Archive for May, 2012


Goddess Sisina

“Flora Study II” by Jia Lu

“Sisina’s themes are offering, prayer, love, devotion, home and relationships. Her symbols are Spring and May-blossoming flowers. This Filipino Goddess oversees the realms of orderliness, beauty and love. Traditionally, She protects marriages against discord, but She may also be called upon to settle inner turmoil within you soul and restore self-love.

Today concludes Flores de Mayo in which people in the Philippines say good-bye to May with bouquets, flower offerings and an array of sweet foods to honor the month’s sweetness and beauty. Sometimes they ask Sisina to joint the festivities by setting a place for Her at the table.

This particular custom appears in several other cultures and it is a simple lovely way of honoring the Goddess. Just leave a plate with a a fresh flower on your dinner table. This draws Sisina’s presence, love and peaceful nature to your home and family relationships. If you wish also leave an offering of sweet bread or fruity wine in a special spot to thank Her.

As you go about your normal routine today, take time to enjoy any flowers you see and be very considerate of the special people in your life. Sisina will see the effort and continue blessing those realtinships with harmony.”

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

“spring shower 1of 4 seasons pressed flower art” by Shelley Xie

I could find no specific mention of a Goddess called “Sisina” for today’s entry.  While browsing through a list of Gods, Goddesses and Deities of the Philippines, I did find 2 Goddesses of love.  The first Goddess I found was Dian Masalanta, “the Goddess of love, pregnancy, child birth, and peace among the ancient Tagalogs. Ever since the arrival of the Spaniards, She has been known by the name, Maria Makiling, after Her mountain, Mount Makiling.” [1]

The second Goddess I found was Sehana, the Goddess of love who had the power to bestow love on any mortal or immortal being. [2]  I could find no other information on Sehana other the meaning of Sehana as a Filipino name for girls.

I did find mention of a Goddess called Bighari, who was the Goddess of flowers and daughter of Bathala (the supreme god of the ancient Tagalogs) who plays a role in the Filipino legend of the first rainbow.  Legend says that “one day Bathala planned a journey to Earth to visit his faithful people. He called his children to bid them farewell. All of them came but Bighari, the Goddess of Flowers.  Bathala, who valued promptness, became angry because this was not the first time that Bighari missed their gathering. Thus, he banished Her from their heavenly kingdom.  Bighari, at that time, was at Her garden on Earth. She wept bitterly when She was told of Her banishment. But She sought to cope with Her sorrow by causing Her garden to bloom profusely.

Goddess of Rainbows by JinxFlux

The legend of the rainbow says that the people that used to live around Her garden grew to love Her more and more for bringing beauty to their lives. They resolved, after a time, to build Her a bower so that they could see Her garden even from a long distance.

And so they built it, and decked it all over with colorful blooms. Thereafter, whenever Bighari would travel, people would see Her colorful bower against the sky.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Mysterio delas Filipinas, “The Eternal Beings“.

Read-legends-and-myths.com, “The Rainbow Legend from the Philippines“.

WikiPilipinas, “Dian Masalanta“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Nosfecatu Publishing, “Taste Test: Dian Masalanta“.

Wikipedia, “Deities of Philippine Mythology“.

Goddess Seshat

“Seshat’s themes are honor, learning, history, time and Karma. Her symbols are books and writing implements. Seshat is the Egyptian record keeper of the gods and a Goddess to whom history, writing and books are all sacred. Seshat reminds us that to change both our collective and our individual futures, we must first learn from the past. Measuring time and helping people plan out sacred buildings, Seshat often appears in art with a severn-pointed rosette and a wand (likely to inscribe Her notes).

A time to remember people who have died in battle, Memorial Day also affords us a moment to remember those who have fought for freedom in alternative faiths. For the phrase, ‘never again the burning’ to mean something, we have to open our ‘broom closets’ and begin education the public about the beauty of magical traditions instead of using the usual hype. If you know someone who’s been curious about magic, sharing your knowledge today honors Seshat and all the people who have kept records of our metaphysical legacy even when rising their lives.

Attend to your magical books today: read, write, make notes of your experiences with all due diligence and ask Seshat to help you see the bigger picture. Don’t dawdle today! Commit yourself to eliminating the phrase ‘pagan standard time’ from your vocabulary. Being timely is something this Goddess appreciates.”

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

 

Art by Jenny Carrington

“Seshat (Sesha, Sesheta or Safekh-Aubi) was a Goddess of reading, writing, arithmetic and architecture who was seen as either the female aspect of Thoth, his daughter or his wife. They had a child called Hornub. This actually means “gold Horus“, so Seshat was sometimes associated with Isis. She was the scribe of the pharaoh, recording all of his achievements and triumphs including recording both the booty and the captives taken in battle. She was also thought to record the actions of all people on the leaves of the sacred persea tree.

Seshat, inscribing the years of reign for the king on the palm-leaf rib which served for tallying up the years and so had become the hieroglyph for “year”.

She was known by the epithet ‘Mistress of the House of Books’ because She looked after the library of the gods and was the patron of all earthly libraries. She was also patron of all forms of writing, including accounting, auditing and the taking of census. According to one myth, it was actually Seshat who invented writing, but it was her husband Thoth who taught the people to write. It is interesting to note that She is the only female character who was actually depicted in the act of writing. A number of other women were depicted holding the scribes palette and brush, indicating that they could write, but not actually engaged in writing.

She was also given the epithet ‘Mistress of the House of Architects’ and from at least the Second Dynasty She was associated with a ritual known as ‘pedj shes’ (‘stretching the cord’) which was conducted during the laying of the foundations of stone buildings. The ‘cord’ refers to the mason´s line which was used to measure out the dimensions of the building. She was occasionally associated with Nephthys. For example, in the Pyramid Texts She is given the epithet ‘The Lady of the House’ (nbt-hwt, ie Nephthys) while Nephthys is described as ‘Seshat, Foremost of Builders’.

So far, no temple specifically dedicated to Her has been located and there is no documentary evidence that one ever existed. However, She was depicted on a number of other temples and we know that She did have Her own priests because Prince Wep-em-nefret (Dynasty Four) was described as ‘Overseer of the Royal Scribes’ and ‘Priest of Seshat’. However, it seems that as Thoth grew in importance he absorbed Her roles and Her priesthood.

