Archive for April, 2012


Goddess Gefn

“Freyja” by paintedflowers

“Gefn’s themes are sun, winter, spring, protection, health, love, divination, magic, fertility, foresight, and growth.  Her symbols are all green or growing things.  A Goddess whose name means simply ‘giver’, Gefn was regarded by the Norse-Germanic people as a frolicsome, fertile figure and seeress who embodied the earth’s greenery. Gefn brings this abundance to us today: abundant well-being, abundant companionship, and abundant Goddess-centered magic!

Walpurgisnacht with a German saint (Saint Walburga), who had curative powers and taught people how to banish curses. For our purpose, Gefn stands in, offering to heal the curse of a broken heart by filling our lives with love and hope-filled foresight. If someone has completely overlooked or trashed your feelings recently, ask Gefn for help in words that you find comfortable. She’s waiting and willing to apply a spiritual salve to that wound.

Also try the German custom of ringing bells and banging pots to frighten away any malicious or prankish magic (or people who make it) before your spring activities really start to rock ‘n’ roll. Make this as playful as possible to encourage Gefn’s participation. Burning rosemary and juniper likewise cleanses the area, and if you can get either of these fresh, Gefn’s presence lies within. The burning releases Her energy.”

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

“In Norse mythology, Gefjon (pronounced GEF-yon) or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a Goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr, foreknowledge, and virginity. Gefjon is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the works of skalds; and appears as a gloss for various Greco-Roman Goddesses in some Old Norse translations of Latin works.

Gefjon ploughs the earth in Sweden by Lorenz Frølich

The Prose Edda and Heimskringla both report that Gefjon plowed away what is now lake Mälaren, Sweden, and with this land formed the island of Zealand, Denmark. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin Herself, but that all who die a virgin become Her attendants. Heimskringla records that Gefjon married the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and that the two dwelled in Lejre, Denmark.

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the Goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to Her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the Goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the Goddesses Freyja and Frigg.” [1]

The Gefion Fountain, located on the harbour front in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Oliver J. Schirmer

“The predominant myth about Gefjon is from a ninth century poem by Bragi the Old and was retold by Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century. He relates how Odin had sent Gefjon out to look for more land, and She came to the court of King Gylfi of Sweden. She entertained the king, and in return he gave Her a grant of as much land as four oxen could plough in one day and one night. Gefjon went to the land of the giants where She had four sons with a giant. She turned the four sons into oxen and brought them back to King Gylfi. They dug up so much earth that they created a lake, Lake Mälaren, and the earth that they had dug they dumped into the sea where it formed an island, Zealand, which is now part of Denmark. Gefjon then moved to the island and married Odin’s son Skjöld, and their children became the royal family of Denmark.

Elsewhere in his works, Snorri Sturluson refers to Gefjon as a virgin Goddess, although the trickster God Loki claims that this is not true. Gefjon is one of Frigg’s handmaidens, and She in turn is served by women who died as virgins.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Also Called: The Giver; Mistress of Magick

Colors: Green, gold

Symbols: Plow, wheat, corn

Stones/Metals: Amber, malachite, copper

Plants: Hawthorn, alder, wheat, corn, elder, thyme, yarrow

Day: Friday

Runes: Gebo, Fehu, Jera       [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Pagan Rights Coalition, “Gefjon“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gefjon“.

Wikipedia, “Gefjon“.

 

Suggested Links:

Odin’s Volk, “Gefjon“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org, “Beloved“.

Quarrie, Deanne. Global Goddess, “Gefjon the Giver“.

Thomas, Dawn “Belladonna”. Global Goddess, “Goddess Gefjon and a Sample Ritual“.

VAIDILUTE, “Asgard and the Gods – Part 4

Wikipedia, “List of names of Freyja“.


"elemental de aire" by ADES21

“Shina Tsu Hime’s themes are wishes, freedom, playfulness, air element and movement.  Her symbols are the wind and sailing ships.  This Japanese wind Goddess disperses the morning fog. She also keeps away evil, distracting winds, winds that threaten to uproot or blur our spiritual focus. Because of this, Shina Tsu Hime has become the patroness of sailors and farmers, the latter of whom pray to Her for fertile winds bearing seed and rain.

Join our Eastern cousins in Japanese kite-flying festivities known as Tako-Age.  Shine Tsu Hime will be glad to meet with you in a nearby a park and give life to your kite. As it flies, release a wish on the winds. Or cut the kite free and liberate a weight from your shoulders.

While you’re out, gather up nine leaves that Shine Tsu Hime banters about (one for each remaining month). Turn clockwise in a circle, releasing all but one leaf back into Shina Tsu Hime’s care while saying:

 ‘Come May, bring movement in my goals
Come June, playful love makes me whole
Come July, my wishes I will see
Come August, hope grows in me
Come September, all distractions you abate
Come October, my spirit, you liberate
Come November, my health is assured
Come December, in my heart you endure.’

Keep the last leaf with you, releasing it only when you need one of this Goddess’s attributes to manifest quickly.”

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

While researching Shine Tsu Hime, I didn’t find anything under this name.  I did find Shine-To-Be, “Japanese Goddess, wife of Shine-Tsu-Hiko” [1], but not much else.  “Shine-Tsu-Hiko is the god of the wind. Shine-Tsu-Hiko fills up the empty space between earth and heaven, and with his wife Shina-To-Be, he holds up the earth.” [2]  According to Wikipedia, Shina-To-Be is a Japanese Goddess of the winds.  The name Shina-To-Be panned out a little more information for me as I researched this Shinto Goddess.

Upon further research, I came across the following information on the entry for “Shinatsuhiko” in the online Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Other names: Shinatobe no mikoto (Nihongi)

According to an “alternate writing” transmitted by Nihongi, Shinatsuhiko was a kami produced at the time Izanagi and Izanami gave birth to the land (kuniumi). As he produced the land of Japan, Izanagi used his breath to dispel the mist covering the country, thereby giving birth to Shinatsuhiko.

The name is interpreted variously as meaning ‘man of long breath’ and ‘man of the place where wind arises,’ and both Kojiki and Nihongi view him as a kami of wind.

