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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ancient Magic: Circe

Circe (Oliver Wetter)
Circe (Oliver Wetter)
Circe is one of the oldest and most powerful of wizards. She was also one of the many evil sorceresses who bedeviled the era's heroes at every turn -- and Circe was particularly vicious. She was a feared sorceress known for her skill with herbs, drugs, and potions, and had a fondness for transforming her victims into animals whom she, in some versions of the legend, then ate.

Circe lived alone on the island Aeaea, which was overpopulated by swine, wolves, and bears -- many of which once were sailors Circe had lured to her island with her singing. In one particularly evil display of power, Circe set upon a beautiful, young nymph named Scylla. Circe desired Scylla's shepherd lover, so she snuck down to the river where the nymph bathed each morning and poisoned the waters there with an emerald-green potion poured from a large, crystal bowl.

When Scylla entered the river, the waters churled! Emerald-green tendrils emerged and pulled her under, where she was transformed into a horrible sea-creature which became the bane of sailors throughout the area. Scylla continued to reign on her wooded isle, later turning many of Odysseus' crew into pigs, but the tale does not mention the coveted shepherd's fate.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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