A to Z Challenge

Z is for Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra #AtoZChallenge

Zenobia, Warrior Queen, ruled the Palmyrene Empire in Syria during the third century.  She took over governance after her husband and his son from his first wife were assassinated in 267. The remaining heir was one year old so Zenobia ruled in his stead.  In her husband’s memory and for her son’s future, she expanded Palmyrene empire into Egypt and Anatolia, which is modern Turkey.  After a five year rule in Egypt, the Roman Emperor Aurelian defeated her and took her hostage. She is depicted in chains below as she looks over the City of Rome.
Herbert Schmalz-Zenobia

What happened to Zenobia once she arrived in Rome is not clear.  Some stories have her dying soon after her arrival, be it from her own hand through a hunger strike or a beheading by the Romans.  Other stories have Aurelian impressed by her, and thus gifted her freedom and a villa in Tivoli.

Just for fun for  Conan the Barbarian fans out there. Zenobia is the name of  slave girl who frees Conan and becomes his queen in the Robert E. Howard books.

I hope you enjoyed the A to Z challenge. This is the last post for that event. I’ll be back blogging about sexy books, woman’s empowerment, and the sweet challenges of motherhood. Come chat.

Y is for Yemaya (African Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Yemaya is the goddess of the seas and motherhood in Yoruban mythology.  Yoruban culture is found in West Africa, particularly southwestern Nigeria and western Benin.

Island of Salvation Botanica, Piety Street, Bywater neighborhood, New Orleans Category:Folk art Category:New Orleans Category:Voodoo

Of interest for this theme, Yemaya was worshipped predominantly by women because she both grants fertility and protects women during childbirth.  She is known as the mother of fish and in fact her full name means mother whose children are fish.

She has a global reach as she was brought to Brazil, Haiti, the U.S. among others from Africa. Since our knowledge of Yemaya has been passed through oral traditions, many variants of her name and capabilities have emerged.

Like most of the sea goddesses I’ve covered here, she has mood swings, with the potential for the calm of the ocean at peace and the anger and destructive potential of an ocean storm.

X is for Xi Wang-mu (Chinese Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Xi Wang-mu is the Chinese goddess of immortality.  She personifies the “yin,” the feminine half of the yin-yang balance of the world.  The daughter, of Yu-huang, the Jade Emperor and highest ruler of the Taoist Heaven, she,  unsurprisingly, lives in a nine story jade palace.  In the palace garden, she cultivates the peaches of immortality.  If a mortal eats of it, he or she becomes immortal.

Xi Wang-mu means Queen mother of the west. She lives in the Kunluth mountains in the western part of China, where it was believed heaven and earth met.  Another figure, like the Babylonian goddess, Kishar,  that appears to be associated with the horizon. As a mother figure, and one of the oldest gods in the Chinese pantheon, she has powers of creation and destruction.

Her history seems to change over time.  While associated with Taoism, she predates it. Older history and images associate her with the tiger and even allocate tiger-like traits to her. Her association with Taoism softens those claws over time.

W is for Wave Maidens #AtoZChallenge

Heimdal durch die neun Wellenjungfrauen emporgehoben by K. Ehrenberg

The Wave Maidens are the nine daughters of the Norse sea god and goddess Aegir and Ran.  There are nine of them, each one represents a different element of the waves themselves.

Himinglæva – Transparency of water

Dúfa – Pitching of the wave

Blóðughadda – Red Sea foam, representing the blood after a battle

Hefring (or Hevring) – Surging wave

Uðr (or Unn) – Frothing wave

Hrönn – Welling wave

Bylgja – Big wave

Bara or Dröfn – Foam fleck

Kólga – Cool Wave

In Norse mythology, Odin did the deed with all nine of them, and all nine bore Heimdall, the god who guards the gates of the gods’ fortress. In some myth, they were a randy bunch, helping their mother, Ran, to call sailors to their beds.

Enjoy the other authors of the A to Z Challenge.

Q is for Qiong (Chinese Pantheon) #AtoZChallenge

Qiong or He-Ziangu (the more common name) is the godess of virgins, ladies and housewives in the Chinese pantheon. She is only female among the eight  Chinese immortals, humans who stumbled accidently into their immortality.  Qiong consumed a peach of immortality, which gave her the power of flight.  She first used the power to gather exotic foods, but along her journey, found the other immortals and joined the group. She serves as a patron of virgins and unmarried ladies and is associated with cooking and housecleaning.

