Today’s topic will be to discuss how the worship of Hera has changed over time. Let’s dive in.
As the Hellenic religion has had its tradition and its lineage broken by the violence that is Christianity, it is inevitable that worship of Hera is different today, than it was before this break occurred. And it is even different from what it would be today had the lineage of tradition not been sundered. As most modern Hellenic polytheist focus on Classical Hellenic religion, and less so on the Late Antique period (with some exceptions), to reconstruct and revive our religion from the ashes of tradition and ruins of our temples, that will most strongly colour modern perceptions of the Goddess, with empty holes filled up with improvisation, UPG, and VPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis and Verified Personal Gnosis) as Hera herself interacts with worshippers and lets us know what changes She desires and how to fill in the blanks.
One major difference that is rather blatant is the lack of any kind of state cult or functioning temples dedicated to Hera, the lack of animal sacrifices as we are not yet arrived at a point where most communities can restore this sacred practice, the lack of any kind of priesthood. Any mysteries of Hera’s are also lost, insofar as She has not yet seen fit to reach out to worshippers to restore them. All that is left to us is private worship in the household, or the occasional get-together of small local organisations/communities where these exist, or perhaps somewhat larger communities as exist in Hellas in the form of YSEE, Labrys, and other Hellenic polytheist groups active in the motherland whence our religion formed, the fountainhead from which our religion sprang.
Some people will honour her occasionally, others will honour her regularly – perhaps in regards to them being married and thus seeking her blessing for a happy marriage -, and yet others are devotees of the Goddess who will thus honour her a lot.
Another way in which her worship may change is that our ideas about marriage have changed. Marriage in our modern societies is not necessarily about producing offspring, nor is it done as a way to form an alliance between two families. It is primarily done out of love between the two partners. And even more recently we have seen the institution open up to same-sex couples, and are we seeing polyamorous relationships becoming more visible. As time progresses I predict those relationships will also become recognised and will be able to be officially recognised as marriages. Given the high rate of divorces, I wonder whether perhaps those also fall under Hera’s domain. She might also become a Goddess of those who suffered spousal abuse and marital rape, a protectress of those who fell victim to gross violations of Hera sacred institution.
And of course, as ever, one way that worship of the Goddess has changed is that there may be those who work with the Gods, or even worse, who use the Gods in spells and magics for their own purposes, who believe that Gods can be subjugated to the human will. This isn’t so much worship of course, but rather hubristic blasphemy that will get punished, or will be allowed to punish itself. Besides the mentioned people there are also people who are not strictly Hellenic polytheists, but who do worship Hera in a respectful manner, though not entirely as per Hellenic customs. These might be Hellenic Wiccans or eclectic neopagans who do not fall for the above-mentioned hubris and actually respectfully worship the Goddess Hera in their own way.
I’m not really sure if there is anything else I can write about in this post. It’s been mostly just summing up how the world has changed, and how it relates to Hera. I think I’ll leave it at this for today.