As much as I like to travel the world to experience sacred sites, one of my favorite sites is actually in my home town Nashville Tennessee. Yes, Nashville! The city devoted to Country Music, the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”, has the largest indoor statue in the world, Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.
In 1897, Tennessee held a large exhibition to celebrate 100 years as a state. An exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens Greece, as well as a Pyramid, was part of this elaborate celebration in downtown Nashville. The Parthenon was later rebuilt in aggregate (a concrete and pebble mixture) and is the only remaining part of that exhibition, located in a beautiful park complete with pond, train, and fighter plane.
The original Parthenon, dedicated to the patron goddess Athena, sits on the Acropolis high over Athens, and is the most important surviving building of Ancient Greece. It is aligned to Hyades in the constellation Taurus. The Temple of Athena is a perfect example of architecture using sacred geometry and the Golden Ratio. The exterior columns slightly angle in and when that line is followed meet a mile in the sky directly over the temple. The Nashville Parthenon may not be the original but as an exact replica the sacred geometry of the temple brings you into the same harmonic resonance with the Divine as the original.
The Parthenon in Athens had an ivory and gold statue of Athena and now Nashville has a gilded reproduction of that same statue. Athena is 42 feet tall and has her shield and sword on her left and in her right hand holds a 6 foot tall statue of Nike who is dwarfed by the giant goddess.
I went to the Parthenon many times when I lived in Nashville. My parents would take me to see art shows in the then dank basement and hear concerts in the nearby outdoor amphitheater There was no goddess at that time, Athena was recreated in the late 90’s and gilded a few years later. Now when I’m in Nashville I always go to see her, I love to just stand in front of her and ask for wisdom and guidance. Her blue eyes and calm but determined look give her regalness and her golden robes, crown and shield make her glow.
I was in Nashville just this last week visiting my daughter who is in college at Belmont University just a mile away from the Parthenon. While she was in class, I went and got a cup of coffee and then went to see my Goddess. Being a winter, weekday morning, there were no other visitors and I had time alone in the Temple of Athena. I just sat on a bench and enjoyed the silence and Athena, then walked around the exterior columns.
As a young girl in Nashville, I never felt I fit into the culture of my conservative Christian schools. The visits to the Parthenon and the concerts I attended at the War Memorial Auditorium, a temple like complex with a statue of the god Mars, are some of my happiest memories. Now I see that the seeds of my future were being planted, I was being raised in the great Temples of Nashville.
I had no idea the goddess has been gilded, I want to visit her soon! Thanks for telling us about it! Just yesterday a story about her and Nashville appeared in a Knoxville paper.
Great insights; thank you. You are most definitely a modern day Athena!
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of visits with you to the Parthenon!