by Dena L Moore, Intuitive Evolutionary Astrologer - copyright April 2010
Homeric Hymn to Pallas Athene
I begin to sing of Pallas Athene, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. From his awful head wise Zeus himself bare her arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad. And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis! Now I will remember you and another song as well.(1)
The snake is one of Pallas Athene’s primary symbols and has accompanied her throughout history, beginning with the seeds of her origin within the great Goddess Neith (6 )or the earlier Mistress of the Waters. The snake has long been a symbol of transformative and prophetic power, and just as kundalini serpent energy rises to the head within our bodies, Pallas was born from the head, up through the crown chakra. Her powers of transformation and sexual-creative energy are abundant and open to the greater cosmic vibration. She has the gift of prophecy. The energy of Pallas can be regenerative or destructive, just as a snake can be a symbol of positive transformation or poisonous deceit and betrayal.
In the myth of the slaying of Medusa, we see the more destructive side of Pallas Athene’s snake energy. After Medusa was violated by Poseidon in Athene’s temple and became pregnant, Pallas Athene punished Medusa instead of Poseidon. She betrayed an aspect of her own being, personified in the form of Medusa, by turning her hair into snakes and causing her glance to turn men to stone. It was a mark of separation…keeping the men and women apart as the feminine was portrayed as the negative or evil force. Medusa was punished for being beautiful, for being feminine, and for attracting the attention of a God. As if this disgrace and isolation wasn’t punishment enough, Pallas Athene then helped Perseus by lending him her shield to use as a mirror against Medusa, so he could cut off her head. Yet, even within this betrayal there was a creative act, the birth of Medusa’s children, Chrysaor and Pegasus. Another creative act arising from this destruction was symbolized by Medusa’s blood, drops of which caused oases to grow in the desert. Medusa’s blood was a very potent tonic elixir that could bring back the dead and regenerate the living, and in this we see an aspect of miraculous healing. Even as the matriarchy was dying, there was creation and the promise of resurrection. Athene helped to destroy her own roots yet she carried the mark of her true inner being on her aegis, the head of Medusa, with her snakes writhing in glory and promise.
Pallas Athene in the Horoscope
Pallas has been associated with the sign of Leo since the 1970’s, but Demetra George extends this energy to include Libra and Aquarius in a trilogy of two air signs and one fire. As Pallas uses sexual creative energy to create mental children, she brings together the qualities of air and fire. George states,
“Pallas Athene’s essence thus lies in the interplay between the creative impulse of Leo, the transpersonal social concern of Aquarius, and the balance and cohesion of Libra.” (7)
I tend to see the inclusion of two more signs as an expansion of the Goddess’ energy, as it continues to awaken within our collective psyche. If we remember that Pallas Athene is but one face of the great Goddess and that her origins may reach back into the Neolithic period (and can be connected quite clearly with Neith), it is not surprising to find her energy beginning to penetrate more deeply into the Zodiac itself. Ironically, all three signs – Leo, Libra, and Aquarius – are masculine signs, which seem to suggest that Pallas continues to resonate more deeply with the masculine, perhaps still somewhat blind to her roots, but working her magic nonetheless.
Pallas Athene Keywords
If we had to select one keyword to use to describe Pallas’ energy, Perception (8) would be the one to choose. She can see whole patterns and has the foresight and planning
capability to achieve concrete, practical results in the real (material/tangible) as well as spiritual world. The flash of insight of Uranus (Aquarius), the sturdy building of foundation of Saturn (Ancient ruler of Aquarius), the balancing and harmonizing of Venus (Libra), combined with the Sun-force energy of Leo (as well as the brilliant light emanated by Jupiter, her father) creates a being, a Goddess, who can not only see all sides but also peer deeply into the internal as well as external world and see all. Because of her deep insight, Pallas is able to use both positive and negative polarities in a creative way. She can accomplish the most using the least amount of energy while weaving together seemingly incongruent bits and pieces until she arrives at the whole (or the conclusion). Pallas’ energy is expansive and encompassing in the sense that she is capable of and willing to use all available abilities, materials, and opportunities to create, strategize, and formulate. She can be viewed as a conservationist…nothing is wasted; all is conserved and reused or transformed into something else. Other keywords we could assign to Pallas are Transformation, Manifestation, Regeneration, Evolution, Creation, Activism, Healing, Prophecy, Efficiency, Wisdom, Counselor, Diplomat, Courage, and Justice.
