Lena

An oneiros, who achieved apotheosis through parental love, and over-wrote the archetype of the loving mother in the World of Dreams.

The original Lena was the mother of a large family of remarkable children. Her rôle in legend is mostly confined to short appearances in the stories of her seven sons, where she works great miracles on their behalf. Lena plays a more significant part in the story of the long and troubled journey of her husband (the demi-god Mabon) in search of a way home, and her fidelity and vicissitudes have received separate treatment by the more serious poets, and in a novel by Aspasia.

In art and iconography Lena is depicted as a stately matron, her beauty dimmed by age, wearing a pink sari with a purple border, sometimes (especially in iconography) crowned with a wreath, or wearing a lei, of pink frangipani. Scenes of her defence of her home and honour in Mabon’s absence are a favourite theme for decorating kitchens and gynekeums. Lena’s symbols are a hearth-fire, frangipani, and a honey-bee.

Lena is worshipped very widely, especially by young children, by adults who remember their duty to their parents, and by parents of young families. In most places she enjoys a popular public cult. Lena’s avatars tend to be loving parents, but can crop up where the parental instinct is diverted into other channels.

Lena’s major realms are parenthood, the home, and fidelity. Her minor realms are wisdom, the moon (especially the gibbous or full moon), and fire (in its beneficent aspects).


Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.