Tag Archive: apollo


Goddess Thalia

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“The Muse of Comedy” by ~kimbessent

“Thalia’s themes are humor, festivities and recreation. Her symbols are party decorations. Among the Greek Muses, Thalia is the Goddess of festivity and humor. She inspires today’s Feast of Fools celebration with unbridled revelry and joyfulness to round out year on an upbeat, playful note.

During the Middle Ages, around this time of year, a mock religious ritual called the Feast of Fools took place, much like the impious Saturnalia. Normal roles were often reversed and reverence went by the wayside, replaced by fun and pleasure. I see no reason not to follow the example of our ancestors and give ourselves time to frolic a bit today. Do something that energizes you, inspires you or makes you laugh out loud For example, throw yourself a party complete with silly decorations and hats. Watch your favorite comedy flicks with a friend.

Or, go out dancing, play video games, socialize with folks who make you feel good and generally let Thalia live through (and in) your pleasure.

To keep Thalia’s playful, enthusiastic engry with you, bless an amethyst (for joy and luck) saying:

‘Thalia, inspire my humor and muse;
throughout my life, joy diffuse.’

Carry this with you anytime you feel your sense of humor waning.”

"Thalia, Muse of Comedy" by Jean-Marc Nattier

“Thalia, Muse of Comedy” by Jean-Marc Nattier

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

 

"Thalia" by Thalia Took.  She is shown here with the comic mask of the Dionysian rites, and in Her hair are narcissuses and roses, both the variety called Thalia.

“Thalia” by Thalia Took. She is shown here with the comic mask of the Dionysian rites, and in Her hair are narcissuses and roses, both the variety called Thalia.

According to the Wikipedia: “Thalia (‘the joyous, the flourishing’, from Ancient Greek: thállein; ‘to flourish, to be verdant’) was the Muse who presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. In this context her name means ‘flourishing’, because the praises in Her songs flourish through time.  She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses.

According to pseudo-Apollodorus, She and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes.  Other ancient sources, however, gave the Corybantes different parents.

She was portrayed as a young woman with a joyous air, crowned with ivy, wearing boots and holding a comic mask in Her hand. Many of Her statues also hold a bugle and a trumpet (both used to support the actors’ voices in ancient comedy), or occasionally a shepherd’s staff or a wreath of ivy.” [1]

 

Thalia Took writes, “The name Thalia can be interpreted several ways–‘The Luxurious One’, ‘She Who Flourishes’, ‘She Who Brings Flowers’, ‘Luxurious Growth’ are some of them, all encompassing ideas of growth and blooming.

Thalia can refer to either one of the nine Muses or one of the three Graces. Both hang out on Mt. Helicon, and I have a sneaking, though unprovable, suspicion that they are one and the same.

See also my drawing of the Nine done for a newsletter cover.

See also the similarly named Etruscan Goddess Thalna.” [2]

Sources:

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Thalia“.

Wikipedia, “Thalia (Muse)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Eighthmuse.com, “About Thalia, the Mythica Eight Muse“.

Greekmyths-greekmythology.com, ‘The Nine Muses of Greek Mythology“.

Herwood, Mary Carol. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Nine Muses of Greek Mythology – a Series – #6 – Thalia“.

Theoi.com, “Thalia“.

Goddess Castalia

“Castalia’s themes are art, creativity, joy, children and inspiration. Her symbols are cartoon characters and fountains. In Greek tradition, this Goddess embodies the force of artistic inspiration. Her power is so profuse that art often depicts Her simply as an ever-flowing fountain from which we can drink when our motivation wanes.

On this day in 1901, the legendary Walt Disney was born. During his life, Disney inspired millions of children with a Castalia-rich imagination and well-beloved cartoon characters. To remember this man and uplift Castalia’s childlike ability to awaken the artist within, watch a favorite Walt Disney film today, revealing in the wonder of it. Then get out and do something creative! Try drawing your own magical cartoon (this is just for you and the Goddess, so don’t worry about a lack of skill – the keynote today is having fun with your fancy).

