30-day Religious Meme Day 11 ~ Patrons – Hera

Hail to thee Heavenly Queen! Today’s subject is Hera. We often look at her as just the “jealous wife” of Zeus but she is so much more than that. As a devotee of Hera I will try to describe a few of her characteristics and how they affect us.

First, she IS the wife and partner to Zeus. Both the Homeric and Orphic Hymns in her honor refer to her as a queen. Because of this I would say that she has equal responsibilities to her husband. She is the Protector of Marriage and is one of the goddesses that govern the birth of a child.  Hera, soft-eyed and ivory-armed, is at times even described as being more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite. This seems to me to indicate that in ancient times there were rituals in her honor that may not have survived to the present due to Christianity having a very strong male focus.

There is some evidence that Hera was the patron goddess of Sparta and Mycenae as they have the lioness as their symbol and the lion was considered to be an animal sacred to Hera. She is also the patron and goad to Heracles — whose name actually means ‘Glory of Hera’. These things would point to her being a much stronger and effective goddess than popular opinion would have her be. As the protector of marriage, it is MY opinion that she does not oppose same-sex marriage as long as it is a truly committed relationship and the partners are faithful to each other. This would also apply to polygamous relationships as long as there is honesty in the relationship and as long as there is not any coercion involved (religious or secular) to become part of the relationship.

Hera, in my opinion, is only opposed to violations of the marriage vows, especially those of committing to each other in an exclusive fashion. The “jealousy” that is described in the myths is her anger at the violation of the promises made in the marriage ceremony. And, although the myths have her especially targeting the women whom Zeus, it is my opinion that she also targets her husband for HIS misdeeds. Because the writers  and translators of the myths have been traditionally male the fact that the Homeric Hymn to Hera intimates that she is the equal to her husband and that she is in many ways the personification of restraint when her husband “delights in thunder” (which is unrestrained)

There is a lot more that I could say about this Glorious lady, but life demands that I keep this shorter than I might perhaps like.

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