Archive for June, 2012


Lady of Regla

“Yemaya” by Hrana Janto

“Lady of Regla’s themes are kinship, protection, kindness, the moon, love, devotion, fertility and relationships. Her symbols are fish, the moon, silver (lunar) or blue items (Her favorite color) and the crab.  This West Indian fish mother swims in with summer rains as the bearer of fertility, family unity, prospective life mate and other traditionally lunar energies. Shown in art looking much like a mermaid, the Lady of Regla is also the patroness of the Cancer astrological sign.

In astrology, those born under the sign of Cancer have a great deal of compassion, desire family closeness and stability and are ruled by the moon, all of which characterize this Goddess’s energies to a tee. How you emphasize those powers depends on what you need. For harmony at home, add blue highlights to our decorating scheme and ear pale blue clothing when having difficult conversations.

Eat fish or crab today to digest a little extra self-love or empathy or to encourage fertility in any area of your life. To spice up this magic, serve the fish with a bit of lemon juice – a fruit that emphasizes devotion to kinship.

If you’d like to dream of future loves or get Lady Regla’s perspective on a difficult family situation, leave Her an offering of yams before going to bed. According to local custom, this invokes Regla’s favor and you will experience helpful night visions – so take notes!”

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

One of the original images of the Virgin of Regla from Spain

“The Virgin of Regla is actually named for a seaport in Spain, the city of Regla, Spain. There is an image of the Virgin Mary there known as the Virgen de Regla. Another city was founded on the same bay as the City of Havana, Cuba, and it was named Regla, and so the patron of this city was also the same Virgen de Regla.

Yemaya Orisha of the ocean (Ocean Goddess) and Lady of Regla

Later on, the slaves in Cuba who were followers of the Lukumi religion of Nigeria adopted the Virgin of Regla as the surrogate for the African Goddess Yemaya. It may be that the original Virgen de Regla actually was, originally, an African Goddess who had been adopted into Christianity by way of Catholic syncretism, and then, ironically, She was transformed back into an African Goddess by way of the syncretism of Cuban Santeria. [1]

Concerning the statue, Virgin de Regla, “historians distinguish between legend and history.  According to legend, the statue of the Virgin de Regla was commissioned by Augustine (354-430) himself and brought by Saint Cyprian, deacon, after the death of Augustine and during the invasion of the Vandals to the southern shores of Spain.  The statue found a new home in the seaport city of Chipiona and was venerated in the local monastery by both Augustinian canons and African hermits.  In the eighth century the invasion of Andalusia by the Saracens forced the statue to go underground.  Indeed, the monks hid the image in a cistern next to a fig tree where she remained until the liberation of the country by Alphonse the Wise in the thirteenth century.  In that period, Our Lady manifested herself to a canon regular from León  pointing him to the place where the statue lay hidden.  The rediscovery of the hidden image, chalice, and burning lamp led to the revival of the devotion to the Virgin de Regla. The cistern and fig tree still exist, and the location is called Humilladero.

 

From the point of history, the origin of the name appears shrouded in mystery.  According to some, the name makes reference to the Rule of the Augustinians. Thus the Virgin would be the protector of the Rule (regla). On the other hand, it is known that Don Alonso Perez de Guzman (1580-90) erected in Chipiona, a castle by the name of Castillo de Regla.

Iconographical studies point out that the statue can be dated as early as 1200.  It is believed that the image has always been that of a black Madonna.  The beginning of the devotion and first known miracles can be dated as early as 1330.  The official act of the foundation of the monastery bears the date of August 22, 1399 which corresponds to the date at which the Duke of Arcos, Don Pedro Ponce de León, entrusted the new foundation to the Order of Saint Augustine.  After a long period of neglect and dereliction, the monastery and sanctuary were restored in l833 and again in 1851, thanks especially to the Spanish Infantes, the Dukes of Montpensier.

The patronal feast coincides with the feast of the birthday of Mary on September 8. It is celebrated with a procession in commemoration of that of September 8, 1588 when the proud Spanish Armada sail toward England.  Historians evaluate the number of participants in this grandiose manifestation of devotion at eighty-thousand and the length of the procession at nine kilometers.  The devotion to Our Lady of Regla reached its zenith in the eighteenth century.  Devotion to ‘Our Lady of Regla’ is practiced even today, not only in Spain but also in Cuba, at a location outside of La Havana, called Regla, in Miami, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and in the Netherlands.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Ojinaga.com, “Virgen de Regla“.

Roten, Johann G. University of Dayton, “Who is ‘Our Lady of Regla?

 

 

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

Wikipedia, “Black Madonna“.

Wikipedia, “Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.

Mother of All Eagles

“Eagle Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Mother of All Eagles’ themes are freedom, perspective, overcoming, health, power, destiny, the Air Element and movement. Her symbols are feathers (not Eagle – gathering these is illegal).  On the warm summer winds, Eagle Mother glides into our reality, carries us above our circumstances and stretches our vision. Among Native Americans, the Eagle Mother represents healing, Her feathers often being used by shamans for this purpose. Beyond this, She symbolizes comprehension, finally coming to a place of joyfully accepting our personal power over destiny.

On this day in 1982, President Reagan declared National Bald Eagle Day to honor the American emblem of freedom. In Native American tradition, this emblem and the Eagle Mother reconnect us with sacred powers, teaching us how to balance our temporal and spiritual life on the same platter.

Find a new, large feather for Eagle Mother talismans, one different from those you gathered for Maat, because the two have very different energies (check craft shops). Wrap the pointed end with cloth crisscrossed by leather thonging or a natural-fabric ribbon. Each time you cross the leather strings, say,

‘___________ bound within, when released by wind, let the magic being.’

Fill in the blank with the Eagle Mother attributes you desire, then have the feather present or used it in rituals or spells to disperse incense, thereby releasing its magic on the winds.”

