Extract from the book Pallas Athena:
Athena, goddess of wisdom, was born from the head of Zeus. An unusual birth, but one with a very logical explanation: wisdom springs from the head of the lord of gods and men! There is a strange myth which tells us how this came about.
In those distant times when Olympian Zeus ruled over the heavens and the earth, a great danger came to threaten the almighty lord of the world. Nobody had any suspicion of the threat which was looming, not even Zeus himself. However, there was one goddess, Mother Earth, who could even foresee the fates of the immortals. She alone saw the danger and appeared before Zeus, saying:
“It is a terrible burden to bear such fearful tidings, but tell of them I must. Hear me, Zeus, thrower of thunderbolts. You have committed a grave error and an evil fate is in store for you. A son of yours will oust you from your throne, just as befell your father, great Cronus, and your grandfather Uranus before him. You should never have married Metis, daughter of white-haired Oceanus, even though she is the wisest of the immortals and knows better than any of us how to tell good from evil. And now listen to me carefully: you will have two children by this sea-goddess. The first of them will be Athena, who is already in her mother’s womb. The new goddess will be as wise and powerful as you are yourself. She will be a good and loving daughter, more willing to help you in your work than any other of the immortals. Later, however, Metis will bear you a son who will surpass in strength and daring all the other gods of Olympus, including even you. But he, unlike Athena, will not bow to your rule. Cruel and ambitious, he will use his power to further his own interests. And when that happens, woe betide you, son of Cronus! For you will be cast down from the lofty heights of Olympus into the yawning depths of Tartarus, and exchange your airy palaces for a dungeon dark as pitch. While the new lord of the world is seated upon your stately throne, you will lie groaning in heavy chains with no hope of ever being set free.”
“Mother of the gods,” replied Zeus, “I can hardly believe the things which you foretell. Indeed, had these words come from any other mouth, I would not have believed them. I know that you speak nothing but the truth. Yet let me tell you this: I shall not bow to my fate; I shall overcome it!”
“That, too, I know,” replied the goddess Earth, “and that is why I spoke to you.” And with these words she vanished from his sight.
Without a moment’s delay Zeus hastened in search of Metis. He told her nothing of what he had learned, but lulled her to sleep with sweet words. And then, so that this dreaded son might never be born, Zeus enfolded the wise Oceanid within his arms and took her into his own body. By this union Zeus effectively averted his fate, and what is more, by absorbing the wise goddess into his own flesh he acquired the gift of the knowledge of good and evil.
The danger that had threatened Zeus was past, but strange things began to happen within his body, for Metis was about to give birth to his immortal daughter, Athena. Very soon Zeus began to be afflicted with terrible headaches. In a desperate attempt to relieve the pain, he called for Hephaestus and ordered him to split his head open. Hesitantly, Hephaestus lifted his great hammer and brought it down with controlled force upon his father’s brow and… a miracle occurred! Immediately, there was a flash of unearthly light and from the head of Zeus sprang Pallas Athena, goddess of wisdom. She was no new-born babe, but a lovely, blue-eyed maiden endowed with wisdom, courage and strength. She wore a long robe and a shining helmet. A heavy shield hung from her left shoulder and in her right hand she clasped a long spear.
With a shout of triumph and a wave of her keen-pointed lance she greeted all the gods and sprang lightly to the ground. As she did so, the whole of creation was overwhelmed with the majesty of her sudden appearance. Olympus shook to its very roots. The earth gave a terrifying shudder, the blue sea was whipped into fury and the sun reined in his immortal horses and stood motionless in the sky. (…)