Oh women, I have come to
Tell you of threefold Hera.
Hera, Virgin, Mother, Crone.
......Come with me women.
-Virgin Mother Crone by Donna Wilshire pgs 146-7
I became drawn to the story of Hera while reading "Virgin Mother Crone" by Donna Wilshire. Like most people, the Hera I thought I knew from traditional Greek mythology was not one I desired to know any better. As I read and became aware of pre Hellenic Hera, the supreme triple goddess of a matrifocal society, and began to understand even her Greek mythological actions, I was filled with an intense desire to share what I had learned so as to "reclaim" her story, for lack of a better word, from the one a patriarchal society had given her. Perhaps in a way my desire to do so is in the hopes that in reclaiming her, I can reclaim myself. . .
'Let us sing now of Hera, the woman's Goddess, she who rises from her
throne of gold... child of Earth, daughter of that most ancient of Goddesses.'
- from 'The Goddess Path' by Patricia Monaghan
Archaic or pre Hellenic Hera was The Creatrix, the supreme deity of her neolithic farming society and her name may have been one of the ten thousand names of the Great Mother Goddess. A kind and generous mother who provided for her children and permeated every aspect of their lives, Hera's name was often times used synonymously with words such as woman, house, temple and womb. Revered as the endless, embracing sky and the fruitful, sustaining earth, for the pre Greek matristic farmers who worshipped Hera, she was the Great Mother and Everywoman, a benevolent triple goddess who mirrored the lives of the women of her people. Hera was revered as the Virgin, her daughter /self Hebe, Hera as Mother Teleia, and Hera as Crone Hekate. She was honored by her people with festivals and games similar to those of the Olympics and her mysteries were practiced by women, contrary to male authored myths.

Centuries before the appearance of Zeus, Hera was alone on the throne with her young lover Herakles behind her in the place that Zeus would eventually occupy in her sanctuaries. Though portrayed as her arch enemy in classical Greek myth, Herakles or Heracles, whose name actually means "glory of Hera" was in reality Hera's sexual partner and co creator. I personally believe that given Hera's common elements with Middle Eastern goddesses, Herakles was probably her son also, a dying son/consort that is seen in myth world wide, but that is just my opinion, however, be sure, in the beginning, Hera was no god's wife.

Archaic Hera is historically much older that her famed Greek husband Zeus. As a matter of fact according to Donna Wilshire in "Virgin Mother Crone", "Many of Hera's temples predate Zeus at the same site by hundreds of years." Also Marija Gimbutas points out in "Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe" ; "In her sanctuaries and pictorial representations,

Hera is shown in the central position; she occupies the throne, not Zeus who stands at her side". She did not as one would assume from myth gain any importance from him, in fact it was he who gained his importance from her. Hera's worship was so strongly established, that when Zeus' patriarchal tribes invaded, she could not be overthrown and instead had to be married off and eventually vilified. Hera would not be content as subordinate to Zeus and neither would her daughters. Amazon priestesses fought patriarchy in Hera's name into the time of Herodotus, about 450 BC.

Even as the consort of Zeus, Hera's power was enormous. Hera knew all, and she was absolutely just. All seeing, all pervasive, she ruled the stars and the winds, she was the ruler of all weather, her orchards were the resting placed of the exalted dead and retaining characteristics of the Great Mother Goddess, she could delay or speed childbirth. Each year Hera restored her virginity and youth by bathing herself in Kanathos spring and her female worshippers emulated her.

Though Hera suffered much at the hands of patriarchal propaganda, she remained the Goddess of Women, their help, and their reflection. Besides, we have to ask ourselves, can we truly view her feelings and actions in classic Greek mythology as criminal and wicked, seeing that she was raped by the invader Zeus who she was after years of fighting forced to marry, as a wife abused and degraded by him, not to mention what she witnessed happening to her people, especially her daughters. No, it is not a surprise Hera fights Zeus' rule, as a matter of fact, I should hope she would! That is a greater model for women than to just sit back and take it docilely, though I am sure that is what her assailants would have preferred.

And so it my hope that you will not see Hera as the shrew of Greek myth, but as strong, capable, powerful and loving. As the caring All Mother that she was to her neolithic people, as true help in all your concerns as women and as a goddess who reminds us fight and to not let the gossip, lies or opinions of others define who we really are.

Blessed Be.

"The homage of our song is also due to Hera, the goddess of marriage, who interests herself in every chorus and guards the approach to the nuptial couch."
-Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 970
Creation of the Milky Way

Sit with me a moment and I will tell you a tale of how the heavens came to look as they do today. Ah, I already know this story you say. But wait. You know patriarchy's story to be sure, but I ask you, do you really think that something so beautiful could have come into existence in such disgust, hatred, betrayal and anger? I didn't think so. Now, I will tell you the story I know, a story that took place before the new gods and men had their say.

Hera Teleia, the Universal Mother and Creatrix sat in the heavens with the Earth at her feet nursing her infant son Herkales. As she sat in contentment watching her son, her milk let down in her breast. She watched as Herkales suckled eagerly at this new abundance and she began to laugh. Herkales let go and watching her, began to giggle. As they both laughed together her exposed breast sprayed milk across the heavens and formed what we call the Milky Way.

So now you know, and next time you look up at the heavens on a clear night and see the milky star laced band stretching far and wide, remember Hera and Herkales and see if you can not help but giggle too.

