Monday, September 30, 2013

Goddesses in the Dust: Elpis, the Spirit of Hope - or What Was Left in Pandora's Box

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
Hope in the Prison of Despair, Evelyn De Morgan, 1887

How recently have you wanted something really badly and hoped for it to come true?

Have you ever wondered whether what we want for ourselves is the same as what the Universe has in store for us?

I think about these things a lot. I don't know what the Universe has in store for me, but I keep working at my craft, bringing my passion to reality in my writing  - and hope that the Universe and I are on the same page.

We all hear funny things about hope. Hope is a thing with feathers. But Hope is also an important figure in Greek mythology.

The Greeks called her Elpis. 

As the spirit of hope as well as the modern Greek word for hope, Elpis is most notable in the story of Pandora and her famous box. When Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, an angry Zeus decided to exact a punishment. He tasked the smith-god Hephastus to craft a woman out of clay and give her a box filled with all the evils of the world, telling her not to open it. 
Pandora, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1869
The woman, Pandora, could not resist the temptation and opened the box, unleashing suffering of all kinds on the world. 
Pandora, J. W. Waterhouse
A terrified Pandora tried to close the box, not realizing that one tiny creature was left inside: Hope. When she opened the box again, Hope escaped. So when people experience suffering now, it is understood that Hope is always the last thing to arrive, the thing that keeps people's spirits going.

The late Poet Laureate, Howard Nemerov, used to say: I can't wait for inspiration. I get to work and hope that she catches up.

So as I wait and see what the Universe has in store for the book I have just finished, I am helping Hope along by taking Nemerov's advice and doing something in the meantime.

I am starting to write the next book. 

15 comments:

  1. a good story! I didn't know that, of course I knew about Pandora box but forgot this about Hope:)

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  2. Amazing. Would you let hope go for just a bit so she can visit me? :)

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    1. Fortunately Pandora saw to it there is plenty of hope to go around!

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  3. I remember reading about Pandora as a child. Really...what would we do without hope?

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  4. As a newbie to your blog, I am so enjoying it. Always loved reading and words.

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  5. I hope that you and the Universe are on the same page and I wish you the best of luck with both your books. As an aside, why does it always have to be a woman that unleashes suffering on the world?

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    1. I truly appreciate your words of support Loree - thank you!!!

      And yes - why is it that woman often gets to play this role? However, the ancient Greeks believed in fairly equal opportunity when it came to dividing up positive and negative roles between genders in mythology.

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  6. Dear Amanda, on to another book. Good! I HOPE same with me :-)

    I learn a lot from you. I didn't know hope was last in the box. I will think about that. My DNA is optimistic but I've become hardened in a way too. I don't yet know if that is good or not

    What happens now with that first book?

    Love love
    kj

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    1. KJ, You of all people understand the process of writing a book and all it entails. Will reply to your question in a separate email. xx

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  7. This is precisely why I think self-publishing is a viable option, now more than ever. Though I have not committed fully to the idea, I see a sage, clever, productive writer like you and I think, the traditional industry, such as it is, simply cannot keep up. Anyway, I might be running ahead of myself but that is the first thing that popped out of my fingers after reading this gorgeous post.

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    1. Thanks, Suze. I know of a couple writers who have self published. You are right, the whole industry is changing as we speak, so who knows what the landscape will look like in the coming years.
      xx

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  8. The next book! WOW! You go Amanda! x

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  9. I hadn't remembered that hope came after all the bad stuff from Pandora's box. Like you, I'm working on my next book while I wait. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Sara, Sarah and everybody for your words of support - they mean so much to me♡ I am keeping my fingers crossed and will update on developments!

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