To quaff this Goddess’s inspiration for any task you’re undertaking, find a water fountain and drink fully of it. Visualize the water filled with a color of light, to you, represents creativity. Also fill a small container with a secure top with some of this water and keep it with you. Carry Castalia’s power into the situation in which you need inspiration. Pour a little out before your meeting, artistic effort or speech to release Her power. Or sip a bit of it to wet your whistle and renew the magic.”

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

The Nymph Kastalia (or Castalia) of Delphi

Patricia Monaghan told us that Castalia was “the power that resided in a spring on Mt. Parnassus, this Goddess was apparently a force of artistic inspiration, for the Muses (called ‘Castalides‘ in Her honor) made Her fountain a sacred place” (p. 81).

Wikipedia states: “Castalia, in Greek mythology, was a nymph whom Apollo transformed into a fountain at Delphi, at the base of Mount Parnassos, or at Mount Helicon. Castalia could inspire the genius of poetry to those who drank Her waters or listened to their quiet sound; the sacred water was also used to clean the Delphian temples. Apollo consecrated Castalia to the Muses (Castaliae Musae). The 20th century German writer Hermann Hesse used Castalia as inspiration for the name of the fictional province in his 1943 magnum opusThe Glass Bead Game.” [1]

“Apollo and Daphne” by Henrietta Rae

Now how, I wondered, did this all come about?  Apparently, Castalia, (the daughter of the river-god Achelous) was pursued by Apollo.  She then threw Herself into a spring on Mount Parnassus, which took its name after Her. Well damn, didn’t something similar happen when Apollo pursued a nymph called Daphne? Only, She turned into a Bay laurel tree.  I can’t help but wonder then if this is yet another example of Chastity vs. Lust.  “The myth of Apollo and Daphne has been examined as a battle between chastity (Daphne) and sexual desires (Apollo). As Apollo lustfully pursues Daphne, She is saved through Her metamorphosis and confinement into the laurel tree which can be seen as an act of eternal chastity. Daphne is forced to sacrifice Her body and become the laurel tree as Her only form of escape from the pressures of Apollo’s constant sexual desires. Apollo takes Daphne’s eternal chastity and crafts himself a wreath out of Her laurel branches turning Her symbol of chastity into a cultural symbol for him and other poets and musicians.” [2]  So, I can’t help but wonder; was this an appropriate example for women to follow?  If being pursued by a man, sacrifice yourself to keep your chastity intact…only to be used and exploited in another way to satisfy other needs?

The actual spring that She threw Herself into was created when Pegasus struck his hoof against a rock at the base of Mount Parnassus and water gushed forth, creating a wellspring of divine inspiration for the gods of Olympus. [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Antinousgaygod.blogspot.com, “The Well of Castalia – How Delphic Antinous Can Teach You to Tame Pegasus“.

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

Wikipedia, “Apollo and Daphne“.

Wikipedia, “Castalia“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Blakey, Heather. Dailywriting.net, “The Castalian Waters and Sacred Mythological Wells“.

Odysseyadventures.ca, “Delphi, the Oracle of Apollo“.

Theoi.com, “Castalia“.

Wikipedia, “Castalian Spring“.

Goddess Calliope

“The Nine Muses – Calliope – The muse of Epic Poetry” by Paul Vincenti

“Calliope’s themes are art, communication and history. Her symbols are stories, books, pens and pencils and quills. A member of the Thracian muses, Calliope is the Goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, whose symbol is that of a stylus and tablets. Greek stories claim that this Goddess is the mother of all poets and musicians.

Tellabration, a national storytelling festival in Connecticut, began in 1988 as a way of preserving and perpetuating oral traditions and the bardic art of telling ‘tall tales’ and good stories, which Calliope inspires. Today She joins our celebration to motivate creativity in all areas of our lives, especially written and spoken words.

In today’s hurry-up world we often forget how powerful a word or phrase can be. To honor this Goddess, slow down a little all day long, and really consider how you’re communicating your ideas.

