The familial lineage of Apollon can tell us much about Him, and about His sphere of influence. Today, we will take a look at Apollon’s Grandparents, Phoebe and Koios, Their domains and the legacy They have left to Apollon, and to Their other Grandchildren.
Koios is the Titan of the Axis of the Heavens, who is traditionally and commonly today seen as governing over the point of the North, in which He personified the pillar of the North, which, along with His Brothers, the Titans Krios (South), Iapetos (East), and Hyperion (West), held up the body of the Heavens (Ouranos).
It is surmised that, as Koios presided over the Axis of the Heavens, the point at which the constellations of the Heavens revolved, He may also have been a God who presided over Heavenly oracles. This could provide further meaning to His name, meaning “the inquiring”, in that an inquiring mind seeks to understand the movement of the body of the Heavens, through such noble pursuits as study and observation (Astronomy/Astrology), as well as seeking the word of the Divine through an oracular vehicle when the information sought is of a more spiritual bent. Also, as His domain is of the North, it is feasible to speculate that the seat of His domain may have been the legendary Hyperborea, the land of eternal summer, which lies further North than the gates of Boreas, or, beyond the North Wind.
Phoebe, on the other hand, was the Titaness who governed and ruled over the Axis of the Earth, Delphi, also called the Navel of the World. She received Delphi from Themis, who in turn received the prophetic seat from Gaea, Earth Herself, the oracular tradition at Delphi already having been long established by the time of Phoebe’s ascent. Phoebe’s name means “radiant prophesy, or purity”, and may give a clue as to Her function at the oracle.
For one to dispense the infallible word of the Theoi, one must be pure and ready to receive the radiance of the Theoi into oneself. Phoebe may have acted as a kind of Divine bridge from which the sybils learned how to properly treat themselves before and during the oracular possession. Before Her, Themis ruled the oracle, and Hers is the domain of Divine Law, Justice and Morality. She would likely have been concerned more with the absorbtion of decrees handed down to the people (through the sybils) by the Gods, rather than the giving of specific and personal advice. Once Phoebe had been established as the head of the oracular seat, by Her very nature the focus of the oracle would have changed to suit a more open and receptive dynamic between Goddess and sybil.
Furthermore, we can see that the joining of Koios and Phoebe would produce a specific set of traits, handed down in fact to Their Daughters, Leto and Asteria, which would have seamlessly married the domain of the Heavens with that of not only Earth, but with the bright radiance of illumination in all forms.
Leto, whose name may mean “the unseen”, is the Mother of Apollon and Artemis by Zeus. She is the Goddess of the light between night and day, of the twilight, and as such is often veiled, obscuring the truth of her full potency from those who may not yet be ready to look upon such things. With Her Sister, Asteria, Mother of Hekate by Perses, She arrived in the lands held by the Olympians, having come from the North. Specifically, Hyperborea, which later Apollon would come to rule for half the year. Asteria, whose name means “falling stars”, may have been seen as a Goddess of the signs and portends of the night sky (Astrology), as well as of the Divine inspirations of Oneiromancy.
Leto passes down Her radiance to Apollon and Artemis both, who in later times were said to be representative of the Sun and Moon. Although, it should be noted that the idea that They have somehow usurped the domains of Helios and Selene are entirely false. Apollon and Artemis are torch-bearing Gods who deal in the illumination of truth– both the truth of the mind and logic (Apollon), and the truth of one’s nature and the natural world (Artemis). Naturally, light becomes a metaphor for these truths, thus the Twins are seen to govern the properties of light. This perceived governance in no way detracts from the domains of Helios or Selene, who are the physical bodies of the Sun and Moon, respectively.
Apollon becomes the light which purifies and casts away all evil– and of course, that which burns if we look upon it for too long a time; and Artemis becomes the subtle light that aids in the darkness, the light by which the farmers may still gather their crop after nightfall. These are all the Divine radiance of Phoebe, inherited by the Twins through Their Mother, Leto.
Asteria, who walks often in the company of Nyx, is however, typically seen to represent the shadow, the dark which obscures the truth before illumination, or the dreamscape which reveals hidden messages. As dreams, and thus sleep, are often thought of in tandem with death, the final sleep, Asteria passes down these Mysteries to Her Daughter, Hekate.
Hekate, whose name means “worker from afar”, is another torch-bearing God, this time illuminating the way of the Dead into the Underworld. Along with Her deep associations with necromancy and other forms of magic, this may help to explain the truth of Her name. The restless dead which Hekate escorts are of a nature long considered miasmic. Hekate purifies the living by removing the dead from in and around living spaces. Wandering spirits, and spirits who cling to their loved ones in their dwelling places, are gathered up into Her retinue, where they either remain with Her, or are taken into Hades to complete their journey. She gathers the souls of living folk, as well, if they are unfortunate enough to cross Her path, especially during the Dark Moon.
