Hera, the “watchfull” lady

“Fullmoonish” and at the same time a virginal is the Greek goddess Hera. The word hero is derived from her name. But in what sense can we look at her as a heroine?  She did not take part in the battles of war like Athena, but she was extremely successful in persevering and maintaining the […]

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“Fullmoonish” and at the same time a virginal is the Greek goddess Hera. The word hero is derived from her name. But in what sense can we look at her as a heroine? 

She did not take part in the battles of war like Athena, but she was extremely successful in persevering and maintaining the marriage with Zeus, which in the eyes of many was long dead. The famous hero Heracles is also named after her, as the word Heracles means “Glory to Hera”.

She also appears in the trinity of goddesses: Hebe, Hera, and Hecate: the new moon, the full moon, and the old moon, and in that order Hebe is the Virgin of Spring, Hera the Mother of Summer, and Hecate the Destructive Old Woman of Autumn.

Hera is strongly associated with the peacock. The peacock’s eyes, which are actually the eyes of Hera’s most loyal servant Argos, are supposed to symbolize her “watchfullness” in the sense that she sees and notices everything that is happening around her. 

Also, one of her birds is a cuckoo and this bird actually brought Zeus into her life. Since she refused to marry him for the first time, Zeus turned into a wounded cockoo. Hera took pity on the animal, so she took it home and took care of it. So, of course, it is no wonder that Hera had to develop a special kind of vigilance and caution with the cunning Zeus, who liked to escape to earth and procreate with beautiful humans. 

At the same time, Hera, of course, experienced terrible humiliations, and part of her challenge, which we will embody, is precisely the transformation of this emotion into her own strength and creativity.

In Greece, in addition to Demeter, Hera was worshiped as the great-goddess of Mother Earth, but she differs from Demeter in that she would rather sacrifice her relationship with her children, just to keep her husband, while Demeter would do anything for her children. 

This is confirmed by the myth of her son Hephaestus, who was born without Zeus’s ‘help’, as revenge for Zeus’s self-conception of Athena. Hephaestus was then renounced by Hera, because she was ashamed of his deformation. 

She also interfered in other of Zeus’s love affairs by trying to prevent the birth of his children. Thus, a woman, when she has a strong Hero in her, is faced with strong feelings of jealousy and possessiveness towards her chosen one. Not even in his dreams can she imagine sharing his body with any other woman. She can already be disturbed by his gaze or conversation with the other woman. 

The concept of a free, open or friendly relationship is completely foreign to her. And even though her chosen Zeus keeps coming back to her and loves her very much in her heart, she is suspicious.

Hera is thus a metaphor for the sexual power that a woman feels within herself and also manifests and transforms into a social life or career, without needing the support or attention of her partner. In the myth, Hera commits herself to marriage. 

But in real life, she actually commits to herself. Her loyalty to one partner is actually loyalty to herself and self-love to the perseverance of health of her body and intimacy. 

Why should she share her sexual power with many,  when she can channel it into her exceptional and creative productivity, right?

@photocredit: Anja D.Sesek

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