Archive for August, 2012


Goddess Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” by ~sgorbissa

“Baba Yaga’s themes are the harvest, rest, providence, thankfulness and cycles. Her symbols are corn sheafs, wreaths of wheat, corn, rye and wild flowers.  This Lithuanian/Russian Goddess of regeneration, Baba Yaga is typically represented as the last sheaf of corn in today’s festivities – Obzinky. As both young and old, She reawakens in us an awareness of time’s ever-moving wheel, the seasons and the significance of both to our Goddess-centered magic.

Follow with the tradition and make or buy a wreath or bundle of corn shucks or other harvest items. Keep this in your home to inspire Baba Yaga’s providence and prosperity for everyone who lives there.

For breakfast, consume a multigrain cereal, rye bagels or wheat toast. Keep a few pieces of dried grains or toasted breads with you. This way you’ll internalize Baba Yaga’s timeliness for coping with your day more effectively and efficiently, and you’ll carry Her providence with you no matter the circumstances.

Feast on newly harvested foods, thanking Baba Yaga as the maker of your meal. Make sure you put away one piece of corn that will not be consumed today, however. Dry it and hang it up to ensure a good harvest the next year, for your garden, pocketbook or heart.

Finally, decorate your home or office with a handful of wild flowers (even dandelions qualify). Baba Yaga’s energy will follow them and you to where it’s most needed.”

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

“Baba Yaga” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that “the ‘old woman’ of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for Her oar, sweeping the traces of Her flight from the air with a broom.

A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured Her victims, which is why Her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death Goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring” (p. 65).

“Baba” by Karlen Tam

As explained by Freya: “Usually, Baba Yaga is a frightening Witch who lives in the middle of a very deep forest, in a place which is often difficult to find unless a magic clue (a ball of yarn or thread) or a magic feather shows the way. The old hag lives in a wooden hut on two chicken legs (sometimes three or four legs are described). Usually the hut is turned with its back towards a traveler, and only magical words can make it turn around on its chicken legs to face the newcomer. Very often, the hut revolves with loud noises and painful screams that make a visitor cringe. This serves to frighten the reader, showing the hut’s old age, and to show that Baba Yaga does not care about her hut’s well being. It is also fascinating that some fairy tales describe the hut as being a unique evil entity: firstly, it has the ability to move on its chicken legs. Secondly, it understands human language and is able to decide whether and when to let a visitor enter its premises. Finally, the hut is often depicted as being able ‘to see’ with its eyes (its windows) and ‘to speak’ with its mouth (its doorway). I also cannot help feeling that the hut is able ‘to think’, and one can observe these thoughts as wild powerful clouds of steam emerging from the hut’s chimney. What powerful imagery!

Baba Yaga’s hut is often surrounded by fence made of human bones and topped with human skulls with eyes. Instead of wooden poles onto which the gates are hung, human legs are used; instead of bolts, human hands are put in; instead of the keyhole, a mouth with sharp teeth is mounted. Very often Baba Yaga has her hut is protected by hungry dogs or is being watched over by evil geese-swans or is being guarded by a black cat. The gates of Baba Yaga’s villa are also often found to be guardians of Yaga’s hut as they either lock out or lock in the Witch’s prey.” [1]  (You can click on the [1] to finish reading the imagery).

“Baba Yaga” by ~lpeters

She quite reminds me of another well known Goddess, Kali.  Freya goes onto explain: “Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, the Dancer on Gravestones. Although, more often than not, we consider Baba Yaga as a symbol of death, She is a representation of the Crone in the Triple Goddess symbolism. She is the Death that leads to Rebirth. It is curious that some Slavic fairy tales show Baba Yaga living in Her hut with Her two other sisters, also Baba Yagas. In this sense, Baba Yaga becomes full Triple Goddess, representing Virgin, Mother, and the Crone. Baba Yaga is also sometimes described as a guardian of the Water of Life and Death. When one is killed by sword or by fire, when sprinkled with the Water of Death, all wounds heal, and after that, when the corpse is sprinkled with the Water of Life, it is reborn. The symbolism of oven in the Baba Yaga fairy tales is very powerful since from primordial times the oven has been a representation of womb and of baked bread. The womb, of course, is a symbol of life and birth, and the baked bread is a very powerful the image of earth, a place where one’s body is buried to be reborn again. It is interesting that Baba Yaga invites Her guests to clean up and eat before eating them, as though preparing them for their final journey, for entering the death, which will result in a new clean rebirth. Baba Yaga also gives Her prey a choice when She asks them to sit on Her spatula to be placed inside the oven: if one is strong or witty, he or she escapes the fires of the oven, for weak or dim-witted ones, the road to death becomes clear.” [2]

As Fiana Sidhe explains: “Baba Yaga is a very misunderstood Goddess. She is not just the stereotypical wicked witch. She often appears as a frightening old hag, but can also appear as a beautiful woman who bestows gifts.

She is wild and untamed but also can be kind and generous. Even in Her haggard form, Baba Yaga has many gifts to share.

