Monday, December 30, 2013

A Wonderful Collection of Modern Devotional Offerings to the Queen of Heaven

 

This is a book review of the latest offering from Bibliotheca Alexandrina.  Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno is edited by Lykeia.

 
Disclaimer: I am a contributor of a devotional hymn that appears in this anthology.
 
 
“Of all the Goddesses honoured in modern times, it seems a bit surprising that Hera doesn’t get much love, when in fact she was one of the more important Goddesses.”  These are the opening lines by editor Lykeia in her essay about the modern worship of Hera.  Indeed, the worship of the queen of the Greek Olympian pantheon may appear to pale by comparison to that of her wayward husband, Zeus, or even other Goddesses such as Aphrodite and Artemis, yet, Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno  is an anthology bursting with original prayers, passionate pleads and devotional hymns to both Hera and her Roman counterpart, Iuno.
 
Generally perceived as the ultimate “evil” stepmother and jealous wife who is vengeful towards the offspring Zeus sired by his numerous affairs, Hera was also the ultimate guardian of marriage, a constitution, as Mila Suez reminds us in “Heartache of the Cuckoo”, vitally important to a woman’s status in ancient Greece.  However, there was more to this multi-faceted Goddess than that.  Hera also ruled over childbirth, government and health.  She who was revered by the champions of ancient Greece, and her worship stretched around the then known Greek world, even as far away as northern Africa and even Great Britain.  
 
Divided into four sections, Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno  contains a wealth of information penned by modern day devotees.
-- Litaneia (Greek for “prayers”) contains many heartfelt devotional hymns and prayers to Hera and Iuno;
-- Mythos includes modern stories involving the Queen of Olympos;
-- Apologia presents modern analysis of the status of Hera and Iuno within mythology, cosmology and philosophy; and finally
-- Evlaveia (Greek for “devotion”) offers a collection of rites and modern day worship.  The classic Homer and Orphic hymns are also included in an appendix.
 
Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno proves that these Goddesses are still as relevant today as they were in ancient times.  Yet, save to the detailed information provided on the backcover, this anthology does appear to lack any proper introduction as to who both Hera and the less familiar Iuno (and all their aspects) were, leaving the reader is left to scour the assortment of collected works to find out for themselves.
 
Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno reminds us that there is so much more to Hera than her being the jealous wife of a philanderer.  This book offers a wonderful collection of fresh and exciting devotional pieces as well as personal experiences from those who work with and have an intimate relationship with this often misinterpreted Goddess in the modern age.

Queen of Olympos: A Devotional Anthology for Hera and Iuno can be purchased via Amazon.com or direct from the bookstore of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

 

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