She was depicted as a woman wearing a leopard skin dress (as worn by Sem preiests) wearing a headdress composed of a flower or seven pointed star on top of a pair of inverted horns. She was ocassional called ‘Safekh-Aubi’ (or ‘Safekh-Abwy’ meaning ‘She of two horns’) because of this headdress, although it is also suggested that ‘Safekh-Aubi’ was in fact a seperate (if rather obscure) Goddess. However, others have suggested that the horns were originally a crescent moon, representing Her husband (or alter ego) Thoth. Finally, it is sometimes suggested that the ‘horns’ actually represent a bow. Unfortunately there is no clear evidence to confirm which view is correct. Her headdress also represents Her name which was not spelled phonetically (the semi-circular breadloaf and the seated woman are both female determinatives). She is often shown offering palm branches (representing ‘many years’)to the pharaoh to give him a long reign.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aleff, H. Peter. Recoveredscience.com, “Seshat and Her Tools“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Seshat The Egyptian Goddess“.

Isis-Seshat Journal, “Who Is Seshat?

Seawright, Caroline. Tour Egypt, “Seshat, Female Scribe, Goddess of Writing Measurement“.

Wikipedia, “Seshat“.

Goddess Ashtart

“Ashtart’s themes are love, prophecy (especially by stars), hope, protection, victory and romance. Her symbols are the star, fire, red and white items and the lion. A Lebanese Goddess for the lovelorn, Ashtart fell from the heavens as a star and landed in Byblos. She became the city’s patroness, renowned for Her prophetic insight, assistance in relationships and protectiveness, especially when one faces a difficult battle. This tremendous power explains the artistic depictions of Ashtart riding a lion (a solar/fire symbol) or having the head of a lion.

International music festivals have been held in Byblos since the late 1960’s to celebrate it as one of the oldest towns in the world with ongoing inhabitants (and an ever-present Goddess!). It was here that a forerunner of the alphabet developed, inspired by the papyrus export trade. With this in mind, take a piece of onionskin paper and describe your emotional needs on it with red ink or crayons. Burning this releases the wish to Ashtart and begins manifesting the magic.

Honor Ashtart and gain Her insight by star-gazing tonight. If you see a falling star and can repeat your wish for love three times before it disappears, folklore says it will be granted. If you see a meteor shower, count the sparks you see while thinking of a suitable binary question for this Goddess. An ever-numbered answer means ‘yes’, an odd-numbered answer means ‘no’.”

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

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ashtart (either ‘the Star’, or ‘She of the Womb’), is better known by the name Astarte, the Greek version of Her name. Ashtart is a Semitic Goddess of Love and War and the Canaanite Great Goddess who is the cult partner of Ba’al (“the King”). Semitic describes a group of languages, and by extension, kindred cultures of the Near East and Africa which include Phoenician, Arabic, Hebrew and Assyrian. She is the Deity of the Planet Venus and a Fertility Goddess, and Her cult was known throughout the ancient world for its practice of temple prostitution. She was the main Deity of the cities Sor (more familiarly Tyre), Zidon (Sidon) and Gubla (Byblos), and is frequently shown as an archer either beside or standing on a lion, much like the Babylonian Ishtar, who is quite similar. Snakes and the cypress tree are sacred to Her; and, like the related Arabic Goddess Al-Uzza, whose name, “the Mighty One”, is an epithet of Ashtart, the acacia tree is also Hers.

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

As with many of the other Near Eastern Goddesses of the planet Venus, two of Her aspects are that of the Goddess of War and the Goddess of Love. As Venus the Morning Star, Ashtart is a Goddess of War and Hunting; and as the Evening Star, She is the Goddess of Love, Sex, Fertility and Vitality, depicted as a nude woman. In Her role as Goddess of Love She was honored with sexual rites, especially in the city of Sidon or Zidon, and some of Her priests and priestesses there were chosen from the royal family.

In the legends of Ugarit (the modern Ras Shamra on the coast of Syria) of the 14th century BCE, Ashtart is mentioned with the virgin Warrior-Goddess Anath (Anat) as restraining the young God Ba’al, who wishes to overthrow the River God, Yam. When Yam is taken captive, Ba’al kills him, and Ashtart rebukes him for the murder, cursing Him with His own name. She is sometimes called “Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al” which may refer to Her magical knowledge of His secret name in which His power resides; the idea of a secret or cult name of a Deity, known only to the initiated, was not uncommon in the area: Jehovah is supposed to possess a secret name of power, uttered by Lilith when She left the Garden; and in a legend of Isis, the great Egyptian Goddess, She brings about the downfall of the aging God Ra by speaking his hidden name.

Gold pendant, possibly Astarte. Ugarit. 1500-1200/1150 BCE. Drawing by Stéphane Beaulieu

Several gold pendants from Ugarit, dating to about 1300 BCE depict Ashtart in a highly stylized manner. From a flat gold plate, roughly teardrop-shaped, Her face and breasts emerge; and Her pubic area is depicted as a triangle with dots, I assume representing hair. There is also, however, what appears to be a stylized tree ‘growing’ from that triangle and which ends just below Her navel. This ‘tree’ is perhaps to be equated with the Near Eastern Tree of Life.

Ashtart was worshipped with the young God ‘Adon, son of Malidthu, in the town of Aphek or Aphaca in Palestine, the modern Afka. ‘Adon is a title, rather than a name (as is common among the Phoenicians) meaning ‘Lord’, and He may actually be Eshmun, the young God of Health. The site of the town Aphek was known for its stunning beauty, as it was situated high on a cliff from which a river issued to fall in a great torrent. Under the Greek name Adonis (which also means ‘Lord’), He was a young and very beautiful God with whom Aphrodite (the Greek equivalant of Ashtart) fell in love. Alas, one day while out hunting He was killed by a boar and the Goddess mourned terribly for Him. He represents the young vegetation/crops that are killed in the droughts of the dry season, and the river at Aphek was said to run red with His blood in the rainy season. He had a famous festival in midsummer celebrating His death and resurrection that eventually spread with His worship to Greece, Egypt and Rome, and which was celebrated primarily by women.” [1]

“Astarte” by Christian Brinton

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Astarte (‘womb’ or ‘she of the womb’) was the Goddess who appears in the Old Testament as Ashtorth, a non-name formed by misreading the Goddess’ name with different vowels so that the word becomes ‘shameful thing.’  What seems to have been shameful to the patriarchal Hebrews was the untrammeled sexuality of the Goddess, one of those who ‘conceived but did not bear’ offspring for Her partners.  In this, Her identity as the Canaanite version of Ishtar becomes more clear, in the ancient eastern Mediterranean the spirit of sexuality was the Goddess who ruled the planet Venus.  As the morning star Astarte was like Anat, a war Goddess robed in flames and armed with a sword and two quivers full of death-dealing arrows, flying into battle like a swallow.  But as the evening star, a Goddess of desire, Astarte descended to the Underworld to reclaim a lost lover, thereby causing all human and animal copulation to cease until She returned” (Monaghan, p. 57)

“For some time Ashtart under the name Ashtoreth seems to have been worshipped side by side with the Hebrew God as His consort; He was early on called Ba’al, a general title meaning ‘Lord’, used in the area to refer to each people’s particular patron God, though their real (and sometimes secret) names were different. This fell out of favor in time as the Hebrews transitioned to monotheism. Apparently they had a hard time with this, though, as Jehovah is forever chiding His people for ‘backsliding’ and returning to the worship of Ba’al and Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth in the Bible is worshipped in groves called after Her asherah and may have been honored as a pillar of wood, or as manifest in the grove itself. In one tale from the Biblical book Judges, Jehovah has Gideon destroy his own father’s shrines to Ba’al and Ashtoreth, which he does in the middle of the night under cover of darkness, as he was too scared of the repercussions to do it in broad daylight.

