Goddess of the Week: Athena, goddess of crafts

When it comes to multitasking, few goddesses excel like the Greek goddess Athena.  Not only was she the goddess of wisdom, the goddess of war, and the patroness of Athens, but she was also the goddess of crafts.  Her specialty was weaving, and it was said that no one worked a loom as well as Athena.  Of course, humans being what they are, that was an invitation to trouble, at least it was for Arachne.

Arachne also specialized in weaving.  In fact, she was so good that she boasted that not even Athena could match her skill.  (Ok, now I know I've said this before, but you really don't want to compare yourself to a god or goddess.  You might as well step into a lion's cage because things are going to turn ugly super fast.  Modesty, people!  Show some modesty!)  Now, Arachne was actually lucky.  Athena could have smote her down then and there, but she decided to give the young woman the benefit of the doubt.  She transfigured herself into a withered crone and went to see Arachne for herself.  

"Sure.  I get it.  You're good," said Athena looking at samples of the young woman's work.  "But, you wouldn't really dare compare yourself to the great goddess Athena, would you?"

"I'm so totally as good as Athena," said the little snot.  "I am so good, that if there were an Olympics of weaving, I would beat Athena."

"Oh!  You are so on!" said Athena removing her disguise and revealing her true self.

The goddess and the young woman sat down at their respective looms and got to work.  Athena wove a stunning and suggestive tapestry depicting the fall of humans from hubris.  Had Arachne been paying attention, she might not have designed her tapestry to show the gods and goddesses on top of Mt. Olympus performing embarrassing acts.   

Still, when the competition was over, even Athena had to admit that the quality of Arachne's work was as fine as her own.  But there was no getting around that truth.  So Athena turned Arachne into a spider who still weaves today.  

On a more contemporary note, I think if Martha Stewart had heeded the story of Arachne she would have avoided that embarrassing jail time.  (Let this be a lesson to you, Rachel Ray!)

Channel this goddess: When overwhelmed with the desire to knit/sew/crochet/scrapbook/decoupage or turn old sweaters into festive felted dolls!  But be warned: think twice before you start selling things on Etsy.


Margaret said...

This particular goddess is for my sister Lynne, whose birthday is tomorrow and who, although she shouldn't say it, could give Athena a run for her money.

Desiree said...

Lucky Lynne, to have a sweet sister like you. This is one of my favorite myths--always a warning against hubris

WV: refundi
Does the word generator know it's tax time?

Susan C said...

I'm meeting Athena for dinner tonight.

She's not a goddess, but she looks like one - half Greek and half Japanese.

Lynne said...

Best birthday gift ever! I just loved it. I'm fine with Athena being the better crafter, I just wish the goddess of time would give me more of it to craft with!

Petrea said...

Sweater dolls are the reason the word "yikes" was invented.

My knowledge of mythology is getting better and better, Margaret. Merci.

Happy birthday to Lynne!

Cafe Observer said...

This sounds like a very crafty goddess. I like the tasty goddess from last week better.

pasadenapio said...

I assure you I will never, ever be tempted to sew, crochet, decoupage, scrapbook or anything remotely similar to "crafty" projects.

Laurie said...

I will be haunted by the images of those felted dolls. (Shudder.)

I love, love, LOVE your goddess posts. The Athena/Arachne dialogue is hilarious. Who is the goddess of blogging? Wait, maybe YOU are the goddess of blogging!

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, Margaret, you know how to spin a wonderful yarn yourself! A hilarious Weave-Off - I love it.

altadenahiker said...

I totally didn't know they had valley girls in ancient Greece.

Margaret said...

AH: Valley girls? OMG. Who do you think hangs out below Mt. Olympus?

Linda Dove said...

Spinner of yarns, indeed...I love the way storytelling and narrative are always so caught up in these weaving/sewing/quilting metaphors. Very fun!

Petrea said...

LOL, Margaret, and I only use that when I actually LOL.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I don't wish to compete with Athena but since I'm not shy about blowing my own horn I must tell you that I did manage to master some embroidery stiches. My Master of Fine Arts exhibit was on a series of embroidered camouflage patterns. Long hours of sitting caused my ankles to swell. Was that the work of Athena?

Cafe Pasadena said...

I 2nd Little Laurie's request for the Goddess of Blogging! This will make the poetry & bacon/porky pig contests y'all had seem sedately tame in comparison.

altadenahiker said...

I'll bet I can make a clay ashtray better than Athena.

Margaret said...

I am definitely NOT the goddess of blogging. I've read my mythology, and I do not want to be turned into a pig.

PA: The swelling -- definitely Athena.

AH: You are tempting fate. Do you really want to turn into a banana plant?

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