They told me not to open it. Well now. If Zeus did want me to open it, he should not have given it to me in the first place. A women’s curiosity? Bah! They always need someone to blame, don’t they? But don’t believe everything you hear.
Come closer. I will tell you the TRUE story.
It was Zeus, my uncle, who gave me the box. All the while he ordered me to leave it clamped shut. “Do not touch it, Pandora,” he commanded, his voice full of curmudgeon contempt. “If you dare open it, the consequences will be great.”
I paid him no heed. Zeus! I owed him no favors! Had he not raped and pillaged and punished? There was Leda the swan, his own wife Hera, my mother Demeter. He had sent many a plague upon my kin. He deserved no obedience from me, nor anyone else!
I sat in silence for awhile, mesmerized as I examined the box.
Oh, such a beautiful thing it was! A clear glass full of sparkling liquid crystal. Every color of the rainbow exuded from it. Such joy lie within it! Miracles were contained beneath its very walls. That I knew somehow, without being told. And all of this wonder was at my tingling fingertips!
I fondled the box, pressed my hands upon it, felt its warmth. I smelled its great smells of honeysuckle and lavender, felt the stirrings inside myself as my heartbeat quickened. Inside that box, I thought, must be love itself.
Finally, I could stand it no longer! I jiggled the lid. The stubborn box remained shut but I jiggled again, prying the top. At last it opened and nearly exploded, its rainbow of colors cascading across the sky. Oh, what a marvelous sight it was! I watched, dumbfounded and speechless.
It was then my mother Demeter found me.
“Pandora!” she shouted. “Foolish girl. The contents of that box are all my sacredness, all my secrets! And you have let them go.”
In a fluster Demeter reached to the sky, attempting to gather up the spilled rainbow. But alas, it was too much to contain! Such a thing it was, seeping through the clouds, spilling into rocks and water and plants, into the steam of hot springs and the forgings of fire. Into the trees and the wind itself.
“Oh daughter,” Demeter scolded me. “You have made a chaos! Such knowledge, acquired by the wrong factions…” She hesitated and scowled.
My mother put her hands on her hips, watched as the colors dissipated far into the earth’s hidden places. She shook her head and thought a long time. Finally she looked upon me, held up one finger and said, “I know a solution.”
By then I was ashamed of my brash actions. I had succumbed to the temptation of beauty, of that bright and shiny thing within my reach. “What solution will it be, mother?” I asked sheepishly.
Demeter smiled. “I will create covens of women. They will be of a special blood, and they alone will be privy to the box’s magick. They will find it in rocks and plants and fire and sky as it has dispersed itself over the world. They will create potions and use my sacred knowledge. Only they shall have the power to save humankind.”
I gasped. Such a race? It seemed unimaginable. But Demeter only looked at me, her eyes glittering and rich.
“These women,” she said, “shall be called Witches.”
This post is in response to The Daily Prompt ‘open’ pingback