King Solomon, famous for his great wisdom, was said to have had 700 wives, many of whom were from neighboring Pagan tribes. To accommodate their religions, he built for them temples to their Gods, including a sanctuary to Ashtart in Jerusalem. Jehovah, known far and wide for His jealousy, couldn’t tolerate this and brought about Solomon’s death. On other occasions when the Hebrews reverted to the old religion, Jehovah in a divine fit of pique ‘gave them over into the hands of their enemies’ (also from Judges).

Ashtart also had temples in Ascalon in Philistia, about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Beth-shean, or Scythopolis, near the Sea of Galilee. She is also said to be the mother of the maiden Yabarodmay, by Ba’al.

The Goddess Athirat-of-the-Sea, who also features in the Ba’al legend, is the wife of El, the Father of the Gods; She has much in common with Ashtart and the two may be aspects of the same Goddess. Some sources make Athirat the Goddess worshipped by the Hebrews as Jehovah’s consort; the two are quite confused, both by modern scholars and the ancients.

Ashtart’s name has many variations depending on the language or city in which She was worshipped. Some examples: She is Astarte to the Greeks, Ashtoreth or Ashtaroth among the Hebrews, Attart or Athtart in the city of Ugarit, Astartu in Akkadian.

Epithets: ‘Goddess of Heaven’, ‘Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Sky-of-Ba’al’, ‘The Strong One’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Fields’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Battle’; and Kbd, ‘Glory’.” [2]

“Inanna” by Hrana Janto

“Her colors were red and white; in Her honor the acacia tree produced flowers in these colors, so She called it Her emblem.  She also loved the cypresses of Her native country and the stallions that She rode, the first fruits of the harvest, the firstborn of the womb, and all bloodless sacrafices.  In some pictures, Astarte stands small-breasted and naked on the back of a lioness, with a lotus and a mirror in one hand and two snakes in the other.  At other times, to show Her fierce and hungry nature, She was shown with the head of lioness” (Monaghan, p. 57).

“Inanna” by Lisa Hunt

She is the western Semitic equivilant of the Eastern Semitic Inanna, of the Sumerians and Ishtar of the Babylonians; the Greeks identified Her with their Aphrodite, who may have Her origins in Ashtart anyway, as She was believed to have come from the East. Atargatis is confused or equated with Her, and may have originally been the same Goddess; Ba’alat, ‘the Lady of Gubla’ (Byblos) is likely a title for Ashtart. She was equated by the Etruscans with their Mother and Sky Goddess Uni, and is related to Tanit of Carthage.” [3]

* A note on Goddesses of the Near East – “It is often difficult to distinguish the like-named Goddesses of the ancient Near East, partially because the persecuting Hebrews blurred the distinctions between them and partly because over the ages tribes identified their native Goddesses with those of conquering or neighboring peoples.  Such is the case with Astarte, ofter fused or merged with Anat, Asherah, even Atargatis.  Whether She was origionally an independent deity whose identity grew indistinct, or whether Her name was at first a title of Asherah or another Goddess, may never be known.  But Astarte was probably the West Semitic (especially Phoenician) version of that Goddess named, in other languages, Ishtar and Aphrodite” (Monaghan, p. 56 – 57).

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Astarte”.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Ashtart“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks, “Astarte“.

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

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar“.

Mikha, Abbey. Assyrian Voice,One Goddess With Many Names“.

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

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Astarte: survive and surmount life’s battles – goddess of victory“.

Stuckey, Johanna H. MatriFocus Web Magazine for Goddess Women, “Goddess Astarte: Goddess of Fertility, Beauty, War and Love“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Phoenician“.

Wikipedia, “Astarte“.

Bear Woman

“Bear Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Bear Woman’s themes are health, psychic abilities, fertility, unity, love, kinship, instinct, nature, rebirth and energy. Her symbol is the bear. Among the Native Americans, Bear Woman’s power is intimately intertwined with the earth, protecting its creatures and helping humans in hunting. Because of the way bears interact with cubs, Bear Woman refocuses our attention on the importance of family unity, warmth and love (especially in extended families like that of the tribe).

The Bear Dance was once held in February as bears emerged from their caves to commemorate the Utes‘s common ancestry with bears. Continuing the tradition ensures the tribe’s health as well as ensuring ongoing communication with Spirit on important matters through Bear Woman. To adapt this custom, dress up in a furry coat or fuzzy clothing and imitate a bear. This acts as a form of sympathetic magic that draws Bear Woman’s energy to you and helps you commune with it for positive personal transformation.

Also, stop at a nature of science shop that carries stone carvings and get one today.  Carry it to connect with Bear Woman’s strength, endurance, and other positive attributes that you need in your life.

Dreaming of bears today reveals a bear totem or spirit guide in your life offering guidance, or a special message of help from Bear Woman.”

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

 

“Bear Woman and the Dream Child” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Stephanie Anderson Ladd tells us that “the Native American Bear Woman is protector of Mother Earth and the tribes and clans that walk upon Her. Bear Woman is in Her cycle of power during spring and summer. She has moved out of Her cave with Her cubs underfoot, and is foraging for food and water. She is a shapeshifter who moves through the forest with agility and strength, helping us awaken to our potential and reminding us to not let our creative energies lie dormant. Look for what feeds your soul and chow down!

Bears care for their cubs for a couple of years until they are old enough to go out on their own, and in this way, they are akin to human mothers whose task is to prepare their children to find their own way and learn their own strength. Bear Woman tends to the unity of the family of man and animals, ensuring their safety and protection.

The Bear Goddess is symbolic of the circle of life, death and rebirth. She reminds us to go within when it is time. The Mama Bear guides and protects us on the journey into the Underworld of the Unconscious, where we ponder our lessons and gather our creative energy until it is time to emerge into our cycle of power once again.” [1]

 

 

I thought I’d share this video of the Bear Dance Ceremony from the Cree Nation of Eastmain, February 2010.

 

 

I also really liked this video.  The song is called “The Bear Dance” and pays tribute to the proud Ute people.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Ladd, Stephanie Anderson. Owl & Crow, “The Bear Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Rosenn, Eva. Shamanic Healing with Eva Rosenn, “Bear Medicine“.

