The Olympians: Hera, queen of the king of gods.

Daughter of Titans, wife of Zeus, goddess of marriage…holder of grudges. To say Hera was an intimidating diety would be an understatement. Although her notoriously proud and stoic demeanor seems to have been her nature, the more I read about her, the more I discovered that this vengeful figure of Greek mythology had more than a little help getting that way.

Let’s start at the beginning, when Hera had nothing but love for both animals and other beings. There she was,  just living her best life, in her boldly righteous way, when her brother, Zeus, king of the gods, decided that maybe he wanted to get with all that.

Actually, there was no maybe about it. It took six wives before Zeus realized a strong king needed a strong queen by his side, and now that he discovered the obvious choice had been right in front of him the whole time, he had to have her.  The problem was, she was as serious about her virtue as she was about her opinions. Basically, girlfriend had better things to do than to play second fiddle to Zeus, and he knew it.  Also? She’d never agree to an unwed roll in the hay. So, he tricked her.

Using her soft side against her, Zeus turned himself into a cuckoo during a storm and then flapped around helplessly outside her window. Of course, Hera rescued the poor little bird, pulling him into the safety of her breast. Once tucked against her, you guessed it, Zeus turned back into his big, brawny self and overpowered her. Hera did not take it well. To add insult to injury, Zeus informed her that, now that they’d done the deed, she was his seventh wife.

Naturally, she was enraged at being told what she was and was not, but she was as cunning as she was beautiful and saw a way to come out the winner. Do you want to know why I think she finally agreed to marry Zeus? Payback.

“Look me in the eyes, bro… Do. Not. Test. Me.” ~Hera

There’s no greater proof that Hera and Zeus’s relationship was dysfunctional from the get go than their infamous squabbles. Maybe it was the thrill of the fight, but the more Hera got pissed at him, the more Zeus had hearts in his eyes for her. The meaner she was, the more he liked it, and she could be downright awful. It’s said that even the king of gods (yep, the one who could wield lightning) would cower when Hera was in one of her moods.

Case in point: She blinded the priest Tiresias when he sided with Zeus over who receives more sexual pleasure, a man or a woman. Poor Tiresias said women did, nine times more. This caused Hera to lose the argument… and her shit. She thought it only right Tiresias lose his eyesight on account that if he didn’t see things her way, he wouldn’t see them at all.


Revenge is a dish best served cold…

Hera had several children by Zeus, so she wasn’t a prude. She was, however, a stickler when it came to fidelity. In fact, Hera was involved in so many divine bar fights over her man’s wandering eye, to list them all would make this a very long post. Here are the cliff notes on but a few:

One of Hera’s more well-known beefs was with the goddess, Leto, Zeus’s sixth wife. Hera did a bunch of things to prevent the birth of twins Artemis and Apollo, including kidnapping Eileithya, goddess of childbirth, so that Leto could not go into labor. This was in addition to the world-wide ban that stated Leto could not give birth anywhere under the sun on “terra firma”, the mainland. The twins were eventually born, but Hera was not happy about it.

Next up is Lo. In order to hide his sexcapades with the beautiful mortal, Zeus turned Lo into a white heifer. Hera was not fooled, however, and demanded that Zeus give the heifer to her as a gift. To avoid dealing with her wrath, he handed over the cow. Hera then had Argus, to whom she gave 100 eyes, watch over Lo so Zeus couldn’t change her back.

And then there was Alcmene, another one of Zeus’s lovers. When Hera found out how excited Zeus was that the world would soon have another hero, Hera went into Oh Hell No mode. After seven days and nights of agony, Alcmene stretched out her arms and called upon Eileithyia. While Eileithyia did go to Alcmene, she was instructed by Hera to clasp her hands tight in order to prevent the birth. Galanthis, a maid of Alcmene, observed Eileithyia’s behaviour and, to put an end to her mistress’s suffering, announced that Alcmene had safely delivered the baby. This surprised Eileithyia so much she unclenched her hands, releasing Alceme from the spell long enough for Hercules to actually be born. As punishment for deceiving Eileithyia, Hera transformed Galanthis into a weasel.

When Hera discovered Semele, another mortal who Zeus was sleeping with, was pregnant, she disguised herself as an old crone and visited the girl. When Semele confirmed that her lover was indeed Zeus, Hera planted the seeds of doubt in her mind, which led Semele to asking Zeus to grant her a wish. Eager to please, Zeus agreed, but when Semele said her wish was for Zeus to reveal himself to her in all his glory as proof of his divinity, he begged her to change her mind. She could not be persuaded, and so Zeus was forced to show his true form to her… and she done burnt to a crisp right there on the spot.

Zeus did manage to save his unborn child and sew him into his thigh, though. And that, my friends, was how Dionysus was born. If you know anything about the god of wine, you know he led a rather debauched life, full of wine, sex and crazy demented groupies called maenads. But more on Dion in the next post.

Where the wine flows like… pee?

So there you have it. Some of the reasons why Hera is depicted as a matron with a mad case of resting bitch face. I dunno. I kind of don’t blame her. Do you?



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Sirens vs. Mermaids

Yesterday I introduced writer me to friends and family on Facebook. Wow. The response was amazing, and I still have some residual wobbles going on, to be completely honest. But the show must go on, as they say, and business must be conducted as usual. So…

Next on the agenda is a promo team. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to put one together for the first book, just because there is already so much to do before release, but it’s never a bad idea to start laying the foundation for one, right?

As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about a name for my promo team. I thought about having Sirens in there somewhere, but Kerri’s Sirens doesn’t really sound all that cool. Street Sirens sounds even worse…

Anyway, while revisiting siren mythology, I noticed that a lot of the Google images I was seeing were of mermaids. Is there a difference, you ask? Oh, yes. There is a big difference.

Mermaids appeared in the folklore of many cultures, sirens were exclusive to Greek mythology. While they were both beautiful mythical creatures with enchanting singing voices who dwelled near the rocky shores of islands, sirens were, um, not as nice as mermaids.

Mermaids were humble and kind in nature, and always helpful to the sailors they lured in with their songs. Sometimes even selling their souls to awful sea witches named Ursula for a chance to fall in love with and marry princes named Eric.


Sirens were a bit less curious and a lot more…intense. They lured sailors to their deaths. Usually by shipwreck, which meant drowning and all sorts of other watery unpleasantness.


There are some physical differences as well. Contrary to popular belief, sirens are not part fish like mermaids. They are part bird. Also contrary to popular belief, although they convalesced near craggy cliffs and the like, they were not aquatic. Meaning, they did not live under the sea.

Sinister as they were, they didn’t  start out that way. They were said to originally have been the companions of Persephone, and that her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest, gave them wings when Persephone was abducted by Hades so they could find her. When they failed, Demeter cursed them. They would die if any mortal was able to pass by their enchanting singing and survive.

Okay, that explains a lot. Their malicious intent was a matter of life of death for them. I suppose I’d be a bit intense as well.

Here’s an interesting fact, and a possible explanation why sirens seem to be depicted as a more vicious version of a mermaids. Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded (knowing Hera, probably more like commanded) the Sirens to enter a singing contest with the Muses. When the Sirens lost, the Muses plucked their feathers and made crowns from them.

Embarrassed and full of anguish at having lost, the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera, which just so happens to mean “featherless.” Myth has it they formed the islands in the bay there called the Leukai, “the white ones.”

So there you have it, the difference between mermaids and sirens! Have a great weekend, everyone…and try to stay away from alluring craggy cliffs if possible. 🙂



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