Today is the fourth day in this Month of Devotional Thought dedicated to Hera. This fourth day is about sharing a favourite myth of Hera.
My favourite myth… it’s kind of hard to answer as I think all myths are interesting for one reason or another. And frankly, I already told my favourite myth involving Hera in the previous post. It is the myth of Argos, who faithfully guards the cow-shaped Io, but is tricked by Hermes to fall asleep with all his One Hundred Eyes, and promptly slain by Hermes. When Hera discovers his corpse, she honours him by taking his One Hundred Eyes and placing them upon the tail of her favourite bird, the peacock, thus giving the bird its magnificent display.
Another favourite myth, or set of myths rather, is Hera’s continued persecution of Herakles. Superficially she may seem like a bitch who is attacking someone who can not help who his father is. But as always there is very deep and significant meaning to every myth. Hera is constantly testing Herakles, testing him to see if he is worthy of the divine blood flowing through his veins. Testing him to see if he is worthy of Godhood. Without her constantly coming after him, Herakles might never have done all his great and mighty deeds. Without her, he might have never ascended to Godhood. Without her, he might have remained an insignificant mortal and eventually forgotten, fading into obscurity. Yet when he finally did prove his worthiness of Godhood and ascended unto Olympos, they made peace with each other. Reconciling their differences, Hera symbolically births him and offers her breast as if to nurture a baby. So Herakles is recognised as a God, receiving Zeus and Hera’s daughter, Hebe, as his wife.
Another favourite myth is her role in the Argonautika, where she is not shown persecuting Zeus’ lovers or their illegitimate offspring, but rather showing her as a Patron of Heroes, guiding Iason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. At one point she even appears in person to make the Argo sail in the right direction when they threaten to go the wrong way.
Divine persecution and testing of mettle,
Peacocks’ tails and many-eyed giants,
A ship full of heroes sailing for quests,
These are a few of my favourite myths.