Pallas Athena is the Greek goddess of War, Wisdom, and Civilization.
What an interesting combination, yes? She is an iconic Alpha Babe because she is always on call, always alert, every read for action, has enormous self-respect without being arrogant, and brings wisdom and courage to any situation.
Athena was born fully grown and fully armed from her dad’s head. King god Zeus had a headache (no wonder!), so he knocked himself on the noggin and out came his daughter. An immaculate conception and birth if there ever was one. Her birth from the head is quite different from her half-brother Dionysus, who was born from his father’s side. The symbolism is obvious – from the mind of the divine comes Wisdom.
Because she was fully armed she’s a goddess of the higher concepts of war, as opposed to another half-brother Ares, the god of actual bloody, bruising combat. Except for some personal involvement in that famous misunderstanding between the Trojans and the Greeks, Athena’s approach to war is strategic, seeing the big picture, moving around heroes and armies, dealing with conflicts on a national and idealistic level.
Her own symbols are an owl for wisdom, an olive branch (she created the olive), and a lightning bolt. She was allowed to carry Zeus’s shield and his lightning bolt, which was quite an honor. For us it means an Alpha Babe carries the power of the higher entity, be it a government, an organization, an ideal, or one’s own higher nature.
Besides creating the olive – and where would cuisine be without olive oil – she also created the bridle for taming horses, in particular the winged steed Pegasus. Our lesson is that rationality can control passion – not to stifle it, but to use it to fly; wisely, but with joy.
The Greek and Roman pantheon had many human characteristics and Athena is no exception. She was one of three goddesses in a rigged beauty contest. She tried to bribe the judge Paris by offering him victory in battle but he chose the beautiful babe offered by Aphrodite instead. Paris got the lovely Helen, took her to Troy, and you know the rest.
One of Pallas Athena’s gifts to a mortal gives us a good lesson. When the hero Perseus set off to slay the gorgon Medusa, Athena gave him her own highly polished shield to use as a mirror to deflect Medusa’s deadly gaze, which could turn men to stone. Sometimes the best way to deal with a problem that has defeated others (or ourselves again and again) is to come at it from a different angle.
Perhaps Athena’s most relevant symbolism for us is her helmet, pushed back off her forehead. The eyes of her helmet are above her actual eyes. This symbol of double-vision can inspire us to have higher vision as well as our real-world vision. It can instruct us to look at everything from at least two different perspectives. It can remind us that our own nature is a duality – passion and ration, the outer life and the inner life, intellect and intuition, our human nature and our divine nature.
Athens was Athena’s special city and the famed Parthenon is her temple there. Homer called her “grey-eyed” and the Romans called her Minerva.
Pallas Athena’s characteristics are wisdom, reason and purity – not a bad example for any of us.