Support Native American Art, “Native American Animal Symbols – The Bear“.

Venefica, Avia. whats-your-sign.com, “Native American Bear Meaning“.

Goddess Sulis

“RiverGenesis” by Jonathon Earl Bowser

“Sulis’s themes are  water, healing, sun, blessings, wishes, community and offerings. Her symbols are water, wheat cakes and fire. The Celtic Goddess Sulis oversees all sacred wells and springs, which give healing and other blessings to those who pray at them. She also has associations with the sun, which explains the ever-burning fires in Her temples.

One hundred miles outside of London, Sulis’s ancient natural springs lie as they did for over seven thousand years until they were discovered by the Romans, who used them for ritual, wish magic, socialization and healing. The Festival at Bath revels in this region’s history, especially Sulis’s hot springs, which continue to bring thousands of visitors here annually, few of whom know that the springs are ten thousand years old and part of Sulis’s spirit. To my mind this equates with enjoying time in a hot tub or sauna (perhaps you can take part of the day at a local spa).

If a spa isn’t possible, let your bathroom get really steamy from a hot-water shower, then sit inside for awhile absorbing Sulis’s cleansing power into your pores. Release you tensions and dis-ease to Her. Maybe light a candle to represent Sulis’s presence with you, and meditate as you relax. Remember, the bathroom is one of the few places you can be assured of a private moment with the Goddess, so take advantage of it!”

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

“Sulis” by Thalia Took

“The Goddess of the hot springs at Bath, England (the only hot springs in Britain), Sulis’s name come from a root meaning ‘eye’ or ‘gap’, referring both to the spring from where half a million gallons of hot water still well up every day, as well as to Her powers as seeress.

Her hot spring has been renowned for its healing powers since ancient times, and when the Romans arrived in Britain they built a bath complex around the spring, and named the place Aquae Sulis (‘the Waters of Sulis’). Pilgrims came from mainland Europe to bathe in the therapeutic waters, and references to Sulis are known from as far away as Germany.

The Romans equated Sulis with their Minerva, and so She was known to them as Sulis Minerva–which is somewhat unusual, since the Romans generally used the native Celtic deity name after the Roman name. This is taken as an indication of Her importance and fame.

Though famous for healing, Sulis could curse as well as cure, and in Bath many ‘curse tablets’ have been found, asking Her to punish people suspected of wrongdoing.

She is shown here with one of the small offering-pans dedicated to Her by worshippers which were found at the site of Bath; they were usually inscribed ‘DSM’, short for the Latin Dea Sulis Minerva, ‘to the Goddess Sulis Minerva’. Her dress is the same milky greeny-grey as the water of the springs, and Her hair is the bright orange of the deposits left by the mineral-rich waters.” [1]

 

 

“Sulis” by Hrana Janto

According to Patricia Monaghan, “the ancient British Goddess of the healing waters had Her special shrine at the spa we call Bath, where Her power was strongest.  Some scholars say that She was a solar divinity, deriving Her name from the word that means ‘sun’ and ‘eye’.  This interpretation may account for the perpetual fires at Her shrines; in fact that Her springs were hot, rather than cold, is additional evidence in favor of considering Her a sun Goddess.

She was honored into historic times; the Roman occupiers called Her Minerva Medica (‘healing Minerva’); occasionally She is called Sulivia.

 

 

 

 

 

“Minerva” by Simon Vouet

In statuary and bas-reliefs, She was shown as a matronly woman in heavy garments with a hat made of a bear’s head and Her foot resting on a fat little owl.  In Bath and on the continent, She also appears in multiple form, as the tripartite Suliviae.  The latter name is also used of the pan-Celtic divinity Brigid, suggesting a connection between these figures” (p. 286 – 287).

Sulis’s name is also seen as Suliviae, Sulivia, Sul, Sulei, and Sulla.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Sul”.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Sulis“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Billington, S. The Concept of the Goddess, “Sulis: Healer and Avenger” (p. 33 – 36).

English, Mary. Homeopathy and Astrology to help you Heal with Mary L. English, “The Homeopathic Proving of Aquae-Sulis“.

Goddessrealm.com, “Sulis“.

Goddessschool.com, “Sulis Minerva“.

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Sulis“.

Roman-Britain.org, “AQUAE SVLIS“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminism and Religion, “Sulis, Celtic Sun Goddess of Healing and Prophesy“.

Spiritblogger’s Blog, “Spirit Message of the Day – Recharge, Refresh, Renew – THE GODDESS SULIS“.

Wikipedia, “Sulis“.

Goddess Cordelia

“Fleurs” by Nicole Hill – Confetti Garden

“Cordelia’s themes are blessings, prayer, beauty, fairies and wishes. Her symbols are flowers and water.  A British nature Goddess, Cordelia is part of every spring and summer flower that blossoms. This is the beauty She brings into our lives today, along with all the positive energies of spring. Traditionally, Cordelia does not appear until May, when the earth is fertile enough to sustain Her glory. Art sometimes depicts Her as being a citizen of fairy realms, and perhaps a flower princess.

Well-dressing festivals go back to animistic times, when people believed sacred wells held beneficent indwelling spirits. To appease these powers, people decked the wells with Cordelia’s symbols: garlands of spring flowers. They then asked for the gods’, goddesses’ or spirits’ favor. So, if you have any type of fountain or well fountain nearby, today is the day for wishing! Take a small offering (coins if a a fountain; a flower if a natural water source) and toss it in while whispering your desire.

To draw attention of Cordelia and Her companions, the fey, into your life, take a dollhouse chair and glue any or all of the following items to it:

Thyme, straw, primrose, oak leaves, ash leaves and hawthorn berries or leaves. Leave this on a sunny windowsill (preferably one with a plant on it) to encourage fairy guests, who will bring all manner of spring frolic into your home.”

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

“Cordelia” by Wendy Andrew

“Cordelia is the beautiful Goddess of spring and summer flowers, and of flower fairies. Shakespeare portrayed Cordelia as the daughter of King Lear in his play of the same name. However, She’s actually the daughter of the sea god, Lir, so She was born a sea Goddess.

Cordelia is celebrated on May 1 during Beltane, an ancient celebration marking the beginning of summer, when the weather is warm enough to allow ranchers to let cattle out of their pens and into the fields.

Cordelia helps with celebration, courage, gardening and flowers, joy, life changes and stress management.

The stones associated with Cordelia are carnelian and citrine.” [1]

Upon further research, I found that Cordelia was connected with the Welsh Goddess Creiddylad.  According to Patricia Monaghan, “We know the ancient Welsh Goddess [Creiddylad] as Cordelia, daughter of King Lear in Shakespeare’s play; She was originally a sea queen, daughter of the sea god, Lyr.  Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that Cordelia, the human form of the Goddess, ruled the land after her father died [see Cordelia of Britain].  Shakespeare of course, killed her off alongwith Lear.  By then, the real legend of Creiddylad and Lyr was probably lost” (p. 92).