[Ok, no mention of any Goddess or anything that Patricia Telesco mentions above.  In fact, it just sounds like she took his attributes and gave them to Shina Tsu Hime, or Shina-To-Be.  But wait – here’s where it gets interesting…]

"Aeris: Air" by AkinaSaita

According to Nihongi, Shinatsuhiko was an alternate name for Shinatobe, a female kami, when tobe is considered a variant of the feminine tomeEngishiki‘sNorito for the Festival of the Tatsuta Wind Kami” likewise suggests that the two names originally referred to a single pair of male-female kami.” [3]

To me, this implies that both were considered equal at one time.  According to Jeremy Roberts, author of Japanese Mythology A – Z, “For much of Japan’s recorded history, women were largely confined to subserviant social roles.  However, exceptions to this general rule are noted in both myth and legend.  For example, in the Shinto creation myth, the most important deity in heaven is Amaterasu, the sun Goddess.  Many historians and anthropologists believe that these references indicate that early Japanese culture had matriarchal clan structures and that women played an important role in leading society.” [4]   So, the conclusion I draw is that at one time, She was considered an equal and was later “downgraded” and all attributes given to Shinatsuhiko while She played the subservient supportive wife and he took all the credit.  I ask myself, “Why?”  but deep down I already know the answer.

If Shinatobe and Shinatsuhiko both originally refer to a single pair of male-female kami held in equal status and importance, what lesson is to be learned here?  The air is what they equally preside over and the air is what we breath – all of us sharing the same air; all of us, breathing in the Universe.

Balance.  Equality.  Connection.  We’ve been ripped away and kept from our Mother for far too long.  With the new astrological era, the Age of Aquarius (that some would argue is already upon us while others say is yet to come), a new spiritual awakening has begun.  An evolution of consciousness and healing is on the horizon.  We are shifting back and restoring our Mother to Her rightful place and recognizing Her role in creation as the Creatrix.  We are feeling Her energy stir, rising and growing stronger.  As we wake up and realize that we are Divine, that male and female are equal – none lesser or subservient to the other; we experience a sense of love, connectedness, wholeness and balance.

In the above graphic, the two hands interlocking represent what is called the Vesica Piscis.  To me, this symbol represents balance, wholeness, birth and harmony.  It is essentially the intersection of two, overlapping spheres.  The sphere is a symbol of a being with no beginning and no end, continually existing, perfectly formed and profoundly symmetrical.  The addition of a second sphere represents the expansion of unity into the duality of male and female, God and Goddess. By overlapping, the two spheres, the God and Goddess are united, creating a Yoni.  From their Divine Union and through the Yoni, life emerges.  Both are equal in size – one is not bigger or smaller than the other; the Vesica Piscis is balanced. [5]

Wow, where did I just go off to?  Here we started out discussing and researching the Shinto Goddess Shina Tsu Hime and ended up examining Sacred Geometry.  To get back on point with Shina Tsu Hime, to me, She one half of a Divine Couple.  She plays an equal part in that which She is said to preside over.  Her role is no less important than that of Her husband’s.  Together, they form a complete and complementary union.  If we were to acknowledge and recognize this within ourselves, I truly believe that we’d be in a better place.

 

 

Sources:

Chinaroad Löwchen, “Japanese Goddess Names.”

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Shinatsuhiko“.

Everything2.com, “The Shinto Kami of Japan“.

Ward, Dan Sewell. Library of Halexandria, “Vesica Pisces“.

Wikipedia, “Shina-To-Be“.

Suggested Links:

Paralumun New Age Village, “Japanese Mythology“.

Roberts, Jeremy. Japanese Mythology A-Z, “Wind Gods“.

Goddess Flora

"Flora" by Evelyn de Morgan

“Flora’s themes are beauty, sexuality, love, spring, and fertility.  Her symbols are all flowers.  Roman prostitutes considered Flora their own Goddess, protecting all acts of beauty, especially heartfelt lovemaking. She is also a spring Goddess from whom we get the word flora, meaning ‘blossom’ or ‘plants’. Symbolically, this flowering pertains to the human spirit too, one that can appreciate beauty in the body without necessarily making it into a sex object.

Wearing bright colors on this day is customary, as is decorating everything with a plethora of flowers, each of which has Flora’s presence within. If flowers prove difficult to obtain or too costly, think floral aromas instead. Pull out a blossoming air freshener, light floral incense, or wear a floral perfume. Flora is as much a part of the scent as She is the petals, conveying love and passion on each breeze!

Another traditional activity for this day is erotic dancing. If you have someone special in your life, tantalize them with a bit with slow, sexy movements. Let Flora’s passion fill both of you to overflowing, then let nature take Her course.

Finally, make yourself a Flora charm that incites the interest of those from whom you seek it. Take three flower petals and tuck them in your clothing, keeping an image of your partner in mind, and say:

 ‘One for interest
Two for Flora’s desire
Three to light passion’s fire.'”

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

“Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowering plants, especially those that bear fruit. Spring, of course, is Her season, and She has elements of a Love-Goddess, with its attendant attributes of fertility, sex, and blossoming. She is quite ancient; the Sabines are said to have named a month for Her (which corresponds to our and the Roman April), and She was known among the Samnites as well as the Oscans, where She was called Flusia. She was originally the Goddess specifically of the flowering crops, such as the grain or fruit-trees, and Her function was to make the grain, vegetables and trees bloom so that autumn’s harvest would be good. She was invoked to avert rust, a nasty fungal disease of plants that causes orange growths the exact color of rusting iron, and which was (is) an especial problem affecting wheat. Hers is the beginning of the process that finds its completion with Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and the Harvest; and like Pomona, Flora had Her own flamen, one of a small number of priests each in service to a specific Deity. The flamens were said to have been instituted by Numa, the legendary second King of Rome who succeeded Romulus; and whether Numa really existed or not, the flamens were undoubtedly of ancient origin, as were the Deities they served.

"Flora" by InertiaK

In later times Flora became the Goddess of all flowering plants, including the ornamental varieties. Her name is related to Latin floris, meaning naturally enough ‘a flower’, with the additional meaning of ‘[something] in its prime’; other related words have meanings like ‘prospering’, ‘flourishing’, ‘abounding’, and ‘fresh or blooming’. In one story, Flora was said to have provided Juno with a magic flower that would allow Her to conceive with no help from a man; from this virgin-birth Mars was born. A late tale calls Flora a courtesan and gives Her a story similar to Acca Larentia: Flora was said to have made a fortune as a courtesan, which She bequeathed to Rome upon Her death, and for which She was honored with the festival of the Floralia. As Flora was originally a Sabine Goddess, and as the Sabines were a neighboring tribe whom the Romans conquered and assimilated into Rome, perhaps this is an acknowledgement of the land so acquired, put into legendary terms.

