Pheme, Ossa, Fama – Goddess of Communication

Compiled By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – This wonderful statue of the Goddess Pheme by Eugène-Louis Lequesne shows her holding her horse Pegasus… The Greek word pheme is related to ϕάναι “to speak”, “fame”, “report” and “rumor”. The Latin word fama, with the same range of meanings comes from the Latin fari “to speak” and through French, the etymon of the English word is “fame”.  Pheme is the Goddess (daimon) of communication of oracular vision and on her destruction side, she destroys rumor and gossip.

She is also, by extension, the dual Goddess of fame and good repute in the positive sense, and infamy and scandal in its negative. Homer called her Ossa “fame” and the Romans personified her as Fama. Each meaning has both a physical and symbolic reference to both fame which comes with rumors and gossip. As an astrological archetype it would fall under Leo and the 5th house. The asteroid number for Pheme is #408 (Fama) if you wished to look it up in your chart.

Fame holding Pegasus. 1875. model for sculpture. Musee D’Orsay. Paris. ~ Eugène-Louis Lequesne

The Goddess Pheme (Fama) Φήμη favor is notability and her wrath is the destroyer of scandalous rumors making her a Goddess of “communication, contact, dream communication, omens and oracles” of the feminine sides of communications. Therefor it makes her the female counterpart to Mercury and Hermes as messenger and the gifts of dreamers on the positive side, as able to speak to others in their dreams, which is exactly what the Delphi Oracles were. On the negative side it rules the shadow demonic souls who roam and influence others in their dreams as well.

Mercury / Hermes played the male side of the Gemini twins, as the “thinking” aspects of communication and divine communication such as divination, mental impressions,  mental vision and telepathy. Pheme / Ossa / Fama represents the “feeling” aspects of communications such as dreams, dream oracles, seership, intuitive insight as the female side of the Twins. Many archaeologists say that the magnetic vapors produced a high for the priestesses at Delphi, to be able to be prophesiers – but if that was true, then a seer today, could literally stand in the same place and do the same exact thing but they don’t, they can do it anywhere they stand. This makes the ability for the soul’s communication to be accepted as a real action rather than just a gift or limited spiritual contexts.

The Goddess Pheme must have been very important to Ionians and Dorian women leaders before the Greek and Roman’s cultures evolved to a more powerful state, otherwise her temples would still be standing today. Written language, ruled by Mercury came after the time of dreaming languages and were replaced with the words rumor or gossip. This changed our understanding of the soul and the spirit of communication of feelings, dreams and art. This is why I feel that karmically, Mercury retrogrades are so destructive in technology societies, because the root of language is vulnerable and not that accurate when something reverses or shifts into non-communication and more visual or dream like communications.

Slavic Altar in the Garden

Because Pheme (fame) cannot be forgotten as a daughter of Gaia, in that light, she is described as:  “She who initiates and furthers communication” and had an temple altar at Athens. We could say she is the Goddess of all the Oracle Priestesses and was said to have pried into the affairs of men and their gods, teaching them what they through the ages called god’s information

Examples are the writer Hesiod (Greek epic 8th or 7th Century bce) :
“Do as I tell you and keep away from the gossip of people. For Pheme is an evil thing, by nature, she’s a light weight to lift up, oh very easy, but heavy to carry, and hard to put down again. Pheme never disappears entirely once many people have talked her big. In fact, she really is some sort of goddess.”

Or Sophocles, Oedipus the King 151 ff (Greek tragedy 5th Century bce) :
“Chorus: O sweetly-speaking message of Zeus, in what spirit have you come to glorious Thebes from golden Pytho? I am on the rack, terror shakes my soul, O Delphi healer [oracular Apollon] to whom wild cries rise, in holy fear of you, wondering what debt you will extract from me, perhaps unknown before, perhaps renewed with the revolving years. Tell me, immortal Phama, child of golden Elpis.”

Dionysus and Lycurgus Fragment (Greek epic 3rd Century ce) :
“Lykourgos was driven mad by the god Dionysos: Baneful Pheme (phêmê) of his madness should arrive at Thebes on wings and summon Ardys and Astakios, his two sons, and Kytis who married him and was subdued to his embrace. They, when led by (phêmê) many tongues they came, found Lykourgos just now released from suffering, worn out by madness.”

ukraine fisherwoman

Dionysus Cults falsely : Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 1 ff :
“Meantime many tongued Pheme (rumors) was on the wing; and she flew along the whole line of Assyrian cities, proclaiming the name of Dionysos with his gift of the alcohol (win), the glorious fruit of grapes and his bold warfare with the indians (India). Dionysos returned to Thebes after his victorious campaign in India: Already Pheme (Rumor) was flying about the seven-gated city proclaiming the rites of Dionysos. Pheme (Rumor) was flitting up and down the cities, announcing of herself that Dionysos of the grapes had come to visit Athens.”

