The Olympian's Journals

You know it’s true that some people might be put off by someone who is both the oldest and the youngest of 6 children who also happens to be married to his sister… But hey it works for Zeus, king of the gods!

One of mythologies’ most prolific playboys, he wasn’t above turning into animals to woo and pursue the objects of his desire and his temper was famously, well… stormy! 

The thunder bolt wielding philanderer did love to play favourites, which can be seen through the various myths regarding his involvement with the mortals he created in his own image. His favourite child was definitely Athena, and his favourite pet was his mighty eagle Aetos Dios. The eagle later became a symbol of Zeus’s sense of justice, strength and courage! Check out the Arctis Zeus Candle!

Sometimes even the queen of the gods can’t catch a break! Hera, the goddess of women, fertility and marriage, rather famously had a pretty turbulent time in her own union with Zeus.

Ask anyone in ancient Greece and they’ll tell you that Hera was jealous and not to be crossed – I mean just look at what she did to Heracles, the fruit of her husband’s unfaithfulness; but can you blame her? Zeus went to terrible lengths to get her and then once he had her, he spent all his time galavanting! But even if her own husband wouldn’t be true to her Hera stayed true to her cause; she continued to guard and protect women, she continued to bless and ordain marriages and she continued to sew the seeds of fertility and assist in childbirths. 

The killer Queen and boss babe archetype, Hera, held several animals sacred including the peacock. In fact, it’s said that she’s the reason for the beautiful eyes on their tail feathers. Check out the Arctis Hera Candle! 

Where to start with the god of the seas, sailors, navigation… And horses? Maybe that’s a good place! How does a god of all the waters of the Earth also become the god of horses? Well by inventing them in order to impress a girl of course! Posiedon was tasked by Demeter to create the world’s most beautiful creature and after a few experiments (such as the hippo and the giraffe) he settled on the majestic animal we all know and love. Of course, by that time he’d gone off Demeter but at least we still get the wonderful creatures he invented during his persuit!

Hippocampus was Poseidon’s Greek equivalent of the Scottish Kelpie, or maybe they’re one and the same! The god of all the oceans could certainly have pulled that off, afterall he was definitely a little extravagant, lavish even! Creating whole menageries of organisms, having his chariots drawn by a myriad of sea creatures and of course living in a jewel encrusted palace under the sea! But if you can’t be a little extra when you’re a powerful Olympian God, then when can you? Check out the Arctis Poseidon Candle!

Surely most parents must have considered that even their most beloved child is a bit of a headache, well that’s certainly true for Zeus, although maybe not as you might think! Athena was born without the involvement of any mother and instead sprung forth fully grown and wearing full armour straight from Zeus’s forehead! 

With that as an entrance, it’s unsurprising that the rest of her story was equally dramatic. She was a busy deity in charge of protecting kings, cities and in some ways the corners of civilization. And that was all on top of her main position as the goddess of war, craft and reason! Luckily, she decided against some of the dramas with lovers and children that defined the lives and myths of her family! 

A main player in some of Greece’s biggest epics and a frequent defender of its favourite heroes, Athena certainly earned her status as an Olympian and in the enduring histories. Much like the wise old owl that represents her, perhaps she is still silently watching and guiding new heroes, even today. Check out the Arctis Athena Candle!

It’s funny, whilst his two famous brothers (Zeus and Poseidon) were much more lavish and opulent in lifestyle, it’s actually Hades who was considered the god of riches. Of course, he’s more famously known as the god of the underworld, the realm of the dead, where he had dominion over all its occupants.

Hades was the first Olympian child born to Rhea and like so many elder siblings he certainly seems the most serious and responsible; rarely leaving his realm to indulge in the drama so often found in his sibling’s stories. Also a king of delegation it seems, as he had a ferry man to deliver souls to his kingdom, three demi gods to judge them and a separate god altogether for death itself. Maybe it was so that during the annual six month visit by his wife, Persephone, he could spend it strolling with her in the fields of Asphodel and Elysium. By most accounts he was certainly the most dedicated husband among the gods! Also the most excellent dog-dad, who else could handle the three headed dog, Cerberus! Check out the Arctis Hades Candle!

In a world with a rich pantheon of god’s, goddesses, nymphs, dryads, demigods and all manner of marvellous beings there were a lot of things on Ancient Greece that were considered sacred. One thing almost everyone could agree on though was the divinity of beauty.

It was no wonder then that the goddess of beauty was such a big splash! Said to have been born of sea foam following a battle of titans Aphrodite can be found at the centre of many a mythological drama and tale of intrigue. Her beauty was such that in order to stop a cosmic war Zeus married her off to fellow Olympian Hephaestus and although the two had no spark that didn’t stop the goddess of love from having a great number of lovers. She bore several children to Ares for example including Eros, who was known by the Romans as Cupid. Graceful and lovely as the swans who are said to have drawn her carriages Aphrodite still inspires aww and wonder today in art and storytelling and many of the herbs, flowers and food associated with her are said to inspire other things as well!

Check out the Arctis Aphrodite Candle!

