Tag Archive: anna perenna


Goddess Annapurna

“Annapurna’s themes are providence, prosperity and charity. Her symbols are corn and grain.  This Indian grain Goddess is kind and charitable, providing to those in need. According to tradition, Annapurna watches over the world’s storehouses when supplies wane, and over the storehouse of our soul when our spirits hunger.

The United Nations created World Food Day to draw public attention to the world’s food problems and promote cooperation among people to battle hunger and poverty.

Today is an excellent time to give some canned goods to a local food pantry or shelter, especially corn or grain products. The canning process preserves Annapirna’s energy for providence to help those less fortunate turn their lives around in powerful ways, or at least to reclaim some sense of dignity. Say a brief prayer over the goods before giving them away so the Goddess’s blessing will inspire renewal for those in need.

To keep Annapurna’s providence in your home, take any grain product and sprinkle it around the outside perimeter of the dwelling. The birds will carry your need to the Goddess. If you must perform this spell indoors, sweep up the grain in a clockwise manner and keep it in an airtight container to preserve its positive energy. Release a pinch of this to a northerly wind any time you need money quickly.”

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

“Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is a form of Parvati [who is one of the numerous forms of Shakti], the consort of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogised in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.

Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and I is the causal body. Kasi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body. And She is the Supreme Goddess of the City of Kasi.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “‘Food giver’ was the name of this ancient Indian Goddess whom some scholars connect with Rome’s Anna Perenna.  A common household deity, often depicted enthroned and feeding a child from a full ladle, Anapurna was especially significant to the city of Benares, where harvest festivals honored Her.

The Hindus, finding it necessary to systematize their complex pantheon, called Her a form of Durga or of Devi, but She retained Her rulership over food production and distribution” (p. 48).

One of Her myths says that “once Goddess Parvati was told by Her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called maya.

The Divine Mother who is worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of Her manifestation of all that is material She disappeared from the world.

Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.

Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a Kitchen.

Hearing about Her return, Shiva ran to Her and presented his bowl in alms saying, ‘Now I realise that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.’ Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with Her own hands.

Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.

Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents Her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of Her names. She is variously described as:

  • She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
  • She who gives nourishment
  • She who is the strength of Shiva
  • She who is the grantor of knowledge
  • She who takes away all fear
  • She who is the Supreme welfare
  • She who manifests truth and efficiency
  • She who is beyond Maya
  • She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
  • She who is adi sakthi

Physically, Annapurna is described as holding a golden ladle adorned with various kinds of jewels in Her right hand and a vessel full of delicious porridge in Her left. She is seated on a throne. In some depictions, Lord Shiva is shown standing to Her right with a begging bowl, begging Her for alms.

It is said that She does not eat a morsel unless all Her devotees have been fed in Her temple.

She is worshipped through the recitation of Her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer:

‘Oh Annapurna, who is always full, complete, and perfect. Beloved energy of Lord Shiva, for the attainment of perfection in wisdom and renunciation, give me alms, Parvati.

My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheswara (Shiva). My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.’

The Annapurna Vrat Katha containing stories of Her devotees are also recited by Her devotees.

The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside Her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.

In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.

The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed. Another famous temple of the Goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala.” [2]

“The Annapurna Ashtakam is one of the shlokas or hymns to Dea or Devi in Her personification as Annapurna, composed in Sanskrit by the great eighth century enlightened sage (jnana), vedanta philosopher, religious reformer and monastic Sri Adi Shankara.” [3]  Click here to view a beautiful rendition of The Annapurna Ashtakam on Youtube (It’s in 2 parts).

 

 

Sources:

Eternalfeminine.wikispaces.com, “Annapurna Ashtakam of Sri Adi Shankara“.

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

Wikipedia, “Annapoorna devi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bharath.K. Bharathkidilse.blogspot.com, “Annapoorneshwari Devi“.

Chatterjee, Aparna. Ayurveda-florida.com, “Annapurna Devi“.

Hindudevotionalblog.com, “Sri Annapurna Ashtakam Lyrics and Video Song“.

Festivals.igiftstoindia.com, “Annapurna“.

 

Anna Perenna

"Spirit" by crimsonvermillion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

"Water Nymph" by broughl

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

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

 

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

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

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Anna Perenna“.

 

Suggested Links:

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

Myth Index, Greek Mythology, “Anna Perenna“.

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