Zeus was brought to Greece by the Hellenes when they arrived in the Balcanic Peninsula at around 2000 BC. It was meant for them to leave their forever. He was a very ancient god of the blue skies and we find his name in other Indo-European peoples like the Hindu, the Latin etc. Thus Zeus must have been worshiped since the third millennia BC when those peoples lived together and united and they spoke the same language. His name derives from the root div- that means sky. Also the phrase “Zeus, father” can be found in other peoples too, so this phrase and its meaning of having a divine father in the sky is also very ancient.
We find Zeus in the Homeric epics. In Iliad he is the father of gods and humans alike. He has his palace in Olympus mountain and from there he rules the whole world. Sometimes instead of Olympus mountain the sky is referred to instead. This doesn’t create the problem, as Olympus mountain is so high that it’s supposed to be one with the sky. All the gods of Olympus mountain sometimes are referred to as living in the heavens. Because of his position as the ruler of the whole world the epithets we find about him show his Majesty, his power, his strength, and his sovereignty. Some of these epithets are “Hypatos”, which means “higher than everyone”, “Megistos” which means “bigger than everyone”and “Aristos”, an epithet with a very specific meaning in Greek, this is “the bravest of all and the one with supreme ethics”.
All the kings of the world are in some way his descendents and under his protection, as it happens in almost every culture with a ruler King god. This is why the kings are called “Diotrefes”, which means “nurtured by Zeus”, “Diogenes”, which means “descendent of Zeus”and “Diifiloi”, which means “loving Zeus/being friends with Zeus”. The root of his name is the same we find in Latin in the word “Deus” which means “god”. Later on, when Kings institution was abolished Zeus became the Guardian of society and state no matter who rules, the aristocrats or the people.
Zeus was also the protector of the house and the yard. His Altar was in the yard and sacrifices were made by the chief of the family. His Altar, as all of them, was a sacred place devoted to gods and when Zeus wanted to find shelter, he went there, touched it and nobody could harm him. He also protected the cellars against thieves. In Greece, even until now, there are some snakes that do no harm but live in the houses and they are believed to also protect them. It is not strange that sometimes Zeus was depicted having the form of a snake.
In Greece, Zeus was worshipped as a god who was benevolent and calm towards people, so many times they asked him to change the weather or give them riches. Zeus was worshipped in the beginning of spring in a feast called “Diasia” and this shows not only his connection to abundance but also the fact that he was considered to be a god who was really close to the people.
For this long period when the laws were still unwritten, it was Zeus who protected the poor, the stranger, the fugitive, the supplicant. Zeus was also called “Xenios”, and epithets meaning the protector of the guest. In ancient Greece, receiving a guest and giving him shelter had a very special procedure and it was considered to be under the protection of the gods and especially Zeus. When someone came to somebody’s house, they were obliged to receive him, give him shelter, give him food, have him in the house for as long as possible or until his goal was fulfilled and then exchange gifts of hospitality, something that made the host and the guest friends forever. Sometimes even athletic games were organized by the host to honor the guest. If someone maltreated a guest, or refused to offer hospitality, they were punished by Zeus.
Zeus was also the protector of vows. his rage fell upon anyone who couldn’t keep their word. This is why he was called as a witness whenever a vow was made.
Of course at the beginning, gods had many human characteristics and they were not ethicality perfect. Zeus was no exception of that rule. Ethical perfection is something we find as the years pass by and gods are wanted to be something better and bigger than man. We find Zeus being a protector of justice and ethical behavior in Iliad. There he is angry with people who judge in courts but without justice and without taking god’s words seriously. Zeus being higher than any other god led little by little to monotheism. As a god who could change the weather and was the ruler of the thunderbolt, he used his abilities not only to benefit people when he was asked to, but also to punish them when they did something wrong, that is by hitting someone with a thunderbolt or by sending downpours down on earth.
