Tag Archive: artemis


Full Flower Moon – May

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that May’s full moon is known as the Full Flower Moon.  In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon.  May’s Full Flower Moon, also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon, marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

This month, learn about May’s Full Flower Moon, how the Moon’s phases affect when the fish will bite, and the Almanac’s criteria for a great fishing day.

According to the Wise Witches Society, this moon is known as the Dyad Moon – The Latin word for a pair refers to the twin.

“The earth is becoming fertile again. This was the time for the planting rites. Now is the time for communication with other beings and recommiting yourself to the Gods and the Earth. The zodiac association is Taurus.” [1]

“Hare’s 1st Full Moon” by David Kettley

MAY: Hare Moon (May) Also known as: Merry or Dyad Moon, Bright Moon, Flower Moon, Frogs Return Moon, Thrimilcmonath (Thrice-Milk Month), Sproutkale, Winnemanoth (Joy Month), Planting Moon, Moon When the Ponies Shed
Nature Spirits: faeries, elves
Herbs: dittany of Crete, elder, mint, rose, mugwort, thyme, yarrow
Colors: green, brown, pink
Flowers: lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom
Scents: rose, sandalwood
Stones: emerald, malachite, amber, carnelian
Trees: hawthorn
Animals: cats, lynx, leopard
Birds: swallow, dove, swan
Deities: Bast, Venus, Aphrodite, Maia, Diana, Artemis, Pan, Horned God
Power Flow: full creating energy; propagation. Intuition, contact with faeries and other supernatural beings. Strengthen connection with supernatural protectors and beings around you. Power flowing from the Greenwood Gods and trees. [2]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

The Celtic Lady. The Olde Way, “Individual Moons Explained“.

Farmers’ Almanac, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

msnbc.com, “That’s not just a full moon, it’s a ‘supermoon’“.

Willow Grove, “The Witch’s Esbats“.

Wise Witches Society, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Fine-Arts and Bluesband & Poetry Press, “The Names of the Moons

National Geographic, “Full Moons: What’s In A Name?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Full Flower Moon May 2012 Moon phases, Best Days by Moon, Video“.

What-Your-Sign.com, “Symbolic Native American Full Moon Names“.

 

 

* Check out Mooncircles.com every month, or better yet, subscribe to their monthly newsletter to get the scoop on each month’s Full and New Moons, find out more about Moon Astrology  and read blogs.  They even have a different 3-Minute Moon Ritual for each Full Moon!  How cool is that?

 

 

 

Some other interesting links to visit to learn about this Full Moon, visit:

Planet Vibes: Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius May 25, 2013, Milk Full Moon, Full Flower Full Moon” by MagicalRecipesOnline.com

Soul Retrieval: May 25 Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sag” by Aepril Schaile

Full Moon / Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius May 24th, 25th, 2013” by Dipali Desai

Crazy Wisdom Eclipse” by M. Kelley Hunter

Some great links to read to help you understand the influences and type of energy this Full Moon brings and to help you figure out what you want to work on during this Full Moon coming up on March 27…”Full Moon in Libra – March 27th, 2013” by Dipali Desai; “March Full Worm Moon” by Robert McDowell; “The Sun enters Aries” by Dana Gerhardt; and “Libra Full Moon: Befriending the Enemy” by April Elliott Kent.

Journeying to the Goddess

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that March’s full moon is known as the Worm Moon amongst the Native Americans – As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

According to the Wise Witches Society, this moon is known as the Seed Moon; sowing season and symbol of the start of the new year.

MARCH: Storm Moon (March) Also known as: Seed…

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This was eye opening for me in terms of how crucial the role of women played in the development of early Christianity and Islam – names of women I had never heard of before (Empress Theodora, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Aisha bint Abu Bakr).  I truly wish their stories and accounts were taught along side that of their male counterparts – that their names were as well known and considered “common knowledge”; but those in power tried to slander, bury and stamp them out for a reason…to demote their significance and thus the social status of women.  “Forget or ignore them, and we impoverish history and ourselves.”

“Programme Three explores a missed ‘golden age’ for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man’s world – notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.”

 

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

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

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

Goddess Diana

“Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt” by violscraper

“Diana’s themes are fertility, children, providence, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are the moon, water, forest items and the sun.  This Roman Goddess embodies the moon’s fertility and watery aspects along with the sun’s protective and nurtuirng power over the forests and its creatures. On this day she was celebrated in Rome and She will be remembered in our hearts as the huntress who helps us capture the spiritual ‘food’ we need.

