Hera Agon Entry 3

Telia by Jennifer Lawrence


I understand you so much better now.


The stories of the gods were written by men:

Vain men, proud men, wanton and willful,

With a man’s hungers, and a man’s needs.

They portrayed your husband as one of themselves:

A father, a lord, a king,

With a man’s hungers, and a man’s needs.


Without his trysts, they say, so many Olympians and heroes

Simply would not be:

No Apollo and Artemis, no Dionysos,

No Hercules, no Perseus,

No Persephone, no Hermes,

No Graces and no Muses,

No Seasons and no Fates

Most of the seats on the heights of Mount Olympus

Would simply stand empty.


But–

From the first, you spurned his advances and ignored his pleas,

Knowing he knew nothing of fidelity;

Every gift he brought, you refused;

Every flattering compliment he whispered, you stopped your ears against.

Eventually, he sunk to trickery,

Changing his shape to beguile your pity,

And only when you had brought that half-drowned bird

Inside from the pounding storm laced with wild lightnings–

(and oh, if only you had recognized that warning sign!)

–he took you by force, and when he was done,

You had no choice but to wed your brother,

Or live with the shame forever after.


Perhaps you thought that,

At least with the title of queen,

You could content yourself with respect, if not love,

But he made no effort to hide his affairs,

And you knew others knew of them, also.

The cloak of dignity you would have wrapped round yourself

Became the cuckold-wife’s tattered veil,

And all that was left to you then

Were the flames of jealousy and rage

And the icy chains of hatred.

Perhaps you could understand that the women he chose had little choice of their own–

For who could withstand the King of the Gods?

What woman could withstand his guile, or stand fast against his strength?

Nonetheless, your fury needed a target,

And you could no more strike against him, your King,

Than they could,

And so you chose to strike them down when you could–

Rewarding their illicit pleasure with death if possible,

Or changing their shape to something not nearly so tempting,

If your lethal hatred was balked.


Only a woman treated thusly could share

Some of the anger, the despair, the hatred that you felt;

The need to strike out at the one who had hurt you so,

Or, failing that,

At the ones he had hurt you with.

When a woman has no such touchstone for the pain you felt,

It is easy to read the stories written by men,

And see you with clouded eyes,

Thinking you spiteful or cruel,

Instead of a woman seeking only the recompense of justice

For the crimes against you.


I understand you so much better now.

Aphrodite Agon Entry 1

Foam-Born 

By Jennifer Lawrence

Here in the earliest hours of morning,

when the birds are still sleeping

and the beach sands glisten like tiny

stars under their coating of sea-salt,

Here where the dawn is raw yet,

naked with possibility,

pregnant with potential,

You wash ashore like a pearl loosed from its oyster,

glistening and wet under the newborn rays of

the rising sun, and the fading

luminescence of the sinking moon.

Here, where graceful seabirds yet slumber,

unaware of the presence of one

more beautiful than they, by far,

birthed out of the opalescent seed

of castrated Ouranous,

mingling with the sea’s salt,

flowing forth from the ocean

whence all life began.


As the sun rises, you unfurl from

sleep, stepping away from the scallop

that bore you to shore; most precious of blossoms,

fair-skinned, gold-tressed, eyes deep and dark

with all the desires contained there

that God or man might feel.


Swans rise in adoring worship and

beat the air with their wings,

joyfully recognizing one whose beauty

makes theirs look like lumps of coal

that look all the more filthy and misshapen

when a diamond gleams among them.


Cytherea, Ourania, Kallipygos,

Cyprian Queen:

we bow before you, stricken mute

by your perfection, and

pray you bless our dull and quiet lives

with the beauty you are known for

and the passion you inspire.

Open our hearts to the love we need

to live, to thrive, to exult in the splendor

of the world around us, and

with your grace fulfill us.


Hail Aphrodite, fierce and gentle lady!

Hail Aphrodite, forgiving and condemning!

Hail Aphrodite, love’s queen!

Menrva and Athena

As I am looking more into the Etruscan side of things as it is directly attached to my ancestors, I came across a statement that a significant difference between the Etruscan Menrva  and the Hellenic Athena is that the latter was concerned with the activity of men almost exclusively…whereas Menrva  was directly attached to the stages of the life of women and had associations with bearing children. 

I thought this to an odd contrast until I started really thinking about it. A lot of this assumption about Athena is based off poetic tragedies where she aides men. In fact in the Orestes a small she shows little sympathy for the shade of the mother of Orestes on the account that she has no mother and so naturally is aligned with father’s.

