PREVIOUS | NEXT | A,B,C, D,E, F,G,H,I, J,K,L,M, N,O,P,Q, R,S, T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z | Help | ALL | INDEX
from Goddesses and Heroines
|Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia
[Used by permission. This text is NOT included in the Goddess Oracle]
Sphinx, the "strangler" started her life in Egypt, where the lion-bodied monster had a bearded male head and represented royalty. But in Greece--in a city with the Egyptian name Thebes--the Sphinx became female. She was said to have been a Maenad who grew so wild in her intoxicated worship that she became monstrous: snake, lion, and woman combined.
The guardian of Thebes, she prevented travelers from passing by strangling them if they could not answer a mysterious riddle. (Possibly she descended from the underworld guardian-goddess who, in many cultures, prevented the passage of the living into death's territory.)
"What," the Sphinx would ask, "walked on four
legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening?" Finally one traveler,
who would become King Oedipus of Thebes, answered her: Human beings, who crawl
as children, walk upright as adults, and rely upon canes in age. Her reason for
existence having been destroyed, the Sphinx destroyed herself.
|Back to TOP||
Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997. Used by permission of the author.