Starting on August 13, the Romans had a weeklong festival for Diana, praying to Her for the harvest’s bounty and to turn damaging storms away. The traditional place to leave an offering of fruit or vines for Her is in the forest, or at a crossroads. As you do, if any stone or leaf catches your eye, pick it up and carry it as a charm that will keep Diana’s power with you that entire day. Come night, release the gift to flowing water or back to the earth with a prayer of thanks and a wish for one of Diana’s atttributes that you wish to develop in your life.

It is also customary to light some fire source to honor Her on August 15 or anytime during the festivities. Afterward, to generate this Goddess’s physical or figurative fertility within you, follow Roman convention and wash your hair with specially prepared water (water to which a little milk is added so that it looks white, like the moon). If you have children, doing this for them incurs Diana’s protection over their lives.”

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

“Artemis” by Howard David Johnson

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “today we confuse Diana with the Greek Artemis, seeing both in the familiar picture of the lightly clad, bow-bearing Goddess who rides the moon or strides through the forest with Her nymphs.  And in later Roman times, Diana was indeed so pictured, but only after the original Italian Goddess was assimilated into the powerful figure of Artemis, the Goddess of the conquered Greeks.

“Moon Goddess” by Josephine Wall

Diana was originally queen of the open sky, worshiped only outdoors, where Her domain stretched overhead.  Possibly She was ruler of the sun as well as the moon, for the early Italians had no sun god and had to adopt Apollo for that role.  Diana’s name comes from the word for ‘light’; probably She was the original Italian ruler of the sun.

She ruled on earth as well, as bestower of sovereignty and granter of conception; thus She was sometimes called the threefold Diana Trivia.  With two other deities She made up another trinity: Egeria the water nymph [one of the Camenae], Her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the mysterious woodland god.  The three lived together in the famous Wood of Nemi near Aricia, where runaway slaves competed for mistletoe – the Golden Bough that would give them a fighting chance for the position of Diana’s priest.  Not a job a modern man would covet, the priesthood meant continual vigilance against the next contender for the post, and ultimately death at a successful rival’s hand.

“Diana” by Lotta-Lotos

This fatal kingship was one of the few roles men could play in worship of Diana.  Otherwise, the sky queen was entirely a woman’s Goddess.  On Her feast day, August 15 – today the Catholic feast day of Mary’s assumption into heaven – processions of women would journey to Aricia to offer thanks in Diana’s grove for Her help that year and to implore Her continuing aid.  The hunting dogs who accompanied them were crowned but kept leased so as not to disturb the wild creatures who lived under Diana’s sky.  Eventually Diana worship moved closer to the population center, to the Aventine Hill in Rome itself, where women continued to flock to Her shrine for ritual hair-washing and invocations for aid in childbed” (p. 103 – 104).

Thalia Took tells us that “the Romans recognized three aspects of Her–as the Moon-Goddess, they called Her Luna; as an underworld deity of magic, Hekate; and as the huntress-Goddess, Diana.”

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

Interestingly enough, Thalia Took also tells us that “in Gaul, She was identified with Nemetona, ‘Goddess of the Sacred Grove’, and considered the consort of Mars“.  This makes sense, as Diana Nemorensis (“of the Grove”) had Her temple in a forest on the Lake Nemi‘s shores and was the Goddess of wild places who loved forests. [1]

“Diana” by Maltshakes

 

ASSOCIATIONS: (Goddess symbols of Artemis, but I would think would be appropriate for Diana as well)

General: Crescent moon (new moon), bow and arrow, sandals, clouds, three pillars, and blue sky.

Animals: Dogs, guinea fowl, elephant, horses, bear, dove, deer, and bee.

Plants: Anemones, flowering almond, hazel, ranunculus, honeysuckle, thistle, laurel, and fir tree.

Perfumes/Scents: Jasmine, aloe, ginseng, lemon verbena, and camphor.

Gems and Minerals: Moonstone, pearl, quartz, crystal, silver, turquoise, iron, aluminum, and diamonds.

Colors: Silver, white, red, green, and turquoise.              [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Symbols of Artemis”.

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Diana“.

Encyclopedia.com, “Diana“.

Fischer-Hansen & Birte Poulsen. From Artemis to Diana: The Goddess of Man and Beast (Acta Hyperborea).

Goddess-guide.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

GrayWolf, Danu. Order of the White Moon, “Diana“.

Greek-gods-and-goddesses.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

Grimassi, Raven. Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft, “Lady of the Lake” & “Lake Nemi

Journal of a Poet, “Artemis/Diana, Goddess of the Moon“.

