Other Names:”Lord”, “God of Beauty”
Deity: Osiris, Tammuz, Attis
Herbs: Myrrh, Anemone
Magic: Beauty, vegetation and growth, cycle of life, death and rebirth
Family & Other Connections
Mortal son of King Cinyras of Cyprus (or alternatively Theias, the king of Assyria) and his daughter, Myrrha.
Adonis and Aphrodite had a daughter, Beroe, whom both Poseidon and Dionysus fell in love with. Adonis was also romantically linked with Apollo, and said to have been in a secret relationship with him at the same time that he was involved with Aphrodite.
Information & Stories
Adonis was born from the myrrh tree that his mother, Myrrha, was transformed into. He grew into an incredibly handsome youth and when the goddess Aphrodite found him, she was captivated by his beauty and asked Persephone to care for him until he was older. Persephone came to love him as well, and refused to return him to Aphrodite once he was fully grown. The dispute between the goddesses was settled by Zeus who decreed that Adonis should spend one third of every year with Persephone, one third with Aphrodite and the remaining third he could spend where he pleased; he chose to spend it with Aphrodite.
Adonis was killed by a wild boar, although there are several stories relating to how exactly this happened. Some say that it was sent by Artemis as revenge for Aphrodite causing the death of Hippolyta, or simply because she was jealous of Adonis’ hunting skills. Others say the boar was Ares the god of war, who was jealous of Aphrodite’s love for Adonis. Another story says it was Apollo who sent the boar to punish Aphrodite for blinding his son Erymanthus.
Adonis died in Aphrodite’s arms, and she sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone. It is said to be Adonis’ blood that turns the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring. In some stories Adonis is revived, and he is then allowed to spend half the year with Aphrodite, and half with Persephone.
The Greeks celebrated Adonia, a festival to mourn the death of Adonis, participated in solely by women. Later sources added that they would also celebrate his resurrection although it is not clear if this was in the same festival or on a separate date.
The Greek women would also make “Adonis Gardens” by sowing quick-growing seeds into shallow trays or pots. These gardens would quickly spring into life before dying back, symbolising Adonis’ life and death.