Star goddess Asteria was a Titan in Greek mythology. In addition to being the goddess of astrology and oneiromancy (the use of dream interpretation for foretelling the future), she was also the goddess of the night sky.
A goddess of the second generation, Asteria is most known as the mother of Hecate, the goddess who represents witchcraft. Learn all about Asteria and her significant part in Greek mythology here.
So, Who Exactly Was Asteria?
Phoebe and Coeus, the Titans and the offspring of Uranus (the sky deity) and Gaia (the earth goddess), were the parents of Asteria. She appeared during the time of Greek mythology’s “Golden Age,” when the Titans ruled the universe and Cronos was king.
Both her sister Leto (the goddess of motherhood) and brother Lelantos (the Titan of the invisible) are deities in their own right.
The Greek origin of the term Asteria suggests a connection to the night sky. She was worshiped as a goddess of meteors and meteor showers, but she was also closely linked to astrology and dream interpretation.
Only a handful of Greek mythological goddesses gave birth to a single kid, and one of them was Asteria. However, with Perses, the son of Eurybia and Crius, she gave birth to a daughter.
They gave their daughter the name Hecate, and she went on to be worshiped as the goddess of witchcraft and sorcery.
Hecate, like her mother, had the ability to see the future, and she inherited her parent’s control over the elements (earth, sea, and sky) as well. Asteria and Hecate were co-rulers of the chthonian gloom, the realm of the dead, and the night.
Few details exist regarding the appearance of Asteria, one of the most important deities of the stars. What we do know, though, is that she was a goddess of unparalleled beauty whose likeness was frequently invoked in myth and legend.
Her attractiveness was compared to that of the stars: brilliant, obvious, desirable, and unattainable.
Asteria is typically shown with a halo of stars around her head and the night sky in the background. She is commonly portrayed with a halo of stars, which stands for the boundaries of her realm.
Besides Apollo, Leto, and Artemis, Asteria has also shown in red-figure amphora paintings from ancient Athens.
Asteria And Zeus
Asteria and her sister Leto were awarded a residence on Mount Olympus following the conclusion of the Titanomachy. Because of this, she became close to Zeus, the Greek thunder god. Asteria caught Zeus’ eye, and he began pursuing her.
Zeus was no stranger to extramarital relationships, having had flings with both deities and mortals. Nonetheless, Asteria was uninterested in Zeus, and so she changed into a quail and dove into the Aegean Sea to escape him. Ortygia, “the quail island,” was renamed “Asteria” to pay tribute to Asteria.
Poseidon And Asteria
One myth suggests that the Greek deity of the sea, Poseidon, also developed romantic feelings for the goddess of the stars and began chasing her.
At last, she changed into the island that the Greeks called Ortygia (which literally translates to “quail”). A new name, Delos, was given to this island in time.
Even when disguised as Delos, the floating island, Asteria kept on circling the bleak and barren Aegean Sea, which was almost inhospitable to human habitation. But everything changed once Asteria’s sister Leto came to the island.
Leto And The Island of Delos
Meanwhile, Leto had been captivated by Zeus and conceived his child. Hera, the envious and vengeful wife of Zeus, cursed Leto so that she could not have children anywhere, save the ocean or on land. The only safe spot for her to give birth was on Delos, the floating island.
Despite Delos’ (or Asteria’s) willingness to assist her sister, she learned of a prophecy that said Leto would have a son who would become a strong ruler. As a result, Delos began to worry that her future nephew would wipe the island from the map due to its ugliness and desolation.
Leto, however, swore that if she were given permission to give birth on the island, she would ensure the island’s eternal sanctity. Leto welcomed Apollo and Artemis onto the island with Delos’ approval.
After Leto gave birth to her children, the island of Delos became securely anchored to the seafloor by massive pillars. Delos’ prosperity resumed once it stopped being the floating island and started settling in one place. As Asteria, Leto, Apollo, and Artemis had promised, Delos was eventually elevated to the status of a sacred island.
In some accounts, Apollo is credited as assisting Asteria in her transformation into the island of Delos so that she might hide from Zeus. Moreover, Apollo secured the island’s position on the ocean floor by anchoring it there.
The island of Delos was one of the most important centers for praising the goddess of the heavens. The dream oracle was rumored to be located here. Ancient Greeks presented her with starry, dark blue gemstones as an act of adoration.
Some accounts have Asteria serving as a dream oracle, being revered in this capacity as the goddess Brizo. Brizo is traditionally seen as the personification of sleep. The fact that Brizo was revered as a guardian of seafarers, sailors, and fishermen only added to his notoriety.
Ancient Greek women frequently used small boats to transport food gifts to the goddess.
On Olympus, Asteria’s more human shape probably didn’t have much impact beyond helping her avoid Zeus. In any case, she played a pivotal part in the creation of a major deity in Apollo’s pantheon. After Leto’s promise was kept, Delos was visited by worshippers from all across the Greek islands.
There is speculation that the ancient Deleans worshiped her under the name Brizo, the goddess of dreams and dream interpretation.
There is no need to fudge the truth when saying that Asteria was a brave and noble Titan. Nonetheless, she might be seen as a kind sibling when she puts herself in harm’s way to defend Leto and her unborn baby from Hera.
She showed herself as a goddess who thought she was right; because she wasn’t afraid to make tough decisions, whether plunging into the ocean, surrendering her form for an island, or challenging more powerful gods and goddesses.
An enthusiastic dream journaler who has connected sleep-time visions with real-life occurrences in the past and present, Karandeep believes in tapping into the subconscious and demystifying strengths, insecurities, and deep-rooted desires. Besides identifying the interconnectedness of dreams in his personalized dream journal, he continues to study the significance of celestial objects and their relation to mythological tales that keep modern society intrigued about past civilizations.