Hera

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A shell cameo of Hera, circa 1840, decorated with enamel and comesso work; she wears turquoise drapery and a pomegranate jewel in her hair.

Hera, also known as Hera Euboea ("rich in cattle"), Hera Alexandros ("protector of men"), or Hera BoƓpis ("cow-eyed," referring to her big, beautiful eyes), is the queen of the Olympian Greek pantheon and the supporter of marriage, women, childbirth, and family. She is also the patron of the Greek cities of Argos and Samos. She is the sister and the seventh wife of Zeus, the sky and thunder god, and famed for her jealousy of his mistresses and previous wives, and of his children by these women and goddesses. Her other siblings are Poseidon, god of the sea; Hades, god of the underworld; Demeter, goddess of agriculture; and Hestia, goddess of the hearth. She is the mother of Hephaestus, the god of metalcraft; Ares, the war god; Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth; Enyo, the war goddess; and Hebe, the goddess of youth. Tradition differs on whether or not she is the mother of Prometheus, who brought fire to mankind; Eris, who brought discord; and Typhon, a gigantic serpentine monster.

When the Olympian Gods were invited to a wedding feast, Eris was prevented from entering, so she threw her own gift into the banquet hall: a golden apple labelled "To the Fairest." A bitter argument ensued between Hera and her stepdaughters, Athena and Aphrodite. They demanded that Zeus decide, but he passed the task on to Paris, a Trojan prince. Since the goddesses were actually equally beautiful, they offered gifts to settle the issue: Hera, political power; Athena, wisdom, fame, and military glory; and Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman on earth for a wife. Paris awarded the apple to Aphrodite. Unfortunately, his prize was a married woman: Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. Paris kidnapped her to Troy, and so began the Trojan War. Hera supported the Greeks throughout this conflict, as a way of getting back at Aphrodite. She also assailed all of Troy's allies among the gods and heroes.

Hera is often portrayed as a tall, queenly woman in a diadem crown, with a wide variety of symbols: a cow, lion, pomegranate, lily, lotus, panther, lion, or peacock. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who petition the Greek deities within the Pagan and Neo-Pagan traditions on behalf of clients may work with Hera when there are pending spiritual and magical issues regarding marriage, fidelity, and women's rights.

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