Leland, Charles Godfrey. Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches.

Monaghan, Patricia. Matrifocus.com, “Trivia: Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Artemis: out with the old – peaceful warrior“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Diana: go wild!“.

Roman-colosseum.info, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Diana“.

Richardson, Adele & Laurel Bowman. Diana.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, Diana – Goddess of the Hunt“.

Wikipedia, “Diana (mythology)“.

Wikipedia, “Diana Nemorensis“.

Wikipedia, “Rex Nemorensis“.

V. Goddessschool.com, “Diana ‘Queen of Heaven’“.

Hermaphroditos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Salmacis and Hermaphroditus” by Jean François de Troy

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

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

Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book IV, 306-312.

“The Water Nymph” by Herbert James Draper

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

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

Herm of Aphroditus at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

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

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

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

 

 

Sources:

Hellenica, “Hermaphroditus“.

Myths Encyclopedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

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

Wikipedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “HERMAPHRODITOS“.

Wikipedia, “Aphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Metamorphoses“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis (fountain)“.

Goddess Tanat

“Tanit, Ibicenco Godess” by Dominique Sanson

“Tanat’s themes are unity, joy and luck.  Her symbols are flowers and triangles.  In Cornwall, Tanat is the mother Goddess of fertility who has given all Her attention to nursing spring into its fullness. She also staunchly protects Her children (nature and people) so that our spirits can come to know similar fulfillment.

The Furry Dance is an ancient festival that rejoices in Tanat’s fine work manifested in spring’s warmth and beauty. To bring this Goddess’s lucky energy into your life, it’s customary to dance with a partner. In fact, the more people you can get dancing, the more fortunate the energy! Usually this is done on the streets throughout a town as a show of regional unity, but when propriety won’t allow such a display, just dance around a room together instead. Don’t worry about the steps – just do what feels right.

Wearing something with floral or triangular motifs (guys, wear a necktie, and gals, pull out a square scarf and fold it in half crosswise) activates Tanat’s happiness in your life and in any region where you have the token on today. As you don the item, say:

‘Liberate happiness in and around
by Tanat’s blossoming power
joy will be found!’

Or, if you want to use the same thing to generate unity and harmony, use this incantation:

 ‘Harmony and unity
Tanat’s blessings come to me!’

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

“Temple of Tanit” by hold-steady

According to Edain McCoy, the Goddess “Tanit (Cornish) [was] a Phoenician moon and fertility Goddess.  Many scholars and mythologists believe She came into the Celtic pantheon as Dana or Dôn, both mother Goddesses.  Tanit was worshiped as Tanat in Cornwall on Beltaine.” [1]  As I couldn’t find any other information on the Celtic Tanat, I will continue this entry on the Phoenician-Carthaginian Goddess Tanit.

“Tanit” by suburbanbeatnik

“Tanit, or Tanith, is the Great Goddess of Carthage, worshipped there as its chief Deity as ‘the Lady of Carthage’. She is a Sky Goddess who ruled over the Sun, Stars, and Moon; and as a Mother Goddess She was invoked for fertility. The palm tree is Hers, as the desert version of the Tree of Life; and as symbolic of the life-force of the Earth the serpent is Hers as well—in fact Her name means ‘Serpent Lady’. She is identified with both Ashtart (Astarte) and Athirat, and Her other symbols include the dove, grapes and the pomegranate (both symbolic of fruitfulness and fertility), the crescent moon, and, like Ashtart, the lion.

Carthage was a city of the Phoenician colony in northern Africa, not far from the modern city of Tunis in Tunisia. Carthage, the Roman rendition of the Phoenician name Karthadasht, which means ‘New Town’, was founded in around the 9th century BCE, by Dido (‘Giver’ or ‘Grantor [of prayers]’, or alternately ‘Wanderer’) or Elissa (from the Phoenician Elishat), the daughter of the King of Tyre in Roman legend. Dido, however, being also used as an epithet of the Phoenician Moon-Goddess, is probably to be considered an aspect of or alternate name for Tanit, the patron Goddess of Carthage. Worship of Tanit dates to the 5th century BCE, and it is unsure whether Tanit was a local deity adapted by the Phoenician colonists or a version of Ashtart/Athirat they had brought with them from Phoenicia.

With Her consort Ba’al-Hammon, the God of the Sky, She watched over and protected Carthage. As a protective Deity She had some martial aspects, and like Ashtart could be depicted riding a lion holding a spear or long sceptre. In Carthage She was said to have an Oracle; perhaps this is connected to Her role as Star-Goddess.