Baba Yaga is the old crone who guards The Waters of Life and Death. She is the White Lady of Death and Rebirth, and is also known as The Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. The old bones are symbolic of the things we cling to, but must finally let lie. When we experience a death, darkness, depression, or spiritual emptiness in our lives, we journey to Baba Yaga’s hut, where She washes new life into us. She collects our bones and pours the waters on them, while She sings and chants and causes us to be reborn. She destroys and then She resurrects. Baba Yaga symbolizes the death of ignorance. She forces us to see our true, darkest selves, then She grants us a deep wisdom that we can attain by accepting the dark shadows within ourselves. We can only receive help from Baba Yaga by learning humility. Her gifts can destroy or enlighten us.” [3]

I absolutely love this explanation of Baby Yaga as the Wild Woman written by Sr. Dea Phoebe: “So, while She is certainly a dark Goddess, a death Goddess, and may even seem ‘wicked’ in ways, Baba Yaga is hardly the villain of Her stories. But also, Baba Yaga is not a nice, clean, civilized Goddess. In the story of Valalisa the Wise, triple Goddess imagery repeats throughout – in Valalisa and her doll’s white, red, and black clothing, (colors traditionally associated with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,) in the repetition of threes throughout the story (three colors, three enemies in the stepfamily, three riders, three tasks, three questions, three pairs of hands) and in Valalisa, (the maiden beginning her journey), her mother (who has given Valalisa gifts to guide her), and of course, in Baba Yaga as the crone. As a denizen of the deep forest, Baba Yaga is the wild aspect of the psyche, what Estés calls [in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves] the Wild Hag or the Wild Woman —not the gentle grandmother that bakes you cookies and tells you stories, but the stern grandmother that might just smack your rear with a spoon and tell you to smarten up! She is not pretty to look at, and she represents the deepest mysteries of death. No wonder she has a reputation of a scary old witch!

“Baba Yaga” by *MarkTarrisse

When we work with Baba Yaga, when we take that path into the deep forest to face the mysteries of death and emerge with the light of wisdom, we also face the wild aspects of ourselves. They may not be pretty, they may have long stringy hair and iron teeth and a wild cackle, but they also hold mysteries our more civilized day-to-day selves never think upon. Baba Yaga is not tied by social norms and mores. She flies about in yet another symbol of transformation; She wipes away the signs of Her passing so you’re never sure if She’s really been there. She’s rude, She’s crude, and She lives in a hut that doesn’t have the manners to sit down and stay like we expect a house should—and you can bet She enjoys all of this. She is less concerned about what is civilized and polite than what is true.

When you find yourself in need of true wisdom, when you find yourself being too nice, too polite in the face of ongoing boundary violations, when you find yourself stagnated by the expectations of others, it might just be time to retrieve your Wild Woman (or Man.) It might be time to brave the forest and meet Baba Yaga.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Colors: White, red, and black

Gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz

Goddesses: Hecate, Hel, Kali

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Festival Date: January 20

Herbs/Flowers: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Moon Phase: Waning/Dark

Other Names: Baba, Boba, Baba Den, Jezi Baba

Sacred Animals: Snake, cat

Season: Autumn

Symbols: Mortar and pestle, broom

Tree: Birch                                   [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Baba Yaga“.

Freya. Realmagick.com, “Baba Yaga: A Demon or A Goddess?

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

Phoebe, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Baba Yaga – Wicked Witches and Wild Women“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga, The Bone Mother“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddesses“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Baba Yaga – Wild Woman“.

Oldrussia.net, “Baba Yaga“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baba Yaga: cross the shadow side – then come out!

Russianclub.com.ua, “Baba-Yaga“.

Russiapedia.rt.com, “Of Russina origin: Baba Yaga“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Baba Yaga“.

Weed, Susun. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga Stories“.

Wikipedia, “Baba Yaga“.

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Bon Dammes

“lyinf around” by ~tytaniafairy

“The Bon Dammes’ themes are rest, pleasure, fairies, playfulness and youthfulness. Their symbols are any fairy plants (foxglove, primrose, oak, thorn, ash).  The Bon Dammes are devic Goddesses in Brittany that appear much like fairies and often act with much impishness. Having a kindly nature, the Bon Dammes inspire playful, youthful outlooks to take with us into early fall with childlike wonder in our hearts.

Follow the custom of all regions the United Kingdom (except Scotland) and take the day off. Enjoy family outings and a little leisure before the warm weather really starts to fade. Sleep in a bit, ask for a few hours off from work, get outside and play with the Bon Dammes. Leave them gifts of sparkling stones, honey, and sweet bread beneath any flower or tree that captures your eye and makes you smile. In return, the Bon Dammes will make sure your day is filled with pleasurable surprises.

Think about an activity you really enjoyed as a kid and recapture that moment sometime today. Jump down a hopscotch board, play tag with the wind, climb a tree (carefully please), pick buttercups, go berry picking, skinny-dip in a stream, or do whatever re-inspires the Bon Dammes’s youthfulness in your heart. You’ll find that this moment refreshes your entire outlook and provides extra energy for the days ahead.”