Apollo was the golden boy of Mount Olympus. The god had some serious skills! As the younger of Zeus’s twins to the Titaness Leto (trust us Hera was not pleased about that…) Perhaps he felt like he had something to prove. He was considered a god of justice, archery, divination, music, medicine, of all cultured arts as well as the epitome of youth and beauty. And if it seems like the sun shone out of him then you may not be far off – he was also believed to be a sun god that pulled it across the sky in his golden chariot every day. Whereas Artemis was famously wild, Apollo was entirely civilized and beloved.

The most famous of his temples was at Delphi where the oracle gave out prophecies under his divine inspiration – yep, he was also the god of divination! By all accounts he really was a marvel and was adored across Ancient Greece, Rome and even into Egypt. However, as with all Olympians, there had to be some sort of drama and for Apollo it seems to have been that he had difficulty keeping hold of his lovers. One such story tells of one of his lovers, a lovely mortal named Coronis, who despite the god’s affections found herself in love with another man. It’s said that a raven told Apollo of this and that in his anger Apollo shot her with an arrow!

Check out the Arctis Apollo Candle!

Artemis was wild. There are no other words for it. But not in the way that might come to mind, she was no party girl goddess. Her wildness was altogether more pure. She was truly and unequivocally herself. She danced through the woods with her nymphs and attendants, she was the goddess of the hunt and of the moon. And although wild she wasn’t chaotic; she upheld a balance in all things and was fiercely protective of it, along with her twin brother Apollo she was known to seek vengeance on those who disrupted what she thought to be the natural order of things. One of the three virginal goddesses she strictly demanded that her priestesses and nymphs protected their virtue as vigorously as she did and punished those who failed to do so (often it seems by turning them in to bears). As the protector of forests, groves and anywhere that grew wild she was often depicted as accompanied by deer or hunting dogs which were her favoured companions.

Check out the Arctis Artemis Candle!

The Mythical Journals

In a world of gods and goddesses, men and monsters and vengeance and victories. Medusa was just a woman. A woman who never stood a chance.

I know the stories of old beg for her blood, tell us of her menace and her downfall. They tell us she had it coming. The Beastly gorgon who turned men and myths to stone with just her eyes. A fearsome creature with snakes for hair and fangs for teeth. But that’s not where her story started. She was just a girl once, a faithful devotee of Athena. She committed one terrible crime that led to her lonely curse – her beauty.

Medusa grew up near the sea and devoted herself to the Temple of Athena – but Athena wasn’t the only Olympian taking an interest. Lustful Poseidon had watched the young lady bloom into her womanhood, and he wanted her. Desperately.

In her devotion to the maiden goddess, fair Medusa rejected every advance of the amorous god of the sea, but the gods can only be denied so long. Poseidon pursued Medusa who in her desperation attempted to take refuge deep in the sanctuary of her goddess – but even that wasn’t enough. There, in the Temple of Athena, a shrine devoted to wisdom, war and maidenhood, Medusa was robbed by a god of the virtue she had promised in service to Athena.

Poseidon was fulfilled and so he left her there in Athena’s temple, never to look back. Medusa remained, feeling ashamed and broken and lost. It was there that Athena found her, full of rage and ready for retribution. You know how the story goes, Athena curses the pitiful Medusa for the audacity of having a face lovely enough to tempt her uncle to defile her temple, forgetting that he also defiled the girl. But what if that isn’t quite true?

Athena took Medusa by the hand and helped her up, she carried her to the safety of a spring over which Poseidon had no dominion. She waited silently while Medusa washed away the salt of the sea and her tears. With steadying breath, Medusa found her voice. “I couldn’t stop him, I tried” she managed eventually. The goddess took a moment to look over the still trembling woman. She looked at the long blonde hair that had first ignited Poseidon’s interest. She took in the lovely face and dark eyes that had already led to too many men to make comments that could easily incite the wrath of an Olympian goddess if she were having a bad enough day. Athena’s rage was bubbling and boiling over, but not with envy. This woman had been innocent and devout. She had been sweet, kind, humble and without guile. What weapons could she possibly have to protect herself? How could this little mortal stand against men and gods? How could any of them?

And that’s when Athena saw a solution. She presented it to Medusa who thought about it for only a moment. Medusa was gifted magical hair made up of venomous snakes, they could watch over her so that no one would ever be able to catch her off guard again. She was gifted magical eyes that could turn anyone who looked into them to stone before they could do her any harm. Finally, from the waist down, she was gifted the body of a snake so that she could never be hurt in the same monstrous way again.

Athena found Medusa a new home where occasionally maidens in need of protection would be sent to remain under her care. It was satisfying work for a long time but eventually Medusa became tired of the evil in the world around her. Some time ago she had reached some renown and now men and minor deities would seek her out in an attempt to kill her to build their own legacies. It was no longer safe for women to be sent to her for protection and so she became lonely and restless. She lost her purpose and felt again the sting of having her calling ripped from her by the greed of man. She called to Athena who answered her most faithful of servants and told her how she felt. Clever Athena had already started to prepare for this eventuality and told Medusa of her new plan; if Medusa was willing.

