Athene: Image and Energy

Athene: Image and Energy

by Ann Shearer
     
 

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From the moment Athene sprang full-grown from her father ZeusÆs head, a new image of the feminine was born to Western consciousness. Starting from a penetrating analysis of the goddessÆs mythologies and beginnings, Ann Shearer examines how mainstream consciousness, from the early Church Fathers onward, has diluted and even suppressed the original power of the…  See more details below

Overview

From the moment Athene sprang full-grown from her father ZeusÆs head, a new image of the feminine was born to Western consciousness. Starting from a penetrating analysis of the goddessÆs mythologies and beginnings, Ann Shearer examines how mainstream consciousness, from the early Church Fathers onward, has diluted and even suppressed the original power of the image of Athene. Using an engagingly colloquial tone of voice, she provides easy access to AtheneÆs world, letting each myth stand on its own and allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about this paradoxical goddess of war and healing. An important resource and guide, with extensive bibliography and endnotes, Athene presents the goddess in all her complexity and magnificence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The scope of this well-written, thought-provoking book extends well beyond the Greek goddess of wisdom. Shearer (Woman: Her Changing Image) discusses with keen insight Athene in her various manifestations: as a classical figure, an archetype and an emblem of state. But Shearer goes beyond the best-known roles to examine the earlier divine prototypes which molded Athene's identity, and also how her traits have influenced subsequent mythic figures. Her analyses of the Black Virgin and the Hagia Sophia in Christian thought and of Florence Nightingale in nationalistic secular society are all particularly astute. At times it's not entirely clear what constitutes the "Athene-ness" of some figures, but in the vast majority of her discussions the vital energies of that paradoxical goddess are offered with real clarity. Athene is an extremely complex and contradictory figure, and Shearer doesn't always resolve every complexity she forwards. Perhaps, as is befitting her training and private practice as a Jungian analyst, she believes it is better for patient or reader to work things out for themselves. More far reaching and less shrill than Lee Hall's recent Athena: A Biography (Forecasts, March 24) Athene offers the modern reader new interpretations of a very old and powerful female figure. Photographs. (July)
Library Journal
Unlike Lee Hall's recent Athena: A Biography (LJ 4/1/97), which was a lay reader's approach to mythology, Shearer, a Jungian analyst, informs her exploration of Athena's shape-shifting over the course of centuries with a grounded knowledge of imagery and symbols from ancient cultures. Atop the Acropolis in Athens stands the most famous representation of the goddess: with spear and helmet, she bears the goatskin aegis and the Gorgon's head. Her great gift, when she choose to bestow it, is "foresight, discrimination, and harnessed power that understands precisely the fitness of every action." Shearer painstakingly illustrates the goddess's power to effect transformation. From Greek myth, Shearer pursues Athena as Minerva in the Aeneid, and the attributes she shares with the Virgin Mary and the allegory of Wisdom; later Athena assumes her opposite as the Black Virgin and Lady Alchemia. Shearer even finds Athena's spirit manifested in Florence Nightingale. An elegant study for informed readers.Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140194951
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
09/01/1998
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.62(d)

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