31 days/ days 18-21

Yes I got behind lol, but given that my responses to these will be fairly short (I did pull them out and mull them over even if I did not post) it seems no hard task to combine them in one post.

Day 18 Gender and Sexuality? 

I honestly think this is largely a non issue for gods. While I know that there a certain gods that the LGBT pagan community gets behind as deities representative and protective of their sexual natures, you would be hard pressed to find any god with a firm sexual identity whether that be queer or heterosexual. Gods are not humans and as such I dont think they have the exact same fleshy mushy desires we have. In short that makes the gods fairly fluid in what we consider sexuality playing out in myths. The gods love their peeps. I would say that this is equally true of such an ambiguous goddess as Leto. Fact of the matter from what I have experienced (not making any absolute statements to try to speak for her…thus is my experience only) Leto comes across towards her devotees with more of a personal motherly personally if you aren’t getting her aloof distance. That said, as a autonomous goddess I believe issues concerning LGBT fall within that sphere of what she would likely get involved in, just as she likely would for other issues such as rape, child brides (these latter two having more directly to do with her cult I can almost see her more involved in on the sexual autonomy spectrum). And as a mother she would likely involve herself in a very maternal fashion in issues that are of concern to her devotees regardless. …or issues pertaining to the spheres of her children when petitioned with them. In all honesty when it comes to mayters of sex and sexuality I would find more benefit supplicating Aphrodite who is by her domain more immediately concerned with such things.

Day 19 and Day 20 Admirable Qualities? Uncomfortable Qualities?

I am combining these as they seem to deal with the same issue for me. The gods are not human and therefore do not perform acts for their merit and falling under assigned human values. Therefore nothing of a god can be either admirable,  uncomfortable or hateful. These are judgements we pass on their nature and domains where it is not our place. Taking myths as literal events contributes to this. Regardless it is not my place to judge a god or goddess. ..that ventures too close to hubris for my comfort. Rather we can either love and give adoration unto the gods for thrir nature or domains, or we can have no further commitment than respect of which all gods are entitled *which is why I don’t talk shit about another persons god….the human organized religion and worshippers themselves are fair game tho lol ). So in short there us nothing admiral or uncomfortable about Leto, I adore her for all that she is and for the grace and blessings her domain brings. Funny tho how children not indoctrinated into monotheistic thought get that instinctively. Myths which make adults uncomfortable did not even phase my eldest daughter when she was little. The gods are as they are and are so wonderful she simply loved them…especially her favorites (Zeus, Aphrodite and Eros lol…. like I have said before in previous posts Aphrodite is attached to the family lol).

Day 21 Share Art

At thus point I have not come across anything that particularly speaks to me…so I have some of my own work in progress that I will post when it is ready.

Karneia and Kourotrophia

Occurring on the same day, the full moon of Metageitnion/Karneia, is host to two festivals with a surprisingly related theme: the resring of young into maturity (for harvest). It can certainly be said that before going to a completely solar calendar that the Roman Nemoralia also fits this religious pattern.  I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the festival of Artemis held by women nursing boy infants didn’t also fall at thus time, although Pausanias doesn’t give a date reference for it.

As we know, the mythic root for the Karneia involves A pollon caring for his infant half brother with the aid of hid mother, Leto, in rearing the boy Karneia for whom A pollon takes his epithet. I think that thus myth is where Jane Harrison gets tragically confused insisting that Apollon Karneios (the god Apollon which is common to all Dorics) is not Apollon but a local deity resembling Dionysos. As Karneia vases from Tarentum shows Dionysos on the reverse, and the joint vineyard/herding nature of the festival preparing for the harvests, I have no doubt yhe younger Karneios is a variation of Dionysos. **Karneia as the root refers to the heart which would be loaded in symbolism in the relationship of the two gods**

At the same time we have his description from the Archive temple as bearing herding staff and pine cone. Where the latter may bring a Dionysos connection for some (which may be pertinent on a level) it is also a barometer in nature that this god of winds, like Diana at the Nemoralia, is likewise praised and petitioned for keeping back the descent of Autumn storms before harvest concludes. This then keeps the weather dry and sunny. This aid to crops can also be acknowledged at Messene where he was honored in the sanctuary and grove of Demeter and Persephone as Apollon Karneios.

