Circe

Circe was the daughter of the Titan Helios. She used magical potions to transform her enemies, and those who offended her, into animals. She was renowned for her knowledge of drugs and herbs. In Homer 's Odyssey , she lived in a stone mansion in the middle of a clearing in a dense wood. Lions and wolves, the drugged victims of her magic, prowled around her home. They were not considered dangerous.

When Glaucus (an object of Circe's affection) declared his undying love for Scylla, Circe turned her into a monstrous creature with six dogs' heads. This is the tale described in the JW Waterhouse image used as the basis for the modern story.

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I thought that Circe, with her knowledge of chemistry and a history of using poisons, would be the ideal character to emphasize how many additives there are in our food supply. Originally, I had intended to list the additives in the water flowing from the bowl. That would be scary enough. So imagine my horror when I discovered that there are over FOUR THOUSAND compounds approved for use in various stages of food production.

The 50 to 60 additives and chemicals that I've used here are just some of the ones specific to fruit. So why in earth are we ingesting SPERM OIL?

Inspired by JW Waterhouse's "Circe" 1892
Oil on canvas 71 x 34.5 inches (181 x 87.4 cm)
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

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