Yesterday I carpooled to Indianapolis with several other women to participate in a rally protesting the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood. Now, to some people this might not seem to be a religious act. But to me it is. My patroness is Athena, the Goddess of the city and protector of its people. I believe that to be devoted to Athena, first and foremost, is to be devoted to an Ideal. Athena is accompanied in myth by the lesser Goddesses Nike, “Victory”, and Dike, “Justice”, at times taking Their names as epithets, as Athena Nike and Athena Dike. Athena is a Goddess Who rules over the virtues it takes to live in a community, and lays down laws and sees that they are followed. A devotee of Athena must not simply wish for social justice, but actively work towards it! One of my personal heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, is a man who is a great example of the kind of virtues Athena treasures. Pretty words and stirring speeches are all well and good, but Athena’s purview is action – She translates inspiring words into inspiring actions. Dr. King saw injustice done to his brothers, and worked all the days of his life to right that injustice. He lived his principals. In the end, when he was murdered by a small-minded bigot, he was campaigning for the rights of garbage and sanitation workers who were on strike. He died for what he believed in. I am convinced that Dr. King is a modern Heros, and I burn incense to his spirit on the day of his birth. This man is surely beloved by Athena.
Hopefully we will not all have to die for what believe in. Indeed, that would be very impractical, and nothing would get done. But we must be willing to fight! Most things that are worth doing are not easy. All change, especially change on a large, society-wide scale, is painful and difficult. It is often defined by opposition from those who want to keep things the way they are at the expense of freedom. The suffragettes were willing to fight to give women the vote; the civil rights leaders of the sixties such as Dr. King were willing to fight to end segregation and racial injustice. Look how much they accomplished!
A true devotee of Athena does not think only of herself. She is outraged by all injustice, even when it will never affect her own life. The suffering of her brothers and sisters is her own suffering. She actively works in her own community, through volunteering and outreach, and abroad, often through monetary donations to worthy causes if she is not capable of contributing physically. A devotee of Athena may even take up the cause of defending her homeland by joining one of the branches of the military. I am proud to have been involved with the rally and to have participated in my democracy. It was a small thing, really, but I stood up to be counted. And I want to officially thank the woman who drove me and 2 other women the 3 hours it takes to get to Indianapolis. I would not have been able to attend otherwise. You know who you are.