Articles/Essays From Pagans
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Under The Aegis of Athena
Article ID: 13948
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,405
Times Read: 2,978
RSS Views: 14,441
Posted: May 9th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,978
So ancient is the goddess Athena that Her name has never been translated, though the etymology suggests it means "protectress." Some histories seems to point to Her origins as a Mycenaean or Minoan household goddess Who was the essence of the family bond, symbolized by the hearth and home, accompanied by a mild serpent that protected the family’s food supply from rodents. As a domestic goddess, Athena ruled the implements of household crafts: the spindle, the loom and the pot. She was also guardian of home and goddess of the palace. Once Minoan civilization declined, Athena was blended with the Greek warrioress Pallas and became Pallas Athena.
Athena was primarily a Greek goddess; most stories make Her the favorite daughter of Zeus and Metis, born by emerging out of Zeus’ head fully grown and armed after Zeus has consumed Her mother. Other stories say She is the daughter of Pallas, a winged giant of Attica, whom she kills when he attempts to rape her. She then uses his skin for her shield and his wings to fasten to her feet. Another story makes her daughter of Tritonis and Poseidon and educated by the river god Triton together with his daughter Pallas, her girlhood companion, whom she later accidently killed.
Athena was a divinity of the state, promoting prosperity by encouraging agriculture and other industry. She invented the plough, the rake, the bridle and the yoke. She was the creatrix of the olive tree, and oak trees were also sacred to Her. It is said She was the creatrix of the flute, the trumpet, goldsmithing, shipbuilding, shoemaking and most all useful items as well as elegant arts, including sculpture, architecture, weaving, spinning and cooking.
Her principal role was to strengthen the state from within and to oversee the civilization of its people. She maintained law and order internally and protected the state from external enemies. In wartime She was protectress of harbors, fortresses and towns. As a symbol of courage and friendship, She often counseled great warriors to gentleness, usually with Her constant companion, Nike, by Her side. She is given credit for creating the chariot, numbers and navigation, all necessary tools for law enforcement, justice and war. Though frequently outfitted in armor, Athena’s warlike qualities were geared more towards protectiveness than aggression, a quality She was readily willing to leave to Ares (God of War) .
Perhaps more so than anyone else in the Olympian family, Athena was the champion of heroes. She helped Bellerophon capture Pegasus and bridle him. She was protectress to Heracles, running interference on most of his labors and risking Hera’s wrath by tricking Her into nursing him when he was an infant. Jason and the Argonauts could not have done without Her assistance. Her affection for Diomede ran deep, and She protected him well after he returned from the Trojan War with the Palladium. He founded a temple to Her in Argos, and She followed him to Italy, where he founded several colonies. Eventually She gifted him with immortality. When Odysseus’ raft fell apart on his trip back to Ithaca, Athena guided him to the island of the Phoenicians. When he arrived in Ithaca, She came to him in disguise and helped him to disguise himself. She sent Telemachus back from Sparta to assist his father and accompanied Odyessus to the banquet hall to kill every suitor there. She then later assisted in forming a truce between Odysseus and the islanders.
It doesn’t take long to see that Athena had very little hidden agenda or ulterior motives, and was, for the most part, totally ethical and was almost an entirely benevolent goddess. Essentially gentle, She was rarely spiteful but was quick to temper when anyone interfered with Her person, Her worship, or violated someone under Her protection. She turned Arachne into a spider for outspinning Her and creating a tapestry that made fun of the gods. Unhappy with the judgment of Paris, She sided with the Greeks in the Trojan War and punished Ajax and Menelaus for impiety and sacrilege. When Medusa desecrated one of Her temples by lying there with Her uncle, Poseidon, She turned Medusa’s hair into a mass of writhing snakes. Teresias of Thebes spied on Her while She was bathing and saw Her naked, so She struck him blind. Thinking better of it later but not able to reverse it, Athena gave him a staff that enabled him to function as though he could see, and She gifted him with the ability to understand the language of birds, which made him one of the greatest prophets in the ancient world. With very few exceptions, it’s generally a safe bet that if someone incurred Athena’s wrath and received punishment, that person probably more than deserved it.
It’s not easy to get a picture of Athena. Despite Her great improvements to the welfare of humankind and Her many kindnesses to great heroes, and even though She shared certain attributes of other Olympian goddesses (Demeter, Hera and Hestia) , She remains in our memory banks as a stern, formidable, unapproachable warrior goddess.
