copper woman
copperwoman
 
     
i cannot even-stephanie pope
copper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scrollcopper scroll
i cannot even think her
but now and then
i drink her
in the amethyst

something about
the way she tilts her chin
and the long neck stretched
patiently thinned, wetting the dry

an unknown destiny fills her

while in some dreaming it seems she
fills without filling the raised crest
these eyes that taste
yet tongue in little sips the solitariness barely dressed

or how one copper breast that cups such
emptiness, still stains
in wine-dark light these concrete travelers
passing by

in a jet stream

when coppers green this methyein hill
& Dionysos dies again, too quickly spent
the mummy-fiction ficts anew the dry death
marking me in hushed foment

she will always have her sky here
and one slippery eye
as do
too few in the amethyst

and she will always lie here, too

for no one knows that truth
now that her abdomen has vexed
unrested like the rest of her
because such a-part will have always been

meat left behind in a sack of skin
long ago turned over
into use -it is no use
turning that over now

i can not even

try; just take my bones with you when you go
out into the world of Old Mother, Copper
& where I represent this let her make me more than I’ve
ever been to you in the white shell west of being here

for the body of that being (without being here)
eases the pain of it
when woundedness wets me again
& copper wind marks my flesh with fictive facts

sparking an action there, to act
 
First Woman
adapted creation story, Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, Vancouver Island

In the beginning there were four levels of reality: earth, undertheearth, ocean, and underthesea. That which is neither male nor female, man nor woman, but more than both and favoring neither populates all four realities. This uncreated in being-so begins making and takes from all four levels of creation in making. Being-So makes, becoming a creator of being. From shell and rock and sea fluids Being-So makes bone and blood. Creating further, The Uncreated soils body. This body of being skins green and orders in odors of copper a starry robe... form is given sense and senses. 

In this way uncreated being will trap aliveness in the very winds containing it; but also, in this way, containing aliveness within the realities of its deepest being here. So being, the uncreated in being-so announces the presence of  First Woman. First Woman is not alone in the four realities  nor the worlds of their being here. She has her own being here and her friendship in this new creation with the realities of the uncreated in being-so.


Amethyst
retold from the Greek myth of the origin of amethyst

Amethyst's origin resides with the god Dionysos (Roman, Bacchus), the god of wine, celebration, intoxication, joviality and indestructible life, and the goddess Diana (alchemy, La Luna).

Dionysos darkens when insulted by a mortal who refuses him honor. Enraged with anger Dionysos vows to unleash his fury upon mortals who do not partake in his gift of wine and drunkenness. He spies the young girl, Amethyst who does not yet know about wine and drunkenness. Amethystus means not drunken or intoxicated (methystos, from methyein means intoxicated, methy = wine.)

The unsuspecting Amethyst, on her way to pay hommage to Diana, is detained by the wrath of Dionysos who summons two fierce and voracious tigers to devour the poor maiden while he settles back with his wine to watch. Amethyst cries out to Diana. When Diana sees what is about to transpire she instantly acts, transforming the mortal girl into a pure and radiant white stone to protect her from the devastating Dionysian ripping apart about to take place. Suddenly moved with pity, Dionysos realizes the ruthlessness of his actions and begins to weep with sorrow. His tears drip into his wine goblet mixing with the wine. The god collapses under the weight of knowing such sorrow and the tear-tainted wine drenches the white stone coloring it, forever amethyst.


Hephaestus
vulcan
sources:  http://www.granta.demon.co.uk/arsm/jg/crafters.html
Pierre Grimal, Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Mass: Blackwell, 1998

The Greek god whose elemental image is fire is the master of a certain kind of fire. In the Iliad, Hephaestus first appears as a cupbearer for the gods (Il 1.596ff.), then as a master of metals and talismans [metal & magic=alchemy] (Il 2.101; 18.369ff., 410ff.) and finally as a master of fire, the element with which he is most identified (Il 21.330ff.).  Jeremiah Genest notes Hephaestus is master of the technical fire, the fire that is used to accomplish the tasks of artisans, not the heart fire, which is the domain of Hestia, nor the celestial fire, the lightning of Zeus.

The role of the artist/poet in culture today is guided by the
 hammered fire of  Hephaestus. (The poem link is to the poem by Dennis Patrick Slattery. The poem is published in the book, Just Below The Waterline.

Essentially this technical fire is that fire working through logical realities ars poetica; working a space beneath or beyond the reality surfaces we see 'as if' like the first intelligent experiences  human psyche expresses upon encountering the phenomena logics of metallurgy & magic. The Iliad describes this Hephastean work-space when Thetis steps there, a starry vault, made in bronze and forged by the bandy-legged one himself (Il 18.369-71).   From Genest we also learn

             ...the early Greeks considered the sky to be made of metal: the poets say that the sky is made of bronze (chalkeos or poluchalkeos) or of iron (sidereos). That is why, in an Orphic context, Proclus can write: "Let us add to our traditions the convictions that we have received from the very first from the (Orphic) theologians concerning Hephaestus. . . . They say that he is a smith, because he is a worker and also because, since the sky is made of bronze in its function as a symbol of the intelligible, he who made the sky is a smith" (Proclus, In Platonis Timaeum [23d-e], 1.142.18ff. Diehl). The comparison is reinforced by that fact that on certain illustrated documents Hephaestus's hair is arranged in a pilos, an egg-shaped cap, of dark blue, which Eusebius of Caesarea compares to the celestial vault (Praeparatio Evangelica 3.2.23).

