A to Z Challenge

Q is for Qiong (Chinese Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Qiong or He-Ziangu (the more common name) is the godess of virgins, ladies and housewives in the Chinese pantheon. She is only female among the eight  Chinese immortals, humans who stumbled accidently into their immortality.  Qiong consumed a peach of immortality, which gave her the power of flight.  She first used the power to gather exotic foods, but along her journey, found the other immortals and joined the group. She serves as a patron of virgins and unmarried ladies and is associated with cooking and housecleaning.

The immortals set up their own home, separate from the regular gods, and do not rule over any areas.  Each one is supposed to be a manifestation of one of the elements of Daoist perfection. Apparently, they had a lot of fun. Nothing like immortality.


Have a great weekend and don’t forget to visit some of the other amazing writers participating in the A to Z challenge.

P is for Phoebe #AtoZChallenge

The name Phoebe shows up a lot in Greek mythology.  She is, among others:

  • One of the Titans. Mother of Leto. Grandmother to Apollo and Artemis.
  • An Amazon who fought Hercules when he came to claim Hippolyta’s girdle.
  • A sister of Helen of Troy.
  • An epithet for Artemis and for Selene (goddess of the moon).
  • One of Saturn’s outer moons (see below, most of her crater’s were given names from Greek mythology as well).


The name means bright and shining.  Phoebe is also an Amazon in my Divine Temptation Series.  She is the mother of Tai, the hero of Thirteen Nights. She gets her own love story in Life Reignited, releasing September 3, as part of Ellora’s Cave Vavaboomers series, which covers love and lust for the over 50 baby boomers.

N is Niobe of the never-ending tears #AtoZChallenge

Niobe, the Queen of Thebes, weeps to this day. In a moment of human arrogance, she bragged of her fourteen children to insult Leto, daughter of Titans, who only bore two offspring, Apollo and Artemis.  In revenge, Leto had Apollo kill Niobe’s seven sons and Artemis kill her seven daughters, a scene often captured in classic art. Here’s an example.
Johann König - The Death of Niobe's Children - WGA12263

Desolate (as if there truly was a word to convey the sorrow of a mother who lost all her children to her own vanity), Niobe fled to Mount Siplyon and turned to stone.  A stream formed from the rock, and is continuously replenished from Niobe’s never-ending tears. There is a weeping willow that bears her name-the Niobe weeping willow.

Niobe is the second historic female figure from whom water flows, the result of the loss of children.  So many myths teach of the sin of hubris–thinking we are better than the gods. But I think what they are really trying to tell us is that hubris is simply thinking we are better than others. From that simple assumption, so much tragedy ensues.

Do you agree?

L is for Lampedo (Who is she?) #AtoZchallenge

Lampedo is another Amazon Queen. I found her interesting enough to give her a post simply because she is identified in Roman historical writings. My knowledge of Amazons comes mostly from Greek mythology.

Having said that, her name means Burning Torch in Greek, which is thought to be a reference to the torchlit processions held on nights of the new moon in honor of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.

We don’t know a lot about her, but she supposedly ruled with her sister, Marpesia, and extended the reputation of the Amazons into wider Europe and Asia Minor, spreading fear and terror.   The two sisters are below. I was pleased and surprised to find this on wikimedia commons. You can scroll over for more information.
Woodcut illustration of the Amazons Lampedo and Marpesia - Penn Provenance Project


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K is for Kishar (Babylonian Pantheon) #AtoZchallenge

I am trying to mix in goddesses from lesser known pantheons. I must admit, its hard to dig up anything but basics on them. I couldn’t find any images, not even a statue or figurine. So I’ll share what little I’ve dug up in my internet archeology.

Kishar is the Babylonian Goddess of the earth and mother to Anu, the Babylonian king of gods. Her consort was also her brother, Anshu. Kishar and Anshu together were considered the twin horizons of the sky and earth and the two principles of the Babylonian pantheon.  Of particular interest, her name’s direct translation is “totality of the lower world.”

From these principles came the Annunaki, the gods of Mesopotamia, who are mentioned in the work Gilgamesh.

Have a wonderful weekend all. If you have time, why not visit some more bloggers on the A to Z Challenge.

J is for Juno (Roman Holiday today) #AtoZChallenge

J is for Juno, the goddess of marriage and queen of the gods in ancient Rome.  Saturn’s daughter, wife to Jupiter, and mother to Mars and Vulcan.

