January Goddess Study ~ Hera Is The ‘Origin of All Things’
Hera’s message is one of hope, transformation and new beginnings.
This month we explore the world of Hera the Oracular Goddess of regeneration, snakes, apples and the divination arts.
Greetings of the New Year!
…it’s important to remember who the Goddess was BEFORE she was silenced and transformed into patriarchally-acceptable parodies of the ancient Powerful Ones whom she embodied in myth and in the everyday life of the peoples who worshipped her.
Each month Dream Goddess brings you one Pre-Hellenic Goddess to connect and commune with, and whose herstory and correspondences we will study. This page will stay online for one whole month until the earth turns and the next month arrives, at which time a new Goddess will appear for our connection and study.
In December Gaia gives and loves and goes through her cycle of Darkness turning into Light again with the Solstice. Now in January, it’s Hera’s turn… Hera and her associations teach us about New Beginnings, Divination and the Unconscious Link from our Active Imagination, card readings and, of course, our dreams.
How appropriate that she, the Goddess of “the origin of all things” and of the seasons, appears now when the intensity of the recent holidays has waned to a standstill and we are left with the nullifying of our aspirations and expectations.
She calls us near her hearth and tells us stories of other worlds. She cajoles us into listening deep, deeper still to what our own soul is telling us. And, most importantly, she shows us through healing and nature that Regeneration is not only possible, but inevitable, with the cyclic turning of the Earth, our Mother.
Goddess Hera is the “Origin of All Things”…
Who Is the Goddess Hera?
“Hera is essentially the Goddess of women and fecundity” quotes Charlene Spretnak in her book Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. “Her connection with the three seasons of antiquity corresponds to the three stages of a woman’s life (maiden, fertile woman, elder). In addition, she is connected to the three stages of the moon…”
She bathed in the well-known spring of Kanathes at the beginning of each year to renew herself. This is, Gimbutas points out, an allegory of how a snake sheds its skin on a yearly basis. Thus, she is related to snakes, sacred springs, pastures, cows and to the Goddess Brigit, who was also associated with cattle and is celebrated on February 1st at the feast of Imbolc.
Hera As Snake & Divination Goddess
Gimbutas on the symbology of the snake associated with Hera:
“The beautiful Hera, one of the most revered of the Greek Goddesses, is the likely descendant of the prehistoric Snake Goddess. She was called ‘origin of all things’… Her name is cognate with Ho-ra, ‘season.’ The snake was something primordial and mysterious, coming from the depths of the waters where life begins. Its seasonal renewal in sloughing off its old skin and hibernating made it a symbol of the continuity of life and of the link with the underworld.
The symbolic awakening of hibernating snakes took place around February 1. In Scotland a serpent is supposed to emerge from the hills on Imbolc, the Day of Bride (Brigit). In Lithuania, this is the “Day of Serpents” when “serpents come from the forest to the house.” On that day, people would shake the apple trees in the orchard so that they would be more fruitful…
snake pic here
The snake is a transfunctional symbol: it permeates all themes of Old European symbolism. Its vital influence was felt not only in life creation, but also in fertility and increase, and particularly in the regeneration of dying life energy. Combined with magic plants, the snake’s powers were potent in healing and creating life anew.
The awakening of the snakes meant the awakening of all nature, the beginning of the life of the new year. The significance of the beginning is a predestination: the success of the entire year depends on how it starts.”*
This is we link Hera with Divination and the power of rituals, just as the Goddess Hathor is linked to the Priestess of Wands in the Motherpeace Tarot. She is a “font of life-force energy and inspiration” as she “radiates the heat that heals” and “channels untamed instincts into magical work…” Her wand or staff has lines and markings that are connected with fertility and divining the depth of things from the underworld.
Since Hera is also a goddess of fertility, it is fitting that she is associated with apple blossoms and apple trees. From the fruit of the apple come many phytochemicals that heal the body and the mind. To name a few, apples contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, antibacterials, and immunostimulants.
Just as the Goddess Holla regenerates nature, so does Hera, who shares the Dove as her symbol of peace and fertility. Both these goddesses also share the attribute of “the apple as symbol of life.”
Activities To Honour Hera:
Bring a sprig of an apple branch indoors in January and watch it open and blossom, offering you the promise of spring.
Create a collage, drawing, painting or sculpture of a snake as it emerges from its underground hibernation. Feel the regenerative powers this image embodies.
I chose to do a digital collage of a snake on a tree branch and the apple blossoms in the background.
Goddess Study Prompts & Correspondences
Use the following correspondences and word stems to write your own Journal Study on Hera and the Winter Solstice, and how you celebrate Yule.
Goddess Hera Correspondences (only a few included here):
Her Tree: Apple; the fruit of well-being par excellence
Her Gemstone: Moonstone; from which emanate pulses of deep emotional healing.
Her Energy Access: Divination; Tarot, Dreams & Active Imagination
Her Tarot Card: The Star
Her Archetype: The Seer or Oracle
For Hera’s Month of January Study Prompts, from my Hera Synergy Book of Days:
10) ruler of the air
I hope that you have gleaned some meaningful tidbits from this Goddess Study of Hera this month.
Did you find that this Goddess Study was helpful in any way with your practice of Feminine Spirituality? If you wish, leave me a comment and I will respond as soon as I can.
Or, if you wish to keep your communication private, please contact me via the form on the right sidebar of this page. I would love to hear from you!
Hera’s January Blessings for all your New Awakenings!
Bolen, Jean Shinoda, Goddesses In Everywoman, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1984
*Gimbutas, Marija, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, Myths and Cult Images, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1982
Gimbutas, Marija, The Language of the Goddess, Harper San Francisco, New York, 1989
Sjoo, Monica, and Mor, Barbara, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1987
USDA Phytochemical Database, Apple: https://goo.gl/QU3Phy