(Artwork: “Circe the Enchanter” by Edmund Dulac, 1915)
Do you enjoy reading? Are you stressed? Do you need some time to yourself?
Reading is a healthy way to relax and an excellent tool to soothe Anxiety. It will expand your mind, conversations, and often, lead you to self-reflection.
Earlier this Summer, we started a Book Club with relatives and friends to remain in touch and fill our days with a positive activity. Recently, we finished the novel CIRCE, by Madeline Miller.
It is a contemporary mythological story about a lesser known goddess-nymph named, Circe. This goddess' life is intertwined intermittently with famed tales, Gods, and characters within the Greek Universe. However, the author shares a new perspective by furthering Circe's story with more details and her 'hero's journey' -- finding her true self living as a mortal vs. as a Goddess.
We will be discussing (3) moments from the book that we found memorable and motivational. If you do not wish to know more, please do not read further.
"Odysseus had told me a story once about a king who had a wound that could not be healed, not by any doctor, not by any amount of time. He went to an oracle and heard its answer: only the man who had given the wound could fix it, with the same spear he had used to make it. So the king had limped across the world until he found his enemy, who mended him."
We viewed this excerpt metaphorically; the "wound" of being hurt by someone close to you -- a friend, lover, or relative. That type of pain can be everlasting and damaging, unless it is resolved with the person who created it. You may bury that pain to forget about it. But, unless you face the problem head-on, the wound will never heal completely. If there is someone in your life who injured you, speak to them honestly and openly in order to find closure.
"My law is as it has ever been. If you would take my tail you must first submit to its poison. That is the price. Eternal pain in exchange for a few more mortal years with your son. Is it worth the cost?"
In order to protect her son, Circe seeks out an ancient creature for its powerful tail, which carries the most potent poison in the universe (causing Gods eternal pain and death for mortals). While many Gods had come to challenge Trygon for his tail, none had ever succeeded or met his conditions.
Circe knew that even though her son was mortal, she wanted to spend as much time with him as she could. She needed a weapon that would be able to protect him, even from the Gods. And, that meant sacrificing.
"My hand passed through empty water, touching nothing. The creature was floating in front of me again, its flat gaze on mine."
"It is finished."
"My mind was black as that water. It was as if time had skipped. I do not understand."
"You would have touched the poison. That is enough."
"I felt as though I were mad. How can this be?"
"I am as old as the world, and make the conditions that please me. You are the first to meet them."
We really enjoyed this part of the story. Not only did it show the strength of a mother's love, but it was also motivational. At times, we can see a challenge and automatically think it's not worth the risk or that it may be impossible to achieve. Don't let self-defeating thoughts stop you. You may think there will be eternal hardship, but you won't know until you try. Take a step forward and reach for your goals -- they are waiting for you, filled with power and freedom!
3. LIVING & BEING PRESENT
"I thought once that Gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands. All my life I have been moving forward, and now I am here."
Throughout this novel, Circe is in search of her true self, struggling between the worlds of mortals and Gods. Even though she was a Goddess, she felt a kinship to mortals, which made her an outcast among the Gods.
Circe learned to feel, to love, and to live wholly through her relationships with mortals. The delicate balance between life and death is what makes the precious moments on Earth worth savoring. You don't know what the future holds.
How would you value life if you had a limited amount of time vs. an eternity?
Stay focused on the present and find the immeasurable value in the now.
Until we meet again...