"Flora" by Louise Abbéma

Flora had two temples in Rome, one near the Circus Maximus, the great “stadium” of Rome where chariot races were held, and another on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill. The temple on the Quirinal was most likely built on the site of an earlier altar to Her said to have been dedicated by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines, who ruled alongside Romulus for a time in the very early (hence legendary) days of Rome. Her other temple was built quite near to the Circus Maximus, though its exact site has not been found, and was associated with a neighboring temple dedicated to the triad of Ceres (the Grain Goddess) and Liber and Libera (God and Goddess of the Vine). These Deities and Flora were all concerned with the fertility and health of the crops. Flora’s temple by the Circus was dedicated on the 28th of April in 241 (or 248) BCE in response to a great drought at the command of the Sybilline books, and this day became the starting date of Her great festival, the Floralia. In Imperial times (1st century CE) this temple was rededicated (I assume after some restorations were made) on the 13th of August, and this date was given to a second festival of Flora, coinciding with the ripening of the grain, whose flowers She had set forth.

Proper Piatti (and workshop): Floralia, 1899

The Floralia of April was originally a moveable feast to coincide with the blossoming of the plants, later becoming fixed with the dedication of Her temple on the 28th (or 27th, before the calendar was reformed–I mention this because holidays were almost always held on odd-numbered days as it was considered unlucky to start a festival on an even-numbered day), though ludi or “games”–horse-races or athletic contests–were not held every year. By the Empire the festival had grown (or should I say, blossomed) to seven days, and included chariot-races and theatrical performances, some of which were notoriously bawdy. It was given over to merriment and celebrations of an amorous nature, much like that northern flower-and-sex festival Beltaine whose date neatly coincides. Prostitutes considered it their own special time, and the Floralia gained a reputation as being more licentious and abandoned than the Saturnalia of December, whose name is legendary even now.

"Flora" by Neonescence

At the chariot-races and circus games of the Floralia it was traditional to let goats and hares loose, and lupines, bean-flowers and vetch (all of which have similarly-shaped blossoms and are a sort of showier version of wheat in bloom) were scattered, symbolic of fertility. Brightly colored clothes were a must, as were wreaths of flowers, especially roses; and the celebrations drew great crowds. Of the two nationalized chariot-teams who shared a deep rivalry, the Greens and the Blues, the Greens (of course) were Hers, and She had been invoked at chariot-races from ancient times. The last day of the festival, May 3rd, was called Florae; it may be a special name for the closing day of the Floralia, or it may refer to a seperate ceremony conducted in Her temple on the Quirinal.

Ancient Roman Fresco - Flora (Khloris), the Goddess of flowers, fills Her basket with freshly picked blooms.

Flora was depicted by the Romans wearing light spring clothing, holding small bouquets of flowers, sometimes crowned with blossoms. Honey, made from flowers, is one of Her gifts, and Her name is said to be one of the secret (holy) names of Rome. She is sometimes called the handmaiden of Ceres. Ovid identifies Her with the Greek flower-nymph Chloris, whose name means ‘yellow or pale green’, the color of Spring. The word flora is still used as a general name for the plants of a region.

Alternate names/epithets: Flora Rustica, ‘Flora the Countrywoman’ or ‘Flora of the Countryside’, and Flora Mater, or ‘Flora the Mother’, in respect to Her ancient origins. Among the Oscans She was known as Flusia.” [1]

Here is a little visual tribute to the Goddess Flora set to Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring) by Antonio Vivaldi for your viewing and listening pleasure

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Flora“.

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Flora {Goddess of the Week}“. 

Carnaval.com, “May Day“.

Gill, N.S. About.com, “Floralia“.

MoonBird, Maeve Cliodhna. The Goddess Within, “Beltane-Celebrating the Goddess Flora of Springtime and the May Queen“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Khloris“.

Wikipedia, “Flora (mythology)“.

Goddess Mati-Syra-Zemlya

“Sadness of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

“Mati-Syra-Zemlya’s themes are community, divination, promises, justice, and morality.  Her symbols are oil and soil.  This Goddess’s name means ‘moist mother’, alluding to Her fertile aspects. She attends today’s festivities to hear oaths and witness legal decisions that may affect the rest of the year. Any promise or sentence made with one hand on the earth, or in Her name, is completely binding. In some areas Her motherly nature is expressed through healing qualities, while in others She has prophetic ability. An appropriate gift for Her is hemp oil.

Landsgemeinde is a civic-oriented holiday in Switzerland during which people gather to conduct regional business, including voting, budgets, and tax proposals. It’s a very old custom adorned with lavish clothing, ceremonial swords, and, I suspect, and eavesdropping Goddess (just to keep everyone honest).

If you need to tie up some pending business, work on your personal budget, or balance the check book, honor Mati-Syra-Zemlya and draw Her ethical energies to you by getting busy!

Alternatively, if you’ve been thinking about getting more involved with your local or magical community, make a commitment to Mati-Syra-Zemlya to start making efforts in that direction. Simply place a hand on the ground and speak your pledge to Her ears. The Goddess will respond by giving you the time and energy needed to fulfil that commitment.”

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

“Mother Earth” by Paul Morley

“Mati Syra Zemla is the chthonic mother Goddess of the ancient Slavs; a vague personification of the earth (literally, “Damp Mother Earth”). Perhaps the Slavs’ oldest pagan deity, Her identity later blended into that of Mokos.” [1] “According to Roman Jakobson and Marija Gimbutas, the worship of such a primal earth Goddess was widespread among the Slavs and their neighbors; this is attested to by the fact that the earth deities of a number of Baltic, Phrygian, and Finno-Ugric peoples exhibit similar characteristics and seem to derive from the Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita (‘Humid Mother of the Earth’).” [2]

Mati Syra Zemla, or Matka, for short, is the Slavic Goddess of the Earth.  Her name translates to Moist Mother Earth, and describes Her as a forever fertile, life-giving force. She is not seen in human form but as the Earth itself; although it is believed that at certain times She will take human form. When She does, She is usually portrayed with black skin which associates Her with the blackness of the fertile soil.  Matka is believed to be the most ancient and powerful of all of the Eastern European deities. In fact, Matka is so powerful that She survived into the 20th century despite all attempts of the Church to do away with Her.

She is the mother of all – the people, the animals, and all of the plants of the Earth.  The Slavic people had a strong connection to their Mother Goddess and an altogether different relationship they had with all the other gods.  They looked upon Her with a mixture of love and admiration, and She was the only deity they addressed personally.  When the peasant people spoke of Her, their eyes would fill with love.  They called on Her to witness property disputes and swore by Her name.  Oaths and marriages were confirmed by swallowing a clump of earth or holding some on their head while they swear and oath. Her aid was invoked during epidemics and while in childbirth.

Matka is also viewed as a champion of justice and a wise prophetess who allows Her petitioners to come to Her without the aide of a priestess or a shaman. It was said that She held all the knowledge of the world and when asked, would release the signs that could be interpreted.

