8 min read

Olympian Goddess Athena on War and Peace

True defender against corruption. Goddess Athena reveals the eternal enemy. Challenges Homer's depiction of her as vengeful truce-breaker in his epic Iliad.
Text title Athena

Summary of Contents: Athena in Mythology | Athena's Arrival and Appearance | Disobeying an Order | Goddess versus Corruption | Peace | Homer's Story | HQ | Athena's War

Festival Day - 16 July

Olympian Goddess Athena in Mythology

The ancient Greeks had titles for goddess Athena: Promachos (Champion) and Sthenias (Mighty) and told an extraordinary story of her birth: of how she appeared from inside the skull of Zeus, fully armoured and carrying a spear.

Athena's influence is glimpsed far back into African history but poet Homer’s mischaracterisation of her in his epic story Iliad depicted her in war - as a goddess who values courage and victory over integrity; an adversary of Ares.

Olympian Goddess Athena Mythological references

Goddesses, Gods and You

What kind of Heaven do you expect. Soft fluffy paradise of eternity, or oblivion of nothingness? Out-of-body survival expert Margo Williams discovered a surprisingly simple system of management and afterlife recycling.

There are many goddesses and gods in the community. Speaking their name aloud evidently sends a signal; creates a link to wherever they are at any given moment. If it works for you as it worked for Margo, and they respond, be respectful but be yourself. Honesty and thoughtfulness are appreciated.

Sacrifice nothing but your time. Most of them seemed approachable and appreciated being remembered.

The ancient temples that still can be found in some places, although mostly broken, are huge monumental structures; impressive sacred spaces, their scale designed to impress, to be worthy of divine visitation.

However, it is not the size and splendour of any sacred space but the sincerity of the person seeking contact.

Anywhere can be a temple.

Photo image of Margo Williams in Africa
"The story of Athena's birth is among the most amazing in the myths of Gods, is it true?" Nick Hammond asked out-of-body survivalist Margo Williams.

Athena's Arrival and Appearance

"On occasion I was told anything is possible in the realms of the Gods and though I cannot say for certain Athena's birth from inside Zeus' skull happened that way, this delivery does seem an impossibility. However, those epithets of Mighty and Champion are appropriate, evident from the first moment she responded to our invitation.

Vivid red light seared the air. A hard-faced female stared down from its swirling centre. "Woe unto those who utter my name without honouring me or arranging to honour me," she said.

The red radiance glared warning. "I am the mightiest of all the goddesses and I demand respect." She leaned forward out of the light, she wore a leather chest-plate; hair obscured by something dark. "You do now show the respect I deserve, and for this I now shall look kindly upon you."

She reached down and lifted me close. "You, I see, are a little in awe of me. You are sensitive. This is how it should be, but I embrace you." She hugged me, then placed me back on the ground. "I approve of you."

The red light faded, Athena vanished.

Disobeying Athena's Order on the Battlefield

Athena wasn’t so friendly when she returned second time.

"Athena, the mighty goddess arrives. Once again I have been honoured and respected." She glared down at me from the red radiance. "You come with me."

Athena dropped me into the middle of a battlefield fight; a raging bloody melee of screaming men and clang of metal on metal. She stood beside me, a towering figure dressed in leather chest-plate and long skirt. High-plumed helmet added intimidating height to her threatening presence, but no one seemed aware of the big goddess in their midst.

She jammed a sword in my hand, small enough to hold and ordered me to take someone's life. I tried to orientate. Saw men on foot, others on horseback. Sword in hand, I ran for the first available gap.

"I command you!" Athena’s voice cut through the noise like a crack of thunder.

"I cannot," I said as a man grabbed at my arm and twisted it. I fended him off with the sword, without using blade or tip.

A rider on horseback kicked through the melee and came toward me. Athena pointed. "That man. Strike the horse and bring him down!"

Deafened and confused, somehow I twisted, squirmed and slid under the horse, as someone’s scything blow made a mess of the rider's bare-toothed grin. Man and horse toppled over but freed me, so I stood and staggered.

Athena glared at me then walked away. Instantly the raging battle vanished, like a bad dream.

Silence, an empty field; no bodies, no blood stench, no screaming but there were tears in my eyes. I failed her test, of that I was certain.

Athena turned and strode back toward me. Drew her sword and raised its tip to my throat, made me lift my head.

"That was a test," she said coldly. "I wanted to see if you really are a peace-loving human. You did right to refuse." She held the sword for a moment then swept it down flat to her side and gestured to me. "Now, pay homage to me, correctly. You may kneel at my feet. I will be knelt to."

Athena Warrior Goddess Versus Corruption

The Iliad tells a story of the Greeks’ war with the Trojans but the carcass ruin of the Parthenon on Athens’ acropolis in Athena’s home city is a testament to the war fought by Greeks against their Gods. Athena did not tell me her opinion on that.

"Is Athena totally a warrior goddess, some legends depict her as a patron goddess of civilian projects?" asked Nick Hammond.

"Homer was correct about Athena's warrior nature, so far as I experienced but I had to draw my own conclusions about her enemy. She showed me. It was corruption. In this world - our world - corruption is an abstract idea, not strictly manifest beyond a matter of choice of option by any individual. 'Look the other way' when evil is done. That sort of thing.

