The Myth of the Pegasus

My seven-year-old is obsessed with My Little Pony, as many children and adults are. For Halloween, she wants to be Twilight Sparkle but also a witch. So, I ordered her a Twilight Sparkle costume and got her a witch hat. She was so delighted at the costume reveal that she gave me a TED Talk about the importance of My Little Ponies.

As she spoke to her captive audience (me, unable to move or speak because she kept forcing back into my seat), she romped around the room. She jumped in place, leapt off the furniture (when will she ever learn?), rolled around on the floor, and spun in circles. She was that level of excited about My Little Pony.

“Twilight Sparkle is my favorite because she’s an allicorn. That’s a pegasus and a unicorn,” she said. “Now, she’s a princess too, because she has pony strength.”

“Do you want to be an allicorn?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I’m a pegasus. I wouldn’t want to be anything other than what I am.”

As I watched my child gallop around the living room, pretending her arms were wings, I had to admit she had a good point. My daughter, nicknamed Danger Girl by our family, has an adventurous spirit and so much more energy than I’ve ever had in my entire life. I love that she wants to be as true to herself as she can be.

So, in honor of my daughter’s choice of magical equines, this month’s post is about the myth of the Pegasus and how it has evolved over time.

The Myth of the Pegasus

The origin of the Pegasus breaks my heart. I will skim this part because it led me down a rabbit hole that provided enough fuel for next month’s topic. I’ll save most of the ranty parts for that. Suffice it to say, it’s very sad that the Pegasus was born because Perseus, one of his most famous riders, chopped off the head of his mother, Medusa.

Plate 41: Perseus Killing Medusa by Antonio Tempesta (Anguiparum Meduse caput praescundit Perseus), from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ (1606). Accession number: 51.501.3892

Just the look on Pegasus’s face in the image above pretty much spells out how I felt learning this. He wasn’t born alone. He had a twin brother named Chrysaor, who had a human man’s appearance and carried a golden sword. From everything I read about Pegasus’s encounters with men, this was possibly the only one who deserved any of the winged horse’s time.

Man and Pegasus by C. Milles Millesgarden — This is how I imagine it looked when Pegasus and Chrysaor were born out of their mother’s bleeding neck. Note Chrysaor isn’t riding his brother.

Athena (who cursed Medusa with snake hair and the ability to freeze men with her gaze, because Poseidon raped her) tamed Pegasus and gave him to Perseus so that he could rescue a princess and marry her. Then she helped the Greek “hero” Bellerophon trap Pegasus. Bellerophon rode him on many adventures and into multiple battles. His pride got the best of him eventually, and he tried to ride Pegasus to Olympus. Unfortunately for Bellerophon, he fell off and died. Pegasus, however, made it to Olympus just fine.

Athena and Pegasus by Theodoor van Thulden

Zeus seemed to have liked Pegasus. So he tasked the winged stallion with carrying his lightning bolts. He also gave him a pretty cushy situation as a companion to the Muses. Perhaps this is why so many artists, musicians, and writers have found the Pegasus inspiring — or maybe it’s because he’s a pretty horse that has wings and flies. Of the revived Greek myths explored during the Renaissance, Pegasus was beloved and quite popular. Thanks to that, the concept of a Pegasus survived to the modern day, where there isn’t just one Pegasus, a pure white stallion with equally pale wings, but a variety of them in shapes, sizes, and colors. We have Pegasi now.

The Poet On Pegasus Entering the Realm of the Muses by Elbridge Kingsley

Tales of the Outlaw Mages

Tales of the Outlaw Mages by Amy Campbell

Last year, I had the honor and pleasure to beta read one of Amy Campbell‘s drafts of her debut novel, Breaker. It was a book about a part fantasy, part wild west world, where mages must flee to the untamed desert or risk becoming enslaved or murdered. Mavericks are mages on the run, but if they work against the Confederation trying to enslave them, people call them outlaw mages.

That, in and of itself, made this first book in the Tales of the Outlaw Mages series intriguing. However, guess what outlaw mages ride. That’s right! Pegasi! Campbell has a lifetime fondness of all equine creatures (some might call it an obsession). She’s so creative in combining types of horses and birds to describe truly unique pegasi in a believable way. These pegasi have personalities, desires, and ambitions of their own. The outlaw mages who ride them aren’t their masters. It’s like the pegasi are their familiars, and choose who gets to be their rider. I love that Campbell gave this much autonomy to the often manipulated pegasi.

Amy Campbell’s creativity extends far past her descriptions of pegasi. I would dare say Breaker was one of the best books published this year. Her world-building, magic system (so many kinds of mages!), creatures, and characters are unlike anything you will find in any other book.

So, when I was offered a free, advanced copy of the second book in the Tales of the Outlaw Mages series, Effigest, I jumped at it. I just finished reading it yesterday, and somehow it was even better than the first book. The story naturally progressed from the previous one, without confusing someone who may not remember all the details of Breaker.

More than a fantastic plot and characters I had fully invested in, it’s very clear that Amy Campbell isn’t just a writer. She’s a librarian and a reader, too. Her formatting of this book is so reader-friendly that I’ve decided to go back and reformat my own books. There’s a map, of course, at the beginning, but also a pronunciation guide of all the most important people, places, and terms. Every change in point of view comes with a scene break, headed with the name of the character it focuses on. In the back, she lists the music that belongs to each character. So, if you’re a reader who enjoys setting the mood with music, she’s got you covered. Amy Campbell doesn’t just write books — she writes experiences.

After such a glowing review, you may wonder how much Amy paid me. The answer is that she exchanged the gift of a free ebook for my honest opinion. These books are so good that, even though I was given the ebooks free of charge, I spent money to get the physical copies on my bookshelf. If you enjoy westerns, fantasy, or both, you should check out Breaker (more info and links for purchase here). Once you’re done with that, you will want to swipe up Effigest, which will be available on November 1st, 2021 (more info and links for purchase here).

One day, when my seven-year-old has progressed from reading My Little Pony books and moved on to adult books, I’ll be more than happy to place these in her hands.

Did you like reading this? Then, you’ll love my book!

Struggling With the Current is the first book in The Telverin Trilogy, a story about an exiled princess who finds herself in a terrifying world with equally frightening powers.

Read the Beginning Now!

Click on the download button below to receive the prologue and first chapter.

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Princess Eya’s life changes forever with the discovery of the Statue of the Goddess Winds, just as she’s coming of age. The long-overlooked kingdom of Hicares finds itself in a war it isn’t prepared for against the far more powerful empire of Pescel. To survive, Eya must flee her home, losing everything and everyone she loves in the process.

Yet, by leaving behind all she’s ever known, she learns that her sheltered life didn’t prepare her for the real world’s strange and frightening nature. She encounters people, places, and creatures beyond anything she ever imagined, along with sinister enemies from every direction. Perhaps her most surprising revelation is that she is developing terrifying powers of her own. Will Eya be able to find happiness in her new life, or will she continue struggling with the current?

Struggling With the Current is the first book of The Telverin Trilogy, a fantasy war story that takes place between several countries in the world of Telverin.

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