As the old saying goes, be sure your brain is in gear before shifting your tongue to high. During those moments of contemplation, Calliope will flow through you and give you the words you need.

During a break, take out a beloved book and start reading it again (Walden is my choice). Calliope will help you find something new and wonderful in those pages to inspire you even further in any task you undertake today. And perhaps go out and buy yourself a special pen and pencil and bless them to use for important missives.”

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

“Calliope” by Joseph Fagnani

“In Greek mythology, Calliope (‘beautiful-voiced’) was the muse of epic poetry, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, and is believed to be Homer‘s muse, the inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad.

One account says Calliope was the lover of the war god Ares, and bore him several sons: MygdonEdonusBiston, and Odomantus (or Odomas), respectively the founders of Thracian tribes known as the MygdonesEdonesBistones, and Odomantes.

Calliope also had two famous sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or the king Oeagrus of Thrace. She taught Orpheus verses for singing. She was also the wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive. Calliope married Oeagrus close to PimpleiaOlympus.

Calliope is always seen with a writing tablet in Her hand. At times, She is depicted as carrying a roll of paper or a book or as wearing a gold crown.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Calliope“.

 

Suggested Links:

Herwood, Mary Carol. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Greek Goddesses – #6 – the Muse Calliope“.

Theoi.com, “Mousai“.

Paleothea.com, “The Muses“.

Theoi.com, “KALLIOPE“.

Wikipedia, “Muse“.

Goddess Srinmo

“Srinmo’s themes karma, Universal Law, excellence, sports and cycles. Her symbols are the wheel and boomerang. In Tibet, this Goddess holds the Great Round, a cosmic wheel upon which the movement of human life is recorded with each thought, word, and deed. Srinmo’s demonic visage represents the human fear of death and reminds that one should strive for good in this life for the beauty it brings now and n our next incarnation.

In Virginia, the Boomerang Festival is a festival of skill centering on the ancient boomerangs believed to have been used originally by the Egyptians.

Metaphysically speaking, the boomerang’s movement represents the threefold law and Srinmo’s karmic balance (i.e., everything you send out returns to you thrice).
To give yourself a greater understanding of this principle, or to recognize the cycles in your life that may need changing, carry any round object today, such as a coin. Put it in your pocket, saying

‘What goes around comes around.’

Pay particular attention to your routine and the way you interact with people all day, and see what Srinmo reveals to you.

For aiding the quest for enlightenment, and generally improving karma through light-filled living, try this little incantation in the car each time you make a right-hand turn today:

‘As I turn to the right,
I move closer to the Light!'”

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

Today’s research comes from a fantastic piece written by  Victor & Victoria Trimondi; and the following excerpt is the story of the bondage of the earth Goddess Srinmo and the history of the origin of Tibet.  “According to Tibetan tradition, the whole Tibetan territory can be represented as a vast wild female demon lying on her back facing East and stretching her limbs all over the country. The accounts of this conception are found in several Tibetan texts that originated between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, including the famous terma-revealed chronicle Maṇi Kabum (ma ni bka’ ‘bum, 12th century) and above cited chronicle The Clear Mirror (rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long) written by the great scholar Södnam Gyaltsen (bsod nams rgyal mtshan, 1312-1375).” [1]

“The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is considered the progenitor of the Tibetans, he thus determines events from the very beginning. In the period before there were humans on earth, the Buddha being was embodied in a monkey and passed the time in deep meditation on the ‘Roof of the World‘. There, as if from nowhere, a rock demoness by the name of Srinmo appeared. The hideous figure was a descendent of the Srin clan, a bloodthirsty community of nature Goddesses. ‘Spurred on by horniness’ — as one text puts it — She too assumed the form of a (female) monkey and tried over seven days to seduce Avalokiteshvara. But the divine Bodhisattva monkey withstood all temptations and remained untouched and chaste. As he continued to refuse on the eighth day, Srinmo threatened him with the following words: ‘King of the monkeys, listen to me and what I am thinking. Through the power of love, I very much love you. Through this power of love I woo you, and confess: If you will not be my spouse, I shall become the rock demon’s companion. If countless young rock demons then arise, every morning they will take thousands upon thousands of lives. The region of the Land of Snows itself will take on the nature of the rock demons. All other forms of life will then be consumed by the rock demons. If I myself then die as a consequence of my deed, these living beings will be plunged into hell. Think of me then, and have pity’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32). With this she hit the bullseye. ‘Sexual intercourse out of compassion and for the benefit of all suffering beings’ was — as we already know — a widespread ‘ethical’ practice in Mahayana Buddhism. Despite this precept, the monkey first turned to his emanation father, Amitabha, and asked him for advice. The ‘god of light from the West’ answered him with wise foresight: ‘Take the rock demoness as your consort. Your children and grandchildren will multiply. When they have finally become humans, they will be a support to the teaching’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32).