Thus, Zeus was the god who also sent the winds, the clouds, rain, hazel, snow, the lightning and the thunder on earth either for good or bad. This is why in the Homeric epics we find many epithets of Zeus that have to do with gathering the clouds, making the clouds black, sending storms, thunders etc., but also sending a cool breeze during the summer or little summer downpours. The rain waters were called “the waters of Zeus” and he was the one the Athenians were praying to when they wanted some rain.
Also in Argolida, people used to sacrifice in Zeus’ and Hera’s honour when it hadn’t rained for a long time. In Arcadia in periods of drought, the priest climbed a sacred mountain where a fountain existed, to pray, offer sacrifice and then he used an oak branch to steer the fountain waters. Soon enough a blurry mist started going higher and higher, it became a cloud and then rain would come.
In the island of Aigina there is a temple of worship dedicated to Zeus the Hellanius, which is said to have been built by all Greeks together after a long period of drought. It was common for Zeus to be worshiped on the tops of mountains, as this is the place where the first clouds always appear, which means that rain will come for sure.
Zeus has a mighty weapon at his disposal; the thunderbolt, which makes him invincible, feared by gods and humans alike. This is the weapon he uses in order to win against the Titans, this is the weapon he uses to make the gods follow his orders and this is the weapon he uses when he wants to punish people. In the Archaic period he was very often depicted holding the thunderbolt in his right hand. The eagle became his sacred animal because no other bird no matter how high it flies could be so close to the thunderbolts, and the Eagle like no other bird resembles the thunderbolt falling on Earth, as the eagle dives very quickly in order to catch its prey.
It was natural, since Zeus is the weather god, to give signs through natural and weather changes. This was not the only way for Zeus to speak to the people, though. He also used dreams, the flying of the birds and many other ways. His greatest temple was in Dodoni. It is said in Iliad that his priests, Selloi, left their feet unwashed and they slept on the soil, and that the priestesses were called Pellies.
These priests or priestesses gave divinations after having heard the noise of the leaves of the sacred oak, the tree that was found inside the temple yard. Herodotus gives us two different aspects on the story of how this temple was built. The first one was told to him by the priests of Zeus in the Egyptian Thebes and it goes like this; some pirates from Foinix took two priestesses from Zeus’s temple and sold the first in Epirus and the second in Libya. These women founded oracles dedicated to Zeus in their new countries. The other story was given to Herodotus by the priestesses of Dodonis themselves. One day two black female doves flew up from the Oracle of Egyptian Thebes. The first arrived flying in Dodonis, sat on an oak tree and speaking in human, told the inhabitants of the areas around to build an Oracle for Zeus. Same thing happened with the other one in Libya, so the famous Oracle of Ammon was built.
From the first moment Zeus was born, he went through many dangers. As we have mentioned before, when he was an infant his father Kronos wanted to keep him locked away like all his other children, and it was only because of a clever trick of his mother, Rhea and his grandmother, Gaia, that he managed to escape. He grew up hidden in the mountains of Crete and then he had to fight against his father, win the war and make Kronos vomit all the other children he had eaten.
It is also said, in some versions of the myth, that Zeus castrated his father exactly like Kronos had castrated his own father, Uranus, before him. Then having freed his brothers and sisters, and with them by his side, along with the Cyclops and the Ekatogheires , who were creating for him the thunderbolt, and also with Styx, Oceanus’s daughter and his children, Vias and Cratos (ruling and state), Zealus and Nike (Winning), Zeus had to make war against the Titans for nine years.
When he managed to win and drop them into Tartarus, he saw that he also needed to fight against Lapetus’s sons, Atlas, Menoitius, Prometheus and Epimetheus. It was after his victory that he obliged Atlas to carry the earth on his shoulders while he banished Prometheus with eternal torture on mount Caucasus. After that he had to also win against the Giants game to avenge the Titans and he did that thanks to the help from Poseidon, Athena and Hercules. In the end, Tartarus and Gaia gave birth to the most dangerous monster of all, Typhoon, that wanted to destroy the world and Zeus had to put an end to that. He fought against the monster but it managed to wrap itself around Zeus‘ body thanks to its Dragon tails, it cut the god’s nerves and threw him in a gap. Hermes and Aigipanas found him, and saved him by helping him find and put together his nerves back together, so that he could defeat this monster as well.