On a personal note, coming into contact with Cordelia could not have come at a better time.  I’ve been going through a little bit of a low right now, revisiting some old personal issues that I thought I had come to terms with.  I spend a lot of time in the house, in my little computer room (my cave as I like call it) working on a few online college courses while trying to keep my home and family taken care of.  Cordelia’s message is one that rings true and speaks directly to me, especially now: “Being cooped up in doors is not the way to live your life in this beautiful world. Go outside and experience what is out there. It will revive your spirit and soul, and perhaps retrieve your faith in the planets existence. Pay attention to the flowers that are budding, the birds singing and allow the wind to blow through your hair” (From Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards).  I’ve been doing that, little by little.  I managed to get outside a few days ago and get my Goddess statue out, set up my fountain, plant some flowers with my children and hang some hanging baskets up.  I like it – its a work in progress…makes me think of a healing little sanctuary (except the house we’re currently living in is located right up on a fairly busy intrastate).

Hummingbirds…I’ve found myself thinking about hummingbirds a lot for some reason lately.  I found a plant at the store a few days ago – a pink and white Aquilegia for 50% off and it was the last one.  I read that it was supposed to attract hummingbirds.  “Perfect!” I thought.  (Note to self – also on the list to pick up are a few hummingbird feeders.)

Yesterday morning, I dreamed of a ruby-throated hummingbird visiting me as I sat lamenting and staring out the window into a dark starry night sky.  I meant to research it when I woke up, but as usual, I got distracted by Facebook.  It just so happened that when I was reading down through the feeds, I came across a post describing the hummingbird and it’s totem meaning.  WOW!  Thank you Universe!  The meaning of the hummingbird as a totem animal that I read can be found by clicking here.  Very profound – speaking directly to my psyche and soul.

And now, for the really cool part (or really cool for me anyways).  Last night, I was out in my new little “shrine”, making an offering of beer.  No sooner had I finished pouring my offering, that a ruby-throated hummingbird flew up to the Aquilegia beside my Goddess statue where I had just poured my offering!  How freakin’ awesome is that?!

So this summer, it looks like I will be working with Cordelia, flowers and hummingbirds…Last summer, it was Brighid and a pigeon that came to visit me EVERYDAY.  After I noticed it coming by everyday out of the blue  just sitting on my front porch, I started leaving offerings of birdseed that I’m sure it really appreciated 😉

My little familiar back in Alaska, July 2011

It seems that I have an affinity for birds as messengers and totems.  In dreams, my life totem was revealed to be a hawk, my spirit totem a raven, and the cockatoo as an unknown totem.  I’ve had contact with owls, seagulls, and swans as messenger totems (through dreams and in the physical world).  What is it with birds I wonder?  Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. All I know is that it is time now to meditate and heal with Cordelia, flowers and hummingbirds…

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Creiddylad”.

Nicole, Shantel. Angelic Connections with Shantel Nicole, “Goddess Cordelia“.

Virtue, Doreen. Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards, “Cordelia”.

 

Suggested Links:

Nemeton, the Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods,Creiddylad, Cymric Goddess and Heroine of the Mabinogion: Engenderer of Waters“.

Reeves, Debi Wolf. Debi Wolf Reeves, “The Goddess Card of the Day – Cordelia“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Cordelia: turn sissy to sassy!“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminism and Religion, “Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of Flowers and Love“.

Sammie. Lost Woodland, “Creiddylad or Creudylad, the Queen of May and Goddess of Summer Flowers and Love♥“.

Talk with the Goddess, “Goddess Card September 10th (Cordelia)“.

Wikipedia, “Cordelia of Britain“.

Wikipedia, “Creiddylad“.

Holy Spirit

“The Angel of Healing” by Aeoliah

“The Holy Spirit’s themes are communication, mediation, universal law, blessings, change, health, purity and truth. Her symbols are light.  In both Gnostic and Hebrew writings, the Holy Spirit is a female force. In New Age vernacular, She is seen as white light energy. The Holy Spirt pours upon people to communicate divine missives, including messages of well-being and blessing. She also mediates on our behalf with other facets of the divine, using order, universal law, and wisdom as a force for positive change.

Shavuot, or The Feast of Weeks, in Jewish tradition centers around the return of Moses from Mount Sinai bearing the Ten Commandments and the promises made by God for a home ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ Consequently, suitable edibles today include dairy products and anything sweetened with honey to internalize divine promises for your life. To know what those promises might be, ask the Holy Spirit to show you: pray and meditate. Visualize a a sparkling white light pouring over you. Write down any insights, images or phrases that come during this time. Don’t be surprised if you get words in a different language. This is glossolalia (tongues) and may reveal secrets about past lives through the languages represented. If you don’t have time for meditation, at least burn a white candle today to honor the Holy Spirit and Her spiritual gifts.”

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

 

“Sophia” by Hrana Janto

“Among the most ancient Jews and Christians it was understood that the Holy Spirit is female.  The earliest gospel, Mark, states that the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.  The word for ‘dove’ in Greek is peristera, and it carries the feminine gender.  The Hebrew word ruach meaning ‘Spirit’ is also feminine.  The Hebrew phrase Ruach Elohim is used throughout the Old Testament for ‘Spirit of God.’ [1]

This entry is going to be a little different from the others.  There was SO MUCH information on the internet to go through that it was impossible (for the purpose of this blog) to sum it up to put together and write an entry.  Instead, I included this very informative video explaining how the original biblical languages (Hebrew and Aramaic)  described the Holy Spirit as being female and how today’s popular and widely accepted mistranslated versions of the Bible hide and deny the Truth.

 

 

As usual, I’ve also included some suggested links (some of which include their own suggested links to aid your own research).

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddessgift.com, “Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom“.

The Holy Spirit-Shekinah

The Holy Spirit-Shekinah, Sophia: Lost Goddess of Wisdom“.

The Holy Spirit-Shekinah, “The Holy Spirit: the Christian Goddess“.

Hurtak, J.J. The Pistis Sophia, “The Holy Spirit: The Feminine Aspect of the Godhead“.

The Nazarene Way, “Wisdom of the Goddess“.

Romanoff, Katia. Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom & God’s Wife“.

Spiralotus. The Order of the White Moon, “Shekenah“.

Spriritbride.org, “Is There a Christian Goddess?

Spiritual Adventures, “Sophia, Holy Spirit, Wisdom of God“. (This blog has a huge “Lists of Interest” and “Sites I Recommend”…happy researching!)

Wikipedia, “Sophia (wisdom)“.

