Atano djuwaja, Atana potinia
an owl swoops in daylight,
catching the snake in her claws —
it twines around her talons,
an endless figure-eight,
presaging eternity,
earth and heaven united,
as she rises on soft-feathered wings,
ascending to the clouds.

Athana potniya, Diwia Athena —
gray-eyed daughter of sky-lord Zeus,
virgin-born of virgin mother,
you suffer no heated touch,
not even Hephaestus’ flames,
catching his seed
upon your virgin wool,
holding your serpent shield
before you, still twining
its hourglass sideways
for all eternity.

Mother and never-mother,
holding your adoptive children
to your heart, once a Cretan
serpent-goddess, locked in earth,
once Hannaḫanna,
doubled Inara, doubled Artemis;

Potnia Theron, virgin goddess
of animal wealth,
she who weaves their wool,
(please, Mother, love us if we
surpass you, be not jealous or vengeful);
once the winged daughter of the sky-lord,
Tarhunz of the storms of vines,
Zeus of thunder and delight.

Mistress, Lady, you who guide us,
like the weft in your warp,
born of no flesh, born of thought,
born to the mother of all, Hepat,
yet born to none, bearing none,
uniting earth and sky
without the press
of mortal flesh or divine urgency;
give us law, give us justice,
give us your mother’s power
to think and judge for ourselves,
give us your balance,
the ability to walk between
the spirits  in the heavens
and the impulses of earth
quietly, unaffectedly,
making the decisions that must be made;

give us your serpent shield
to avert the chthonic coils;
give us your assertive spear,
to fend off affront,
give us your virgin wool,
spun from the creatures you tend,

give us your olive oil,
to spread on the waters of Poseidon,
or Typhon, or snake-like Hedammu,
born of waves, each of whom
slithered up to tempt Ishtar,
or Venus, or Eve,
only to succumb to their beauty;
you have other ways of dealing
with the importunity of flesh;

give us your resistance,
your resilience,
you who are our mother,
yet mother of none.

[Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Reno, Nevada, but received her MA in English from Penn State. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and son.  She’s known for her Edda-Earth novels, Rhysling-nominated poetry, and increasing number of short-story publications. For more about her work, please see www.edda-earth.com.]