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

“Eagle Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Michael Babcock says, “Despite the fact that the life-giving and death-wielding Bird Goddess is one of the oldest representations of the Goddesseagles have usually been linked with the masculine, with a few exceptions (the Sphinx of Egypt had the wings of an eagle, and the Aztec Goddess Cihuacoatl was also called Eagle Woman [as was the Mayan Goddess Ix-Chel]). This Eagle Woman shows a new marriage of the feminine and the eagle. She represents all an eagle stands for: spirit, valor, majesty, renewal, accuracy of sight, spiritual aim, and the ability to soar to the heights. She also holds in Her hands a vessel, the traditional symbol for the feminine, for that which receives, contains, and nourishes. Here both sets of values are joined, emblematic of a different combination of strengths that are part of being woman-born.” [1]

The fearsome skeletal Aztec warrior Goddess, Itzpapalotl with Her wings and long claws also has some eagle attributes. [2]

“The golden eagle is…revered by the Huichol people living along the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit. The Huichols call themselves Virarica (‘the healing people’) and are believed to have preserved the purest preColombian culture in our hemisphere. The golden eagle, Grandmother Eagle Goddess (Tate Warika Uimari) is guardian of the South (symbolizing the element of air, breath of life and healing). She is one of the guides into the Nierica (or passageway into the ‘other’ World) and connects the earth and sky.” [3]

As a totem, the eagle is associated with spirit, healing and creation.

“The eagle is symbol of the zenith.
A great reminder of your own ability to soar to great heights.
Those with an Eagle totem need to have an involvement with creation;
a willingness to experience extremes;
a willingness to use your ability
even if it means getting ‘scorched’ a little as you fly high;
a willingness to seek out your true emotions.
A demanding totem, but one that offers so much reward at the end of the journey.

Its four-toed feet remind you to stay grounded even went soaring high;
Its talons remind you to grasp the things of the earth;
Its sharp beak shows you when to speak, how much, and how strongly.

This totem will show you opportunities and how to ride the winds to your benefit.
Eagle people can live in the realm of the spirit
yet still remain connected and balanced within the realm of the Earth.

You must become much more than you ever dreamed possible.

Eagles are messengers from heaven and are the embodiment of the spirit of the sun.” [4]

From their Medicine Cards deck, Jamie Sams and David Carlson tell us that “Eagle medicine is the power of the Great Spirit, the connection to the Divine. It is the ability to live in the realm of spirit, and yet remain connected and balanced within the realm of Earth. Eagle soars and is quick to observe expansiveness within the overall pattern of life. From the heights of the clouds, Eagle is close to the heavens where the Great Spirit dwells.

The feathers of Eagle are considered to be the most sacred of healing tools. They have been used for centuries by shamans to cleanse the auras of patients coming to them for healing. Within the belief systems of Native American tribes, Eagle represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one’s personal power. It is only through the trial of experiencing the lows in life as well as the highs, and through the trial of trusting one’s connection to the Great Spirit, that the right to use the essence of Eagle medicine is earned.

If you have pulled this symbol, Eagle is reminding you to take heart and gather your courage, for the universe is presenting you with an opportunity to soar above the mundane levels of your life. The power of recognizing this opportunity may come in the form of a spiritual test. In being astute, you may recognize the places within you soul, personality, emotions, or psyche that need bolstering or refinement.

By looking at the overall tapestry, Eagle teaches you to broaden your sense of self beyond the horizon of what is presently visible.

In learning to fiercely attack your personal fear of the unknown, the wings of your soul will be supported by the ever-present breezes, which are the breath of the Great Spirit.

Feed your body, but more importantly feed your soul. Within the realm of Mother Earth and Father Sky, the dance that leads to flight involves the conquering of fear and the willingness to join in the adventure that you are co-creating with the Divine.

If Eagle has majestically soared into your cards, you are being put on notice to reconnect with the element of air. Air is of the mental plane, and in this instance it is of the higher mind. Wisdom comes in many strange and curious forms and is always related to the creative force of the Great Spirit.

“Eagle Spirit” by Christian Riese Lassen

If you have been walking in the shadows of former realities, Eagle brings illumination. Eagle teaches you to look higher and to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the shadow as well as the light. See the beauty in both, and you will take flight like the Eagle.

Eagle medicine is the gift we give ourselves to remind us of the freedom of the skies. Eagle asks you to give yourself permission to legalize freedom and to follow the joy your heart desires.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Babcock, Michael. Goddess Knowledge Cards, “Eagle Woman“.

Lin’s Domain, “Eagle“.

Sams, Jamie and David Carlson. Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, “Eagle Spirit“.

Spiritsong. “Golden Eagle“.

Wikipedia, “Itzpapalotl“.

 

Suggested Links:

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

All Totems, “Eagle Spirit Meaning, Symbols, and Totem“.

Venefica, Avai. Whats-your-sign.com, “Symbolic Eagle Meaning“.


Last week or so, I got my Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) Membership package containing an introduction to the Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path and ADF Membership Guide in which are requirements for starting the Dedicant Program.  “Awesome!” I thought.  With the end of these college classes upon me in less than a week and the Moon of Dedication coming up in a few weeks, this is the perfect time to start my Dedicant Path.

This morning, I had a most interesting dream.  I dreamt that I was talking to a woman in the middle of the woods.  We were on a stone/gravel type path with large mossy rocks scattered all around.  It was kind of grey and misty and I could not make out her face.  The message she conveyed to me was that in order to really belong to the ADF, I must accept the wolf.  I must accept and believe that the wolf truly is an endangered species.  Kind of weird – kind of cryptic, especially since I’ve always felt a bond or kinship with the wolf.  So, I went to one of my favorite animal totem websites, Whats-your-sign.com, and did a little research on the wolf.

“Wolf Medicine” by Rev. Mary

Avia Venefica writes, “To understand totem wolf symbols, one must first understand the heart of the Wolf. This takes time because the Wolf has had to endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Not at all the picture of ferocity or terror, the Wolf is a creature with a high sense of loyalty and strength. Another misconception is that of the ‘lone wolf.’ To the contrary, the Wolf is actually a social creature, friendly, and gregarious with its counterparts.

The Wolf is an incredible communicator. By using touch, body movements, eye contact as well as many complex vocal expressions – the wolf makes his point understood. Those with totem wolf symbols are of the same inclination – they are expressive both vocally and physically. Those who have the wolf as their totem animal are naturally eloquent in speech, and also have knack for creative writing.

A quick-list of totem wolf symbolic attributes include:

  • Intelligence
  • Cunning
  • Communication
  • Friendliness
  • Loyalty
  • Generosity
  • Compassionate

Totem wolf symbols belong to those who truly understand the depth of passion that belong to this noble creature. The Wolf is a representative of deep faith, and profound understanding.

Further, the Wolf possess a high intellect, and have been observed using strategies about hunting, habitat and migration.