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

Man, striking out here!  I couldn’t find anything on Saki-yama-hime, Braciaca turned out to be a god, and I could not find anything on the Bon Dammes!  I did however run across two references to “Dames”: Dames Blanches (White Ladies) and Dames Vertes (Green Ladies).  Now, according to Sacred-texts.com, “the Fairy-lore of the North of France, at least of Normandy, is, as was to be expected, similar to that of the other portions of the Gotho-German race. We meet it in the fées or fairies, and the lutins or gobelins, which answer to the Kobolds, Nisses, and such like of those nations.

The Fees are small and handsome in person; they are fond of dancing in the night-time, and in their dances which are circular they form the Cercles des Fées, or fairy-rings. If any one approaches their dance, he is irresistibly impelled to take part in it. He is admitted with the greatest courtesy; but as the whirling movement increases, and goes faster and faster, his head becomes giddy, and he falls to the ground utterly exhausted. Sometimes the fées amuse themselves by flinging him up to a great height in the air, and, if not killed by the fall, he is found next morning full of bruises. These little beings, it is also said, haunt solitary springs, where they wash their linen, which they then dry by way of preference on the Druidic stones, if at hand, and lay up in the hollows of rocks or barrows, thence named Chambres or Grottes des Fées. But, further, it is said of them, like the Lutins, they select particular farms to which they resort at night, and there making use of horses, harness and utensils of all kinds, they employ themselves at various kinds of work, of which, however, no traces remain in the morning. They are fond of mounting and galloping the horses; their seat is on the neck, and they tie together locks of the mane to form stirrups. Their presence, however, always brings luck, the cattle thrive where they are, the utensils of which they have made use, if broken are mended and made as good as new. They are altogether most kind and obliging, and have been known to give cakes to those to whom they have taken a fancy.

The Fées of Normandy are, like others, guilty of child-changing. A countrywoman as she was one day carrying her child on her arm met a Fée similarly engaged, who proposed an exchange. But she would not consent, even though, she said, the Fée’s babe were nine times finer than her own. A few days after, having left her child in the house when she went to work in the fields, it appeared to her on her return that it had been changed. She immediately consulted a neighbour, who to put the matter to the proof, broke a dozen eggs and ranged the shells before the child, who instantly began to cry out, Oh! what a number of cream-pots! Oh! what a number of cream-pots! The matter was now beyond doubt, and the neighbour next advised to make it cry lustily in order to bring its real mother to it. This also succeeded; the Fee came imploring them to spare her child, and the real one should be restored.

“Shaylee of Faylinn” by *DragonDew

There is another kind of Fées known in Normandy by the name of Dames Blanches, or White Ladies, who are of a less benevolent character. These lurk in narrow places, such as ravines, fords and bridges, where passengers cannot well avoid them, and there seek to attract their attention. The Dame Blanche sometimes requires him whom she thus meets to join her in a dance, or to hand her over a plank. If he does so she makes him many courtesies, and then vanishes. One of these ladies named La Dame d’ Aprigny, used to appear in a winding narrow ravine which occupied the place of the present Rue Saint Quentin at Bayeux, where, by her involved dances, she prevented any one from passing. She meantime held out her hand, inviting him to join her, and if he did so she dismissed him after a round or two; but if he drew back, she seized him and flung him into one of the ditches which were full of briars and thorns. Another Dame Blanche took her station on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dive, in the district of Falaise, named the Pont d’ Angot. She sat on it and would not allow any one to pass unless he went on his knees to her; if he refused, the Fee gave him over to the lutins, the cats, owls, and other beings which, under her sway, haunt the place, by whom he was cruelly tormented.” [1]

“Be careful with the Fae” by ~Angueru-sama

Then, there are the Dames Vertes.  Patricia Monaghan writes, “The ‘Green Ladies’ of Celtic French folklore were seductive but cruel, luring travelers from the forest paths and holding them upside down over waterfalls, laughing all the while.  As wind spirits, they traveled speedily over their chosen countryside, invigorating all the plant life they touched.  When visible in human form, the Dames Vertes were said to be tall and seductive, dressed in long green robes, passing so lightly over the grass that it seemed only wind had disturbed it” (p. 96).

Based on this description, the Dames Vertes almost sound similar to the Rousalii or Rusalki of Russian folklore who were also reported to have worn green robes…curious, very curious indeed…

In conclusion, it would seem to me that Bon Dammes would translate to “Good Ladies” and either be related to the Dames Blanches or actually be the Dames Blanches as they clearly don’t fit the description of the Dames Vertes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines, “Dames Vertes”.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cymru, Gordd. Celtic-twilight.com, “The Fairy Mythology – Great Britain“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Dames Vertes“.

Phillips, Valerie. Dnaalchemy.com, “Devas, Elementals and Fairies“.

Wikipedia, “Fée“.

Goddess Ninkasi

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Braciaca” as today’s Goddess. However, my research revealed that Braciaca is “an obscure god of Roman Britain remembered in an inscription at Haddon House, Derbyshire” [1]  and was associated with Bacchus (Dionysus) and Mars [2].  I was going to do an entry on his consort if he had one, but apparently nothing is known of him except for a single inscription on an altarstone found at Haddon Hall, Derby, Derbyshire. [3]  Since Braciaca was associated with malt and is pretty much accepted to be a god of brewing, I am focusing today’s entry on the Goddess Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of beer.

“Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian matron Goddess of the intoxicating beverage, beer.

Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and Her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, She is the Goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of ‘sparkling fresh water.’ She is the Goddess made to ‘satisfy the desire’ and ‘sate the heart.’ She would prepare the beverage daily.

 

Sumerian Beer Recipe, 3200 BCE

The Sumerian written language and the associated clay tablets are among the earliest human writings. Scholarly works from the early 1800s onward have developed some facility translating the various Sumerian documents. Among these is a poem with the English title, ‘A Hymn to Ninkasi‘. The poem is, in effect, a recipe for the making of beer. A translation from the University of Oxford describes combining bread, a source for yeast, with malted and soaked grains and keeping the liquid in a fermentation vessel until finally filtering it into a collecting vessel.” [4]

 

 

Woman brewing beer in ancient Egypt

In a detailed article entitled Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer, Johanna Stucky writes, “Not only was Nin-kasi Herself the beer — ‘given birth by the flowing water…’ (Black, Cunningham, Robson, and Zólyomi 2004: 297) — but She was the chief brewer of the gods. So it is not surprising to learn that, in early times in ancient Sumer (southern Mesopotamia), brewers were usually female. Women made beer at home for immediate consumption, since it did not keep. It is possible also that temple brewers were priestesses of Nin-kasi. Later, when beer production became an industry, men seem to have taken over the process, but women still made beer for home use (Homan 2004: 85). Perhaps because they brewed the beer, women were often tavern keepers. For instance, Siduri, a minor Goddess whom Gilgamesh met at the end of the earth, was a divine tavern keeper.” [5]

 

 

 

 

 

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

I did find references that She was associated with wine as well.  On one site, it stated that She actually somehow became “incorporated” into the Goddess Ishtar [6] though I could find no reason or explanation as to how and why.  However, my guess is that because according to Patricia Monaghan, “Ninkasi has been described as another form of Siduri” [7]; and Siduri (meaning “young woman” in Hurrian), maybe an epithet of Ishtar. [8]

 

 

 

Sources:

Answers.com, “Braciaca“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “Brâg“.

Dl.ket.org/latin3/mores/, “Mars Braciaca“.

Inanna.virtualave.net, “The Goddess Ishtar“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ninkasi” (p. 73).

Wikipedia, “Ninkasi“.

Wikipedia, “Siduri“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Beeradvocate.com, “Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Brewing and Beer“.

Faraci, Devin. Badassdigest.com, “The Badass Hall of Fame: Ninkasi“.

Frothnhops.com, “Ancient Gods of Beer“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Sumerian Goddesses“.

Peyrafitte, Nicole. Nicolepeyrafitte.com/blog/, “Ninkasi: ‘The Lady who fills the Mouth’“.

 

And just for funNinkasibrewing.com

“Saki-yama-hime’s themes are freedom, luck, prosperity and wealth. Her symbols are insects and the number 7.  The Japanese Goddess of fortune and abundance visits today’s festivities, freeing the insects, with Her lucky energy, especially for improving finances. In the spirit of the moment, She also provides a little serendipity to help free you from any burdens weighing you down.

Throughout Japan, vendors line the streets around this time of year with small cages that house crickets and other insects. People purchase them to take to temples and free the insects, thereby ensuring luck and prosperity. This would be a fun activity for children who have a nearby park or woods where they can find a cricket. Alternatively, have them look for an ant on the sidewalk. Treat the insect kindly all day, giving it buts of grass or a pinch of sugar. Then, come nightfall, release the creature back to the earth. It will tell the Goddess about the human who took care of it!

Saki-yama-hime can then respond by bringing more good fortune your way.

An adult version of this festival might simply entail not killing any insects today. Take spiders gently outside the home, try not to step on the creepy-crawlies on the sideways, and so on. Generally treat nature’s citizens with respect so Saki-yama-hime can reward you with liberation and financial security.”

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

Sorry guys, I could find no reference to this Goddess.  That’s not to say of course that She doesn’t exist – perhaps under some variant spelling(s) or name(s) as is so common I’ve found with many of the Asian deities.  As usual, if anyone has any info pertaining to this Goddess, you’re more than welcome to share it here.

Goddess Drol-Ma

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

“Drol-ma’s themes are kindness, overcoming, charity and change. Her symbols are any acts of kindness.  This Nepalese Goddess’s name means ‘deliverer’. So it is that Drol-ma visits us with compassion and transformative power, turning sadness into joy, poverty into wealth and despair into hope.

On this day in 1910, the inspiring Mother Teresa was born. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her charitable works. To remember her and honor the spirit of Drol-ma that her life reflected so powerfully, do something nice for people today. Pick up a friend who normally has to take the bus, shop for someone who can’t get out, baby-sit for a flustered mother, give a few bucks to a food bank, donate blood to the Red Cross, volunteer your time at a youth center. Drol-ma lives in all these selfless acts.

