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Lyssa, Stark Raving Mad

May 23, 2015 , , , ,

May is mental health month, so I want to pay a tribute to Lyssa, the Greek goddess of rage, rabies, and madness. In Rome she became known as Furor.  She is the daughter of Nyx and Erebus, who was ruler of the underworld.  She hangs out with other terrifying qualities like death and darkness, but she represents sudden uncontrollable rage and frenzy.  Her sisters are vengeance and retribution.  This is one very angry family.  Lyssa is seen in the company of dogs because of her rabies association.  Fits like rabies are attributed to her influence.  She is the messenger the gods send to drive a victim into madness.

What does this character have to do with mental health?  The acknowledgement that rage, fury, and madness really exist is very good because they do.  The pantheon portrayal of mad dogs suggests that this misfortune can befall anyone.  In Athenian tragedy she is a figure who has the power to drive humans and dogs suddenly out of their wits.  Madness itself is a character that plays central roles in the plays of Aeschylus, Euripides and others. Anger, and repressed anger create illness and depression when left unattended.  The sudden and supernatural anger experienced by victims of Lyssa show dark rage as a curse.    Tragedy follows angry outbursts in these stories teaching the dangers of explosive fury.

It would be impossible to go through life without anger entirely.  Some of us have more than others.  Our mental health and well being depend on our relationship with anger.  Finding constructive ways to engage in happiness producing activities is a life long search. Learning to control stress and personal need to be right can make the difference between a close relationship with Lyssa and her sisters and a walk in the park.  Learn to recognize and avoid this goddess. Here she is dressed in a short hunting skirt, driving dogs mad and causing them to eat their master Actaeon:

Lyssa and Actaeon

Lyssa and Actaeon

If you see her coming run the other way.

What do you think?

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I love your pieces about Greek & Roman mythology. I remember this demi-god…. since they were all intertwined.
Good or positive mental health is dependent on dealing with the negative aspects of life more than it is the positive . How one deals with anger is often an indicator of personal maturity.


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