The immortals set up their own home, separate from the regular gods, and do not rule over any areas.  Each one is supposed to be a manifestation of one of the elements of Daoist perfection. Apparently, they had a lot of fun. Nothing like immortality.


Have a great weekend and don’t forget to visit some of the other amazing writers participating in the A to Z challenge.

P is for Phoebe #AtoZChallenge

The name Phoebe shows up a lot in Greek mythology.  She is, among others:

  • One of the Titans. Mother of Leto. Grandmother to Apollo and Artemis.
  • An Amazon who fought Hercules when he came to claim Hippolyta’s girdle.
  • A sister of Helen of Troy.
  • An epithet for Artemis and for Selene (goddess of the moon).
  • One of Saturn’s outer moons (see below, most of her crater’s were given names from Greek mythology as well).


The name means bright and shining.  Phoebe is also an Amazon in my Divine Temptation Series.  She is the mother of Tai, the hero of Thirteen Nights. She gets her own love story in Life Reignited, releasing September 3, as part of Ellora’s Cave Vavaboomers series, which covers love and lust for the over 50 baby boomers.

N is Niobe of the never-ending tears #AtoZChallenge

Niobe, the Queen of Thebes, weeps to this day. In a moment of human arrogance, she bragged of her fourteen children to insult Leto, daughter of Titans, who only bore two offspring, Apollo and Artemis.  In revenge, Leto had Apollo kill Niobe’s seven sons and Artemis kill her seven daughters, a scene often captured in classic art. Here’s an example.
Johann König - The Death of Niobe's Children - WGA12263

Desolate (as if there truly was a word to convey the sorrow of a mother who lost all her children to her own vanity), Niobe fled to Mount Siplyon and turned to stone.  A stream formed from the rock, and is continuously replenished from Niobe’s never-ending tears. There is a weeping willow that bears her name-the Niobe weeping willow.

Niobe is the second historic female figure from whom water flows, the result of the loss of children.  So many myths teach of the sin of hubris–thinking we are better than the gods. But I think what they are really trying to tell us is that hubris is simply thinking we are better than others. From that simple assumption, so much tragedy ensues.

Do you agree?

L is for Lampedo (Who is she?) #AtoZchallenge

Lampedo is another Amazon Queen. I found her interesting enough to give her a post simply because she is identified in Roman historical writings. My knowledge of Amazons comes mostly from Greek mythology.

Having said that, her name means Burning Torch in Greek, which is thought to be a reference to the torchlit processions held on nights of the new moon in honor of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.

We don’t know a lot about her, but she supposedly ruled with her sister, Marpesia, and extended the reputation of the Amazons into wider Europe and Asia Minor, spreading fear and terror.   The two sisters are below. I was pleased and surprised to find this on wikimedia commons. You can scroll over for more information.
Woodcut illustration of the Amazons Lampedo and Marpesia - Penn Provenance Project


If you have time, why not stop by some of the other A to Z Bloggers.

K is for Kishar (Babylonian Pantheon) #AtoZchallenge

I am trying to mix in goddesses from lesser known pantheons. I must admit, its hard to dig up anything but basics on them. I couldn’t find any images, not even a statue or figurine. So I’ll share what little I’ve dug up in my internet archeology.

Kishar is the Babylonian Goddess of the earth and mother to Anu, the Babylonian king of gods. Her consort was also her brother, Anshu. Kishar and Anshu together were considered the twin horizons of the sky and earth and the two principles of the Babylonian pantheon.  Of particular interest, her name’s direct translation is “totality of the lower world.”

From these principles came the Annunaki, the gods of Mesopotamia, who are mentioned in the work Gilgamesh.

Have a wonderful weekend all. If you have time, why not visit some more bloggers on the A to Z Challenge.

J is for Juno (Roman Holiday today) #AtoZChallenge

J is for Juno, the goddess of marriage and queen of the gods in ancient Rome.  Saturn’s daughter, wife to Jupiter, and mother to Mars and Vulcan.

Importantly, she was patroness of Rome, guardian of the community. To fulfill that role, Juno displays aspects of a war goddess, a fertility goddess and a sovereign.  Pretty darn female if you ask me. Women as mothers are also protectors.

She’s a also pretty sexy lady.  Take a look at the paintings I found, with Jupiter.  Classic art by classic artists (scroll over each for more info). They all seem to be like this.  Reactions?

I think I need to write a story about the Roman pantheon.


James Barry 001

Carracci - Jupiter et Junon