Warning; this does feature some mentions of rape.
Say what you like about gods roaming the land disguised as various things, just looking for an attractive hole in which to force a penis of truly epic proportions. But you can’t deny that rape is just as much a human pastime as a divine one.
Well, it’s true! When you capture an enemy’s women and young boys, you divide them up as spoils and then you rape them. If you stay in a house and like the look of the pretty wiggly serving girls or tender young slave boys, you rape them. If you defeat a king and carry off his queen, you rape her. The shepherds of your flocks, when there’s no one else around to do, may seize a ewe’s back legs, thrust them into his boots and his organ into her hole, while the beast no doubts bleats and bleeds something awful.
In fact even the most elaborate ceremonies based around your matings are play rapes half the time these days, the girl carried off by the groom and guards set outside the door to make sure she doesn’t escape. Even when it’s all arranged beforehand and the one underneath is willing, to a degree, then it’s rape.
Which brings me to my ever so famous rape.
Which was not a rape because there was no disguise, capture or force but only a true mating, a mating truer and deeper and more splendid than any royal marriage with the exchange of riches and the fancy robes peeled off, a marriage of earth and life and death.
There was a chase, though, and quite a lot of sex and screaming, but all of it was very enjoyable.
Oh, I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of that version, my dear, it’s not the sort of thing the priests of my mate like to bandy about. After all, he’s one of the few in the family that’s managed to keep his dignity intact; they’re not about to go and ruin all that by blabbing about how the first time he met his queen, we rutted for days on end and slept curled about each other so tight we might have melted together and never been separated. Like that lad of Hermes and Aphrodite, only with perfect willingness. The sex was that good.
Your tongue doesn’t have a word for the shape I wore back then. I don’t mean an estimation of how my beauty and power could be measured, I mean my actual shape. Let’s say that it was a mix between a deer and a lion, the legs that bound, the claws that rip, hair like milk stirred through honey. One thing your stories get right, I was preoccupied with flowers when he first saw me. I was eating them. Delicious.
And he; big strong male, muscles rippling under darkest wood brown fur, powerful back legs, good for running and pouncing. And such a smell of earth and richness! He caught my scent first and when I looked up there he was, with nostrils flared and breast heaving with lust.
And yes, I ran, but ran to see if he could catch me. And when at last I slowed enough that he could, oh, you think your kind were the first to know pleasure in the act? Or mate looking into each others eyes? (Being able to transform your body at a whim to suit you does help.)
Rape is such a human word. You say I was raped; how can the earth rape the spring, how can the land rape life and death? But the two can mate and become one. That we can and still do.
And where oh where, you might ask, was poor distraught Demeter during those days and nights that we mated and roared and shrieked? Searching distracted for her daughter? To put it simply, she wasn’t there at all. You’ve been sitting and listening with great patience and without interrupting, most polite and wise, but surely you’ve wondered why I was eating the flowers instead of picking them, and where all my nymph attendants were while he chased me, and what happened to his chariot and his helm. And what happened to us? Fur and claws and shapes of animals, are these your gods?
That was what we were before your worship, beautiful and personifying the world around us, Zeus as the eagle soaring in his domain, Poseidon as a fish in the deepest seas, my mate as a wolf or a lion in the mountains. And me, I liked being a snake that sheds its skin and forever renews its life, but I preferred my lion-deer form after I met my mate.
Mammals have the best sex.
It takes a lot to kill a god, we’re a tough breed. But it doesn’t take a lot to make one, or to infect one. You humans, you’re the god’s disease. You get under our skin and into our veins, you push on organs and bones and retract fur and teeth, you make us into your image. You force us to change. You rape progress into us. The family became what they are because of you.
Look at us: once an earth being and life and death personified, now the Lord of the Dead and his spring goddess wife. Swaying under the weight of our crowns and swamped in our new robes, crouched uncomfortably on our thrones as the first souls come pouring down in expectancy of something, as we wonder what the hell just happened.
I apologise, that was unfair. I think that our change at least was fairly easy, since we’re perfectly happy to stay under the earth and let you get on with the business of your lives, and you’re perfectly happy to avoid mentioning us for the most part. It’s the gods upstairs who really suffer.
Which brings us back to Demeter.
Who wasn’t there to look for me because she hadn’t been born yet. And yes, I know the legends. The big six, with Zeus the golden boy as the youngest and variations on who was the eldest, depending on whether you’re using the order of birth or the order of disgorging. I was there, you weren’t, and I can tell you Hera, Hestia and Demeter didn’t appear on the scene until after your lot showed up.
I mean, why should they be? There have always been earth, sea and sky (and life and death), but there wasn’t marriage or the holy hearth or agriculture or anything like that until you started to have need of them. And then, there were your goddesses, reshaped from some poor unfortunate divines who were chopped up and stuck back together to suit your whims. Perhaps that’s why they all look so peaky, poor girls.
Or maybe I dis-remember and they really were there from the start and just called themselves different names at first. I’ll admit I wasn’t paying much attention back then. I must sound like a dreadful slut to you, but what I was mostly concerned with was eating, sleeping and fucking, which is what life was for the most part, and I was life as well as death. Then you and your goddesses came along and changed all that.
