Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hera - Goddess of commitment

Goddess of marriage, commitment maker and wife
Roman goddess Juno

The myth
Hera was also a child of Rhea and Cronos. She was swallowed by her father as soon as she was born.When she emerged from her capitivity, she was already a young girl. She was then placed in the care of two nature beings, who fostered her.
Hera was the consort of Zeus. He tricked her by turning himself into a shivering little bird. When she held the little bird to her bosom, he turned back into Zeus and tried to overpower her. She resisted his amorous efforts until he promised to marry her.
When the honeymoon was over, Zeus reverted back to his philandering ways. This evoked vindictive jealousy in his betrayed wife. Hera’s rage was not aimed at her husband, but it was rather aimed at ‘the other woman’ or innocent bystanders.

Interpreting the myth
Her having been swallowed by her father symbolizes the daughter’s disempowerment and limitation by the tyrant father. She emerged as a young girl and has therefore an incomplete view of the world – one that had been obscured by her domineering father.
She takes pity on the little bird and despite Zeus’ behaviour she continues to see him as vulnerable and as the innocent party. She has one goal in mind and that is to be married. She uses her sexuality to get him to marry her.
When a Hera woman is ‘betrayed’ by her husband, she will become vengeful and embittered. The betrayal could be in the form of a career, another woman or not being as attentive as she expected.Also if she is not the center of his attention and affection, she will also become embittered and constantly berate him

The Archetype of Hera
The wife
A woman with Hera is strongly motivated to become married. She needs to be involved in a committed relationship and marriage itself. She will feel like a princess/goddess on her wedding day and will easily be the most important day of her life.
She has a great capacity to bond, to be loyal and faithful, to endure and go through difficulties with a partner. She is prepared to struggle with her husband, building his career or a joint business ; she is prepared to support him emotionally and financially while he gets onto his feet; she is prepared to move home many times if his career calls for it. She is also prepared to be the career man’s wife and move up with on the corporate ladder.
Hera is attracted to successful men. If she married a committed husband, she will have an easy later life financially. However, he will probably be focused on his career and not on fulfilling her.
When a woman gets married without the Hera archetype, the marriage is never that important to her.She is not a devoted wife and will easily have affairs or even leave the marriage.

Hera as a mother
Hera without Demeter will not be a devoted mother. She will have children as a natural next step in the marriage, but she will never be able to nurture her children. Her children will be aware of her fundamental emotional absence.
Often a Hera’s children will lay the blame of their unhappy childhood at the feet of their father, but will later on realize that their mother was the one blocking the relationship. The Hera mother will always look after the father’s interest and will often prevent the children from communicating with their father
The negative Hera pattern
She does not express anger at her husband for his failure to fulfill her, or for his betrayal. The pain she felt at being rejected by him she directs at others.
She does not like single women. She only approves of marital or at least couple, status. She does not approve of sexy, flirty, sensual women. She feels deeply threatened by the Aphrodite goddess : the sexual woman who shows off her body.
She is extremely possessive of her partner. She is jealous of sensual, beautiful women who are at ease in their feminity.
She never forgives her husband for leaving her, say in the instance of a divorce, and she is a bitter divorcee. She in fact never sees herself as divorced, but still tries to maintain contact with her husband, even if it is only to fight about maintenance or the children.
She does not really enjoy relationships with other women. She generally does not have a best friend.She prefers being with her husband and doing things with him.
She will cancel her friends in order to go with her husband.
She relates well to other women in the context of a couple.
She is attracted to a successful man of social standing, but she truly finds his emotionally immature little-boy element attractive. Her husband may lack close friends and he probably did not develop a capacity for empathy.

Marriage and Sexuality
A Hera woman assumes that sexuality and marriage go together. Thus, she may have stayed virginal until she was engaged or married. The idea of dutiful sex probably first
A Hera woman's state of happiness depends on her husband’s devotion to her, on the importance he places on the marriage and on his appreciation of her as his wife.
As she is drawn to successful men, it is probable that he often uses marriage as a part of his social fa├žade. She may try to bury her feeling of emptiness by a flurry of social activities intended to present a public image of the perfect couple.
She is the least likely of all the goddesses to seek divorce. She can endure bad treatment, tyranny, emotional abuse, domination, etc. and still believe that she needs to protect her husband from others.

Cultivating Hera
No marriage can work or last without a committed loyal Hera expressing her positive attributes.
The realization that they need Hera often comes to women who have had a series of unfulfilling relationships, or who have followed a career at the expense of marriage.

The appearance of Hera
Hera women are very much married and have a matronly appearance.
As a small child she acts like a ‘big person’ and likes to play at keeping house as opposed to Demeter and her baby dolls.
A young Hera holds an idealized image of marriage, despite maybe less than perfect home life.
She is happy if she is in a steady relationship. She is the one who proudly wears her boyfriend’s ring around her neck.
For Hera work is a secondary aspect of life. However, a Hera woman may aachieve recognition and advancement. None of this really counts for her, though.

Hera under stress
When her marriage is under stress, she does not cope well. She makes matters worse with her jealousy and possessiveness. She tends to doubt her husband’s fidelity without just cause and will accuse him of betrayal without reason.
Hera can completely oppress a woman’s personality. She can be a raging, vindictive, inner tyrant.She can destroy a stable marriage through her suspicion and need for attention. They can estrange themselves from other women by their devaluing attitude.
Hera also restricts a woman’s competence in that she is prepared to sacrifice her talents for her husband.

Challenges of Hera
A woman can grow and expand beyond Hera in finding fulfillment from other areas in her life, other than her husband.
She should take the time to reflect on the pattern of her marriage and see that at best Hera limits her and at worst, she leads to destruction. She will forbid a woman from leaving an abusive marriage, for instance.
A scorned, betrayed Hera woman should channel her rage into a creative activity, such as painting or writing.
Hera is a powerful ally in assisting a woman moving through cycles. If a Hera woman can move beyond her need to be fulfilled in her role as wife, she can access an inner experience of growth and expansion. Psychologically, a Hera woman can become the maiden again in her middle years or later, and access her creative potential.

- extracted from Jean Bolen's Goddesses in Everywoman - and adapted.

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