Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Anyone with a passing familiarity with Greek myths knows the story. Girl is given a box that she is told never to open (it was an actually a jar, but it was mistranslated as a box and it stuck). Girl opens box. All the evils of the world spring out and torment mankind forevermore. But Hope flies out too, so something positive does come out of this.
But there's a detail that's usually glossed over, and it's kind of a big one: Pandora was the first mortal woman. She is essentially the Eve of the Pagan world. After Prometheus gave the secret of fire to mankind (apparently there were only mortal men at this point), the gods thought that we were having too easy of a time. They wanted to make something that was really going to make their lives difficult again. So Zeus ordered Hephaestus to make the first woman out of clay. The gods wanted her to be as alluring as possible, so they each gave her a special gift (like weaving, speech, pretty clothes, etc). This is why she has the name Pandora (pronounced "pan-DOH-rah"), meaning "all gifts."
The language used to describe Pandora in a lot of the oldest versions of the story is pretty awful. Remember, Ancient Greece wasn't very kind to it's women. So in some ways this is a pretty standard "women are evil" type story. But did the gods know that Pandora was going to open the box? I think they would be fools if they didn't. There is no indication that Pandora maliciously opened the box, she was just curious. And they're the ones that wanted mankind to suffer.
If Pandora was a goddess, she would be the goddess of curiosity and hope. Neo-Pagans really focus on the fact that Pandora brought hope into the world. We don't blame her for the evils of the world. She's called upon when we need to have faith in difficult times. This is why Pandora is used quite frequently as a magickal name. It's only the muggles who seem to have a problem with it.
Pandora has never charted in the United States. This might be taken the wrong way, but I don't think non-Pagans have any business feeling offended by the name Pandora. It's definitely not untouchable. People have gotten over Eve, why can't they get over Pandora?
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Wonderful defence of Pandora, I love the bit where you say should would be the goddess of curiosity and hope.ReplyDelete
I think Pandora is a beautiful name. I always felt a bit sorry for the one in the myth because it felt to me like she was set up to open the box.ReplyDelete
Actually Pandora originally was a "all giving" goddess but her tale got changed to an "all gifted" mortal. She was originally a Goddess of Fertility.ReplyDelete