As many people who have followed my previous Devotional Month for Hestia will already know, each day this month I will be writing about Hera following a specific guideline that helps organize things. I found with the previous time I have done this that my understanding of the Goddess in question felt like it had deepened somewhat because of the amount of time and attention that I had to put in to doing each entry.
The first day’s topic is a brief introduction of the God or Goddess in question, which in this case is Hera. It’s easy to just pigeonhole her as “Queen of the Gods and wife of Zeus”. However people who do that are only getting a superficial view of Her. In many ways, Hera is the equal of her husband in that she sits beside him on her celestial throne. However, as with many things in our knowledge of Hellenic Mythology, our perceptions of Hera are colored by the way she was portrayed by British scholars in the 18th and 19th centuries CE. She is strong in her own right and a large part of the way she is portrayed is in what seems to be an attempt to either belittle her strength or cast it in a negative light. (Such as when Hera became stereotyped as the “jealous wife” instead of the onus being put on her husband for his infidelities)
Despite all of this, there are strong indications that Hera is one of the deities with an important role in governance, (as the patron Goddess of Kings and Empires) and a more important role than commonly thought in general community life. These indications seem to lay in some of the things that have been found in archaeological studies of Mycenaean culture and how it led up to the Classical period in Greece. It is my hope that I will be able to do justice to her and bring a better sense of her to the people reading this blog.