When this gracious creature appears to us, and serves as a totem in our lives, the Wolf beckons us to ask these questions:

  • Are you thinking about a different form of education?
  • Are you being a true friend, and are your friends being true to you?
  • Are you communicating yourself clearly to others?
  • Are you being loyal to yourself?
  • Are you incorporating strategies and planning to achieve your goals?
  • Are you spending enough quality time with yourself, friends and family?

Click here to find more about other animal totems as well as totem wolf symbols and discover if the Wolf is your Native American zodiac sign. [Which mine is not – it’s a Bear.]

Take some time to know more about the Wolf, you will be amazed at the knowledge these regal creatures can share with you.” [1]

So, after reading this, I made some interesting connections.  For one, Pagans in general endure many false stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings.  It is believed by those who don’t understand us that we are evil devil/Satan worshippers who sacrifice animals, etc. when that could not be any further from the truth (well except for the animal sacrifice part – I can’t speak for all forms of Paganism such as the African Traditional Religions (ATRs) and Vodou).  The ADF Druids I have met have a great sense of loyalty – to themselves, to their faith and to the Earth Mother.  Speaking personally, I do tend to enjoy my “lone wolf” time, but also crave community, getting together with like-minded people for coffee, for study group activities and chats and celebrating Moons and Sabbats or High Days.

It seems to me that Druidry highly values communication, the arts (especially within the The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) tradition), wisdom, knowledge, learning and education.  All of the attributes that Venefica lists for the Wolf are attributes that I’ve seen for myself in my ADF friends in AK and are attributes that I personally appreciate and value in myself and other people.

“Are you thinking about a different form of education?”  Why yes, yes I am; I’m thinking about starting my Dedicant’s Path 😉

As for the “endangered species” part of my dream – You know, I try.  I really try to see the good in people – all people.  But that’s gotten me hurt a few more times than I care to remember.  There comes a time when learn – you learn that you have to be cautious and have to have your guard up, sitting back and observing before making a decision or a move.  You learn that not all people are “nice” and may not have the most honorable of intentions.  It truly seems as though people with the above attributes ARE an endangered species these days.  There are so many deceptive and uncaring people out there who are only out for themselves without thinking twice about who or what they use, injure or destroy in order to achieve their own means and goals.  Oh sure, they may be there to listen to your problems, but as quick as ever, they turn around and have a new subject to talk and gossip about with their friends.  You may find a knife in your back, never really seeing it coming.  These types of people don’t really care about you or your problems; they’re incapable or are unwilling to be compassionate and take the time to actually commit and help you, saying, “Oh well, sucks to be you,” as they abandon you to the curb and leaving you to your own demise.  When you do find a person or group with the Wolf attributes, you really want to hold onto, join their “pack” and stick together.  And you mourn…you mourn them when you have to move on.

So, now I have to ask – is the Wolf to be my new companion?  Is the Wolf to guide and protect me as I venture down this new Druid Path?

Sources:

Venefica, Avia. Whats-your-sign.com, “Totem Wolf Symbols“.

“Maat” by Lisa Iris

“Maat’s themes are freedom, new beginnings, justice, morality, organization, promises and Universal Law. Her symbols are ostrich feathers (or any feathers).  In Egypt, Maat is the ultimate representation of fairness, justice and truth. As the spirit of orderliness and legislation, she assists us by overseeing any legal matters, hearings, promises and oaths to ensure harmony and honesty. In some Egyptian stories, a person’s soul was weighed against Maat’s feather to gain entrance to paradise.

On June 19, 1865, the slaves in Texas were finally told about the Emancipation Proclamation signed three years previously. While freedom was slow in coming, it finally arrived, likely in part thanks to Maat’s encouragement.
For all of Maat’s spells it’s best to have a feather to use as a component and focal point. Change the color of our feather to suit the goal. Pick blue for true seeing (or to encourage honesty with yourself), white for pure promises, black and white for legal equity and pale yellow to inspire a new beginning filled with Maat’s keen insight. Bless the feather using the following incantation (fill in the blank with your goal), then release it to the wind so the magic begins to move!

‘Maat, on this feather light bring to me renewed insight. To my life ______________impart; make a home within my heart.'”

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

“Although She was often personified, Ma´at is perhaps best understood as an idea, rather than a Goddess, but She was central to conceptions of the universe, balance and divine order in Ancient Egypt. The name Ma´at is generally translated as ‘that which is straight’ or ‘truth’ but also implies ‘order’, ‘balance’ and ‘justice’. Thus Ma´at personified perfect order and harmony. She came into being when Ra rose from the waters of Nun (Chaos) and so She was often described as a daughter of Ra. She was sometimes considered to be the wife of Thoth because he was a god of wisdom.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the universe was ordered and rational. The rising and setting of the sun, the flooding of the Nile and the predicable course of the stars in the sky reassured them that there was permanence to existence which was central to the nature of all things. However, the forces of chaos were always present and threatened the balance of Ma´at. Each person was duty bound to preserve and defend Ma´at and the Pharaoh was perceived as the guardian of Ma´at. Without Ma´at, Nun would reclaim the universe and chaos would reign supreme.

The Egyptians also had a strong sense of morality and justice. They felt that the good should prosper, and that the guilty would be punished. They praised those who defended the weak and the poor and placed a high value on loyalty especially to ones family. However, they also understood that it was not possible to be perfect, just balanced. Ma´at transcended specific ethical rules (which differed according to different times and different peoples) and instead focused on the natural order of things. That being said, certain actions were clearly against Ma´at as they increased the effect of chaos and had a purely negative effect on the world.

“Maat” by Hrana Janto

Each Egyptian’s soul was judged in the Hall of Ma´at (depicted in the book of the dead and book five of the book of gates) when they died. Their heart (conscience) was weighed against the feather of Ma´at (an ostrich feather) on scales which represented balance and justice. If their heart was heavier than the feather because they had failed to live a balanced life by the principles of Ma´at their heart was either thrown into a lake of fire or devoured by a fearsome deity known as Ammit. If, however, the heart balanced with the feather of Ma´at they would pass the test and gain eternal life. At certain times it was Osiris who sat as judge in the ritual, and many other deities were involved in the ceremony, but the scales always represented Ma´at.

