This is part one of Trickster #1 in a series of trickster posts. No clue how many I’ll write because the freaky dudes and dudettes keep popping up out of the woodwork. There’s a cache of tricksters awaiting us, an assortment, quite a batch, an assemblage, a cluster, a regular caboodle, a glorious assortment. Absolutely tricksters galore, a lavish abundance, overflowing and concealed. We have tricksters plentiful to pick from, soak in, and learn from.
Strap in crazies, we’re in for a strange, sometimes odd, but always fun ride. It’ll be entertaining at worst. At best, you might meet a beastie you like.
Greek and Roman
We all know Greek and Roman myths mirror each other. In Greek, this trickster goes by the name Eris. In Roman lore, she’s Discordia.
I prefer Discordia. Sounds cooler to me.
Eris comes from the Greek ‘eris’ meaning ‘strife, discord’.
Discordia comes from a bunch of Latin, French, and Middle English words and word roots. Translating to, basically, a bunch of differing ways of saying strife, not friendly, disagree, and discord.
See that connection there? Totally not transparent.
FYI, I use Discordia and Eris interchangeably from here on out.
The whole point to storytelling, to myths and fairy tales, is how we connect them to ourselves, our lives. And if we never manage to peer into the whole jar of affairs, if we never see anything but what’s at the top, we miss the truths lying dormant at the very bottom.
We begin with a story. Once we get to the end of the second part to Eris – she is unveiled as not exactly who we were told to believe her to be. Which opens up the chance for you to decide who Discordia truly is.
Without any further ado, I give you the trickster Eris.
Apple of Discord
Thetis, a sea nymph, and Peleus, a Greek hero, were to be married. These are the parents of Achilles, by the way. Zeus apparently dug himself some trouble when he got these two together. Isn’t he always getting himself in trouble? I mean, the dude is supposed to be a divine deity and he’s more prideful, petty, and entitled than a fourteen year old boy living off of mommy and daddy, no consequences in sight for any of his actions. But I digress.
This wedding was busting with all the Greek deities.
Everyone was invited, except for Eris.
Nothing like snubbing the unpopular chick.
Obviously, Eris was displeased. To put it mildly.
She shows up regardless but is turned away.
You’d think common sense would dictate not to spurn her any further. It’s not like these people didn’t know what would happen if they turned her away. Okay, they didn’t know exactly what she’d do, but they had to know she’d at the very least attempt to boil them alive or something equally distasteful.
But no-oo, these intelligence-challenged “divine beings” went and kicked the goddess of strife and discord to the curb.
(I wonder if Eris stood back for a moment and wondered to herself how many times she’d have to teach them not to insult her before they got the message?)
Discordia was now fitfully and frightfully furious. In her rage, she grabbed a golden apple and threw it amongst the wedding guests.
Just wondering. Does this chick carry around golden apples all day? That sounds inconvenient. Or did the Olympians have golden apples falling off their trees? The latter sounds a wee bit gawdy. Plus, I bet it’d hurt to have one of those suckers fall on your head while out for a leisurely stroll amongst trees. And who eats golden apples?! They’re made of gold…
On the apple Eris inscribed the words, “For the Fairest”.
Hilariously, this caused problems immediately. If you’ve ever read anything about Greek mythological gods and goddesses, you know they can be a bunch of vain, backstabbing, raping, murdering, thieving, jerks. To put it nicely. Which is probably why I have no sympathy for their not inviting her, then kicking her out, then going ape over a golden apple meant for the fairest.
Among the crowd were three goddesses who fought over the apple, each thinking themselves the fairest. Aphrodite (Venus), Hera (Juno), and Athena (Minerva).
As the story plays out, one was chosen and two were angered.
And this is how the Trojan War started.
Eris is a dual being disguised as an evil trickster, a destroyer of weddings, enjoys causing wars, and is often seen bebopping around town with Ares, god of war, who is also her brother.
Guess what else?
She’s got a planet named after her!
Okay, it’s a dwarf planet, but it’s still a planet. Eris is actually one of the largest dwarf planets in our solar system. How cool is that?! Scientists in NASA like Eris to the point that they named a planet after her. I must say, applause to the scientists. I like.
Because Eris, the planet, is so far away from the sun, it’s actual atmosphere freezes and falls to the surface of the planet as snow. Freaky, right? When it gets closer to the sun, it thaws and then starts the whole process over again.
According to NASA, Eris has a moon named Dysnomia, after Eris’ mythological daughter, which is apparently the goddess of lawlessness.
We mustn’t forget that Eris was created in a time when people were seeking to understand the world around them. Why did things happen? Like war, for example.
Well, gee, maybe it was a crazy contentious goddess that did it. Totally out of mere mortals’ hands. The gods and goddesses forever jerking humans around. Ri-ight. Humans have no control over war, whatsoever. *wink* *wink* It is good to keep in mind that the Trojan War didn’t actually happen and that Eris is a literary device.
Eris can be seen as the reason for war, suffering, daily strife, and misery, wrapped up in a neat, out-of-humans’-control, bow. Often times we find that myths and lore are patsies for what we didn’t understand yet.
Or, you know Eris can simply be a fun character or myth. A trickster can be many different things.
Tricksters as Change
The myth of Eris has fractioned into two possibilities. One sees her as evil, the other as an engine of change.
If you’re a fan of any tricksters, you know they often don’t see things in the same light as the culture they live within. This causes some major clashes and eventually, changes. The case of Eris is particularly striking to me because it is only now that Eris is becoming seen in a new light. And perhaps that is because the world we live in no longer thinks of women as inherently evil or less than. A culture that is striving to see women as capable and worthy of being leaders and creators.
Don’t hold your breath, but definitely keep an eye out for the second installment on Eris…
While you’re at it, keep both eyes open for it, and in general. Running into trees, buildings, and walls is a thing. Not a fun thing. Please utilize both eyes.
As a teeny tiny teaser for the concluding installment on Discordia, I pose this question. Does she sound at all familiar to the villain in a Disney movie?