A Message From The President

May 2024

Mythological god Poseidon was described as having a calm presence (like the ocean) but could also have a tempestuous temper (like the ocean). Words like: anger, revenge, violence, destruction, punishment and rage have been associated with Poseidon.

As the story goes, when humans had to select a patron god of their city ~ the goddess Athena was selected due to her smarter display of gifts and power. Poseidon used his trident to smash Acropolis and out came salt water. Athena presented an olive tree, which the people found useful and beautiful. And this symbol of peace has been carried on worldwide. We know the olive branch to be a symbol of: peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Staying on this story of Athena, this is not to say that Athena had it all figured out. She did turn her beautiful priestess, Medusa (who had an affair with Poseidon) into a gorgon. With these mythological gods, eternity is a long time and well, forgiveness and anger management could clearly take some time. #worksinprogress

Stories are great to build understanding, and how convenient a deal to take a topic as tough as forgiveness and wrap it up with a lesson from mythical beings, right?

When I look at our country ~ our rights, democracy and the future ~ are more than valid concerns for us all. The urgency is palpable. When you look at the state of the world, with deficient leadership, war and weapons, the desperation many people have can be debilitating.

What does any of this have to do with forgiveness?

In the last several years we’ve watched moments in our country look like other countries we’ve seen on TV or streaming. Almost unrecognizable. But at our core, we’re a hopeful people. Collectively we understand the value of true collaboration, togetherness, solidarity, unity and peace.

What does moving forward look like for each of us ~ personally, professionally, as Athenians, and as citizens of the U.S.A. and globally?

So again, what does any of this have to do with forgiveness? It’s almost always necessary to move forward, to grow and to retain hope.

This month’s program is centered around forgiveness and hope. And ultimately, a higher purpose.

I hope that none of us will ever have to provide the amount of forgiveness in any way that our guest speakers, Linda and Kim Biehl, have had to experience and endure. And I pray that we will all always be able to demonstrate forgiveness for others, as well as ourselves, as we navigate the future.

Thank you to Genet Stewart and the Programs Committee members: Betty Castor, Sarah Combs, Diane Egner, Andrea Floyd, Julia Gorzka Freeman, Yvonne Fry, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Marian McCulloch, Meghan McGuire, Meaza Morrison, Chamain Moss-Torres, Kimberly Overman, Carolyn Reed, Bonnie Saks, Leslie Stein, Lorna Taylor and Stacy Yates for your informative and valuable programming this entire year. You’ve all led with so much dedication and care to help us all learn and have future-proof awareness.

And lastly, to all of the mothers and mother-figures in Athena Society, I hope that this month is extra special for you. And for those who find this to be a challenging holiday, I hope that you honor the extra space you may need during this time.

Be well,

Nancy Vaughn