Nevertheless, this Buddhist evolutionary account, reminiscent of Charles Darwin, did not just arise from the compassionate gesture of a divine monkey; rather, it also contains a widely spread, elitist value judgement by the clergy, which lets the Tibetans and their country be depicted as uncivilized, underdeveloped and animal-like, at least as far as the negative influence of their primordial mother is concerned. ‘From their father they are hardworking, kind, and attracted to religious activity; from their mother they are quick-tempered, passionate, prone to jealousy and fond of play and meat’, an old text says of the inhabitants of the Land of Snows (Samuel, 1993, p. 222).

Two forces thus stand opposed to one another, right from the Tibetan genesis: the disciplined, restrained, culturally creative, spiritual world of the monks in the form of Avalokiteshvaraand the wild, destructive energy of the feminine in the figure of Srinmo.

In a further myth, non-Buddhist Tibet itself appears as the embodiment of Srinmo (Janet Gyatso, 1989, p. 44). The local demoness is said to have resisted the introduction of the true teaching by the Buddhist missionaries from India with all means at Her disposal, with weaponry and with magic, until She was ultimately defeated by the great king of law, Songtsen Gampo (617-650), an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (and thus of the current Dalai Lama). ‘The lake in the Milk plane,’ writes the Tibet researcher Rolf A. Stein, ‘where the first Buddhist king built his temple (the Jokhang), represented the heart of the demoness, who lay upon Her back. The demoness is Tibet itself, which must first be tamed before She can be inhabited and civilized. Her body still covers the full extent of Tibet in the period of its greatest military expansion (eighth to ninth century C.E.). Her spread-eagled limbs reached to the limits of Tibetan settlement … In order to keep the limbs of the defeated demoness under control, twelve nails of immobility were hammered into Her’ (Stein, 1993, p.34). A Buddhist temple was raised at the location of each of these twelve nailings.

Mysterious stories circulate among the Tibetans which tell of a lake of blood under the Jokhang, which is supposed to consist of Srinmo’s heart blood. Anyone who lays his ear to the ground in the cathedral, the sacred center of the Land of Snows, can still — many claim — hear Her faint heartbeat. A comparison of this unfortunate female fate with the subjugation of the Greek dragon, Pythonat Delphi immediately suggests itself. Apollothe god of light (Avalokiteshvara), let the earth-monster, Python (Srinmo), live once he had defeated it so that it would prophesy for him, and built over the mistreated body at Delphi the most famous oracle temple in Greece.

The earth demoness is nailed down with phurbas. These are ritual daggers with a three-sided blade and a vajra handle. We know these already from the Kalachakra ritual, where they are likewise employed to fixate the earth spirits and the earth mother. The authors who have examined the symbolic significance of the magic weapon are unanimous in their assessment of the aggressive phallic symbolism of the phurba.