Zeus was a recognized leader and he kept in his leadership only thanks to those gods who stood beside him during these fights. Thus, he became the ruler of the heavens, men and the gods, Poseidon became the ruler of the waters and Hades became the ruler of the underworld. It was not the end of Zeus’s troubles though. He was also told that like his father before him, and his grandfather before him, that his cleverest child would steal his throne. This is why Zeus, first married to Metis, swallowed her, just before she had time to give birth to Athena. This is why, although he liked Thetis and wanted to make her his own, he didn’t do anything and let her marry a mortal.
Zeus also had to face a conspiracy from Hera, Poseidon, and Athena. He was only saved thanks to the intervention of Thetis. This seems not to be the only case Hera went against Zeus, because the goddess could not tolerate Zeus being unfaithful to her. The most characteristic case is the one where Zeus, after becoming enraged because of Hera trying to kill Hercules, grabbed her and bound her arms and legs, then hung her upside down from the heavens. Hera’s son, Hephaestus, tried to save his mother, so Zeus threw him down from Olympus mountain onto the island of Delus and left him lame.
Zeus decided to also make the two greatest wars in ancient Greek mythology, the Thebaic and the Trojan war, both in order for many humans to be killed so that the earth could be cleansed. The Trojan war was also started because Zeus wanted to make Achilles known to the world, as he had promised his mother, Thetis. He didn’t let anybody know his plan except for Thetis, and let everybody believe that he wanted the Trojans to win. Hera again tried to stop him, but he got so angry that myth has it that the goddess was so afraid that she just cried a bit and left, because she remembered what Zeus had done in the past. She tried to change his opinion during dinner but he didn’t let her talk and he reminded everyone that he was the ruler and he could do whatever he wanted without asking them. He wanted the Trojans to believe that he was helping them so that they would show more courage, attack the Greeks and lose after Achilles killed Ector. His rage was great every time any mortal fell into hubris. He transformed many people into birds because of that.
All these fights just show in the mythological way how things developed in Greece concerning religion. After a time of monsters and rulers beyond any comparison, people needed gods who would have more human characteristics and who would also have to earn their place in the pantheon. The ruler of the gods should be the most powerful god, the one who would be able to rule in justice, who would keep them safe and who would stand above anyone, human and god alike. Zeus’s reign was the beginning of a new world where humans would live without the barbaric aspects of the past. This would be a period of justice and safety.
Zeus’s Lovers and Affairs
Zeus is especially known for having many affairs with many women both goddesses and human. This is why his wife, Hera, was very often jealous. It is said that Zeus’s first wife was Chthonie, and her name shows her close relation to the Earth. According to the Myth, Zeus created the world when he dressed her up in a veil that depicted all the lands and the seas. Then he mated with Metis who had all the cleverness of the world in her brain. She had all the wisdom not only of humans but also that of the gods. But Zeus had to swallow her because there was a divination that said that after giving birth to a daughter, Metis would give birth to a son who would steal his father’s throne. Metis was already pregnant at that moment, so nine months later Athena, goddess of wisdom, came out of his head in full armour. Zeus was also afraid that he would lose the throne by Thetis’s son, this is why He didn’t do anything with Her. One of the most important Zeus matings is the one with Asteria, daughter of two Titans, who was later given by Zeus to Perseus as his wife and then she gave birth to Hecate, a goddess that was honored by Zeus above most other gods. Of course every myth has many aspects and versions, as mythology goes through the ages.
Zeus also made love with Demeter and their daughter was Persephone. When Persephone went missing in the underworld, Zeus trusted Hecate to go down into the underworld and find Persephone. It was Hecate who helped Demeter find her daughter.
