Suada: Goddess of Lust and Seduction
The Theriomorphs believe not only in a deity that represents love but also a second deity who embodies the darker sides of desire including lust and seduction. This division is not commonly found in world mythologies but is applicable to the religion of the shape shifters in The Incarn Saga.
Suada and her twin brother Shennue were born from a vile act—the rape of the goddess, Slypher, by the God of Love, Himeros. This foul deed twisted the offspring into deities with unsavory attributes. Shennue became the god of mischief and mayhem, while Suada embodied her father’s defilement of love and became the goddess of desire, lust, and seduction. Unable to enjoy the purity found in an intimate relationship, she eternally pursues carnal desire with whatever mortal or god that catches her fancy.
The Hindu goddess Rati represents lust, passion, carnal desire, love, and sexual pleasure. She is also the partner to the god of love, Kama. Although there are myths in which she seduces men, she never gives them her body and thus remains chaste for her husband. In Norse mythology, Freya is the goddess linked to many stories involving seduction and sexual pleasure. She was known to have slept with many a god as well as other beings for her own benefit. Freya is also lusted after by those whom she does not fancy. There is one tale where the jötunn (giant) called Ϸrymr steals Thor’s (god of thunder) hammer and will only return it if he can wed Freya. Thor, with the cunning aid of Loki, the god of mischief, retrieves the hammer through trickery and then slays the jötunn saving Freya from that fate.
Though not necessarily viewed as an evil goddess, one narrative about Aphrodite (Venus) of Greco-Roman myths illustrates how desire can influence mankind. In the story of Paris and the golden apple, the young man is given the prized fruit and told to select among three goddesses the one he deems fairest. All three strip down to let him inspect them. Since all are deities, each one is unnaturally beautiful. As Paris struggles to make his decision, the goddesses begin offering bribes. Hera says she will make Paris king over all Asia and Europe, Athena promises wisdom and skill in battle, while Aphrodite says she will give him the most beautiful woman in the world. Being a young man, Paris is enticed by Aphrodite’s offer and gives the apple to her. Unfortunately, he does not realize that the most beautiful woman in the world is Helen (later of Troy) who is married to Menelaus, a Greek king. This sets in motion the Trojan War where most of the greatest heroes of Greek myth die during the ten-year conflict.
Though those deities share similarities with Suada, one other being from myth and lore influenced the genesis of this goddess: succubi. These demonic female entities seduce men, and through their physical interaction, cause mental deterioration or even death of their unfortunate lovers. In Suada’s case, those seduced by her are ill-prepared for the distressing results.
Lofn is the alias Suada uses when she does not want to be recognized by mankind. She is never afraid to use her body for the purpose of manipulation and is incapable of deep compassion for those who fall under her spell. In Theriomorph myth, she soon becomes bored with trivial figures and turns her attention to Ullr, God of War. Using her talents, she seduces him. As a result, Ullr loses Issaura’s affection and is never able to regain it.
Somewhat cold and calculating, Suada’s dual form—the emerald anaconda—represents her well. The anaconda is a predator which lays in wait for unsuspecting prey that it strangles before consuming whole. Suada’s heart is frigid, and she is unable to develop a true emotional connection. This pairs well with her reptilian form which needs heat and light to continually warm her and allows her to act quickly. Old beliefs and superstitions suggesting serpents hypnotize their prey into submission fit this goddess who exerts her power over those of the opposite sex.
The beguiled and captivated man trapped under Suada’s control is unfortunate. So, too, is the woman or goddess that must combat Suada for the man she loves.