Importantly, she was patroness of Rome, guardian of the community. To fulfill that role, Juno displays aspects of a war goddess, a fertility goddess and a sovereign.  Pretty darn female if you ask me. Women as mothers are also protectors.

She’s a also pretty sexy lady.  Take a look at the paintings I found, with Jupiter.  Classic art by classic artists (scroll over each for more info). They all seem to be like this.  Reactions?

I think I need to write a story about the Roman pantheon.


James Barry 001

Carracci - Jupiter et Junon

I is for Isis, the Mother Goddess #AtoZChallenge

Isis rocks.  She’s the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, fertility, magic, nature and children. Now that’s a combination of powers that makes sense to me.  Mothers (all parents) need to learn how to pull rabbits out of hats,  juggle multiple balls in the air, be in sixteen places at once, and fight the monsters under the bed. Magic is a power of motherhood.


The name Isis means throne, indicating she underpinned the pharaoh’s power. She served the wealthy and the downtrodden alike, for a mother listens to all her children. Like many Egyptian rulers, she married her brother Osiris, bore a son Horus, who was killed by Set, god of storms, desert and chaos.  Old stories explain the flooding as her tears of grief for her lost son. Images of this mother goddess are often depict her nursing her son.

Although I’m predominantly a romance writer, I also turn my keyboard and my blog toward all women’s issues including motherhood. Late last year, I was proud to be a part of a dynamic international group of women who looked at motherhood through many lenses.  Aptly titled The Milk of Female Kindness: An Anthology of Honest Motherhood, It is a unique, complex and beautiful book that honors the mother in us all.



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H is for Hippolyta #AtoZ Challenge

Hippolyta was one of the most famous of the Amazon Queens. Most likely because Hercules of muscles (and Kevin Sorbo) fame had to gain Hippolyta’s girdle as one of his Twelve Labors, a penance for his crimes (Hera, queen of the gods, drove him to madness causing him to kill his wife and children–the old greek myths were pretty nasty at times.)  The girdle or belt was a gift from her father Ares, the god of war,  that signaled her authority as Amazon ruler.

In the DC comic and television show Wonder Woman, Hippolyta was Diane Prince’s mother. Just for fun, here’s Cloris Leachman as Hippolyta in the original Wonder Woman show.

CL as Hippolyta


Given her status in the annals of Amazon history, Hippolyta appears in my Amazon romance series. Antiope and Marta, heroines of respectively Thirteen Nights and my WIP, Hope Restored, descended directly from Hippolyta, which of course gets them into all kinds of trouble.

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G is for Gaia #AtoZChallenge

The Earth seen from Apollo 17
Gaia is one of my favorite godesses. Like Eve, she is the start of everything.

Gaia is a primordial deity, which means she mothered the earth and all its inhabitants. Its no surprise then that Gaia means earth. For all you sci fi lovers (like me), her Roman equivalent is Terra. She conceived Uranus, the god of the skies, then, with him, bore the Titans, the parents of the greek gods and goddesses we love to follow (Zeus, Juno, Apollo etc..), the giants and the sea-gods. The pantheon gods are definitely a randy bunch.

Her name, and essence, were given to the Gaia theory or principle which posits that the organic (living) and inorganic materials on the earth interact to create a single, complex interactive environment that offer the conditions that enable life on earth.

Mythology sometimes serves as the foundation for understanding our life today–both stories and science.  So much for thinking life and narrative are actually linear.

Thoughts?  Do you see life as linear or a series of circles or dimensions or what else?

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F is for the Fates (What’s yours?) #AtoZChallenge

The Fates are arguably the most powerful of all the gods and goddesses.  Its not clear where they came from but even the gods feared them. Known as the Moirai, they collective weave our futures.

The Three Fates by

Clotho spins each life with her thread. Lachesis chooses the length and contribution of each life, assigning what you will do and when you will die. Atropos cuts the thread when it is time.  In a way, they are another female articulation of the natural world, as they represent the natural order of things.  Although the big pieces are sketched out, if you believe in fate or the fates, there is still lots of room, even in the myth, for free will.

Of particular interest, in Plato’s Republic the Fates sang the past, present and future. Lachesis, the past, Clotho, the present, and Atropos, the future. Which reminds me of Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol and how often mythology underpins our stories.

Where do you stand?  How much is fated, how much do we weave for ourselves?

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