You see there was a new hero who had gained the favour of Athena. If Medusa was now ready for Hades, then perhaps the goddess could help both the young Perseus and her ever-faithful gorgon warrior. This time it took a little longer than a moment for Medusa to agree. Her life had already gone on much longer than any normal mortal thanks to Athena’s gifts and she knew she had done a lot of good. She knew that although many hated and feared her there were plenty in secret places who knew the truth of her existence and her intention. She was ready for her eternity; she did not fear death for she knew she would be safe from the dark places where the monsters roamed in the underworld thanks to her goddess’ favour and the promise that she would be returned to her mortal guise in death. She hesitated, because without her who would protect the helpless as she had been tasked to do for so long? But of course Athena had a plan for that too. She would immortalise her beloved servant in her own shield, and just as Medusa had guarded the innocent in life, she would continue to guard the righteous, the good and the favoured after her death.

It makes sense don’t you think? Why else would the head of Medusa still be a symbol to ward off evil if she had simply been another monster all along? As Athena had treasured her in life, she continued to treasure her when she had passed on from mortality.

And more than that… you see upon slaying Medusa, Perseus was sure he saw her smile, which was a shock. And as a further shock, from her blood sprang her two children, conceived at the dreadful moment of her desecration they had remained inside her where she could protect them from the evils of the world and from their father Poseidon. Athena took Pegasus, the winged horse of legend, with her to Olympus where she cared for him and made sure he was synonymous with the heroes of myth whom she blessed. To him, she gave the praise and fame that his mother had deserved. To the other son, Chrysaor, Athena granted a normal and comfortable life. He was a king, a husband and a father, gifted with the peace that was denied his mother. That there are so few myths about him is a testament to the life he was blessed with.

I know the stories you’ve been told. I know you’ve heard of the wicked vengeful gorgon sister; you may have even heard she was a brazen lover of Poseidon cursed by Athena (after all, Poseidon couldn’t have the real story polluting his own tales). You may have heard of the men and women she destroyed, or the havoc she wreaked or any other number of terrible things. But things aren’t always what they seem. Medusa rests now knowing her son’s fates were happy, that her goddess loved her and that she turned her terrible pain into something else. Something more. What defined her wasn’t what happened to her, it wasn’t a curse, it wasn’t even her death which solidified the path of a hero. No. It was her heart, her faithfulness and her purpose to protect and shield. 

Even if she were the only one who knew it.

Now you know the story, check out the candle inspired by it: the Arctis Medusa Candle

There was a time long long ago where humankind gathered around fires at night, where in the dangerous dark only the stars and the flames could light your way. Back then when the darkness cloaked the fields and valleys of everyday life, we retreated into the safety of our shelters where we kept warm and kept watch by this almost mystical light- and we told truths and tales to each other. And those truths and those tales were often the same thing in a time where we walked among stories and legends every day.

If you were to go back in time and listen a while you would inevitably hear of some fantastical bird species or another, perhaps the Thunderbird of the native Americans, or the strange Boobrie of Scottish origin- maybe something even weirder and wilder. There are many places in the ancient world you could travel to and hear stories of the rarest of all birds- a creature that had clearly spread its wings and influence far and wide. The phoenix.

If we travel to Greece, we can listen to stories of how the song of the phoenix is so very beautiful that once Apollo himself halted his golden chariot as he pulled the sun across the sky just so he could listen. If we go to China, they can tell us that there is not a more auspicious sight and that whenever a new emperor is crowned, we should look to the skies for these flaming bringers of good tidings. In Egypt, it is said that a ritual took place every 500 years in the temple of the sun; they would tell you that the old phoenix will return to his birthplace from Arabia in the east and would throw itself on to a pyre it has built of cinnamon and spices and from that fire a new bird would arise. Who could say if this was a new bird altogether or if in the fire our phoenix shed the ailments of age and spun itself a new existence?

If we travel to Rome, they can tell us that they’ve heard from the east that the tears of a phoenix can heal and that the ashes can bring long life, they can tell you about the cycle of immortality… In many ways they know their stuff and felt a strong affinity with the phoenix. There may only ever be one phoenix at a time but here in the Roman empire you can see images and depictions of them everywhere. I wonder how they would feel at the irony that their empire really did only have a lifespan 3 years longer than their beloved king of birds.

So what if we leave the ancient worlds? No more do we huddle around fires at night for warmth and safety and in the age of electricity we hardly need something so flickery a light source and yet we still find it homely. Fire, one of the cornerstones of civilizations for centuries is now more of a luxury than an essential of life. We still tell stories of the phoenix, but they are often relegated to children’s books. Where the ancients knew phoenixes where real and looked to the sky for them, we are much too busy to look anywhere but where we are. And yet they persist. These tales and truths can teach us that in the fire we can be reborn, that strength and healing can be found in tears, that life can be found in death and that throwing yourself on pyres of cinnamon on top of ancient Egyptian temples is probably an activity best left to the birds.

Now you know the story, check out the candle inspired by it: the Arctis Phoenix Candle

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Coming soon!