Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Hera was the chief goddess, queen and ancestral mother of Ancient Greece long before Zeus entered Greece.
When the patriarchal tribes of the north descended into Hera's land they brought with them their sky god, Zeus. Because Hera's religion was to strong to utterly destroy, a marriage of convenience was forged between the two predominate divinities. Thus the Hera of classical times emerged.
In spite of her objections, Zeus desired her and being the cheat, trickster and womanizer that he was he transformed himself into Hera's favorite bird as a bedraggled cuckoo.
The story goes that as she comforted the poor bird, it transformed itself back into Zeus who promptly raped her.. Children ensued and Zeus took off to harass, trick and rape other women.
Myths tell us Hera grew tired of all of his philandering and she organized a heavenly revolt against the tyrant. She and the other Olympians tied him to his bed and mocked him. After freeing himself he in turn bound Hera to the sky.
Over time Hera has been reduced into the shrewish wife and she diminished in importance.
Eventually she would take a retreat into solitude.
Ancient Hera passed through the three stages of life as we all do: youth, prime and age.
As a maiden she was known as Parthenia, as a mature woman Teleia, and as a woman who has passed through and beyond maternity and lives again to herself she was called Theira.
There are three symbols associated to Hera and the three stages of life.
The cuckoo in her maidenhood, the peacock and the color blue in her womanhood and the pomegranate in her time as the crone of autumn.
If there is a goddess of feminism, it surely must be Hera.
I have come to know that strong women are misinterpreted, that not being heard tends to make one shrill and most importantly, that having power and inner authority can bolster one's self respect and confidence in who one is and what one can do and achieve.
Let us sing now of Hera, the women's goddess!
Much of my information was taken from P. Monagham's book The Goddess Path.