Monday, March 10, 2014

Goddess Series: Athena

The Athena Necklace features heavy antique gold chain and a delicate gunmetal black chain.  Fringe of copper and black chain creates a scallop affect where they connect, hinting at her weaving and more womanly skills.  Larger antique gold stylized feathers and smaller bright gold spearheads represent the blend of wisdom and battle.  The focal emblem is an owl in flight, seemingly about to attack its prey.  The clasp is an antique gold toggle, in a simple deco style, with small clear rhinestones embedded into the metal.

Though the Greek and Roman deities were oft times so similar that they can be interchangeable, Athena is one of the exceptions.  She is often compared to the Roman goddess Minerva, but there are are enough differences that they are not the same (unlike Aphrodite/Venus or Zeus/Jupiter).  The belief is that the Romans may have divided Athena into two separate deities; Minerva (goddess of wisdom, art, weaving, music, trade/commerce, and defense) and Bellona (goddess of war and can create war-like frenzies).

The generally accepted origin of Athena states that she was born from the union between Zeus (Father of the Gods) and Metis (goddess of wisdom, calculating thoughts, and cunning).  Due to a prophecy that Metis would bear children more powerful than their father, Zeus decided that he should devour her whole in order to maintain his preeminence over all other creatures.  He was too late; she had already conceived and his offspring were growing within him.  As they grew, Zeus began to develop a migraine.  In time, his head eventually cracked open (the cause of which depends on the version of the story is read), and out sprang Athena full grown and armed.  She let out a scream that caused the heavens and earth to tremble.  The symbols that are most commonly shown with her are a combination of: an owl, a shield, a spear, a serpent, and a helmet.

Other myths depict her as the daughter of Cronus, making her a sibling to Zeus and Hera, rather than the daughter to either.  There are other stories in which Triton raises her, and that she was not technically related to the Olympian gods.

Athena is combines the creative with the analytical.  She is associated with strategy, law/justice, tactical warfare (preferably for a reasonable cause or to end a conflict), courage/strength, and mathematics, but also with arts, crafting, weaving, medicine, philosophy, education/intelligence, sexual modesty, and wisdom.  She was one of the virginal goddess, having had no consort or lover, and thereby represented the epitome of the ideal woman, the favored daughter of Zeus.  She was a woman to be seen as an actual being and force unto herself, rather than a creature whose value is partially or mainly to be sexually desired (whether attainable or unattainable). 

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