Archive for March, 2012


Goddess Ishikore-Dome

"Where Have You Put the Sun?" by neyukiorg

“Ishikore-dome’s themes are the arts and excellence.  Her symbols are stone and mirrors.  This Shinto Goddess is the protectress of all stonecutters and smiths, having fashioned the mold from which an eight-petaled mirror was made for Amaterasu (the sun Goddess). The beauty of Ishikore-dome’s creation was such that Amaterasu came out of hiding, bringing spring’s wonderful sunshine with Her! Similary, Ishikore-dome tempts us to come out of our home-cave today, explore and express our talents, and enjoy the warmer weather.

The sign of Aries is said to produce a feisty, courageous spirit, which is exactly what it takes sometimes to stop being the proverbial wallflower and try new things. If there’s an art form you’ve always wanted to try, or one that you love but hesitate to try because of perceived shortcomings, let Ishikore-dome’s encouraging energy nudge you into action today. Remember, Buddhists believes that developing artistic proficiency comes down to three things: practice, practice and practice!

To conduct yourself with greater courage and a unique artistic flair, make a simple Ishikore-dome charm from a small mirror. Face-down on the mirror, glue a symbol of the area in you life in which you need more creativity, mastery or mettle and carry it with you. This symbolically reflects your desire to the Goddess.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Amaterasu" by tattereddreams

“Ishikori-dome is the Shinto Goddess of stone-cutting. Although some sources refer to Her as a God, most say that She was a Goddess. When Amaterasu, the Goddess of the sun, locked Herself away in a cave in grief over Her sister Wakahirume‘s death, the gods commissioned Ishikori-dome to create a mirror in an attempt to lure Amaterasu out of the cave. She formed a stone mold which was then filled with copper to create the mirror known as Yata-no-kagami (eight-hand mirror), and the mirror was hung outside Amaterasu’s cave. When She was lured out of the cave by the laughing of the other gods at the antics of Ame-no-Uzume, Goddess of dance, Amaterasu saw Herself in the mirror and was so distracted that the gods had time to seal the cave so that She could not return to Her self-imposed exile. The mirror itself is said to now reside in the Ise Jingu shrine, and most Shinto shrines display a mirror as a symbol of Amaterasu. Ishikori-dome’s name, which means “stone-forming old woman,” is also seen as Ishikori-dome-no-Mikoto, Ishikori-dome-no-kami, and Ishikore-dome.” [1]

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Ishikori-dome“.

Suggested Links: 

Darshan. Oriental Wicca, “The Way of the Kami“.

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Ishikoridome

Goddess Isis

“Isis” by Lisa Iris

“Isis’ themes are magic, harvest, dreams, divination, perspective, faithfulness, love, spirituality and destiny.  Her symbols are bloodstones, amethyst, silver, myrrh, hawks and the moon.  One of the most complete Goddess figures in history, Isis breathes on us with spring winds to revitalize and fulfil our spirits in every way. Egyptians venerated Isis as the Queen of Sorcery, Life of the Nile, Mother Moon, and Protectress. Isis taught humankind the basic skills necessary to build civilizations, and She came to represent the powerful attributes of faithfulness, love, inner beauty, oracular insight, and spiritual awareness (to name just a few). She could also change Her followers’ destinies.

Today was the Festival of Isis, a spring harvest festival in Egypt, honoring the giver of all life, Isis. Put a bloodstone or amethyst in your pocket today to inspire any or all of Isis’s characteristics in your soul and life. If you have any silver or white clothing, wearing them will also foster Isis-centered energy, because these colors are associated with the moon.

One traditional activity today is fortune-telling, an art under Isis’ dominion. To encourage visionary dreams from Her, put some rose petals under your pillow before going to bed, and burn some myrrh or jasmine incense. Keep a dream diary handy, and write your impressions immediately upon waking so you won’t lose the insight.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Isis” by Doreen Virtue

“Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of rebirth remains one of the most familiar images of empowered and utter femininity. The Goddess Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the Goddess of the Overarching Sky. Isis was born on the first day between the first years of creation, and was adored by Her human followers.

Unlike the other Egyptian Goddesses, the Goddess Isis spent time among Her people, teaching women how to grind corn and make bread, spin flax and weave cloth, and how to tame men enough to live with them (an art form on which many of us would welcome a refresher course!).  She was considered the patron saint of women, mothers and children.

Isis taught Her people the skills of reading and agriculture and was worshipped as the Goddess of medicine and wisdom.

It is told that She managed to trick Re into revealing his secret name to Her and in doing so, Isis obtained many magical powers, making Her a Goddess of magic.

More than any other of the ancient Egyptian Goddesses, Isis embodied the characteristics of all the lesser Goddesses that preceded Her. Isis became the model on which future generations of female deities in other cultures were to be based.

As the personification of the ‘complete female’, Isis was called ‘The One Who Is All’, Isis Panthea (‘Isis the All Goddess’), and the ‘Lady of Ten Thousand Names’.

