Empowerment: The Ancient Way

While Aphrodite, the sexy Greek goddess of love and passion, inspires one to follow the heart in all things, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, inspires one to be more reasonable when it comes to love and life. Athena is not only the goddess of wisdom, she is also the goddess of war, the arts, industry, justice and skill. In other words, she’s a powerhouse who can serve as an inspirational role model for all women.

Like so many Greek gods and goddesses, Athena’s birth was highly symbolic. She was the offspring of Zeus and Metis, a goddess of wisdom. Legend has it that Zeus was warned Metis would bear a son with the power to overthrow him, so Zeus came up with what he must have thought was a clever solution: He swallowed his pregnant wife. Metis, being wise and a goddess, did not perish, but began fashioning a robe and helmet for her forthcoming child. All the hammering gave Zeus terrible headaches, until his son Hephaestus came to the rescue. Hephaestus split open his father’s skull and from it emerged Athena, fully armed in the helmet and cloak made for her by her mother.

It’s no surprise that the offspring of a goddess of wisdom (who emerged from the head of her father) would be so wise, driven, skilled and fair. One example of her smarts is exemplified by the story of how she came to be the goddess of the greatest Greek city.

Both Athena and her uncle Poseidon, god of the sea, coveted this great city, which was the center of Greek political and cultural life. It was decided whoever gave the best gift could claim the city as their own. With his trident, powerful Poseidon cracked open the side of a cliff from which a spring welled. All the citizens were awed, but discovered that the water was salty like the sea and of little use to them. Wise Athena gifted the citizens with an olive tree that could provide the people with oil, food and wood, thereby winning the city, which was named Athens after her.

A liberated woman
Athena is a particularly important inspiration for women today. As women’s roles have changed in society, Athena is a surprisingly modern counterpart. Women are now able to take on many roles — doctor, community leader, soldier, political figure, breadwinner — that until fairly recently weren’t as available to them in this society. How is it that Athena, derived from an age far preceding women’s liberation, was endowed with all the power and more of a liberated woman of today? The explanation goes back to a time when societies were more matriarchal and female figures held the greatest power in the pantheon of gods. As life moved from more earth-centered agrarian communities to cities, wars and slavery, there was a shift from the matriarchal to the patriarchal. Male gods rose to dominate the power structure, but female gods still retained some of their former power and glory.

Be wise in love
No matter where you are in the process — looking for love, dating, finding love or growing that love into a working relationship — each phase comes with its own set of challenges. There’s nothing like insecurity to undermine a prospective, new or even well-established relationship. In order to succeed in love, we have to learn to deal constructively with these feelings. Channeling Athena can help. Remember, Athena is wise, rational and just, and you can be, too!

More often than not, feelings of insecurity come from an irrational place. Intellectually, one knows that the feelings are wrong, but some other wild part of us takes control and begins to direct our behavior in detrimental ways. It’s like Aphrodite and love — our emotions tell us one thing, while our head tells us another.

It takes great strength and courage to force oneself to acknowledge feelings of insecurity, put them aside and replace them with more positive thoughts. Whether it is concern over physical appearance, economic status or self-worth, when you channel your inner Athena, you are acknowledging your power to overcome these feelings. You are acknowledging your power, wisdom and value. Eventually, you will attract the people who will value you as much as you value yourself!

Fight for your rights 
Another area of life where the power of Athena can aid you is in the workplace. Though great strides have been made, women still make less money for the same level of work as men, are promoted less and frequently have to deal with issues of sexual harassment. If confronted with any of these issues, the power of Athena, goddess of justice, can help you find the courage to address them and fight for your rights.

If hesitant when given the opportunity to be ambitious and take on greater responsibility in the workplace, channel Athena’s keen sense of right and wrong. Use your reason to weigh the pros and cons without letting self-doubt stop you from reaching your potential.

Today, women still have many battles to fight and Athena is truly our warrior princess! You can channel the power of Athena in your workplace and in your personal life for greater success and fulfillment.

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