Our raku pottery vase ‘Io‘, tells the tale of it’s namesake, a wandering cow with a secret, a man in chains, the ultimate cosmetic transformation, and an ending where the god gets the girl. It would be many generations later, but Io’s lineage would include one of the most important heroes of the gods.
Raku pottery vase, Athena’s Trick, tells the harrowing tale of a new mother, a (surprise, surprise) vengeful goddess Hera, would be witch midwives, snakes in a cradle, subterfuge, the power of breast feeding and a tale of spilt milk that ends in a beautiful finish.
Hera we go again!
Io’s descendant, Alcmene was excited. She was pregnant and about to give birth to a child. But she had a secret that wasn’t kept very well. The father of her child to be was none other than Zeus. He was up to his old philandering ways again, and Hera was none to pleased. As usual.
Mount Olympus has no fury, like a goddess scorned, particularly if that goddess is named Hera.
I bet that wasn’t on the gift registry!
Hera was up to her old tricks again, triggered by yet another mistress of Zeus. What do you get your husband’s mistress for a shower gift? If you’re Hera, first you send over a couple of witches while the child is being born. And if that doesn’t work you put a couple of snakes in the child’s cradle.
But Alcmene was no slouch. She knew of Hera’s reputation and had her servants trick the witches. It was her infant child who took care of the snakes, strangling them in his crib.
Don’t bite the nipple that feeds you, you’ll see stars
Alcmene was very concerned for her child’s safety at this point. The situation felt hopeless, but she knew that her son was destined for greatness. She decided to put her faith in the gods hands and brought her son to the woods for her own safety.
It was in the woods that the baby was found by none other than the goddess Athena. Fortunately she had a plan to protect the baby and maybe knock Hera down a notch for her often outrageous and Godzilla behaviour.
She brought the baby to Mount Olympus and gave him to Hera, but told him he was an orphan who needed nourishment. Not knowing the true identity of our hero, Hera allowed him to suckle from her breast. That is until he bit her nipple.
Of course, this caused a great tantrum from Hera, again. She pushed the baby away and her milk fell across the sky. That’s how the Milky Way was formed!
Don’t cry over spilt milk. Just look at it in awe.
Milk. It does the Body Good.
Hera then demanded that Athena take back the child who had attacked her. Still not knowing who the baby really was. Athena fed the child, hoping to gain favour with Zeus and teach her frenemy Hera a lesson. Fortunately for the baby, this further imbued the baby with strength, wisdom and power.
That’s a good thing, because the baby would need all the strength and power he could get, for his name was Hercules, and Hera was just getting started with him.