A Conversation with the Gods: Athena

The Birth of a Goddess

Zeus had a secret.

Before his marriage to Hera, he had a wife named Metis. But a rumor spread that she would give birth to a child – a child so wise and overbearing in spirit, who was destined to surpass Zeus in power.

Zeus did what his father had done to him. He swallowed the pregnant Metis whole thus suppressing her and her unborn child.

But one day, a nagging headache manifested into a migraine and so great was his pain, when Zeus shouted all the Gods came to his aid in attempt to help him.

Finally Zeus told Hephaestus, God of blacksmithing, to just hit him over the head.

And from his head, Athena burst into the realm, fully geared and ready for battle and shouted a challenge that shook the earth and sky and even stopped the sun.

The Gods stood in astonishment.

Zeus was very impressed.

A great feast was held, as the Gods celebrated the birth of Athena, the creative, strategic, cunning Goddess of War and Intellect.


The Olympian Gods all agreed: in the Attic lands of Greece, a city would rise so great in power, it’s glory would reshape the world and its name would continue beyond time itself.

Mount Olympus had been overwhelmed with prayers from the locals of this Attic land. They sought a patron, as all cities needed a God to watch over them.



The Standoff

Poseidon and Athena both passionately wanted to be the patron of this land. Poseidon argued that its location would provide the greatest harbor the world would ever see, and as God of the watery realm, he reasoned that he should be the rightful patron.

Athena argued that the greatness in this city would lie in respect for it’s people, for it would attract the greatest of minds that would leave a legacy.

Zeus was annoyed at hearing them argue but he refused to choose between his favorite daughter and his brother. But when the heated debate between Poseidon and Athena nearly escalated into battle, Zeus intervened.

“Let the people decide” said Zeus.

The Contest

A contest was held on the Acropolis rock. There, Gods and citizens gathered.

Zeus explained that Poseidon and Athena would each offer a gift. The citizens would choose which they preferred and Zeus ensured they would not endure the wrath of the rejected god.

Poseidon, being the oldest was allowed to go first. He struck the ground with this trident and a spring rose. The people sighed in wonder.

“Citizens of all seafaring cities depend on my protection! With this gift I offer you success in war at sea!”

Athena stepped forward and dropped a single seed to the ground. It swiftly grew into an exotic tree.

“I offer you the fruits of peace and wisdom. This tree will provide you with food, shade, and fire wood.”

Athena plucked an olive off the tree.

“I will show you how to make an oil that can be used in a variety of ways.”

The citizens chose the olive tree and from that moment on, the city became known as Athena.

Where is Athena today?

She never left.

In Modern Athens, it is now a victory to rise from ones bed and face the day.

If Athena soared down from the sky and gathered us at the Acropolis, what would she tell us?

She would instruct us to be cunning, creative, and brave.

When you have nothing to lose, that is when you have everything to gain. As individuals, this is the best time to look within ones’ heart and admit what has always been desired.

Write a book. Paint a magnificent painting that reflects our times. Let it be a reflection of all your emotion, right here and right now.

Or, if you prefer, read up on a subject that brings you joy – and then think, how could you contribute to the subject? Write down your ideas. If you don’t have a fancy degree don’t worry – your passion is enough, your passion is priceless.

Whatever it is, create something that thousands of years from now, people will look back on your legacy. Perhaps in a museum or study your books and reflect on a time when Athens, once again, proved the prophecy of the Gods.

Athens is continuous. Her name surpasses time.

Plato, Menexenus 237c :
“Athens is deserving of praise, not only from us but from all men, on many grounds, but first and foremost because she (Athena) is god-beloved. The strife of the gods who contended over her and their judgment testify to the truth of our statement.”

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