THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: Poisoned Arrows and a Great Mistake

During his second labor–slaying the Hydra–Hercules dips his arrows in the dead monster’s blood. His arrows become super-weapons. The slightest scratch means instant death.

Years later, he finds himself in the cave of Pholus, an old centaur. Although “never trust a centaur” is an adage Hercules usually follows, in Pholus’ case, Hercules decides to stay and dine. He asks for wine along with the meat.

“Oh, no, no, no!” Pholus shakes his head. “I’ve got it, but can’t open it.”

“Why not?” growls Hercules.

“The other centaurs. They’ll smell it. Go mad with the smell of wine. Come here. Kill you.”

“If they try that, they’ll regret it. Besides, they’ll never smell it. Open the wine, Pholus.” As usual, Hercules is traveling with his lion’s skin, his club and his arrows poisoned with Hydra blood.

Scared, Pholus opens the wine and soon the thunder of hoofs approaches the cave. Centaurs charge in and attack Hercules and Pholus cries, “No! Run you fools! It’s Hercules! He’ll kill you all! Run!”

But they’ve gone mad and Hercules reluctantly clubs many to death, and shoots others with his arrows. Astounded that arrows can kill a centaur instantly, Pholus picks one up.

“Don’t touch that, Pholus! It’s Hydra blood!”

Startled, the old centaur drops the arrow and it scratches his leg. He gives Hercules a look he can never forget and then crumples down and dies.

Hercules doesn’t yet know it, but in the end, the blood of the Hydra will kill him, too.


Join Odds Bodkin this coming Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST and hear this episode, along with many others, from his award-winning telling, HERCULES IN HELL. The show is live and the storyteller will stay after the show to answer your questions. If you don’t have Zoom, the download is free.

Here’s an audio sample from the show:

HERCULES IN HELL

A ZOOM adult concert

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $15 per screen

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

Coming Up Oct. 18: Odds Bodkin’s Zoom Performance of HERCULES IN HELL

 

A Professor of Classics should know what he’s talking about, and Joseph Walsh of Loyola University Maryland certainly does. He and his students experienced an Odds Bodkin Zoom performance just three weeks ago. Here’s what he wrote:

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.”

Now you can have a front row seat for yet another dynamic telling of a Greek mythology classic, HERCULES IN HELL. This GOLDEN HEADSET AWARD-winning spoken word tale features amazing voices, a score on 12-string guitar, and an exploration of the shocking myth of Hercules. His murders, his labors, his enslavement, his triumphs.

This is an adult storytelling. No children please.

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST on Zoom

Tickets are $15.

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES AND CLUBS MOVING TO ZOOM SHOWS WITH ODDS BODKIN

With all the uncertainly surrounding school openings, Loyola University Maryland has decided to go completely remote. Students won’t be on campus, but to preserve a twelve-year Odds Bodkin September tradition, the Department of Classics has chosen to invite Odds once again, only this time via ZOOM. The performance: THE ILIAD: BOOK I.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, a location in Boston where Odds has regaled adult ticketed audiences for years, wants to preserve the magic. The two shows coming up on ZOOM sponsored by Grendel’s? THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST on September 20th and HERCULES IN HELL on October 18th.

Simonds School in Warner, New Hampshire had to postpone a 2-day GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY residency for K-2 and 3-5 last spring with Odds. But with an HD video and sound ZOOM studio, he’ll be visiting the school anyway. Two performances on full-screen, followed by interactive workshops with the students will take place on September 21st and 22nd.

Yes, there’s a pandemic. Crowds of listeners crammed into big rooms, especially crowds of kids, are problematic these days.

But Odds’ brand of performing arts—always a complete one–man show—doesn’t require a troop of actors onstage, sets or backup musicians. Odds provides all that in his musical storytelling shows. Even Classics and Honors students and their professors at Loyola know that.

If your kids or grandkids go to a school, give them live Odds Bodkin stories by suggesting programs to teachers and principals. Every seat is a front row experience.

To find out more, go here.

GRIEF COUNSELING AND GREEK MYTHS

“I’ve been working with using myths in grief counseling,” she said, “and I was wondering if you know of any Greek myths that might help.”

She was young, seated next to her husband or perhaps boyfriend on a couch in their home. I didn’t know her. She could be anywhere on Earth. I’d just finished telling FALL OF THE TITANS, and she was one of the folks who’d bought a Zoom ticket. This was the Q&A, done live, a new feature.