In their view, Srinmo represents an archetypal variant of the Mother Earth figure known from all cultures, whom the Greeks called Gaia (Gaea). As nature and as woman She stands in stark contrast to the purely spiritual world of Tantric Buddhism. The forces of wilderness, which rebel against androcentric civilization, are bundled within Her. She forms the feminine shadow world in opposition to the masculine paradise of light of the shining Amitabha and his radiant emanation son, AvalokiteshvaraSrinmo symbolizes the (historical) prima materia, the matrix, the primordial earthly substance which is needed in order to construct a tantric monastic empire, then She provides the gynergy, the feminine élan vitale, with which the Land of Snows pulsates. As the vanquisher of the earth Goddess, Avalokiteshvara triumphs in the form of King Songtsen Gampo, that is, the same Bodhisattva who, as a monkey, earlier engendered with Srinmo the Tibetans in myth, and who shall later exercise absolute dominion from the ‘Roof of the World’ as Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s sacred center, the Jokhang (the cathedral of Lhasa), the royal chronicles inform us, thus stands over the pierced heart of a woman, the earth mother Srinmo. This act of nailing down is repeated at the construction of every Lamaist shrine, whether temple or monastery and regardless of where the establishment takes place — in Tibet, India, or the West. Then before the first foundation stone for the new building is laid, the tantric priests occupy the chosen location and execute the ritual piercing of the earth mother with their phurbas. Tibet’s holy geography is thus erected upon the maltreated bodies of mythic women, just as the tantric shrines of India (the shakta pithas) are found on the places where the dismembered body of the Goddess Sati fell to earth.

Srinmo with different Tibetan temples upon her body

In contrast to Her Babylonian sister, Tiamat, who was cut to pieces by Her great-grandchild, Marduk, so that outer space was formed by Her limbs, Srinmo remains alive following Her subjugation and nailing down. According to the tantric scheme, Her gynergy flows as a constant source of life for the Buddhocratic system. She thus vegetates — half dead, half alive — over centuries in the service of the patriarchal clergy. An interpretation of this process according to the criteria of the gaia thesis often discussed in recent years would certainly be most revealing. (We return to this point in our analysis of the ecological program of the Tibetans in exile.) According to this thesis, the mistreated ‘Mother Earth’ (Gaia is the popular name for the Greek earth mother) has been exploited by humanity (and the gods?) for millennia and is bleeding to death. But Srinmo is not just a reservoir of inexhaustible energy. She is also the absolute Other, the foreign, and the great danger which threatens the Buddhocratic state. Srinmo is — as we still have to prove — the mythic ‘inner enemy’ of Tibetan Lamaism, while the external mythic enemy is likewise represented by a woman, the Chinese Goddess Guanyin.

Srinmo survived — even if it was under the most horrible circumstances, yet the Tibetans also have a myth of dismemberment which repeats the Babylonian tragedy of Tiamat. Like many peoples they worship the tortoise as a symbol of Mother Earth. A Tibetan myth tells of how in the mists of time the Bodhisattva Manjushri sacrificed such a creature ‘or the benefit of all beings’. In order to form a solid foundation for the world he fired an arrow off at the tortoise which struck it in the right-hand side. The wounded animal spat fire, its blood poured out, and it passed excrement. It thus multiplied the elements of the new world. Albert Grünwedel presents this myth as evidence for the “tantric female sacrifice” in the Kalachakra ritual: ‘The tortoise which Manjushri shot through with a long arrow … [is] just another form of the world woman whose inner organs are depicted by the dasakaro vasi figure [the Power of Ten]’ (Grünwedel, 1924, vol. II, p. 92).

The relation of Tibetan Buddhism to the Goddess of the earth or of the country (Tibet) is also one of brutal subjugation, an imprisonment, an enslavement, a murder or a dismemberment. Euphemistically, and in ignorance of the tantric scheme of things it could also be interpreted as a civilizing of the wilderness through culture. Yet however the relation is perceived — no meeting, no exchange, no mutual recognition of the two forces takes place. In the depths of Tibet’s history — as we shall show — a brutal battle of the sexes is played out.” [2]

Well damn…who knew??  I really had no idea how misogynistic Buddhism was until it was brought to my attention back in mid June of this year.  A person had shared several links with me and to be honest, it was very unsettling.  One relevant link that was shared I will share here in this entry is entitled Thai Buddhism and Patriarchy by Ouyporn Khuankaew.

