Will of Zeus

A cruel folk you are, unmatched for jealousy, you gods who cannot bear to let a goddess sleep with a man, even if it is done without concealment and she has chosen him as her lawful consort. You were the same when Rose-fingered Dawn fell in love with Orion. Easy livers yourselves, you were outraged at her conduct, and in the end chaste Artemis rose from her golden throne, attacked him in Ortygia with her gentle darts and left him dead.

And so again, when the lovely Demeter gave way to her passion and lay in the arms of her beloved Iasion in the thrice-ploughed fallow field, Zeus heard of it quickly enough and struck him dead with his blinding thunderbolt. And now it is my turn to incur that same divine displeasure for living with a mortal man – a man whom I rescued from death as he was drifting alone astride the keel of his ship, when Zeus had shattered it with his lightening bolt out on the wine dark sea, and all his men were lost, but he was driven to this island by wind and waves.

I welcomed him with open arms; I tended him; I even hoped to give him immortality and ageless youth. But now, goodbye to him, since no god can evade or thwart the will of Zeus. If Zeus insists that he should leave, let him be gone across the barren water. But he must not expect me to transport him. I have no ship, no oars, no crew to carry him so far across the seas. Yet I do promise with a good grace and unreservedly to give him such directions as will bring him safe and sound to Ithaca.

Homer, The Odyssey

Elysium Fields

When he first looked upon the world and wondered how best it should be ordered, Zeus released the Eagles of East and West, bidding each to fly around the Earth in his own direction.

The birds were reunited at this place and Zeus set down a sacred white stone, to mark it forever as the centre of the planet. The first shrine was created around this stone and from that moment onward, Zeus’s son Apollo, keeper of the sun, began relaying the will of his father to those who came here.

She stands within the fourth Apollonian Temple to have been built here, which has undergone extensive and ongoing repair works following the War that almost destroyed it.

The first Temple was much smaller than the present building and constructed from branches of Thessaly’s sacred laurel trees, while the next was created by bees of wax and feathers, designed to bridge the gap between Earth and the underworld.

Bees make the journey to and from Hades as a matter of course and the secrets they retrieve therein are for the golden ears of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, the virgin huntress, keeper of the moon.

The third temple was a great bronze edifice, which stood for many years before the heat of the Sun God melted it back into the Earth. The fourth was built before she took up her office and the fifth shall be put on its foundations when she has left for the Elysium Fields.

Zeus’ First and Twice-Born Sons

Storm's River
Storm's River

In his hands he held his lovely golden wand with which he can lull men’s eyelids or wake them from sleep: and with this wand he called the ghosts and led them, and they followed him*.

Zeus turned his attention to his golden son. “Step forward Apollo,” he said, “For I would have you build me here a house, where men from all corners of the world will come to hear of their destiny.

Standing on the outskirt of the forest, the Magician relayed a key message to his wine-loving friend:

“Zeus’s twice-born son, your time shall surely come.

As grows the living vine, the victory shall be thine”.

The wolf by Apollo’s side pricked up its ears and whined as he watched the two whispering on the edge of the emerald forest. Apollo looked down at his faithful beast and both cocked their heads to one side.
“And what of me, Father? Art I not the bringer of light, voice of all reason and destroyer of dark night? How shall my sun by worshipped if the temple is all thine and he is the death-defying vine?

Zeus looked long and hard at his progeny, whose heart was cold as his mind was brilliant light. “How soon, I wonder, my great golden child, ’til you think yourself greater, even, than I?”

It was then that Zeus’ deer silver daughter put a restraining hand on her golden brother’s shoulder and entreated him in an urgent voice.
“Bait him not, beloved brother; the chariot of the sun shall be struck down by lightening and the silver moon shall die of grief – then you would see that our licentious youth shall sober in a second and sit upon thy gilded throne!”

“Ay, sister of the moon, with his hairy hand upon my priceless goblet, while his sluts strum tuneless ditties upon my incomparable turtleshell lyre!”

Apollo’s eyes flashed hot and cold.
Dionysus raised his cup to them in a toast: “You have my blessing brother, I think not to steer the chariot of the sun, nor to take your hallowed place in heaven…”I’d rather have a bit of fun.
“You’ll have to watch the lyre, though, methinks the sound of music shall do much to make our mystery!”

Apollo turned back to their father with an ironic smile.

“The muses who love me shall make here their bed. The will of the King of the Gods shall be carved out in lead”.

Zeus clasped the prince of the Sun with both arms. “Ah, that’s my boy! And fear thee not, Prince of Paeans, for although it is my will that shall be done, it is you who shall dictate my whims and wishes to the wondering world.”

*Homer, The Odyssey

The Love Child and the Magician

Pink flowers
Blossoming Tree

A bull emerged from the forest, metamorphosising with a swagger into a shining youth, handsome as a handsome youth can be.

He walked hand in hand with the loveliest female in the land, raising to his moistened lips an earthen jar of ruby-coloured wine.

Her love-child laughed with his magician.

Hera looked broodingly at the twice-born son of his father and a cloud began descending on the assembly. “I hope you will not reserve too many honours for this youth, Dionysus, husband, for he is only quite immortal, with half true blood in his blue, engorged veins”.

“But see the ones who follow him, my wife; you must admit he is in great company: The body of desire with the power of love and the herald of all ages. I see no issue here but that which is great!” Zeus roared with laughter and raised a glass in toast to his progeny.

Birth of Phoebus Apollo

birth of apollo
The Beach

The owl of Zeus’s daughter Athena sat blinking inscrutably in the branches of a large white tree.

Artemis, his deer, second-born child beneath, blinked her virginal eyes and then ran like the wind towards the edges of the emerald forest.

She sped through the trees until she reached the pebble-dashed shore of the finite sea, where Poseidon threw waters from the churning, ink-black ocean out to land.

A vast breaking wave upheld the glistening form of her darling, new-born brother, Phoebus Apollo.


The top of his fin cut the air like a knife,
 carving a circle of purest, white light.
 Seven sacred colours framed his perfect, golden mind,
 as Artemis declared to him:
 “We two are one, combined!”


Her love for him supplanted all other desire and she cried out loud: “Give me now my silver arrows, for I should strike down dead any one who would dare come between us!”

His answering voice was like an echo of her dream before she dreamt it. “Swim, enchanting sister, while my light is still cool, deep, into the salt-filled waters. A weapon such as this,” he held above him a golden bow, “may only be brought from the abyss”.

She cast off her linen robe and dipped one foot into the ocean, shielding her eyes from the blue-lit morning star as it rose up on the Eastern horizon.

Every other face turned toward it as she made her way to the bottomless abyss, heedless of the dragon chained within.