(From Constellating Psyche: The Sun Class)
In a time when babies were fed ambrosia instead of mother’s milk and giant pythons roamed the lands, a pair of godly twins were born. The doe-eyed Artemis entered the world first, with tidal grace. Her brother, on the other hand, was having trouble. Being there was no midwife to assist thanks to the curses put on poor Leto by the vengeance of Hera, little Artemis had to play the role. Once her brother was born he was immediately given ambrosia due to his mom’s inability to offer him milk. He then became a man-a god in fact-and set off on his first mission: To kill the python who made his mother’s pregnancy such a nightmare.
And so, Apollo set off with a silver bow in one hand, his golden sword in the other towards the center of the Earth, to a place called Delphi to slay the python. When he arrived at its cave, just after the entire island had turned to gold due to his presence, he shot the python between the eyes before it could strike. He then buried the world serpent beneath Mount Parnassus which then became the most famous Oracle in all of Greece. It was named the Oracle of Delphi.
Along the road of his victorious return, whistling Sun songs while he walked through his golden world, he came across the son of Aphrodite having some archery practice. Eros was shooting his little arrows into his easy targets and Apollo, in his youthful arrogance began making fun of his form and his equipment. A terrible mistake. Knowing he’d probably lose in a contest or a fistfight to settle the rage which arose in him, Eros decided to procure two special arrows: one to make Apollo fall madly in love with a nymph called Daphne, the other for her to be repulsed by him. And so it went, an exhausting pursuit which seemed like it would never end, like a drunk quarterback following around the prettiest girl at the party all night long, until she prayed to her father Peneus to be released from this exhausting nightmare. Her prayer was heard and in that final moment when Apollo was to get his lusty hands all over her, she was transformed into a tree. Not just any tree though, a laurel tree. Apollo then made a wreath of laurel leaves and made it the official tree of his Oracle at Delphi.
Years later, while he was off chasing another young lady, one who would eventually be the mother of his son Asclepius, his baby brother was born in a cave to Maia, a favorite of their father Zeus. When baby Hermes came into this world, the first thing his hawk eyes landed on was his brother’s cattle. So while Maia was sleeping he climbed down to the valley below to get himself some cattle. On the way, he came across a tortoise and decided to make the world’s first lyre from it. Plucking and singing his merry tunes he was off to steal his brother’s cows. When he did, it wasn’t long before Apollo became aware, found his little brother, and took him to Mount Olympus to be held on trial for his crime in front of their father and the rest of the Gods. Baby Hermes spun such a dazzling tale of what had actually happened, filled it with punchlines and ridiculous hyperbole, and had them all falling over with laughter by the end of his plea. He was let off with a warning. On the long and awkward walk home from Dad’s house, Apollo and Hermes sat to rest near a river and Hermes began to play his lyre. The sounds that filled the air that day were ineffable and were definitely enough to bring a tear to his brother’s eye. Moved by the emotion felt in his older brother, Hermes decided to gift him the instrument. Apollo never left home without it.
There are said to be at least ten thousand other tales of Apollo, but we can save those for a rainier day. His radiance and follies around pride are always welcome when the Sun chooses not to shine. His prophecy always offers us clear insights. His lessons in love, invaluable. His music conjures the essence of true healing.
Praise Apollo! Praise the light! Praise all the shadows cast by the Sun!
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