2/1/10

Goddess of the Week: Athena

JCK asks for a goddess of "courage, daring and leap of faithing."

At first, I wanted to come up with someone really unusual for you, JCK, but I think I've got to go with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and the stalwart companion of heroes. She helped Odysseus find his way home after the Trojan War. She helped Jason get his golden fleece. She helped Heracles redeem himself after post-traumatic stress disorder finally caught up with him and he killed his wife and kids. If you want to be the hero of your own life, Athena's your gal.

Odysseus and his men blinding the cyclops Poly...Image via Wikipedia


Athena reminds us that courage is not about brawn or a reckless willingness to jump into the deep end. It's about smarts. Odysseus wasn't the biggest or toughest warrior fighting the Trojans, Achilles was, and -- OMG -- talk about your prima donnas. Achilles spent practically the whole war sitting in his tent because he didn't get to keep the girl he stole. Then, when he finally did fight, he went and got himself killed. Achilles trusted only in strength. Odysseus trusted in smarts, which is always a better bet.

Just ask the giant one-eyed cyclops Polyphemus. He was kind of like Achilles in that he was total brute strength and fearlessness, but he was even dumber. On their way home after the Trojan war, Polyphemus trapped Odysseus and a bunch of his men in his cave. When Polyphemus started snacking on them, Odysseus got Polyphemus drunk, poked his eye out and snuck out of the cave under a sheep, which just goes to show that brains and a sharp stick can take you far in life! Of course, later, Polyphemus got his dad Poseidon to hamper Odysseus' journey so that it basically took them twenty years to get home, but that's only because Odysseus got cocky. So basically, brains, a sharp stick, and humility are what you need.

Athena won't give you the sharp stick, but she'll give you the brains, and she'll be more generous with them if you're humble about it. And that's all you need because, in the end, courage is all in your head.

Channel this goddess: When trapped by fear, doubt, or Cyclopes -- real or metaphorical. Don't worry. Be clever.

Need a goddess: Leave me a request in the comment section. I'll get you just what you need!

14 comments:

gaelikaa said...

She's the one Athens was named after Latin name, Minerva. Out of the top 3 Greek goddesses, she was the most valuable, rather than that vain Hera and temptress Aphrodite. Paris really blew it when he gave Aphrodite the apple, I always thought!

Rois said...

Courage is in your mind, remember that.

Desiree said...

Clearly one must worship wisely at her temple, I suspect she's the bearer of a double-edged sword.

altadenahiker said...

Speak softly and carry a big brain.

Joanne said...

Smarts win out, every time, keeping us one step ahead of fear.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Is there a goddess who is the goddess of the bed, kitchen, ecstasy/fantasy and beyond?

It's just a canine curiosity.

JCK said...

Thank you dear, Margaret, for such a great Goddess. Indeed, I have read about Athena and it is fitting to summon her now. :)

I feel so cozy, with my own goddess and all.... Thanks again!

Shell Sherree said...

Excellent, Margaret, though I'll need to acquire one of those large back-breaking totes to carry my sheep camouflage in.

Deb said...

Great read, Margaret.

I work in a chiropractor's office and we have a white board in the therapy room that I write quotes on. The current one reads: "Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, sometimes we just have to dig a little to find it." (author unknown)

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I guess if you don't have a sharp stick, humility and a brain, you're going to need a mean daddy.

... daisy... said...

Amazing post. I wish that I could sometimes find where courage is hiding in my mind... when it comes to love for example it always seems playing hide and seek... and it always wins!

Bec said...

"Don't worry. Be clever." - great motto!

kanmuri said...

Didn't it take them ten years to go home? Was it really 20??

Bean said...

Kanmuri: Yup. 20 years.