The Sign of the Goddess Tanit. Carthage. c. 5th century BCE to 2nd century CE

Tanit has Her own abstract symbol, peculiarly Hers (and accordingly called the ‘symbol of Tanit’): a triangle with a circle at the top, with a horizontal line between the two; sometimes two additional vertical bars come from the ends of the horizontal. This has been interpreted as either a stylization of an altar, or a woman or Goddess in a long dress, Her arms upraised in an attitude of worship or blessing.

From Carthage (modern Tunisia), north Africa 1st century CE

Some stelae do show a more realistic depiction of the Goddess in this attitude, so my money is on it as an abstract depiction of a woman. This symbol is found all over Carthage, though there is only one example of it in Phoenicia itself.

Carthage was at once time the great enemy of Rome, and three bitter wars were fought between the two powers over the course of more than a hundred years in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. The Romans eventually were the victors, and in their hatred utterly destroyed the city; according to tradition the city was razed and the site plowed with salt so that nothing would ever grow there again.

The utter destruction of the city notwithstanding, remains of a sanctuary to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon have been found, with a children’s cemetery adjacent. The Carthaginians and Phoenicians had a reputation for the sacrifice of children, though many of the accounts of it come from peoples who were not unbiased, such as the Hebrews or the Romans. In Phoenicia, the Hebrews claimed that the Phoenicians burned children to their God ‘Moloch‘ (of whom there is little to no other evidence) by burning them alive.

            

In Carthage, the great children’s cemetery has been taken as indication of child sacrifice to both Ba’al-Hammon and Tanit, for many of the stelae above the remains are inscribed to those Deities. The cemetery was named in modern times the Tophet, from a Biblical word for ‘Hell’, referring to the place in Jerusalem where the children were allegedly given to Moloch. Much of the evidence for infanticide among the Phoenicians is questionable at best; the accounts from the Bible and Rabbinical tradition especially are subject to mistranslations and biases. Among other ancient writers the idea of child sacrifice among the Phoenicians is not mentioned, even though some of them were avowed enemies of Phoenicia. This issue is still being debated on both sides; my take on it (which is of course subject to my own bias) is to seriously doubt that children were sacrificed, and to attribute most of the stories to propaganda, repeated by different enemy cultures (especially the Romans). Why would people sacrifice children to an otherwise benevolent Mother Goddess? And given the number of remains that have been found—20,000 urns dating from 400-200 BCE—what civilization is going to kill that many of its own children? I suspect that the graves found in the so-called ‘Tophet’ of Carthage are simply the remains of children who died naturally in a time when infant mortality was much higher than in modern times, and during which several wars were fought—tough times when it might be expected less children would survive. That the stelae are inscribed to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon is not surprising; it does not mean that they were sacrificed to those Deities, rather that they were committed to the safekeeping of the Goddess and God after death.

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

The Romans, despite their hatred for the Carthaginians, identified Tanit with their Juno Lucina, an aspect of their Great Goddess as Mother and Patroness of Childbirth, a Light-Goddess who brings forth children into the day. As Tanit was also a Goddess of the Sky, the Romans named Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, or Virgo Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Virgin’.

In Roman legend, Hannibal, the great general of Carthage, raided a temple of Juno Lucina, near Crotona, a city in southern Italy originally founded by the Greeks (therefore technically the temple is to Hera Lacinia). This temple was famous for having a column of solid gold; Hannibal, to test the story, drilled into the column. Finding that it was indeed solid, he decided he would take it as plunder. That night, however, he dreamt that the Goddess warned him not to despoil Her temple, telling him that She’d destroy his remaining eye if he did. In Juno Lacinia Hannibal recognized his own hometown Goddess, Tanit, so left the column unmolested in the temple. From the filings of the column he had a golden cow cast, which was then placed on the top of the column.

4th century BCE Carthaginian coin featuring the Goddess Tanit.

On coins of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE She is occasionally depicted riding a lion and holding a lance; generally She is shown in portrait form wearing a diadem or crown, with wheat sheaves bound in Her hair as a wreath, the crescent moon behind.

Tanit’s worship was spread from Carthage to SpainMalta and Sardinia, especially by soldiers. The temple on the acropolis of Selinus in Sicily may be Hers, for examples of Her symbol have been found there. Under Her name Virgo Caelestis, Tanit/Juno had a shrine in Rome on the north side of the Capitoline Hill.