Above all women Zeus had laid with was his lawful wife Hera. Some say that Zeus and Hera used to have a relationship that was very old since they were children and they used to see each other without their parents knowing. Among their children were Ares, the god of war, Eve, who got married to Hercules and Elithyia who helped women during labour. There are those who say that Hephaestus was also their child.
Zeus managed to sleep with most of Atlas’ daughters, and his favorite one was Maia. The couple used to meet in a very deep cave in Kellene and no human or god could see them. Hermes is their child. Another important relationship of Zeus was the one with the beautiful Selene, daughter of Cadmus, with whom he created Dionysus. Hera learned about their relationship and told the girl to ask Zeus to show her his true face. Zeus appeared in front of her but she got burnt by his thunderbolt as it is not for anyone to see the true form of a god. In order to save Dionysus, Zeus took him out from his dead mother’s body, sewed him in his leg and kept him there until it was time for the god to be born.
Zeus also kidnapped Europe, having the form of a bull.
Zeus was not the only one who transformed, although he usually did it in order to win the heart of the women He liked. However, many women also preferred to transform into birds or plants or animals in order to escape from him.
Zeus, Father of heroes
Zeus did not only lay with goddesses but also with Nymphs and humans. Many of them brought children in the world and most of them got chased by Hera. Lesser gods and goddesses and also heroes were the children of these unions. They helped the human race to develop and create culture and civilization. The one behind Zeus’ uncontrollable passion towards human women is said to be Aphrodite, whose power was so strong that even Zeus could not escape from it. This is why Zeus got his revenge by making her fall in love with a human, Aghises.
The island of Crete is said to have taken its name from the beautiful girl who lived there and who was the first one Zeus mated with. In Argos, Zeus made love to Danae, whose father locked her in a basement so that the god could not find her, because of the prophecy that claimed that Danae would give birth to a daughter who was going to kill him. Zeus transformed himself into golden rain and fell inside the basement from the roof. The child was Perseus, the great hero who built Micynes.
Zeus is Hercules’s father with Alkmene. The hero was pursued viciously by Hera, who also used humans to try to kill him. Zeus is said to have also created Helen of Sparta with Leda. Their daughter came out of an egg, since Zeus had again transformed himself into a swan. This is why Helen was so beautiful and her beauty was the cause of the Trojan war.
The fact that Zeus is said to have created the relationships with so many women who gave birth to heroes that created peoples or gave names to places in Greece shows the god’s role as a father of humanity. Zeus appears to be a very strong masculine deity who mates with women in order to create everything and everyone. Each woman Zeus loved was really special and their children were special as well.
Zeus and Hera
Zeus and Hera were siblings and also man and wife. They were both Kronos’ (Cronus) and Rhea’s children. According to the version of the myth that doesn’t go along with the story of those two seeing each other since they were children, Zeus flirted with Hera but she would deny him every time. Zeus had to transform into a swan in order to trick her so that she would lay with him. Although he had tried so hard to win her heart, he never stayed faithful to her. This resulted in Hera following him everywhere, being extremely jealous of him and pursuing or even harming his lovers and children many times. Their relationship was never an easy one, and many times the couple would fight with each other, often even in front of their children who would then try to make them calm down. Since Zeus, as we have seen, was the strongest of all it was very difficult for Hera to defeat him or continue arguing with him when he was angry. This is why she turned against his lovers and children in order to hurt him through them. Thus, she was chasing Lheto from place to place, arranged for the giant Tityos to rape her, and in the end she forbade all places to let Lehto give birth onto them. The only island that ignored Hera’s orders was Dhelos, a very small and uninhabited island. There, Lheto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis, and it became Apollo’s sacred island, thus staying in history forever and being honoured by all Greeks. Zeus had to protect Kallisto also, and the Nymphs who took care of Dionysus, so He transformed them into stars and moved them up into the heavens. Those stars are known as Big Ursus and the Hyades.