I scrambled around in my mind and recalled facts from Greek mythology I’d used to explain how the ancient Greeks viewed death. The greatest of warriors went to the Elysian Fields while demigods like Hercules went to Mount Olympus, but these cases were exceedingly rare.

“The Greeks didn’t really have a Hell,” I began. “You know, a place of punishment if you’d been bad in life. Or a heaven, for that matter. Most everybody, kings, queens, all the way down to goatherds–good or bad–went to the Underworld at death. Here, they simply became “shades”, ghosts who remembered their lives but who lost their voices.”

Then I flashed on a scene from THE ODYSSEY, where Odysseus, visiting the Land of the Dead at Circe’s direction, tells his men to slaughter a lamb and fill a hole in the ground with its blood. From the mists emerge shades of famous people he’s known, and he speaks with his dead friend Achilles, but then to Odysseus’s shock and dismay, his mother, Anticlea, whom he did not know was dead, emerges and drinks the lamb’s blood. What she tells him breaks his heart.

It’s almost like a séance.

I didn’t go into all that, but instead flashed on a story from HERCULES I did share with the young woman, where Queen Alcestis, a woman Hercules would have married if she’d not already been married, had taken her own life so that her husband Admetus could live on. Hercules storms down to the Underworld and frightens Hades so badly he lets Alcestis return to life.

“Oh,” I added, “you also might look into how Orpheus harped his way in and out of the Underworld.” It didn’t end well for Orpheus, but he did prove the power of music and love, along with the importance of following directions.

What do I think in these pestilential times? These tales are ancient and universal. Maybe it’s possible to find solace in them. I don’t know. I hope so.

GAIA: AN ANCIENT MYSTERY

The name “Gaia” entered the popular lexicon along with the “Gaia Hypothesis”, a theory proposed by scientist James Lovelock that views the Earth as a vast, self-regulating organism. Gaia hails from the mythology of the ancient Greeks, who viewed her as the originator of life on Earth, and as the Earth itself. This is all pre-scientific thinking, of course, but nevertheless, Gaia’s story is a creation myth worth knowing.

With Nature in revolt in many formerly livable lands across the planet due to an excess of human activity, the consequences of which are drought, flooding, see-sawing periods of hot and cold, crop losses, human migration, pandemics and social stress, among others, renewed interest in the original Gaia story isn’t surprising.

Upon reading the Greek poet Hesiod’s most famous work, The Theogony, or “Birth of the Gods”, as a storyteller I decided to create a version of this old Greek creation myth from Gaia’s point of view. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, takes a similar tack only with the Arthurian legends: the author views the events of Arthur and Lancelot from the POVs of the women of Camelot and the Lady of the Lake.

In Babylonian mythology’s creation myth, the Enuma Elis, the primordial Gaia goddess is called Tiamat. In one benign version of the story she is the feminine salt water who mixes with male fresh water to produce early life. In another version, Tiamat is a monster, a vengeful bringer of storms and chaos.

In my FALL OF THE TITANS tale, Gaia is a little bit of both.

I’ll be performing it Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom. A $15 ticket will buy you the URL and a password to join the event. It’s sponsored by Grendel’s Den, where I’ve told FALL OF THE TITANS to adult audiences before. I also performed it at the Boulder Climate Conference a few years ago. It’s a fun evening, filled with characters and music on 12-string guitar.

It is not for children, however, since there is treachery and sexual violence in the tale.

To read more backstory on FALL OF THE TITANS, scroll through my recent blog posts. You’ll find more articles about the characters and situations in the epic.

FALL OF THE TITANS

Odds Bodkin, Storyteller and Musician

July 19th at 7 pm on ZOOM

Tickets: $15

 

 

 

CRONUS, EATER OF HIS CHILDREN: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS Zoom Concert on Sunday July 19th

Let’s say you’re not just any king,

No, you are King of the Universe.

Let’s also say that you’re paranoid and will never let go of your power. Add in that you, the talentless last son in a big talented family of Titans, have become King by cutting off your king father’s privates and throwing them into the sea. No kidding. That’s what Cronus does in FALL OF THE TITANS.

In the ancient ways of power, if a king loses his virility, he can no longer be king.

To make matters worse, your mother Gaia has given you the slicing weapon to attack Ouranos, her husband and your father. She is angry with him. Henceforward, your siblings loathe you. You are a pariah.

