A young girl asked who was Athena. My reply:

I am the webmaster at Athena.org. That means I am the person who wrote some of the web pages on the www.Athena.org web site. (And several other places.) It does not mean that I know a lot about Athena. I worship Her because... well, it is a long story.

Long ago, people were not as smart as they are now. They didn't know how to make clay pots, weave cloth, press olives for olive oil, ride horses, or plow the earth. They lived short and uncomfortable lives in huts with dirt floors, and wore animal skins. They did not know how to live better. They worshiped animal-like gods and goddesses, because they thought that animals knew more than they did. Animals were stronger and faster, and had fur or featheres to keep them warm, while we had to wear the skins of other animals to protect us against the cold.

There are many stories about Athena, but one that stands out, is that a Woman came out of a thunder storm where the earth shook and the waters ran red or purple. Some say she was just a stranger who knew many things, others say she was a Goddess who made herself look like a normal Woman.

Many people who know a lot, like to show what they can do; but they keep how they do it a secret so they can use it to make themselves powerful. They like to make themselves like little gods, to show how they have power over people. Athena was not like that. She was honest and considerate of people. She liked to help others live better.

Athena wanted to teach the people not only the things that she knew, but a set of values, ideas to hold dear and practice. She taught the people about raising olive treess and squeezing the olive pits to make olive oil, which could be burned for light at night, and used in cooking. She taught how to weave cloth, how to ride horses, how to make clay pots, and many other things. That was important to the people, for it made their lives easier.

But what was much more important, was her teaching of Values and Ideas. One of those ideas she taught, was that it is important to try things and to learn from your efforts whether you succeed, or fail. She started these people thinking and trying to do things they did not know how to do. This is where what we call Science and Engineering came from.

She also taught people to respect each other, and to choose their leaders with care; what we now call equality and democracy. These values are the foundations of America as well.

Because Her teachings made the people so much better off, they named their group of huts Athens, after her. It grew over the centuries, and when the people could, when they had learned how from building better homes for themselves, they built some temples to Her. One of these was called The Parthenon. It still stands in Athens, nearly two and a half thousand years later.

Greece fell long ago, conquered by other nations. But the Ideas Athena stood for remained alive. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the others who founded America had read about those Ideas, and used them to create this nation, a nation without a king who must be obeyed, a nation where everyone is equal. All the other nations of that time had Kings to lead them. America was the only nation where the people decide what needs to be done. As others heard about this nation without a king, others were inspired to get rid of their kings, so that they would be free to improve their own lives, and the lives of others around them.

A good part of why America was different was because Athena's Ideas and Values, and what happened in ancient Greece. That is why I worship Athena -- to thank Her for the Ideas and Values She stood for. I think that is the only reason to worship any deity, the values the deity stands for.

As time went by, people here in America were free to try many things, and so learned to make things that had never been made before. We invented cars, discovered electricity, invented the light bulb, telephones, movies, and eventually, the personal computer. All of these things were done by taking what was known before, adding some new ideas, trying things, failing often, but not giving up; and seeing what it takes to make things work better. That is what Athena taught mankind to do so long ago.

I don't remember very much about the other lives that I lived, few people do. What I do remember, was being a young child, probably an orphan, in ancient Greece, maybe two and a half thousand years ago. I was starving, walking on streets paved with flat stones, when I saw a priestess eating. I looked at her with tears in my eyes. She felt my hunger, shared her meal with me, and took me in at the temple, where I started to work and learn everything I could. I did not live very long in that life. We did not have medicine or health care as we do now. There were no doctors as we know them today. Most people lived half as long as they do now, or even shorter. I got sick and died in my early teens in that life.

Somehow, I remembered that priestess in my next life; and even though I was born in a very wealthy family, I went to work at the temple again. I helped that priestess. She grew old, and I remember holding her in my arms as she died of old age, then crying. I worked in Athena's temples for several lives, before the Christians came and forced people to worship their god.

I remember one other thing, one priestess saying that in the end, it is not as important how much we worship, but that we treat each other with decency and respect. So whether you worship Athena, or God, or Allah, or whatever you call That which Created this Universe, is not as important as how you treat others.

Webmaster


Bookmark us!
Athena | Sayings | Grandmother | Essays | History | Alt Philo | Opinion |
Belief | Worship | Hymns | Inspiration | Wisdom | Stumbles

This is not a new religion. The worship of The Goddess Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, The Home Arts, Womanly Virtue, and Prudent Warfare, has been documented as being well known and commonly practiced since before the founding of the ancient city of Athens in Greece; and is thus a Traditional and Well Established Religion. It has always emphasized individualism, self reliance, thinking for one's self, and personal responsibility; beliefs and values which led to the founding of Athens. Comet riders need not apply.

Copyright (C) 1998, Athena.Org. All rights reserved.
Faith@Athena.Org