A daughter of Gaea, Echo was an Oread Nymph from Greek mythology. It is said that she was so beautiful, she had to trick the god, Pan, in order to escape from his advances.
Zeus, who greatly desired to be with his lovers, needed a distraction for his wife, the goddess Hera. He took Echo into his confidence for she proved to be useful in distracting his wife because she could chatter on so. Zeus used Echo for his own gain, and most likely never gave a thought about what could happen to her if Hera were to find out.
It’s not known whether Hera simply got annoyed with Echo’s constant chattering, or if she did, indeed, find out Echo was helping Zeus. But Hera took away Echo’s ability to speak freely. From that moment on, Echo could only ever repeat what was spoken by another.
Echo then had the misfortune of falling in love with Narcissus, a young man so handsome that no one could resist him. She longed to speak to him, to tell him of the deep love she felt for him, but could only repeat his own words back to him. When he showed no interest in her, Echo was so broken hearted that she eventually faded away, and all that was left was the whisper of her voice, condemned to imitate, without feeling, the words of others for eternity.
Echo’s story is a difficult one. She allowed herself to be used by Zeus, a god known to be rather thoughtless and self-centered. He didn’t come to her rescue when Hera took her ability to speak, or take responsibility for his actions. He let Echo take the blame and the punishment.
She then gave her love to a man incapable of loving her back. Echo never loved again, and lives with the torment of being nothing more than a reflection of the words of others.
Echo’s story is a poignant reminder of the importance of integrity and self love. When you can’t say “no” or set boundaries, or get caught up in the wrong crowd, allow someone to use you, or someone refuses to see the beauty in you, and give you the love you deserve, the strength you need, your voice of truth, takes you out of that toxic situation.
Echo may no longer be able to speak her truth, but your own truth is always within you, waiting to be expressed. So speak now before your own voice is quieted, and you are doomed to simply be an echo for the voice of others.