Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Story of Ceyx and Halcyone

I took a truck of older work down to a friend's for storage a few months back. Though I haven't seen this work in four years, some of them I still feel strongly about. I am still moved today just like I was when I first read the Greek myth. Since I am on a sort of painting hiatus........

"Morpheus Appearing as Ceyx to Halcyone"

In Greek mythology Morpheus was one of the gods of dreams, specifically responsible for the appearance of humans in dreams.
Ceyx was the King of Thessaly and his wife was Halcyone. On a sea voyage Ceyx drowned during a violent storm as his wife had feared beforehand. All the while Halcyone prayed to the Goddess Juno for the safe return of her husband not knowing that he had died. Juno feeling compassion for her sent a messenger to Somnus, the god of sleep, to command his son, Morpheus, to appear in a dream to Halcyone as Ceyx that she might know of her husband's tragic fate. So the dream comes to her in which her husband tearfully proclaims his passing. Inconsolable she rushes to the seashore where he departed. His body floats in from the open sea and upon seeing him she is so overcome with grief the gods have pity on her and turn her and Ceyx into Halcyon birds (kingfishers).
During the halcyon days when the sea is placid and navigable, the birds lay their eggs and raise their young. Seamen for ages have noted the activity of the birds to ascertain the behavior of the ocean.


Kathleen Krucoff said...

I so enjoy seeing your earlier works. Thank you for sharing the story behind it.

L.Holm said...

beautiful story, and moving painting. I'd not read that myth, and now understand "halcyon days." Thanks for sharing this.

Dean Grey said...


This is just haunting.

The eyes and his stare are so sad and intense.

The blue fingers with pins in them, the feathers floating down behind him, and the outstretched hand reaching out to the viewer.....just awesome!

Love this!