Myth Example: Pandora, Athene, and the Creation of an Archetype

Do you remember when Pandora released hope from that jar? Well, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Pandora was smarter than Zeus gave her credit for when he created her. The hope that Pandora released summoned the goddess Athene, whose sagacious, ubiquitous nature served quite well in the overarching plan of concocting the god-teacher archetype.

First, one must be familiar with the goings-on of Zeus' kingdom after the beautiful Pandora married Epimetheus and released the sprites and hope from the token gift jar that Zeus had sent.

Zeus was sick and tired of having to spell out his every move to the people of the lands he governed. The people wanted to know what was occurring, and Zeus could not stand the constant questioning of the people about what his "godly duties" entailed. One day, Zeus called all the people of Greece together and, with his dastardly attitude, spelt out exactly what he would do to each and every person if they questioned his motives or actions any further:

"To that cowardly looking menace over there; I shall shower him with vermin and never let him see the light of day. And that wretchedly wrinkled old hag standing off to the side; she shall be stripped, baked, and served to the hyenas at dusk once each day. To all of you, I warn you of my power, and beseech you to tame your ways, lest you want to incur the wrath of your powerful ruler, Zeus."

One defiant dweller of the crowd stood up, eager to speak his mind before the great and powerful Zeus. He was not afraid; rather, he was ready, willing, and able to speak for this important cause, which he felt he must make right for all the other inhabitants of Zeus' monarchy. He bellowed before Zeus: "Oh Zeus, high and mighty, shrewd and vulgar, maniacal and deceitful, you are dreaded and feared, shamed and useless to your people. You cause them nothing but stress and spite toward you. You are the epitome of all that is to be disrespected and hated in this god-forsaken world that you rule".

Zeus, upon hearing this, was anything but shaken. Since he had started walking away before this crowd-dweller stood up and spoke his mind, he whipped himself round and regaled himself once again with his robe and crown of which he had already disrobed himself. He wanted the crowd to see his kingly stature and appear before them the unshaken minister of godliness. "Who spoke these harsh words to the one and only Zeus? Who dares defy the King?"

The people of the land were smitten with this rebellious individual in their midst. They too longed for the placid times before Zeus took power, but had neither the nerve nor shame to encourage Zeus' rage and anguish at the people of his kingdom any more than it was already stirred. Despite their fear of the King, they had no trouble goading the fine speaker in the crowd to speak further on their behalf:

Myth Example "It was I who spoke, King Zeus." Even though the speaker did not believe in the power of Zeus' title of King, he still spoke out of respect for the title that he himself had once held. The emaciated man in the crowd was none other than King Cronus, the undisputed father of Zeus, and past god to the people of Mount Olympus. If one remembers Cronus' past, one will come to understand why Zeus is so terrible and powerful a King. His father Cronus set no great example for his son. Cronus came to power by castrating his father Uranus and then attempted to, and succeeded in some cases in eating his own children to secure his own place in government, so that he would not risk being dethroned. His wife and Zeus' mother, Rhea, saved her son Zeus from Cronus' plan by feeding her husband a rock, fashioned in rags to look like a baby. Zeus grew up and revolted against Cronus and the other Titans, plundering, defeating, and banishing them from what was now his kingdom. However, unbeknownst to Zeus, Cronus managed to escape to Italy, where he ruled under the name of Saturn. The time he ruled was said to have been a golden age on earth.

Cronus spoke on, "You never expected to see me again, did you, my despicable, conceited son? It is I, your father, King Cronus. As I ruled in Italy, I have expiated for my sins of castrating my own father and eating my own children, and have come back to help the people of your kingdom depose of you as their King, for the many trials and tribulations of your kingdom, and the harm and hate you inflict on your citizens is well known to the people of earth. You have persecuted them, and now they shall retaliate."


Zeus, thrown aback by the return of his father to Greek society, cast a hand into the air, which one of his servants took as a sign to hand the malevolent King a halberdier, fashioned from the finest metal and designed with pictures of some of Zeus' finest battles in which he triumphed. The ferocity with which Zeus then lunged into the crowd at his father, Cronus, gripping the battle-axe firmly and strongly, caught many in the crowd by surprise. However, Cronus did not move from the spot in which he stood. He stood there, with a kind of calm emanating from him that hushed the crowd and stilled Zeus in his tracks when he was but ten feet away from his father. All of a sudden, within the blink of an eye, the god Cronus, who had stood humbled amongst the crowd of Zeus' citizens, began to shudder, and his shape transformed into the body of a lovely young woman, immediately recognized as Cronus' granddaughter and Zeus' own favorite child, the goddess Athene. Athene strode toward Zeus, her father shocked and much dismayed that he would not be able to avenge his father once again, as he had done in the past. However, he was terribly happy to see his own daughter, until he realized the meaning behind her visit.

"Dear father," began Athene, "the citizens of your country yearn for grace, they have ceased to believe your paltry words about granting them freedom and compassion. You are a horrible ruler, a destitute man with respect to having the ability to win the affections of any you rule, or worse yet, have fathered. I detest you father, and it only took the release of hope by the beautiful Pandora whom you created to bring forth my true feelings toward you. When Pandora released hope from that jar you sent to Epimetheus as a cruel joke, I, Athene, goddess of wisdom, was called upon to find a way to harness that hope in such a way that the people of your kingdom would find themselves free of your charge. Together, Pandora and I have found a way. Besides you father, I alone have access to the keys that unlock the place where your thunderbolts are kept."

These words startled Zeus, as he could only imagine where this was headed. He was getting older, and even though he possessed the ferocity of a lion when he grew angry enough (as was witnessed with his attempted attack on Cronus), the crowds of people surrounding him had the ability to keep him grounded. Even though he had the ability to change his shape and transform himself into other beings, it took him much longer to do such things now that he was rising in age, and Athene, the young, beautiful goddess possessed all of her father's strength plus that which she had garnered during her own time on this earth. Athene turned around to welcome Pandora, who was carrying one magnificent thunderbolt. It had the shape of a bolt of lightning, the color of the clouds on a dark, stormy day, and carried with it the din of a most unpleasant orchestral concert. With one fell swoop, Pandora shot it down at Zeus. This was but a warning. He flew into the air, his body stiff from the shock of the bolt, and landed with his back to the ground, cajoling both his daughter Athene, and his creation Pandora, for mercy. They would not budge from their prepared plan. The people of Zeus' kingdom were counting on them to show Zeus the meaning of all he had done to them, and the only way to do this was to give him a taste of his own evil-doing.

Pandora, who had stayed quite quiet through this whole affair, spoke up now, and said but a few words that resonated for the rest of time in Zeus' mind:

"Zeus, my creator, you gave me to Epimetheus as a wife, yet my brother-in-law, Prometheus was relegated to a dreadful life because of your hatred of man and the people of your kingdom. For that, you chained Prometheus to a rock and allowed an eagle to pick at and eat his liver once each day. For your terrible actions toward your own family, friends, and in effect, all mankind and god-kind, you shall be punished. Your daughter Athene and I have decided your punishment, and we hope that the people of your kingdom will be satisfied with this judgment. For the rest of time, King Zeus, you will run around being chased by this thunderbolt that came from its keeping place in the kingly confines of your palace. You will have no rest, as you have never given the people of your kingdom any rest from your tyrannical rule. Your punishment begins as of this moment."

With this said, the thunderbolt protruding from Pandora's hand, Athene, with no ill will toward subjecting her father to this lifetime of torture, gave the command to release the thunderbolt, and the crowd, holding Zeus down, released him, the thunderbolt following him each and every way he turned and jumped in attempts to avoid it.

If you haven't yet figured it out, Athene and Pandora, who learned from one another about Zeus and his treatment of others, taught Zeus a lesson. They taught the once powerful god a lesson in the golden rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated. And this is how the god-teacher archetype came to be. The gods don't have to be the ones teaching lessons; in fact, the archetype began with this story of Zeus, and how not even he, as king, was mighty enough to avoid the powerful force of being taught a dose of his own medicine.



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