The Goddess Isis, a moon Goddess, gave birth to Horus, the god of the sun. Together, Isis and Horus created and sustained all life and were the saviors of their people.” [1]

Isis and Osiris

“Isis and Osiris” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“The history of Isis and Osiris, the Egyptian god and Goddess, is known throughout Egypt and has become one of the most popular and fabled folklore tale in Egyptian mythology. Isis was believed to be the daughter of Nut and Geb. The Egyptian Goddess Isis later married Osiris, another ancient Egyptian deity and who was also Her brother. Osiris seems to have been in a continual feud with another Egyptian god, Seth. In many versions of the tale, Osiris and Seth are brothers and Isis and Seth’s wife Nephtys are their sisters as well as their wives. Eventually Seth killed Osiris by drowning him in the Nile. Isis the Goddess of magic used Her powers to bring Her husband back to life only to have him once again struck by Seth.

Apparently determined to accomplish the deed in a way that even Isis would be unable to undo, Seth mutilated Osiris into multiple parts and hid them throughout the desert. Isis would not be bested by Seth and in a somewhat romantic tale, proceeded to spend many years searching for Her husband’s various body parts. The Egyptian Goddess Isis finally managed to find almost all of them and once again used Her magical powers to bring about his rebirth. At this point, it appears She became pregnant, although the manner by which She became impregnated seems to be a subject of much debate. Some traditions state that Isis hid Osiris until he was able to impregnate Her and that Osiris eventually succumbed to death from the wounds inflicted by Seth. Other tales instead contend that Isis actually impregnated Herself with her husband’s body.

“Isis” by Hrana Janto

Whatever the method, The Egyptian Goddess Isis gave birth to a son, Horus, who would achieve significant fame throughout Egypt. In later years, it was recounted that Horus sought to avenge of his father’s murder and proceeded to kill Seth.” [2]

The myths of Isis and Osiris caution us about the need for occasional renewal and reconnection in our relationships. Isis also reminds us to acknowledge and accept the depths of our emotions.

Click here to read more of Her stories at Goddess Gift.

“Unlike many Egyptian gods and Goddesses, Isis remained in the same form from the beginning of Her history to current dates. The Egyptian Goddess Isis achieved much fame throughout history and many temples were dedicated to Her honor and for the purpose of worshipping Her.

The Egyptian Goddess Isis played an important role in the development of modern religions, although Her influence has been largely forgotten.

The festivities surrounding the flooding of the Nile each year, originally named ‘The Night of the Tear-Drop’ in remembrance of the extent of the Isis’ lamentation of the death of Osiris, Her tears so plentiful they caused the Nile to overflow, is now celebrated annually by Egyptian Muslims and  is called ‘The Night of the Drop’.

She was worshipped throughout the Greco-Roman world. During the fourth century when Christianity was making its foothold in the Roman Empire, Her worshippers founded the first Madonna cults in order to keep Her influence alive.

Some early Christians even called themselves Pastophori, meaning the shepherds or servants of Isis. . . which may be where the word ‘pastors’ originated. The influence of Isis is still seen in the Christian icons of the faithful wife and loving mother.

Indeed, the ancient images of Isis nursing the infant Horus inspired the style of portraits of mother and child for centuries, including those of the ‘Madonna and Child’ found in religious art.

The power of the Goddess Isis in the ‘public arena’ was also profound. Her role as a guide to the Underworld, was often portrayed with winged arms outstretched in a protective position. The image of the wings of Isis was incorporated into the Egyptian throne on which the pharaohs would sit, the wings of Isis protecting them.

The ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis has many gifts to share with modern women. Isis embodies the strengths of the feminine, the capacity to feel deeply about relationships, the act of creation, and the source of sustenance and protection.

At times Isis could be a clever trickster empowered by her feminine wiles rather than Her logic or brute strength. However, it is also the Goddess Isis who shows us how we can use our personal gifts to create the life we desire rather than simply opposing that which we do not like.” [3]

ASSOCIATIONS:

General:  Full moon, images of madonna and child, rivers (especially the Nile) and the ocean, hair braids, cattails, papyrus, knots and buckles, stars, the ankh symbol, throne, the rattle, diadem headdress (circular disk with horns), cow, wings, milk, perfume bottles, and March 5 (feast day).

Animals: Sparrowhawk, or kite, crocodile, scorpion, crab, snake (especially cobra), and geese.

Plants: Cedar, corn, tamarisk, flax, wheat, barley, grapes, lotus, balsam, all flowers, trees and all green plants.

Perfumes/Scents: Tamarisk, lotus, balsam, amber oil, cedarwood, sandalwood, cinnamon, and sweet orange.

Gems and Metals: Silver, gold, ebony, ivory, obsidian, lapis lazuli, and scarabs.

Colors: Silver, gold, black, red, cobalt blue, and green. [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancient Egypt Online, “A Biography of the Egyptian Goddess Isis“.

Goddess Gift, “Goddess Symbols: Isis“.

Goddess Gift, “Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of Magic and Giver of Life“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ashwood, Moonwater. Order of the White Moon, “Isis, Healing Queen“.

Being, Venus. Order of the White Moon, “Isis: The Great Mother“.

Hill, J. Ancient Egypt Online, “Isis“.

Love of the Goddess, “Isis, Mother Goddess of the Universe“.

Ravenwing, Morgana. Order of the White Moon, “Isis: The Universal Goddess“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Isis: see it clearly, sister“.

Seawright, Carol.  Kunoichi’s Web Page, “Isis“.

Wikipedia, “Isis“.

WolfWinds, Silver. Order of the White Moon, “Isis“.

