Goddess of Marriage, Women, Childbirth & Family
Hera was the daughter of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. Demeter and Hestia were her sisters and Poseidon (God of Sea, Earthquakes, Storms & Horses), Hades (God of the Dead & King of the Underworld) and Zeus (God of Sky & Thunder) her brothers. Hera and her siblings, with the exception of Zeus were feared, by their father, to dethrone him, so ate them as they were birthed.
Hera was known as very regal she sat on a golden throne with her scepter and diadem.
Zeus was not only her brother but also became her husband. Originally Hera didn’t have much time or interest in Zeus and after some time and deeply in love, he decided to trick her by morphing into an injured cuckoo bird. Hera, feeling sorry for the bird wanted to help it, so raised it to her breast for comfort and healing. Zeus changed back into himself, astonishing Hera and raped her. She married him to cloak her humiliation. She had four children by Zeus. Ares (God of Violent War & Rage), Hebe (Goddess of Youth), Eris (Goddess of Discord), Eileithyia (Goddess of Childbirth) and Enyo (Goddess of Destructive War). Jealous because Zeus gave birth to Athena (Goddess of Wisdom & Strategic War), she chose to give birth to Hephaestus (God of Fire & Metal), although some believe Zeus was his natural father. Hephaestus was born ugly, at least to the standards of the Greek gods and threw him from Mount Olympus. He got revenge by creating a golden throne full of magic that wouldn’t allow her to leave once she sat on it. The other gods begged him to let her go but it wasn’t until Dionysus (God of Wine & Ritual Madness) got him drunk and promised Aphrodite (Goddess of Love, Sex & Beauty) to be his wife that he finally released her. Hera was not known to be a good mother, spouse or success of families and childbirth, even though they were her responsibility and duty.
The marriage of the couple was extremely turbulent, filled with jealously, adultery, vindictiveness and ire. Zeus was mighty and for the most part a just god. However, at times he allow his selfishness overcome him a treat the other gods very badly. Hera in her spitefulness, asked the disgruntled gods to join her in revolt, which they did. Hera drugged Zeus while the others bound him to his throne, then debated how the next steps should be handled. Briareus, loyal servant to the king untied his bindings. Enraged Zeus grabbed his thunderbolts and raised them to the cowed gods, who were all begging for forgiveness, then effectively ratting out Hera as the mastermind. He snatched his wife and bound her from the sky by golden chains. She began to cry but no one dared to help her. After some time her cries kept Zeus from sleeping. He took her down only after she vowed never to rebel again. She never did but many times outwitted and out thwarted many of his indiscretions.
Hera’s legends and stories mostly revolve around her jealously, spitefulness and ire. Zeus had many dalliances, in fact some would think he did less else then fornicate, throw a thunderbolt every once in a while and eat grapes. Hera didn’t only turn her anger on the gods but mortals too. Her most famous interactions with vindictiveness were as follows.
Perhaps no other god felt the wrath of Hera’s anger more than Heracles, named this for Hera-famous, to the rest of us, he’s known as Hercules. Alcemene was Hercales mother and conquest of Zeus. When she became pregnant Hera tried to tie her legs together so she couldn’t have her son. She released the woman when a servant said Alcemene had already given birth. When Hera found out she’d been tricked she turned the woman into a weasel. She also sent two snakes to the baby’s bed to kill him. Hercales thinking they were play toys squeezed each snake in his hands and killed them. Zeus at one time tricked Hera into feeding the child, when she realized the trick she pulled him quickly from her breast causing milk to spray into the sky and create the “Milky Way.”
There was a nymph named Echo whose only job was to distract Hera from Zeus’s affairs, upon finding out about the deception she cursed Echo to only repeat what others say, hence creating the echo.
Zeus had a mistress named Io. He attempted to change her into a white cow to hide her from Hera. Hera, not fully believing the ruse demanded the cow as a present, which he did. She had a guardian named Argus watch over the cow. Zeus told Hermes to murder Argus to release Io. Hermes did this by inducing the cows eyes to sleep. When Hera discovered the corpse she took the eyes and placed them in the tail of a peacock’s feather. Some believe Io went to Egypt and became Isis, their Goddess of health, marriage & wisdom.
The gods were invited to the marriage of Achilles parents, only one god was not, Eris (Goddess of Discord). Irritated she came anyway with a golden apple the said, “to the fairest one” and rolled it towards the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena. Each of the women declared the apple for themselves but because a determination could not be made they asked Zeus to intervene. Not wanting to get caught up in three vain women, Zeus left the decision up to Paris, a Trojan mortal. Each woman appeared to Paris with gifts, Athena, wisdom, fame and glory. Hera offered control over Egypt and Europe but Aphrodite offered him Helen of Troy, the woman of such great beauty she would eventually launched one thousand ships to bring her back to her husband, thus bringing the Trojan War.
Temples in Argos and Salmos, Greece were erected to worship her
She was described both as the most beautiful, she was known by some to have the look of a cow. Her hair and eyes were both brown. Her personality lessened her beauty.
Her sacred animals were the peacock, cow, cuckoo
Her sacred symbols were the pomegranate, peacock feathers, scepter, diadem and throne
Her sacred flowers were the lily and lotus