Goddess Po Ino Nogar

“Dewi Sri 2” by Much

“Po Ino Nogar’s themes are growth, harvest, fertility and community. Her symbols are clouds, saltwater, rain and soil. This agricultural Goddess’s name means simply ‘great one’ in Cambodia, likely due to the fact that She brings fertility to the earth and its people. It is Her duty to protect the fields and harvests. Epics sometimes symbolize Po Ino Nogar as a gentle rain, because local myths claim that She was born in the clouds and still controls the water’s generative gift to the land and to our souls.

Members of the royal family in Camobida used to plow the fields today to appease Po Ino Nogar and ensure fertility to the crops. For modern purposes, think about tasks that need to be be ‘plowed’ through – paperwork that’s been neglected, communicating with someone with a difficult demeanor, a project put on terminal hold. As you till the metamorphic soils of that situation, you also encourage Po Ino Nogar’s growth-oriented energy in them. If your spirit or humor has seemed a bit ‘dry’ lately, try this Po Ino Nogar visualization:

Close you eyes and imagine a blue-white cloud overhead with the face of a smiling woman formed by it creases. As you look , the cloud releases small light-drops that pour softly over you. As they do, your skin absorbs the light, as well as this Goddess’s energy. Continue the visualization until you feel filled to overflowing.”

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

 

“Among the Charms of Cambodia, the world’s Goddess-ruler, creator of rice, was called Po Ino Nogar (“Great One, Mother of the Kingdom”).  Born either from seafoam or from clouds, She had 97 husbands and 38 daughters.  One of Her offspring was Po Bya Tikuh (“mouse queen”), a maleficent virgin Goddess; another was the Goddess of disease, Po Yan Dari, who lived in caves and grottoes to which worshipers would bring stones, asking for miraculous cures.  Another Charm healing Goddess was the divine priestess Pajau Tan, said to be a thirtyish woman who lived on earth as a healer but who was finally sent to live in the moon because She kept raising all the dead; there She still lives, providing flowers to newly dead to ease their transformation” (Monaghan, p. 255).

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Po Ino Nogar”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Davis, Kent. Devata.org, “Rice Goddesses of Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand“.

Rongsit, Vipp. Content4reprint.com, “Thai Rice and Ceremony of Rice Goddess“.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, “Temples of Angkor” (p. 211)

Wikipedia, “Phosop“.

Goddess Bellona

“Bellona – Goddess of War” by ~Anaxi

“Bellona’s themes are protection, victory, communication and strength. Her symbols are swords (or athame) and spears.  She who kindles the fire of the sun and the fire in the bellies of warriors, Bellona is both a mother and a battle Goddess, being the female equivalent of Mars with a distinct diplomatic twist. Those who call upon Bellona receive strategy, tactfulness and a keen sense of how to handle explosive situations effectively.

In ancient Rome, today was known as Tubilustrium in which Romans spent the day ritually cleansing their trumpets for battle and honoring the people who make the trumpets. In this part of the world, a horn not only signaled a charge but invoked the Goddess’s attention. So, for what personal battle(s) do you need to sound Bellona’s horn today? Find a horn with which to do just that (perhaps a kazoo or a piece of construction paper rolled to look like a megaphone). Shout your battle plans to Bellona so She can respond with all Her resources to help you.

If you use a sword, athame (sacred knife) or wand in magic, today is an excellent time to take out that tool and invoke Bellona’s blessing upon it. Oil and sharpen the blade, polish the wood, then hold it in your hand as if it were a weapon, say,

‘Bellona, see this implement of magic, which as any, has two edges – for boon and bane. May only goodness flow through this tool, and may I ever remain aware of the responsibility for its use. So be it.'”

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

Painting by Howard David Johnson

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Often described as a feminine shadow of the god Mars, Bellona was actually much more, for Her domain included the entire arena of conflict, diplomatic as well as military.  Ever Her name shows Her importance, for the Latin word for war, bellum, derives from Her name.

In the temple of this serpent-haired Goddess who bore a bloody lash, the Romans began and ended their military campaigns.  Before Bellona’s temple, Her priests began war by raising a ceremonial spear and hurling it into a section of ground that symbolized enemy territory.  When the war was finished, it was in Bellona’s temple that the Senate determined the best reward for the victorious generals.  And during peacetime, the Senate used Bellona’s temple to receive the ambassadors of countries in conflict with Rome.

When Roman divinities began to be identified with those of the countries Rome conquered, Bellona found Herself assimilating the Cappadocian Goddess Mah, a late form of the Sumerian Mami.  Both symbolized territorial sovereignty and both represented the armed conflict necessary to defend claims to rulership.  The Roman Goddess was called Mah-Bellona in the later days of the Roman Empire.  She was associated as well with Erinys (Furies) and with Discordia.” (p. 68)

Digital artwork by *Alayna

Thalia Took has this to say about Bellona: “Bellona is the Roman Goddess of War, closely associated with Mars, the Roman War-God. She is invariably His companion, although She can be called His wife, daughter, sister, or charioteer. Her origins are probably Sabine (an ancient tribe from the lands north-east of Rome), and the Claudii, a Sabine family, are credited with instituting Her worship. Her temple was built in the Campus Martius, the low-lying field by the Tiber consecrated to Mars, located outside of the city walls. The area around Her temple was considered to symbolize foreign soil, and there the Senate met with ambassadors, received victorious generals, and there war was officially declared. Besides Her temple was the columna bellica, or war column, representing the boundary of Rome. To declare war a javelin was thrown over the column by one of the fetialis, a type of priest involved in diplomacy, and this act symbolized the attack on a foreign land.

Bellona was believed to inspire a warlike frenzy and enthusiasm (much like that of the Norse berserkers), and Her earliest sacrifices are said to have been human. The worship of the Anatolian Goddess Ma, who is of a similarly martial nature, was brought to Rome by Sulla where She was assimilated to Bellona, and called Ma-Bellona. Her priests were called the Bellonarii, and during the rites to Ma-Bellona they mutilated their own arms and legs, collecting the blood to either drink or offer to the Goddess to invoke the war fury. In later times this act was toned down to become merely symbolic. These rites took place on the 24th of March and so accordingly that day was called the dies sanguinis (“day of blood”).

Bellona had several shrines and temples in Rome, though most are known only from inscriptions referencing them, as well as a temple in Ostia, the port city of Rome. In 48 BCE, a shrine to Ma-Bellona was accidentally destroyed when the demolition of the temples of Isis and Serapis in Rome was undertaken; within the ruins of the shrine were found jars containing human flesh, said to be evidence of the orgiastic nature of Ma-Bellona’s worship and to link it with the Egyptian religions, though how I’m not sure, unless perhaps the jars were functioning as the so-called canopic jars that housed the internal organs of the dead in Egyptian funerary practice.