Zeus also had the Cyclops and the Ekatogheires beside him, helping him with whatever they could. Hephaestus made for him the strongest and most effective weapons and also built the most exquisite palace for the Father of all gods and humans. Gaia gave him the wisest of counsels. The one who never left his side and always was there to help him was his daughter, Athena, who stood by him either as a warrior, planning how they could achieve their goals or as a wise counselor.
Zeus did not only transform in order to get close to the women He wanted. Nor was he the only one who transformed. All Greek gods and goddesses had shapeshifting abilities. They used to transform when they wanted to get close to humans and communicate with them in a form that would serve their purpose the best way, wouldn’t scare humans and wouldn’t put them in danger by seeing the gods’ true form.
Zeus-A god of justice
As a ruler and leader, Zeus was really just. One of his lovers was Themis, the personification of justice. It was with Her that Zeus had three daughters, the Moirae (Fates), Lachesis, who drew the raffle of humans’ life at its beginning, Klotho who was weaving the thread of life and Atropos, who would cut it when a human’s life came to its end. They were so powerful that no human or god could escape them and they recognized no separation between humans. Themis also bore Zeus the Hores, that is Dike, the personification of justice trials, Eunomia, personification of Good Laws and Eirene (Peace). Only Dike had Her throne next to Her father’s when he trialed people and had to come to a decision. Zeus was the one to whom humans and gods alike came to solve their differences and nobody should ever go against his will and decision. Zeus also came alone to intervene between them, even if he hadn’t been asked to. This way He managed not only to show the solution to a dead-end, but also protect the weaker ones.
When Hermes as a baby stole Apollo’s sacred cows, Zeus not only convinced the baby god to give the animals back to their owner, but also made the two gods become friends from then on. He also intervened in a quarrel between Apollo and Hercules in a very strong way; He threw a lightning bolt between them in order to separate them and convinced the god to divinate for the hero. He was also there to offer a solution when Demeter asked Hades to give Persephone back to her, and it was thanks to Zeus that Hades and Demeter came to an agreement. One of the few circumstances that Zeus did not take part in a disagreement was when Poseidon and Athena fought for the city of Athens. Zeus did not want to be unjust towards any of them and let them solve their differences alone, with Athena winning. (Some stories say that Zeus offered the city to whichever of them could most please the people, and Athena struck the ground from which an olive tree then grew, which delighted the people, prompting Zeus to give her the city, which is where it gets its name from.)
The only one of his children that Zeus didn’t like so much was Ares and that was because Ares liked war and fighting. During the Trojan war, when Ares went to his father to complain about Athena and her intervention in the war, Zeus came even scolded him.
Zeus could see everything from his palace on Mount Olympus, and was always ready to attribute justice. He punished severely anyone who went against the law but also honoured those who defended it and acted accordingly. This was one of the biggest arguments Athena had found to convince her father to let Odysseus return to Ithaka. She told Her father that the hero was always good, honouring the gods and the sacred laws. If Zeus prohibited him from returning home, the other people might see that as a sign of injustice and think that it serves them no good to obey the laws. When Zeus thought that the natural laws should change a bit in order to make people suffer less, he did that out of love and compassion towards the human race. His sense of justice was so strong that he even forgave his enemies, as it happened with the Titans that Zeus released in the end.
Magickal Workings with Zeus
Sanctuaries: Zeus is believed to be everywhere and see everything
Day: There isn’t a specific day on which to work with him. Every day is appropriate, except maybe Friday that is dedicated to Aphrodite and Freya and generally the feminine attributes and Monday that is dedicated to the Moon and the goddess
Flowers/Trees: When I work with Zeus, I use Cypress leaves or fruits, since it is a very masculine Tree and also Sage, for its cleansing and spiritual attributes.
Fragnance: Cypress tree
Stones: Clear Quartz is appropriate, since it helps us see things in a clearer way and also works for inner and outer wisdom and justice.
