Posted by: aediculaantinoi | June 13, 2013

(Late) For Matralia

To Leukothea

Fair Ino, aunt to Dionysos, besieged by Hera,
I sing your praises as the white sea goddess:

Of blackest depths in the raging oceans
the color of Ceto, mother of monsters;

and Eurybia, ancient sovereign of seas,
the ocean’s blackness under night’s sky;

Thalassa of old, great and grey
brings forth the first stirrings of fish;

Tethys the titaness, blue brine her color
when the sea gives birth to its bounty;

and Thetis, good goddess, green is she
when the ocean flourishes in liquid life;

but only Leukothea, the white woman of waves
appears as the crown of the surging sea.

A distant sister started out human, like her,
Helle, the water that connects rather than divides.

And Ino did not stint in sharing her divinity
with her son, innocent Melikertes, in her plunge,

for Amphitrite had pity on them, and petitioned
her husband Poseidon to make them divine.

Ino became Leukothea, Melikertes Palaimon,
and their wardrobe would be of kelp thereafter–

their horses were dolphins, their lions seals,
their jewels shells, their crowns coral;

whales were their cattle, and sharks their hounds,
their snakes were eels, their birds rays and skates.

Her favor to Odysseus, adrift and near dead,
was her veil that kept him alive and afloat.

Since then, humankind has only seen her veil,
but her bright white hair sometimes shows through

on the surface of the shifting plains of Poseidon,
the sea which is sister to the white moon of night.

In my fall, do not adopt me as your child,
and in my faltering, do not drown me to death;

let your veil be given to those deserving of life
who come to your embrace like young Melikertes.

Leukothea, living mother of ocean’s lifeforce,
look not poorly upon us for our pollutions;

Ino of innocent suffering under Hera,
do not drive humans mad with mischief.

May we sing your songs when whales have fallen
and dolphins drift out of memory’s main.

Leukothea, lady of the white waters,
let us come safely to our home ports.



  1. […] foolishly, on the 11th of this month, I forgot the festival of the Matralia (just as I did last year–though not on purpose, and considerably later this year!), in honor of Leukothea (formerly called Ino), mother of Palaimon (formerly called Melikertes), whom […]

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