Bellona is usually shown in a plumed helmet and armor, armed with sword and spear and carrying a shield; sometimes She carries a torch with a blood-red flame. She is described as loud and active, barking orders or war-cries, Her weapons clanging as She runs. She is credited with inspiring violence, starting wars, and goading soldiers into battle; Virgil described Her as carrying a bloodstained scourge or whip. She was believed to make wars and battles go well for those who invoked Her. Her name comes from the Latin for war, bellum, and Her original feast day was June the 3rd.

She is identified with Nerio and Vacum (both Goddesses of Sabine origin, like Bellona). Ma, or Ma-Bellona is a Goddess of Cappadocian origin (a region in Anatolia, modern Turkey) who was identified with the Italian Bellona, and for whom a separate temple was built in Rome.

“Bellona” by ~jeffsimpsonkh

Also called: Bellola, Duellona (from an earlier Latin word for war, duellum); Bellona Pulvinensis; Bellona Insulensis, from a shrine on the Tiber island. She is described as ‘dark Bellona, with bloody hand’, by Publius Statius (court poet to the Emperor Diocletian). Dollars to donuts She is the namesake of the ever-grouchy and rather hostile B’Elanna Torres from (Star Trek) Voyager.” [1]

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Bellona”.

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

Suggested Links:

Bar, Tala. Bewildering Stories, “Goddesses of War“.

Gangale, Thomas. The Temple of Bellona, “Bellona“.

Roman Myth Index, “Bellona“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “ENYO: Greek Goddess of War“.

Wikipedia, “Bellona (goddess)

Wikipedia, “Temple of Bellona (Rome)“.

Goddess Macha

“Macha’s themes are victory, success, protection, fertility and fire. Her symbols are red items, the acorn and the crow.  Macha means ‘mighty one.’ Macha used Her potency to clear the land for wheat, giving Her associations with fertility. She also used Her might to protect the Celts’ lands agains invaders, thereby becoming a war Goddess and guardian. Art shows Her dressed in red (color abhorrent to evil) and with blazing red hair, forever chasing off any malevolence that threatens Her children’s success.

Bonfire Night in Scotland takes place around May 22 and is a festival that originally had strong pagan overtones, the fires being lit specifically for ritual offerings that pleased the Gods and Goddesses and invoked their blessings. Additionally, the bright, red fire looked much like Macha’s streaming red hair, and thus it banished any evil spirits from the earth. So don any red-colored clothing today, or maybe temporarily dye your hair red to commemorate this Goddess and draw Her protective energies to your side. Eating red foods (like red peppers) is another alternative for internalizing Macha’s victorious power and overcoming any obstacle standing in your way.

Or, find some acorns and keep them in a Macha fetish bag (any natural-fiber drawstring bag). Anytime you want her power to manifest, simply plant the acorn and express your wish to it. Macha’s potential is in the acorn, ready to sprout!”

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

The Morrigan

“Macha (pronounced MOCK-uh) is an Irish war Goddess, strongly linked to the land. Several Goddesses or heroines bear Her name, but She is generally thought of as one aspect of the triple death-Goddess the Mórrígan (the “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen”), consisting of Macha ‘Raven’, Badb ‘Scald Crow’ or ‘Boiling’, and Nemain ‘Battle Fury’. Macha is associated with both horses and crows.

The Mórrígan is both sex and battle Goddess, and Her personality is usually described as both war-like and alluring. She is known to be a prophetess: the Washer at the Ford is said to be one aspect of Her, who appears to those about to die. She is commonly shown washing bloody clothes at a river ford; when approached, She tells the enquirer the clothes are theirs. Like the bean sidhe (banshee), who She is believed related to, She is an omen of death.

As Goddess of the land, the Mórrígan are said to be cognate with Ana or Danu, and Macha is said to be one of the Tuatha de Danann.

Three other aspects of Macha feature in Irish folklore, which likely derive from a common Goddess, as they are all said to have a mother named Ernmas (also considered to be the mother to Ériu, Banba, and Fódla, sacred names for Ireland). One Macha, a seeress, was the wife of Nemed ‘Sacred’, who invaded Ireland and fought the Fomorians in Irish legend. Emain Macha, a bronze-age hill fort in Northern Ireland, and legendary capital of Ulster, is said to have been named for Her.

The second Macha, titled Mong Ruadh (“red-haired”), was a warrior and Queen, who overpowered Her rivals and forced them to build Emain Macha for Her.

“Curse of Macha” by Stephen Reid

The third Macha, and probably the most well-known, was said to be the wife of Crunniuc. Like many supernatural lovers, She warns him to tell no one of Her existence; but he boasts to the king of Ulster that his wife can outrun the fastest chariot. The king then seizes the very pregnant Macha and forces Her to run a race, against Her protests. In spite of this, She does win, and as She crosses the finish line She gives birth. In Her dying pain and anger She curses the men of Ulster to nine times nine generations, that in their time of worst peril they should suffer the pain of childbirth.” [1]

The Goddesses of Ireland and their “fall” as Christianity spread into Ireland

“The Goddess was a ‘dual-natured female figure, beautiful and hag-like by turns in whose gift was great power’.  The Goddesses were especially depicted in three’s, such as Eriu, Banba, and Fotla, all Goddesses of sovereignty. In the 11th century, Ireland was often called Eire (a form of Eriu) and also called ‘the island of Banba of the women’. Goddesses were often hybridized by Roman and Greek influences, but this did not seem to obscure the native elements. For example, Julius Caesar likened one Celtic Goddess to Minerva, a classical deity. In fact, some Celtic Goddesses seemed to share certain of their characteristics. However, there were no Celtic Goddesses of love. There were Goddesses more often associated with fertility and the natural cycle of life, including death. Perhaps most importantly, the Goddesses represented creativity especially as it related to giving life, in all its aspects.

The female warrior Goddesses respect for death, as a natural part of life, which seemed in translate into ‘real’ life as well. This is best seen in the symbolic marriage between the king and the Goddess of sovereignty. This union was to ‘ensure fertility for the land and for his people in the year to come.’

“Triple Goddess” by Amy Swagman

The role of the Goddess in Celtic Ireland was important in to the inter-relatedness with human woman: ‘Since the source of life was so integrally associated with women, it would seem to follow that the origins of life were female. At times of joy or moments of pain, humans would turn to the Goddess who was honored in Her many guises’ (Condren). It would not seem strange then to worship a female deity and consequently treat her female subjects with respect and honor. Descent was also often traced through the mother and a strong emphasis was placed on the mother relationship. However, conservative scholars are quick to point out that the power did not entirely rest on women, rather the focus appears to be on women. Life was of tremendous value in what appears to be the most natural, physical sense. Hence the importance of the woman, Goddess or human.