To help recognize an opportunity for kindness or charity, pray to Drol-ma before leaving the house today, using words like these:

‘Great Deliverer, She whose heart knows no limits,
renew in me the spirit of benevolence that seeks
not after it’s own reward but does good for good’s
sake. The world is a much lovelier place when
Your kindness flows through our hearts, reaching
out to those in need. Take my hand and guide my
way. Let it begin today. Amen.’

Go out and keep your eyes and ears open!”

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

“Green Tara” by Zeng Hao

Today’s Goddess is actually another name of the great Goddess Tara.  “In Tibetan, [Tara] is called Dolma or Do’ma, though often we see Drolma because it follows the Tibetan spelling (a little more; if we transliterate, it is actually sgrolma.).” [1]  “Tara (Tib. Dolma) is worshipped for Her assistance in aiding the believer to overcome obstacles on the path to enlightenment.” [2]

See my March 3rd entry on the Goddess Tara for more information.

 

 

 

Sources:

Dharmasculpture.com, “Tara, the Mother of All Buddhas“.

Khandro.net, “Tara“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Wikipedia, “Tara (Buddhism)“.

It’s 10 o’clock on Sunday, the husband has safely made to his destination thousands of miles away for the next few months, the kids are tucked into bed and what am I doing?  Why, catching up on my blogging of course!  So here we go…FINALLY starting on Module 3.

1.  When I was a child, I did learn and recite prayers.  Did I have to?  Hhmm, yes and no.  It didn’t feel like at the time that I “had to”; it was more of a fun thing to do with my parents and made me feel grown-up in a sense to recite them with the adults at church.  Of course, I learned the “Our Father”, “Hail Mary”, “Glory Be to the Father” and the “Apostles’ Creed”, the “Nicene Creed” and of course the corresponding Mysteries (i.e. the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, etc.).   I only remember the first three.  I also remember the Grace my Dad taught us to recite before every meal.  They really don’t hold the same meaning to me now as they did when I was a kid or young teenager.  I am partial to the “Hail Mary” if I had to choose one of them.  Well, also Grace before meals, but I want to tweak that one and incorporate that into my own practice and share with my kiddies.

     

2.  Books that have been influential on my spiritual path…The first one would be Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner“.  Another one would be “When, Why…If” by Robin Wood.  This was an awesome workbook dealing with ethics.  It was a quick and easy read and one that you could work through over and over again, journaling as you go, seeing how you’ve changed from year to year.  Along the lines of ethics, “An’ Ye Harm None” by Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch and Meredith Macdonald.  This book isn’t so much as a “how to” guideline type book, but actually teaches you and makes you think and reason.  It makes you stop and look at how you do things and the impact your actions have.  I got in a bit of a spiritual rut a several years back and found “The Second Circle: Tools for the Advancing Pagan” by Venecia Rauls quite refreshing and stimulating.  “Practicing the Presence of the Goddess: Everyday Rituals to Transform Your World” by Barbara Ardinger was also another quick and easy read that helped me out of my rut.

    

I loved Dianne Sylvane’s book “The Body Sacred“.  This book helped me immensely after the births of my two babies to appreciate my body, even though it had changed so much and I looked upon it as “ruined”.  Carol P. Christ’s book, “Rebirth of the Goddess” made me view the Goddess and the role of women in a whole new and different light (as can be viewed in this conversation between E.C. Erdmann and Carol P. Christ – which heavily influenced or brought out my Dianic nature).  “Descent to the Goddess” by Sylvia Brinton Perera was just all kinds of awesomeness that really helped me understand and come to know the Dark Goddess a little better and come to know myself a lot better as can be read in my post “Archetypes – Ascending From the Shadow“.  Most recently, I’ve started reading “The Solitary Druid” by Rev. Robert Lee (Skip) Ellison.  I’m about half way through it and it has given me a better understanding hard polytheism vs my softer polytheistic outlook.

3.  With a lot of these books, I was quite new to Wicca and Paganism, especially Cunningham’s “Wicca” (come on, isn’t this everyone’s first book?).  “When, Why…If” was kind of a mandatory reading for the coven I was in 5 years ago and an eye opener.  “An’ Ye Harm None” was a further look at ethics that I really enjoyed – another eye opener.  “The Second Circle” and “Practicing the Presence of the Goddess” got me out of my rut because they helped me to find the magic in the mundane and everyday life vs only finding magic in a coven setting.  Actually, “The Second Circle” got me interested in exploring a Druid now that I think about it.  “Rebirth of the Goddess” was a long read that made me question my reading comprehension abilities, LoL!  There were some pages, even paragraphs that I had to read over and over again, but well worth it!   It opened my eyes as to how universal the Goddess is and how She makes Her presence known throughout the different parts of the world.  “Descent to the Goddess” helped me understand my Dark Self and Shadow.  “The Solitary Druid” I’m trying to balance with “A Dance with Dragons” and seems to be a quick and easily comprehensible read.  I really don’t use or adhere to the Wiccan principles anymore.  I kind feel like I already know them, yeah, they served their purpose, but I’ve outgrown Wicca – a long time ago actually and that’s how I got into my rut back in like 2009.  I still use the ethic and principles in my everyday life and conscious decisions I make and obviously hold the Goddess in all of Her forms and guises in very high regard.  She is VERY high up there on my hierarchy of priorities if you will.  As for “The Body Sacred”, I’m still working on fully appreciating my (well not so new body now) changed body and accepting those changes.  I’m a lot better with it than I was say 2 years ago – so applying those principles is still a work in progress…