Goddess Anahita

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

“Anahita’s themes are spring, relationships, equality, fertility and sexuality.  Her symbols are green branches and water.  This Babylon Goddess of fertility embraces the attributes of fruitful, warm waters that flow from the celestial realms into our lives, especially as the earth is renewed. Her name translates as ‘humid immaculate one’, and art shows Her a a strong maiden who creates life and pours blessings. During the height of Babylonian civilization, She was also the patroness of civic prostitutes.

Sacaea – this day marked the Babylonian new year, during which time heaven and earth were considered married. Therefore, this is an excellent date to plan a wedding, hand fasting, or engagement, or just to spend time with someone you hold dear. Bring them a small green branch from a tree to extend Anahita’s love and equality into your relationship.

Traditional roles are often reversed today to emphasize fairness between people. So, if you’re normally passive in your interactions, become a little more aggressive. As you do, feel how Anahita’s passion and energy flow through you.

To increase passion or sexual confidence, take a warm bath before meeting your partner. Perhaps add some lusty aromatics to the water (cinnamon, vanilla, mint or violet) to put you in the right fame of mind. Let Anahita’s waters stimulate your skin and your interest, then enjoy!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Anahita” by Vaezi

One of the earliest of the Great Mothers, Anahita was the ancient Persian Goddess of water, fertility, and patroness of women, as well as a Goddess of war.  She embodied the physical and metaphorical qualities of water, especially the fertilizing flow of water from the fountain in the stars; thus She ruled over all the waters – rivers, streams, lakes, and the sea, as well as the life-giving fluids of mankind, such as semen and mother’s milk. Rivers and lakes were sacred to Her, as they were thought to be the waters of birth. She is depicted as a beautiful young virgin with full breasts. She is dressed in golden robes complete with jewels and a halo crown or diamond tiara, sometimes carrying a water pitcher. Her name means “the immaculate one” and She was viewed as the “Golden Mother” and also as a warrior maiden. The dove and the peacock are Her sacred animals. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra.

 Anahita She was very popular and is one of the forms of the ‘Great Goddess’ which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician Goddess Anath).  She originated in Babylon and spread throughout Asia Minor, India and to Kemet (ancient Egypt), where She was depicted as an armed and mounted Goddess. The Greeks associated Anahita with Athena, Aphrodite and even Artemis.

In the Middle East, She was associated with Anat. Worship of Anahita spread to Armenia, Persia, and various parts of western Asia. Zoroaster was specifically commanded by his male god to honor Her. When Persia conquered Babylonia (in the 6th century BCE), Anahita began to show some similarities with the Goddess Ishtar. She was identified with the planet Venus, showing how She was possibly descended from Ishtar, the chief Goddess of the region in the pre-lndo-European era. Anahita was also the patroness of women and the Goddess of war who rides in a chariot drawn by four white horses representing wind, rain, clouds, and hail.

Statue of Anahita riding a chariot in Fouman-Gilan, Iran. Chariots figure prominently in Indo-Iranian mythology. Chariots are also important in Hindu and Persion mythologies, in which deities are portrayed as charioteers.

Her cult included the practice of temple prostitution. During the reign of King Artaxerxes (436-358 BCE) many temples were erected in Her honor; in Soesa, Ecbatana, and in Babylon.  Ritual prostitution occurred in Her temples in order to “purify the seed of males and the womb and milk of females,” according to Strabo. Armenians called out to Anahita “Great Lady Anahita, glory and life-giver of our nation, mother of sobriety, and benefactor of humanity.”

“Anahita” by Trashcn

Along with Mithra and Verethragna,  She lost much of Her power during Zoroastrian period but She did not completely disappear.  She became known as an important Yazata (‘adorable ones’, a created spiritual being, worthy of being honored or praised; ever trying to help people, and protect us from evil), Aredvi Sura Anahitaliterally meaning ‘strong, immaculate Anahita’, female Yazad personifying water; also known as Aban Yazad. She resides in the starry regions. Her hymn is preserved in Yasht 5.

 

 

 

Sources:

Avesta — Zoroastrian Archives, “Angels in Zoroastrianism“.

Langdon, S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, January 1924, Vol. 56, Issue 01, “The Babylonian and Persian Sacaea1

Lindemans, Micha F. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Anahita“.

Milo. TeenWitch.com, “Anaitis Anahita“.

Wikipedia, “Anahita“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Iranpoliticsclub.net, “Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses“.


Coinciding with the Spring Equinox, the month of the Alder Moon is a time to focus on balance and fertility.

The Celtic month of Alder runs from mid-March to mid-April.  Significantly, this is a period that includes the Spring Equinox, the day on which the return of spring is celebrated and night and day are of equal length.  Falling at the start of spring, this period symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility.

Red alder buds. In moist forest areas red alder will rapidly cover a former burn or clearcut, temporarily preventing the growth of conifers but also improving soil fertility for future growth of conifers.

Growth and Fertility

The Alder month heralds a time of accelerated growth, and the spells you cast during this period can aid any business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition.  Your emphasis during the month of the Alder Moon should be on harnessing our hidden potential.

Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you bring a sense of balance to your work.  The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.

FERTILITY AND COURAGE

The alder tree is also known as the King of the Waters (with the willow tree as its Queen), because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams.  It actually grow with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with the balancing of female and male energies.

Symbols of Fertility

When the wood of the alder tree is cut, it turns from white to red, both of which are colors long associated with the Goddess’s fertility.  The buds of the alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.

