Many artisitc folks when suffering from writer’s block or are starting at a blank canvas may pray to the ‘gods of creativity’ for an idea. While this could be though of in jest, there is a pair of goddess from classical mythology that are a shining testament to creativity. Let’s take a look:
Athena- Goddess of Wisdom
Athena was born, fully-grown and in armor ready for the world. Athena chose to chase wisdom and art, rather than gods. She devoted herself to these things and became extremely brilliant and a master artist at weaving and pottery. She is worshipped as being the mother of art and architecture.
The scientific term for spiders comes from the Athena myth, in fact. A mortal woman named Arachnae challenged Athena to a weaving contest. Arachnae lost and Athena turned her into a spinning spider. The wise owl term also comes from the tale of Athena, as she is often painted with an owl.
Perhaps being the namesake of the Greek city, Athens, best honors Athena. But it was her creativity that allowed the city to keep the name. The Greek god of the sea, Poseidon was jealous of this, so he challenged Athena in a contest to give the Greeks something. The winner would become the city’s final patron. Poseidon gave the residents a saltwater well. Athena topped him by providing a very creative gift: an olive tree, which provided shade from the sun, oil for lamps and olives to eat. Her multipurpose gift illustrates her brilliance. The olive today is of course associated with Greece.
Athena is also the goddess of war, and is depicted in Homer’s the Illiad as a hero. There is so, so much more to her story and contributions than what can be written here.
Brigit- Goddess of Poetry
If a creative spark were to be defined by one goddess, it would be Brigit. Brigit is the Celtic goddess of poetry, and art is in her genes. She is the daughter of the earth god Dagda, a god of life, death, magic and art. Brigit is often associated with a perpetual flame, perhaps where the whole creative spark term came from.
Poets on the Scottish Isles asked Brigit to take their imaginations to help them bring forth words that would make people feel emotions, such as joy, laughter and catharsis. Brigit has a sacred holiday, Imbolg which is celebrated on February 1st. Those who wanted to gain creativity from the goddess would place a white, wool cloth outside on the eve of Imbolg. The next morning, they would retrieve the cloth, which they believed absorbed the creative energy of Brigit.
Brigit is a triple goddess, however also presiding over iron as the goddess of smithing and also as the goddess of healing.