The Roman version of Pheme is Fama, is the Spirit of Rumor…
“Your fame to read the future has reached our ears; we have no need of prophets here.”  ~The Argive Elders to Cassandra. Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1099

So Fame, having the power of making the small great and the great greater, can neither be disregarded nor underrated. Consequently, what she says is listened to carefully and repeated as a prayer. For she appears to change the very nature of things, turning into a shining star what before was neglected and opaque. And being regarded as opposed to oblivion, she is cherished by all those who value remembrance, and by those who think she carries under her wings the key to immortality, which separates gods and men. Such is the nature of this goddess; and her power among men and women is practically limitless, except in the realm of true intimacy and confidence.

Virgil, Aeneid 4. 174 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic 1st Century B.C.E.) :
At the world’s center lies a place between the lands and seas and regions of the sky, the limits of the threefold, whence all things everywhere, however far, are scanned and watched, and every voice and word reaches its listening ears. Here Fama dwells her chosen home set on the highest peak constructed with a thousand apertures and countless entrances and never a door. It’s open night and day and built throughout of echoing bronze; it all reverberates, repeating voices, doubling what it hears. Inside, no peace, no silence anywhere, and yet no noise, but muted murmurings like waves one hears of some far-distant sea, or like a last late rumbling thunder-roll, when Juppiter [Zeus] has made the rain-clouds crash.

dream-and-fate-bookCrowds throng its halls, a lightweight populace that comes and goes, and rumors everywhere, thousands, false mixed with true, roam to and fro, and words flit by phrases all confused. Some pour their tattle into idle ears, some pass on what they’ve gathered, and as each gossip adds something new the story grows. Here is Credulitas (Credulity), here reckless Error (Error), groundless Laetitia (Delight), Susurri (Whispers) of unknown source, sudden Seditio (Sedition), overwhelming Timores (Fears). All that goes on in heaven or sea or land Fama (Rumor) observes and scours the whole wide world. Now she had brought the news [to Troy] that ships from Greece were on their way with valiant warriors: not unforeseen the hostile force appears.”

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 2. 115 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic 1st Century ce) : To punish the Lemnian women for scorning her rites, men wrote through and speaks then that Aphrodite has Fama spreading the rumor that their husbands are planning to abandon them inciting them to murder:

“In the darkness tracked wandering Fama (Rumor), her whom the almighty Father [Zeus] has shut out from the world of heaven, whose voice is ever sounding both good and evil and spreading panic; in wrath she dwells deep beneath the clouds, a Spirit neither of hell nor of heaven, and troubles the earth; for this is permitted her: at first when men hear her they scorn her, yet cherish her, until presently she assails all men, and cities are shaken with busy tongues. Such an instrument of sin and craft (of men who wrote) that the goddess [Aphrodite] is eagerly seeking for her purpose.”

Fama sees her first, and now unannounced flies up impatient; already she sets her countenance, already pricks up her ears. Venus [Aphrodite] inflames her yet more and inspires her with these words : ‘Up, thou! Get thee down to sea-girt Lemnos and stir up every home for me, even as when thou comest heralding war, bringing tales of a thousand trumpets and armed multitudes on the plain and the snorting of countless chargers. Tell how the men are coming, enslaved by delicate living and shameful lust, and are bringing women from Thrace to share the bed of love. Be that the outline of thy tale; from that let resentment sting and madden every woman far and wide; presently I myself will come and lead them thus wrought upon.’

The other departed and went down rejoicing into the midst of the city; she first accost [the Lemnian woman] Eurynome at the house of Codrus near by, as she sat worn by anxious fears . . . To her the goddess comes weeping, in the well-known dress of Neaera and with smitten cheeks, and says: ‘Ah, sister, would that I were not the bearer of these tidings, or might the waters first cover the cause of our sorrows, since at this moment the husband thou hast served so well, he for whose return thou prayest and weepest (Oh, shame!), is crazed, the servant of a bondslave’s shameful love. Yes, so they will be here, and to thy bridal chamber there comes a Thracian woman… a foreign woman with stained hands a branded face [Thracian women were tattooed].

