Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Helen of Troy

Interesting information from Barbara Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" about Helen of Troy: Incarnation of the Virgin Moon-goddess, daughter of Queen Hecuba, or Hecate, who embodied the Crone. Helen was also called Helle or Selene. She was worshipped as an orgiastic deity at the Spartan festival Helenphoria, featuring sexual symbols carried in a special fetish-basket, the helene.(1). Trojan Helen married Menelaus, "Moon-king," who was promised immortality because he made a sacred marriage.(2) However, Helen left him and went home with her new Trojan lover Paris, so Menelaus lost both his immortality and the Trojan fiefs that Helen's "matrimony" brought. He sailed with his armies to get her back, and this was the start of the legendary Trojan War which pitted patriarchal Greeks against matriarchal Trojans.(3) [It was all about the money, darlings! Menelaus didn't give a rat's butt about Helen.] As Elen, Elaine, or Hel-Aine, the same Moon-virgin became the queen of pagan Britain, a "Lily Maid" who made the first alliances with emperors of Rome. (See Elaine.) The oldest British histories said the first British king was a Trojan named Brutus, Helen's relative.(4) After Troy fell, he sailed west to the island of Albion [probably meaning "white island", named for the white chalk cliffs of Dover] and founded a city, New Troy, later renamed Lugdunum (London) after his descendant, the god Lug.(5) Notes: (1) Graves, G.M. 1, 208-9. (2) Knight, S.L., 125. (3) Graves, G.M. 2, 276. (4) Briffault 3, 431. (5) Guerber, L.M.A., 309. Related is Helice: "Willow," a title of Hecate in her virgin form as the new moon and the Helicon or "willow-stream" surrounding the Mountain of the Muses. Like Artemis, Helice the Willow-maid was associated with both the moon and Ursa Major, eternally circling the pole, known as Helice's Axle.(1) Witches thought a willow wand a microcosmic axis mundi. See Willow. Notes: (1) Lindsay, O.A., 251. Following the lead: Willow Water and willows represented the Goddess Helice, "Willow," virgin form of Hecate with her willow-witye grain-basket.(1) Willow wants invoked the Muses, whose mountain was encircled by the Helicon, "Willow-stream." The Dionysian thyrsus, like the later withche's wand, was willow. As Dionysus was once a major god of Jerusalem, the willow figured prominently in municipal ceremonies there. A "Great Day" of the Feast of Tabernacles was known as the Day of Willows, with rites honoring fire and water.(2) Willow wands gave protectin in the underworld, where Orpheus carried one to show the way.(3) Willow wands were sacred to the Moon-goddess as late as the 17th century A.D., when an English herbal said the moon owns the willow. Witches used willow bark to treat rheumatism and fevers; i9t was the source of salicylic acid (aspirin), one of Hecate's cures. Some said wicca or "witchcraft" evolved from a word meaning willow, cognate with "wicher" (willow-withe weaving). Magic cats were supposed to grow from pussy-willows or "catkins," to become witches' malkins (familiars): hence the saying that all cats were gray in the beginning. The catkins were harbingers of spring, appearing on the willow as graymalkins. (See Cat.) Winding up for tonight, Elaine: (Var. Elen, Hel-Aine, Eileen) Britain's "Lily Maid," the virgin Moon-goddess bearing the same name as Helen of Troy; British tradition claimed the ilsand were colonized by Trojans. According to the bards, the Roman emperor acquired Britain only by marrying its queen, Elen. The people agreed to help build Roman roads because she ordered them, and the roads were called Roads of Elen of the Hosts: "The men of the Island of Britain would not have made those great hostings for any save for her."(1) Elen or Elaine became the mother-bride of Lancelot-Galahad in Arthurian romance. Lancelot the father begot on her his own reincarnation, Galahad the son [I believe this is just a retelling of the ancient legend of Seraimis, the Queen of the original city of Babylon, married to Nimrod, the first king and builder of cities according to the Bible]; but Lancelot in his youth had been named Galahad, and his mother was Queen Elaine. The Lily Maid gave Lancelot her sexual-symbolic charm to make him invicible: her pearl-bedewed sleeve of red silk. The womb-symbol of the Holy Grail was displayed in her castle, tendered by her dove-soul, Colombe. Galahad saw this vision again in his last moments, as he expired at the altar in ancient sacred-king style.(2) Notes: (1) Mabinogion, 85. (2) Malory 1, 377; 2, 268.
The Lily and the Dove can be traced back to the ancient Middle East, and probably more specifically, to ancient Egypt. Both symbols figure prominently in the pages of the Bible, which borrowed much imagery (and prayers/paeons) from the Egyptians. The lily is most likely the Egyptian lotus (also prominent in Indian iconography), embodied in later versions of iconic art such as the fleur-de-lis and trefoil, which came to represent the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity of Father-Son-Holy Spirit or Sophia (representing the hidden female aspect of creation - the fathers of the church did not want to give it a name or a sex, but everyone knew it was Sophia and, in later years, the Virgin Mary, the "Holy Mother of God.")

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