When the Slavs converted to Christianity, the Church attempted to transform Her characteristics the Virgin Mary, but this was not wholly successful, for during trying times, the people would revert to the worship of Matka.  Her Holy Days are May 1st, June 24th and August 1st.  A ritual to Her took place on the fields in August.  At this time, a libation of hemp oil was poured out onto the four directions accompanied by a prayer for protection against the destructive forces of nature.” [3]

“Melaina” by Thalia Took

Based on Mati Syra Zemla’s description as a chthonic Goddess who appears black skinned when She takes “human form”, I could not help but draw a parallel between Her and Melaine, “The Black One” who is the under-earth or chthonic aspect of the Greek Great Goddess, said to bring nightmares.  Different Goddesses are called by Her name (Aphrodite Melaenis represents a dark aspect of the Goddess of love as Underworld deity, though some say She is called “Black” because love-making often takes place at night).  Melaina is also the epithet of Demeter Herself as an Underworld Goddess, and in this respect is called Chthonia. [4]

I think its important to note that the term “chthonic” is not only used to describe earth deities, but Underworld deities as well.  As a chthonic earth Goddess, it would be easy then to see Her as a fertile life giving and nurturing mother – yet on the other hand, Her blackness would be associated with the womb, caves and descending to the Underworld deep within the earth in which we are forced to face fears, past trauma, nightmares and death (metaphorical and physical).

It is only within the caverns deep within Her dark womb that we are forced to face and learn to overcome and heal from that which has hurt us, only to re-emerge or be born anew into the world – changed, stronger and wiser.

Ancient Mother, no matter by which name You are called, I hear you calling…

Sources:

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mokos“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

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

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Mati-Syra-Zemlya {Goddess of the Week}“. * (HIGHLY SUGGEST visiting this site – packed full of detailed information and associations!)

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “Mokosh’ – The Russian Goddess Lakshmi“.

Kakasevski, Vesna (translated by Snježana Todorović). Starisloveni.com, “Mokoš“.

Goddess Mawu

“Mawu” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Mawu’s themes are creativity, Universal Law, passion, abundance, birth, and inspiration.  Her symbols are clay and the moon.  Mawu arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy. Hers is a wise passion and a timely birth, being ruled by natural laws and universal order. In Africa, She is a lunar-aligned creatrix who made people from clay. As a mother figure, Mawu inspires the universe’s abundance and every dreamers imagination.

Rituals for Mawu rejoice in Her life-giving energy, often through lovemaking. In Africa, people take this seed generation literally and sow the fields, knowing that Mawu will make the land fertile. So get yourself a seedling today and bring it into the house to welcome Mawu and Her creative powers. Name the sprout after one of Mawu’s attributes that you want to cultivate. Each time you water or tend the plant, repeat its name and accept Mawu’s germinating energy into your spirit.

Alternatively, get some non-hardening clay and begin fashioning a symbol of what you need. Devote yourself to spending time on this over twenty-eight days (a lunar cycle), until it’s complete. Each time you work, say:

 ‘Mother Mawu, make me whole
Help me obtain my sacred goal.’

By the time this is finished, you should see the first signs of manifestation.”

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

In Dahomey mythology, Mawu, (pronounced MAH-woo) and sometimes alternatively spelled Mahu, is a West African Mother Earth creator Goddess associated with both the sun and moon.  She is the Goddess of the night, of joy, and of motherhood as well as the ruler of the world’s wisdom and knowledge.   She is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world. Sometimes She is seen as a moon Goddess, the twin sister-wife of the sun god Lisa (alternatively spelled Liza), but sometimes “She” is seen as one androgynous or hermaphroditic deity, Mawu-Lisa.  Mahu and Lisa are the children of Nana Buluku, and are the parents of Xevioso.   [1] [2] [3]

“Mawu and Lisa had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, and they divided the responsibilities of the world among them. Mawu is also the Goddess of motherhood, since it was she that created the first humans out of clay, and she gives humans their souls.”  [4]

“Mawu” by Lisa Iris

“After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When She asked Awe, a monkey She had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only She could give life and that She could also take it away.

This myth is similar to the Yoruba story of Yemaja and Aganju, parents of the Orishas.” [5]

“Mawu” by Lisa Hunt

In another version of Her story I read,  “Mawu is said to have created all of the life on earth with Her husband, Liza, but after doing so, She worried that it might be too heavy…and so She called on the serpent Aido Hwedo for help. Legend has it that the serpent thus curled itself into a ball beneath the earth and pushed it up into the sky; Mawu then retired to the jungle realm of heaven and for awhile, all remained in peace and harmony.

But, before long, the people of the earth began to fight amongst each other….having forgotten that it was Mawu who had provided each of them with not only the world on which they lived, but also the essence of life, their souls.   To fight each other was to fight Mawu as well.  Mawu then sought aid from the monkey, Awe, who turned out to be an insolent braggart who boasted that he was just as powerful as She.  He boasted that he, too, could make life…and when the people of Earth heard this, they began to believe him.

To prove it, he chopped down a tree and carved on it all the features of a person, and when he was finished, he stepped back and said that he had created a person.  Mawu observed that wooden figure lying on the ground and remarked that the figured didn’t do anything and She challenged Awe to breathe life into it.  Awe then gulped a tremendous breath of air and blew it strongly, but the person continued to lie still and mute on the ground.  Once again he tried and this time, he blew so strongly that the wooden figure moved in the wind’s path, but it remained lifeless.  After two more attempts, he admitted that he had been defeated and hung his head in shame, acknowledging that only Mawu could make life; he said that he would return to the world below and tell everyone that he had been wrong.

But, Mawu knew he really didn’t mean it, that he was a charlatan, and once he returned to earth, he would only start boasting again.  So, She made him a bowl of porridge to eat before his long journey, and into this porridge She had put the seed of death.  And only after Awe had finished eating did he learn of the seed he had eaten and would carry back to earth the knowledge that She and no other is the giver and taker of life.” [6]

Sources:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Mawu“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mawu“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Mawu“.

Wikipedia, “Mawu“.

Suggested Links:

Antoine Family Reunion. Antoine Family Reunion, “The Vodun Creation Story“.

Goddess. The Grateful Goddess, “Goddess of the Month ~ Mawu“. 

Iles, Susan. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

The Goddess Temple, Inc. Talk with the Goddess, “Goddess Mawu“.

Moon, Tora. The Goddess Speaks, “Mawu – Goddess of Creation (Dahomey of West Africa)“.

Solarlottery.com, “Mawu-Lisa the Creators: An African Tale“.

West African Diaspora Mami Wata Vodoun, “Exploits of the Gods“.

