To continue a previous article, there are many more goddesses in Greek mythology. It is only right to follow Hera, Athena, Demeter with stories of the other main goddesses. It simply would not do to anger anyone I, for one, have no desire to go through life as a bear or spider, but more on that later.
Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo. Both Artemis and Apollo are essentially second generation dieties as Zeus was their father. Of course, Hera, Zeus's wife, was not their mother, which caused some problems for the twins as Hera was a rather jealous sort. Artemis is most well-known as the goddess of the hunt, but she was also the goddess of the wilderness, fertility, and childbirth. The last two are especially ironic as Artemis asked her father, Zeus, for eternal virginity at a very young age some stories claim as young as three years.
Many of the stories surrounding Artemis have to do with her virginity and intense protection of her own maidenhood and that of her accompanying huntresses. One poor hunter had the misfortune of seeing Artemis and her nymphs bathing and stood watching them for awhile in shock at their beauty. Artemis was not pleased and simply turned him into a stag, or deer. Then, to add insult to injury, she set his own hunting dogs on him who killed him thinking he was simply another animal.
One of her most famous stories involves her father and one of her nymphs. Zeus, Atemis's father and king of the gods, came to Callisto in disguise and seduced her. Callisto, one of Artemis's huntresses, had a child from this and Artemis was so disgusted by the whole affair she turned poor Callisto into a bear- and then killed her. After her death, Callisto was sent to the heavens, and the constellation, Big Bear, is all that remains of her. Incidentally, Artemis is said to also be responsible for the death of Orion and his dog Sirius. Orion tried to rape Artemis, and died for the offense. Orion and Sirius are now in the heavens as well.
Athena is also Zeus's child, but has a very different sort of birth. Athena was literally born of Zeus's head. (Zeus had swallowed her mother.) Zeus complained of splitting headaches, and Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, split Zeus's head open to see what was causing the trouble. Of course, the gods are immortal, so this didn't kill Zeus.
Athena stepped full-grown, in battle costume, for her father's head. She then became Zeus's favorite child. Athena is goddess of many things including the strategy of war, the arts, and justice, but she is best known for being the goddess of wisdom.
Athena and Poseidon, the god of the sea, don't get along well. A rivalry exists between the two over a city they both admired. To claim the city, both offered gifts. Poseidon created a beautiful spring, but the water was salty and not very useful. Athena created the olive tree which provided food, wood, and oil. The city welcomed Athena and was hence called Athens. Some versions of the story have Poseidon making a horse, but Athena wins regardless.
After this, Poseidon found little ways to get back at Athena, and one of the biggest was by taking his girlfriend, Medusa, in to Athena's temple. Athena caught them in the act, and changed Medusa to a monster.
Athena helped many heroes on their journeys including Odysseus and Perseus. She also has other interesting stories including a weaving contest. Arachne, a mortal woman, bragged that she was a better weaver than Athena, the goddess of weaving. Athena appeared in disguise and asked her to apologize. Arachne did not and challenged Athena to a contest instead. Athena threw off her disguise and agreed. Arachne creates a weaving poking fun at Zeus and his many affairs. Athena, Zeus's favorite daughter, is rather upset by this (and Arachne's skill) and turns her into a spider who must weave webs to catch food.
Hestia is the last of the major goddesses. Of all the goddesses, she has the fewest surviving stories. Hestia is the oldest sister of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, and Demeter. She is the goddess of hearth and home, and in ancient times was worshiped at every fireplace or cooking fire. Hearth fires of old were not allowed to go out, but were kindled and restored daily with great ceremony for the goddess.
Hestia did not wander or have many adventures the way other gods and goddesses did. She was content to tend the sacred fires of Mt. Olympus, or Delphi (depending on the story), and didn't have the same jealousy issues as the other goddesses. In fact, when Dionysus came along, she gave up her position as one of the Twelve Olympians, or Big Twelve, to avoid controversy. Don't we all wish we were that easy going?
In addition to these major goddesses there are countless more nymphs, goddesses and even mortals with fascinating stories and legends. The goddesses might have been very beautiful, but many of their actions were less than attractive and even rather human in nature. Of course, any goddess you create can have a terrific personality, or, perhaps, the same complex mix of emotions that we, and the ancient Greeks, all suffer from.