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Greek Gods and Goddess: Autolycus

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Introduction to Autolycus

The ancient Greek Gods and Goddess contain a wealth of stories and legends, wrapped in Myths which typically provide a story with a morale code designed to influence the reader into behaviour as fitting Greek culture of the era.

In this article, we look at Autolycus and the myths and legends surrounding Autolycus, Autolycus relationship to and with other Greek Gods and Goddess and key events and stories which relate to ancient astrology and the changing seasons.

About Autolycus

He was the result of a rape committed by Hermes, Hermes along with Apollo had been down to visit the nymphs or Muses on Mount Parnassus, when as they flew home they spotted Chione [snow queen] the daughter of Daedalion below them, she was so pure and beautiful, the pair were overtaken by the passions of lust, but Hermes had little finess or patience and immediately used his powers of magic to send her into a deep sleep, then he raped her like a ravenous wolf, and Autolycus was the result, and he naturally bore all the bad, wolfish points of his father. He is reported to have married several women, including Mestra, daughter of Erysichthon [the Serpent] or Amphithea, or Neaera. So, who did he marry. Mestra was the daughter of the serpent Erysichthon, she had the ability to change her form at will, an ability apparently granted her by her first lover Poseidon. But her story begins with the actions of her father. Erysichthon is not unlike the serpent who went into the garden of Eden, he ordered that all the sacred trees in the grove of Demeter, who was a Mother earth goddess to be cut down, but one great oak tree in the middle of the grove (the tree of life) was covered in votive wreaths, a symbol of all the prayers made by mankind to her that she had granted, so the woodcutters refused point blank to cut it down. Enraged by this (and this is no different to the serpent talking to Eve, saying, surely eating the fruit of the tree will not kill you) he grabs an axe and cuts it down himself, killing a Driad, Dryad (Druid) tree nymph in the process, and she called out for her sacred mother Demeter to curse him as she died. Demeter called upon Limos, the god of unrelenting and insatiable hunger, to place herself in his stomach. (and this is no different from the curse placed on Adam, "cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it, all the days of your life. And also, the curse on mankind in general, you eat but are never atisfied,) and Limos appeared before Erysichthon as he slept and wrapped her arms around him and breathed into his mouth, and filled him with her wasted spirit. And when the king woke he was filled with hunger, the more Erysichthon ate, the hungier he got, eventually he had sold everything he owned, but his hunger did no relent. In the end he sold his daughter into slavery, but even that money was soon gone. In the meantime, Poseidon freed his former lover by giving her the ability to take on anyform she desired and she escaped and returned home, only for her father to sell her again, and this saga carried on for sometime, but in the end, her father ate himself, hence we have the symbol of the two snakes, each devouring the other, which represented the two-season year, the Autumn and winter devour the Spring and Summer, the Spring and summer devour the winter.

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