In Athena's dimensions it is manifest, has form and energy. I assumed what she showed me was symbolic but it was a real enemy, an existential threat. Its form was armies of dark demon-like creatures, armed and dangerous.

Related link. Enyo. Do We Need Warrior Deities in the 21st century?

She fought in those battles, and I have described these elsewhere, where graphic accounts are permitted.

Following one such fight I saw a different side to Athena.

Athena at Peace

We arrived in a small copse of trees near a river close to a battlefield. She had single-handedly destroyed an entire army of those creatures. "That is how to fight the enemy!" she roared, ferocious in victory.

Then she removed her dark bronze helmet, lowered herself to the ground and leaned back against a tree. Gestured for me to sit. I did, but not too close. I noticed the tree bark turned golden on contact with her body; in fact the whole tree gently shook.

"I am always associated with fighting and conflict. War," she added, relaxing more comfortably against the tree. "I have work which I have to do, but I too like peace. Enjoy this moment, as I do. You pass these tests well. You show courage."

That surprised me, for I did not feel courageous.

"You have been treated roughly by some gods and goddesses. There is always a reason for this. You have accepted it well," she added, then was quiet, eyes closed in rest.

That was the first time I saw Athena bare-headed; her short-cut hair sparkled a unique bronze brown. Her hard-featured face seemed softer, the fierceness gone from her expression.

"I was aware you could not enter my temple on the great rock," she said at last, breaking the silence. "At least you went, and you knelt in the ruins of another. That showed respect."

She spoke of the Parthenon in Athens, and our tourist visit that summer.

"Many mortals work there. Those who take the money, those who clean the grounds; and those who repair. Some go every morning before the crowds arrive and pray to me. These mortals I help."

illustration of decorative figurehead.

Athena and Homer's Story

Athena's interest is war. She led me on tours of grim battlefields, mostly those closest to my own time. Around vile water-filled crater lakes of mud caused by explosion, where bloated bodies bobbed; between the barbed wire where dead men hung like string-cut puppets; among charred black trees.

Along trenches and bunkers filled with stinking rotting corpses heaped beside wooden braces scratched and gouged with tragic graffiti and splattered with mud and blood. That was the only information to be found about the dead.

When Homer described the raging fight between the Greeks and Trojans outside Troy, some five hundred years before his own birth, he detailed all the warriors who fought, fell and perished; all their names, lineage and cause of death.

Athena gave me no names or any information about those people who died, their only recorded cause of death was 'KIA.' Nor did I discover the identities and lineage of those who died in the war-scarred towns and city streets where bodies decomposed in the rubble dust heaps; their identifying features gnawed away.

In some places the conflict was live. Crackles of gunfire sounded close. Concussion of high explosive shook the earth; people harmed each other in their homes. There were no names, only enemies.

"Now you see," said Athena, disappointed in the unnecessary suffering.

Some legends portrayed Athena as a goddess of industry. Maybe she is patron deity of the civilised arts; and maybe since her temples were attacked, she chose spear and sword over needle and thread.

But she did show me her office.

HQ Where Athena Works

"This is where I work." We arrived in the middle of an enormous grassy field surrounded by a complex of square buildings, three storeys high, though not all were adjacent.

The architecture looked modern; its construction of stone or concrete and pale in colour but that was as far as anything recognisable for I have seen no architecture or layout like that before, ever, anywhere. It had a 'different world to ours' feel about it.

We stood some distance away from the buildings. Grass and trees but no roads. I saw no sign of activity, no one walked around or between them; no faces at any window, the glass looked opaque.

Until that moment I had presumed the location of her work was obvious: warrior goddess on the battlefield but that day she shared more about how things are, and will be.

"The lives of mortals are mapped. Every detail is studied," Athena added as if that information activity took place in those buildings. "Sometimes plans are altered, an individual does something that will affect a plan but I can tell you, that in the future there will be no wars. Mortals will think differently."

I wondered what it would take to make that happen. If she was aware of my thought, as some of them were, she didn’t say.

That was all I ever saw of Athena’s H.Q.

Athena's War

Gradually I learned to stand my ground during Athena's battlefield tests and not run. Most of my time with her was spent in combat tests; alone often, sometimes with others; and often with women fighting beside me.

The enemy we fought were bestial terrifying creatures that Ares showed me several dimensions distant from my own. Demon-like in appearance, whose origin and purpose was not explained. Athena sometimes joined in; other times she stood and watched from a nearby hilltop. Often I heard her describe the enemy as “corruption”.

Hard fights those were but the lesson was always the same: courage and endurance the only way to defeat it. For this reason I do not agree with Homer's duplicitous characterisation of Athena, in any way. It is wholly uncharacteristic of this fierce, uncompromising defender of truth.

Thank you for your company on this short introduction to goddess Athena. If you would like to know more about Margo Williams' experiences and suggestions for how to survive in the hereafter, read this book. Now available from Amazon.

Book cover link to purchase Olympian Goddesses and Gods Consequence

Useful links

Homer's Iliad

Temple of Athena Nike, Athens