Indeed, Hephaestus is the crafter god of Greek culture and by way of soul- logical inheritances, belongs to that domain  in our own cultural expression today. He fires the making of the people's story and transposes those logical positivisms belonging to the literal fires that burn the earth, this being reserved mainly for Prometheus, probably because (as Genest indicates) Prometheus is a Titan, a name deriving from the term titanos, the quicklime formed from an earthy element and from fire (Aristotle, Meteorologica 4.11.389a28). 

The mythology of Hephaestus belongs to a shaping-field always busy re-shaping and dissolving a dead past in ways that continue to renew us and bind us together in living heritage. Furthermore, such suckling so signified makes way today its first appearances in the new discipline of cultural mythology and new presences take up thoughtful residence here in the form of the cultural mythologist. For more regarding cultural mythology see the essay Poetic Mind: A Lense Into The Imaginal by Maggie Macary.


Copper copper           image of liquid copper at desert.net gallery of images
The Latin word for copper is 'cuprum', which is derived directly from Cyprus' mines, but the only word the Greeks used was 'chalkos', which originally meant copper (especially when specified as red chalkos), yet also signifies bronze. It may be the general use of bronze as a superior material rendered the original word "copper" obsolete, but it may also be that the bronze casting guild kept their formulae for the processing of bronze from copper secret, and the public only knew the finished product as 'chalkos", whether soft like copper or hard like true bronze. Both hard and soft copper are austenitic, that is they harden under working, bending or hammering, marking part of our difference with cultures of yore since our use of copper preferences the soft or annealed state as in electrical wire and tubing. The ancients would have been mainly interested in work-hardened copper and especially in bronze for tools and weapons.

Copper Scroll  for more about 3Q15 & Dead Sea Scrolls click here
scrollCopper, especially in its alloy bronze, as noted above, along with iron, is a metal useful for making tools and weapons, while gold and silver are the "decorative " metals. All these metals have high value in themselves for early culture,
SCROLL  3Q15 whether for use or show and they raise questions regarding the value-levels of civilized societies mightily, not only since their purchasing power is high in comparison with other kinds of things necessary to a community's survival (things like pottery-making, for instance) but because we washed our weapons in seas of blood and sweat to achieve absolute authority over their powers. As above, in daily life, so below in our soul-makings.

The Dead Sea Copper Scroll 3Q15 above was found in 1952 in Wadi Qumran. It's contents are neither doctrinal nor inspirational in nature as were other scrolls written on papyrus and leather and found between 1952 and 1956 within this vicinity. The copper casing suggests greater care was taken to preserve this particular scroll indicating its contents may have been of greater significance than the others. 3Q15 contains a list of treasures and where they are buried and, when found, this scroll was in two parts. The scroll, once translated, suggests there is another like it and that one must possess both to find these highly regarded treasured things. Truly, this fragment of content continues to story another more mysterious one - an  imaginal story...of a treasuring that is buried and hard to attain.

CopperWoman
copper womanthe photo, taken of the McDowell Mts. foothills marks the pass between Scotsdale, Arizona and Fountain Hills, Arizona. It has been washed in copper and amethyst colors and the colors were merged to achieve the cloudy stain. The artist also notes that the sun sets down the center of the highway running along side this foothill at spring equinox. For another turning regarding myths of color and light see To All My Relations. For  an insight into color symbolism in Egyptian mythology click
here. For a turning of the use of the color blue in art see Caeruleum.

source University of Southern Maine Yolanda Theunissen Curator, Osher Map Library and Smith Center of Cartographic Education  the following narrative quotes excerpts from the writings of Donald Johnson on-line at
http://usm.maine.edu/maps/exhibit8/nrcredits.html

  
Poseidon's Realm
winds
Winds, and the place from which they blew, were the earliest means of dividing the horizon into named parts in order to express direction. The ancients used various forms of wind systems: Homer described four winds, consisting of the four cardinal points we now call north, south, east, and west; Pliny and Posidonius recognized eight winds, whereas Aristotle enumerated twelve.

Mediterranean mariners named winds after the lands from which they originated, such as Greco (from Greece) to designate the northeast, or Africus for southwest. Other directions were named after the gods who reigned in that region. Astronomical positions, as well, were used to indicate wind direction. Septentrio designated north, since that wind blew from the direction of the seven stars in the constellation of Ursa Major--the north pointing big dipper. Sunset and sunrise at the summer and winter solstices filled in the intermediate points between the four cardinal directions, corresponding roughly to northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. Some wind names had no set bearing, but were identified and personified according to the weather they brought with them.

Return to mythopoetry home