“Although many people believe Buddhism is an ‘egalitarian’ religion, the fact will remain that sexism/gender bias has been a very integral part of the faith for many centuries. Overall, there is less virulent anti-woman bigotry within Buddhism than many other religions, especially the Abrahamic cultus of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but misogyny and chauvinism have been apparent enough in the Eastern faiths as well, including the Buddhist.” [3]

Man, way to pop my happy little Zen bubble, huh?

 

 

 

Sources: 

Murdock, D.M. Examiner.com, “Women in Buddhism“.

Sehnalova, Anna. 4shared.com, “The Myth of the ‘Supine Demoness’“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “2. The Dalai Lama (Avalokiteshvara) and the Demoness (Srinmo)“.

Suggested Links:

Cabezón, José Ignacio. Thlib.org, “Pabongkha Hermitage“.

O’Neill, Brendan. Reason.com, “The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “Part I – 1. Buddhism and misogyny – an historical overview“.  (Here is a link to the Contents page)

Visitourchina.com, “History of Jokhang Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Women in Buddhism“.

Goddess Damona

“Coventina” by `cosmosue

“Damona’s themes are animals and health. Her symbols are sheep and hot water.  A Gaulish Goddess who cares for all domestic animals, especially sheep and cows, Damona is sometimes portrayed as a hot spring, alluding to a healthful, warm quality. As fall nears, we can call on Damona to protect our pets, or to maintain the health of animals who provide us with food.

As one might expect, the historic Shepherd’s Fair in Luxembourg brought together sheep merchants to show their goods to interested parties, including a special parade of the animals bedecked in ribbons. The parade probably goes back to much earlier times when animals were taken into magic rituals that maintained health. One way to continue this tradition is by sprinkling a little warm water on your pet to invite Damona’s protection (or brush it into the creature’s fur – this works better with cats).

Wear wool clothing (or wool blends) to don Damona’s healthy aspect for your day. Or, simply enjoy a cup of tea before the day gets busy; Damona abides in warm water.

To ensure a healthful night’s sleep and pleasant dreams, count sheep as you go to bed. Visualize each one jumping over Damona’s waters and walking toward you. This brings Damona into your sleep cycle, where Her energy can flow more easily to renew well-being.”

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

“Tauro” by palomi

Damona is a “Goddess of fertility and healing; Her name means ‘divine cow’. Cow Goddesses were linked to fertility and abundance. Little information exists about Her now.” [1]

According to Mary Jones, “‘Divine Cow’ would make Her similar to the Irish Goddess Boann, whose name also means ‘Divine Cow’. Damona was usually the consort of the god Borvo, usually identified with Apollo. However, at the temple at Alesia, Her consort is Apollo Moritsages, and they are associated with a healing spring nearby. As ‘Borvo’ means ‘to boil’, they are likely the same god under different apellations. At any rate, She was associated not only with the cow, but, like Boann, with springs and water.

If She is identified with Boann, Apollo Moritsages may not be Her consort but Her son, as Oengus mac ind-Og was the son of Boann, and is often identified with Apollo. This would also make Damona similar to Matrona, Goddess of the Marne River, and mother of the god Apollo Maponos.

“The Goddess Boan ‘Dance of Delight'” by Helen O’Sullivan

She was mainly worshipped in Burgundy, France, and inscriptions attribute to Her the ability of prophecy in dreams.” [2]

Based on Her description, to me, this Goddess bears a striking similarity to the Norse primeval cow Audhumla and the Welsh Goddess Fuwch-Gyfeilioru,”a pure white Cosmic Elfin Cow; She Who produces endless streams of milk; She Who has the power to heal, to make fools wise and everyone in the world happy.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Her Cyclopedia, “Fuwch-Gyfeilioru“.

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses: D,E,F“.

Jones, Mary.  Maryjones.us, “Damona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Billington, S. The Concept of the Goddess, “Ancamna and Damona” (p. 30 – 33).

Celtnet.org.uk, “The Gaulish Goddess, Damona: The Divine Cow“.

Her Cyclopedia, “Damona, Divine Cow“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Damona“.