Perhaps this is why She is the worker from afar. Her domain takes Her, and thus those dedicated to Her, into realms far removed from the works of the everyday man or woman. She lives within the company of the Dead, and so one may communicate with the Dead, through Her. The oracular power of Hekate comes from the Khthonic realm, deep within Earth (Gaea), the first source of the oracular gift.
However, we must not forget that Hekate holds equal dominion over Earth, Sky and Sea, a vast domain inherited from Her Titan Parents, much as Apollon and Artemis both hold sway over vast arrays of the natural and civilized worlds. Indeed, the Twins and Their Cousin hold Their torches high to illuminate all spaces of the fathomable world. Their power runs deep, poured out from the Heavens, and welled up from the Earth. They are the nexus at which the Ouranic and Khthonic converge. They are the legacy of Koios and Phoebe.
Sources: Various Theoi.com pages used for reference, but mostly my own insights.
Ninth day of Treasury Month Perihelios – Feast of Leto (Jan. 7, 2017)
These Adorations of Leto are inspired by common knowledge of the Goddess, and by personal doxa. There are 27 lines, equaling 9, the number of days and nights Leto labored to birth our Prince, Apollon.
Leto, I adore You, who fled from Your Homeland
Leto, I adore You, who ensures the wellbeing of Your Sister
Leto, I adore You, who are followed by a mighty warband
Leto, I adore You, who approached the Queen for Zeus’ hand
Leto, I adore You, who is always unafraid
Leto, I adore You, who brought the gift of Your regal bearing into the realm of Olympos
Leto, I adore You, who knew Your own worth
Leto, I adore You, who snared the King in a single glance
Leto, I adore You, who secured a place for Yourself and for Your Sister
Leto, I adore You, who rides upon the wild winds
Leto, I adore You, who drives that pack of fierce-fanged wolves
Leto, I adore You, who is veiled only before midnight
Leto, I adore You, who is fair-skinned and golden-tressed
Leto, I adore You, whose voice is the howl before the hunt
Leto, I adore You, who swelled with the Holy Twins within Your womb
Leto, I adore You, who traversed many lands searching for a place of birth
Leto, I adore You, who was at last cared for by the Sister You so well protected
Leto, I adore You, who brought forth the life of Artemis without pain
Leto, I adore You, who laid beneath the palm for nine days and nine nights to deliver our Lord Apollon
Leto, I adore You, who returned to Olympos in sweet triumph
Leto, I adore You, who is demure and unflinching in the face of opposition
Leto, I adore You, who is more than what we see in the bright light of day
Leto, I adore You, whose pride is well-respected and rightly earned
Leto, I adore You, whose ire wrought destruction upon Niobe
Leto, I adore You, whose strength is unfathomable
Leto, I adore You, who brushes aside false pride and ignorance
Leto, I adore You, who is the Mother of the dance between Darkness and Light
The winds, and the wolves howl, O Lord, as You ride forth in the retinue of Your Mother, She in Her chariot, with hair uncovered and trailing behind like a cloak of fine-spun gold to lead the way!
Over the wide Earth, You traverse with Your Mother and Twin, touring all the lands of Your people, and calling the spirits forth to follow in Your train!
So it is each year as Autumn preludes the Winter, as the nights lengthen, and as the leaves begin to turn; that vastness of color, like the sunset in a palate of orange and red!
Lykeios, ride the winds, and we shall shiver at Your passage, while the wild things announce the turning of days in the long months ahead!
O Dread Lord, bare Your teeth, and hear the screeching sounds we make in honor of You; our stomping forewarns the unprepared of Your coming, and of Your going, in the bleakest night!
— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 4]
“Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple –; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich.”
Leto ~ The Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo
Many of us spend much of our time challenging our own self worth. We put ourselves down, thinking that our current skills in any particular thing are below some level that has been lauded by society or community. We look at the things we accomplish and compare them to the accomplishments of others. We take our shortcomings into ourselves in such a way that they begin to harm us, rather than provide a starting-place for improvement. I too am guilty of this. Although I am able to keep it together most of the time, some days just do not seem like I am getting much of anything substantial done, in regards to the facilitation of my Lord’s worship.