And more gods of your mind followed, and more! Even the almighty Zeus couldn’t escape what you did to him, and up sprang Athena from his head, the first true goddess that belonged solely to the humans. And then busy little Hermes, Ares and Hephaestus, Apollo and Artemis and that nice boy Dionysus as you became geniuses, started to believe in the afterlife (and pinned us down forever as well), fought each other, made weapons, got high on drugs and made prophecies and thought up all sorts of creative things to do now that you had the time, hunted for fun as well as for food, got drunk and got high again. And Aphrodite as well, promoted from being in heat to lust to the idealistic notion of love.
A whole family of gods you made for yourselves, and then gave yourselves over to the mercy of them.
And here is the thing; you did not make them to be very merciful, which is why they take great delight in raping you and doing all manner of unspeakable things. Even the nicest of them. Especially the nicest of them.
Which brings us back to your infection.
Athena, now, a truly lovely girl, such a shame about Prometheus, determined to better mankind, but she’s just as capable of cruelty as her father. Actually rather more so, because while they’ll both blow their tops when they’re angry, the daughter can be much more subtle about getting her own back. You’ve heard about the trick she pulled on the daughters of Cecrops? And what she did to that priestess of hers that Poseidon screwed? Cold, cold. And Artemis, turning that peeper into a stag and torturing him by having his own hounds chase him down, just because he saw her tits? And Hera, my dear, Hera is a ball of spite and envy on exquisite legs.
And the male gods get into the act as well, all their jealousies and rivalries and how they turn their frustrations on you. It’s the calculated nastiness that really troubles me, the way they choose to draw the punishments out, savoring the torture. There’s enough of before in me that it doesn’t sit right. When I punished Minthe at least for her it was quick, a scream, a shrivel, a slurp and it was over.
Or so I recall. I might have stepped on the plant I turned her into after the transformation was complete, and she might still have been aware.
It isn’t that animals don’t unwittingly torture, or that the males don’t force the females to submit to them, they do. Cats, now – though I doubt you’ll ever see one -, they dearly love to play with their food before eating it. But pain is life when you’re an animal, and it leads into death, and that is acceptable. As for whether rape matters as much to an animal, I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never been raped, or if I have, I forgot. Though I don’t think I’d ever forget that.
Which brings us back to forgetting things.
Which brings us back to raped queens.
Which brings us back, Pirithous, to you.
I know that you forgot a lot of things when you sat down in that chair, Pirithous, and the stone snakes clasped your arms and legs and squeezed your head. Who you are, for instance. Why you came here. Where you came from. Your home. Your friend Theseus, sitting beside you in his own filth and drooling into his lap, and Theseus’s bride to be, Helen of Sparta. She’s long been rescued by her brothers, you know? And your mother and your sister, Aethra and Phisadie, are her slaves where they were once her captors. But you don’t even remember them, do you, you smelly wrinkled old clod, do you?
And you’ve forgotten how to speak and even how to think, there’s nothing in your balding head, and there wasn’t much in there even when you weren’t sitting here because you thought you could carry off and rape me, me, Queen of the Dead, Queen of Life and Death. I think that though most of you has forgotten there’s some tiny part of you in there that remembers how to hear and how to understand my speech, and I think it’s screaming, I really do.
Shall I tell you one more thing before I go, Pirithous, shall I remind you of something? It’s something that’s never troubled us much in our solitude down here, but it’s very important for you.
If you echo us, do we not echo you? Even if we came before you, are we not made in your image, more powerful, beautiful and free? Free to rape or reward or kill. And in return, you are free to shape us. And you did.
Think, Pirithous, think. Think how we treated others who came down here. Psyche, who came humble and desperate, who I felt pity for and treated kindly. Orpheus, who charmed us with his music and moved us to tears, to whom I granted a second chance. Heracles, who made his request politely and so was accorded all due respect and permission, who I welcomed as a brother. Animals do not feel such things so well, but with all of those supplicants I felt them so strongly, the pity and the heart break and the fellowship.
And you came to rape me, Pirithous. You made me feel angry.
You, who barged down here to our realm, you who would have raped me, feel my rage. Feel my cruelty and spite, because that is what a being feels when it is nearly raped. You did that to me, you made me feel this, and you will suffer.
Which brings me back to why I’m here.
Heracles is coming to rescue you soon. Perhaps by then I will have grown tired of this, and I’ll let you go along with Theseus; we have to give him up anyway.
Or perhaps I won’t, Pirithous, perhaps I’ll give you over to my little girls, my kind and gentle cubs who will play with you so tenderly, who are so human and yet so utterly before your kind.
Or perhaps I will keep you down here and forget about you so that you stop poisoning me with this hate and spite, but you’ll still be punished forever.
Or perhaps I should just kill you and make an end of it.
I don’t know what I want, I need to think.
Hades, where are you?
Come to me, shed your fine clothes and your human skin, your black against my light, and be my mate once more, and wash this human from me.
Here’s how the story goes: Pirithous, after losing his wife to centaurs, decided with his friend Theseus that they would marry daughters of Zeus. They kidnapped a twelve year old Helen of Sparta for Theseus to marry, then went down into the underworld to kidnap Persephone.
That part of the plan failed.
Some say that Pirithous was rescued with Theseus by Heracles. Others say that he remained trapped in the Chair of Forgetfulness forever more, with occasional ‘delightful’ visits from the Furies, who are in some versions the daughters of Hades and his wife.
Other than that, this is Persephone talking. She’s one strange lady. She used to be a snake, or so she says, and a goddess that possibly predated her ‘mother’ Demeter.
And this is how she sees her mate, her fellow gods, the race of man and herself. She’s a little kooky, but telling the truth.