Wood for Weapons

The Celts traditionally used charcoal made from the alder tree in the making of their weapons. This work was carried out in the spring – in preparation for the hunting season ahead.

 

In Welsh mythology, the alder fought in the front line of the “Battle of the Trees” against the Underworld.  When cut, its wood turns from white to red as though it is bleeding.  Growth near water, the tree has feminine associations, yet its links to war also indicate masculinity.  The Alder, therefore, speaks of balancing masculine and feminine.

ALDER MOON MAGIC

The month of the Alder Moon is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm.

 

Meditating on the Yin-Yang symbol will help put your energies in balance.

Yin-Yang Meditation

The Yin-Yang is a symbol of male and female energies in perfect balance, and is an ideal symbol to use in meditation.  Remember to wear comfortable clothes and relax your body.

1. Look at the Yin-Yang and let your gaze become blurred.  Close you eyes while holding the image in your mind.

2. Concentrate on letting your in-breath become equal in length to your out-breath.

3. Focus on the Yin-Yang symbol and let other thoughts drift away.

 

 

Achieving Balance in Your Life

During the month of the Alder Moon, try to bring more balance into your life with the following tips:

Balance Your Books

Check your bank balance.  Always in the red? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.

 

Balanced Diet

Are you eating a balanced diet?  Remember that your body is a temple.  Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.

 

 

Balance Your Emotions

Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being.  your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

Take your lead from the alder tree: drink plenty of water and breathe deeply.  If you follow these simple rules, you will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.

Chocolate Love Ritual

Perform this simple spell with your partner to help your love grow stronger.

You Will Need:

  • A chocolate Easter egg
  • A pin
  • A red candle*
  • Matches

1. Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your rite with soft music and scented candles.

2. Sit facing your partner, look into each other’s eyes and breath deeply.

3. Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other: “Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you, may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer.  So may it be.”

4. Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg.

5. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg.

6. Let the red candle burn down.  Your love will grow in the year ahead.

* A red dye can be produced from alder bark.  Utilize this association with red by using red candles in spells cast under the Alder Moon.

 

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  8.

 

Suggested Links:

The Blue Roebuck, “Alder“.

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Alder“.

The Goddess Tree, “Alder“.

“Sheela-na-gig” by Changeling

“Sheelah-na-gig’s themes are fertility, sexuality, protection, passion and femininity.  Her symbols are nakedness, lust-inspiring scents and whiskey.  The image of this Irish Goddess of fertility tells us much about the unbridled nature of feminine passion that Sheila-na-gig inspires with spring-like whimsy. She is shown smiling broadly, holding Her legs wide open, completely naked. Nonetheless, this is not irresponsible lust; it is the gat of life through which we all pass. Interestingly enough, Sheila-na-gig’s image, in an amulet, offers protection too – perhaps She was the first Goddess of safe sex?!

Sheelah’s Day is celebrated in true Irish fashion by drinking abundant whiskey and drowning a shamrock in the last glass consumed, to end the festivities. This particular custom denotes the idea of consuming one’s luck, increasing fecundity, and internalizing the Goddess’s protective energies before the day is over. So if you can tolerate whiskey, toast Sheelah, take a sip, and warm up your passion! Otherwise, offer Her a libation of whiskey, asking for Her energy to be likewise liberated in your body.

If you have a significant other, one of the ways to honor Sheelah is through passionate encounters that are balanced with wisdom and foresight. Take a condom and bless it, saying:

‘Sheelah, my hunger see, let my body love freely
But keep us safe, fertility bind
No matter our haste, keep protection in mind.’

Carry this condom with you to your tryst.”

 (Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

At one time or another all of the above figures have been called Sheela Na Gigs.

“Sila na Geige [SHEE-luh-nah-GIG] is a shadowy sometimes-controversial Celtic Goddess. She represents both mother and crone aspects of the Goddess. Her image is found carved on stone thresholds, lintels, and standing stones of sacred sites or places of worship throughout the British Isles (mostly Ireland).  Stone carvings of Her depict a grinning woman holding open Her vulva. She is regarded by some as a gargoyle-like figure meant as a medieval allegory of lust, or as a magical figure meant to cure infertility in women, but others have seen in Her an echo of the ancient Irish Earth Mother. Not a lot has been written or is known about this Goddess or Her origins, and much information may have been lost through the ignorant prudishness of a patriarchal culture that saw only a vulgar caricature. Sila, however, survived into Christianity, and Her image can still be found carved on lintels and thresholds of churches in Ireland. In the 19th century, patriarchal society was appalled by the unrestricted feminine sexuality of the Sila images, and many Sila images were defaced or destroyed entirely.” [1][2]

“Sheela Na Gig” by Thomas Sheridan

The word ‘gyg’ is Norse for giantess, in other words, a supernatural or deified female, while ‘Sheila’ is a woman’s name, or used as a word for ‘girl’.

The vulva as holy symbol of birth and life is a very ancient idea that symbolizes the life-giving and regenerative powers of the Earth Mother. The image of the vulva has a long history of being carved in stone, and is found all over Europe from the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Passage graves were built in the shape of the Goddess, with the passage the vagina, and the tomb chamber itself representing Her uterus. ‘Tomb’ and ‘womb’ were equated, thus ensuring regeneration and continuity after death, in the same way that a ‘dead’ seed is planted in the fertile earth and sprouts up to grow into a complete plant.

