Hera is the Greek Goddess of Love and Marriage, and also known as the Queen of Heaven, wife of Zeus, King of Olympus. Hera was an extremely powerful Goddess in her own right even without Zeus. In honor of her great capacity to be a nurturing mother to the very world her very name translates as the “Great Lady.” The world galaxy derives from gala meaning “mother’s milk.” Legend says that the Milky Way was created by milk spurting from Hera’s breasts causing the Milky Way to form, and on Earth wherever drops fell, large beautiful fields of lilies sprung forth. In Roman mythology Hera was worshipped as Juno, and they named the lovely month of June after her (June which just happens to be the most popular month for weddings). For her sacred animals Hera chose first the cow, both because of how much the cow nurtured people and its young but also to set a good example for the other Gods and Goddesses (Queen’s got to show her subjects how it’s done). However she also wanted not be too plain so she also chose the Peacock and the Lion to symbolize her luxury, beauty, and immortality (Girl’s got to look good too right?). The Goddess Hera was depicted as supporting women all through their life, and was one of the most important goddesses to women. Hera blessed and protected women’s marriage, brought her fertility, and protected her children (which is kind of ironic considering how she attempted to slay all of Zeus’s illegitimate children), and helped her financial security. Hera was the complete all encompassing goddess for women. Hera was considered amazingly beautiful, one of the most beautiful goddesses. It was this divine and ravishing beauty that attracted the eye of her future husband and brother, the playboy Zeus. Zeus was able to trick her into taking him and embracing him to her breast by changing himself into a very small pitiful, wounded and frightened bird (kind of a like a more skillful and convincing “puppy dog eyes” approach to picking up women). When Hera saw the bird she took pity on it and gave it a great big hug. It was during this hug that Zeus found his moment of opportunity. He went from bird to man in nothing flat, and attempted to have his way with her. However Hera was able to avoid him and resisted his advances until they were both married. This delay however may have increased Zeus’s attraction and lust, for Zeus and Hera had the longest “honeymoon” ever known. It lasted 300 years! Suffice to say Zeus had help from the Greek God of virility Viagra. Throughout their marriage they would give birth to Ares, Hebe, Eris and Eileithyia. All of whom became very prominent Gods and Goddeses. Unfortunately after that honeymoon Zeus had gotten his fill and wanted something else on the menu. A notorious philandered, Zeus had numerous affairs, all of which infuriated Hera greatly. Hera felt betrayed and humiliated that Zeus would cheat on her (and so many times no less). Her pride as queen certainly did not help. To make matters even worse, Zeus doted on his illegitimate children more than his legitimate ones! At first Hera didn’t notice. When Zeus went out on his adulterous affairs, he sent a nymph named Echo, that would flatter Hera and say great things about her to distract her (now Zeus is a man who has a great comprehension of the female psyche). It worked for awhile, however Hera eventually found out, and first cursed Echo so she could only repeat the words of others said to her, and that’s the etymology of the word echo. Despite Zeus’s inability to keep it in his own toga, Hera did remain faithful and steadfast to Zeus. She also rarely punished Zeus for his affairs, rather she vented her fury and went psycho on the women that Zeus had the affairs with. In fact Hera is most famous for the ways in which she sought vengeance upon Zeus’s many mistresses and their children. Some of these even include the famous Gods, Artemis and Apollo, and Dionysus. In one story Hera found out about an affair with the Queen of Libya, Lamia. As soon as she found out Hera slew all of her children, which drove Lamia insane. Hera cursed her then with the inability to close her eyes so the image of her dead children would be forever engraved in her memory, Zeus took pity and gave her the abilities to remove and replace her eyes from her head at will. Eventually Lamia became a monster roaming the countryside. She envied mothers and their children and so she began eating children out of envy. It is unfortunate that none really remember Hera for her nurturing character and her steadfastness in adversity. Instead she is remembered for her vindictiveness and her vengeful episodes. Some say that this is a result of Homer, who casted a more negative portrayal of Hera, since he himself was a victim of a shrewish wife. Among the Greek Goddesses it is Hera shows us that there is both good and bad, dark and light within all of us. That we experience both joy and pain, happiness and anger, love and hate, all emotions that are inexorable in life.