Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Learning From The Greek Gods: Hera

In continuing my series Learning From The Greek Gods that has been ongoing since at least 2015, I would today like to talk about lovely Hera, our beautiful Queen of Heaven and Gods. Symbolized by the gorgeous peacock of earth, She is the wife of Zeus and the Goddess of Women and Marriage. Sometimes, Her name is also spelled HERE. Being Queen, She is also known as the Goddess of Goddesses, just as Her husband is known as the God of all Gods. Since ancient times, Zeus has been addressed as Father because of His Supremacy, and therefore, I also refer to Hera as Mother in Her Supremacy. However, the marvelous Queen was worshiped for far more than just Her typically-known attributes. In the Orphic Hymn, She is prayed to as a Goddess of rain, wind, pleasant breezes, and a giver of life whose presence is in everything, without whom life does not exist.

Taking in all of Her extreme importance, I composed a new prayer to Her last year that I think is my best and most heartfelt to the Goddess since I became Hellenic. 

O' noble and heavenly Hera,
our blessed Queen of Heaven,
how I stand in marvel of you,
struck with glorious intrigue,
for you give life to this world,
and all that live upon it.
Our Mother of starry heights,
may you pull us close,
giving us your nurturing love.
Within us, place the milk of life,
the breath of Olympus,
and the Maternal comfort immortal.

What can we, in general, learn from such a great Goddess as Hera? There are many things to consider in Her lessons for humanity. She is fiercely loyal to Her husband, which teaches us the value of being honorable and devotional toward our spouses or significant others, and as a Mother, to show dedication, love and good parenting toward our children. A protective and loving parent is among the most loved and respected, and also among the most to be feared, for they will protect and defend their children however they must and to whatever end necessary. Housed in Hera's Being and Divinity is a facet of the most noble of qualities; She is a lover to Her husband, a nurturer of Her children, and a giver of life as a Mother possesses in a great multitude of ways, which She fulfills as part of Her natural powers and duties. For men as well, but most notably for women, we all posses those abilities within our mortal limits and understandings, and Hera can most certainly help up perfect them, for She is their highest and Divine level of perfection.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Source: The Orphic Hymns, translation, introduction and notes by Apostolos N. Athanassakis and Benjamin M. Wolkow, 2013, (Hera, pp. 17, hymn 16). 


Tyler Woodby said...

Great article!

Dylan said...

As always I enjoy your articles, Chris!

Hera is the brilliant Queen of the Theoi, beloved wife of Aegis-bearing Zeus. She is the Lady of Her Household, and Guardian of Marriage vows as well if of those who perform their wifely duties (though those duties have changed since ancient times, and men perform those duties as well nowadays). I do not view Hera as a motherly figure. Yes, She has children, but, as far as I can tell, She was never viewed as Kourotrophos (a nurturer of young children), but rather as the elegant, dutiful, and graceful wife who compliments Her Husband through the Theogamia (Divine marriage).

Rather, it is Demeter who would be seen as the epitome of motherhood, as She is the one who would have destroyed the world for the sake of Her daughter, Kore. Hera is, conversely, seen as the epitome of what a good spouse should be, loyal, comforting, strong willed, but always the Queen of the House, as Zeus is the King. It is Her duty, as it is the duty of any parent, to defend their children, and to ensure that they are given all that they require. However, Her Divine personality seems to align more with Queen and Matron rather than Mother.

Again, I always annoy hearing your thoughts. :)

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