Believe it or not, I got the idea for this blog in New York City. We recently spent a long weekend there, and one of the places we visited was the remodeled hall of Greek statuary at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you've ever been to the Metropolitan, you know spending a few days there would be easy, if not for having to eat, sleep, and leave at closing time. As a child, I loved the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, about two children who take up residence--temporarily--in the museum. So I'm always happy to stop in there.
Renovations on the museum's front steps led us to enter through a lower entrance to one side of the main one. Because we came in this way, we entered the museum itself via the display of Greek statues. One of the first ones I saw is pictured at right, Artemis, goddess of the moon and the hunt. Some of you may remember that I loved Greek mythology as a child. My favorite Greek god was Hermes, the trickster, but my favorite goddesses were Artemis (Diana in Joan's favorite part of the world) and Athena (Minerva to the Romans). Artemis ran around in the woods whenever she felt like it, didn't have to wear long skirts, and hung out with animals. She also was an archer, which tied in nicely with my fondness for Robin Hood. So if your inner goddess is Artemis, you like the outdoors, enjoy animals, and prefer vigorous exercise.
Athena, of course, is the goddess who sprang full-grown from the head of Zeus (Jupiter). She was the goddess of wisdom, had an owl companion, and wore a warrior's helmet. She was often pictured with a shield and spear, which led me to think she probably kicked butt and took names, even if she did wear long skirts and even if war was technically the domain of Ares (Mars). There were several statues of Athena in the museum. This one turned out best in the pictures. Athena, to whom the Parthenon was dedicated, would be the inner goddess of someone who likes owls or maybe other raptors and is thoughtful but doesn't hesitate to act decisively when necessary.
I didn't see any statues of Hera (Juno), the queen of the gods and consort of Zeus. I was hoping for a nice one with peacocks. Hera was regal, jealous of Zeus, and fond of peacocks. I don't remember her as having any special area of expertise, but I could be mistaken. So if Hera is your inner goddess, you may like beautiful birds and enjoy wielding authority.
There were numerous statues of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess who rose naked from the sea. But with judicious camera work, I got a photo that's G-rated. Why is she so rarely depicted fully dressed? Being the goddess of love and beauty doesn't require leaving little to the imagination, but maybe male sculptors liked her that way. She was also the mother of Eros (Cupid) and consort of homely, ingenious Hephaestus (Vulcan). So if Aphrodite is your inner goddess, you're very passionate and want to help the people around you find happy relationships.
I also didn't spot any statues of Hestia (Vesta), the goddess of hearth and home. She doesn't seem to get as much attention as some of the others, but hearth and home are as vital to comfort and safety now as they were in the Bronze Age. If your inner goddess is Hestia, you like nesting and the homely arts of cooking, baking, and perhaps sewing.
This last pair of busts is thought to be of Persephone (Proserpina), the queen of the underworld and consort to its dread god, Hades (Pluto), and her mother, Demeter (Ceres), goddess of the harvest. Persephone doesn't seem to have done much except draw the unwanted attention of Hades and then, after he took her to the underworld, make the mistake of eating half a dozen pomegranate seeds. Because those half-dozen seeds condemned her to spend half of every year in the underworld, Demeter mourned her absence and refused to make the plants grow. Thus winter came to the Greek world. If your inner goddess is Demeter, you're probably very good with plants and maybe even make your own cereal (Ceres being the root of that word).
My inner goddess is probably a melding of Artemis and Athena with a little Aphrodite thrown in. I prefer jeans to suits, though I like to look well turned out when the occasion requires it. A house without animals will never be a home to me, and I like sports like karate and archery and, once upon a time, softball and tennis. On the other hand, the outdoors now aggravates my allergies. I try to be thoughtful and act decisvely but don't always succeed, and I love owls. And I feel strongly about things if I feel anything at all. My homemaking is largely a matter of intention rather than execution, and I'm best with plants that people prefer to have die. I have zippo abililty at match-making. I know this, alas, from experience.
In the movies, Princess Leia is probably closest to Athena. For Artemis, I'd pick Lara Croft. I haven't seen a good Aphrodite on screen lately. I teach the silent film It, and I certainly think Clara Bow had the sex appeal and intense feelings. She didn't seem to do much toward matching other people up. Hera would be Dame Judi Dench as M. No one comes to mind for Ceres or Persephone.
Which goddess's traits do you embody? Can you think of movie or book characters who have some of these goddesses' characteristics?