Hera Goddess of Marriage and Matrimony


Perhaps the best known woman in Greek mythology is Hera, eldest daughter of Cronos, wife of Zeus, and queen of all the Gods on Mount Olympus. For Hera, goddess of marriage, life as a wife was exceedingly difficult as Zeus was quite the philanderer. Hera was forever trying to catch Zeus in one of his many affairs and the result was often both tragic and comical, as we shall see.

The most famous ongoing battle of the Mount Olympus family was between Heracles and Hera. Heracles (more popularly but erroneously referred to as Hercules) was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and was one of Zeus's most loved mortal sons.

But Heracles was not entirely mortal. As his father was not only a God, but the King of all of the Gods, he was extremely strong, which turned out to be in his favor, as Hera hated him with a passion, and sent him on a number of dangerous and difficult errands. Even at his birth, Hera tried to have him killed, but her servant Galanthis saved the newborn by telling Hera that she had already delivered the baby. When Hera found out the truth, she turned Galanthis into a weasel. To this day "Weasel" is used to term someone who is deceptive.

Later, Zeus tricked Hera into nursing the infant Heracles. When she realized who the baby was or maybe he bit her she ripped him from her breast and the spurting milk stayed in the heavens, known today as the Milky Way.

Then the goddess of matrimony gave Heracles twelve tasks to complete. He managed to complete them all despite her continued attempts to foil him.

Hera was also a jealous woman, and really, she had a right to be. For a time Zeus's indiscretions were kept secret with the help of the nymph Echo, who kept Hera bust with her endless chatter. When Hera found out what Echo's real job was, she made it so Echo could no longer say her own words, only repeat the words of others, hence the word echo.

Artemis and Apollo were also illegitimate sons of Zeus. Hera, goddess of marriage, must have been furious at Zeus. She kidnapped LLithyia (Latin spelling) Goddess of child birth so that the boy's mother could not go into labor, and all the other Goddesses on Olympus had to make her let LLithyia go.

Greek mythology has many stories about the Queen of the Gods, but today the Greek Goddess is largely left apart from the pagan celebrations. This is unfortunate to my thinking, as all Hera wanted was hearth and home and a husband that she could trust. In fact, some pagans today even "Honor" Hera, Goddess of the Gods, by burning the roast or refusing to clean the house.