Scylla’s daughter (in my stories for neither Homer nor Aristotle placed a kinship between the two sea monsters) is Charybdis. She lived in the Strait of Messina, close to her mother. Whenever a ship would wander too close to the rock she lived beneath, Charybdis would create a whirlpool, which sent the sailors to tacking away from her but directly into her mother’s path. Then, Scylla would eat them. The phrase, ‘between Scylla and Charybdis’ means having to choose between two dangers, neither option is pleasant. Sometimes we say, ‘between a rock and a hard place.’ This also refers to Charybdis, who lived beneath a rock and Scylla, whose appetite could only be appeased by snacking on sailors, who lived on the promontory which jutted out into the sea.
Charybdis, as I’ve imagined her, is a very shy young woman who still retains her good looks from the waist up. From the waist down, she has the figure of an octopus. Some say Zeus cursed her, some say Circe (the same witch who cursed her mother and the gorgon sisters), but I’m not so sure. Rather, I think Charybdis was halfway dragged into a toxic cess pool, but saved by some gallant soul, so that half of her is damaged, while the other half is healthy.
This split, literally in two, appeals to the Three Fates, for as Bellerophon tells us, the Fate never bestow a blessing without it also containing a curse. In life, there is good and bad which resides together in the same vessel. There is light and dark in every one of us. I’ve chosen to portray Charybdis in this way because I wanted her to be a visual representation of the two halves forming together to make a coherent whole.
Charybdis will never claim she was cursed because she’s never considered herself to be a victim. She’s tough, but caring. Kind and sarcastic. Shy, but no pushover. She’s loyal without being blinded by it.
In short, I consider Charybdis to be as close to perfect as any human can be. Too bad she’s not human.