Who is Caerus?

Why Caerus for an artist residency? Artists can create time and opportunity for art by dedication. The Greek God Caerus personifies the best of what we invoke when we go to our studios to work.

Caerus, God of Opportunity. Catch him if you can!

Caerus (KY-russ) or Kairos was the spirit (daimon) of opportunity, the youngest divine son of Zeus. He was depicted as a youth with a long lock of hair hanging down from his forehead, which indicated that Opportunity could only be grasped as he approached. He was bald in back, so you couldn’t catch him as he was leaving. Even Zeus couldn’t catch him the moment after he flew by, because opportunity, like love (Eros), is stronger than even the top god.

His name means opportunity, time or season. He’s “the due measure that achieves the aim.” This god brings about what is ” convenient, fit, and comes in the right moment. “Sometimes it could be the critical or dangerous moment, but more often Caerus represents the advantageous, or favorable occasion, season, or “weather.”  So he brings luck in its season, after work, but also unexpectedly, like the changes in weather.

You have to be poised to catch the moment, as Caerus is. He’s often shown standing on a globe in perfect balance, carrying a razor to show the infinitely narrow moment, or scales, so he can tip them in your favor.  He’s the changeable weather, which nonetheless brings perfect days, if we are prepared to catch them. And he’s married to Fortuna, or prosperity. What could be better for artists?

Caerus has been treasured since ancient Greece and Rome, and survives in the Middle Ages poem Carmina Burana.  I think a 21st century name for Caerus might be “flow” in y Mihály Csíkszentmihályi‘s positive psychology.  The theological meaning of Kairos is sacred time, time out of time: a time for art.  The metaphorical implications of this little-known god are  profound for artists.  Beauty is always opportune, as the ancients said.  Catch him if you can!

Suzanne Edminster

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