocolate. They did not give up on Aphrodite until she went back to Mt. Olympus looking hotter than ever and completely ready to cheat on her husband again.

The Graces teach us that cultivating joy is like cultivating a garden. It takes work. Happiness won't just come to you. You've got to make it happen. You've got to fight off inertia like you've got to fight off white flies. Go. Connect with friends. Eat chocolate. Indulge yourself. Listen to music. Dance. Don't listen to people who would bring you down. Put on your best dress and live.

Channel this goddess: When you're feeling blue, when you're stuck in a rut and you don't know how to get out, when you've lost your spark and want it back, or when you're going out with friends and you're looking for fun.

Georgie: The Graces are for you. Buy them a beer or a least some ice cream.

Need a goddess: Tell me what you need her for and I'll see what I can do.
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21 comments:

PaperTurtle said...

Oh, boy, did I need this today! Thanks, Margaret. :o)

Georgie K. Buttons said...

Thanks so much, Margaret. I'm off to find the ice cream. ;) You're awesome! (((HUGS)))

Brenda's Arizona said...

Do you wonder if they were careless in their joy? Or if their 'shared joy' was just so infectious that it perpetuated more joy? I worry that they were flippant???

I hate my stoic upbringing!

Margaret said...

Paperturtle: I need these three all the time.

Georgie: I'm glad you approve. Enjoy your ice cream.

Brenda: Such good questions. My guess is that I am the one who was flippant. They did enjoy dancing and music, and they did attend to Aphrodite. I think they loved her and didn't judge her. They just wanted her to be happy, and so they did the things girlfriends do. They took her out. They listened to her, and they reminded her that bad moments pass and that their are lovely things in the world, including happiness.

kanmuri said...

I like these goddesses! Mostly because they look plump! Who needs to be skinny?

Joanne said...

I love the sentiment that cultivating joy is like cultivating a garden ... so true. We've got to plant the seeds, water, weed, nurture, and it's amazing the flowers that can grow!

Margaret said...

Kanmuri: One of the joys of studying ancient goddesses is that they are not wraiths. They are big and strong, and they are a good reminder that beauty didn't always mean emaciation.

Joanne: I agree. I think you have to work at joy and happiness, just like you have to work at everything else. It takes nurture and care and effort.

Shell Sherree said...

I love that you can inspire me with something profound while still making mention of Whoopie Cushions. You're a gem, Margaret. We create our own happiness and it's nice to know the Graces are there to lend a hand.

altadenahiker said...

Graces and beer? Next thing you'll be putting them in a pick-up truck.

WV: Complaks. Joy is simple, not complaks.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I'm back.

We may not know them by name but isn't interesting how the word "grace" has come to signify so many things of depth and interior meaning?

I've experienced one of the worst seasons of my life. Loss on a grand scale, fear, pressing deadline and the added benefit of having good deeds go punished. Strangely I'm adapting with the help of a sudden case of gallows humor. This week I look forward to taking in my mother's cat in to be euthanized. Will the good times never stop?

Petrea said...

I like these graces. They live nearby and sometimes I forget to check on them, but they're always around.

Sounds like PA needs a goddess STAT. Might be the graces, though.

Bec said...

Great ones. It always helps to have some girl friends to laugh with.

TheChieftess said...

Ditto to Shell Sherree!!! A new perspective on Greek Mythology... and wonderful introspection of the state of happiness!!!

Daisy said...

".....because they do good deeds instead of start wars, are considered minor deities."

This makes them major deities to me! And I hope, PA, that they visit you and bring you chocolate and joy.
I send you simply, a virtual hug.
Barbara and Daisy

Shanna said...

I really enjoyed that much, much!
Thanks! I love this blog.

Desiree said...

Thank you, goddess Margaret--I have been fighting off my personal inertia with chocolate covered almonds. In between evenings of bourbon.

... daisy... said...

You've no idea how much I needed this post. Thank you!
Cultivate joy! That's it we are always waiting for things to happen to us... for happiness to bump into our lives instead of going and look for it or even better move our ... and do something to be happy! Sometimes I think being miserable is just so comfortable and if you're lucky enough you get more attention than when you're happy... or at least at the beginning because after a while people grow tired...
Anyway... thanks! And now I'll try to work on my happiness!!! :-D

Jean Spitzer said...

Thanks. Now to cultivate some joy.

Linda Dove said...

The Original BFFs.

WV: impiene. Wonder what she was the goddess of.

MelRoXx said...

Great ! how thoughtful you are! x

gaelikaa said...

Fascinating!