Phoenix of Elder Mountain – Each new and full moon, I receive my signs and synchronicity just like you, and those of us who take them much more seriously, guides a lot of our moon and dreaming path, in order to sharpen our focus and our intuitive nature as the years go by.
Water is a universal symbol and has its own symbolic language for the emotional body and our many souls. In the world, the emotional people now have a name, the empaths, the feelers, the seers, the sensitives, the gifted, the intuitive (not the psychics)… all because the gifts of the emotional body and soul bodies are not tangible to most people. But there has always been water women, mysterious fog, dreamers, who are atoned to body and soul, not mind-body.
Water women who range from the simple to the most complex, to the highest spiritual levels of simplicity as one when a dedication is made to them understanding their true nature. Not everyone will go pass the half way journey of the soul because the sacrifices are too demanding in loss and isolation.
The etymology of the word Syracuse seems to have derived from “Sirokos” which means the Sirocco Wind, or from “Sirakousai” which means the “Salt Water” and some scholars, however, argue that the name is in reality of Phoenician origin, signifying The “Rock of Seagulls”.
Areth means “Waterer” and usa means “Essence” and together, she bears the great title of the Nereid who is the “Essence of Water.” Like fire, water is the great purifier and the great renewal of life. Arethusa is the original water bearer of the dreaming cultures, long before any Greek every stepped foot on earth. In her mere mortal goddess life, she was the daughter of Nereus and the Goddess Doris and it seemed that power was part of the essence of the earlier nymphs.
According to Greek tradition, Crete was also a Nymph, who gave her name to the island. The name Crete could have probably some connection with the words krato, -ein, “reign,” and kratis, -o, “strong, powerful.” Crete’s father was said to be the Sun God Helios and the tales about her origin and about her relations had to demonstrate the glory of the island Crete, showing it as powerful.
The mermaid, water sprites, nymphs and goddesses of the ocean are all symbolic myths of all water women. The nymph and rusalka (mermaid) are much more complex and fall into the more adult or mother stages as water women who nurture and bring forth life.
The celestial water spirits, like Arethusa are the old Goddesses of the Oceans and can be attained as a water journey, if both their maiden and mother years were lived, experienced self destruction, healed the self through it all and then became free and forgiving to all. The journey of a water grandmother as a water being is the most difficult of earth, air and fire, for it encompasses almost all of the earth (the water) and its fluid yet destruction for purification purposes.
“The Syracusans seemed to have a special pride in their Arethusa. After all, it was her fountain and pool at the center of their city. Unlike the great pan-Hellenic gods and goddesses (Zeus, Athena, etc.) that could be claimed by all of the Greek people, Arethusa was viewed as Syracuse’s own unique Deity and most likely was the Patron Goddess before invasions.
Arethusa was also portrayed as noble, beautiful, charming, graceful and even stunning goddess and the women who were her priestess. Perhaps these attitudes motivated the Syracusan die-engravers to create numismatic art of the highest order.
The city of Syracuse is located on the east coast of Sicily and was originally a Greek colony founded by Corinth in 734 bce. The city enjoyed a period of expansion and prosperity under the tyrant Gelon in the 5th century BCE, survived a two year siege by Athenian forces from 415 to 413 bce. Again prospering under the tyrant Dionysus in the 4th century BCE when the city controlled much of Sicily and large portions of southern Italy.
Aethusa (asteroid #1064) is a daughter of Poseidon and Alcyone. Loved by Apollo and bore to him Eleuther[ and Linus. Through older of the two, Aethusa became the grandmother of Pierus, father of Oeagrus who was the father of Orpheus. Because of this genealogical fact, she was usually identified as Thracian. The word “aethusa” was used as an epithet for a portico that was open to the Sun. According to Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, Aethusa is also the eponym of the Italian island which is now called Linosa. I looked her up and she is conjunct my ascendant.
Arethusa of Siracusa (asteroid #95) She was portrayed on many coins in ancient times (a symbol of values). She represents our powerful connection to the primordial waters, helping us to move deeper into the mystery. Many things take courage to crash against the shore over and over to find the gems we need to feel at peace, to heal our self, to speak our truth from feeling, since she is a water goddess.
There are two Arethusas, one who was the Nymph of Syracuse, Sicily and the other, a Hesperide nymph who live in the beautiful garden, situated in the Arcadian Mountains (Greece) and at the western extreme of the Mediterranean, near Mt. Atlas. In this garden grows the trees with the golden apples of Immortality. The Hesperides are Aegle, Arethusa, Erytheia and Hesperia. They are also called the African Sisters.
The Hesperides were the most famous Greek Goddess-Nymphs of evening and the golden light of sunsets. They were the daughters of Nyx (Night) and were entrusted with the care of the tree of the golden apples, which was had been presented to the goddess Hera by Gaia or Mother Earth.
They were assisted by a hundred-headed guardian, a Dragon named Ladon, who would ensure that safety of the golden apples, even if they had gotten into the hands of darkness, would take vengeance if compromised, when that time came in the future.