4.  I haven’t done any hard-core research on these authors.  I do know that Carol P. Christ started out as a Christian pursuing her Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Yale and later went on to become one of the strongest leaders of the feminist spirituality movement.  I do follow the Feminism and Religion blog on WordPress, so I have the pleasure of reading posts from Carol P. Christ and Barbara Ardinger.  As Dianne Sylvane has explained in this course, she also started out Christian, practiced Wicca but no longer considers herself Wiccan, as her beliefs and practices have changed and evolved into a more eclectic spiritual practice I’d say.  I also live close enough to the ADF Muin Mound Grove in Syracuse to attend High Day celebrations and chat with Rev. Robert Lee (Skip) Ellison, but I haven’t sat down with him and interviewed him about his life’s story or path.

This was a very thought provoking read. Very appropriate and pertinent to the Spiritual Nomad course and those walking a Solitary Path or in the process of developing their own Paths.

Meanderings

I drop to one knee and scoop up a handful of earth. It is dry, granular, and loose; it falls easily through my fingers. A fine plume of dust is carried off by the slight breeze as it falls between my fingers. This is not soil; it is dirt. It will not grow much unless something organic is added; there is no life in it.

In the Beginning…

When I was young, I was full of life. I was full of dreams. I watched the dream of the ages fulfilled as the first man set foot upon the Moon. I was inspired, but the dream ended.

The people were satisfied with themselves. There was nothing they wanted to do except enjoy the fruits of their labors. Their great accomplishment spawned a myriad of new toys. The people then sat in their easy chairs, playing with their shiny new toys, and…

View original post 1,845 more words

So, I’m very thankful – it’s been a very successful week, both spiritually and mundanely…well, except for this morning when I had to be up at 4:30AM to drive my husband to the airport (Army stuff).  But, then again, I’m thankful for that now that I think about it because this school he is going to and the orders we will receive when he completes it has stopped him from being deployed to Afghanistan…so yes, I can say that I’m thankful for that.

Anyways, spiritually – I’ve made a very long-awaited connection with Epona.  As I’ve stated in comments under my Epona entry, I’ve always loved and had a strong connection with horses.  Equine Science was my first college major until I’d gotten into a car accident on my way to college one early icy morning on my way to the horse barn to groom and take care of the horse that I was responsible for, Briar.  Despite having to be up at 5AM every morning to get to the horse barn, it was well worth it to me as I loved EVERYTHING about it.  I loved the smells, the sounds of the horses whinnying and snorting, and most especially grooming her.  That was when I was at peace in my “happy place” – spending that one on one time with her rubbing, brushing and picking hooves.  I also loved riding – the freedom from all my cares that came with it was amazing…

“Rhiannon” by Amanda Walsh

In my younger days, when confronted, being “cut down” or if someone tried to discourage me from doing something I had set my mind to, I remember “feeling” like a wild horse saying, “I will not be broken!”  Stubborn…very stubborn (if truth be told, I still am).  I’ve felt a faint connection with Epona for several years now; with Her name popping into my head for no apparent reason and calling out to Her when feeling weak, hurt and vulnerable.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling Her energy grow stronger and stronger as She made Her way into my life and really made Her presence known.  Perhaps that began when during our last Druid study group several weeks ago, I pulled the Horse card from the Druid Animal Oracle deck after focusing on the question, “What do I need to focus on today?”  I’ve also felt a spark with Rigantona and Rhiannon, even Macha; but more so with Epona.  Maybe because Her energy just feels so much “older” and primal to me than Rhiannon, Rigantona and Macha.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

It’s been extremely healing, opening up a whole new sense of deeper love, understanding, forgiveness and acceptance that I was afraid that I’d never come to know.  I had a friend a long time ago that said, “Pony medicine is good medicine – healing medicine,” and as far as I’m concerned, he was right on the money!  I’m not sure what finally sealed the deal completed this connection – perhaps when it was when I was riding one of the horses with my daughter at the Renaissance Festival last Sunday – I have no idea.  All I know is that She’s here and I’m so thankful for Her warm, loving and peaceful presence I feel when my anger or feelings of discontent and frustration flare up.  I can “see” Her: a milk-white mare with big soft brown eyes just staring at me and feel Her comforting warmth.

I’ve also decided to try to work with Her as a Gatekeeper, which I understand is usually a male deity.  However, I feel She would make a perfect Gatekeeper as She is associated with protection, keys, the Otherworld and Underworld, being a psychopomptravel, shape-shifting, dreams, the Feminine and magic – just to name a few of Her associations.  As I have more of a Dianic nature, it just feels right.

