May is a day away, the month we celebrate Mother’s Day. How appropriate, then, that we should look at Hera, Queen and mother of the Greek Gods on this Immortal Monday. Hera is often thought of as quarrelsome and jealous. But then she had to endure a husband who was always playing around where he didn’t belong. Her bad behavior towards his “other women” and the children they bore might be explained by her bitterness and betrayal.
She was a goddess of great physical beauty – absolutely stunning. She took great care in the upkeep of her beauty… bathing annually in the Canathus spring at Temenium in Argos to renew her virginity in its mystical waters. She’d fragrance her body with sweet lotions and wear robes woven with art that she would clasp delicately at her breast with a golden pin.
As the wife and sister of Zeus, she became queen of Olympus. She was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea and mother of Ares, Hebe, Hephaestus and Eileithyia. Although some report none of the children were actually the offspring of Zeus and Hera together. You know how people so love to gossip. That really hasn’t changed through the years.
She was known for being a shrew of a mother and not very pleasant to the other mothers around her. As I mentioned, one might say she was bitter and spent her time wallowing in the emotion. You see, Hera had been tricked by Zeus into their marriage. In their first encounters she failed to respond to his attempts at seduction. Deeply desiring Hera, Zeus resorted to trickery and chose to appeal to her nurturing side, given she was the goddess in charge of the seasons and weather and predisposed to a nurturing nature. Zeus turned himself into a cuckoo who appeared to be frozen from the cold. As Hera took him to her breast to warm him, feeling sorry for the poor thing, Zeus changed and took advantage of her surprise. Hera was subsequently persuaded to marry Zeus to hide the shame of her rape. If that wouldn’t make any woman bitter I don’t know what would.
Since Hera was the protectress of marriage, she never strayed like Zeus. Of course that didn’t stop other gods from pursuing her, captivated by her insatiable beauty. When the King of the Lapiths was enthralled with her, Zeus created a cloud version of Hera in which to entice and trick him. Marcy Kennedy can tell you all about this and how it led to the creation of the centaurs. It’s a great read.
Hera was very involved in the history of the gods. We hear about her in the stories of Hercules (come on, tell me you watched Hercules). The Trojan War, her aid to the Greeks, many fights and reconciliations with Zeus, all show us she was not a sit-at-home kind of gal. She got out in the thick of it. When Zeus birthed Athena “from his head” single handedly without Hera’s involvement, it angered her to no end! To get back at him she gave birth to Hephaestus in the same fashion. She also bore the monster Typhaon to be a plague on men. She created him, again, because of her anger at Zeus.
Such a hostile marriage. Strangely enough, she could be one of many housewives today. Angry and in a dysfunctional marriage. I think many of us would be able to relate to her on some level. Can you share a story where you were made to feel jealous or outraged. Maybe it made you feel like lashing out.
I leave you with the beautiful remains from some of Hera’s temples
46 thoughts on “Goddess and Mother: Hera – Immortal Monday”
Another amazing post Debra. love the pictures…must go to Greece. At this rate, my entire retirement will be spent overseas LOL
Thank you, Louise. Aren’t those pictures fabulous! Greece is another thing on my bucket list as well. 🙂
I’ve always had a soft spot for Hera. Despite all the crap her husband put her through, she never cheated and remained loyal (as loyal as could be, anyway). She may be bitter and a tough nut to crack, but she had to be to hold together such a crazy family.
When you think about it, it’s hard not to be bitter after all she was put through. One would have to be a saint not to turn bitter. At least that’s my thought. Her reaction is rather human. It makes her very relateable. And that family of the gods, my goodness, they were crazy, weren’t they? LOL
This is another great overview Debra! I love your story and the photos are perfect!
Thank you so much, Susie. Don’t the photos make you want to plan a trip tomorrow?
Seriously! I haven’t been on a vacation out of state since last summer…..
Oh, poor girl. Only last summer? It’s been 1986 for me! :C
OMG! That is tough and you are way overdue!!!
I haven’t heard most of this, just the part where Hera was a shrew and Zeus ran around on her everywhere. Guess no one could keep those bad boy gods home, huh? Another fun & informative installment!
Yep. Those bad boys sure did like to play around – a lot! Makes you think everything was written by men, for men. Glad you enjoyed the installment. Thank you for being such a loyal reader Jennette.
Wow. Hera really may be the first Desperate Housewife. LOL You make mythology so relatable, Debra. Thanks for another great post!
I was thinking the same thing as I wrote this. LOL Such a dysfunctional family! If they were around today they could have their own televison show – top rated. 😀
Wow – I don’t blame her for being bitter and angry. Not cool. I dated a guy who loved to torture his current girlfriend by remaining “close” friends with all his Xs…and flashed it around…constantly! Drove me batty! I kicked him to the curb and was never one of his pawns in future relationships. Douchebag! 🙂
Good for you, Natalie! Sounds like he was feeling insufficient in some areas and needed to boost his ego. Looks like it backfired. LOL. Of course he could have simply been a pig. At least you got out of that situation and found yourself a gem! 😀
This is pretty interesting to me – Athena is the Goddess of wisdom and is revered for her many talents and sense of justice (or, at least, more of a sense of justice than the other deities). Then we have Hephaestus, who ended up lame and in a marriage where his wife (Aphrodite) probably strayed more often than not. I wonder if there was supposed to be this underlying current of female inadequacy (regarding the fact that Zeus birthed Athena and Hera birthed Hephaestus) in this story? And even though Athena was a woman, she had many masculine qualities (warlike, wearing armor, often relying on her brains instead of her beauty). Likewise, Hephaestus was “less” of a man – his lame leg, his inability to keep his wife in his bed. What do you think? (And, whoa, things just got deep!)