This is because the Hesperides were also the keepers of the balance of Heaven. The nymphs and their glowing, golden apples were regarded as the source of the golden light of the humans who had reached immortality, and the symbol of that was the golden light of sunsets – a phenomena of heaven.
Because the demonic forces of the underworld also must pay for their imbalances and destruction by tearing down the earth making it hell on earth, so too does heaven tear down the great forces of evil. This happens every 25,000 year cycle at its end of time into no time or dreamtime.
Nymphs were associated with the Spirit of water or land in a more celestial light. The Roman writer Ovid called Arethusa by the name “Alpheias”, because her streams are believed to have a subterranean communication with the River Alpheius, in Peloponnesus. Arethusa was a daughter of Siracusa (Syracuse), the ancient Mediterranean cultural place, which has vast archaeological sites, on the edge of their modern city today.
Rare treasures of temples, amphitheaters and an ancient castles, on the Island of Ortygia which was a center of Greek, Byzantine and Judaic civilizations. Physical evidence of these three cultures can still be seen today and finds items that date back to 1500 bce. Prehistory Siracusa (Sicily) had lasted for a thousand years until Rome conquered it in 212 bce.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, it was destroyed and taken over again by Vandals and Goths, and the Byzantine Greeks of the Eastern Roman Empire took it in 535 ce. For a few years in the middle of the seventh century, the Emperor Constans made it his capital and then the Arabs arrived in the ninth century, converting the large cathedral into a mosque, which earlier was converted from a large Greek temple to Athena.
All of these destruction’s eclipsed Syracuse in population and affluence. Arethusa as the spirit of the sacred waters, sacred springs, lakes and rivers connects her more to the indigenous tribes of those thousand years. In her beginning story, she had to flee her home in Arcadia beneath the Sea and came up as a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily.
This makes her an actual “element” spirit or goddess, like the winds of Zepher, or the Spirit of Water and Fire, not a human nymph. Needless to say, Arcadia was important to her story and why she fled. Why do women ever flee, women know why afterwards, but not during their great flight.
The Arcadians were an ancient tribe situated in the mountainous Peloponnese (what is now southern Greece and later famous because of Hercules). It was considered one of the oldest tribes which settled the area, and were proto-Greeks, mentioned by the ancient authors as Pelasgians. It is clear that the Arcadians were considered as the original inhabitants of the region and Arcadia seems to have been a cultural refuge.
When the Greek Dark Age descended (1200 bce – 800 bce), certain gods and goddess became more in demand, and as patrons of Arcadia who are: Hermes, Psychopomp, Magic and Thievery; Pan (Dionysus), Destroyer of the circle of maiden, mother and grandmother through dark sex magic, intoxication and alcohol into rituals; and Atalanta, Daughter of the King of Arcadia. Why did Arethusa leave Arcadia? Most likely war and the destruction of the old goddess.
After her arrival to Syracuse, she who was the River and Springs Goddess, were given to the god Alpheus and she was demoted to Nereid. In Arcadia, in her clear stream and was bathing in the form of a human, not water, not knowing the river god Alpheus was watching her, he flowed down through Elis to the sea.
He fell in love with her during their encounter, but she fled after discovering his intentions. She wished to remain independent and the attendant of Artemis who was the newly founded political goddess.
After a long chase, she prayed to her goddess to ask for protection, and Artemis hid her in a cloud, adding the element of cloud goddess of rain, moisture, storms to her story. But Alpheus was persistent, and she began to perspire from fear, and soon transformed herself into her stream form. Artemis then broke the ground allowing Arethusa another attempt to flee. Her stream traveled under the sea to the island of Ortygia, but Alpheus flowed through the sea to reach her and mingled with her waters. This short story of Arethusa says so much, not only on a goddess level, but also a shamanic culture level of the soul and its ability to shape shift. Since the Greeks chose to share nothing of woman’s powers, their gifts of the actual souls ability, small pieces of very small stories say so much.
Arethusa is on the coins of Syracuse, Sicily, which were minted between 415-400 bce, during Demeter’s search for her daughter Persephone. In symbolism, coins and money mean value or values, and combining that with her soul water element, it is the value of the soul that she had stood for before Greek conquests. For the soul is eternal, but needs the moisture of nature, love, stability and peace in order to heal or retain gifts of the soul, or to return them.
In one of her stories, Arethusa entreated Demeter to discontinue her punishment of Sicily for her daughter Persephone’s disappearance. She told the goddess that while traveling in her streams, she saw her daughter looking weak and sick as the queen of Hades. Arethusa’s most popular version of the legend as daughter of Nereus and Doris who passed her time in the retinue of Artemis the Romans’ Diana, Huntress and Goddess of the woods.
Herself a huntress, Arethusa vowed never to marry and be a priestess of Artemis. But these were newer stories, as the long-lived, beautiful nymphs maidens were usually associated with natural locations, such as streams, mountains or forests. But not the stream itself. Arethusa was a river nymph and her myth originates geographically with the River Alpheius in the city state of Elis in the northwestern region of Peloponnese.