Alternate spellings: Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-no-gig, Sheelanagyg, Irish Síle na gCíoch ‘Sheila of the Breasts” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Colors: red, orange, purple, magenta

Moon Phase: full or waning

Animals: heron, crane, stork

Herbs/Flowers: hawthorn, birch, willow, cedar, black cohosh, heliotrope

Stones: any hard stone or building stone

Aspects: protection, death, fertility, birth, lust, opening, enjoyment of life, feminine power, feminine mysteries, womb chakra

Wheel of the Year: Alder Moon (Fearn) March 18 – April 14
Willow Moon (Saille) April 15 – May 12″ [4]

Sources:

Saille, Rowan.  Order of the White Moon, “Sila Na Geige

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sheila-Na-Gig“.

Suggested Links:

McLoughlin, Tara. Sheela-Na-Gig Website.

NicDhàna, Kathryn Price. Bandia.net, “Sheela na Gig and Sacred Space“.

Seren. Tairis-cr.blogspot.com, “Sheelah’s Day“.

The Sheela Na Gig Project, “Sheela na Gig Theories“.

Wikipedia, “Sheela na gig“.


Goddess Ostara

“Ostara” by Asaenath

“Ostara’s themes are fertility and rebirth.  Her symbols are eggs.  The Teutonic Goddess Ostara presides over personal renewal, fertility and fruitfulness. Now that spring is here, it’s a good time to think about renewal in your own life. Ostara represents spring’s life force and earth’s renewal. Depicted as lovely as the season itself, in earlier writings She was also the Goddess of dawn, a time of new beginnings (spring being the figurative dawn of the year). One of Ostara’s name variations, Esotara, slowly evolved into the modern name for this holiday, Easter.

All spells and foods that include eggs are appropriate today. If you’ve been ill, try an old folk spell that recommends carrying an egg for twenty-four hours, then burying it to bury the sickness.

To improve fertility of all kinds, make eggs for breakfast at dawn’s first light, the best time to invoke Ostara. As you eat, add an incantation like this one:

 ‘Ostara, bring to me fertility
With this egg now bless my fruitfulness!’

Or, if you’re feeling down and need a little extra hope, get up before the sun rises and release a symbol of your burden to the earth by dropping or burying it. Don’t look at it! Turn your back and leave it there. Turn toward the horizon as the sun rises, and harvest the first flower you see. Dry it, then carry it with you often as a charm to preserve hope in your heart.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ostara” by Mickie Mueller

The Goddess Ostara, or Eostre, is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, the East, Resurrection, and Rebirth, is also the Maiden aspect of the Three-fold Goddess.  She gave Her name to the Christian festival of Easter (which is an older Pagan festival appropriated by the Church), whose timing is still dictated by the Moon. Modern Pagans celebrate Her festival on the Vernal Equinox, usually around March 21, the first day of Spring.

Ostara was an important Goddess of spring to the ancient Saxons, but we know little else of Her other than this. Some have suggested that Ostara is merely an alternate name for Frigg or Freya, but neither of these Goddesses seem to have quite the same fertility function as Ostara does. Frigg, Goddess of the home, wouldn’t seem to be associated with such an earthy festival and Freya’s form of fertility is more based on eroticism than reproduction.

However, Ostara is associated, almost interchangebly, with many different Goddesses.  [Again, purely speculation] She is essentially identical to Freya, for She is the Goddess of the fertile spring, the resurrection of life after winter. She was equated with the Goddess Idunna, who bore the Apples of Eternal Youth to the Aesir, and many believe that Ostara and Idunna are the same, or represent the same principle. She is almost certainly the same as the Greek Goddess Eos, Goddess of the Dawn. (Again, following the threefold theme — Eos is the Maiden aspect of the three goddesses Eos /Dawn, Hemera /Day and Nyx/Night.) As Ostara is Goddess of the Dawn, we can understand why sunrise services have always been an important aspect of the spring resurrection/rebirth observances of other cultures.

Eggs and rabbits are sacred to Her as is the full moon  [though there is no historical record of this], since the ancients saw in its markings the image of a rabbit or the hare. Pagan Anglo-Saxons made offerings of colored eggs to Her at the Vernal Equinox. They placed them at graves especially, probably as a charm of rebirth. (Egyptians and Greeks were also known to place eggs at gravesites). The Goddess of Fertility was also the Goddess of Grain, so offerings of bread and cakes were also made to Her. Rabbits are sacred to Ostara, especially white rabbits, and She was said to be able to take the form of a rabbit.

One myth says Ostara found a bird dying from the cold. She changed it to a rabbit so it could keep warm. Maybe this is why the Easter Bunny brings eggs to children on Easter. Traditionally German children are told that it is the Easter hare that lays all the Easter eggs. [1][2]

“Ostara” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Part of the story of the Easter bunny is excerpted below, but you can use this link to read the complete version of Easter History and Traditions, including the stories of the Goddesses, at the website: Easter History and Traditions

The Goddess Ostara and the Origin of the Easter Bunny: A Modern Neo-Pagan Tale

Ostara, the Goddess of Dawn (Saxon), who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling guilty about arriving so late. To make matters worse, She arrived to find a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow. Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that She then made him Her pet or, in the X-rated versions, Her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his frost-damaged wings, the Goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare, and gave him the name Lepus.