“Green Goddess of Beltane” by ArwensGrace

I’ve thought a lot about the Goddesses that I feel connected to and noticed a pattern.  First off, Brighid – Celtic, who goes by many names depending on the region or tribe you’re looking at (i.e. Brìde in Scotland, Brigindū in GaulBrigantia in Great Britain, etc.).  Nemetona – Celtic, worshiped in eastern Gaul.  Sulis – Celtic, another Gaulish Goddess worshiped at the thermal spring of Bath (with associations with Brighid).  And now Epona – another Gaulish Goddess worshiped throughout the Celtic and even Roman world.  I also have an interest in Artio a Celtic/Gaulish bear Goddess, worshiped notably at Bern (Switzerland) and Abnoba, another Gaulish Goddess who was worshipped in the Black Forest and surrounding areas with connections to Diana (another favorite Goddess of mine).  Do you see a pattern?  They’re all Celtic Goddesses, yes, but more specifically, they’re all Gaulish.  I think I’ve found my pantheon 🙂

This kind of surprised me as I had expected it to be more of an Irish pantheon, but the feeling of connectedness just isn’t as strong as it is with the Gaulish pantheon.  Perhaps because of my Ancestors?  I will freely admit that yes, I am a mutt – Sicilian, Polish and Czechoslovakian on my father’s side and Irish, German, Polish, English, French and Dutch on my mother’s side.  Now, I know that there are people who say that ancestry doesn’t have too much of an influence on what deities call to you, and I agree with that; however, I feel that sometimes, it does.

Onto a different topic now…

I’ve just now discovered a very yummy and acceptable offering to the Shining Ones – Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey.  It caught my eye one day as I was walking through the PX looking for a bottle of whiskey to use for my offerings, especially after our very successful garage sale we’ve been running all this past week.  I felt a collective acceptance from the Shining Ones as we gave offerings of thanks for our blessings we had received.

That then inspired my husband…mead making.  Eventually, when he retires from the military, we would really like to live a self-sustainable life.  My aunt and uncle are beekeepers and sell their own honey.  I one day want to learn this skill and sell honey and make soaps and skincare products.  My husband sees an opportunity to make and sell mead as well.  Perhaps some Divine Inspiration?  🙂  Who knows…we’ll see where this dream takes us…

“Kamala’s themes are spirituality, love, relationships, passion and pleasure. Her symbols are the color yellow and lotuses.  The Hindu ‘lotus girl’ of pleasure promotes ongoing faithfulness in our relationships inspired by mutual enjoyment and an abundance of love. Kamala also makes us aware of the spiritual dimensions in our physical exchanges that sometimes get overlooked.

In India, today is a time to celebrate the birth of Krishna, the most charming and kind incarnation of Vishnu. Kamala, as one of Lakshimi’s incarnations, joins in this festivity as his lover and companion. To participate in the gala, eat Indian food, especially hot, spicy items that ignite passion (although you may want to follow this meal with breath mints and antacids). Anything that includes cinnamon, garlic or saffron is a good alternative choice, as these items bear Kamala’s lusty energy.

To improve your ability to give and receive love, including self-love, wear yellow-colored clothing today, especially an item that is worn near the heart chakra (a blouse, shirt, tie, bra or perhaps a gold necklace or tie back). As you don that item, say,

‘Let pleasure flow freely from my heart;
Kamala, abide there – your love impart.’

Wear this piece of clothing or jewelry again anytime you enact spells or rituals focused on sexuality or relationships.”

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

“Goddess Kamala is one of the Ten Mahavidyas who is known as the wisdom Goddesses.  She is also the Hindu Goddess of consciousness and creation.  Goddess Kamala is represented as a beautiful woman adorned with golden skin and seated or standing on a lotus.  She is also seen holding two more lotuses that symbolize both fertility and purity.  The Goddess is accompanied by huge elephants who pour jars of nectar on Her.  Goddess Kamala is considered as the Mahavidya form of Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth and beauty.  As one of the Ten Mahavidyas Goddess Kamala represents the unfolding of inner consciousness into the richness of creation.  The Goddess is known for the power to eradicate poverty, both material and spiritual.  Kamala’s name, which means, ‘She of the lotus’ is also seen as Kamalatmika.

Kamala Goddess has an elegant golden complexion.  In Her four hands She holds two lotuses and is seen granting boons and giving assurance to Her devotees.  She wears a dazzling crown on Her head and puts on a silken dress.  She also wears a kaustibha Gem and has a smiling face.  The Goddess is seen seated on a lotus in a lotus posture.  As the Goddess of material and spiritual wealth and beauty, Kamala is worshipped during tough economic times.  She is a benign Goddess who blesses Her devotees with good luck, power, wealth and safety.

Goddess Kamala is also widely known for Her creative force.  She has the power to create beauty and wealth around us, and to see beauty in everything.  The bija mantra or the seed mantra of the Goddess is EE.  In transliterated Sanskrit there would be an i with the line over the top.  One needs to place an M after the EE, to make EEM.  This would show Her complete energy in beej form.  From EE sound to closed M makes the range of Her Shakti.  This is the primal Shakti beej, this sound is heard in all other beejam such as Shreem, Hreem, Kreem.  This EEM beej is sometimes named as Yoni beej.  Yoni is the form of a female’s sex organ and is in form of a lotus.  It is the basic female principle.  Goddess Kamala is also considered the most beautiful Mahavidya.” [1]

“Kamala as lotus Goddess also represents developement of the person by maintaining the dharma of keeping the seven chakras open. She upholds sadhana. Lotus=chakra. Lotus Goddess is advancement Goddess. This is why She, as Shree or Lakshmi, is called Shakti of Shiva.

