Meet the Goddesses!

There are many Goddess myths in Greek mythology, some of them conflicting.  Here are the most popular stories about the Goddesses.

hera nuggetHera

 

Hera is the Queen of Heaven and the Goddess of marriage and power.  She is the most beautiful of all the Goddesses.  Hers is the realm of leadership, responsibility, social morality, tradition, and integrity of the family.

Hera is the wife of Zeus, King of the Gods, but she was the Queen of Heaven long before their marriage.  Zeus tricked her into marrying him by changing into a freezing cuckoo.  When she held him close to warm him, he changed back into a man and seduced her.  Their honeymoon lasted 300 years.

After the honeymoon, Zeus went back to the philandering ways he had been known for.  To defend her marriage and her honor, Hera punished Zeus’ lovers and their children.  This has earned Hera a reputation as a jealous and vindictive Goddess, but it may be said that she chose to respect her wedding vows and remain loyal to her husband.

Hera reminds us to stand for what we know is right, even in the face of scorn, and to be faithful to those we love.

AphroditeAphrodite

 

Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, was formed when the Titan Cronus cut off his father Uranus’ genitals and threw them into the sea.  She floated ashore in a scallop shell onto the island of Cyprus.  Her incredible beauty inspired the islanders to adorn her with jewels and take her to Mount Olympus.

Zeus awarded Aphrodite to his even-tempered but homely and lame son Hephaestus, God of the Forge.  Hephaestus was overjoyed at being married to the Goddess of Love and made fabulous presents for her, including a magic girdle that made her totally irresistible.  Aphrodite was bored with her marriage and had countless affairs, bearing many children by various gods and mortals.

Aphrodite brings love, romance and beauty into the world.  She is the patroness of artists, poets, musicians, and all who are creative and imaginative.  She is passionate, generous, and friendly, and brings us awareness of the power of sensuality and romance.

Artemis nuggetArtemis

 

Artemis, the Moon Goddess, is the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo.  She was the midwife for her mother Leto, helping to deliver Apollo a few minutes after she herself was born.

On her third birthday, Zeus asked Artemis what she wanted.  She responded immediately: a bow and arrow like Apollo’s; a hunting outfit and freedom from dressing like a lady; to not have to get married; sixty nymphs to have as hunting companions; and all the mountains of the earth to live on.

Artemis enjoys both leadership and solitude, highly valuing her privacy and independence.  Hers is the role of bringing light into the darkness.  She protects young and gentle animals, and is one of the most compassionate and healing Goddesses.

Artemis lights the way for us as the Moon Goddess, illuminating our inner darkness and bringing us to safety.

Demeter nuggetDemeter

 

Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, is the most ancient Goddess.  She brings fertility to the land, and is the Goddess of motherhood and the cycles of nature.

Demeter had several children, among them Persephone, daughter of Zeus.  While Persephone was a young girl, she was stolen by Hades, God of the Underworld.  Demeter searched ceaselessly for Persephone.  When she found out that Zeus had allowed the kidnapping she left her divine duties, plunging the world into winter, and went in secret to Eleusis.  A servant there told her dirty jokes, which brought Demeter out of her dark depression.  She soon became governess for the child of the city rulers.  When she revealed her identity, a temple was built in her honor.

Eventually Persephone was released so that Demeter would restore fertility to the earth.  Every year Persephone returns to the Underworld for four months, and Demeter’s mourning brings winter during that time.

Demeter returned to her temple and developed the Eleusinian Mysteries to teach humans how to live in joy and to die without fear.  She reminds us to nurture ourselves and others.

Athena nuggetAthena

 

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, came into the world by leaping, full-grown, from Zeus’ head, dressed in armor and waving a spear.  She became his advisor, and was his favorite daughter, entrusted to use his thunderbolts and magic shield.

Athena is the champion of heroes.  While she tends to favor men over women, she is well known for her diplomacy and keen intelligence.  She protects the city-state and assists the courageous.  She is a superb strategist who wins every battle.  Hers is the realm of practical crafts, education, literary arts, science, technology, and civilization.

Athena has given many inventions to humans, including the olive tree, sailing ship, plow, yoke, bridle, flute, trumpet; cooking, weaving, spinning, embroidery, pottery, sculpting, metalsmithing, architecture, philosophy, and the science of numbers! She reminds us to honor our intellect and the unlimited power of our creativity.

Persephone nuggetPersephone

 

Persephone, Goddess of Death, is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus.  As a young girl she was abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld.  While she missed her mother during her captivity, she came to love Hades and her role as Queen of the Underworld.

Demeter’s mourning for her daughter plunged the world into everlasting winter, so eventually Zeus commanded Hades to release Persephone so that Demeter would restore fertility to the earth.  Before letting her go, Hades convinced Persephone to eat several pomegranate seeds.  By eating the seeds Persephone bound herself to the Underworld forever.

For four months each year Persephone visits her realm in the Underworld, and Demeter’s grief brings winter to the earth.  Because fertility is restored to the world when Persephone returns, she is associated with awakening and transformation.  This contrasts with her role as Queen of the Underworld, helping souls in their transition into death.

Persephone is the Goddess of the spirit world, dreams, mysticism, psychic phenomena, mediumship, separation and loss, and transformation.  She represents innocence and experience, child and Queen, light and dark, life and death. She reminds us to honor the paradox within us all.