Foods: There aren’t any special foods that are known to be liked by Zeus
Sabbat: Zeus can be honoured during any Sabbat, as he is the personification of the god.
Metals: I use gold, because this is a metal much liked by kings and very precious and also because it reminds me of the thunderbolts.
Offerings: It doesn’t matter what the offerings are going to be, as long as they are offered respectfully.
Types of spells: problems with justice, working on a coming trial, to find inner strength and protection from above, to increase strength and leadership abilities, to have a clear view of a matter at hand. his energy will also help enhance any spell-working you do.
Zeus is a very powerful god, but he is very close to humans. He is always there to answer the prayers and to protect. The only thing He doesn’t forgive is lack of respect and disobedience of the laws.
Orphic Hymn 14-To Zeus
The Fumigation from Storax.
O Jove much-honor’d, Zeus supremely great, to thee our holy rites we consecrate,
Our pray’rs and expiations, king divine, for all things round thy head exalted shine.
The earth is thine, and mountains swelling high, the sea profound, and all within the sky.
Saturnian [Kronion] king, descending from above, magnanimous, commanding, sceptred Zeus;
All-parent, principle and end of all, whose pow’r almighty, shakes this earthly ball;
Ev’n Nature trembles at thy mighty nod, loud-sounding, arm’d with light’ning, thund’ring God.
Source of abundance, purifying king, O various-form’d from whom all natures spring;
Propitious hear my pray’r, give blameless health, with peace divine, and necessary wealth.
January 18th is the day of the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera. This is a good day to honour Them both and also do magickal workings to enhance your relationship with your other half. Remember that Zeus might be a god with many lovers and not at all faithful, but he honoured and loved Hera very much. This is why she has never lost her place beside him, as the ruling goddess. They are often invoked together as the god and the goddess. As Zeus had to wait a long time for Hera to accept marrying him, his anticipation was so great that they had the longest honeymoon ever recorder, which lasted 300 years.
Hera is more often referred to as the Wife of the King of the gods, something that somehow diminishes her role as the Creatress, the strong woman beside a strong man. It seems that the “new” religion that brought forth the masculine power, having a male ruler god has taken its toll on female figures that supported a more dynamic role of women in society, transforming them into something not unimportant, but more traditional. Hera is a Mother goddess, a goddess of love, faith and marital abundance and happiness. Along with Her two sisters, Demeter and Hestia, Hera represents the active female role of the woman in the house. Hestia is more about the house itself and the protection of it, the passing of a family name into the future, while Hera mostly protects women and children.
To combine these powers and also to depict the ancient belief that a woman goddess taught humans agriculture, we have the archetype of Demeter who is responsible for the abundance of the fields, also with a very strong maternal instinct. Demeter, like Isis in Egypt, taught the Greeks how to grow plants and especially cereal, which is a favourite offering for all these three goddesses.
There are many myths on how Hera grew up while Her mother, Rhea, tried to solve the problem between Zeus and Cronos, but the one that stands out is that Hera had been brought up by Tithys and Oceanus. It is very possible that Hera was a very ancient goddess, very close to Mother Earth Herself, so with the new pantheon, her role and history appeared different, depending mostly on the place where these stories come from.
Hera is another goddess with the triple aspect of Maiden-Mother-Crone. From Arcadia comes a very interesting story according to which Temenos, a man believed to have raised her, had built the first temple to honour the goddess and had made her path known. It was the same man, as they say, who said that women should praise and honour Hera during their whole lives and also do so in three different temples; in one, Maidens should ask for her protection, as she had been a maiden before getting married to Zeus. In another, mothers should ask for her help, as she is the mother of the first gods and goddesses as we know them and also is Zeus’s wife. In the third temple, widows and older women should pay their respects, for the period that Hera was separated from Zeus, something we are going to see later on. In ancient times, Hera was revered as being the only one of the Greek goddesses who accompanied a woman through every step of her life.
