A Month of Devotional Thought — Hera, Day 16

Today’s topic is how Hera reflects the values of the Hellenic pantheon and the culture that worshiped them. As she seems to be one of the Hellenic deities worshiped most continuously due to evidence dating as far back as the Mycenaean period, she reflects some of the ways the culture changed over time.

Hera’s worship also reflects the Hellenic pantheon as she was mother to Gods representing both the warlike and peacetime pursuits of men. As Queen of Heaven, she is the one that helps humans in governance and statecraft in cooperation with her husband, Zeus.

It is telling that in the myth of the Judgment of Paris, it is Hera that offers him rulership, while Athena offers wisdom, and Aphrodite offers love. This, in showing the “realm” of each Goddess serves to illustrate how Hera was viewed in Hellenic culture and how She reflects that culture and her place in the pantheon.

Despite her ire with Zeus and his paramours, Hera seems to have good relationships with her step-children. This helps illustrate the overall cohesion of the Hellenic pantheon with rare exceptions such as the Trojan war. It also illustrates the emphasis that the Hellenic culture did, and in fact still does, place on the extended family unit. As the goddess who was viewed as ruling marriage, she was the goddess who blessed the connections that marriage served to forge between families.

These are only some of the examples that exist, and because of this I feel that Hera has almost as important a role in keeping the cohesion in the Olympian Theoi as Hestia does.

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