The Ancient Egyptians also had a well developed legal system to ensure that Ma´at was preserved in daily life. It is thought that the Priests of Ma´at were involved in the justice system as well as tending to the needs of the goddess.

All rulers respected Ma´at, but Akhenaten in particular emphasised his adherence to Ma´at, despite (or perhaps because of) his rather unconventional approach to the gods. Hatshepsut also emphasised her reverence for Ma´at by taking the throne name Ma´atkare (justice is the soul of re), again possibly because as a female ruler she needed to show that her position was in line Ma´at. She also built a small temple to Ma´at within the precinct of Montu in Karnak.

Ma’at kneels before Hathor, and spreads out Her wings to protect the cartouche containing the name of Queen Nefertari.

Ma´at was depicted as a woman wearing a crown with a single ostrich feather protruding from it. She is occassionally depicted as a winged Goddess. Her totem was a stone platform representing the stable foundation on which order was built and the primeaval mound which first emerged from the waters of Nun (chaos).” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “sometimes divided into two identical Goddesses, Maat had no temples but was worshiped in the rhythm of truth, wherever it was perceived” (Monaghan, p. 201).

Also seen as ma’at, māt, mayet.

Sources:

Hill, J. Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Maat“.

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

Suggested Links:

EgyptWorld, “The Goddess Maát“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Maat the Egyptian Goddess“.

Osirisnet.net, “Ma’at“.

Seawright, Caroline. Tour Egypt, “Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order…

Wikipedia, “Maat“.

Hermaphroditos

“Hermaphroditos’ themes are balance, masculinity, femininity, honor, reason and leadership. Symbols are two-sided items and Yin/Yang symbols.  This androgynous deity was once the son of Hermes, but he loved the nymph Salmakis so much that the lovers became one body and soul, neither the male nor the female being discernible. In this form, Hermaphroditos reminds us that the Goddess is also God, blending the best of both sexes together into powerful, productive energy.

At the midpoint of the year we take a moment’s pause from the Goddess to honor Her consort and other half, the God, represented by fathers everywhere. Take time to thank the special men in your life and pamper them today. Ask Hermaphroditos to show you the Goddess within them, and how God and Goddess work together, making each person unique.

In magic traditions, the God aspect is the conscious, logical force of the universe who offers us the attributes of leadership, reason and focus.

This persona and energy is part of the Goddess – one cannot be serparated from the other.

This is a good day to look withing yourself, find both aspects of the divine and concentrate on bringing them into balance. If you’re normally headstrong, back off a bit. If you’re normally a wallflower, get daring! If you like to plan, become spontaneous – and so forth. Hermaphroditos will show you the way.”

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

“The Nymph Salmacis and Hermaphroditus” by François-Joseph Navez

“In Greek mythology, Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes, messenger of the gods, and Aphrodite, Goddess of love.  The boy was so beautiful that a nymph named Salmacis fell in love with him and prayed that they would be united forever. The gods granted her the wish one day when Hermaphroditus came to the fountain where she lived. As he was bathing, Salmacis embraced him and pulled him underneath the water, and their bodies merged into one. The result was a person with the figure and breasts of a woman but with the sex organs of a man.

Other versions of the story claim that any man who bathed in the fountain was transformed into a half man, half woman just like Hermaphroditus. It was also said that the waters of the fountain caused anyone who drank from it to grow weak. The original story appears in the [Book IV of] Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid. The English writer Edmund Spenser includes the notion of such a pool, which weakened those who drank from it, in the Faerie Queene.” [1]

“Hermaphroditus’ name is derived from those of his parents, Aphrodite and Hermes [and is the basis for the word hermaphrodite].  All three of these gods figure largely into the Greek tradition of fertility gods and all possess distinctly sexual overtones. Sometimes, Hermaphroditus is referred to as Aphroditus. Half-siblings of Hermaphroditus include the phallic god Priapus and the youthful god of desire Eros.

Contrary to Patricia Telesco’s account, another version of Hermaphroditus’ story goes like this: “Hermaphroditus was raised by nymphs on Mount Ida, a sacred mountain in Phrygia. At the age of fifteen, he grew bored of his surroundings and traveled the cities of Lycia and Caria. It was in the woods of Caria that he encountered Salmacis the Naiad in her pool. She is overcome by lust for the boy, and tries to seduce him, but is rejected. When he thinks her to be gone, Hermaphroditus undresses and enters the waters of the empty pool. Salmacis springs out from behind a tree and jumps into the pool. She wraps herself around the boy, forcibly kissing him and touching his breast. While he struggles, she calls out to the gods in prayer that they should never part. Her wish is granted, and their bodies blend into one intersexual form. Hermaphroditus, in his grief, makes his own prayer: cursing the pool so that any other who bathes within it shall be transformed as well.” [3]

“Salmacis and Hermaphroditus” by Jean François de Troy

Salmacis is a very interesting character to me.  “In Greek mythology, Salmacis was an atypical naiad who rejected the ways of the virginal Greek goddess Artemis in favour of vanity and idleness. Her attempted rape of Hermaphroditus places her as the only nymph rapist in the Greek mythological canon (though see also Dercetis).

‘There dwelt a Nymph, not up for hunting or archery:
unfit for footraces. She the only Naiad not in Diana’s band.
Often her sisters would say: “Pick up a javelin, or
bristling quiver, and interrupt your leisure for the chase!”
But she would not pick up a javelin or arrows,
nor trade leisure for the chase.
Instead she would bathe her beautiful limbs and tend to her hair,
with her waters as a mirror.’

Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book IV, 306-312.

“The Water Nymph” by Herbert James Draper

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, she becomes one with Hermaphroditus, and Hermaphroditus curses the fountain to have the same effect on others. However, it’s very likely that Ovid fabricated the entire tale himself – his use of ‘praetereo, dulcique animos novitate tenebo’ could be read in several ways, as ‘novitate’ could be translated as either something strange or something new, which would imply that it was a new tale. Salmacis could also have been intended simply as a contrast to the previous tales in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, as others involve a dominant male pursuing an elusive female.” [4]

One blogger writes that this minor Greco-Roman deity of bisexuality, effeminacy, sexuality and fertility “except for one myth of his own life appears no where else in Greek or Roman mythology .  His character suggests very little about his personality.  Hermaphroditus is literally the combination of the male and female aspects, which I suppose, depending on how you look at it, can be both a positive and a negative trait.  But considering his final wish, Hermaphroditus sounds like an angry and bitter person, one who wishes others ill in order to make them suffer the pain he also suffered.  There was no logical reason for him to ask for the pool to be cursed (but then, when has anything truly been logical in myths?)” [5]

Herm of Aphroditus at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

“The oldest traces of the cult in Greek countries are found in Cyprus. Here, according to Macrobius (Saturnalia, iii. 8), there was a bearded statue of a male Aphrodite, called Aphroditos by AristophanesPhilochorus in his Atthis (ap. Macrobius loc. cit.) further identified this divinity, at whose sacrifices men and women exchanged garments, with the Moon. A terracotta plaque from the 7th century BC depicting Aphroditos was found in Perachora, which suggests it was an archaic cult.

