Eos is generally pictured as a beautiful young woman, with pale skin and golden hair. Often she is shown with wings and wearing a saffron-colored robe, for the sun. Flowers are commonly in paintings of her as well, and she wears a tiara or diadem. Sometimes she is shown driving a golden chariot pulled by winged horses.
Eos is not one of the major deities of ancient Greece, but she does figure in a great deal of poetry. Her parents are either Hyperion (Titan, lord of light) and Theia (a Titan of brightness) or Pallas (a Titan associated with war) and Styx (the river to the underworld). Thus Eos is a second-generation Titan goddess. Regardless of her parentage, it is generally agreed that her brother is Helios (the sun) and her sister is Selene (the moon).
In the myths that center around Eos, the primary concern is the lovers she takes up with. Her first love, and the one that may have caused her much grief, was Ares. This made Aphrodite jealous, and some sources say that Aphrodite cursed Eos to be a nymphomaniac. Eos moved on from Ares and fell in love with Orion, a handsome giant and renowned hunter. However, he was transformed into a constellation by Artemis. Another lover was Cephalus. Eos kidnapped him and took him to Syria. Cephalus was married to a woman named Procris, but he and Eos had three children from the affair, two of which were Phaeton and Hesperus.
The last lover is the most notable. Tithonus became Eos’ final consort. She loved him so much that she begged Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality, so he could stay with her forever–but she forgot to ask for eternal youth as well. Tithonus lived so long that he became the size of an insect, and the gods took pity on him and transformed him into a grasshopper. Eos bore Tithonus two sons: Memnon and Emathion.
Light and Dark Sides
This goddess is particularly interesting to me. The more I consider her, the more I find to fascinate.
Eos is the goddess of new light. Part of her domain includes new beginnings, emergence from the darkness, and vibrancy and vitality. To me, she speaks of youthfulness and young energy. The dawn is the start of a new day; it makes sense that as goddess of the new day, she is in charge of new beginnings. And with the myth of Tithonus as an example, I can even see how that myth relates to her youthfulness–she didn’t think through her idea, a common ailment of the young, and neglected the youth that she could have commanded.
On the other hand, some of her mythos doesn’t make as much sense. Why would a goddess of the dawn be so involved in tales wrapped with sexuality and/or love? OK, as a goddess of new beginnings, I could maybe see how a new relationship every month would fit the bill, but I don’t see what that aspect has to do with her function–yet the sex and love aspects are largely what are focused on in the myths.
On the Light side, she would be great to call on for vibrant energy. If you have a new beginning you want to make, I could see calling on her. On the Dark side, she seems a bit rash, not thinking things through enough. And I could even see how her energy might be a bit overwhelming at times, maybe be a bit much to handle because it’s so vibrant and radiant and energetic.
Still, all in all, I don’t see any huge negative effects of her, so I’m putting her on the Light side of the deity spectrum.