Wikipedia, “Damona“.

The Gratiae

“Charites: Spring” by iizzard

“The Gratiae’s themes are the arts, creativity, honor, love, excellence and beauty.  Their symbols are sweet aromas, art (all), and wine.  The Gratiae are akin to the Greek Graces, who inspire all arts, from a dancer’s elegance, a model’s beauty, and a diplomat’s words to a terminal romantic’s loving presentation. They arrive as earth is blossoming to encourage a flood of creativity that leads to excellence. It is traditional to offer them the first draught of wine at a gathering to invoke their blessing and aid.

The Gratiae were present in spirit on this day in 1916 when the American Academy of Arts was signed by Woodrow Wilson to honour excellence in the industry. Toast the occasion with wine or grape juice, giving the first glass to these creative Ladies to encourage their energy to visit your home.

Wear a sweet-smelling perfume or cologne today as an aroma therapeutic supplication to the Gratiae. Each time you catch that fragrance it will motivate beauty in any of your artistic skills. Better still, through the aroma the Gratiae can attract the attention of potential lovers!

Consider stopping at an art exhibition today or doing something creative yourself (even coloring!). Otherwise, do a little decorating. Hang a new poster, put out some fresh flowers, rearrange your knickknacks in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. These kind of actions appeal to the Gratiae’s sense of style and tempt them to join you!”

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

“The Three Graces were Goddesses of gracefulness, the charms of beauty, and cheerful amusement (the characteristics of loveliness). They appear to have received these designations from the Greeks during the archaic and classical periods (5th to 8th centuries B.C.), and they were known most commonly at that time as the Three Charities. This appellation was later Latinized by the Romans occupying the formerly Greek regions in which they were worshiped, and this resulted in the designation by which western civilization knows them today, the Three Graces.

“The Three Graces” by Josephine Wall

Initially in Greek mythology they were seen as simple guardians of the vernal sweetness and beauty of nature, and only later as the friends and protectors of everything graceful and beautiful. Pindar has written about the Graces as the source of all decorum, purity of happiness in life, good will, and beneficence and gratitude among men. Beauty, sweetness, and the best charm of poetry are believed to come from the Graces. The Greeks believed that without gracefulness, all labor was in vain and meaningless. Hence, the three deities assisted Hermes (Mercury) in his capacity as the god of oratory. In all things they were characterized as the spreaders of joy and enhancers of enjoyment of life. Social intercourse, manners, and culture were their domain, and they were frequently the subject of artists and poets alike.

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1482) Left to right: Mercury, the Three Graces, Venus, Flora, Chloris, Zephyrus.

The Charities are not known for an independent mythological presence, that is, they are typically depicted and described in relationship to other gods and Goddesses in Greek mythology. Their strongest association is with Aphrodite (Venus), and it has been reported that they were present at Her birth.  While their earliest forms were less defined, they were generally represented in the form of young maidens and portrayed as dancing, singing, charming, and running or bathing in fountains, or decking themselves in flowers (the rose was their sacred flower as it was Aphrodite’s, and they were reputed to facilitate its growth and blossom). Their attributes also included the myrtle and dice (a symbol of cheerful amusement). They are depicted holding apples, perfume vases, ears of corn, heads of poppies, or musical instruments such as the lyre, flute, or syrinx.

The Graces in a 1st century fresco at Pompeii

During their early development they were occasionally shown clothed (mostly during the classical period in Greece), but since Hellenistic times they have been shown almost exclusively nude or wearing transparent gowns. The reason for such a display was to convey sincerity and candor, without disguise or pretense.

