Mystic Minds
Published in

Mystic Minds

THE HISTORY OF GODDESSES

Athena: The Goddess of War and Wisdom

She was worshipped as the goddess of knowledge, counsel, crafts, and excellence

Because of her strength and wisdom, she inspired and fought alongside the Greek heroes. (Photo: Unsplash)

In ancient mythology, Athena — the Olympian Goddess of wisdom, war, and crafts — is syncretized with Minerva, the Roman goddess of war. She was the daughter of Zeus and was perhaps the wisest, courageous, and most resourceful of the Olympian goddesses.

Zeus was married to Metis, the goddess of wisdom and counsel. Uranus (the god of the sky) and Gaia (the goddess of the earth) prophecized that Metis would bore two children and the boy child would overthrow and end his reign.

Zeus feared this prophecy, so he swallowed Metis whole — the same way Cronus (Zeus' father) swallowed his other kids to prevent them from ending his reign. But Metis was already pregnant. Athena kept on developing in her mother inside of Zeus. One day, Zeus experienced the worst headache, and even someone as powerful as he couldn’t bear the pain.

He asked Hephaestus — the god of fire — for help who struck Zeus’s head with his ax, and Athena emerged fully grown wearing armor from the open wound on Zeus’ forehead.

It was said that Athena let out a cry so loud and mighty that Uranus and Gaia shook in terror. But Zeus was delighted because it was a goddess instead of a god.

She was the favorite child of Zeus’s who gifted her with his aegis — a leather shield made of goatskin worn over the garments of the gods for extra supernatural protection. Athena later added the head of a gorgon (medusa’s head) — a gift she received from Perseus to the aegis and just like Medusa’s eyes, the aegis could turn her enemies into stone.

Athena is sometimes known as Pallas Athena.

As a child, Athena had a best friend whom she loved dearly. Her name was Pallas, daughter of Triton and granddaughter of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas.

They were both raised in the art of war. Athena’s friend Pallas should not be confused with Pallas, the god of warcraft, who Athena also killed because he tried to violate her.

Athena fought Pallas — her friend — in a war festival in which the winner would disarm the opponent. Athena was winning at the beginning of the fight until Pallas started winning.

Zeus was present and feared his beloved daughter would lose and be disarmed in public, so he distracted Pallas by flaunting the aegis. He knew Pallas would see and be distracted because she was obsessed with it.

Athena struck at Pallas expecting that she would dodge it, but she stood still staring at the Aegis in awe and the sword went straight through her heart. She didn't mean to kill her best friend and grief-stricken; she added her friend’s name to her own to preserve her memory.

This didn't stop Athena from fighting. She was much like her brother Ares — the god of war. They were both great warriors, but Athena was a skilled and smart thinker.

Ares was strong but ruthless. She was superior to Ares because she represented the civilized side of war, whereas Ares was the bloodthirsty warrior.

Even though she was the goddess of war, she advised against violence and bloodshed when it wasn’t necessary.

Because of her strength and wisdom, she inspired and fought alongside the Greek heroes.

Protector of Hercules, Athena helped him achieve his twelve labors.

She gave Perseus a shield to protect himself in his quest to kill Medusa.

She helped Odysseus in the adventures in the Odyssey by giving him the idea to dress like a beggar on his return to Ithaca.

She helped Jason in building his magical ship, the Argo.

When Athena wasn't in battle, she was the goddess of crafts — the greatest weaver in Greek mythology. She loved the arts and invented crafts, particularly spinning and weaving.

One day a mortal craftswoman named Arachne boasted she was better at weaving than the goddess. Athena heard Arachne’s claims and gave her a chance to take back her words but she refused and continued boasting so Athena challenged her to a weaving challenge.

Athena weaved a beautiful tapestry that showed the fate of mortals who challenged goddesses. Arachne also weaved a much beautiful tapestry that showed how gods and goddesses misused their powers and tormented mortals.

Enraged at her audacity, Athena tore Arachne’s fabric to pieces, struck and turned her into a spider, and doomed her to an eternity of weaving.

Although she was a competitive and jealous goddess, it was said that she had a good heart and could give mortals the gift of sewing, weaving, and cooking.

Athena is a virgin goddess who was never associated with a man. She had no children of her own, but she had an adoptive son, Erichthonius.

Because of her wisdom, she was always seen with an owl close by, and from time to time, a snake at her feet.

She was widely worshipped in many cities and the city Athens was named after her after she gifted the city with the first olive tree which gave them Olive oil, one of the greatest riches in the ancient world.

She succeeded her mother as the new goddess of wisdom and counsel.

Athena is an immortal and immortals do not die.

Unlisted

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kimberly Fosu

Kimberly Fosu

I help lightworkers begin their life’s mission and guide those waking up to remember who they are. Shhh…✨ https://linktr.ee/Kimberly.fosu