Goddess Lada

“Goddess Lada” by Lady-Ghost

“Lada’s themes are spring, protection, overcoming, kinship, energy, and joy.  Her symbols are birch and bells.  Lada bursts forth from Her winter hiding place today in full Slavic costume and dances with joy, grateful for spring’s arrival. As Lada moves, Her skirts sweep away sickness and usher in the earth’s blossoming beauty. She bears a birch tree and flowers to honor the earth’s fertility and to begin planting anew.

Sechseläuten, a traditional Swiss spring holiday, is overflowing with Lada’s vibrancy and begins with the demolition of a snowman, symbolic of winter’s complete overthrow. If you don’t live in a region where there’s snow, take out an ice cube and put a flowering seed atop it. Let is melt, then plant the seed with ‘winter’s’ water to welcome Lada back to the earth.

Bells ring throughout this day in Switzerland to proclaim spring and ring out any remaining winter maladies and shadows. Adapt this by taking a handheld bell (you can get small ones at craft stores) and ringing it in every room of the house, intoning Lada’s revitalizing energy. Or, just ring your doorbell, open the door, and bring in some flowers as a way of offering Lada’s spirit hospitality.

Finally, wear something with a floral print today or enjoy a glass of birch beer. Better still, make a birch beer float so the ice cream (snow) melts amid Lada’s warmth, bringing that transformative power into you as you sip.”

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

“Lada is the Slavic Goddess of spring, love, and beauty. She was worshipped throughout Russia, Poland, and other areas of Eastern Europe. She is usually depicted as a young woman with long blonde hair. She carries wild roses, and is also known as the ‘Lady of the Flowers’. As Goddess of spring, Lada is associated with love and fertility in both humans and animals. She is said to return from the underworld every year at the Vernal Equinox, bringing the spring with Her.” [1]

“The Slavic Goddess of love and beauty, who appears as Freya, Isis, or Aphrodite with other peoples. She is, of course, linked to the planetary power of Venus who is, besides love and beauty, associated with fertility. Lada is represented as a girl with long golden hair sometimes with a wreath of ears of grain braided into Her hair, which symbolizes Her function of fertility deity thus making Her an aspect of Mother of Wet Land. A symbol of Sun, a mark of lifegiving power was sometimes on her breasts. As a fertility Goddess, Lada has Her annual cycles, which can be shown by the belief that She resides in the dwelling place of the dead until the vernal equinox comes. This world of the dead is called Irij, and here, besides Lada, dwells Veles, the horned god of cattle. [Does this story ring a bell?  A connection between Persephone/Kore in Greek mythology or Oniata in the Americas?]

At the moment when Lada is supposed to come out into the world and bring spring, Gerovit opens the door of Irij letting the fertility Goddess bless the earth. At the end of summer, Lada returns to Irij (there is a similar myth in German mythology in which Freya spends a part of the year underground among the elves, whereas Greek Persefona dwells in Hades during the winter period). Although Her reign begins on the 21st of March, Lada is primarily the Goddess of summer. She follows Vesna, the Slavic spring Goddess. However, both of these Goddesses are associated with fertility so sometimes it can sometimes be difficult to separate their functions. As we can see, Lada’s reign begins in spring, the proof of which is ladenjanother name for April, given after this Goddess. Apart from the Sun, Lada is also associated with rain and hot summer nights, the ideal time for paying respect to the love Goddess.

Lada’s animals are a cock, a deer, an ant and an eagle, whereas Her plants are a cherry, a dandelion, a linden and a peony. Besides Venus, Lada is connected with the constilation of Taurus, which Aleksandar Asov wrote about in The Slavic Astrology. Here, we can once again Her function of fertility Goddess, whose reign begins in spring, mix with the function of the Goddess Vesna. A myth says that Lada is married to Svarog who is only with Her help able to create the world. According to another one, She is a companion of Jarilo, thus associated with Aphrodite, whose lover is Ares. Rituals performed in Lada’s honor are most often linked with contracting marriages, or choosing a spouse. One of the known rites is ladarice, also performed under the name of kraljice in Serbia. Vuk Karadžić described the basic characteristics of this ritual. On Holy Trinity Day, a group of about ten young girls gathers, one of them is dressed like a queen, another one like a king, and another one like a color-bearer. The queen is sitting on a chair, while the other girls are dancing around Her, and the king and the color-bearer are dancing on their own. In this way the queens go from house to house looking for girls of marriageable age. Jumping over the fire is another characteristic of rituals performed in Lada’s honor. This custom existed in all parts of Europe and its purpose was to ensure fertility as well as to protect people and cattle from evil forces.” [2]  This very similar to the customs of Beltane; celebrating the May Queen and jumping the balefire for purification purposes and to ensure fertility.

“Lady Galadriel” by Josephine Wall

“Lada’s name means peace, union, and harmony.  Lada creates harmony within the household and in marriages;  She blesses unions of love with peace and goodwill.  In Russia, when a couple is happily married it is said that they ‘live in Lada.’  Rituals performed in Her honor are most often linked with contracting marriages and and choosing a spouse.” [3] 

 

 

Sources:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Lada“.

Kakaševski, Vesna (translated by Jelena Salipurović). Starisloveni.com, “Lada“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Lada“.

Goddess Erzulie

"Erzulie Mansur-Loa of Love" by NMEZero

“Erzulie’s themes are prosperity, abundance, and love.  Her symbol is the color blue. This Haitian love Goddess extends Her beneficent spring like energy whenever we need it, especially when our pockets or hearts are empty. When life gets out of kilter, petitioning Erzulie sets everything back on track, slowly but surely. Blue is Erzulie’s sacred color, and She is sometimes called ‘the loving one’.

Use peppercorns somehow, of course! The Peppercorn Ceremony began in 1816 when the mayor of Bermuda was given use of the state house for the annual rent of one peppercorn. This rent must be delivered annually, and with all due pageantry, to preserve the island’s prosperity beneath Erzulie’s watchful graze. For us this might translate into eating a peppercorn dressing on a green salad (lettuce represents money) to internalize financial abundance, or keeping a peppercorn in your wallet to safeguard your money and its flow.

Definitely wear blue today to catch Erzulie’s attention, and add  blue foods to your diet – blueberries, blue juice drink, or even blue colored water.

You can also encourage Erzulie’s blessing through selfless actions. Give a friend a hug, pamper your pets, take the kids out for some quality time, and remember to kiss your partner goodbye in the morning. You’ll feel better and find your heart naturally filling with Erzulie’s love.”

