Today I will discuss some common mistakes or misunderstandings or misrepresentations about Hera. I am sure they will be pretty common knowledge among Hellenic polytheists, but it’s still an important topic to discuss in regards to how she is viewed by outsiders.
The number one, most common, misunderstanding of Hera is that she is a raging bitch, a jealous wife, a persecutor of innocent people, namely Zeus’ illegitimate offspring. When one reads the myths about Hera superficially, then yes, she would seem to be all that. But myths are notoriously deeply steeped in symbolism and allegory. Hera’s myths are no different.
As I have in previous posts already explained, when Hera persecutes Herakles, she is testing his mettle, his worthiness of being the son of Zeus. Without her, he would never have risen up to Olympos and become a God. Similarly, Leto’s persecution tested her worthiness of having been loved by Zeus and ensured that the children she brought into the world, Phoibos Apollon and Far-shooting Artemis, were Great indeed. She tricked Semele into making Zeus show himself in his true form, unfiltered by mortal limitations. It burned her to a crisp as she witnessed the ineffability of Zeus. Dionysos, who was growing in her womb, almost died yet Zeus saved him and sewed him into his “thigh”, by which is actually meant his ballsack. This all contributed to Dionysos becoming the God he is, shaping his Divine Nature.
Another misconception may be that she is Zeus’ inferior and a wife incapable of keeping her husband from philandering. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even as Zeus philanders, Hera alone shares the throne of Olympos. She alone is his one true love to whom he always returns. And she is anything but powerless, she is mighty in her own right, as befits the Queen of the Gods. She is a protector of the polis whose blessing or wrath could determine the fate of nations. She has the respect and obedience of the other Gods, and the Homeric Hymn to her specifically mentions that she is not held in any less regard than her husband by the Gods on mighty Olympos. Indeed, would Zeus have even fallen in love with anyone not his equal, enough to marry her and make her his Queen? Great and mighty is She, indeed.
I can not think of any other major misconceptions at this time. So I’ll leave it at this.