“Hera” by tygodym

“Hera’s themes are love, romance, forgiveness and humor.  Her symbols are oak, myrrh and poppies. Hera rules the earth, its people and the hearts of those people. Using creativity, Hera nudges star-crossed lovers together, chaperones trysts and helps struggling marriages with a case of spring twitterpation!

Legends tells us that Hera refused to return to Zeus’s bed because of a quarrel. Zeus, however, had a plan. He humorously dressed up a wooden figure to look like a bride and declared he was going to marry. When Hera tore off the dummy’s clothes and discovered the ruse, She was so amused and impressed by Zeus’s ingenuity that She forgave him.

Ancient Greeks honored Hera and Zeus’s reconciliation today during a festival called Daedala, often in the company of old oak trees. Small pieces of fallen wood are collected to symbolize the divinities, then burned on the ritual fire to keep love warm. To mirror this custom, find a fallen branch and burn a small part of it as an offering to Hera. Keep the rest to use as a Goddess image year-round, burning a few slivers whenever love needs encouragement.

Present someone you love or admire with a poppy today to symbolically bestow Hera’s blessings on your relationship. If you have a loved one away from home, burn some myrrh incense in front of their picture so Hera can watch over them and keep that connection strong.

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Hera” by Soa-Lee

“Hera is the Goddess who has suffered the most at the hands of those who dabbled in Greek mythology. Summed up and dismissed as a shew and a nag, Hera was in fact the most powerful of all the Olympian Goddesses, the queen of the gods. Before that She was the primary divinity of the pre-Hellenic Greeks who honored Her through festivals similar the Olympics.

Long before the Indo-European Hellenes came down from the north to occupy the land and islands of Greece, a Mediterranean race, speaking a language different from the Hellenes, occupied Greece. The older race which are called Minoan and Early Hellenic, had customs and codes different from those of the incoming Hellenes. The older culture was, for example, matriarchal. Society was build around the woman; even on the highest level, where descent was on the female side. A man became king by formal marriage and his daughter succeeded. Therefore the next king was the man who married the daughter.

 

Until the Northerners arrived, religion and custom were dominated by the female and the Goddess.

Hera was the chief divinity of this culture; She was their queen and ancestral mother, and She ruled alone, needing no king to back Her up. The earliest evidence about Her describes Her as Queen of Heaven, great Mother Goddess, ruler of people. In these images, She was associated with the bird, the snake, and the bull, suggesting connections with water, earth, and life energies.

“Hera” by cheungygirl

The ancient Hera passed through three stages: youth, prime and age. First She was the maiden Hebe or Parthenia, called virginal not because She avoided intercourse but because She had no children and was free of responsibility. In this stage She was also called Antheia (‘flowering one’), symbol of both the flower of human youth and the budding earth in springtime. Next She revealed Herself as the mature woman, Nymphenomene, (‘seeking a mate’) or Teleia (‘prefect one’)'; She was the earth in summer, the mother in Her prime of life. Finally She showed herself as Theria (‘crone’), the woman who has passed through and beyond maternity and lives again to Herself.

In all these stages, She represented the epitome of woman’s strength and power. Far from being spiteful and malicious, She was generous and self-assured. The ancient Hera was so beloved that being recast in such negative aspects in the myths created by the conquering northern Hellenes, She was still worshiped and revered. It seems the women refused to give Her up entirely. In spite of the slanderous tales about Her, She would emerge at festivals in Her honor as a Goddess who cared for women.

Hera has three symbols which can be connected with her three ancient phases. The first of these is the cuckoo, a bird in many places connected with springtime. Later myths frequently mentioned that Hera had a tender spot for the cuckoo. At Mycene, a Creatan colony, on the Greek mainland, miniature temples mounted with cuckoos have been found buried in the rubble along with statuettes of a naked Goddess holding the same birds on Her arms. As Hera’s worship goes back to that period, these statutes may represent Her most ancient worship.

Another symbol of Hera is the peacock. Hera’s watchfulness is symbolized by the peacock and the ‘eyes’ in its feathers. The bird was a sacred symbol of Hera and wandered the in temples of Hera. In addition, the peacock is often associated with summer and therefore this may symbolized Hera’s second phase, the mature woman, the mother phase.

“Hera: Queen of Heaven” by iizzard

The third symbol for Hera is the pomegranate which She shares with Persephone. She is often depicted holding the pomegranate but there is no reference in Her myths to its significant. Ripening late in the year, the leathery-skinned pomegranate, so full of juicy seeds, is a marvelous image for a woman in her late years, Her crone years. The deep red juice of this fruit was often likened to blood and in some areas of Greece, was designated as food for the dead, heightening this connection to Her crone phase.

“Hera Base Card Art – Hanie Mohd” by Pernastudios

Others symbols for Hera include lilies and cows. In ancient Greece at Hera’s temple in Argos, Her priestesses gathered lilies of the valley and garlanded Her alter with them. The lily is a powerful symbol of the feminine and can be given as an offering to honor the Goddess and to invoke Her presence. The cow, a less frequent symbol of Hera, was associated with Her because She was said to have cow eyes, and disguised Herself as a cow in one myth. Also cows were often sacrificed to her. Hera’s cow identity shows Her to be a heavenly Goddess ruling the celestial vault and its luminaries.

Another symbol with Hera is the apple. At Her forced marriage to Zeus, Hera was given a special magic garden in the West where She kept Her apples of immortality. This magical garden was called the Hesperides, probably a symbol of Her regenerating womb; Her apples were guarded by Her sacred serpent.”  [1] <– Click here to continue reading this informative entry by Anne Morgan on the Order of the White Moon’s site, including information on building an altar to Hera, information on Her feasts and rituals and a very thorough bibliography.

 

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Milky Way (our galaxy), the seasons of the year, diadem (diamond crown) or tiara, spas and baths.

Animals: Peacock, cow, eagle, crabs, snails, and other creatures with shells.

Plants: Lilies, poppies, stephanotis, cypress, coconut, iris, white rose, waterlily, maple trees, and all white flowers.

Perfumes/Scents: Rose, iris, myrrh, civet, jasmine, patchouli, and stehanotis.

Gems and Metals: Silver, pearls, garnet, citrine, amber, diamond, platinum and star sapphire.

Colors: White, royal blue, purple, rose, dark green, silver and grey. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Hera

Morgan, Anne.  Order of the White Moon, “Hera: Great Mother Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddessgift.com, “Hera, Greek Goddess of Love and Marriage“.

Heckart, Kelley. Kelley Heckart, author of Historical Celtic fantasy romances, “Pre-Hellenic Goddesses“.

Regula, deTraci. About.com, “Fast Facts on: Hera

Sosa, Sylvia. Sweet Biar College {History of Art Program}, “Hera: The First Greek Goddess“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Hera“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Hera and HPH“.

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