Saturday, September 3, 2011
Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War
Athena was the state patroness Goddess of Athens in ancient Greece. The famous temple The Parthenon on the Acropolis was made in her honor and was said to house an enormous statue of Athena inside. She was seen as a Goddess of wisdom, courage, strength and war. The myth of her birth is quite interesting. Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. Once Zeus found out Metis was pregnant with a girl, when if she had been pregnant with a boy, the child would have been more powerful, he was raged. So he tricked Metis and ended up swallowing her. Soon after, Zeus became plagued with horrendous headaches, so he ran to Hephaestus, the Smith God, and asked him to open his head. So he opened Zeus's head and out popped Athena fully grown and ready for battle.
To quote J. E. Harrison, a British classical scholar and feminist, Athena's birth "is a desperate theological expedient to rid her of matriarchal conditions". This was a time when the male power was taking over, and this myth shows their force of dominance. This would give the males more authority and power since the act of giving birth is only part of the feminine make up. All the same, she was still a very powerful and loved Goddess in ancient Greece.
Often depicted with a bronze helmet and a spear, Athena was talented in many different areas including crafts. She was said to have invented the trumpet, was a master weaver and maker of metal work weapons. She was said to lead battles and help many heroes such as Odysseus and Heracles. She was also a virgin Goddess. Her sacred animal is the owl and her beloved Ericthonius, her serpent. Athena became foster mother to this snake when Hephaestus tried to rape her, but she got away, and his semen fell to the earth and impregnated Gaia, who then gave birth to Ericthonius. Some of her statues often depict her with this serpent along with her spear and helmet. I actually saw two of these statues in the Vatican museum when we were in Italy this past Spring.
Call on Athena when you need wisdom in your own life. Or the strength and courage to overcome any battles, inner our outer. She can teach us to be strong and confident in ourselves in the face of adversity. To learn how to form our inner strength and make us wiser in the end. Also call on her when making crafts.
Her sacred tree in the Olive tree, sacred animals are the owl and the serpent. On your altar to Athena, have colors of silver red and white, crystals of azurite and lapis lazuli, A picture or statue of the Goddess, some olive oil, representation of an owl or serpent, and/or an athame.
Enjoy gaining some of your strength and wisdom from this powerful Greek Goddess!
For more on this great Goddess check out Paleothea.com and Theoi.com
Photo courtesy of HranaJanto.com
Posted by Tara at 6:36 AM