Athena is the Greek Goddess of wise counsel, civilization, law, justice, war, the defense of towns, heroic endeavor, weaving, pottery and other crafts, strength, strategy, and mathematics. She is also associated with the Roman Goddess Minerva.
In his account of the conquest of Gaul, De bello gallico, Caesar observed the religious activities of the Celts and that they had a goddess very similar to Minerva of Roman mythology.
"They worship as their divinity… Minerva…
This Minerva figure was none other than the triplicate Brigid, or Brigandio as she would have been known to Caesar’s Gauls, the daughter of the Dagda, but above all, the most powerful goddess in the Celtic pantheon. –http://www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/stbrigid/essay.html
While Brigid was invoked of as the Goddess of fertility, the Greeks saw Athena as a virgin goddess who never had a consort or lover. Among the titles givento Athena (and the names she is known by) is Athena Parthenos – Virgin Athena. As such, she is the defender of women and the pureness of virginity. The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Greece takes its name from her title of Athena Parsenos.
The Parentage of Athena
Pallas Athena – …Pallas is sometimes named as Athena’s father, sister, foster sister, companion, or opponent in battle. Pallas is often a nymph, a daughter of Triton (a sea god), and a childhood friend of Athena.
In every case, Athena kills Pallas, accidentally, and thereby gains the name for herself. In one telling, they practice the arts of war together until one day they have a falling out. As Pallas is about to strike Athena, Zeus intervenes. With Pallas stunned by a blow from Zeus, Athena takes advantage and kills her. Distraught over what she has done, Athena takes the name Pallas for herself.
When Pallas is Athena’s sister or foster-sister, Athena’s father or foster-father is Triton, the son and herald of Poseidon. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athena
The chief explanation given for Athena’s birth is that Zeus, having been told that his child to be would grow more powerful than he himself, turned his wife to a fly and swallowed her. While inside Zeus Athena continued to grow and eventually emerged from Zeus’ head fully grown and clothed in armor. In time Athena became Zeus’ favorite child.
Athena – Daughter of Triton
A third story maintains that Athena is the daughter of Poseidon and Tritonis. One story says that Poseidon became angry with his daughter and gave her to Zeus.
It was Athena who saved Odysseus from Calypso when he is stranded on the island with her, demanding that Zeus release Odysseus from the nymph Calypso’s grasp.
It is said that it was Athena who directed the Greeks to build the Trojan Horse.
She encouraged Argos to build the biggest longship of the time.
She taught Prometheus architecture, astronomy, mathematics, navigation, medicine, and metallurgy which he in turn gave to mortals.
One of the most enduring legends is that of Arachne. A mortal woman named Arachne wished to best Athena in a weaving competition. She wove a tapestry depicting the lives of the God and Goddesses. However, it depicted not their glories and greatness, but rather their faults and the negative aspects of the divine. This angered Athena and as a punishment she turned Arachne into a spider.
Sacred to Athena
Athena competed with Poseidon to be the patron deity of Athens, which was yet unnamed. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and that the Athenians would choose the gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring sprang up
Athena, however, offered them the first domesticated olive tree. The Athenians accepted the olive tree and with it the patronage of Athena, for the olive tree brought wood, oil, and food. For this reason the olive tree, its fruit and branches are sacred to Athena.
Because Athena is a Goddess of Wisdom the owl is also sacred to her and she is often depicted with an owl upon her shoulder.
Athena was also a companion of the Goddess Nike – the Goddess of Victory and is also seen depicted carrying a small statue of the goddess.
1 white candle
Breathe deeply, relax and when you’re ready say:
"Virgin Goddess, goddess of the earth, Goddess of the sun and moon, I summon you.
Divine mother, huntress, maiden, protectress, you of many names and many incarnations I call upon you now.
Light white candle: continue
Fill me with your bright spirit. Infuse me with your confidence. Share with me your beauty and your power. Instill in me the infinite measure of your strength. Like you, may I know myself as perfect and complete in myself, Let this wisdom bless and balance guard/heal my relationships. As you teach me to honor and respect myself in all ways, to speak truth, and to stand by what I have spoken, what I believe, and what I must do."
Athena Parthenos – Nashville, TN
In 1982 seven sculptors submitted proposals to recreate the Athena statue in Nashville. Alan LeQuire won the commission because of his skill and commitment to accuracy. LeQuire attended Vanderbilt University and received his MFA from University of North Carolina, Greensboro in 1981. The Athena statue was constructed from 1982 to 1990. It stood in Nashville’s Parthenon as a plain, white statue for 12 years. In 2002 the Parthenon gilded Athena with Alan LeQuire and master gilder Lou Reed in charge of the project. The gilding project took less than 4 months and makes Athena appear that much closer to the ancient Athena Parthenos. In addition to gilding, the project included painted details on her face, wardrobe and shield. - http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon/Athena.aspx
This beautiful 12" tall statue (pictured right) portrays Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, as though she were sculpted of bronze, armored as a hoplite warrior with the owl of wisdom landing upon her shoulder is available for purchase now at Salem’s Moon.
Cost – $59.95