However, you are now Cronus, King of the Titans, and they have no power over you other than to chirp at the margins.

According to the myths, Titans lived before the gods of Olympus, and as giant creators, they basically built the Earth and its ecosystems. It was only after eons that the Gods of Olympus took the Earth from them by force of arms, luck and a few hired monsters. They did this in a ten-year war called the Titanomachy.

TICKETS

But why did this war happen within a single family? How could they have been so angry at each other that parents battled their own children?

Cronus is the main reason. Gaia tells him that she’s heard of a prophecy that one of his children will overthrow him as King, but the prophecy doesn’t say which child. Shortly after, Cronus becomes a father when his wife, Rhea, gives birth to tiny Hestia, a goddess the size of a pea.

Cronus wonders, “Is this the child who shall overthrow me?” To his wife’s horror, he promptly gulps down the newborn, imprisoning her in his stomach. The next newborn, Demeter, lands in Cronus’s stomach a year later. Baby Hera, little Hades and lastly, infant Poseidon follow in due course.

Gaia does not approve of Cronus’s actions, but she loves all her children equally, including this wayward son. Always, she insists upon loving her children equally. And so she lets the evil of swallowing the children go on. It’s part of her downfall.

Desperate to keep at least one of her babies to hold and love, daughter Rhea begs Gaia to help her keep this next baby’s location a secret from Cronus. Gaia agrees and the newborn boy is cleverly hidden on the isle of Crete.

The little boy grows up hating his father Cronus for imprisoning his brothers and sisters. One night, he drugs Cronus and his father vomits forth the Olympians, now fully grown.

“Follow me,” cries Zeus, no longer a baby, “and we will take this world from the Titans!”

Thus the Gods of Olympus begin to tear Earth away from the old nature spirits who built it.

 

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Now, as a storyteller who tells old myths for adult audiences, I love this old zinger and will bring it to life from my ZOOM studio Sunday, July 19 at 7 pm EST. It’s a full evening’s entertainment, with a score on 12-string guitar and character voices, as usual.

In a first, however, joining me after the show will be Kari Kuelzer of Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, taking questions from the audience, which I’ll answer. I’ve told FALL OF THE TITANS live at her place a couple of times before and so we’ll see how this Zoom experiment goes.

Hope to have you in the audience!

–Odds Bodkin

 

FALL OF THE TITANS: An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time

Tickets: $15 for your meeting invitation and password

 

 

 

 

 

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GAIA’S SECRET WEAPON: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS Adult Storytelling July 19th on Zoom

You can feel your immense dragon wings folded flat against your mile-long body as you grind through the dark tunnels of Tartarus, Gaia’s subterranean womb. You, Typhon, are her secret killing machine, her ultimate monster. With your dragon heads and giant claws and your sheer immensity, she’s placed her last hopes for victory in you. Overhead, the war on Earth’s surface against the gods has been going on for ten years now, and Gaia is worried the Titans will soon be defeated. If that moment comes, she will free you through the Earth’s crust with one mission only: to swiftly grasp and kill the god Zeus. Only you, Typhon, are powerful enough to do it.

Zeus’s betrayal is especially bitter for Gaia, because it was she who saved him as a baby from Cronus, his father, who had devoured all Zeus’s siblings up until that point. It was she who had hidden newborn Zeus on Crete, far from Cronus’s seeking gaze. She’d secretly visited the young god and watched him grow up. He’d called her “grandmother dear,” and she’d loved that. In her wildest dreams she’d never imagined he was capable of such treachery.

He’d hidden his true powers from her all along.

Well, Typhon, now it is Gaia’s turn to be treacherous, because she has hidden you from Zeus. He has no idea you exist.

That will be a fatal mistake.


FALL OF THE TITANS: An Epic Tale from Greek Mythology

Adult Storytelling with Characters and Live Music by Odds Bodkin

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom

TICKETS: $15

 

SPONSORED BY GRENDEL’S DEN IN CAMBRIDGE, MA

THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE, ELDEST OF THE GODS–Mythology Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS Zoom Performance July 19th

 

Ouranos is a good guy. He’s the Titan of the Sky, after all, and father to Gaia the Earth Mother’s twelve perfect children. As one of the very first titans she created along with the mountains and the sea, Ouranos is flattered when Gaia asks him to become her king. He’s a gentle, protective father who revels in his children’s creative talents. He watches Oceanus turn the sea to salt, and Phoebe invent prophecy. Tethys creates streams and rivers. Hyperion invents the moon and sun. On and on. They’re a talented bunch. And yes, as they begin to marry one another, the whole thing is incestuous, but who else are the first beings supposed to mate with? It’s a myth, after all.

