The most important goddess, or symbol to be known to the Initiate, if he were to become a successful Hero and Hierophant.
Social and Theological Significance
The Greeks knew well, for the most part, that the gods, represented as individual beings — although transcending mortal power — contained metaphysical, but as well as social meaning. In the Olympian myths of Zeus as chief, Athena, the closest daughter to Zeus, and the mediator, for the mortal, demonstrates the psychology of Greek theology.
As we know, the Latin, or Roman Minerva is a copy of the Greek Athena; and Minerva being a chosen symbol of my idea for the academician and minervan is hence, also the great Parthenon goddess. This powerful goddess represents a symbol — or the “ideas” and “forms” under Plato’s philosophy. Athēna in Greek theology, has a very important meaning. It is common to categorically divide the world into the noumenal and phenomenal, upper heaven and lower heaven, divine and material, immortal and mortal, spirit and matter, etc., etc. There was also the principle of Aether, among the Greeks, the series of platos between the Darkness, the psychic and phantasmal platos, and the mortal world.
In the old Temple, the student had to pass trials, and successfully harmonise with the Nous. Of the most essential virtues needed, it was courage — a dauntless force of energy, ever in supply; and assisting the disciples through the phantasmally dim and hostile planes, “on the Way” (to the divine).
Immortal are they whom thirst for the (holy) Wisdom it was taught; and the moral code demands disciples (the neophyte) work for their wage, and earn their right, to acquire knowledge; because the knowledge is hidden according to the laws of nature. It does not open to the whims, or forcing, as mortals so easily do, in their raging passions!
One ought not be only clean in mind, but also having the virtue of courage to endure the trials of initiation. Verily, the path is a war — psychological, physiologically, etc. All that is to unfold inner faculties, and of all — Athēna (Minerva), having sprung from the head of Zeus, in the myth, is Courage, Intelligence, and Wisdom. This is akin to the condition of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, in theosophical parlance. This is a power, a man must wield, especially the would-be theosophist and Initiate. This ‘goddess of War’ is a strategic symbol or ideal for the Perfectibilist.
Her father, Zeus, unlike his father, Kronos, kept power to himself; whereas, Zeus ruled through intelligence, with force, demonstrating his superiority in rank. However, not directly communicating with humanity, he left this to his children, with rights and privilege of governance; which reflects, e.g., the multi-cultural democracy of Athens. So, this is the social significance of the old ideas in the ancient city of Athens.
As to the theological significance, well, the minerval could not be as a neophyte, though courage is the first-step. Yet, the principle (god) as Athēna, closest to the Pater-Zeus Aether, indicates its nature, for the Initiate Soter, or Soteria.