The Capricorn Myth- The Myth Of Athena
The Athena myth
Athena has always been connected with the planet Saturn: this association was suggested by Lisa Morpurgo, who talks about her as a little female Saturn, since she is very far from the images of impulsiveness and irrationality that often characterise the female world.
Athena has a particularity: she was born adult from Zeus’s head who, after swallowing Metis for fear of being dethroned, found out that the Goddess was expecting a daughter and not a son, so he could not have been dethroned, as foreseen by the oracle.
Athena was born marked by this particularity: she stays inside a female uterus just for a little time, and then she is brought up by Zeus himself who, in the end, has to make her come out of his head and forces Hephaestus to give him an axe blow to open a gash.
This first part of the myth therefore talks about a child who can enjoy neither a pregnancy nor a normal birth because she is Metis’s daughter, a first-generation Goddess of Wisdom – daughter of Oceanus and Tethys – indicated by Uranus and by Gaia as the one who would have given the world a male son able to oust Zeus, God of the Sky.
Thus, from the open head of the father Zeus, this already adult woman emerged, wearing a helmet, lance, shield and armour. According to the myth, as she was born, she could immediately shout such a loud war cry that it resounded throughout the sky and the lands.
Needless to say, according to these first aspects of the myth, we can guess that Athena doesn’t lack only a mother, but also a childhood and above all tenderness and emotional nourishment, essential ingredients to create the “feeling function”. Her condition is that of an “armoured adult ready for war”, and clearly indicates some of her features that result from her deprivation.
As a newborn, she helped her father fight against the Giants and she fought better and more than a man.
If we go a little more into these symbols we notice that the lack of the mother influences her deeply: Athena is forced to identify herself with her father and with the male side of the psyche, which is rational, competitive and sharp, ready to fight to get what she wants and external achievements.
Athena lacks the principle of “Eros” and actually embodies the “logos”, a privilege of her father and of her brother Apollo.
We can interpret Athena’s figure as that of a woman who cannot embody female qualities, because she has never seen them and lacks a model, so she identifies herself with the male dimension so that she can be accepted by her father, however, she has a deep wound inside that makes her resentful towards everything that she longs for on one hand, but that, on the other hand, she also hates and fears just because it is denied to her.
Athena seems to see in the female side only fragility and we can understand that, since she was never protected by those who should have protected her. Like her great-grandmother who did not hesitate to join Uranus to suggest his nephew Zeus that he “eliminates” his pregnant wife.
It often happens that women who could not identify themselves with their mother because she was not there in their life or she was fragile and victimised, end up becoming “like their father”, because it is always better to identify oneself with a strong and charismatic man rather than with a mother who does not seem to have the right characteristics to save the daughter.
In these cases, though, we are faced with women who are strong outwardly, but very angry with the female side that they do not know and that they just consider negative.
In the myth Athena is a Warrior Goddess, famous for her invincible strategies (she was determinant in the Troyan war, a city that she hated after Paris denied her the golden apple). She does not forget anything and therefore she remembers each wrong and each wound; there is no trace of “forgiveness” in her head.
This lets us understand how she is identified with strength, rationality, the ability to fight and never surrender to anybody; in the Greek world she is considered the Goddess of “reason”: in a word she is a strategist who cannot lose and cannot understand either passivity or tenderness, which is certainly seen as fragility; she also hates womanliness, which she considers voluptuous and incapable of independence.
She is the Goddess of Arts and Crafts. As the Goddess of Literature, she tried to supplant the Muses; she did not succeed completely, since she failed with Music, Philosophy and Poetry.
She was ingenious but she also had a deeply warlike spirit that led her to invent the “quadriga”, a real war chariot. She was also in overall charge of the building of the ship Argo for the journey of the Argonauts: she is the prototype of an engineer woman, able to use reason and practicality.
She undoubtedly preferred male characteristics. She used to fight side by side with men, was willingly with them and less with women; she was protective with the warriors and heroes; one of them was Heracles, whom she loved deeply and supported when he decided to carry out the 12 labours.
She helped Ulysses to return to Ithaca at the end of the war; there are various episodes in the Odyssey that indicate her constant intervention to support the hero.
She had difficult relationships with women, instead, with the other Goddesses or with the young women and girls she was involved with.
Two episodes particularly show how much she hated the female world and how much she projected negativity onto it, to such an extent that she always intervened in a negative and penalising way on all occasions.
The first was Medusa, condemned to darkness and anger; once the Gorgon was defeated, she placed her head on her shield; another case is that of Arachne, the young woman who was a great weaver and who entered a weaving competition with her.
Arachne won the prize for the most beautiful tapestry and Athena, angry at being defeated, turned her into a spider and condemned her to weave for eternity.
Athena embodies some of the characteristics of the Moon in Capricorn, and of the Moon Saturn, above all when she could not count on a sensitive and caring mother and had to do without this figure and, to tolerate the pain, had to anaesthetize her heart and make it insensitive and armoured.
The armour, the shield and the helmet indicate the “defences” that these women had to build to avoid “being touched again”. Their abilities are actually practical and mental, which means that they use rationalisation to avoid “feeling” what they cannot tolerate also as adults.
This dramatic deprivation leads them to identify themselves with the father, and to distort their female part; that is why they won’t particularly like women, who will be seen as rivals or as inferior individuals. At the same time, these women do not even manage to have a real intimate relationship with a man, since they lack the ability to accept the other and to devote themselves.
Athena must rediscover her womanliness; she should learn to cry; she must “feel” her inner world and take possession of her heart again; only in this way the ice will melt and she will become empathic and sympathetic, able to really love.
This is also the story of the sign of Capricorn: getting their childhood back means to let go of control and to live intensely, with passion and feeling, without having to defend themselves to avoid suffering.