Certain parts of this river, which empties into the Ionian Sea, passes underground. The message of the story, if one can be said to exist, involves more than lust, love or desire. It seems to say something about some woman’s need to be free and escaping judgment and repression emotionally.
The Arethusan Spring on Ortygia was a sacred place to the cult of Artemis. The Greek flowers that grew there were said to come directly from Greece, and it was said that a cup tossed into the Greek river would emerge in Arethusa’s Syracusan spring, which today is a freshwater pool.
The classical names Aretha and Areta are based on the name of this eternal nymph, the ancient Sicilians’ protectresses of Syracuse. It has been suggested that the Arethusa’s underground spring feeds the mikvah of Syracuse in Ortygia’s Jewish Quarter.
For eight centuries the legend of Arethusa survived as part of the fabric of Syracusan life, just as Persephone’s cult endured at Enna in central Sicily. Their stories bear a striking similarity which may not be entirely coincidental. The cult of Arethusa remained strong throughout the Roman rule of Syracuse.
The statue of Arethusa laying at the feet of Artemis…
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
ARETHUSA arose from her couch of
snows in the Acroceraunian mountains;
From cloud and from crag with many
a jag, Shepherding her bright fountains.
She leapt down the rocks with her rainbow
locks streaming among the streams;
Her steps paved with green
the downward ravine which slopes
to the western gleams; and gliding
and springing, she went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep.
The earth seemed to love her, and heaven
smiled above her, As she lingered towards
the deep. Then Alpheus bold, on his glacier cold
with his trident the mountains strook;
And opened a chasm In the rocks; with
the spasm, as all Erymanthus shook.
and the black south-wind.
It concealed behind the urns of the silent snow
and earthquake and thunder did rend in sunder
the bars of the springs below; The beard and
the hair of the river-god were seen through
the torrent’s sweep, As he followed the light
of the fleet nymph’s flight, to the brink of
the Dorian deep.
“O, save me! O, guide me, and bid the deep hide me,
for he grasps me now by the hair!” The loud Ocean
heard, to its blue depth stirred, and divided
at her prayer; and under the water, the Earth’s
white daughter fled like a sunny beam.
Behind her descended her billows, unblended
with the brackish Dorian stream; like a gloomy
stain on the emerald main, Alpheus rushed behind
as an eagle pursuing a dove to its ruin.
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.
Under the bowers where the ocean
powers sit on their pearled thrones.
Through the coral woods of the
weltering floods, Over heaps of
unvalued stones; through the dim beams
which amid the streams weave a network
of colored light; And under the caves,
where the shadowy waves are as green
as the forest’s night.
Outspeeding the shark, and the sword-fish dark,
under the ocean foam, and up through the
rifts of the mountain cliffs, they passed to
their Dorian home. And now from their
fountains in Enna’s mountains, down one vale
where the morning basks, like friends once parted,
grown single-hearted, they ply their watery tasks.
At sunrise they leap from their cradles steep
in the cave of the shelving hill; at noontide they
flow through the woods below and the meadows
of asphodel; And at night they sleep in the rocking
deep beneath the Ortygian shore; Like spirits that
lie In the azure sky, when they love but live no more.
Goddess Nymphs (spirits of the earth, air, water and fire)
The coinage of Syracuse began around 515 BC and, unlike the coinage of other city-states, tetradrachms were among the first coins minted. The availability of silver to the Syracusan coiners was the most likely reason for the prompt development of this large denomination.
The silver coinage of Syracuse is interesting in terms of both its artistry and diversity. Arethusa was the water nymph associated with Syracuse. She was pursued by the river god Alpheos from Peloponnese to the small island of Ortegia, which is a part of Syracuse. When she re-emerged in the freshwater spring at Syracuse, she became the patron of this city-state which was dependent upon the water that surrounded it.
Over the next several decades, her head was enlarged to take up most of the coin while the four corners of the squares metamorphosed into four dolphins, re-affirming Arethusa’s status as a water-nymph. By the fifth century, the artists of Syracuse were experimenting with a multitude of different styles and images for the water nymph. Through varied hairstyles and different types of ornamentation, the artists achieved the greatest elaboration when they signed their work.
A usage of simple design and low relief mark the first issues of the fifth century. Arethusa has an archaic eye, a fleshy nose, parted and slightly upturned lips, as well as simply-punched hair that invites comparison to the immensely popular Athenian trade coins of the same time. Several years later, the artists developed a more naturalistic Arethusa with more realistic hair formed by lines rather than punched dots, a beaded diadem or laurel wreath instead of the modest linear diadem, and eye features that fill the voids prevalent in the earlier issues.
Sources: Steven Roach was a PCGS intern in 1999. About the Author: Palermo native Vincenzo Salerno has written biographies of several famous Sicilians, including Archimedes, Frederick II and Giuseppe di Lampedusa; Tetradrachm of Syracuse Arethusa, 400 BC-classical-period coins; www.bestofsicily.com; Sarah Young’s Illustration of Arethusa. Hesperides and the golden apple tree, Athenian red-figure hydria 500 bce.
STORY OF DIONYSUS the Pagan the Torturer who took over Syracuse