Fun Stuff/ Research

A Surplus of Tricksters: Eris (or Discordia) Part 1 of 2

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.

 

Etymology
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.

 

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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…
Anywho.

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.
*head desk*

 

Planet
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.

 

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Chaos
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?

 


Sources

https://nameberry.com/babyname/Eris

https://www.etymonline.com/word/eris

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/discordia

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/discord

https://www.etymonline.com/word/discord

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/dwarf-planets/eris/in-depth/

https://www.space.com/28379-eris-dwarf-planet.html

https://www.nga.gov/features/joachim-wtewael—a-closer-look/the-wedding-of-peleus-and-thetis.html

https://public.wsu.edu/~hughesc/stories.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/a/ate.html

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/apple-of-discord

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/judgment-of-paris

http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/JudgementParis.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/p/paris.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/e/eris.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/d/discordia.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eris-Greek-and-Roman-mythology

http://www.classicsunveiled.com/mythnet/html/lessgods1.html#Eris

http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Eris.html

https://pantheon.org/articles/d/dysnomia.html

https://genius.com/Walt-disney-records-colors-of-the-wind-lyrics

Fun Stuff/ Research

5 things You’ll Never Need to Know about Bloodsuckers (or a melon)

I love research. Research finds me in the strangest (and sometimes mentally disturbing) places, learning the most demented oddest things. Sometimes they just stick with me until I look them up again.

(I mostly write it all down now so I don’t go insane trying to find it.)

Point being, there are some very strange myths and lore centered around the ever prevalent vampire.

And since sharing is caring…

(minus diseases, blame, and pain)

 

ONE

Vampires were not always considered nighttime creatures. Seventeenth and eighteenth century vampiric lore found vampires to be daytime roamers. Specifically early morning and late evening. Most commonly however, the cruelest of intentions were carried out during the darkest hours of night.

It wasn’t until later that books and movies glorified the evil night dwelling vamps, which of course caught like wildfire.

I mean come on, you hear about a vampire that can come out in the daytime these days and people are blowing it off like the proverbial pink kitten at the biker bar. Why wouldn’t it scare people more if vampires could come out and play hangman with them at all times of day and night? The nighttime thing feels like a product of poor plotting and easily killed antagonists.

And yet I’ll probably use it. 😉

 

If my eyes looked like this, I'd want to be able to see my reflection.
If my eyes looked like this, I’d want to be able to see my reflection.

 

TWO

Bram Stoker invented the theory that vampires have no shadow. He also took the no reflections bit and blew it up in “Dracula”, causing it to become traditional vampire mythology.

The reasoning behind both of these failings, is the lack of a soul. Thusly, the vampire couldn’t have a shadow or reflection as their soul was no longer intact, leaving them empty and lifeless. So to say.

 

THREE

In Chinese, Slavic, and Russian lore (among other countries), it was believed that if an animal or person jumped over a corpse, it could cause the corpse to come back as a vampire. Cats and dogs were the most feared in this situation. The Chinese particularly feared the tiger. The Romanians, a black hen.

There’s a lot of lore on how a corpse becomes a vampire and a lot of it involves a person or animal disturbing a corpse, turning it against the natural order of things and damning it to raise. Kinda freaky to think they believe becoming a vampire could be so completely out of your control. Makes me wonder why more people didn’t decide on cremation back then. How could you get more vulnerable than corpse?

0_o

 

FOUR

In Yugoslavia’s lore, gypsies believed that melons, specifically watermelons, could turn into vampires if they were left out for ten days straight or too long after Christmas. These vampire watermelons were stained with blood, rolled around annoying people, and growled.

I will never look at a watermelon the same way again.

 

FIVE

Some Arabians believed an aluga could possibly be the demon king of all vampires, tracing its origins from the book of Proverbs in the bible.

There’s actually a lot of tie in between demons, witches, and vampires throughout history. Oh – and werewolves. I only left them out of the list as more than half of old lore considered werewolves and vampires to be the same thing, as the vampire could transform into a wolf at will, or out of necessity.

But that’s another topic completely. (Interested?)

 

Careful. They bite.
Careful. They bite.

 

CONNECT THE DOTS

I often follow one theory, myth, or legend to another. Say I want to research cannibalism. I might end up learning about tulips riding chimpanzees in the wild forests after Armageddon. Not really, but you get my point.

So how did I get from daytime vampires to vampiric watermelons?

I don’t remember. I just know I was researching the reasoning behind the no-soul-having-vampire theory. It ends up in my novel.

All in all – I’m curious. Getting lost proves fun.

 

Any random questions about vampire lore?