Yet this apparent disassociation from women in poetic works seems odd when we consider the strong tie that Athena had to women’s work…namely like many goddesses concerned in the affairs of women, she too has connections to spinning….and is herself the mistress of loom. The art of weaving was one in which girls were trained and brought up into womanhood doing (for which a wife of the house would be responsible with aide of her daughters if she had any) weaving cloth for the family for clothes, bridal veils and burial shrouds (recall Penelope spent years making and undoing the burial shroud of Odysseus).
Although Athena is widely known as patron of heroes, which makes it easy to dismiss connections to Athens in the common lives of women, it is clear that she must have a very strong influential role in the maturing lives of girls and women. This much seems to be indicated when girls aged between 7-11 would tend her sacred olive and assist women in weaving a robe for the goddess. This as much was likely linked to the chore they had to learn at a young age in order to accomplished at by the time that they were of age to marry. A maiden with great skill at the loom was valuable.  Then girls ground grain for Athena as girls learn to bake bread that will eventually feed their families. This does not seem to be quite right for a goddess who wasn’t involved in the lives of women. Seems like bread baking and weaving were daily chores of women that she was directly and regularly involved.

As for childbirth I will draw attention that Athena is a supportive presence for mothers. Whereas Artemis was considered responsible for lure or death of mother and infant, Athena was probably viewed as a supporter  of the pregnant mother. To indicate this we can look to Leto who mythical lyrics often represents idealized motherhood.  Pausanias in his recounting of the city where Leto loosened her girdle he makes us also aware that Athena is present with her through her travels to find sanctuary for birth. 

I had thought initially that this may have been because of the close relationship  between Athena answer Apollon…or even as a favor to Zeus. Yet neither are even mentioned in context to her company with Leto. Clearly it was directly about  Leto. 

Whereas boys are trained in their craft and art and trade or to train as warriors we see Athena uplifting them and at their side. Why then is it surprising to find Athena uplifting women and girls in their essential tasks and duties as companion and aide. But we are blinded by this via her role with heroes…yet either end in these mythic dialogues we see a goddess who unfailing support for those with labor and fight with focus and intelligence in their activity. If you ever had to hand craft any food or textile you would known physical strength, focus and a certain amount knowledge is necessary that take years of labor and education. Then there is the rigors of pregnancy and birth. Such qualities are hardly then limited to men.

So I would say that just as Etruscan Menrva, that Athena too is regularly engaged in the tasks and lives of women and the difference isn’t as sharp as we may be lead to believe. It may also give women a further way to relate to Athena who is held up more often than not as a man’s god.

Hera Agon Entry #2

Hera Acreie

By Anne Hatzakis

​.                                Hera Acreie

You who holds your hand in protection over your devotees

Guard your children in our battles for what is in accordance with Divine Law.

You who are both Pais and Chera

Guardian of honest Marriages

Antheia and Henioche

Both of the flowers and the chariots.

Think kindly of us,

Grant us your protection, peace, honor and health

Speak kindly to Persephone when it is our time to journey to her realm.

Hera Agon Entry 1

To Hera

by Galina Krasskova

To the Queen of Olympus

let homage ever be paid.

To She Who renders right judgment,

let offerings be laid out.

To the Goddess Who brings glory,

may libations be poured.

Hail to Hera,

Who grants no quarter,

and yet, is merciful.

She is the Maker of heroes,

glorious and fierce.

She hones them,

tempers them,

renders them worthy of the blood

from which they are sprung.

Herakles, Achilles, even Dionysos:

She brought Them into Their power.

She taught Them what it meant,

to bear the blood of Gods.

Hera, ever mighty, orders the world,

watches over its mysteries.

She is Beloved of the Thunderer.

She is Queen of all the heavens.

To Argive Hera, I bow my head.

You teach us that power must earned.

You, Great One, at Whose hands all

is brought into order,

may my words and prayers

be pleasing to You.

Hail to You, Glorious Hera.

(if you are in a place where you can do so, light some incense for her)

Lykeia’s Botanica Presents Agons For Hera and Aphrodite

Lykeia’s Botanica and spiritual gifts and supplies is happy to present two agons running until March 31st for Hera and Aphrodite. Due to constraints of the Internet these shall by poetic contests. 

The winners shall be determined by popular vote.

First place winners will get a hand crafted silver pendant of either Hera or Aphrodite *depending on which agon it is* shown above. Second place winners will get a copper pendant of the goddess of the agons.

The above link to my shop is a place where non contestants may purchase the pendant if they like. Copper listing will be put up in a few days.

Please email submissions  to daphne.kyrene@gmail.com

Apollon Novena extension and guideline

I had originally intended for the deadline to be open until December 20, but as I forgot to mention in my last post I am extending it until January 5th.  Please have material to me by then. All epithets previously mentioned are open

Now it occurs to me as there have been some confusion on the novena that needs clearing up.

1. This is the style of a kind of prayer book. As such it is for general use in praising a god…so personal or dedication references need to be brief at the end of the submitted poem please.

2. please keep in mind this are daily praises and addresses to the gods..so this is the needed format for your submission.

Looking forward to reading the submissions 🙂