More than a mere Goddess of War or Wisdom or Air, however, Athena as a Guiding Goddess or archetype walks beside us, in some way touching our lives: protecting, teaching, guiding. With the help of Her myths, Her sacred totems and Her unique set of attributes, She helps steady our minds and thoughts with creative spirit, aiding us in balancing our positive and negative energies. She leads us and gives us the choice to follow or blaze our own trail, and She aids us along the way. Athena helps us to find our own courage and use our own shield to transform our lives while we must sometimes move through healing fires of purification in doing battle with our own personal giants and demons.
The owl, Athena’s sacred bird and companion, can see what others cannot, even in the thick of night. While others may be deceived, the owl sees and knows what is there, which is the true essence of wisdom. Owl is referred to as Night Eagle by several Amerindian teachers of the Medicine Wheel and traditionally sits in the East, the place of illumination. Owl is symbolically associated with wisdom, healing, magick, prophecy and astral projection and is the medicine of witches and sorceresses.
Guardian not only to the Acropolis but to Athena Herself, Owl sits upon Her shoulder and has the ability to light up Her blind side by revealing unseen truths to her, thus enabling Her to speak the whole truth, as opposed to only half truth. This aids Athena in Her unique ability to see into the darkness of our souls and lives. She helps us to extract those secrets we hide from ourselves and bring them to light so that we may heal. Athena befriends us on our dark journeys and aids us in seeing the total truth, ever reminding us that truth always brings further enlightenment.
Snake is also associated with Athena, sometimes seen coiled on Her shield or elsewhere adorning Her person. Her connection to Snake comes from a story about Hephaestus that had to do with his attempted rape of Athena, during which his semen fell on Her leg. When She wiped it off, it fell to the ground and impregnated Gaea, the earth. From this fantastic union, the half-snake child Erichthonius was born. Athena took the child under Her protection and left him in the temporary custody of Cecrops’ daughters, cautioning them never to open the chest in which She had concealed him. They, of course, didn’t listen, and, when they opened the box, promptly went insane, tossing themselves from the Acropolis. Baby Erichthonius crawled into Athena’s shield, perhaps implying that he accepted Her as something close to a mother, and under Her guidance and care he grew up to be King of Athens.
Snakes, or serpents, as they are often called in Greek myth, are also known for their transmutational power, which is exemplified in their ability to shed their skin. This life-death-rebirth cycle is the energy of wholeness and the ability to experience anything willingly and without resistance. It is the knowledge that those things, which might be poisonous, hurtful or uncomfortable, may be ingested, experienced, integrated and transmuted if one is in the proper state of mind. This nuance is further perpetuated when one looks to the myth of Athena and the Giant of Attica, mentioned earlier in this article. She uses the skin of her aggressor and transmutes it into something that will protect her. Snake energy melds two polarities into one, thereby producing divine, cohesive energy.
Athena, with Her fortitude, perseverance and willingness, can help us transmute our demons and giants of fear, insecurity and self-destructiveness into ambition, creation and resolution, to finally arrive at peace, contentment and connection. Athena aids us in realizing that through accepting all aspects of our lives, we can bring about the transmutation of fire medicine. Fire energy, on the material plane, creates procreation, passion, desire and vitality. On the emotional level, fire becomes power, charisma, intellect and leadership. Once it reaches the spiritual level, fire energy becomes understanding, connection, wholeness and wisdom. In this vein, Athena teaches us that magick is often no more than a change in consciousness and that we can become our own enchantress and transmute the energy and accept the power of the fire.
Athena has held me in my experience and not judged me for it unless it was deserved. She has helped me learn to read the signposts that guide me through the landscape of my life and does not define the world that I see along the way. Like the little markers you often find in forests, where different symbols offer different routes without any clues as to where the path might lead, Athena has made Her suggestions, encouraged me forward and left me to be who I am, to see what I would see and respond in my own way.
It has been many years since I came to know Athena and dedicated both my life and my Self to Her. To say I have always been hesitant to immerse myself in a community of other Goddess-minded women would be the understatement of the century. And still, in the midst of today’s renewed interest and growth in matrifocal spiritualities and religions, I find myself actively isolating myself from public participation in Women’s Spirituality, preferring solitary practice and working with and ministering to women, humbly, quietly, as a part of my devotion to Her.
Copyright: Copyright © Krishanna J. Spencer. All rights reserved worldwide.
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Krishanna - Click HERE
Other Articles: Krishanna has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Krishanna... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).