For all that, it may be thou wilt find some other bride-bed to comfort thee for this loss and wilt choose some happier home; but I, I am maddened to think of thy children, their mother lost, condemned to a rival wife; and I see her eyeing them askance, poor wretches! I see the deadly meats and drugged cup, thou knowest how like flame our nature is; yes, but more than this, a thirst for blood is inborn in the Dahae. Soon, hard-reared amid frosts on wild beasts’ milk, will she be here. Nay, rumour says that I too have been cast out by my husband, and some tattooed bride snatched from her wagon home shall lie in my bed.’

With these words she broke off her tale of sorrow, leaving the other to doubt and tremble. She passed on to Iphinoe, and spread the same fire in the homes of Amythaon and Olenius; next through the whole city she cries aloud, that the men are plotting to drive them one and all from Lemnos, that they and their Thracian women may rule the city. The tides of jealous rage and anger begin to rise. And all they met one another passed on and heard the same story, nor was any disbelieved.”

judgement-tarotTarot’s Trumpet card Judgement

Pheme (Fama) represents the Winged one in the Tarot’s Judgement card and shows the Call of the Trumpet of the divine. In religion’s symbolism, the archangel, Gabriel is the Oracle who hovered high above and rings out justice but that just replaced the female archangel, for all the paintings of Gabriel are feminine, through the millenniums. The images of the people in the tarot card are appealing and ready to be judged by the powers of the divine. Gabriel’s colors are red and white which is the same as the first card of the Tarot:

The Magician and the colors of his clothing which represents the beginning of ones’ journey. Eventually all journeys lead to the ending, be it a large cycle or a small cycle, where the new cycle beginning can be elder or birth or even death. The ruler Pluto in astrology is also the ruler of the Judgement tarot card, the Goddess of birth, transformation, death and rebirth: Pluto is also ruler of the underworld which symbolizes the cycles of transformations of a humans life.

Judgement card’s main symbolism is the Souls Judgement, one is being judged karmically and also an ‘Awakening’ where you have come to a realization for your life, whatever stage of life you are at. Ones perception begins to open to bring health through personal need and desire to mature and grow and sometimes this is very painful. Something that was lying dormant within, something unconscious or emotional is finally being awakened and brought into the light (your awareness) so you can mature.

The Goddess Phema (fame) is about this great spiritual judgment, either by life thrusting it upon you and it’s realms of “inner” communication (gut feelings, anxiety, trust, fear, the stomach chakra area, or intuition and much more) coming forth. Mercury is only the outer communication with others or the world at large. In Astrology, the stage in which this plays out is the third house, so any planets there are effected by Pheme (fame) and its opposition, the ninth house of Sagittarius which is outer world.

In Roman mythology, Fama (“rumor”) was described as having multiple tongues, eyes, ears and feathers by Virgil (in Aeneid IV line 180 and following) and other authors. She is also described as living in a home with 1000 windows so she can see and hear all being said in the world. Virgil wrote that this Goddess “had her feet on the ground (grounded mysticism), and her head in the clouds, making her ordinary, yet very great and sometimes even greater (divinity itself).”

Medusa (pictured) has been unearthed among the ruins of a Roman city in southern Turkey.

Medusa, Pheme and Pegasus
Pêgasus is the famous winged horse, whose origin only began when Perseus cut off the head of the Great Medusa, protectress of the mysteries of the archaic dark goddess, with whom Poseidon had either raped or had sex with (in the animism form) of a horse and from there sprang forth from her Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus. The most ancient Pegasus was the thundering horse of Eos who place him among the stars as the heavenly horse. Pindar says he also conquered the Amazons and the Solymi, Ol. xiii. 125), and he endeavored to rise up to heaven with a winged horse, but fell down upon the earth being thrown off by Pegasus, who was rendered furious.

Whether Hesiod considered Pegasus as a winged horse, cannot be inferred with certainty from the word apoptamenose; but Pindar, Euripides, and the other later writers, expressly mentions wings. Later Pegasus was regarded as the horse of the Muses, and in this capacity he is more celebrated in modern times than he ever was in antiquity ; for with the ancients he had no connection with the Muses, except that by his hoof he called forth the inspiring well Hippocrene.

Source: Statue of Pheme (Fame) holding Pegasus. 1875 by Eugène-Louis Lequesne at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

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