The deification and the origins of the cult of hermaphrodite beings stem from Eastern religions (see Ardhanarishvara – the composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvat), where the hermaphrodite nature expressed the idea of a primitive being that united both genders. This double sex also attributed to Dionysus and Priapus – the union in one being of the two principles of generation and conception – denotes extensive fertilizing and productive powers.

This Cyprian Aphrodite is the same as the later Hermaphroditos, which simply means Aphroditos in the form of a herm (see Hermae), and first occurs in the Characters (16) of Theophrastus.  After its introduction at Athens (probably in the 5th century BCE), the importance of this deity seems to have declined. It appears no longer as the object of a special cult, but limited to the homage of certain sects, expressed by superstitious rites of obscure significance.” [6]

 

 

Sources:

Hellenica, “Hermaphroditus“.

Myths Encyclopedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

Sita. A Witchy Life, “Weekly Deity: Hermaphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “HERMAPHRODITOS“.

Wikipedia, “Aphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Metamorphoses“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis (fountain)“.

Dainichi-nyorai

“Amaterasu” by Hrana Janto

“Dainichi-nyorai’s themes are beauty, cleansing, protection, spirituality and weather. Her symbols are lilies, gold-colored items and light.
This light bearing Goddess comes in answer to the the Japanese people’s prayers for sunlight. Having all the sun’s power, Dainichi-nyorai embodies pure goodness, Her name meaning ‘great illuminator.’ With this in mind, call upon this Goddess at midyear to assist your quest for enlightenment and keep the road ahead filled with radiance.

In Shinto tradition, today marks a time when people gather lilies as an offering to entreat the Goddess to stop flooding rains. This is really a form of weather magic. If you need rain in your area, burn a lily; to banish rain, wave the lily in the air to move the clouds away!

It is customary to anoint one’s hearth (the stove) today with lily (or any floral scented) oil. This welcomes Dainichi-nyorai in all Her radiant goodness into the heart of your home an the hearts of all those who live there. Wear something gold while doing this, or decorate your kitchen with a yellow or gold-toned candle. When you light the candle, whisper Dainichi-nyorai’s name so She can live through the flame, warming every corner of your life.

By the way, if you feel adventurous, lily buds are edible; they have a nutty taste. Try cooking them in butter and eating them to internalize all the positive energies of this festival and the Goddess.”

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

Dainichi Nyorai (Skt. = Vairocana / Mahavairocana)

During my research for today’s entry, I found that Dainichi-nyorai (also seen as Vairocana, Vairochana or Mahāvairocana) was not a Goddess at all, but a celestial Buddha who is often (e.g. in the Flower Garland Sutra) interpreted as the Bliss Body of the historical Gautama Buddha. In Sino-Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is also seen as the embodiment of the Buddhist concept of shunyata or emptiness. In the conception of the Five Wisdom Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism, Vairocana is at the center. His consort in Tibetan Buddhism is White Tara (for every dhyani Buddha there is an affiliated female Buddha in the Tibetan Tradition).” [1]

Upon further research, I found “Dainichi (lit. ‘Great Sun’) is worshipped as the supreme, primordial sun Buddha. Under the syncretic doctrine of honji suijaku, the Shinto sun Goddess Amaterasu was considered a manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai. The term Nyorai (lit. ‘thus-come one’) is an epithet for the enlightened Buddhas that occupy the highest rank in the Japanese Buddhist pantheon.” [2]

Calling Dainichi-nyorai a Goddess was too much of a stretch for me; but at least I see the connection between between Dainichi-nyorai and a Goddess – the Goddess Amaterasu. “With the identification of the Dainichi Nyorai with a Shinto kami so began the syncretism of Shintoism and Buddhism.” [3]

Sources:

Facts-about-japan.com, “Religion in Japan“.

Wikipedia, “Dainichi Nyorai (Enjō-ji)“.

Wikipedia, “Vairocana“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Hoffert, Brian. North Central College, “Shingon Buddhism“.

OnMarkproductions.com, “SHINTŌ GUIDEBOOK“.


Goddess Chasca

“Incan Goddess” by Margaret Girle

“Chasca’s themes are the sun, fire, divination and love. Her symbols are the sun, fire and flowers. In Incan tradition, this Goddess created the dawn and twilight, the gentlest aspects of the sun. Along with Her consort, the sun god Inti, She uses light to draw sprouts from the ground and inspire blossoms. Her rapport with Inti and Her tender nature give Chasca associations with love. According to lore, She communicates to people through clouds and dew in a type of geomantic observation.

In the ancient Peruvian Incan Festival of the Sun, Incans reveled in Chasca’s and Inti’s power and beauty around this time when the sun reached its zenith. People made offerings to the Goddess and god, followed by folk dances around ritual fires. So, if you can hold an outdoor ritual today, build a fire and dance come dusk. Allow Chasca’s inspiring, growth-oriented energy to fill you to overflowing.

Incans also burned old clothing in ritual fire to banish sickness and bad luck. Try this, or burn an emblem of your troubles instead. As the token is consumed, Chasca transforms the negative energy into something positive.

If you’re fortunate to have a semicloudy day, go outside and ask a question of Chasca (ideally about relationships). Then watch for an answer in some form. For example, a heart would indicate that love is on its way!”