Hera and Zeus are said to have had a relationship even before they got married. How could Hera retain Her virginity, though? It is said that Hera took a bath every year in Kanathos Fountain and so she became a virgin again. Hera was not an easy prey for Zeus. The god had spent much time trying to convince her to lay with him, with no success. When he saw that nothing could be done, he transformed himself into a Cuckoo, supposedly scared by a storm he, himself had created and went to sit on Hera’s lap. The goddess took pity on the bird and held Zeus, but when she saw who he really was tried to once again avoid him. Zeus then promised her that they were going to get married, following tradition and that she would be forever revered as his wife. This is how he managed to lay with Hera. Ares, Eve and Eilithyia (a goddess who helped in labour) were their children. Ares is the god of war, changing everything through it, a very masculine archetype, but Eve personifies adolescence and Eilithyia has to do with pregnancy and labour.
What is not clear is whether Hephaestus is Zeus’ child or not. One myth variation says that Hera created Hephaestus without a man. This shows once again the infinite creation power of the feminine that can procreate without a male, relating Hera to older goddesses, even primordial ones.
There are generally many stories about Hera and Hephaestus. When Hera gave birth to her son, she didn’t like him at all, because he seemed ugly to her, so she threw him down from Mt Olympus. But Hephaestus survived and not only that, but he learnt the craft of the blacksmith and he became perfect at it. He could create the most incredible metal things with the aid of fire, thus his name has the same root in Greek as Volcanos (Ήφαιστος-ηφαίστειο).
After a while he sent his mother a throne that was a wonderful example of metallurgy, but had a trick. It was designed in such a way, so the moment Hera sat on it, she was trapped and bonded. Nobody could free her and nobody could convince Hephaestus to return to Mt Olympus. Only Dionysus managed to do so at last, after he gave Hephaestus wine and made him drunk. Dionysus also managed to convince Hephaestus to make amends with his mother and from then on, there were many times that mother and son worked together for a common cause.
Hephaestus fought side by side with Achilles, for his mother’s sake, in order for the hero to attain more glory according to the prophecy, and he also took her part in a quarrel between Hera and Zeus during the Trojan war. It is said that this was the time Zeus got so angry with him that he threw him down the Mountain himself. It is said that Hera created Hephaestus, because she wanted to prove to Zeus that she had no need of him, due to being tired of Zeus’s constant affairs with other women. To be just, although Zeus was unfaithful, he loved Hera so much that when she wasn’t around, he had a feeling that part of himself was missing.
Hera did not care only for her own children, but had brought up others’ as well. She had taken care of Thetis, Achilles’s mother, and had raised her as if Thetis was her own daughter, preventing Zeus from mating with her. It was under Hera’s influence that Thetis found and got married to Peleas, and Thetis and her son were always under the goddess’ protection. On the other hand, Thetis protected Hera in punishing Pelias and saving the Argonauts. Zeus also cared for Thetis, since she had helped him when Poseidon, Hera and Athena tried to remove him from his throne during the Trojan war, Poseidon because he was for the Trojans and the two goddesses because they thought that Zeus was against the Greeks. In this story and others where Hera becomes the foster mother of gods and humans, we see the other part of her personality, the Universal Mother who cares about her children, biological and adopted alike.
On the other part, Hera is the woman who suffers and cannot tolerate Zeus’s unfaithfulness, often turning against the women in his life.
Hera had a strong sense of justice and also served as a queen, a very respected one who wouldn’t tolerate injustice and lies or unfaithfulness. When Paris, Priamos’ (the Prince of Troy) younger son had to choose between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena and say who was the most beautiful, the three goddesses offered him presents. Aphrodite promised him the hand of Helen, the most beautiful woman of her age, Hera promised him kingship, and Athena promised him wisdom. Paris chose Aphrodite. It wasn’t the fact that Aphrodite had offered him a present, since all three goddesses did, but the fact that she had promised Paris the hand of a married woman. In order to keep Helen safe, according to one version of the myth, Hera took the woman to Egypt and created a false Helen out of clouds. Paris thought that he laid every night with Helen, but in reality he didn’t. According to this version of the myth, Hera only kept the secret, because Zeus wanted for the Trojan war to happen for two reasons; he wanted Achilles to become famous and also wanted for some people to die in order for balance to be.
