“Minerva in a Chariot,” Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1894, WikiArt.

Part 2: Priestess Thania, Goddess Menrva

How people of Vetluna revered processions,
Specially leading to religious temples, strict
Ritual-following, near superstitious, elegant
Displays of power and prestige. Thus was
Lady Phelia, parading city streets, seated
High in horse-drawn carriage, handmaidens,
Including my Cosimia, riding in attendance,
Household guards flanking, burnished bronze
Shields, then household servants on foot
Following, burden carrying, where I, Iliona,
In blue pastel diaphanous gown, took my
Place, gaze always forward, beyond reach
Of admiring onlookers, Etruscan spectacle
Of self-adoration, grand parade.

Procession of days into weeks, Lady Phelia’s
Servitude, Etruscans gods not understood by
Greek outsiders, predawn prayers to female
Sun goddess, evening prayers, day’s bright
Eye male-transformed god of setting sun.
Given day, veiled-face procession to high-
Tiered temple steps, prayers and offerings
To goddess Menrva, her priestess, Thania,
Admittance Cosimia and I were granted.
“Holy Mother,” I, Iliona began, kneeling at
Priestess’ feet, “we seek your wisdom, place
Of peace, prosperity, absent from warring
Strife.” Truth sense-felt, Thania realized
We ship secreted from Greek Cumae.

“Foreigners trespassing on our shores, is
City of Vetluna, Eturia not adequate for your
Desires?” head-draped Thania asked, stirring
Menrva’s wrath. Lo! No response we could
Utter, all round us swirled.  Invisible became
Visible, whispered words, deific mind-shaping,
“Walk with me.” Soul-renting historic past
We strove, time as waters flowing, Menrva’s
Thunderous spirit from which all rivers
Flowed, into light-ascending sphere Cosimia
And I rose, purged of flesh and bone, no
Fiercer fires burned, immortal goddess
Without words spoke, our feet descending
Upon pre-Etruscan shores.

“Seagulls,” Albert Joseph Moore, circa 1871, WikiArt.

Procession of Eturia decades backwards bent,
Desolate, uninhabited land, free of strife,
Warring pains. Yes! Place of peace time-
Catapulted, ocean-overlooking nothingness,
No migrating peoples emerging from distant
Lands, no stone foundations laid. “You may
Settle here until ancient Tyrrhenians by
Sail appear,” Menrva advised, her response
To our prayers, then vanishing into air.
Two gifts given: goddess’ mirror of bronze,
Water urn, Menrva nursing infants painted
Thereon, vessel to beseech goddess during
Forsaken days. Mother’s pleas, “O! Cosimia,
What have I done to thee?”

Menrva (or Menrfa) is Etruscan version of Roman Minerva or Greek Athena.
For more on this goddess, see this link:
Thanks for reading.

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