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

“Among the Inca of Peru, Chasca was honored as the Goddess of the Dawn and Twilight.  She was honored as the gentle aspects of the rising sun and setting sun.  She is described as the beautiful wavy haired maiden, and as a servant of the sun, it is Her light that enables flowers and plants to grow and thrive.  According to Incan mythology, it was She who controlled the weather and the protectors of the virgins and young girls.  Chasca has been linked to the planet Venus; hence Her other name, ‘The Long-Haired Star (Venus)'”

She was the author of the flowers who used Her light to draw sprouts from the ground and inspire blossoms, and according to lore, She communicates with Her people through clouds and, as the Mistress of the Morning, the dew She casts upon the ground.” [1]

On a personal note, I find it EXTREMELY interesting that a Goddess, half way around the world from Inanna, Ishtar or Aphrodite, a Goddess of love no less, is also associated with Venus – the Morning and Evening Star…that just amazes me 🙂

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddesses and Gods,Goddess Chasca“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Inka Goddesses“.

Wikipedia, “Inca Mythology“.

Ratna Dakinis

“Ratna Dakini” by Phyllis Glanville

“The Ratna Dakinis’ themes are banishing, victory, kindness and Karma. Their symbols are the color yellow.  In Tibet, these Goddesses rule over all gestures of goodness and compassion, which naturally help improve Karma. Collectively, their name means ‘inestimable,’ showing us the true power and value in acts of kindness that are driven by a pure heart.

The The Hemis Festival includes a ritual playing which all manner of mythic creatures are poised against the Tibetan lamas, symbolizing the battle between good and evil.  Bells, censers, cymbals and drums draw in positive magic, banish evil and win the fight for Ratna Dakinis’ goodness. In keeping with this idea, string together some yellow-colored brass bells for a Ratna Dakinis house amulet. Hold these in your hand and empower them by saying,

‘Let you goodness ring, let purity sing, with each wind Ratna Dakinis’ blessing bring!’

Hang these where they will catch the wind regularly, releasing the magic.

Wear something yellow today to keep Ratna Dakinis in mind so that your actions will be gentle and filled with kindness. Do something nice for someon who’s been feeling blue lately, ‘just beause.’ Give them some yellow flowers, offer a hug, or maybe make an extra bell amulet for them too! This boosts good Karma, makes both of you feel good and invoks Ratna Dakinis’ blessings through thoughtfulness.”

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

“Golden Dakini” by A. Andrew Gonzalez

“The term Dakini is Sanskrit. It’s Tibetan equivalent is Khadrokha meaning ‘sky’ and dro meaning to ‘go’. Taking it together, Khadro means one who can move through the sky.  It’s very important we think about this literal meaning in trying to understand Dakinis. Now, all dakinis are portrayed in female form — there male counterpart being called dakas. There are enlightened dakinis and unenlightened dakinis.

The unenlightened dakinis are termed worldly dakinis because they are still caught in the cyclic world of samsara. Worldly dakinis are found in human form as well as in astral (lunar) form and could have a form of a beautiful fairy-like being or a demonic flesh-eating being. An example of a worldly dakini are the Five evil Tseringma sisters Padma Sambhava tamed (control) into protectors. Another example of a worldly dakini is a celestial messenger falling into the category of a protector bodhisattva performing beneficial actions. Another example might be a great human practitioner that has accomplished some insight but who is not yet released from suffering.

The enlightened dakinis are the Wisdom Dakinis. They have passed beyond samsara into liberation and an example of an enlightened dakini would be any one of the female yidam or one of the female consorts to the Five Dhyana Buddhas.

Art by Penny Slinger

There are five families of Worldly and Wisdom Dakinis: Vajra Dakinis, Ratna Dakinis, Padma Dakinis, Karma Dakinis, and Buddha Dakinis. And both the worldly dakinis and wisdom dakinis can have supernatural powers. You may recall the story of Tilopa where he encountered a number of various dakinis. The worldly dakinis who had control over sight and sound bombarded him with mirages after which he met the dakinis embodying the five activities and finally he met with the wisdom dakini in the heart of the mandala.

The dakinis are born in three manners: 1) Spontaneously enlightened ones arise from Sabogakaya‘s unfoldment from Dharmakaya. Example of these Dakinis being Tara and Vajrayogini. 2)Those born in heavenly realms. Those who are born from within the heavenly realms and those who reach the heavenly realms though their own attainment. 3)Finally, those born by realization of mantra. These are humans who have reached various levels of inner realization.

So, as you can see, there are many different types and levels of dakinis. Dakinis in general can be a guiding light along the path removing physical and spiritual hindrances. They can play a great part in an individual’s attainment of enlightenment. They are the forces that awaken dormant qualities of spiritual impulses hidden in the subconscious. It is the dakini’s inspirational influence that can open one and remove obstacles. But, it is the Wisdom Dakinis that we should be interested in learning about and who we can rely on to truly release us from samsara.” [1]

Ratna Dakini

“The Ratna (Precious) Dakinis represent South, grandness and compassion.” [2] The family is Ratna Family, or the jeweled family, have the following associations:

  • The color is golden yellow.
  • The element is earth.
  • The symbol is the jewell.
  • The afflicted pattern is arrogance, pride; which covered feeling of inadequacy, not being good enough, creating greed, consuming hunger, consuming of all kinds.
  • The wisdom is of fundamental reality, the reality of equality, which is the same energy when the struggle is released.  Release of all self-advancements, self-importance and over barring attitudes to a relaxed state of equanimity and generosity, like the earth.
  • The Ratna Dakini has full body, has good sense of humour, and likes bright colours. Her knife is ornamented with the jewell. In Her left hand She holds the scull cup, with nectar of knowledge brimming out of it. In the crook of her left arm is the Katvanga staff – the inner consort. She is golden. Wisdom flames of equanimity and unchanging stillness emanate from Her body.
  • The seed syllable is – “RI”      [3]

 

 

Sources:

A Buddhist Library, “The Dakini Principle“.

Bundyuk, Maryna Brij. Creative Seedlings.com, “Meditation in the Mandala of the 5 Dakinis, the Enlightened Feminine“.

Chinaroad Löwchen. Tibetan Goddess Names, “Dakinis,the“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Buddha Nature.com, “The Vajra Dakini“.

Dakini Yogini Central, “Five Wisdom Dakini“.

Labdron, Machik. Machik’s Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chod (Tsadra Foundation).

Shaw, Miranda. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Trantric Buddhism.

Simmer-Brown, Judith. “Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism“.

Vajranatha.com, “Wisdom Dakinis, Passionate and Wrathful“.

Wikipedia, “Dakini“.

