Thursday, June 9, 2011

Today's Goddess Card - Sphinx

Today's Goddess Card
Sphinx (Challenges)

Today's Goddess Oracle card is the Sphinx, a figure that many people think of in relation to Egypt and the Sphinx structures.  But it's the appearance in Greek mythology in the story of Oedipus Rex that we take today's Goddess and message from. 

King Laius of Thebes was told in a prophecy that his son would kill him, marry his mother, and take over the throne.  The King ordered a servant to kill his newborn son by stabbing him in he ankles, tying him up, and then leaving him to die on a mountain.  But a passing shepherd from Corinth would find the boy, take him home, and attempt to nurse him back to health.  The shepherd's wife never had a child of her own so she was excited to have the boy brought to her.  They named him Oedipus (meaning swollen foot).  
Oedipus was never told that he was adopted so when the oracle told him of the prophecy of his fate to kill his father, Oedipus left Corinth so that no harm would come to his family.  As he traveled he made his way to Thebes and when he got to the gates he saw it was being guarded by a monstrous figure; it had the head and breasts of a woman, the body of a dog, the paws of a lion, wings of an eagle, and a tail like serpent.  This was the Sphinx and she allowed no one to enter or leave the city unless they could answer her riddle.  If they couldn't she would kill them.  At this point no one was able to answer her correctly so she was well fed and saw no reason to leave.  This also meant that the city was effectively cut off from trading since as the story of the Sphinx spread traders feared coming to Thebes to do business. 

Oedipus approached and the Sphinx presented her riddle:
What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening? 
Oedipus thought for a moment and came up the an answer; man.  Man crawls on all fours in infancy, walks upright on two legs in adulthood, and uses a cane as a third leg in old age. The Sphinx was in shock and very frustrated with the fact that he was able to answer and defeated her.  The Sphinx threw herself from the city walls, dying on the road in front of the city.  
After this Oedipus was made king by the people of Thebes since their King Laius had gone missing over a year ago and was assumed dead.  Oedipus was given the widowed Queen, Oedipus's natural mother (unbeknownst to him), and the people were prosperous for several years.  However it is revealed that the Sphinx was sent to the city by the Gods when it had appeared that the King had been murdered and it was never avenged.  As the supposed murder still went unaddressed drought and tragedy befell the people and eventually the Queen hanged herself, Oedipus fled with his daughter Antigone, and discovered that he was still held responsible for the death of the King in the eyes of the God.

So what is the message of the Spinx?  The Sphinx is about overcoming challenges.  Oedipus had to answer the riddle of the Sphinx in order to both pass her into the gates of Thebes but also in order to save his life.  The Sphinx is here in order to wake you up to the fact that you need to face your challenges head on.  They can't be walked around or ignored.  Today take a look and see what challenges you need to address in order to move forward on a project or even just in life in general.  These challenges, like the Sphinx, aren't going to go anywhere.  You can either continue to "feed them" with your fears or you can face it, answer it's riddle (so to speak), and then move past it.  It's up to you to decide how long you're willing to let this challenge stand in the way of you reaching your goals.