Athena

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Athena is the goddess of the arts and wisdom in Greek mythology. Also known as Pallas Athene or Minerva in Roman mythology, Athena is the patroness of the Greek capital Athens.

Athena and the Cosmic Mind

According to ancient myth, Athena was the child of Zeus and Metis, the goddess of divine wisdom. Fearful that his wife, Hera, would be jealous of Metis, Zeus transformed Metis into a fly and swallowed her. However, Athena had already been concieved. Within a few months, Athena emerged out of Zeus' head as a fully grown woman of wisdom.

In Theosophy, the birth of Athena takes a more Esoteric approach. Athena is born only by thought, as a the manifestation of the Cosmic mind. Through the creative powers of Cosmic Ideation, Zeus is believed to have used the conscious of the Cosmic mind to manifest wisdom itself in the form of Athena. Alvin Boyd Kuhn states:

Archaic literature speaks voluminously of the sons of God as being "mind-born." The myth of the generation of Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, directly from the forehead of Jove, carries the same connotation. For the production of archetypal creative ideas the God-Mind needs no immediate implementation by matter. The Father produces his mental children directly from his brain alone.[1]

The concept of the Cosmic mind extends beyond Athena's conception, and into the Exoteric world of man. As Athena was seen as a divine manifestation, men are manifestations of the higher mind as well. Alvin Boyd Kuhn further acknowledges this as a recognition of the Cosmic mind as follows:

In the sense in which Minerva is said to have sprung full-grown from the forehead of Jove [Zeus], men can be conceived as generated from the cosmic power of mind.[2]

Relation with Theosophy

H. P. Blavatsky relates Athena to the very definiton of Theosophy. As the embodiment of wisdom, the knowledge that Athena represents is sought by Theosophists in all societies. She states:

Theosophy is, then, the archaic Wisdom the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization. This "Wisdom" all the old writings show us as an emanation of the divine Principle; and the clear comprehension of it is typified in such names as the Indian Budh, the Babylonian Nebo, the Thoth of Memphis, the Hermes of Greece; in the appellations, also, of some goddesses -- Metis, Neitha, Athena, the Gnostic Sophia finally the Vedas, from the word "to know".[3]

Interpretation by C. W. Leadbeater

According to Charles Webster Leadbeater, Athena is an anthropomorphical deity. She is personified into a determind and resolute leader, whom governed with intellectual detachment. He remarks:

Pallas Athene, the grey-eyed goddess of wisdom, was a magnificent and splendid Being, who practically governed Athens in the old days through her devotees. Her influence was enormously stimulating, but she was not so much an embodiment of compassion or of love, as is the Blessed Virgin Mary, but rather of efficiency and of that perfect accuracy of form that is the essence of all true art...There was practically no emotion connected with Pallas Athene; we had an intellectual appreciation of her greatness, an intense devotion along mental lines, a splendid enthusiasm in following her; but we should not have ventured upon anything like personal affection. She kept Athens in perfect order, directing it, governing it, brooding over its people with her wonderful inspiration; and she watched the develop­ment of her city with the closest interest, determined that it should be ahead of Sparta and Corinth and the other cities of Greece.[4]

Notes

  1. Kuhn, Alvin Boyd. Sex as Symbol: The Ancient Light in Modern Psychology (???) ???
  2. Kuhn, Alvin Boyd. Relighting an Ancient Lamp (???), ???
  3. Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna. A Modern Pararion (Los Angeles, CA: Theosophical Company, 1981), 263.
  4. Leadbeater, Charles Webster. Glimpses of Masonic History (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1926), 139-140.