Pallas Athene in our charts symbolizes the process of the evolution of consciousness. Her placement in an individual chart is a sensitive point where we can become more consciously evolved. The sign, house, and degree placement of Pallas represents the richness of our inner soil…it is here where we can plant our seeds and watch them grow, or not. If our soil is not fertile (blocked by difficult planetary energy we haven’t yet integrated and worked through), we will have an extremely difficult time manifesting the life we wish to live and attaining the height of creation and regeneration we seek. In other words, we will not be able to transform ourselves without a great deal of preliminary Soul work. If our soil is naturally rich and we come into this world with a well-placed Pallas, we will have an easier time on our path if we are aware and able to use the energy of Pallas Athene. It is impossible to say whether a person is using their Pallas just by looking at their birth chart. You must have in-depth conversation with them and become a witness to their story in order to discover how they are using – or not using – Pallas’s creative polarity and potential.
The masculine birth of Pallas Athene, in which she sprung fully formed from Zeus’s head, is immortalized in the Homeric Hymn. The story of Pallas is much older than the Greek version, however. She appears earlier as an aspect of the triple goddess Neith of Egyptian culture (2) and bore the title of Tritogenia, which means her origins are of the water. Her roots may spread further into the past as there are also correlations between a Neolithic goddess known as Mistress of the Waters (3), whose physical form was that of a snake. The Mistress of the Waters was a fertility goddess, a potent, sexual-creative energy which resonates with Pallas Athene well. The energy of the Sea is a very feminine energy, and one which Pallas initially carried. We will see the transition from her feminine and matriarchal essence to her more androgynous nature in the following myth.
2. In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George calls Neith a Libyan Goddess (her source was Robert Graves), but I personally disagree with this assignation. Neith is very clearly worshipped in Egypt in text and drawings and while the later-called Libyans (perhaps of the tribe Libu) and Egyptians intermingled, particularly in the pre-dynastic savannah, and had, at that time, a similar religious and cultural base, the term Libyan itself implies a later period when the Libyans and Egyptians viewed themselves and their cultures as distinctively different. References to Libya begin in the 19th dynasty, 13th century BCE, during the New Kingdom. The Egyptian queen Neithotep ruled during the 1st dynasty in the Archaic period; her name clearly shows the well-established worship of Neith at this much earlier time in Egypt.
4. According to Demetra George in her work Asteroid Goddesses (p 82), “From a sociological perspective, the myth of Pallas Athene’s birth from Jupiter’s head marks the ingestion and adaptation of the feminine wisdom principle to the needs of the new patriarchal order.”
5. The asteroid belt was discovered in the early 1800’s but the Goddesses only began their integration back into our consciousness with the publication of the asteroid ephemeris in the 1970’s. Eleanor Bach was the pioneer behind this publication. (George and Bloch)
6. Neith is an Egyptian Goddess who was often depicted with the head of a lioness, snake, or cow. She was the goddess of War, weaving and domestic arts, protector of marriage and the dead, creator, and arbitrator. Her name can be interpreted as Water, a personification of the primordial waters of creation, a great Mother Goddess.
7. This quote from Asteroid Goddesses appeared on page 88.
8. I first saw the key word Perception being used for Pallas Athene by Leinbach, on page 23 of Planets and Asteroids, and through my own research and client-based chart studies, I reaffirm her conclusion that Perception is the strongest descriptive word for Pallas Athene’s energy.
Esther V. Leinbach. Planets and Asteroids, Vulcan Books, 1976, (PP 23 – 24).
10. The phrase “unlocking doors” used to describe Pallas is Leinbach’s. It resonated very deeply within me and has become something of a personal symbol of awareness. As one who has Pallas Athene in close conjunction with the North Node and who has spent her entire life “unlocking doors,” I use this phrase with deep respect for Leinbach’s own brilliant perception.
Energy that can’t be contained – Public Manifestation
When manifesting strongly, Pallas Athene corresponds to the MC, where the projects, ideas, and creations are useful and visible to others. The energy cannot be contained once it is in motion, just as Pallas herself could not be contained within Jupiter’s head. She had to be released, and if one is in this process of creation, the energy must also be released and it is released through the MC. If Pallas is very prominent in one’s chart, the personality can function as a transpersonal vehicle that can help break down old structures, transmute old attitudes, and reconfigure values to help support the evolution of the race. This person can be very challenging for the masses to deal with as their very presence can appear to initiate chaos where there was once order and the dissolution of the structure – physical, mental, or emotional- can lead to confusion and panic. This is Aquarian energy at its most unsettling. On a personal level, this is Snake energy as it rises from the base of our spine (the South Node) and spirals upwards toward our North Node hovering above our heads in the Crown chakra (9). Through extending our boundaries consciously, we are able, through our Pallas placement, to perceive our oneness with All.
A Pallas Athene that is active and functioning positively will lend a courageous air to the personality. He or she will not shy away from confrontations but will use negotiating and diplomacy to perceive where healing can take place rather than escalate a situation toward a war. These individuals have an ability to gather information from subtle clues given by the opponent and will use those clues to help keep peace and find resolution. There may be an interest in natural healing and health, as well as commitment to personal and universal growth in consciousness. Strong artistic or creative tendencies may be obvious, but this can depend on the sign, house, and degree placement as well as supporting aspects. These people are not generally lawbreakers if the law makes sense and creates peace and order rather than chaos and war; however, if the law has outlived its usefulness or is unfair (Libra’s pet peeve), Pallas can become an element of conscious, hopefully peaceful, revolution. The problem is, once Pallas begins to use her energy to awaken others and show them there is a real problem, there really isn’t much control over how those who join the cause react. We each only have control over our own actions. Therefore, Pallas can incite war and also lead us to victory if we heed her advice and follow her lead. A good example of a positively expressing Pallas Athene can be seen in Paula Abdul’s chart. She has a powerful Pallas Athene in Taurus. Pallas conjoins both Mars and her Vertex and is in nearly an exact dynamic sextile to her MC. Her Pallas is prominent and very public, made especially so via the connection to her MC. In the sign of Taurus, it is no wonder she expresses herself through music and dance. She funnels her creative body (Taurus) wisdom into dance and uses her voice to express herself in song. Her energy cannot be contained and she shares it publicly. (Chart 1. AA: Lois Rodden reports B.C.)
In another, longer version of the Greek myth, Pallas’s mother Metis (whose name meant counsel) was taken against her will by Jupiter (Zeus) and Pallas was conceived. However, during Metis’ pregnancy, there was a prophecy that stated that Metis would later give birth to a child who would become the King of the Gods. This startled Jupiter, who did not wish to be supplanted. So Jupiter, being the All Mighty being that he is, swallowed Metis whole in order to prevent this catastrophe. When he developed a horrendous headache and couldn’t take the pain any longer, he had his head cleft open with an axe. Pallas sprang from the wound fully grown and formed and immediately became Jupiter’s favorite, his brain-child.
Pallas now, being born of her father and in essence, motherless, marks the transition of the matriarchal culture to the patriarchy in which we still live today. Zeus, the Father, swallowed Metis, the Mother.(4). The discovery of the asteroids (5) and the awareness of astrologers who incorporate the energy into their research, as well as the rising increase in the use of the energy in daily life by a growing number of people now incarnated, suggests to me that we are actively in the process of becoming a more androgynous race. Pallas Athene is both male and female, finely integrated, and she could become a much more potent symbol of hope during the upcoming unsettled times in which we will live. We can clearly see both the masculine and feminine combined energy in the symbols, behavior, and actions of Pallas Athene, in myth and in her asteroid energy as it functions in the natal chart.
Pallas is the Goddess of War and Victory, a master strategist, and a Guardian who actively teaches others to settle disputes and uphold the law via non-violent methods; as such, she is a symbol of merciful justice. She is also the Goddess of Arts and Crafts, Health and Healing, and an energy which advances culture. She has the ability to utilize masculine, active, yang energy in feminine, yin endeavors and is capable of using her feminine energy to communicate and soothe the more fiery masculine pursuits of war, aggression, and domination. Although Metis was swallowed by Zeus in a destructive act to prevent the creative process of birth, Pallas Athene emerged from his skull fully formed. If we study this myth in an alchemical way, Metis (the feminine) was absorbed into Zeus and together they became an entirely new entity. Pallas is the creation of their merging, the alchemical gold. She is a symbol of transformation on a very deep, universal level.
A difficult Pallas – which can include those that are not active – can manifest as a deep-seated fear within the personality. One may fear being too intelligent and creative or may fear being in competition in general. He or she may worry that if they are too developed that they will be rejected by others, particularly the opposite sex. For instance, a woman may deny or repress her creative fiery yang side in order not to compete with men intellectually and potentially be looked over as a potential mate. Men who are very intellectual or creative may worry about being rejected for not conforming to societal expectations of masculinity, and instead of developing their abilities and fulfilling their own potential, they may put a lot of energy into sports or being more macho at the expense of their intellectual or creative development. Having a blocked or difficult Pallas placement can interfere with personal evolution, which by extension interferes with the growth of the race as a whole. However, no matter how difficult a chart configuration is or how poorly placed Pallas is within the chart structure, there is always the possibility for integration and healing. Often our most difficult challenges become our greatest strengths and this is true concerning a difficult Pallas as well. The opportunities for healing awareness will arise through the unfolding progressions, directions, transits, and of course the connections made to others via the relationships we form throughout our lives. Walt Disney is a good example of a relatively difficult Pallas position that is eventually integrated and used to be successful in the public realm. He had Pallas in Pisces, in the 6th house, quincunx his 1st house Moon and square to his Sun. We see the modern planetary ruler Neptune at the MC and the ancient ruler Jupiter conjoined Saturn, which certainly helped him to stabilize and ground the mystical, diffuse energy of his creative wisdom. Pallas in Pisces is a very artistic placement, especially successful with the media of film and photography. Disney experienced bankruptcy and then betrayal and theft of his creative work “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” by his distributor. However, out of this betrayal he was driven to produce something new and came up with his most famous character of all, Mickey Mouse. His perception also shows in his ability to bring existing pieces together; he was the first to add synchronized sound to animation. Disney’s Pallas is quite strong and only grew in strength through his disappointments. The energy of his Pallas was also shown in his anti-communist activism and his membership in the Order of DeMolay. (Chart 2. A: Lois Rodden reports from memory).
Understanding our Pallas within our own charts gives us greater awareness of our own ability and our own purpose in life. This is where we are our wisest, our most intuitive, and our most creative. This is where we can regenerate ourselves and transform our lives. Harnessing the power of our own Pallas – or rather, allowing her to harness us – will elevate our understanding of our lives and our place in the Universe. We can grow here, using what energy we have brought into our present life through our natal configurations. Remember, Pallas is a conservationist. She does not need to go looking outside of our charts to find what is needed to transform our lives and help us evolve. When functioning and used wisely, she will gather all bits and pieces of our chart energy and help us integrate them in order to manifest in the most efficient, uncomplicated manner possible. She can help unlock doors (10) within our consciousness and within our practical daily life if we allow her to…and if she finds one she cannot unlock, she will continue trying all of them until she finds that opening she needs to take action to invoke change. Pallas Athene is the wise strategist; we should listen to her voice of wisdom as it resonates inside of us. She can empower us to find the courage to grow, adjust, and adapt during this time of great evolutionary change and shift in Universal consciousness. As our own feminine and masculine energy, the yin and the yang, increasingly merges and blends within each of us, we become more rather than less. We can embrace unity and wholeness rather than separation. Pallas Athene can show us the way.