Goddess Minerva

The Etruscan Lightening Goddess Cupra, later called Fulgora, is the Roman Goddess of Lightning, who forms a Triad (with the God of Lightening Tinia (Tina) and the Goddess of lightening & wisdom Minerva (Menvra). The Capitoline Triads were worshiped at various times, originating in ancient traditions that predating the Roman Republic. Cupra is often depicted with a spear in her hand, which represents the thunderbolt ( lightening) and a very ancient Goddess of the Earth’s fertility (not human fertility). These are the weather rites of the ancient female shamans whose domain is over rain, storms, hail, fog and snow, all the fertility of earth and sky.
Minerva like most of the very ancient and powerful deities, was demoted to Zeus’s daughter, but she was demoted before his rise as well. She is derived from the Pre-Roman (Etruscan Tribe) trio of the God Tinia, the supreme deity, the Goddess Uni, the supreme deity (and his consort) and their daughter Menrva, Goddess of Wisdom, making her the Grandmother or Crone phase of woman which wisdom is its symbol. Most likely Menrva was the top of the triad and her children were Tinia and Uni at an earlier pre-written era or traditions from the Grandmothers leadership of earth’s communities.
Minerva was more than just an ancient goddess in her temple, she was a prehistory archaic representation of mother earth of both earths fertility and woman’s night fertility. Her temple was eventually taken over by the Catholic Religion and turned into Saint Francis of Assisi (Italy) and is still his Church.


One of the apprentices of Minerva recorded was Sor Juana. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, was a Mexican writer in the seventeen century and she was faced with two options in her life, she could marry an elite Spaniard and take her place in the system or she could enter her religion life and become a nun. She chose the convent life because it put her in the company of woman who largely were in charge of their own institution and resources and she could continue her writing. Thus she entered the Carmelites and then moved into St. Paula which gave her better space for her studies and writing.

But she soon fell into conflict with powerful churchmen who were scandalized by her independent voice. Her own supporter and one she confessed to, was the Jesuit Antonia Nunez de Mirana, who  turned against her and began to criticize her as a scandal for her free production of writings.

She maintained in her writings that women were intelligent, capable of knowledge in her first authorship called El Sueno (The Dream), a work about the journey of the soul (her soul) through various stages of development imaged by various mythological deities of the Greek Traditions.

Nyctimene was the daughter of Epopeus, King of Lesbos. Depending on which version of the story one reads she was either raped or seduced by her father. Out of shame or guilt she fled to the forest and refused to show her face in daylight. Taking pity on her Minerva transformed her into the nocturnal owl which was the widespread symbol of the goddess. In Metamorphoses, Cornix (the Crow) complains that her place as Minerva’s sacred bird is being usurped by Nyctimene, who is so ashamed of herself that she will not be seen by daylight.

Metamorphosis_of_Nyctimene Johann Wilhelm Baur

In George Howe and G.A. Herrer’s Handbook of Classical Mythology, Nyctimene dishonored her family by committing incest with her father without his knowledge. The Roman Goddess Minerva took pity on Nyctimene as she was hiding with shame. Minerva changed Nyctimene into an Owl, a sacred bird associated with Minerva.

Minerva, along with Sor Juana’s mother and grandmother, took Sor Juana under her wings and became the patroness to her protegee. Sor Juana, like Nycimene, brought dishonor to her family. She was also a disgrace for essentially being herself, a somewhat dark goddess sort of child. She did not accept the norms of behavior of her time and unlike the other girls her age, she enjoyed her schemes of her own making.

dream-and-fate-bookSor Juana becomes Minerva’s apprentice in her story and in gratitude to her patroness, who had metaphorically saved her from her own father’s wrath, she returned to the root of Minerva’s Temple and the Sacred Minerva Tree.

Sources (of Sor Juana) from the Book: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography and Text By Theresa A. Yugar; Illustratioin of the Metamorphosis of Nyctimene Johann Wilhelm Baur


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