Cassandra’s Dilemma

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The ancient Greek mythology entitled “Cassandra’s Dilemma” tells the story of a mere mortal, Cassandra, the most beautiful woman ever to have lived in the times when the Gods interacted directly with humans on the physical plane.

Apollo, the most powerful and most handsome of the sons of Zeus, took one look at Cassandra and fell immediately in love. He then set about to marry her. It would be the first ever marriage between a mortal and a God. When Cassandra’s girlfriends learned that Apollo was in love with her, they envied her greatly. “Oh, he is the most divine of the Gods,” her girlfriends cooed. “You are the most fortunate of all mortals to have a true God in love with you and wish to marry.”

Yet during the initial courtship, Cassandra would have nothing to do with him. Cassandra was not impressed with Apollo and his God-sized ego. “He’s soooo arrogant, he’s cocky and an incredible narcissist,” she reported to her girlfriends the day after. “All he talks about is how great he is and how lucky I am for him to be in love with me,” she recalled. “And besides, I only marry for love and I could never love someone as self-centered, arrogant, cocky and conceited as Apollo!”

Upon learning of Cassandra’s comments, Apollo flew into rage. No women, goddess or mortal had ever denied him like this before. “Who is she to defy the love of Apollo?” he spoke aloud to the heavens. “She has no idea what honor I am bestowing upon her with my love and affection,” he proclaimed. “I will win her love or she will suffer my wrath for such indolence and disrespect!” he announced to all.

Back in ancient Greek times, Gods could take human form. So on Apollo’s next visit to Earth he had a surprise for Cassandra. “Cassandra,” Apollo began in a soft, loving tone, “You are the most beautiful of all women that Greece has ever born, and I choose you as my wife to rule at my side in the heavens.” He then leaned over and gave her a long, passionate kiss. With that kiss, he breathed into her lungs with his breath the Gift of Prophecy, the non-mortal ability to see into the future, that only God’s possessed.

With Cassandra’s new visionary power, she was able to win every time at the local chariot races and she became very wealthy. She was able to advise her girlfriends as to who were appropriate suitors as well as prevent injury and illness to many in her village of Troy. In short time, she fell for Apollo and agreed to be his bride. The wedding was set and it was to be the grandest of all weddings that had ever been, since no God had ever set to marry a mere mortal before.

The day of the wedding was like no other. The Pantheon was laid out in glorious rose bouquets, while the highest priest of all Gods, Zeus, Apollo’s father, would marry them at the altar.

Neptune, the God of Ocean, Music and Wisdom would lead the musical ensemble while Demeter tended to the fresh garden food that would be served. The big day arrived and Apollo took his place on the right hand of his father, Zeus, on the altar.

The music began as the bridesmaids lead Cassandra down the processional aisle. Yet just as she left her vestibule, she stopped and turned to her maid of honor and declared simply. “I can’t marry him!” she continued, “I promised myself that I only will marry for true love and in my heart of hearts I truly do not love Apollo. Please go tell him that there will be no wedding.” She then turned quickly and returned to her bridal room alone.

Her Maid of Honor sadly delivered the devastating news to Apollo in front of all the other Gods and mere mortals and all Hell broke loose. Upon hearing the news, Apollo flew in a rage, blowing gust of winds that destroyed the wedding altar and in his fury brought down bolts of lightning and booming sounds of angry thunder.

He then descended down the vestibule where Cassandra sat to confront the only mortal ever to deny a God in such an embarrassing manner. As he approached, Cassandra sat stoically and calm, assured she had made the right decision. “How dare you embarrass me in front of all the Gods, you mere mortal!” he shouted at her. “You have no right to deny me.”

“Oh, I see,” Cassandra calmly replied, “You are more worried about saving face with your Gods than your love for me. She took a deep breath and measured here next words carefully. “Now I know you have just confirmed that I have made the right decision not to marry you, Apollo. It’s over.” Apollo then tried everything he could to change Cassandra’s mind, yet finally came to realize that he had lost her for good and there would never be a wedding.

In desperation he made one last plea to her, “Cassandra, give me one last kiss, and I will be out of your life forevermore.” “I’ll do it,” she retorted in exasperation, “I’ll do anything just to get you to leave me alone.”

So Apollo leaned in and gave her one last kiss. As their lips touched, he breathed into her one last spell, that no matter what she said going forward with her powers of prophecy, no one would believe a word she was saying for the rest of her days. Cassandra had to live out the rest of her life knowing her parents and her home of Troy was going to be overrun and all killed by King Agamemnon and his Greek Army as she tried in desperation and vain to halt the slaughter of her loved ones.

She lived the rest of her full life in guilt and shame for not being able to save her family, friends and community from death and disaster.

This is known in mythology as “Cassandra’s Dilemma.”

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