Yep, Hera was pretty upset with the way Hephaestus turned out. She couldn’t believe that Zeus could produce something close to perfection while her’s was so flawed. I didn’t go into detail because, as I mentions in my email, I was so tired when I wrote this. : -| Yes, you kind of got deep. 🙂 I think this relates to something I said in another comment. It looks like everything written about the gods was skewed with a male chauvinist kind of view for the time. Wouldn’t you agree? It could be an interesting project dissecting the family tree to take a close look at each one and how they all relate in this manner. You have peaked my interest.
Another fantastic Immortal Monday! The Greek gods are always my favorite, and Hera is one of the mostfascinating. Thanks for waking mybrain up after a while on Pintrest..lol
Oh yes, Pinterest can make the brain a little mushing at any time of the day. LOL Glad you liked my quick post on Hera. She is the original New Jersey House Wife. LOL Look for Big Daddy around father’s day. 😉
Real Housewives of Greek Mythology! I always love the mythology stories–and of course am in awe of the work this must take Debra! Another great post 🙂
Aw, thank you, Coleen. I really appreciate that. Some are more work than others. I need to compensate the rest of the week. Easy blogging. 🙂 Maybe I should just post my life story the other half of the week. Oh wait, you all aren’t looking for a sleeping pill, are you? 😀
I never liked Hera. But I loved this post about her! =)
Ha-ha! I’m glad you liked the post Ellie. Some of the comments have made it all the more fun. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Love the post, Debra and the comments are slaying me! Poor Hera. She could’ve been such a sweet, loving mother but for that darn Zeus. He’s got a bad case of God Complex, that’s for sure!
You know it. He had to have his cake and eat it too. Again, and again, and again. Hera be damn! But she didn’t need to take it out on all the women and children. It wasn’t necessarily the women’s fault and it definitely wasn’t the children’s fault. The person she should have been taking it out on was Zeus. Of course he probably would have destroyed her in some form or another. What a mess. But there is a fair chance many of us know someone like this.
Terrific post! I’d love to see a story about Hera that makes her sympathetic. But…I know I probably couldn’t pull it off, lol! Cheers!
Sure you can! You just need to get in the right frame of mind. Right now you are all tangled up with rough and tough tribrid males. Let it simmer in the back of your mind for a year or two. Maybe something will come of it. 😉 The whole rape thing tends to draw sympathy, followed by a string of affairs. You could work in neglect in there somehow. 🙂
So what you’re saying is that if she were dwelling here on Earth today, she’d have not one, but two reality t.v. shows? She must be related to the Kardashians! They are pretty people too, but offer little else to society. (IMHO of coure)
w/a Jansen Schmidt
I totally agree with your assessment of the Kardashians. I don’t watch reality television. I don’t care to watch people make fools of themselves. 🙁
Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks, Patricia.
Love Greek mythology. Great post.
Thanks, Emma. Glad you liked it.
I really want to go visit those temple ruins. I love setting foot on spots that are so rich in history, and I love how you brought Hera to life. I think she could have starred on one of those Real Housewives shows 🙂
(And thanks for the shout out to my post!)
I feel the same way. I would love to go to Greece. Thank you for the compliment. Hera ended up really coming to life as I wrote this piece. She feels so real to me now. You’re most welcome for the shout out.
I just did a Greek studies course this year and learned more about the goddesses… yet you still shared some stuff I didn’t learn in class! Fascinating woman. There’s a reason we’re still interested in the ancient myths… 🙂
She is fascinating, isn’t she? I’m so glad I could bring something new to the table. So glad you could join us, Bonnie!
Excellent post. I have always pitied poor Hera but I didn’t remember that she didn’t marry Zeus by her own will. That explains the bitterness even more. Must have been tough for her when Zeus’ bastard Hercules became a god and married their daughter Hebe.
Oh, yes. I can imagine that didn’t sit so well with her. Rather infuriating. A constant reminder to rub in her nose. She couldn’t get a break. Poor gal. Thanks for stopping by, Reetta!
I can see why this lady has anger issues. Still, her rage was very misplaced. Nowadays they would be able to perscribe something to straighten her up… but I guess not back in those days. 🙂
I bet if we searched hard enough we could find something back then they could have given her for that anger. Only it wouldn’t have been as safe and it may have had equally as upsetting side effects. 😀 I suspect drugs have been around in many different forms for a every long time. She needed some magic mushroom to make her happy? But that would be masking the issues and not fixing them. 🙁 She needed to come to terms with her situation. Deal with it and accept it or leave it. That’s what I say.
I love this! I love the way you explained Hera. It totally helped me with a story I’m working on. Thanks :-D. Isn’t it fascinating just how much incest happened amongst the gods?
Yay! So glad I could help you with a current project. When you look at the gods and then you compare it to the historical royal line of the European countries you will see a lot of the same things going on. Maybe not to the same degree, but it comes from the desire of keeping the bloodline pure. Not wanting to mix royal blood with non-royal blood. Eventually you’re tainting the blood with too much family. It’s rather ugly if you ask me, but it was a different way of thinking and I can respect that. 🙂
OMG, could you image a show about the Real Housewives of Olympus? 🙂 Hera coudl be difficult but wouldn’t any woman under such circumstances? I love how you highlighted this in your post!
*Gasps* You’re giving me an idea for a sitcom. 😀 Of course it wouldn’t make it past the first season. 😛 You’re right though, many women would be difficult in her situation. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment!