Bibliotherapy

Anna Kingsford-Hymn to Pallas Athena

Birth of Athena, emblem XXIII by Jean-Theodore de Bry in ‘Atalanta Fugiens’ by Michael Maier, 1618

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is the ‘Hymn to Pallas Athena’, by Anna Bonus Kingsford, extracted from her seminal ‘Clothed with the Sun’, George Redway, 1889.

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1. And thou, Athena, blue-eyed virgin, Mistress of the Air, eagle-headed, who givest to all bodies the breath of life:

2. Immaculate mother of the word of prophecy, symbol of the holy essence, goddess of the aegis and of the spear:

3. Spirit of the whirlwind, secret breather of wisdom, fortifier of the soul, inspirer of armies:

4. Shining maid, by whose spear we vanquish, for interior wisdom trusteth all things through; by whose shields we are covered, for interior purity preserveth from all contagion.

5. By thine aid, O Athena, strong and undefiled, by thine aid the hero overcometh in the battle.

6. By thine aid, O armed and winged wisdom, thy servant shall smite the lust of the world.

7. Upon whose beauty, whoso looketh, is changed into stone; who feedeth upon the souls of men.

8. Be praised, O Athena, thou and thy wheel; be praised in the great and the small, in the outer and the inner, invisible and immaculate Spirit of Life!

Pallas Athena, by Franz von Stuck, 1898

Note by the author:

By the contemplation of wisdom man acquires wisdom, the highest product of which is the ‘philosophical stone’ of a spirit perfectly quiescent, and inaccessible to assault whether from within or from without. By wisdom, too, the soul is attracted and absorbed. The mystical meaning of the head of the Gorgon Medusa is thus-a customary in mystical presentations-the opposite of the apparent meaning.

Detail of an archaic marble statue of Athena in the Acropolis Museum. The Aegis has painted fish scale design and is trimmed with viper heads.

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