In beauty the Goddesses who most represent Her are Shree, Lakshmi, Bala, and Lalita. She is very sattvic like Venus or Aphrodite, and of the Mahavidyas most like the Christian Mary.

Kamala is the first and most primal female energy. More developed, She takes on the other qualities of the other Mahavidyas. In fact, there is really no difference here because we are discussing deities that can change forms like lycantropes.

When God manifests She does so to suit the moment like how we humans dress for success. We don’t always try to look uptight and professional, sometimes we like to dress down in bikinis and relax. Kamala is very much dressed down and relaxed.

To worship Her in any form is acceptable because She is in all forms as all forms are from Prakriti or Mother Nature. We still maintain decorum even in bikinis. So also Her worship entails restraint. She is the Light Goddess and likes fine and sattvic things and actions like charity.

As bride of Vishnu She loves a person who preserves other lives.

Ask Her to help and She will give you Her blessings. But remain generous and faithful or She will be fickle. You should worship Her during hard times for relief. She gives peace, prosperity and pleasure, and moksha.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Bernhardt, Kirk. Shaktisadhana.50megs.com, Shakti Sadhana – Kamala“.

Indianetzone.com, “Goddess Kamala, Indian Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Divinetantrictouch.com, “How to Worship Kamala – Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Kamakhyamandir.org, “Kamala: Lotus Goddess of Spiritual Wealth“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Wikipedia, “Kamalatmika“.

Goddess Ops

“Demeter” by Shanina Conway

“Ops’ themes are opportunity, wealth, fertility and growth. Her symbols are bread, seeds and soil.  This Italic Goddess of fertile earth provides us with numerous ‘op-portunities’ to make every day more productive. In stories, Ops motivates fruit bearing, not just in plants but also in our spirits. She also controls the wealth of the gods, making her a Goddess of opulence! Works of art depict Ops with a loaf of bread in one hand and the other outstretched, offering aid.

On August 25, Ops was evoked by sitting on the earth itself, where She lives in body and spirit. So, weather permitting, take yourself a picnic lunch today. Sit with Ops and enjoy any sesame or poppy breadstuffs (bagel, roll, etc) – both types of seeds are magically aligned with Ops’s money-bringing power. If possible, keep a few of the seeds from the bread in your pocket or shoe so that after lunch, Op’s opportunities for financial improvements or personal growth can be with you no matter where you go. And don’t forget to leave a few crumbs for the birds so they can take you magical wishes to the four corners of creation!

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, invoke Ops by getting as close to the earth as you can (sit on your floor, go into the cellar). Alternatively, eat earthy foods like potatoes, root crops, or any fruit that comes from Ops’s abundant storehouse.”

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

“Rhea” by Ian Ian Marke

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Ops’ “name survives in our word opulent, and in Rome She represented the opulence of the earth’s fruiting.  Worshiped at harvest festivals on August 25 [Opiconsivia] and December 19 [Opalia], She was associated with the god Consus, ruler of the ‘conservation’ of the grain that Ops brought Her people.  Newborn children were put in Her care, so that She would care for them as tenderly as She cared for the shoots of springtime plants.  She was called by several titles: Consivia, the sower; Patella, stimulator of the wheat crop; and Rucina, promoter of the harvest. She was a very ancient Roman Goddess, identified in later days with the Greek Rhea” (p. 240).

According to E.M. Berens, “In Rome the Greek Rhea was identified with Ops, the Goddess of plenty, the wife of Saturn, who had a variety of appellations. She was called Magna-Mater, Mater-Deorum, Berecynthia-Idea, and also Dindymene. This latter title She acquired from three high mountains in Phrygia, whence She was brought to Rome as Cybele during the second Punic war, BCE 205, in obedience to an injunction contained in the Sybilline books. She was represented as a matron crowned with towers, seated in a chariot drawn by lions.” [1]

Demeter in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson & Brian Clark

Micha F. Lindemans on Encyclopedia Mythica tells us that “The Roman (Sabine) Goddess of the earth as a source of fertility, and a Goddess of abundance and wealth in general (Her name means ‘plenty’). As Goddess of harvest She is closely associated with the god Consus. She is the sister and wife of Saturn. One of Her temples was located near Saturn’s temple, and on August 10 a festival took place there. Another festival was the Opalia, which was observed on December 9. On the Forum Romanum She shared a sanctuary with the Goddess Ceres as the protectors of the harvest. The major temple was of Ops Capitolina, on the Capitoline Hill, where Caesar had located the Treasury. Another sanctuary was located in the Regia on the Forum Romanun, where also the Opiconsivia was observed on August 25. Only the official priests and the Vestal Virgins had access to this altar.” [2]

 

Sources:

Aworldofmyths.com, “Ops“.

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Gypsymagicspells.blogspot.com, “Ops – Goddess of Opulence“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Ops“.

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

Wikipedia, “Ops“.

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