Athene is one of the oldest and most beloved Deities of the Greek pantheon. She was called Athena by both the Greeks and the Romans. She was born, fully grown and clad in a glorious armor, when She sprang from Zeus's head.. after he had swallowed Her mother, Metis, the goddess of wisdom. Zeus had lived in fear that Metis would give birth to a son who would de-throne him as he had done to his own father, Cronus, so he was thrilled with Athena appeared, and there was no doubt that she was a favorite child of Zeus.
Athena is represented as quite a majestic goddess. In Her hands she holds a spear and a shield, and upon her head, a helmet; her breasts covered by a breastplate. She was educated by Triton, the river god and became good friends with his daughter, Pallas. Athena accidentally killed her during one of their games and grieved so much over Her death that she made a wooden image of her likeness...the Palladium.
Because the Greek city-states were largely military, Athena is considered a warrior goddess, and most powerful goddess of war at that...but She was also a virgin goddess; meaning that She was a whole unto herself. Her traits include the integration of both masculine and feminine qualities: strength, intellect, and compassion. Her warrior instincts made Her a symbol of matriarchal strength...and because She personified the Greek ideal of rationality and power, She became the patron Deity of Athenians...representing courage and victory.
There is a story that Athena and her uncle, Poseidon, the god of the sea, were both very fond of a specific city in Greece, and disputed which of the two could lay claim to the city. It was decided that the one who gave the finest gift should have it. On his part, Poseiden struck the side of the cliff with his staff and opened up a well on the Acropolis, but, alas, the water was very salty and not very useful. Athena, on the other hand, planted an olive tree, symbolic of the Greek Tree of Life. It decided that because Athena's gift would be far more useful to the people, Athena was the winner; hence She became the city's protectress and named the city, Athens.
Athena was a benevolent Goddess and had very few ulterior or selfish motives. She seldom did anything. 'just for spite. She was a patroness of art, science, and the crafts of women...especially weaving..and is the epitome of wisdom, enlightenment, maturity and represents the means by which wisdom is born and manifest in our world. She defied the laws of mortals and immortals alike. She is often accompanied by an owl...representing wisdom.
Think about the wisdom that you have gathered throughout your lifetime. Give yourself credit for the ways in which you have grown and for the ways you are helping others grow. Appreciating ourselves each day gives us the courage to keep our garden of wisdom growing.
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