Tickets $15

When next a daughter, Rhea, is born, she has no obvious talent. She’s beautiful, but that’s about it. Ouranos even comments on Rhea’s mysterious lack of talent to Gaia, but she replies, “Not everything I make is perfect.”

Cronus, the last born of the twelve titan children, has no talent either, apparently, other than to covet everything he sees. He’s a greedy fellow who’s convinced he knows more than anybody else.

However, the real family-destroying problem arises when Gaia gives birth to a Cyclops. Although it’s just a baby, Ouranos knows it will grow up to be larger than any of the titans and will be very dangerous. “Why did you make that?” Ouranos asks her, shocked. Cooing at her baby monster, she replies, “Not everything I make is perfect.”

Things grow worse when she births two more Cyclopses and then three hideous, many-armed, many-headed beasts called Hecas, each the size of a mountain. After all, creating life is what she does and she can’t really control herself. All these monsters, once they grow up, will dominate the titans, Ouranos knows, and so he carves six prison cells into the rock walls of underground Tartarus and locks the screaming baby monsters inside them.

Tickets $15

“Free my children!” Gaia demands, but he refuses, claiming he doesn’t need her permission. This mistake proves terrible for Ouranos, because for the first time in her existence, Gaia grows angry. As volcanoes erupt and earthquakes shake the land, her calm, patient side vanishes and she plunges into a vengeful fury.

Deciding the Sky is no longer worthy of being her king, she sharpens a sickle and holds it up before her twelve children. “Who among you will castrate your father so that he is no longer king?” she roars. Horrified at the thought, eleven shake their heads. But then Cronus, he who covets power, asks, “If I do it, mother, will I become King of the Universe?” “Yes, my son, you will,” she replies.

As the story goes, Cronus ambushes Ouranos and does it, hurling his screaming father’s sex organs into the sea. A pink foam wells up from where they sank and upon it appears a seashell. The foam floats to shore, the shell opens, and out steps a tiny goddess, fully-grown and stunningly beautiful.

Thusly, from the sex of a fallen king, the sexiest goddess of them all is born, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.

She is the first Olympian god. At this point, no others have been born.

No one knows what to make of her.

 


FALL OF THE TITANS: An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Odds Bodkin

July 19, 2020 at 7 pm EST

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

SUNDAY JULY 19TH at 7 PM: Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS

From Odds Bodkin’s cave of magic comes a ZOOM performance that translates 100%: FALL OF THE TITANS.

Where did the Greek gods come from? Who were the Titans? Who was Gaia? Why did Cronus the Titan swallow his Olympian children? How did only Zeus survive?

Find out in a feature-length adult storytelling on Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm. Buy your ticket, get your ZOOM invitation and password, then sit back and watch elemental characters come to life. Greek lore explained with Celtic harp music, then a tale told with 12-string guitar.

Every seat is a front row seat.

A performance for adults. No young children please.

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA.

Tickets are $15.

Journey to the Ends of the Earth: 4 hours of The Odyssey

A hero’s journey like no other.

Narrated with live music on Celtic harp and 12-string guitar featuring 37 character voices.

Odds Bodkin’s 4-hour epic audio story, The Odyssey: An Epic Telling.

Odysseus. The Cyclops. Circe. The Sirens. Troy. Ithaca. The Underworld. The Isle of Cannibals. The Whirlpool. The Hall of Suitors. 42 episodes in all. 4 hours 8 minutes.

“a tour de force“–Dartmouth Department of Classics

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

Download it here for $49.95

 

Educational and Fun Stories from Cultures Around the World

Tales from ancient Greece, England, Denmark, South Africa, Russia, China, Native America, India, France, Japan, the good old USA and more. Told with characters, fun vocal effects and live acoustic music.

Award-Winning Odds Bodkin Stories.

Just because your body’s locked down, doesn’t mean your mind should be.

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THE ODYSSEY this Saturday Night/Odds Bodkin

THE ODYSSEY: A Storytelling Evening with Odds Bodkin. Show starts at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Older kids and teens welcome. Enjoy an immersion into Greek mythology you’ll never forget!

TICKETS are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.