HERA WAS HONORED AS the goddess of marriage in ancient Greece. As ruler of this sacred institution, she was responsible for its protection. Her anger when the bonds of matrimony were not respected is perhaps as legendary as her difficult, tempestuous relationship with her husband Zeus, the powerful ruler of the Greek gods and goddesses.
To win Hera as his bride, Zeus courted her for three hundred years upon the island of Samos, the goddess’s birthplace. Frustrated by his lack of success, he transformed himself into a cuckoo. Hera, charmed by the bird, allowed it into her lap, where Zeus immediately took back his natural form and seduced her. But marital happiness was not to be had: The god was as notoriously unfaithful to Hera as she was loyal to him. He had affairs with many women, including the mortal Danae and the divine Maia. Hera’s anger at Zeus’s infidelity was often expressed in the form of storms as violent as their domestic squabbling.
Sacred to Hera are the pomegranate and the lily—two potent symbols of feminine fertility seen in many cultures around the world—as well as oxen, trees, and mountains. Ancient rituals to Hera usually involved the use of these elements in some way or form
The Book of Goddesses: Expanded Anniversary Edition