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Entries in Titans (1)


News from the Mythosphere, Part One: Mother Earth and Father Crow: A Myth for this Decade


What on earth is going on? 

The news on earth is demonstrations all over the world. Occupy Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Occupy Tunisia. Occupy Libya. Occupy Syria. Occupy Yemen. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Berkeley. Occupy Oakland. Occupy Los Angeles. Occupy Davis. Occupy Seattle. Occupy Portland. Occupy Chicago. Occupy Denver. Occupy Boston. Occupy Washington D.C. Occupy Atlanta. Occupy Vancouver. Occupy London. Occupy Berlin. Occupy Madrid. Occupy Rome. Occupy Athens. Occupy Mexico City. Occupy Bogota. Occupy Tokyo. Occupy Sydney. Occupy Wellington. Occupy Cape Town. Occupy Paris.


What is moving so many people from so many countries into the streets?

Panic and fear. Poverty. No jobs. Economic inequality. Rage at tyrannical government.

The U.S. is no different, but there it also involves the collapse of the housing market. Loss of homes. Rapacious banks, corporations and Wall Street. Unresponsive, ineffectual government gridlock. The rage of the 99% at the mega-wealthy who refuse fair taxation, while social services—education, health care, and every form of social security—are gutted.



Whenever there is a great shift in the zeitgeist, a paradigm change, there is chaos and confusion about what it all means. Where do you turn for a long-range perspective? We turn to myth. Especially Greek myth. The world’s myths contain all the stories that have ever happened, and will happen, over and over again.

A good friend who loves Greece as much as we do told us of a conversation she had with Henry Miller. The two of them agreed that the air is intelligent in Greece.

Whatever the reason, some of the greatest stories of the mythosphere, a word coined by our mythographer friend Alexander Eliot, come from ancient Greece.

 Here are a few that come to mind lately:

The story of Rhea and Cronus.

The story of Pan.

The story of Hestia, goddess of the hearth.



In three consecutive Paris Play posts this week, we’ll tell you three stories, with our take on how we think they’re connected to what’s happening right now in the world.

First, the story of Rhea and Cronus. According to the poet and writer on myth, Robert Graves, Rhea’s name probably means “earth.” Which suggests that she is that ancient goddess, Mother Earth, also known as Gaia.

Graves thinks Cronus’s name means “crow” or “crown,” rather than “time."

Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths is our major source, but this is a modern retelling.

Mother Earth and Father Crow: A Myth for this Decade


Mother Earth was enraged. Every time she gave birth, her husband, Cronus, would eat the child. Each year he’d swallowed one of them: first Hestia, then Demeter, then Hera, then Hades, and lastly, Poseidon.

They were not the healthiest family. She should never have married her brother, she knew that now, eons later. Their father, Uranus, had filled Cronus’s head with paranoia, convincing him that one of his children would knock him off his throne. But why have children, for gods’ sake, if you’re not going to share power and resources with them?

This time it would be different. This time she’d trick Father Crow. She would hide the baby from him. When her latest offspring, Zeus, was born in the middle of the night, she took him to a mountain, bathed him in a river, and hid him in a cave on Crete.

There he was raised by two sisters, Adrasteia and Io (known as the Honey girls), and the Goat-nymph, Amaltheia. Baby Zeus was fed honey, and goat’s milk from Amaltheia, and so was his foster-brother, Pan.



Zeus’s golden cradle was hung on a tree, so that Cronus couldn’t find it in heaven, on earth or in the sea. Rhea sent her sons, the Curetes, to stand around the baby Zeus, and drown out the sound of his crying by banging their spears against their shields and shouting. This was good noise, “white noise,” to protect the innocent from a callous oppressor.  According to Graves, Curetes meant “devotees of Ker, or Car,” one of the names of the Triple-Goddess.

Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and gave it to Cronus to swallow.



In yet another cave, Zeus was raised among shepherds in Ida. Everyone needs a safe place on earth to occupy, and even a cave is safer than being eaten by your own father.

As Zeus grew up, The Titaness, Metis, advised him to go see his mother, Rhea, and ask to be given the role of Cronus’s cup-bearer. More trickery was needed.

So Rhea gladly helped her son by giving him an emetic drink, which Metis had told him to mix with Cronus’s honey drink.

Cronus drank it up and vomited out the stone, as well as all of Zeus’s older brothers and sisters. They were so grateful, they asked Zeus to lead them in battle against the Titans, all those calcified Holdfasts who don’t share the wealth.



This war lasted ten years. Finally Mother Earth prophesied that Zeus would win if he combined forces with Cronus’s prisoners in Tartarus. 

Zeus went to their female jailer, Campe, killed her, grabbed her keys and set free the Cyclopes and the Hundred-handed Ones, whom he strengthened with divine food and drink. This was really a movement of the people, of the disenfranchised, the 99%. The Many against the One.



The Cyclopes in turn gave three gifts to Zeus and his two brothers, Hades and Poseidon: the thunderbolt to Zeus, the helmet of darkness to Hades, the trident to Poseidon.

Hades, now invisible, snuck in and stole Cronus’s weapons. While Poseidon threatened him with his trident, Zeus zapped Cronus with his thunderbolt. Stealth, trickery and force were needed to overthrow Father Crow.

The three Hundred-handed Ones threw rocks at the Titans, and Goat-Pan gave a sudden shout which made them flee. Rocks and shouts, a riot.

The gods ran after Cronus and banished him and all the Titans except Atlas. Where? Accounts differ—perhaps to a British island in the far west, or perhaps to Tartarus. Anyway they were kicked out of power, and guarded now by the Hundred-handed Ones, whom they had once jailed.


Atlas was given the punishment of carrying the sky on his shoulders. It seems harsh, but perhaps it’s the cost of leading the forces of tyranny, which, worse than harsh, are lethal.

Zeus set the stone which Cronus had swallowed down at Delphi, the sacred place of measure. One of the phrases carved into the temple was: μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess").

The constellation of the Serpent and the Bears is said to be Zeus (who shape-shifted into a serpent when Cronus discovered he’d been tricked with a stone) and his nurses became the bears.

To thank the three nurturing nymphs, Zeus put the goat-nymph Amaltheia’s image in the stars—Capricorn!—and gave one of her horns to the two Honey sisters, which became the Cornucopia, the horn of plenty, which is always filled with whatever its owner wishes to eat or drink.



It had taken ten years of battle, but at last the people had food and drink and plenty, which is usually the case when kingdoms have wise rulers who distribute wealth instead of hogging it. Stone soup had been transformed into a nourishing feast.

Mother Earth was well pleased. Her children could flourish, and so, at last, could she.