“The Three Graces” by Paul Vincenti

Their home was among the muses upon Mount Olympia. Usually Zeus is considered to be their father, but their mother has been believed to be Hera, Eurynome, Eunomia, Eurydomene, Harmonia, or Lethe. Others have indicated them to be daughters of Apollo and Aegle or Euanthe, or of Dionysus and Aphrodite or Coronis. However, they are most frequently thought of as offspring of Zeus and Eurynome (daughter of Oceanus). Although the Three Graces are often thought to be the sole attendants of Aphrodite, they are commonly presented beside the Muses and the four seasons (Horae). It has been said, while the Muses inspired, the Charities applied the artists products to the embellishment of life (author unknown). In addition to the Muses and seasons, other companions of the trio were Hera, Hermes, Eros, Aphrodite, and Apollo. In earlier times, Dionysus was also a companion until his worship turned to riotous celebration and drunkenness, behaviors incompatible with the more refined tastes of the Graces that advocated moderation in everything.” [1]

“They ordinarily numbered three, from youngest to oldest: Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”).  The Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to them.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancient Numismatic Mythology, “Three Graces Mythology“.

Wikipedia, “Charites“.

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kharites“.

Coinciding with the Spring Equinox, the month of the Alder Moon is a time to focus on balance and fertility.

The Celtic month of Alder runs from mid-March to mid-April.  Significantly, this is a period that includes the Spring Equinox, the day on which the return of spring is celebrated and night and day are of equal length.  Falling at the start of spring, this period symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility.

Red alder buds. In moist forest areas red alder will rapidly cover a former burn or clearcut, temporarily preventing the growth of conifers but also improving soil fertility for future growth of conifers.

Growth and Fertility

The Alder month heralds a time of accelerated growth, and the spells you cast during this period can aid any business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition.  Your emphasis during the month of the Alder Moon should be on harnessing our hidden potential.

Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you bring a sense of balance to your work.  The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.

FERTILITY AND COURAGE

The alder tree is also known as the King of the Waters (with the willow tree as its Queen), because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams.  It actually grow with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with the balancing of female and male energies.

Symbols of Fertility

When the wood of the alder tree is cut, it turns from white to red, both of which are colors long associated with the Goddess’s fertility.  The buds of the alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.

Wood for Weapons

The Celts traditionally used charcoal made from the alder tree in the making of their weapons. This work was carried out in the spring – in preparation for the hunting season ahead.

 

In Welsh mythology, the alder fought in the front line of the “Battle of the Trees” against the Underworld.  When cut, its wood turns from white to red as though it is bleeding.  Growth near water, the tree has feminine associations, yet its links to war also indicate masculinity.  The Alder, therefore, speaks of balancing masculine and feminine.

ALDER MOON MAGIC

The month of the Alder Moon is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm.

 

Meditating on the Yin-Yang symbol will help put your energies in balance.

Yin-Yang Meditation

The Yin-Yang is a symbol of male and female energies in perfect balance, and is an ideal symbol to use in meditation.  Remember to wear comfortable clothes and relax your body.

1. Look at the Yin-Yang and let your gaze become blurred.  Close you eyes while holding the image in your mind.

2. Concentrate on letting your in-breath become equal in length to your out-breath.

3. Focus on the Yin-Yang symbol and let other thoughts drift away.

 

 

Achieving Balance in Your Life

During the month of the Alder Moon, try to bring more balance into your life with the following tips:

Balance Your Books

Check your bank balance.  Always in the red? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.

 

Balanced Diet

Are you eating a balanced diet?  Remember that your body is a temple.  Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.

 

 

Balance Your Emotions

Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being.  your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

Take your lead from the alder tree: drink plenty of water and breathe deeply.  If you follow these simple rules, you will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.

Chocolate Love Ritual

Perform this simple spell with your partner to help your love grow stronger.

You Will Need:

  • A chocolate Easter egg
  • A pin
  • A red candle*
  • Matches

1. Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your rite with soft music and scented candles.

2. Sit facing your partner, look into each other’s eyes and breath deeply.

3. Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other: “Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you, may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer.  So may it be.”

4. Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg.

5. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg.

6. Let the red candle burn down.  Your love will grow in the year ahead.

* A red dye can be produced from alder bark.  Utilize this association with red by using red candles in spells cast under the Alder Moon.

 

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  8.

 

Suggested Links:

The Blue Roebuck, “Alder“.

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Alder“.

The Goddess Tree, “Alder“.

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