Hera’s worship is very ancient and created in the Greek and Roman era. She isn’t a goddess who was inserted from the East as many other gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon. Her name is found in Micynaic texts and she is often called “Lady”. It is proven that although Zeus and Hera are referred to together in the theogony as Cronos’s children, their stories before the creation of the Pantheon are not related to each other. In the stories about Hera’s premarital relationships, we find beliefs that were common in older areas, where there was a more feminine culture, and especially places like Samos, where Hera was worshiped. In the story of Hera’s virginity being recreated in the water, we find beliefs about the recreational and rebirthing role of the water.
Hera, as we have already mentioned is a goddess who is just and caring, but also vengeful. There are myths about Hera taking revenge on people, not relating to Zeus’s unfaithfulness. In the cases when Hera became a goddess of rage and revenge, we find the goddess who fights in the name of all the women who had suffered in men’s hands, again referring to older cultures where the religion of the Sacred feminine was, often violently, transmuted into masculine religious paths. Hera, the Greek goddess called “the Queen of Heaven”, was a powerful queen in her own right, long before her marriage to Zeus, the mighty king of the Olympian gods. The goddess Hera ruled over the heavens and the earth, responsible for every aspect of existence, including the seasons and the weather. A myth says that the Milky Way, our galaxy (galaxy derives from the Gr. Word γάλα, gala) was created by the milk sprouting out of Hera’s breasts.
Working with Hera
Sanctuaries: Hera’s most prominent sanctuary is in Samos, bearing her name (Heraion). Another famous temple is found at Olympia where the Herian games, an athletic competition for woman was held.
Day: Hera is a goddess with a very strong female nature, so Friday is a very suitable day to do rituals that involve her.
Flowers/Trees: Lily, poppy, stephanotis, cypress, coconut, iris, white rose, waterlily, maple trees, and all white flowers,
Fragnance: Rose, iris, myrrh, civet, jasmine, patchouli and stephanotis
Stones/Metals: Silver, pearls, garnet, citrine, amber, diamond, platinum, and star sapphire
Sabbat: Midsummer (23d of June). June was named after Hera’s Roman equivalent, Juno.
This is the month of the Sacred Marriage and also the month when most marriages took place.
Animals: Peacock and cow (Hera had beautiful big eyes, this is why she is connected with the Peacock that has an “eye” on its feathers and also the cow, as this animal has very big eyes and is also connected to milk and maternal nurturing, almost in every ancient culture), eagle, crabs, snails and other creatures with shells
Offerings: Apples; Gaia had offered a garden of golden apples as a marital present to Hera. The priestesses there guarded the garden and were called Hesperides. Oranges and Pomegranates are also associated to Hera.
Colours: White, royal blue, purple, rose, dark green, silver, and grey
Types of spells: marriage, love, maternity, emotional balance, regaining female power, labour, protection, justice for women, gaining control over rage and jealousy, fertility, children protection, financial security and protection for women, women’s leadership, making others appreciate our loyalty.
Orphic Hymn 15-To Hera
The Fumigation from Aromatics.
O Royal Hera of majestic mien, aerial-form’d, divine, Zeus’s blessed queen,
Thron’d in the bosom of cærulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care.
The cooling gales thy pow’r alone inspires, which nourish life, which ev’ry life desires.
Mother of clouds and winds, from thee alone producing all things, mortal life is known:
All natures share thy temp’rament divine, and universal sway alone is thine.
With founding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar, when shook by thee.
Come, blessed Goddess, fam’d almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.
In Love and Light always,
pictures from Google