Goddess Mnemosyne

“Mnemosyne” by Michele-lee Phelan

“Mnemosyne’s themes are creativity, knowledge, history and art. Her symbols are fountains, springs and the number 9.  Mnemosyne means ‘memory’. Remembrance is this Goddess’s gift to us, memories of all the wonderful moments of our lives. In Greek tradition, Mnemosyne also gave birth to the Muses today – the nice creative spirit children that give our lives so much beauty: song, stories, tradition, humor, dance and sacred music. Greeks sometimes worshipped Mnemosyne in the form of a spring, alluding to her profuse, flowing energy.

Absolutely anything thoughtful, creative or inspiring will grab Mnemosyne’s attention and encourage her participation in your day. Try donning a unique combination of clothing that really motivates you to do your best, or something that provokes fond memories from the past. Wear an aroma that arouses your inventive nature or cognitive abilities (jasmine and rosemary are two good choices, respectively).

If there are special arts that you’ve learned from family or friends, celebrate them today. Hum that little ditty from your childhood, dust off that neglected craft item, try those recipes, listen to old songs and let Mnemosyne fill your hours with the encouragement that comes from fond ‘musings’.”

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

“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“Mnemosyne, Greek Goddess of memory, was considered one of the most powerful Goddesses of Her time.  After all, it is memory, some believe, that is a gift that distinguishes us from the other creatures in the animal world. It is the gift that allows us to reason, to predict and anticipate outcomes, and is the very foundation for civilization.

Mnemosyne is usually depicted with a full mane of luscious hair, often a rich auburn in color.  There are few stories about Her even though She is often mentioned by the ancient poets who recount Her awesome gifts to mankind.

The Goddess Mnemosyne is sometimes credited with being the first philosopher, Her gift the power of reason. She was given responsibility for the naming of all objects, and by doing so gave humans the means to dialog and to converse with each other.  The powers to place things in memory and that of remembrance were also attributed to this Goddess.

Make no mistake about this. Memory was of the utmost importance at the time of Mnemosyne. Long before the invention of the alphabet and the written word, it was critical to the well-being of an individual or a society who had to rely solely on the lessons passed on in an oral history.

Besides, we’re not talking about memorizing shopping lists or the times tables here. The memory of Mnemosyne was much more than that — it was the memory of the rules and energies of the universe, the cycle of life, the memory of how to live in the world.

The ancients believed that when one died and crossed into the Underworld one would be given a choice . . . whether to drink from the river Lethe where you would forget all the pains and terrors of your previous life (and with them, the lessons they brought), or whether to drink from the Mnemosyne, the spring of memory.

Those who chose to forget had to be reborn, to return to earth to learn the lessons they needed.  Those who had chosen to remember were admitted to the Elysian Fields where they would spend eternity in comfort and peace.

The esteem in which the memory was held was made clear in  the initiation rites of the ancient gnostics, who were required to consult with an oracle.

“Memento Mori v2” by chenoasart

Before being brought to the oracle, initiates were taken to a place with two pools lying next to each other. They were instructed to first drink from the pool of Lethe, the Goddess of forgetfulness, in order that they might forget their previous lives. Then they were taken to the spring of Mnemosyne to drink so that they would remember all that they were about to learn from the oracle.

The initiate would then be ‘buried alive’ (i.e., placed in seclusion) for a few days in the ‘tomb’ of the earth god, Trophonios to await the arrival of the oracle. If the initiate had been properly prepared and was found worthy, the mysteries of life would be told to him by the oracle.  And when he was brought back into the realm of the living, the priests would set him upon a special seat, called the Throne of Mnemosyne. While seated there, he would remember and tell all that he had learned below.

“Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory” by Thomas Dodd

Sadly, the Goddess Mnemosyne is largely forgotten, lost in the mists of time.  When She is remembered it is usually only in the context of her being the mother of the Muses, though all acknowledge that without memory the lively arts of the Muses would never have been possible.

The Muses, whose role it was to inspire poets and musicians and to promote the arts and sciences, were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.  After Zeus led the war against the Titans and established himself as the leader of the Olympians, he feared that, even though he might be immortal, his great victories and decisions might soon be forgotten.

Longing for a way to preserve the memory of his many great feats, he dressed as a shepherd and went to find Mnemosyne. They slept together for nine nights before he returned to his home on Mount Olympus. (By the way, Zeus was still single so this was not one of his famous extramarital affairs.)

Zeus got his wish. Months later Mnemosyne gave birth for nine days, each day delivering a daughter. Collectively they were known as the Muses and were described as ‘having one mind, their hearts set upon song and their spirit  free from care’.

“Apollo and the Muses on Mount Parnassus” by Simon Vouet

No banquet on Mount Olympus was complete without them. Seated near the throne of their father, they entertained the guests, singing not only of the greatness of Zeus, but about the marvelous feats of the Greek heroes and the creation of the heavens and the earth and all its wondrous creatures.”[1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Mnemosyne: Greek Goddess of Memory“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Mnemosyne“.

Wikipedia, “Mnemosyne“.

Wikipedia, “Muse“.

Goddess Epona

“Epona” by Joanna Barnum

“Epona’s themes are protection of animals; especially those who serve humankind. Her symbol is the horse.  Epona protects the creatures who faithfully keep humans company. This pre-Roman Gaulish Goddess is nearly always shown riding or lovingly feeding a horse and accompanied by a dog – these are Her two sacred animals.  Also, sometimes depicted with corn in Her lap and carrying a goblet, Epona inspires love, fertility and providence in your life. In some myths, Epona appeared to acknowledge a king’s sovereignty, giving Her leadership qualities that can help you when you need more authority in a situation.

To generate a little more providence in your life, eat corn today. Say a silent prayer to Epona, asking Her to saturate your food with power, then consume it to internalize the energy.

If you have a pet, consider blessing it today. To do this, find a small silver charm or a horse or a dog (like those from charm bracelets). This image invokes Epona’s protection. Alternatively, use a little bell and draw the image of a horse or dog on it.

Hold the token cupped in your hands. Visualize it filled with glittery white light and say,

‘Epona, watch over_____________ [fill in with the of the animal]. Keep them safe and healthy no matter where they may be.’

Put the charm on the animal’s collar or cage or in it’s bedding.”

