A large part of my fascination with Goddesses has to do with images of female power in cultures that were (and are) overtly patriarchal. Power has a tricky balance: when it’s being abused, the struggle is to find a way to overcome the oppressor without becoming one yourself. But to paraphrase Erica Jong, the best oppressors don’t beat you – they get you to beat yourself. I have been thinking about this as I watch Democrats hand power over to Republicans ever since coming back into control of the government.
Which brings me to Athena.
Athena may have had her origins as a Cretan or North African mother Goddess. But by classical times in Greece, she was firmly established as the virgin Goddess of wisdom, household crafts, and war and peace. It’s said that Zeus, like his father and grandfather before him, feared that his child would be more powerful than himself. So when Metis was pregnant with Athena, he challenged her to a shape-shifting contest. She took the form of a fly, and Zeus swallowed her. (I don’t know why he swallowed that fly…) Continue reading “How a Woman Became a Goddess: Athena by Laura Loomis”