Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Athena Machanitis

It means contriver, or designer, of plans or devices. Essentially, mechanic or engineer. And there are several other epithets and cult titles of Athena that point to this aspect of her. As Poliouchos, Alalcomenis, Eryma, etc., there is an implication of Machanitis, the contriver at work.

It is said of Athena that, like the spirit of Sophia and as the “Mover on the Waters” of later times and in Christianity, that she is a power, a force, that is always in motion. Always creating. Always putting things into motion. Athena is a force in the universe that is always creating new things, putting them into context of old things, and then acting upon them. Machanitis is also an aspect of wisdom, which often calls upon creativity and planning to engineer new ways of doing things, be it in war, in weaving, or cleaning your home, it is all the same force, the same spirit.

It is easy to put the Gods into little boxes, and many Pagans do just that, but it is my opinion that each God or Goddess can, by him/herself, form the basis of an entire philosophy or religion. This is especially true of the pan-hellenic deities, especially the big ones like Zeus, Athena, and Apollo. Just a cursory look at their many epithets is an indication of how these Gods were often turned to by their worshippers for everything.

Thus, I think, Athena is also Machanitis in that her power, her force of constant motion and contrivance, is also a force for restraint. She can help us contrive a balance in religion, allowing us to accept and love and worship the Gods, whether we turn to her for most of our needs or not, and in that machination (see what I did there?) she is also the contriver of Hellenismos as a whole. Hers is, perhaps, a power that opens us up to the influence and power of other deities because it would be unwise to put all of one’s eggs in one basket, even a divine one.

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