Goddesses in the Dust: Eileithyia, The Goddess of Labor
Unearthing the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
Eileithyia: It's how you cry for help.
So it wasn't much of a surprise when I found out it also was the name of a Goddess. These Greeks, they have a goddess for everything - and Eileithyia is the goddess of labor and delivery.
Eileithyia's Roman counterpart was Lucina, or light bringer, and the Italian verb for to give birth is dare alla luce - to give to the light. In ancient Greece, the goddess Eileithyia had a cult center located at Amnisos in Crete; a cave where archaeologists have found figurines of women, animals and other objects representing gifts from women petitioning the goddess for a child.
All meanings of the word labor involve intense, difficult and often - painful - work; and - particularly in the case of childbirth - it is easy to understand how the word eileithyia became a cry for help. Today we honor all those who work, putting their efforts into a worthy goal, and remember the words of Martin Luther King:
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance
and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence
Without labor nothing prospers