My friend Sarah just wrote a beautiful piece on Hera, the ancient Greek goddess, also known as Juno within the Roman pantheon, and I felt called to add to the conversation about this powerful character!
When I first started exploring goddess archetypes, Hera was one of my least favourites! The shrew wife with a cheating husband (Zeus/Jupiter) who decrees terrible things out of vindictive jealousy and seems to have little true freedom? What’s to like?? I’m far more comfortable with Artemis, roaming wild in the bush with her sisters, earthy and active, eschewing men and all their complications. And many of my sisters felt the same!
Yet while Artemis remains a strong archetype within me, I actually have a good dose of Hera too. I am deeply invested in my partnership with my man and have grown so much within the context of my marriage. When I finally acknowledged Hera’s presence, I was led on a journey to discover the fullness of this ancient goddess.
When you dig deep enough, you find that Hera has her roots in the Great Goddess of pre-patriarchal times, the Goddess who was whole, before the various aspects of her femininity were separated out into weaker individual goddesses.
” In patriarchal mythologies throughout the world, the Mother of All has frequently become ‘wife’ of some god. Hera is such a One. Known in our times, as a jealous, quarrelsome wife of Zeus, She predated him by far as ancient face of the parthenogenetic Mother. The first ‘Olympic’ races held every four years in Greece, had been Hers, with runners – all girls – selected from three age groups representing the ancient Trinity. Hera was the primordial Trinity, indigenous to this place, personifying all three aspects of Virgin, Mother and Crone. Hera and Zeus’ constant mythological quarrels reflected real conflicts between the early matristic cultures and the rising patriarchate. She and the Amazon queens who represented Her did not go quietly, and they remained discontented with the new regimes. Hera’s troublesome nature in the Olympic pantheon reflects one who had been ‘coerced but never really subdued by the alien conqueror.’ Hera’s first consort had been Heracles; the word ‘hero’ referring to him and being the masculine form of ‘hera.’ ‘Hera’ predated ‘hero’ and may serve as a term for all courageous individuals…”
– from PaGaian Cosmology: Reinventing Earth-based Goddess Religion by Glenys Livingstone; quotes from Charlene Spretnak’s Lost Goddesses of Early Greece.
Hera is actually the Queen, the Leader, the Visionary – a powerful, responsible leader of her people, who chooses to be in Sacred Union with the masculine. No wonder she got shut down and denigrated in Myth-land! Leaders like this are hard to control and manipulate!
I wanted to share an infographic I made about Hera with the help of some dear sisters (here’s our original conversation)! The revisioning and re-membering of this character was such an empowering experience for me, and I hope for you too!
The Four Seasons Journey that I’m apprenticing in wraps up for 2015 in a week’s time. This final gathering is all about honouring the leader in each woman, and celebrating the myriad ways in which we are rippling healing, creativity and renewal into the world. It’s an intensely loving container of encouragement, from which we can emerge, crowned like Hera, taking responsibility to be the change the world needs now, the change which makes our heart sing!
So, Hera, as women we are singing you back from the shadows, attuning to you in your wholeness once more…
We are in great need of your strength, courage, vision and tenacity…
Lead us into your vision for a restored and loving world…
We give great thanks for you hearing our call!