‘Women were highly honored, female symbolism formed the most sacred images in the religious cosmos, and the relationship with motherhood was the central elements of the social fabric the society was held together by common allegiance to the customs of the tribe loosely organized around the traditions of the Goddess’ (Condren).

What appears to have dismantled this society was the warrior culture and the spread of Christianity into Ireland. The story of Macha is an instructive example of the ‘fall’ of the Celtic Goddess and in some sense the fall of the Celtic woman. Macha (Ulster Epona, the horse Goddess) marries Crunnchua mac Angnoman a rich widower. The two prosper together until one day, Crunnchua wishes to go to the annual assembly of the Ulsterman. Macha pleads with him not to go, but Crunnchua insists. While at the assembly, Crunnchua witnesses a horse race. Those in attendance with him, including the king himself, declare that none can run faster than these horses. Crunnchua knows that his wife can outrun these horses with no problem and decides to challenge the declaration. The king, angered at Crunnchua’s arrogance insists that Crunnchua bring Macha to them for a match. Macha comes reluctantly, but before doing so, pleads, ‘Help me, for a mother bore each of you. Give me, oh, King, but a short delay until I am delivered.’ Macha is pregnant.

“Macha” by Caroline Bradley

This request and the king’s subsequent refusal are striking reminders of the changes that took place not only in the Irish sagas such as this one, but also the changes in the societies that ‘authored’ such work that became, significantly, myth. The king’s ultimate responsibility was to allow the ‘creativity of women to prosper.’ Kings were to promise that no one would die in childbirth, food should grow plentifully, and the traditional dyeing (a woman’s art) would not fail. These promises were related to the ‘needs and concerns of women, and unless the king could be seen to take care of the cultural and fertility needs of the clan, symbolized by these women’s activities, the king would be overthrown’. The king as evidenced in this story, violated the promises he made and instead of being overthrown, is permitted to continue his reign with no apparent resistance from his constituents. This portrayal of Macha is actually the last of three major cycles. In the first She is a brilliant, strong mother-Goddess. In the second She is a helpless (but wise) wife, and the third She is relegated to an existence of shame and forced to abandon Her life-giving gifts, adapting to the new warrior ethos. This is how She had traditionally become associated with the three war-Goddess spiral, joining Badb and Morrigan. The appearance of the war-Goddess appears to develop as a result of the change in Celtic society to one of violence and paradoxically, Christianity.

“Gift of Peace to a War Goddess” by Portia St.Luke

Macha evolves into a warrior-Goddess as the simultaneously the status of women decline in societies constantly under attack, where emphasis is placed on death and bloodlust rather than on life and respect for death. With this, men began to feel threatened by women as well, by any force seen as competition. Importantly another aspect of the decline of Macha (and other Goddesses) was the Christian clerics who began to satirize the Goddesses because their patriarchal system of beliefs stood in direct contrast especially to the worship of a female deity. Goddesses were becoming as violent as the society that ‘created’ them. They were raped, murdered and often died in child birth.

Peter Berresford Ellis in his book, Celtic Women, Women in Celtic Society and Literature, concurs with Condren that Goddesses in literature were often raped, died in childbirth and their status was destroyed by the symbolism of the rape.

The Goddesses, however, gave birth to great men who would in turn become great warriors. Indeed, ‘the famous warrior society triumphed over the culture of the wise women’. Several sources consulted point to the war-Goddess as a symbolic adaptation to the culture who called on Her to wreak death and destruction. The war-Goddess is often portrayed too with a voracious sexual appetite. Ellis quotes Moyra Caldecott:

‘Her twin appetites for sexual gratification and for bringing about violent death are a travesty of the very necessary and natural forces of creation and destruction that keep the universe functioning and imbalance of which brings about disaster’. [2]

Wow…After reading this excerpt from the University of Idaho’s site, it all made so much more sense and brought it all home for me.  I had read in several books that stated that many peaceful agricultural societies worshipped a mother Goddess type deity(ies) who presided mainly over life cycles, vegetation, and agriculture; that it wasn’t until the invasions of the violent war-faring Indo-Europeans that “swept through Old Europe, the Middle East and India bring[ing] their priests, warriors and male gods of war and mountains” [3] with them that the Goddesses started becoming less important, more subservient and taking on more violent and warlike qualities.  Truly, this is not limited to the Celtic culture – look at Inanna for example; or Minerva who evolved from an Italic moon Goddess, into an Etruscan virgin Goddess of poetry, medicine, widsdom, commerce, weaving, dyeing, crafts, the arts, science and magic and later, the Romanized Goddess became associated with war.  Venus who originally was a vegetation Goddess and patroness of gardens and vineyards who had no original myths of Her own became associated with love, fertility and even war under the name Venus Victrix, the Goddess of victory in war.  And let us not forget how Goddesses like Inanna, Asherah and Lilith were demonized by the Abrahamic patriarchal religions for refusing to submit to them and their “all powerful” male deity.

“Morrigan” by Michael C. Hayes

I think it only appropriate to conclude with some words from Jani Farrell-Roberts, “Women often had to fight in the wars. They needed a Goddess of the Battlefield as did the men (thus their talk of heads being ‘the mast of Macha’) – and so grew the myth of the Morrigan into which the kinder harvest Goddess Macha was subsumed as part of a triple Goddess with Her two sisters, Badb and Morrigan. In Britain She was probably Morgan. The Morrigan however came to be hated by men who dreaded the female power She represented – so men tended to depict Her as a hag – or as three hags (perhaps as reflected in Shakespeare‘s Macbeth).

But in the old sagas Her role is much more that of the healer of the wounded and of the taker of the spirits of the dead into the next world. For example, Macha is depicted in these myths as the Sacred Cow whose milk is an antidote to the poison of weapons. She had become the Mother on the Battlefield.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Protection and sex

Preferred Colors: Red, black

Associated Symbol: Raven

Animals Associated with: Raven, crow

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Strongest Around: Lughnasadh

Suitable Offerings: Acorns

Associated Planet: Moon      [5]

 

 

And now, a tribute to the great Goddess Macha and Her stories…

 

 
Sources:

Eisler, Riane. Iowa State University, “The Chalice and Blade“.

Farrell-Roberts, Jani. The Web Inquirer, “Macha, Brighid, the Ancient Goddess of Ireland“.

PaganNews.com, “Macha“.

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

University of Idaho, “Celtic Women: Myth and Symbol“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aisling. Order of the White Moon, “Macha“.

AncientWorlds, “Epona“.

Bar, Tala. Bewildering Stories, “Goddesses of War“.

Jones, Mary. Maryjones.us, “Macha“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Macha“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Macha” (p. 166 – 181).

Wikipedia, “Macha“.

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

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

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

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

Galactic Priestess Academy

Astrological Insight and Energetic Empowerment for Women

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