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

"Erzulie" by Stephen Hamilton

Erzulie, or Ezili, is the Vodou Lwa (spirit or Goddess) of love and women. She has many forms, from coquette to fierce warrior mother to red-eyed weeping crone, and can be counted among either the Rada or Petwo lwa (spirits or gods). The Petwo rites arose in the New World during slavery, and Petwo lwa are characteristically dark and powerful, and called bitter (anme). Erzulie is a love Goddess who developed during a time when slave owners broke up families and separated husbands and wives at will, and considered raping female slaves a pleasant way to produce more slaves.

Erzulie manifests deep, deep passion, and Her moods can range from the height of joy to the depths of misery–when She mounts (spiritually possesses) a follower she or he goes from coquettish and seductive to crying her or himself to sleep, weeping for the limitations of love. There are numerous sister forms of Erzulie, and She is sometimes considered a triple Goddess. As such She has three husbands–Damballah (the sky god), Agwe (the sea god), and Ogoun (a god of fire and iron), and She wears three wedding bands. Offerings to Erzulie are all the sweet things She loves–perfume, sweet food, and desserts such as bananas fried in sugar.” [1]

According to the Mystic Voodoo website, “In the Voodoo Pantheon, there is an important group of female loa (Goddesses) whose first name is Erzulie. While all of them share in their role as Goddess of love, art, and sex, each has additional areas of life which is theirs to defend and assist. Erzulie is three in aspect:  She can be Erzulie Freda, a virgin Goddess likened to the Virgin Mary; Erzulie Dantor,  loa of jealousy and passion; or La Siren, a personification of the sea and Goddess of motherhood.  Her color is pink, Her animal a white dove. She is associated with the Lukumi Orisha Oshun, and sometimes Chango (as Erzulie Dantor).

Erzulie Dantor

"Erzulie Dantor" by Christy Freeman

Erzulie Dantor is the Voodoo Goddess of love, romance, art, jealousy, passion, & sex. Erzulie Dantor is the patron loa of lesbian women, fierce protector of women experiencing domestic violence and patron loa of New Orleans. Beauty, love, and sensuality are Her Creations. Emotions are what link Her to the endless reservoir of universal creativity. Erzulie Dantor offers to you protection and possibilities beyond the imagination.  Erzulie Dantor is a mulatto woman who is often portrayed as the Black Madonna, or the Roman Catholic “Saint Barbara Africana”. She has tribal scars on Her cheek, and is considered heterosexual because She has children, but She is also the patron loa of lesbian women. Thus, She loves women fiercely, and will defend them to the death. She loves knives and is considered the protector of newly consecrated Voodoo priests and priestesses, as well as of women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and women who have been betrayed by a lover.

She is highly respected and much feared due to Her Woman Power. Most Haitian women serve Dantor, and She is also the patron loa of New Orleans and so She is served by many there as well. She also supports independent business women and is the patron of women’s finances. Many women invoked Erzulie Dantor against their partners (male or female) should they become violent. And enlightened men also serve Dantor, especially men who honor, love and respect women.” [2]

“A common syncretic depiction of Erzulie Dantor is St. Jeanne D’Arc, who is displayed carrying or supporting a sword. Another is as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, as She is represented as being dark-skinned. Her colors are red, gold and navy blue. Her symbols are a pierced heart and knives or swords. Her favorite sacrifices include black pigs, griot (seasoned fried pork), and rum.” [3]

Erzulie Fréda

"Erzulie Freda" by Shelley Hakonson

“Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the spirit of love, beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury, and flowers. She wears three wedding rings, one for each husband – Damballa, Agwe and Ogoun. Her symbol is a heart, Her colors are pink, blue, white and gold, and Her favorite sacrifices include jewelry, perfume, sweet cakes and liqueurs. Coquettish and very fond of beauty and finery, Erzulie Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet She also has a darker side; She is seen as jealous and spoiled and within some vodoun circles is considered to be lazy. When She mounts a serviteur She flirts with all the men, and treats all the women as rivals.

In Christian iconography She is often identified with the Mater Dolorosa. She is conceived of as never able to attain Her heart’s most fervent desire. For this reason She always leaves a service in tears. Her syncretic iconographical depiction is usually based on that of the Virgin and Child, because She is the mother of Ti. Common syncretizations include Our Lady of Lourdes because She is usually depicted as light-skinned.” [4]

Erzulie Freda Altar Poster

According to the Sosyete du Marche, Inc. (an American Vodou House in Pennsylvania), “Erzulie Freda is the sister of Ezili Dantor, and Her opposite in every way.  Where Dantor is a hard working single mother, Freda is a glamor girl.  The mistress of three powerful spirits – Ogoun, Agwe and Danbala – She  is said to be the most powerful sorceress in the pantheon. So pure and  so good is Freda, that nothing malefic may happen in Her presence. She  is purity – Her horses must be clean, dressed immaculately and scented  with Her favorite Pompie lotion, before She will manifest in service.

Syncretized with Our Lady of Calvary, Freda is seen to  have the wealth of the world at Her finger tips and yet, She weeps  uncontrollably in service. There is never enough champagne (pink) or  cakes (white with white frosting) or candies or clothing or jewelry to  satisfy Her. Her desires must be met or She turns in upon herself and  becomes Je Rouge (Red Eyed), the most fearsome of the Ezili group. Sister to Dantor, LaSiren and Clermizine, Freda is the  most audacious, both in dress and behavior. She will typically greet the women with just Her pinkies, but will lavish hugs and kisses to the men present. She loves the colors pink and pale blue, Pompiea lotion, pink champagne and roses, frosted cakes, jewelry, makeup and gifts. Keep Her  things clean or she will not arrive in the temple.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

The Mystic Voodoo, “Erzulie, Voodoo Goddess of Love“.

Sosyete du Marche, Inc., “Erzulie Freda“.

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

Wikipedia, “Erzulie“.

Goddess Sif

“Sif” by helgath

“Sif’s themes are summer, kinship, arts, passion, and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun, gold and hair.  This Scandinavian earth Goddess has long golden hair that shines even more brightly now that the sun is reclaiming its dominance in the sky. On warm nights, especially in summer, She enjoys making love beneath an open sky in the fields, symbolically giving life and adoration to the earth.

People greet the traditional first day of summer exuberantly in Iceland today, as winter has been very long and often very difficult. They exchange gifts wrapped in gold to celebrate the sun’s return, gather with family and friends, and revel in regional arts, especially dramas.

A non-Icelandic version of this might be performing a ritual drama in which you slowly raise a golden sphere with trailing gold ribbons (representing the sun and Sif). Once the sphere is in full view, high in the room, say:

‘Sif, be welcome
Sif is here
She shines Her golden warmth on us and the earth
Warming both, nurturing all.’
 

