Arachne : Goddess, Greek

Arachne, The Greek Goddess Who Became the First Spider

Arachne, the goddess in Greek mythology who was the world's first spider, was originally a young mortal, daughter of a shepherd famous for the beautiful wools that he dyed purple.

Gifted in the art of weaving, Arachne became famous for her excellent tapestries, but was too proud to admit she had once been in the inferior position of being a student, insisting that she was a better weaver than the Greek Goddess Athena,  the goddess who had been her teacher. Proud of her skills, she issued a challenge to Athena to a contest to see who had the greater talent.


Athena, disguised as an old woman, cautioned Arachne that "You should recognize the power of the goddess for she helps those who honor her. No human work is so perfect that it cannot be improved."

But Arachne told the crone to save her breath and even accused her of being senile. Suddenly the goddess Athena appeared in the old woman's place and accepted the challenge.

goddess Arachne

The two immediately set to weaving, Athena's design depicting the glory of the gods and goddesses and Arachne's illustrating stories of the gods' less honorable moments, including depictions of the various seductions and infidelities of Athena's father, Zeus.

Athena was furious and tore Arachne's tapestry to shreds.  Realizing that she had gone too far in insulting the deities, Arachne grew so depressed that she hung herself.

Athena took pity on poor Arachne and decided to let her live, but not as a human, and turned Arachne into a spider. "For being so vain",  Athena swore, "you will hang and spin forever".

greek goddess Arachne

Arachne and her story teach us to be mindful of the risks women, even extraordinarily talented women, take when they speak out against the established order, the patriarchy in particular.

We are reminded to speak the truth,  not out of pride or in an effort to "get ahead", but in the spirit of concern and love.


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  You can meet the goddesses here:      : : : : : :  ::   arachne, the original spider woman     ::  aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty   :: persephone, Queen of the Underworld  ::  psyche and eros ::::  tara, goddess of compassion (white tara, green tara)  :: white buffalo calf woman, native american spirit of peace::   artemis, Greek goddess of the Hunt  :: ego-less inanna   :: resilient rhiannon   :: boddhvista mazu ::  loving Norse goddess frigga  :: sexy freya ::  Egyptian goddess nut  ::  isis and osiris :: prescient mazu  :: graceful  mnemnosyne ::  the muses who accompanied apollo and entertained the pantheon   ::  athena, goddess of war and the crafts     ::  hera, goddess of marriage  :: the centered  hestia    :: grieving demeter   ::  hecate, goddess of witchcraft   ::  fiercely independent atalanta ::  ondine (French)   ::  brigit (also called Brigid, celtic goddess of the forge   ::   iambe (she of the poetic stanza) ::  sophia   ::    Japanese goddess amaterasu   :: dark goddess kali   :: loving parvati   :: Inuit goddess sedna  ::  yemaya, yoruban goddess of the ocean :: iambe   :: baubo   :: ix-chel ::  basthet  ::  ma tsu (see mazu) ::   ix chel, rainbow goddess :: bast, the cat goddess, also know as bastet or basthet)  ::  saint brigid, celtic goddess and catholic saint  :: brigid, celtic goddess who became a saint ::   sophia, goddess of wisdom, grandmother of god::   hera, wife of Zeus  :: baubo, a true goddess of mirth ::    : : : : : :  The Goddess Quiz (a personality test online) helps you connect with your inner goddess archetype.nbsp;nbsp;: : : : : :  Tags: goddess,  gods and goddesses,  goddess symbols and  shrines,  goddess statues,  goddess shrines, Greek myths , goddess jewelry, personality tests online, personality types, goddess jewelry, personality quiz,  goddess gifts, jewelry, goddess pendants, and career personality tests.