She also gave him the gift of being able to run with astonishing speed so he could easily evade all the hunters.  To honor his earlier form as a bird, She also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but he was only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year.

Eventually Ostara lost Her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and She flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had once enjoyed, Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.” [3]  Again, there is no historical documentation or lore that states this and I really have no idea where the tale originated from.

Variant spellings: Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, Austra [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ashliman, D.L. The University of Pittsburgh: German 1500: Germanic Myths, Legends, and Sagas,Ostara’s Home Page: The Germanic Goddess of Springtime“.

The Goddess Gift E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny: The Art of Renewal“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Eostre“.

Yvonne. Earth Witchery, “Ostara or Eostre“.

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aloi, Peg, Witches’ Voice, “You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara“.

The Blue Roebuck,”Eostre“.

Cavalorn. Cavalorn.livejournal.com, “Eostre: The Making of a Myth“.

Fox, Selena. Circle Sanctuary, “Ostara Meditation“.

Goddess E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara, the Easter Bunny, and Their History in Easter Tradition“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Ostara: History of Easter Eggs, History of the Easter Bunny, Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection“.

Goddessgift.com, “Ostara (Oestre): Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring“.

Love of the Goddess, “Ostara, Celebration of the Goddess of Spring.”

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Eostre: walk with a ‘spring’ in your step“.

Wikipedia, “Ēostre

Goddess Gauri

Maha Gauri

“Gauri’s themes are spring, protection, fertility, harvest, beauty, humor, youthfulness, wishes and equality.  Her symbols are balsam, golden-colored items, milk, mirrors and lions.  This fertile Hindu Goddess extends spring-like youth, beauty and tenderness into our lives. Gauri has a sympathetic ear for all human needs and wishes. In works of art She is depicted as a fair maiden, attended by lions and bearing wild balsam and a mirror. She was born of a milky sea, and Her name translates as ‘golden one’, indicating a connection with the sun. She is offered rice to ensure a good rice crop.

Holi is India’s most colorful festival, filled with Gauri’s equitable spirit. It celebrates an epic tale in which the sun (Gauri) is freed from a god’s mouth by getting him to laugh! Customarily, caste restrictions are shed today in order for people to simply have fun. Everyone squirts colored water at one another, and by the end of the day, no one can tell who is a servant and who is a king! This translates into a good-humored water-balloon toss. Focus on a goal while you play. When a balloon breaks, it releases Gauri’s youthful joy and productivity into your life.

Hindu custom suggests eating sweets to generate Gauri’s beauty and pleasantness in your spirit today. Or, pour Her a libation of milk while making a wish for something you’d like to ‘harvest’ in your life. Hang balsam in your home to foster Gauri’s fairness in your family’s interactions.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati.  She is the divine energy, Mother Goddess.  She is considered as a perfect wife for Her husband, Lord Shiva.  She is a clear representation of purity and austerity.  She is the Kanya (Kumari or unmarried girl) who performed severe tapas (penance) to marry Lord Shiva.  After the conclusion of Her ferocious form Goddess Kali, She observed a severe penance to get rid of Her black complexion.

In another version I read, Parvati first sought out Shiva to seduce him, Shiva found Her dark skin to be unattractive. Parvati retreated into the forest, where She lived a very austere life, developing Her spiritual powers. Brahma took notice of Parvati’s mastery of Her physical self, and decided to grant Her one wish. Parvati asked that Her dark skin be taken away, so that Shiva would love Her. Brahma took the darkness and created the Goddess Kali with it, leaving Parvati with golden skin, and She became the Goddess Gauri.   Because of Her golden color, She is associated with rice and grains, taking on the role of a fertility Goddess.

Gauri Worshipping Lord Shiva

Gowri Puja is an important ritual during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.  Married women worship Goddess Gowri with Sindoor or kumkum for their sowbhagyam (marital bliss).  Unmarried girls worship Her in order to get virtuous husbands.  One prays to Goddess Gauri because according to Puranas, She is the Divine Mother and the origin of the Universe.  Mother Goddess, Shakti, has various celestial manifestations like Goddess Sri Raja Rajeshwari, Goddess Gauri, Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi, etc. [1][2][3]

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gauri“.

The Hindu Universe, “Goddess Gauri“.

Hindupad, Goddess Gauri – Gowri Devi“.

Anna Perenna

"Spirit" by crimsonvermillion

“Anna Perenna’s themes are cycles, peace, kindness, grounding and longevity.  Her symbols are circular items (rings, wheels, wreaths) and wine.  Anna Perenna, like Ala, symbolizes the entire year’s cycle. Even Her name translates as ‘enduring year’. Legend tells us that Anna was once a real woman who showed benevolence to refugees from the Roman aristocracy by giving them food until peace was re-established. It is this gentle spirit with which Anna comes into our lives, offering the spiritual harmony engendered by random acts of kindness.

Romans honored Anna Parenna around this date because March was the first month of the Roman calendar. In true Roman fashion – that looks for any excuse for a party – they spent the day praying that Anna would let them live one more year for each cup of wine drunk this day.

Wine (or grape juice) remains a suitable libation to Anna Parenna when asking for longevity. As you pour the liquid, say:

‘A long life of health
Blessed from winter to spring
Anne Parenna, longevity bring!’

To encourage inner peace and security in your life, keep a pinch of the soil-wine mixture in any round container as a charm. Open the container and put the blend under your feet when you feel your foundations shaking, or when stress wreaks havoc in your heart.

Wearing any ring, belt or other circular item today stimulates a greater understanding of Anna’s cycles in nature and your life.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Anna Perenna was an old Roman deity of the circle or “ring” of the year, as the name (per annum) clearly indicates. Her festival fell on the Ides of March (March 15), which would have marked the first full moon in the year in the old lunar Roman calendar when March was reckoned as the first month of the year, and was held at the Grove of the Goddess at the first milestone on the Via Flaminia. It was much frequented by the city plebs.

According to Macrobius, related that offerings were made to Her ut annare perannareque commode liceati.e. “that the circle of the year may be completed happily” and that people sacrificed to Her both publicly and privately.  Johannes Lydus says that public sacrifice and prayers were offered to her to secure a healthy year.  Ovid in his Fasti (3.523f) provides a vivid description of the revelry and licentiousness of Her outdoor festival where tents were pitched or bowers built from branches, where lad lay beside lass, and people asked that Anna bestow as many more years to them as they could drink cups of wine at the festival.

 

"Water Nymph" by broughl

Ovid then tells that Anna Perenna was the same Anna who appears in Virgil‘s Aeneid as Dido‘s sister and that after Dido’s death, Carthage was attacked by the Numidians and Anna was forced to flee. Eventually Anna ended up in ship which happened to be driven by a storm right to Aeneas‘ settlement of Lavinium. Aeneas invited her to stay, but his wife Lavinia became jealous. But Anna, warned in a dream by Dido’s spirit, escaped whatever Lavinia was planning by rushing off into the night and falling into the river Numicus and drowning. Aeneas and his folk were able to track Anna part way. Eventually Anna’s form appeared to them and Anna explained that She was now a river nymph hidden in the “perennial stream” (amnis perennis) of Numicus and Her name was therefore now Anna Perenna. The people immediately celebrated with outdoor revels.

Ovid then notes that some equate Anna Perenna with the Moon or with Themis or with Io or with Amaltheia, but he turns to what he claims may be closer to the truth, that during the secessio plebis at Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mountain) the rebels ran short on food and an old woman of Bovillae named Anna baked cakes and brought them to the rebels every morning. The Plebeians later set up an image to Her and worshipped Her as a Goddess.

 

Next Ovid relates that soon after old Anna had become a Goddess, the god Mars attempted to get Anna to persuade Minerva to yield to him in love. Anna at last pretends that Minerva has agreed and the wedding is on. But when Mars’ supposed new wife was brought into his chamber and Mars removed the veil he found to his chagrin that it was not Minerva but old Anna, which is why people tell coarse jokes and sing coarse songs at Anna Perenna’s festivities. Since the festival of Anna Perenna is in the month of Mars, it is reasonable that the Mars and Anna Perenna should be associated, at least in some rites at that time, as cult partners.

Ovid also tells that Anna, although Magistra Silverman believes Her to be fully grown, was actually a person of small stature. The idea of the good soul and the bad soul offering advice from above a person’s shoulders is thought to have come from the idea that Anna told Dido what to do with Aeneas.” [1]

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Anna Perenna“.

 

Suggested Links:

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Anna Perenna“.

Myth Index, Greek Mythology, “Anna Perenna“.

Goddess Ala

“Ala’s themes are luck, harvest, joy, cleansing, death and cycles.  Her symbols are yams and the crescent moon.  This West African earth-Goddess represents the full cycle of earth’s seasons from birth to death, gently reminding us that spring is transitory – so enjoy it now! Serious crimes are an abhorrence to Ala, and the spirits of the dead go to Her womb to find rest. Votive candles are a suitable offering for this Goddess figure.

When you get up this morning, light any candle to welcome both Ala and spring. If possible, include yams in your dinner meal to internalize the joy and good fortune Ala brings with the warmer weather. Bless your yams by putting your hands (palms down) over them, focusing on your goals, and saying:

‘Ala, be welcome
In this your sacred food, place the energy of happiness,
luck and protection for the months ahead. So be it.’

The people of Ghana believe in celebrating the new year over thirteen days instead of one. During this time they dance to banish evil, honor their dead ancestors, encourage serendipity, and petition Ala for a good harvest season. Ala’s shrines and other sacred places are bathed on the last day of festivities to  wash away the old, along with bad memories. For us this equates to dusting off our altars, bathing any god or Goddess images we have, and generally cleansing away old energies so Ala can refresh us.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Ala" by saiaii

Ala (also known as AniAnaAle, and Ali in varying Igbo dialects) is the Earth Mother Goddess; female Alusi (deity) of the earth, morality, death, and fertility in Odinani. She is the most important Alusi in the Igbo pantheon. The Igbo people of Nigeria call Her the mother of all things, but She is both the fertile earth and the empty field after the harvest. She is present at the beginning of the cycle of life, making children grow in their mother’s womb, and She is there at the end of the cycle, to receive the souls of the dead into Her own womb.  Her name literally translates to ‘Ground’ in the Igbo language, denoting Her powers over the earth and Her status as the ground itself. Ala is considered the highest Alusi in the Igbo pantheon and was the first Alusi, daughter of Chukwu, the supreme god. Ala’s husband is Amadioha, the sky god.