Afterward, try this Sif-centered spell for unity and passion at home: Have a small, enclosed fire source burning (this represents the sun’s blessing). Each person in your household then takes one strand of hair and gives it to the flame. As this burns, add dried lemon peel and basil to emphasize harmony (and offset the scent of the hair). Sprinkle the ashes in the soil around the living space.”

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

“Sif” by InertiaK

“Sif is the Norse Goddess of the grain, who is a prophetess, and the beautiful golden-haired wife of Thor. Thor is the thunder God and frequent companion of Loki, as he makes the perfect patsy, being not too bright. Sif is of the elder race of Gods or Aesir. She is a swan-maiden, like the Valkyries, and can take that form.

By Her first marriage to the Giant Orvandil, Sif had a son named Ullr (“the Magnificent”), who is a god of winter and skiing. By Her second husband Thor, She had a daughter, Thrudr (“Might”), a Goddess of storm and clouds and one of the Valkyries, and two sons, Magni (“Might”) and Modi (“Anger” or “The Brave”), who are destined to survive Ragnarok and inherit Mjollnir from Thor (though some say the Giantess Jarnsaxa “Iron Sword” is their mother). Sif is famous for Her very long, very golden hair.

“Sif nLoki” by idahoj1

One night, Loki, who just couldn’t resist a little chaos and mischief, snuck into Her chamber and chopped it all off. A sobbing and horrified Sif went straight to Her husband, who in His rage started breaking Loki’s bones, one by one, until finally He swore to make the situation right. So Loki went to the dwarves and persuaded them to make not only a new head of magic hair for Sif from pure gold, but also a magical ship and a spear. But Loki could not resist pushing His luck, and made a wager with two other dwarves, Brokk and Sindi, daring them to make better treasures. Loki was so sure of the outcome that He had let His own head be the prize. Underestimating the dwarves’ skills (or the depth of their hatred for Him), He suddenly realized with a shock that Brokk and Sindi were winning! In desperation He changed Himself into a horsefly, biting and pestering the dwarves while they worked. In spite of this they managed to produce several treasures, the most famous of which was Mjollnir, Thor’s Hammer. The Gods were then called to arbitrate and declared Brokk and Sindi the winners. Loki promptly disappeared. When He was tracked down He was again given to the dwarf brothers, but this time Loki agreed, yes, they had a right to His head, but the wager had said nothing about His neck. Frustrated with this ‘logic’, the dwarves had to content themselves with sewing His lips shut. The new head of golden hair was given to Sif, where it magically grew from Her head just as if it were natural. Her golden hair is said to represent the wheat of summer that is shorn at harvest-time.” [1]

Sif

“If you are going through a difficult time in your life right now, remember Sif and Her story.  Sif wouldn’t let any situation in Her life disable Her, or cause Her to become un-peaceful.  She would simply wait it out, knowing that everything will be taken care of in the end.  There is always darkness before the sun.  Believing in this will all your heart, bake a home made bread with many grains, in honor of Sif and Her representation of harvest.  Make sure to throw some bread back into the earth as an offering!” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Sif: Goddess of Grain and Gold“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Sif“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Sif {Goddess of the Week}“.

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Sif“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Sif“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddess, “Meeting Sif, Norse Goddess of Family and Harvest” (p. 205 – 225).

Thorshof.org, “How Sif Got Her Golden Hair“.

Valkrietower, “Sif“.

Goddess Ishtar

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ishtar’s themes are love, fertility, passion, sexuality, and the moon.  Her symbols are a star, the moon, lions and doves.  In Babylon, Ishtar encompasses the fullness of womanhood, including being a maternal nurtures, an independent companion, an inspired bed partner, and an insightful advisor in matters of the heart. Having descended from Venus (the planet that governs romance), She is the moon, the morning star and the evening star, which inspire lovers everywhere to stop for a moment, look up and dare to dream. Saturday is Ishtar’s traditional temple day, and Her sacred animals include a lion and a dove.

Babylonians give Ishtar offerings of food and drink on this day. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor on the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness. If you’d like to connect with this fertile energy but have no bed partner, a magical alternative is using symbolism. Place a knife (or athame, a ritual dagger often representing the masculine divine or the two-edged sword of magic) in a cup filled with water. This represents the union of yin and yang. Leave this is a spot where it will remain undisturbed all day to dray Ishtar’s loving warmth to your home and heart.

If you have any clothes, jewellery or towels that have a star or moon on them, take them out and use them today. Ishtar abides in that symbolism. As you don the item, likewise accept Ishtar’s mantle of passion for whatever tasks you have to undertake all day.”

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

“Semiramis” by kk-graphics

“Ishtar is the Babylonian Goddess of Love and War, embodied in the two aspects of the planet Venus–as Evening Star, She brings lovers to celebration and bed; and as the Morning Star, She brings the fiery sword of War. She represents one of the many faces of the ancient Near Eastern Great Goddess, among them the Phoenicians Asherat or Ashtoreth (in Greek Astarte) and Anat, Sumerian Inanna, Phrygian Cybele, and Greek Aphrodite, most of whom share legends of dying and resurrected lovers.

As Goddess of love and sex, Ishtar is the force that draws mates together and brings fertility, both for humans and animals. She is Goddess of courtesans, and sacred prostitution was part of Her cult. She is Herself a harlot who took many lovers.

A Neo-Assyrian seal (circa 750-650 BC) of Ishtar (at left) standing with her bow on her mythical lion.

As Goddess of war, Ishtar takes part in battle and is shown standing on the back of a lion bearing bow and arrows. She was known for a fiery and fickle temper which usually spelled doom for Her lovers.

“Innana, Queen of Heaven” by buechnerstod

One of Ishtar’s lovers was the grain-god Tammuz (who still has a Jewish month named after Him). He died young (as the grain is cut just as it reaches the perfection of ripeness), and some legends imply that Ishtar had a hand in His death. But Ishtar was inconsolable and determined to fetch him back from the Underworld. At each of the seven gates of the Land of the Dead Ishtar, like Inanna, was required to give over an article of clothing or jewelry until finally She came naked and humbled before Her sister Queen Ereshkigal, who then imprisoned Ishtar.

The world mourned for the lost Goddess of love, and Her father Sin the Moon God sent an envoy armed with powerful magic who successfully rescued Her. Tammuz was eventually also brought back to live in the land of the gods. The Descent of Ishtar was celebrated annually in Babylonian lands.