Hera is in each of you, all of us. She is Everywoman'the Mirror of Ourselves, the Model of Our Wholeness.
- "Virgin Mother Crone" by Donna Wilshire
The Custody of Emily

"I was blessing a group called HERA. After the bonding ritual, Leslie came to me "I need help in a custody case" she said "it has to be a miracle, everything else has failed. As things are I don't have a chance. My ex husband has hired a powerful and expensive attorney to take my daughter from me. And its all spite - he didn't even like Emily before""

"So I called on the four winds and asked Hera, the Goddess of Mothers, to help Leslie and her daughter if that was the wish of both of them. The festival went on and I forgot about it, but a call came in. It was Leslie. So what happened?" I asked. "Imagine my ex and his lawyer set out together for court, but they never arrived. Nobody knows where they went. I have won my case by default! Blessed Be!

"here, Emily wants to say something to Z." the line crackled and I heard a little girl's voice giggling "Thank you Goddess!" -from "Grandmother Moon" by Zsuzsanna E. Budapest pgs 198-9

If June with bright sun is blessed,
For harvest we will thank the Goddess.
-old weather lore from the Pagan Book of Days
Titles: Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Gods, Holy Mother, Creatrix, Goddess of Women, Protectoress of Married Women

Rules Over: womanly power, feminism, leadership, marriage, childbirth, inspiration, invention, weather

Tarot Card: the empress

Days of the Moon: 10 -12

Month: May 16 - June 12

Holy Day: August 20th

Herbs: orris, myrrh

Flowers: poppy, lily, apple blossom

Trees: oak, willow, apple, pear

Fruits: apple, pomegranate

Animals: cow, peacock, cuckoo, lion

Elements: air, earth, water

Colors: white, gold, blue, green

Symbols: crown, lotus staff, apple scepter, tree pillar

Offerings: apples, pomegranates, lilies, poppies, myrrh, orris, any white flower

Suggested Mantra: wholeness

Suggested Affirmation: "I alone define who I am"

Similar Goddesses: Juno, Inanna, Danu, Frigga, Europa, Rhea

Let us sing now of Hera, the women's goddess,
she who rules from her throne of gold.
Let us sing now of the queen of gods.
Let us sing now of the most beautiful goddess.
There is no one more beloved than you,
womanly Hera, no one we honor more.
-Homeric hymn
A Simple Ritual of Self Definition

New or Full Moon

Petals from a white flower
(make sure it is not toxic or a personal allergen, Rose petals would be a good choice)

Index cards

Offering from offering list

White or gold candles

A new piece of daily wear jewelry, a ring is an excellent choice esp. one fitted for the right hand ring finger (the jewelry part is optional)

Take index cards, and write lies from others or society that you have believed and let define you for example; "a woman's only worth is as a wife". Under each lie write new truths such as; "my contributions are worthy because I offer this world something special just by being me". You get the idea.

Write opening affirmation and closing prayer on another index card(s).

Draw bath and float petals in water.

Light candles around darkened bathroom.

(if you could do this ritual in a lake, ocean or pool even better!)

Stand in bathroom and just before stepping into water say the following affirmation:
"Who is Hera?"
"Hera is goddess!"
"Who am I?"
"I am goddess!"
"I am the child of Deity and I am Deity. I am a part of the creative life force that moves the Universe. "
"I am microcosm and macrocosm. I am part of all that is!"

Once in water begin to pour water over yourself while stating the former lies and new truths, for example, (pouring water) "Society says I only have worth as someone's wife, but I say I have worth just by being who I am!"

As you do this visualize the water washing away your old negative self views and opinions of others and see yourself being transformed and renewed into a new woman who alone defines herself. After you are done and when you are ready, before leaving the bathroom, pray to Hera:

"Hera just as you bathed yourself each year in your sacred bath to restore your virginity, so I have bathed myself to restore my sovereignty. Help me to remember that when it comes to myself, my opinion is the only one that truly matters. My opinion of myself is law and I alone define myself."

If you have chosen to include jewelry place it on your person at this time and wear it to remind yourself that you alone are the supreme authority on who you are and what you can or can't do. Wear it to remind yourself that you are the Goddess' child, and walk with dignity!

Afterward be sure to place your offering for Hera on your altar!

And so women. That is my story of Hera... I charge you to remember! I charge you to remember Hera and visit Her temples, celebrate the cycles and rhythm of your lives. If we remember Hera and use Her temples, women, we will survive, thrive, and renew!
-"Virgin Mother Crone" Donna Wilshire
Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone, producing all things,
mortal life is known: all natures share thy temperament divine, and
universal sway alone is thine, with sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea
and rolling rivers roar when shook by thee. Come, blessed Goddess,
famed almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.

-Orphic Hymn 16 to Hera

Virgin Mother Crone by Donna Wilshire pgs 22; 25; 29- 33; 36;42;146-7
The Goddesses & Gods of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas pgs 149;150
Grandmother Time by Zsuzsanna E Budapest pgs 198-9
The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick pgs 13; 76
365 Goddess by Patricia Telesco pg of 3/10
Wicca by Scott Cunningham pg 165
The Goddess Path by Patricia Monaghan

Helpful Links for Further Study



2.Original sculpture by Ilandree: ilandree@yahoo.com
4.about.com free clip art gallery
5.about.com free clipart
6.Original photo and altar design by Ilandree
7.Original painting by Ilandree: ilandree@yahoo.com

The Myth of Creation of the Milky Way is my own telling of this myth and is my own opinion of what the myth may have been like in the transitional period from matriarchal and patriarchal society in ancient Greece. It is not in anyway the proper and academically accepted classic Greek myth of Hera and the Milky Way. It was inspired by a wonderful myth at the following link: http://www.moonspeaker.ca/Hera/hera.html

Due to the vastness of Hera's correspondences if taken as ancient great goddess, virgin, mother and crone and also Hellenic Hera, I have only listed correspondences for her mother aspect, since that is the aspect that I most relate to.

The affirmation in the ritual is an adaptation of a couple statements made in the Yule ritual found on pgs 127-8 of the book Witta by Edain McCoy

Back to Gallery

Join a School