Given what I pointed above regarding the festival of the nurse Artemis, while I acknowledge Hekate and Ge as a Kourotrophs in my offerings, I foremost give offering to Artemis Kourotroph. Therefore my fedtivals are fluidly combined, starting with Karneia and concluding with offerings for Kourotrophia at my shrine. It is truly beautiful, fluid and organic thing! And there Dionysos the infant reared to the bull of sacrifice in the nect coming month….hail Apollon Karneios and Artemis Kourotroph!

31 days/ day 17

Relationship with the other gods?

Honestly, for the most part,  aside from right river gods and likely associated nymphs, and what appears to be a nod if respect at least by Hermes, Leto doesn’t seem to have fuck all to do with any if the other gods. It is likely that respect is shown via her engagement with Hermes that is shared among other gods, but for Leto herself she doesn’t appear to concern herself with them. Rather, pretty much her full attention and interest rests on her children. In which case the way she tends to Artemis and hunts among her nymphs as a companion, and her devotion to her son can allude to the kind of mother who is her daughters best friend and has a mommas boy she dotes on and coddles as much as possible if given to those urges of temperament. Her children are her world and beyond them and associated river deities she doesn’t have much interest it seems!

31 days/ day 16

Relationship to pantheon and cultural origins:

As much as Her a is the idealized noble wife, quick of intellect to be able to run the affairs of the estate smoothly, strong and of regal beauty and firm command (quite different how many imagine Greek women as being oppressed by a highly patriarchal culture, the popularity of Hera certainly suggests otherwise); Leto is the idealized mother, tending to the comfort of the home and the wellbeing of her children with intense mindfulness. To see her presented poetically by the side of Zeus to greet her children lovingly as they arrive suggests a certain prestige of the idealized mother. 

Additionally she is the idealized mysterious and exotic nature of woman. She is eroticised when the beauty of her control of what little if herself to be seen…often erotic areas being described such as the ankle or wrist. Here too she is the exotic  attractiveness of the foreigner (as in myth she is said to have hailed from Hyperboreia) even if in Greek culture she was both desired but not desirable for a lawful wife (rather like Meadea. ..minus the killing of her children). She is all which is mysterious, hidden and unknowable. ..likely the very way men perceived women in general, and many still do. 

She then is a contradiction of perfect mother with exotic mystery woman…the baffling conundrum of mothers.

31 days/ day 15

Leto and mundane matters?:

Like her children, being likewise connected to purification and healing, I can well consider Leto being the dietary eat all your veggies and practice good hygiene kiddos type. As connected to wster as she is the activity of bathing would likely fall under this, as well as cooking/preparing sustenance given that I consider her as much tied to food provision as her daughter as nurturing mother.

The most obvious is the state of pregnancy and safe-keeping life to grow within the womb. This certainly doesn’t mean that every woman must be pregnant at some time to honor her.  Uh no. Rather that the state of pregnancy is the mundane presence of Leto as much as the bubble of a spring clean from the earth or serpent emerging from the river or from between rocks. Honoring a pregnant woman as Leto manifest is appropriate I think.

I would consider all tasks that pertain to householding to be pertinent to her as a goddess who overtly cares for the family and family life.  I mentioned cooking above during which you can praise her, but also cleaning house. In the poem by Kallimachus I believe, as A pollon ascends to Olympos,  she neatly takes his bow and quiver and puts them away. I consider Leto as being attracted to such comfortable well kept dwellings and blessings homes with bounty in many forms!

31 days/ day 14

How has her worship changed?:

The main gist of her worship hasn’t changed much. Women still pray to her for the blessing of children. Although we have also adopted her in honoring her in the modern mothers day holiday as a general praising of the first among mothers. Yet it would seem that as this is the limited scope of her worship that her modern worship at this time is entirely limited and lacks recognition if the broader scope of the nature and domain of Leto. Hopefully this us something that is gradually changing.

31 days/ day 13

Modern issues close to Leto’s heart?

If I were to try to narrow down any pertinent issues I would probably say that the foremost that come to mind is anything dealing with personal autonomy. This would include issues of right choose,  birth control access, and right to die. These are all issues pertinent to, and fringing,  her domain as a independent chthonic mother goddess. As a goddess who is by her nature hidden and obscure, she is a goddess of high degree of privacy and self actualization and autonomy. It would make sense for her to have a hand in these things.  

Of course some might think there is a contradiction between right to choose and goddess of mothers. But I say there is not because of her devoted bond to her children I would argue that she is more apt to favor motherhood for only those who desire children and wish to be mothers.

I would also say that she favors surrogate mothers who put themselves forward to bless children on loving parents otherwise unable to produce their own.