Gods can be cruel. For those of you who don’t know the tale of Cassandra, see here. In short, the sun god Apollo gifted Cassandra with the ability to see the future, but when this act of generosity failed to open her legs, he spitefully twisted the gift into a curse. Cassandra was left with the knowledge of future events, but could neither alter these events nor convince others of the validity of her predictions.
The sun literally shone out of Apollo’s butt. He treated her as an object to be pursued, and then grew sour of the game and threw his toys out of the pram. All in all, a typical deity, always used to getting his own way. Fortunately for Cassandra, when gods make proclamations they tend to be showoffs, letting everyone know, so rescinding a gift would entail a terrible loss of face. This is why hot-buns Apollo added the spiteful small print to the deal rather than taking it away entirely. I guess they think it makes them seem clever rather than petulant. Anyway, Cassandra realised pretty quick the power of the prophetic gift: It was much more than the cryptic Delphic proclamations in clarity and extent. Apollo had really fallen for her after all, and hadn’t held back when flashing his wad, so to speak. He had hideously underestimated her brain however: No sooner had she received the gift of future sight then she had scouted out the skeins of time. She saw the BAD THINGS that would happen when Apollo tired of her, so she continued to search instead for a solution to her divine dilemma. How do you say ‘no’ to a god who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer?
It took a while, and a great deal of courage as she swiftly realised the extent of her predicament and that her choices were drastically limited. She cried a great deal for days, at all the suffering she would have to endure, but rather than kill herself she held onto the good things she knew she would be able to accomplish. She still had a choice. She sent a prayer to Apollo inviting him to visit in a week’s time, giving her time to come to terms with her fate and prepare.
Step one of her plan involved the threat. When Apollo came to her expecting to get laid, all radiant in the best divine oils, perfumes and little else, she ignored him. When he started setting fire to her bed to try and get her attention, she said to him that she would tell everybody about IT. The really embarrassing thing that was going to happen to him in the future. His response was, unsurprisingly for Cassandra, to force her to keep her revelations to herself. He stormed off in a flaming huff, leaving Cassandra nearly dead, but she lived. As she knew she would.
Step two was to spread the rumours about how awful her curse was, and how terrible her existence was, and how she longed for the release of death. Again, Apollo took every opportunity to twist the knife, forcing her to live forever as a warning to those foolish enough to cross the gods. He failed to notice the smile quirking at the corner of her angst ridden face however. She could have gone on playing him, but she knew that although stupid, he wasn’t completely foolish. Enough was enough, and with her protective myth established, she could get down to business.
Step three, and all the steps after that were relatively easy. After all, she had made her choice, and from then on it was just a matter of walking the path she had chosen for herself. True, it was horrible when she could not convince her family to leave the city when the disaster struck, and so she had to leave them to their terrible fate. It was agonising holding the potential for salvation in her hands and to be unable to warn people of their respective dooms. The saving grace was that although she could not prevent events from happening, or tell people about them, she could still profit from her foresight via shrewd investment. Also, she could mitigate the disasters somewhat by employing this accrued personal wealth and tactful precautionary measures.
So, Cassandra lives on. She has fingers in many pies, countless global corporations and projects, funds and trusts. She has changed her name, faked her own death and relocated many times, but still she remains one of the most powerful shadowy illuminati the world has never seen. She has never quite got over her dislike of gods and religions however, and is likely responsible for some of the anti-religious sentiments flourishing today. That, and several remarkably well preserved museum artefacts depicting a particular Greek god with tiny genitalia…