As the Goddess of morality, Ala is involved in judging human actions and is in charge of Igbo law and customs known as ‘Omenala‘. Taboos and crimes among Igbo communities that are against the standard of Ala are called nsọ Ala. Army ants, who serve the Goddess, attack those who break such rules.  But first, they appear in nightmares so that the wrongdoer might rectify his behavior.  All ground is considered ‘Holy land’ as it is Ala herself. With human fertility, Ala is credited for the productivity of land. Ala’s messenger and living agent on earth is the python (Igbo: éké), it is and animal especially revered in many Igbo communities. [1][2]

 

 

 

“Ala’s shrine is at the center of a village, people offer sacrifices at planting, first fruits, and harvest.  In the Owerri region, building called Mbari honor the Goddess.  They are never occupied, the ritual of building being more important than the structure.  The square Mbari are filled with painted figures of Ala, who balances a child on Her knees while she brandishes a sword and is surrounded by the images of other gods and animals.  Due to poverty and war, Mbari are built less frequently and are smaller than in the past.” [3]

 

 

Please visit Sisters in Celebration to read a beautiful earth healing ritual to Ala.

 

 

 

Sources:

37thState Blog, “Ala – Igbo Earth Mother Goddess“.

Monaghan, Patricia.  Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ala“.

Wikipedia, “Ala (Odinani)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Freya. Goddess School, “Ala“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Fertility Goddesses and Goddesses of Pregnancy and Childbirth“.

Wise. Odinani: The Sacred Arts & Sciences of the Igbo People, “Honoring Your Ancestors“.

 

 

Goddess Nerthus

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

“Nerthus’ themes are spring, cycles, health, energy, peace and prosperity.  Her symbols are fire, chariots and soil.  This Germanic earth Goddess welcomes the season with Her presence. She was so important in Danish regions that no weapons or iron tools could be left out during Her festivals, because that was thought to invoke Her displeasure. During spring rites, Her statue was covered on a chariot until the priest determined She had arrive to oversee the festival.

Traditionally, Buergsonndeg is a day spent before a bonfire that greets the sun and banishes the last vestiges of winter. So, take down your heavy winter curtains, and let some light into the house! This restores Nerthus’s positive energy and expels any lingering sicknesses. If it’s cloudy out, turn on some lights, don dazzling-colored clothing, and find ways to brighten up your living space with flowers and decorations that speak of earth (Nerthus) and spring’s beauty.

Another customary activity is turning the soil, mixing it with an offering of milk, flower and water. Even if you don’t have a garden, turn a little dirt near your apartment or home and leave a similar gift. This action rejoices in Nerthus’s awakening and draws the Goddess’s peace and prosperity to your residence. Take a little of that same blessing with you, just collect a bit of the soil-milk mixture in a container and put it wherever you need peace or prosperity the most.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

Nerthus was an ancient Germanic earth Goddess. She was known since the time of the Roman Empire. Tacitus, the Roman historian in 1st-2nd century AD, identified Nerthus with the Roman Goddess Terra Mater. Nerthus was a popular Goddess since She was worshipped by seven Germanic tribes – Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii (Angles), Varini, Eudoses, Suarines and the Huitones.  She was worshipped in a sacred groove on an island in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea (possible Sjaeland), but the center of Her worship was in Denmark.  She can be found dwelling in the hidden realms underground. Like the strong earth-dweller She is, Her symbol is also the boar.

“Nerthus” by Thorskegga

Tacitus described Her as living in a holy birch grove.  He recorded that each year there was a festival where the Goddess would supposedly travel in a chariot pulled by two white heifers, escorted by the priest, bringing prosperity and good harvest.  It was good luck for those settlements She visited in Her journey and doors were opened in hospitality.  No one was allowed to take up war or bear arms during the festivities that accompanied Her; even iron tools were locked up during the Goddess’ journey.

“Nerthus” by ErebusOdora

When the priest discerned that the Goddess grew tired of human company, the priest would guide the chariot to a sacred lake, where Nerthus would bathe. Her chariot would be covered with a cloth. After the selected slaves bathed the Goddess in the lake, the slaves were then drowned, as sacrifices to Nerthus.

Nerthus’ attributes also resembled that of the ancient Celtic counterpart, Matres or Matrone, the group of mother Goddesses that was popular around the Rhine River.

Though the worship of Nerthus seemed to have ended in the 5th or 6th century, the later tradition says that She had been identified with Norse god, Njörd (Njord), the Vanir god of the wind and sea. Njörd was the male form of Nerthus. How had Nerthus undergone a change of sex, still baffles modern scholars.

Nerthus may well have been the unnamed sister and wife of Njörd, in the Norse myths, who became the mother of Freyr and Freyja. Though none of the Norse authors ever gave a name to Njörd’s sister. Or She may well be the ancient form of Freyja Herself. Since the Norse writers believed that the Vanir deities were older than the Aesir, then that Teutonic Nerthus became the Norse Freyja is more than likely true.” [1][2][3][4]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Asatru Religion, “Goddess Nerthus Or Eartha Or Jordh“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Nerthus“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nerthus” at p. 488.

Mystic Wicks, “Nerthus {Goddess of the Week}“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Krasskova, Galina . Northern Tradition Paganism, “Who is Nerthus?

PaganNews.com, “Nerthus“.

Reaves, William P. Boudicca’s Bard, “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wandering Woman Wondering, “The Goddess Nerthus“.

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