“Athena of Farmers”
by Amanda Artemisia Forrester
My Lady Athena
I have worshiped You for decades now,
Since my heart first lurched at the sound of Your name
When I was just a child.
I have followed You through many incarnations,
Chasing Your elusive form, Your armored head above a swirling skirt
From the shores of Greece to Italia
To the heart of sandy Aiegyptos,
Where the natives named You Neith
And You were n’ver there unveiled.
Now I am now in the midst of another transformation
To my life and my practice.
I am no longer a child of the city and the university,
But a tiller of earth, a grower of seeds and hunter of flesh.
You are named Lady of the City,
And in all incarnations I knew You as such.
I feared that I would not find You in the woods.
I know Artemis, that other Virgin of Olympos,
Huntress of the Wilds, and I love Her well.
But I have come to realize that You have many aspects,
And that Your lesser-known sides are just as great
As those that the poets sing so loudly.
So now I name those aspects that are so highly important to me
As a farmer, a homesteader, a woodswoman.
Greatest Athena, You are a cloud-gatherer, too, like Your great Father,
Who entrusts only You with His greatest weapon,
The lightening bolt crafted by Gaia’s children the Cyclopses.
Without the rains You summon, my plants could not grow,
And my family and animals would not eat.
You were named Anemôtis, subduer of winds,
By Diomedes in Messenia, when You calmed the wild storms
Ravaging his homeland.
The winds howl just as fiercely in the Ozarks.
When Your sacred Temple is built upon the top of a hill You are called Akraia
As are many Deities, Your Father bearing the male version of Acraus.
In Libya You guard Lake Tritonis,
And at Korinth You were called Hellotia
And worshiped in the fertile marshes.
So You guard both hill and lake, both water and land; may You guard mine.
You are Lady of Horses also, Athena Hippia, Inventor of the Bridle
Who bought Poseidon’s unruly creature to heel,
And so made the animal useful to mankind.
Perhaps strangest of all to modern ears,
You bear the name Kolokasia, “Of the Edible Tubers”,
May You guide me to forage in the woods where the secret bounty is hidden.
So, perhaps, it is not so strange for You to be worshiped by a farmer after all.