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Goddess Hera – The Powerful Queen of the Gods and Protector of Women

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by DanFF

In this post, you will learn the story of Goddess Hera, the Queen of the Gods and the Greek Goddess protector of women, who dominate the feminine powers, and rules over marriage. You will also get to know her powers, her symbols, and her archetype.

Moreover, you’ll understand how you can work with Hera in Witchcraft and Wicca, as well as a different view on her relationship with Zeus, something older that was eventually overshadowed in Greek Mythology.

The Roman correspondent to Hera is Juno. Both share many features in common.

You can watch the video below or continue reading this post:

The History of a Queen – Who is Goddess Hera?

Hera is the Queen of the Greek Gods and her history, as well as her powers and traits, deserve to be analyzed and learnt in a little more detail way today. This is because the image of Hera, today, is erroneously associated with her jealous episodes towards Zeus’ infidelity cases and also with the ones in which she pursues Zeus’ lovers.

Many also see Hera as a vengeful and cruel woman who pursues Hercules and always punishes him. A TV series from the 1990s called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” helped to cultivate this stereotype.

However, Hera is not limited to that. And, after getting to know her origins better, we can observe these features from a different perspective.

Statua di Hera tipo Efeso Vienna cd Hera Farnese - 2010 - 2018
A statue of Hera

Hera, the third offspring of Kronos and Rhea

Goddess Hera is the third offspring of Kronos and Rhea, offspring of Goddess Gaia. Whenever Rhea gave birth to a child, Kronos swallowed the child out of jealousy and fear of being dethroned as a king. The couple had 6 children, who are, in order of birth:

  • Hestia, the Goddess of the hearth and fire;
  • Demeter, the Goddess of prosperity and agriculture;
  • Hera, the Queen of the Gods and protector of women;
  • Hades, the King of the Underworld;
  • Poseidon, the God of the seas and king of the waters;
  • Zeus, the King of the Gods and God of thunder.
The Offspring of Kronos and Rhea
The Offspring of Kronos and Rhea

Zeus, the youngest son, was not swallowed by his father. Rhea hid him so he could grow up. When Zeus learned of the fate of his siblings, he faced Kronos and freed each of his siblings, becoming the King of the Cosmos and taking Hera as his wife, thus making her Queen.

The ancient cult of Hera

Accordingly to Patricia Monaghan, “the cult of Hera is much older than we think and Hera was already Queen even before the presence of Zeus”. Hera was worshipped as a Triple Goddess. (This “Triple nature” reminds us of the Goddess in Wicca.)

The marriage of Hera and Zeus that we know was conceived for political reasons.

The ancient cult of Hera was so powerful that it could not simply be erased, removing the female image and replacing it with a male one. Then Zeus did everything he could to marry her, so he could become king and not the other way around.

Evidence that Hera had an older cult is seen in celebrations such as competitions that took place every 4 years in the city of Heraca in which only women could run 160 yards, always in groups of 3 symbolizing Hera’s Triple nature. Three winners were given statuettes at the temple of Hera.

The Apotheosis of Aeneas Johann Justin Preissler - 1731 - 1732
The Apotheosis of Aeneas Johann Justin Preissler – 1731 – 1732

The forged marriage of Zeus and Hera

As it seems, Hera never wanted to get married.

Zeus has always been known for shapeshifting into animals and other things to seduce and rape women. And with Hera, it was no different. Hera didn’t give a damn about her brother. In order to get closer to her, he shape-shifted into a Cuckoo, Hera’s favourite animal, got all dirty and wet and flew towards her.

Hera took the animal in and suddenly found herself raped by Zeus.

After this episode, she felt ashamed of the situation and agreed to marry him as a way to maintain her dignity.

From this moment on, Hera’s persecutions against Zeus’ lovers (who were also forced to have intercourse relations with him) began. It is a certain way of trying to preserve the image of the marriage, even if it was against her own will.

However, she should punish Zeus first, right?

Zeus and Hera - painting inspired by Rubens
Zeus and Hera – painting inspired by Rubens
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The offspring of Goddess Hera

Hera and Zeus had some children:

  • Ares, the God of war;
  • Hebe, the Goddess of youth.

By herself, she had Hephaestus. Some say she considered him too ugly, so the despised him. Others say that Zeus punished him for being a son of a single mother.

Hephaestus takes revenge on Hera

As an adult, Hephaestus decided to take revenge on Hera, his mother. He presented her with a bewitched throne made of gold. When Hera sat on the throne, she was trapped and was unable to leave.

Nobody could get Hera out of there! Not even Zeus! Zeus then asked Hephaestus to undo the witchcraft spell and free Hera, but he refused.

Zeus then sends Dionysus to talk to Hephaestus. After getting him drunk, Dionysus asks what he would like in exchange for Hera’s freedom. Hephaestus replies that he wishes to have Aphrodite, the most beautiful one, as a wife.

Upon learning of this, Zeus forces Aphrodite to marry Hephaestus and Hera is released.

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Hera’s archetype

Hera is the ultimate representation of dignity, commitment, companionship and, therefore, marriage, even if forged.

Despite her moments of anger, Hera is not and evil Goddess. She is protective and show many traits of a Great Mother who protects and also breastfeeds the children of all women.

Hera also symbolizes nutrition and the power of protection. For this reason, Hera is symbolized by the cow.

The name “Hera” means “Our Lady” and the name Hercules, which comes from Heracles, means “Glory to Hera”. Hercules erected temples in honor of Hera, who nursed him.

Symbols of Goddess Hera

The main symbols of Hera are the cow, the milk and the peacock.

When we associate Hera with the cow, we bring her powers of protection and nutrition, breastfeeding and taking care of newborns. Hera also protects women, especially pregnant women.

It is said that Hera suckled Hercules, even though she didn’t want to do it at first. While she slept, Zeus placed the newborn Hercules, his son with the mortal Alcmena, to take Hera’s milk and gain great powers from her (his formidable powers come from Hera’s milk!).

When Hera woke up and saw that there was a child breastfeeding her milk, she was startled and quickly removed her breast. The milk that flowed at this moment created a path of stars and gave rise to what we now call “The Milky Way”.

The Milky Way seen in Chile. (Jan Skowron/University of Warsaw)

The peacock represents beauty, exuberance and majesty. All the traits of Hera as the Queen of the Gods and the Cosmos.

The equivalent of Hera in Roman Mythology is Juno, who also shares the peacock as a symbol.

Jupiter's love for Juno rekindled when she puts on Venus's Girdle - Giulio Bonasone - 1546
Jupiter’s love for Juno rekindled when she puts on Venus’s Girdle – Giulio Bonasone – 1546

General FAQ

Who is Goddess Hera?

Hera is the Queen of the Gods in Greek Mythology. She is the wife of Zeus and she rules over the cosmos.

What powers does Hera have?

Hera has powers over the wind, the rain and nutrition of children. She also protects women, mainly pregnant women.

Who are the offspring of Hera?

With Zeus, Hera had Ares and Hebe. By herself, she had Hephaestus.

Hera is the Goddess of what?

Hera is the Goddess of Marriage and protector of Women and Children.

What are the symbols of Hera?

The main symbols of Hera are the cow, the milk and the peacock.

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2 thoughts on “Goddess Hera – The Powerful Queen of the Gods and Protector of Women”

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