Epithets: The Star of Lamentation, Lady of Battles, Courtesan of the Gods” [1]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Sumerian

Element: Air

Sphere of Influence: Love and fertility

Preferred Colors: Gold and blue

Associated Symbol: 8 pointed star, reed bundle

Best Day to Work With: Friday

Suitable Offerings: Lapus Lazuli

Associated Planet: Venus    [2]

Gemstones: Carnelian, coral, agate, brown jasper (orange stones), quartz crystal, moonstone, garnet  [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Inanna/Ishtar“.

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

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Ishtar“.

Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who Is Goddess Ishtar?

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

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Queen of Heaven and Earth: Inanna-Ishtar of Mesopotamia” (p. 19 – 38).

Ra-Hoor-Khuit Network, “Ishtar“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess, “Ishtar“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Tale of Ishtar“.

Wikipedia, “Ishtar“.

Goddess Tauropolos

"TAURUS" by ShellyeSR

“Tauropolos’ themes are work, patience, strength, and courage.  Her symbol is the bull.  No Goddess could better represent this date other than Tauropolos, the Cretan bull Goddess whose name literally means ‘Bull Lady’ (and that’s no bull!). Teaching us the virtues of diligence and the rewards of hard work, Tauropolos also has a strong connection to the fields (the plough) and the hearth, where food from the fields gets prepared.

The Cretans were all known for having bull-leaping festivals that honored this Goddess, probably as a fertility rite and test of one’s bravery. Oddly enough, this is how we come by the saying ‘seize the bull by the horns!’.

So, if there’s an area of your life in which you want to really seize the day, try this symbolic spell. Find and image of a bull (in a magazine, carved out of stone, or in some other form). Put it on the floor, and put a symbol of your aspiration on the side of the image across from you. Say:

‘Tauropolos, prepare the fields for success
Help me now to do my best.’

Leap over the image and claim victory!

If you can’t find bull images, any harvested item may represent Tauropolos instead. If you choose this option, be sure to consume the food later. This way you can internalize this Goddess’s tenacity, persistence and fortitude, then apply them toward successfully achieving your goals.”

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

“Tauropolos, known as Artemis Tauropolos,  is “an epithet for the Goddess Artemis, variously interpreted as worshipped at Tauris, or pulled by a yoke of bulls, or hunting bull Goddess. A statue of Artemis “Tauropolos” in Her temple at Brauron in Attica was supposed to have been brought from the Taurians by Iphigenia. Tauropolia was also a festival of Artemis in Athens.

There was a Tauropolion, a temple in a temenos sacred to Artemis Tauropolos, in the north Aegean island of Doliche (now Ikaria).” [1]

"Taurus" by faerieofskye

This very interesting piece entitled, “Artemis 0f the Bulls” by Carla Osborne describes the importance of bulls in ancient Greek religion, particularly in Crete and how they played a part in the worship of Mithras. “Artemis and Goddesses similar to Her were also closely connected to the bull and cow, sacred from Neolithic times. The head and horns of a bull resemble the uterus and ovaries of a woman, and the cow produced milk for people as well as her young. Both could provide meat, leather for clothing and footwear, horns for musical instruments, and so on. These connections had persisted on Crete more  than elsewhere in Southern Greece, where they were connected to Britomartis instead.

The bull’s head was clearly connected to rebirth and new life. The butterfly, one of the symbolic carriers of human souls in the cycle of rebirth. Hence the association between the bull’s head, butterfly and double ax. The bull and double ax became especially connected to Artemis. The ceremony of blood baptism was used in Her worship, later taken as a sacrament by the worshippers of Mithras.

Atia undergoing the taurobolium from HBO/BBC's series "Rome"

The ceremony used by those worshippers may not have been identical to that of Tauropolos, however. Worshippers of Mithras stood beneath a grating, and were drenched with bull’s blood as its throat was cut above it. According to Greek writers, priestesses of Tauropolos were the only ones able to drink bull’s blood and survive, implying a strong taboo due to its sacred nature. They were also known to sometimes sacrifice gelded horses.

Baptism does not need more than a few drops of a liquid for sprinkling, as can be seen in present day Christian ceremionies. The religion around Mithras was created for professional soldiers, men who faced bloody death each day, an entirely different life pattern from most worshippers of Tauropolos.

On Bronze Age Crete, the Goddess of the Sun (Alectrona perhaps) was the one to whom bulls were sacred. The bull game of Crete was called the taurokathapsia, ‘purifying bull dance.’ This was not a bullfight, but a test  of bravery and skill, in which young women and men ran at the bull, grasped its horns, and somersaulted over its back. While Tauropolos does mean bullslayer, this refers to the sacrifice of bulls, not the process of infuriating and tormenting a large bull prior to killing it through loss of blood and repeated sword thrusts.

Sacrifice often involved beheading the bull and leaving its head in the temple, where the skull was used in sacred decoration. The meat was returned to the family who provided the bull, or if community sacrifice, was shared in a feast. No evidence exists of a human sacrifice in the Neolithic, the time these ceremonies derive from, or any such sacrifices later in this context.

The story of the island of Taurus, with its homicidal priestess of Artemis Iphigeneia is probably a demonization of other religious practises. Bull heads were mounted on the walls of many temples, from Catal Huyuk to Crete. The practice of embalming and displaying the heads of honored ancestors may also be the original action. It was meant to allow the ancestors to be part of the family, still remembered and respected, who in turn contributed wisdom and protection.

So Iphigeneia, whose name is also a title of Artemis, is a mortuary priestess like Kirke and Calypso.  Men in Attica could dedicate themselves to Artemis Tauropolos by undergoing a mock beheading ceremony in which a few drops of blood were drawn from his neck with a labrys. Its descendant is the English Knighting ceremony.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Osborne, Carla.  The New AmazoNation, “Different Aspects of Artemis“.

Wikipedia, “Artemis Tauropolos

crdmwritingroad

Coralie Raia's Writing Road Blog

Moody Moons

Inspiring a Celebration of the Seasons and the Spirit

Award-Winning Author Nicole Evelina

Stories of Strong Women from History and Today

Eternal Haunted Summer

pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Batik, Mixed Media, Illustration, Murals & Design Work

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern viking blog written by an ancient soul

Seven Trees Farm

Diversified subsistence farming in Whatcom County, WA since 2005

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Musings from a Germanic polytheistic Pagan with Roman inclinations

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

The Slavic Polytheist

Exploring spirituality through my history and historical research. Also, minor incursions into daily life.

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

The Well Of Mímir

A pantheist pagan's journey for the wisdom of Mímir

Thrudvangr

The Journey of a Thor's Wife

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Just another WordPress.com site

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

virgo magic

astrology for healing and evolution

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

Boar, Birch and Bog

Musings of a Vanic Godathegn

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Womb Of Light

The Power of the Awakened Feminine

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

The art of living with a broken heart.

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe