ares

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2018

HIPPOLYTA

(Photo Credit: brooklynmuseum.org)

While there may be those who would argue that Hippolyta was not a Goddess, I feel that, since most of her legends describe Her as being the daughter of Ares, She is, indeed, a Goddess.

Hippolyta was the greatest of all of the Amazon Queens. Fathered by Ares, the God of War, who was himself born of Zeus and Hera, She was beautiful and strong, skilled in endurance and weapons. She was a formidable Warrior Woman. It is quite possible that She was trained in combat moves by Ares himself.

Hippolyta and her Amazons lives in Themiscyra, and kept largely to themselves. While they would mate with males from other tribes, they normally did not keep the male children, either sending them to live with their fathers, abandoning or killing them but always keeping, and raising, daughters for future Amazon generations.

Most of the legends of Hippolyta are her being involved in the exploits of men, as one would expect in a patriarchal society. Reading these myths, it makes perfect sense that the Amazons and their Queen would isolate themselves from much of the world.

Hippolyta was in possession of a golden belt, “the magic girdle”, that was gifted to Her by Ares. It was this belt, along with her skills, that made her the Queen of the Amazons.

(Photo Credit: greekmythology.wikia.com)

There are at least two versions of Her story with Hercules The first is that the Greeks decided that they wanted Hippolyta’s golden belt and send a raiding party to attack and rape the women warriors. These Greeks were led by Hercules.

She found Hercules somewhat attractive and, as was Her custom, wish to wrestle with him to determine if he was strong enough and that She would not give birth to a weak child. Her followers thought that Hercules was attacking their Queen and, in turn, attacked him. The women lost the battle to Hercules’ raiding party. One version of the story tells that Hercules killed Hippolyta and stole the golden belt. Another version says that She was not killed and gave the belt to Hercules of her own free will. Yet another, says that it was Hera, always the enemy of Hercules, who disguised herself as one of the Amazons, told the rest of the warrior women that Hippolyta was going to be kidnapped by the Greeks, and this is what started the skirmish between the two parties.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Another rendering of the story tells of King Eurysthesus giving Hercules 12 challenges or labors. The nineth labor was for Hercules to retrieve (read steal) the golden belt from Hippolyta and giving it to his daughter. Again, here, it is said that Hippolyta gave him the belt. The stories differ once again; one says that She gave him the belt because she was so enchanted by him; another says that the challenges were given to Hercules as punishment for killing his own children in madness and rage, a torment brought on by Hera, and that when Hippolyta heard his story, she was overcome with compassion and offered him the belt. Keeping in mind that the Amazons, while being warriors, what they hoped to offer and teach, was peace, making it quite plausible that She gave the golden belt to Hercules.

While Hercules was a demi-god, Theseus was a mortal who also visited Hippolyta at Themiscyra. Theseus, it was rumored, had killed a minotaur. Recalling Her past experience with outsiders, She prayed that no harm would come to her people as She ordered a great feast to be held in his honor. Theseus asked Hippolyta to come on to his ship, which She did. Theseus had fallen in love with Her and asked Her to stay with him. Hippolyta refused, as She wished to stay with Her Amazons. When She went to disembark from the ship, the crew immediately set sail for Greece, with Hippolyta as a prisoner.

The Amazons were furious and immediately followed to retrieve their Queen. Theseus, having no clue he was being followed, started to plan a grand wedding to marry the kidnapped Amazon Warrior Queen. The Amazons planned their attack to take place deep into the night while everyone was asleep, and were able to rescue Hippolyta just in time. Shakespeare tells his version of Hippolyta’s story with Theseus in his “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”.

Not surprisingly, the Amazons and their Queen became very suspicious and leery of all visitors.

(Photo Credit: screenrant.com)

In pop culture, Hippolyta is the mother of Wonder Woman, who was fashioned a baby from clay and had the life breathed into her by the gods.

Hippolyta – Queen, Warrior, Mother, Goddess

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

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The Grove

October, 2010

Ares

the_Ares_rose

It’s probably human nature to want to understand why. I’m no different. Life should be going great for me, yet I find myself plagued with the same old problems. To say it’s frustrating is sometimes an understatement. As I’ve said before I don’t have a full grasp of the Athenian calendar, but I choose to honour Ares with a regular libation this month. This year it will fall near to Veteran’s Day… hhhmm… appropriate. Maybe this would be a good time for me to meditate & try to get a handle on the nature of war & strife.

He’s typically painted in a bad light, but who was he really?? There had to be more to him than that. Let’s start with the basics. Ares was the son of  Zeus, king of the gods, & his consort Hera.  Although he has come to be known as a god of war, it might be more correct to view him as a god of bloodlust, masculine strength, & the joy of slaughter personified. Thanks to his ruthless & aggressive nature all Olympus  despised him.

As much as Ares has a reputation for being a hot-headed, temperamental jerk, remember that his impulses are often tempered by gentle love. One of his best-known consorts was Aphrodite, goddess of love, sensuality, & beauty. She was hardly a faithful wife to smithy god Hephaestus at the best of times & the masculine allure of warrior Ares was too much to resist. Once solar Helios spied Ares & Aphrodite enjoying a secret tryst, which he reported to her husband. Hephaestus thought to shame the lovers & catch them in the act, so he fashioned a magickal net.  He’d  invited the  rest of Olympus to watch. The trap was sprung, catching the pair in an embrace. Some commented on Aphrodite’s beauty, others remarked that they would be more than happy to trade places with Ares any day.  One they were freed, an embarrassed Ares retreated to Thrace.

Although his half-sister Athena was also considered a war deity she embodied strategic warfare, whilst  Ares tends to act on unpredictable impulse & violence. He’s a thump 1st, ask questions later kind of god. His temperament has lead him into strife, certainly. Once two giants of the Aloadae shackled him in chains & imprisoned Ares in a bronze urn for 13 months. Female compassion came to his rescue again. The young giants’ stepmother Erioboea told Hermes what happened. emis tricked the Aloadae into slaying each other & Hermes rescued him.

Ares gave more to the Hellenes than just the strife of battle. He left his mark on the on Greece by playing a role in the founding of Thebes. Phoenician prince Cadmus travelled to Thebes after following a cow after the oracle at Delphi instructed him to found a city wherever the beast should stop. Cadmus wanted to sacrifice the cow & sent his men to fetch water from a nearby spring. The spring was guarded by a dragon that slew many of the prince’s men before Cadmus could kill it. The creature was thought to be sacred to Ares. Athena intervened, giving Cadmus half the dragon’s teeth & telling him to sow them like seeds. He did so & from the earth sprang fully armoured warriors.  Cadmus threw a stone because he feared them. The warriors, thinking that the stone had been thrown by one of the others,  fought each other until only 5 remained. These helped Cadmus to found the city of Thebes, although Cadmus was forced to serve Ares for a year to atone for killing the dragon. At the end of his servitude he was given Harmonia, daughter of Ares & Aphrodite, for a wife.

Ares might be harsh, but he is ultimately fair. He rewards those humble enough to own up to their mistakes. Here harmony comes at the end of struggle.

Remember that Deimos ( dread ) & Phobos ( fear ), his sons by Aphrodite, often follow their father. Also amongst his attendants is the goddess of strife, Eris. War in & of itself doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sure, his methodologies might be a little hard to take. Ares can also provide that fire in the belly that causes us to boldly act where logic might fail us or our insecurities might keep us rooted to the spot. He also blesses men with courage in difficult situations of all kinds. He might not be everyone’s idea of a positive deity, but I’ve come to appreciate him as the force that empowers heroes of all sorts, be it a soldier on a foreign battlefield or a policeman doing his duty to keep our streets safe.

It’s often that which accompanies him that causes discord. Let’s face it, more often than not we do it to ourselves. It’s a natural reaction to fear change forced on us before we feel ready. It’s completely normal to look at this huge mountain of an obstacle in front of you & tremble. The passion of Ares shows us the way through.  Most acts of creation aren’t pretty. Think of the act of giving birth. It’s violent  & messy. It can be hard to remember what joy will come at the end of things in the midst of the pain. Ares shakes up our lives, no doubt. It is sometimes necessary to keep us from getting stuck in mental or emotional rut. He sometimes needs to drag us kicking & screaming to where we need to be, but ultimately it is for our own good.