Mythological Story of Story of Alcyone and Ceyx
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The story of Ceyx and Alcyone is very moving and demonstrates that love conquers tragedy. Ceyx and Alcyone were so in love that neither death nor the gods could separate them. Alcyone followed Ceyx, her husband, to the other life out of her free will. Out of this myth, the phrase Halcyon Days was coined. Here’s more information about this story:
Displaying Pride to the Gods
The beautiful Alcyone was Aeolus’ daughter, the wind god of the Greeks, and her mother is said to be either Aegiale or Enarete. Alcyone was the devoted spouse of the King of Trachis, Ceyx, in central Greece. Ceyx was a peaceful and just ruler. The couple was greatly admired by mortals and gods alike for their immense physical beauty and the great love they showed for each other.
Alcyone and Ceyx enjoyed their marriage to the point of having pet names for each other, Zeus and Hera. This, however, did not go well with the gods, who saw it as audacity. Therefore, Zeus waited for an opportune moment to punish the arrogant duo who dared to compare themselves to the gods. Meanwhile, Ceyx was mourning the death of his brother and was deeply troubled by some warning signs he had seen. So, he went to Carlos in Ionia to consult the Apollo oracle. However, his wife, Alcyone, tried to discourage him from traveling through the treacherous seas for consultation.
She reminded him of the winds’ fury, which even the god of the winds was sometimes unable to control. She pressured her husband to take her with him. Ceyx was adamant that he wouldn’t put his wife’s life in unnecessary danger. As the ship carrying Ceyx moved away from the harbor, Alcyone watched with an eerie feeling.
Punishment for Blasphemy
The chief god, Zeus, saw the journey as a suitable time to punish Ceyx and Alcyone for their blasphemy. He tossed a thunderbolt that initiated a furious hurricane surrounding the ship, and it began to sink. When Ceyx realized death was inevitable, he asked the gods to let his body be taken ashore so that Alcyone could perform the final rites. As he gasped his last breath, Esophorous, his father, watched helplessly, covering his face with clouds, powerless to rescue his beloved son.
Atonement Theme in the Story
Alcyone patiently waited for Ceyx for a long time, continually praying to the gods, especially the queen of gods, Hera, to bring Ceyx home safely. Hera sent the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, to seek Hypnos, the sleep god, and comforter of the distressed. In turn, Hypnos sent his son Morpheus on a mission to gently inform Acyone of Ceyx’s passing, as he was an expert in forming visions.
Morpheus created a specter of Ceyx to Alcyone revealing about the shipwreck and his subsequent death. She dashed to the seashore and discovered Ceyx’s body. Alcyone performed the final rites and threw herself into the sea, determined to join Ceyx as she could not bear living without him.
This great love touched the Olympus gods, and to atone for his extreme action, Zeus transformed Cyex and Alcyone into the kingfisher (Halcyon birds).
“Halcyon Days” was crafted from this myth. It is said that every January, Alcyone, as a kingfisher bird, lays her eggs on the beach after her father calms down the winds. So, halcyon days are a period that signifies calm and peace.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by Greek Boston