Monday, May 5, 2008

On the nature of Hera, continued...

So, now that you have a slight idea of my conception of Hera as a force for balance between the genders, between opposing forces that are more alike than we like to think, and as a force capable of enforcing that balance. However, it should also be implied by what I say that the Gods do not force us to maintain their desires of will in our world. Their power over nature itself is absolute, but their power over our will is not. They do not force us to do as they wish, they want us to want to do it for ourselves.

In my estimation, and perhaps as a way to help me connect to Hera, I have come to the conclusion that the best way to relate to Hera is on a somewhat impersonal one. Not as a friend or co-worker, but as an Empress of Queen. Why, you may ask is this? Well, because unlike some deities whose influence always seems so close, accessible, and personal, hers always seems to be a bit far away. Like Apollo, she seems to be more about watching and judging and guiding you lightly in the right direction rather than moving you to action, to passion, to madness.

Not that Hera is not a Goddess who can drive you to the brink, I think the mythos tells us that clearly enough, but if we really think about that mythos, is it really that she hates Perseus or Herakles or any of the other children of Zeus, or is it that those children of Zeus turn their eye away from her? Do they refuse to acknowledge her power? Do they refuse, willfully, to acknowledge the rights and power of women?

Hera, a Goddess, a feminine power, must stand up for her power in a world in which the term "god" is almost synonymous with masculinity. Where God is seen not as a potentially androgynous being, but as a male. As a male myself, I must admit to a certain bias toward my own gender in many things, which I suppose is perfectly natural, but as a modern man, a gay man, and a man who has experienced life as a minority in America, I cannot allow those biases to guide the way I treat women. I, personally, think this is why the pagan movement in America, and perhaps the world, are so much more likely to draw men who are liberal of mind when it comes to gender, more open to alternate ways of seeing gender and sexuality, and men who have an ability to respect the feminine power inherent in the world around us as well as the tumultuous masculine powers of sea and sky.

Hera seems to me like an Empress who rules, who creates a system of laws and rules that must be obeyed, but who does not really micromanage the Empire. She has her pet peeves, she requires obedience to certain rules and will punish those who do not follow them, but in general it is up to us to establish the ways in which we regulate ourselves, and to do so we must find her and establish some kind of rapport with her.

to be continued...

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