This is because, like Delos Island, I am not rich in the things which are commonly desired by society, nor am I exceptionally skilled in any areas of societal worth. However, also like Delos Island, I have agreed joyously to host the temple of Apollon. But, as I am not myself an island or a plot of land, I must keep my Lord’s temple safely within my heart.
And this is the secret of Apollon’s attention and love; those who keep Him always within the core of their being will never be abandoned, for He takes care of His own. When you shine outwardly the light of Apollon from within, you will naturally attract that which is needed for your day to day care. Trust in Him is the key. He is the Provider, and you are the one He provides for, out of love, and the duty to protect.
Like Delos Island, we need not be beautiful in a traditional sense, for our Lord sees the beauty of our souls, and the unique ways in which we all express our inner selves. His love is not always predicated upon what we can do for Him, but sometimes is given simply because He wishes to see us prosper, in His name. Because we all have jobs to do for Him, whether those jobs are related to spiritual facilitation, or are of a more domestic association, our first priority will be to keep our own hearts happy, and filled with the love He has shown us. All else comes later, and in many ways, is superfluous.
When we are truly joyous in our worship of Him, we no longer worry about how we are seen by those standing on the outside of our relationships. We no longer waste our time with comparisons or jealousies. With trust in Apollon comes freedom from the pettiness which so frequently inhabits our minds, and the world around us.
Within the Hymn itself, we see these thoughts, and others, echoed by Delos Island, as She speaks:
“Leto, most glorious daughter of great Coeus, joyfully would I receive your child the far-shooting lord; for it is all too true that I am ill-spoken of among men, whereas thus I should become very greatly honoured. But this saying I fear, and I will not hide it from you, Leto. They say that Apollo will be one that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men all over the fruitful earth. Therefore, I greatly fear in heart and spirit that as soon as he sets the light of the sun, he will scorn this island — for truly I have but a hard, rocky soil…”
It is true that our Lord Apollon is very haughty. It is true that He often lords Himself over us mightily. Yet, those traits that He possesses are the same traits which inspire Him to defend those who are His, without question, and without fail. The insecurities of Delos Island are highlighted here, as well. She fears that He will scorn and abandon Her once He has seen what the world has to offer Him, in comparison to what She Herself can give.
But, the Island has nothing to fear, even without Leto’s pledge that Her Son would hold Delos as the heart of His future cult sites. She need fear nothing because Apollon always accepts the sincere gift of oneself generously. If you would only love Him, He will return your love a thousand fold.
Delos was the first to honor Him thus, with a place to call home, a place to rest and to administer to His people. Delos was the first to open Her heart to Him completely, and the first to be held up in honor, as an example of the devotion that we too must display. Delos Island is truly a marvel of selflessness, trust and compassion for all Apollonians to emulate.
By the example of Delos, we see that we are enough, that our contributions to Apollon’s honor are enough, that our skills, though always improvable, are enough at the current time, in their current state. Improvements should be made not because we believe that we are presently unworthy, but because we strive to be better. Knowing that one may always improve upon their life and situation does not mean that one should first consider themselves lowly, because the truth is that we are enough. Indeed, you are enough.
I see Her there, seated upon the exposed root of a great and aged tree, its leaves turning the colors of blood and fire. She is in Her element, upon Her throne, a visage of civilization still apparent, yet noticeably porous; the act during the feast.
Her host, Her court, all make wide circles within their crowded space, trying to come ever closer to Her, but She is the distance between the stars, and none can traverse the few steps separating them from Her.
In that area, Her Son stands vigil, staring the crowd into submission. He will not allow any to draw near, and delights in the power to instill fear within those who love Her.
She laughs, having been brought to joy by the appearance of Her Daughter, wild and freely dancing with the forest nymphs. They circle Her, and the great tree with hands clasped together.
And Her Son turns to look upon them all, to smile in that sincere way that would cause a mortal heart to stop. And His Sister dares Him with Her haughty eyes.
With one graceful wave of Her delicate arm, the Mother, the Enthroned One, compels the crowd to stillness, while simultaneously inviting Her Son to rule the dance.
And when He takes up His lyre, the forest falls into silence. When He plucks the strings, all the nymphs and spirits swoon. When His voice carries over the tree canopy, all those gathered are entranced.
And She, upon Her throne, is pleased; served sweet water by the creatures of the forest, while nymphs adorn Her golden hair with night-blooming flowers, each as white as the snows which soon will fall.
This is the court of the Dark Mother, this is the feast of the wild things which dwell in the night. This is the host which follows Her over the threshold between Seasons. And this is the stark beauty of life.
Hail to You, Leto, Glorious Mother, and Mistress of Winter’s long nights.
— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 4]