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

“Epona (pronounced Ey-PONE-ah) was the ancient Horse Goddess of the pre-Christian Pagan people, known as the Gauls, or Celtic French. She was worshipped for many hundreds of years as a Horse Goddess, who not only protected horses, but also their owners. Epona is also one of the most well known of all the Goddesses within the Celtic Pantheon, and She was granted such titles as ‘The Great Mare,’ the ‘Divine Mare,’ and the ‘Mare Goddess.’

Epona was worshipped throughout the entire Celtic world in a variety of other, different aspects. In Ireland she was known as Macha, the Goddess of War, while in Wales She became Rhiannon, the Goddess of the Underworld. It was in the aspect of Rhiannon that Epona appears in the Welsh collection of tales known as The Mabinogion. She has also been identified with the Celtic Goddess Edain, or Etain, whose full name, when translated, is Etain Echraidhe, which means ‘Etain, the horse rider,’ or ‘Etain, the rider of horses.’

Epona was worshipped widely throughout the entire Celtic and Roman worlds, and Her worship was exceptionally strong in both Rhineland and Gaul. In fact, Epona’s worship became so strong that it spread as far away as the Danube River, Yugoslavia, North Africa and Rome. The Roman army was so impressed by Her that it eventually adopted Her cult, and the Roman soldiers introduced Epona’s worship to the many people that they encountered in their travels.

The British worshipped Epona in the form of a cult, and they gave Her the title ‘Rigantona‘ or ‘Rig Antonia,’ which means ‘Great Queen.’ The Goddess Rhiannon, whose worship occurred at a much later point in time, was strongly associated with Epona, and She was known by that title as well.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

Epona was also known by a variety of other names, which changed according to the various languages and myths that were indigenous to each particular region. It actually matters little whether She was known as Rhiannon, Macha or Epona, because no matter which aspect She happened to appear in, Her image always remained the same. She appeared as a woman with very long hair who was riding side saddle upon a white mare. When She appeared in the aspect of Epona, however, She was depicted as a woman with very long hair, lying half-naked on a white mare.

Stories about Epona [are] lost to the world forever, although one story regarding Her origin remains. During the decline of the Roman Empire, a Greek writer named Agesilaos wrote a story in which he claimed that Epona was the product of a man named Phoulonios Stellos, who had no interest whatsoever in women. Instead of mating with a woman he preferred to mate with a mare, and when that mare gave birth, it was to a beautiful human-looking daughter. Interestingly, it was actually the mare, herself, who named her daughter Epona, and by her doing so, she deified Epona as the Goddess of Horses.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Epona could take the tangible forms of both parents.  Sometimes, too, She appeared as a rushing river, which suggests that Epona was a fertility Goddess, often seen in Celtic culture as a water spirit.  Similarly, the connection among Celtic peoples of the horse and the sun suggests a solar nature to Epona, supported as well by the patera or round sunlike plate that She carries in many sculptures.

The sacred mare Epona appeared as the bestower of sovereignty in the ancient Celtic rituals of kingship, which may have included a rite of marriage with the mare Goddess.  Among Indo-European peoples in India, a rite of mare-marriage, which solidified a man’s claim on the rulership of a geographical area, is attested and has been connected by scholars to the figure of Epona.

Aerial view of the Uffington White Horse

Recent excavations of the magnificent British monument, the White Horse of Uffington, strongly suggests that the 360-foot-long horse represents Epona.  Using a new technique, archaeologists have been studying the rate at which the hillside, upon which the White Horse is carved into the chalky soil, has descended towards the deep valley (the Vale of the White Horse) beneath.  The White Horse has puzzled researchers for many years, some maintaining that it was a late medieval creation, others that it derived from the post-Celtic era.  Even before the recent attempt to date the monument itself, it has been noted that the horse’s design echoed that of coins issued by the Celtic warrior Queen Boudicca.  The identification of the White Horse with the Celts is now virtually certain – and as the Celts had only one horse-divinity, the likelihood is that the horse on the hill was Epona.  Vestiges of Her are also found in the figure of Lady Godiva and the mysterious white-horse-riding woman of Banbury Cross” (p. 114).

  

On an Etsy.com page selling a replica of an Epona statue found in Alesia, France, I found a piece of information especially inspiring:

Epona in our everyday lives

“Although Epona was and still is traditionally seen as a horse Goddess, She can fit into so many aspects of our lives. She is the Goddess of dreams not only of the sleeping kind but the dreams of hope and ambition. She can be helpful in manifesting dreams and is a good protector to have when venturing on a new path in life. A prayer or invocation can be offered to Her if one is having trouble sleeping or wishes to have insightful or peaceful dreams. She is a nurturing caregiver and can be called upon as a protector of families, children and women who are about to give birth.

Epona is also good to turn to when seeking positive blessings and prosperity. She is good to call upon during dark, difficult times in life such as grief and loss and can offer guidance that is gentle and loving in nature. Roses are a wonderful offering to leave on your altar for the Goddess Epona as are rose petals or rose incense. Sandalwood incense can also be used as an offering. When burning a candle for Epona, the most common color associated with Her is white.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Horse and Motherhood

Preferred Colors: Brown, black and white

Associated Symbol: Horse, cornucopia, keys

Animals Associated with: Horse, mares and foals, dog, birds.

Suitable Offerings: Fruits, mare’s milk, apples, hay, sweet grass, oats, fresh water, a thick stout that you can practically chew on.  Roses, rosebuds, rose garlands.

Scents/Incense: Rose, sandalwood.

Gemstones: Cat’s eye, ruby, azurite, obsidian, and moonstone

Astrology: Aries

Tarot: Queen of Wands

Chakra: The sexual and heart chakras

Feast Days: The Autumn Equinox, when night and day are of equal length, occurs during the month of the Vine Moon; December 18 (based on the Roman calendar).

[34, 56]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Etsy.com/shop/Harmonycraft, Epona – Celtic Horse Goddess“.

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Epona, The Gaulish Horse Goddess“.

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

PaganNews.com, “Epona“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Epona“.

Tribeofthesun.com, Epona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

EPONA.net (An in-depth Epona site with historical facts about Epona)

Firewolf, Dawn. Realmagick.com, “Epona“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Women and Horses in Mythology: Epona“.

Lady Zephyr. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Myst, Willow. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Epona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess: Divine Horse“.

Readtiger.com, “Epona“.

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

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

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trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge - Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson

Heathen Spirit Worker

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

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

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.

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

star & stone

a hearth-centred polytheist life

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.