“Tanit” by Monica Sjöö

Tanit’s statue was brought to Rome by the young Emperor Elagabalus, who reigned 218-222 CE, and who was notoriously reviled as a depraved pervert (he was quite obviously gay, though who knows how much of his legend is true and how much is exaggerated). He was murdered at age 18 in a latrine, his body dragged through the streets before being thrown into the Tiber like a common criminal. He was, however, also a big fan of the eastern Deities, and gets his name from his worship of the Sun-God Elagabal. He had a great temple to Elagabal built in Rome, and installed the statue of Tanit there, calling Her Caelestis.Also called: Tanith, Tent, Thinit, Tinnit, Rat-tanit; Tanis is the Greek version of Her name. She was called ‘Lady of Carthage’, ‘Lady of the Sanctuary’, and ‘the Face of Ba’al’. The Romans called Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, Virgo Caelestis ‘the Heavenly Virgin’, and Caelestis Afrorum Dea, ‘the African/Carthaginian Heavenly Goddess’, as well as the assimilated name Juno Caelestis.

She was identified with Aphrodite, Demeter, and Artemis by the Greeks and with Juno by the Romans, especially their Juno Lucina, Goddess of Light and Childbirth. The Romans also associated Her with the Magna Mater, the Great Mother, Rhea or Kybele. [2]

Sources:

McCoy, Edain. Celtic Women’s Spirituality: Accessing the Cauldron of Life, “Tanit“.

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

Suggested Links:

Sheldon, Natasha. Archeology@Suite 101, “The Trophet of Carthage: Site of Human Sacrifice to Baal and Tanit or a Children’s Graveyard?

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive!The Mysteries of Tanit – 1: The Phoenicians in Spain“.

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive! The Mysteries of Tanit – 2: Tanit of Ibiza“.

Wikipedia, “Tanit“.

Full Flower Moon – May

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that May’s full moon is known as the Full Flower Moon.  In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon.  May’s Full Flower Moon, also called Mother’s Moon, Milk Moon, and Corn Planting Moon, marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near end to late frosts, and plants in bloom.

 

This month, learn about May’s Full Flower Moon, how the Moon’s phases affect when the fish will bite, and the Almanac’s criteria for a great fishing day.

 

 

According to the Wise Witches Society, this moon is known as the Dyad Moon – The Latin word for a pair refers to the twin.

“The earth is becoming fertile again. This was the time for the planting rites. Now is the time for communication with other beings and recommiting yourself to the Gods and the Earth. The zodiac association is Taurus.” [1]

“Hare’s 1st Full Moon” by David Kettley

 

MAY: Hare Moon (May) Also known as: Merry or Dyad Moon, Bright Moon, Flower Moon, Frogs Return Moon, Thrimilcmonath (Thrice-Milk Month), Sproutkale, Winnemanoth (Joy Month), Planting Moon, Moon When the Ponies Shed
Nature Spirits: faeries, elves
Herbs: dittany of Crete, elder, mint, rose, mugwort, thyme, yarrow
Colors: green, brown, pink
Flowers: lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom
Scents: rose, sandalwood
Stones: emerald, malachite, amber, carnelian
Trees: hawthorn
Animals: cats, lynx, leopard
Birds: swallow, dove, swan
Deities: Bast, Venus, Aphrodite, Maia, Diana, Artemis, Pan, Horned God
Power Flow: full creating energy; propagation. Intuition, contact with faeries and other supernatural beings. Strengthen connection with supernatural protectors and beings around you. Power flowing from the Greenwood Gods and trees. [2]

 

Added bonus with this month’s Moon – it’s a Supermoon!  “The moon will officially become full Saturday, May 5 at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest.  To view this weekend’s supermoon to best effect, look for it just after it rises or before it sets, when it is close to the horizon. There, you can catch a view of the moon behind buildings or trees, an effect that produces an optical illusion, making the moon seem even larger than it really is.” [3]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

The Celtic Lady. The Olde Way,Individual Moons Explained“.

Farmers’ Almanac, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

msnbc.com, “That’s not just a full moon, it’s a ‘supermoon’“.

Willow Grove, “The Witch’s Esbats“.

Wise Witches Society, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Fine-Arts and Bluesband & Poetry Press, “The Names of the Moons

National Geographic, “Full Moons: What’s In A Name?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Full Flower Moon May 2012 Moon phases, Best Days by Moon, Video“.

What-Your-Sign.com, “Symbolic Native American Full Moon Names“.

* Check out Mooncircles.com every month, or better yet, subscribe to their monthly newsletter to get the scoop on each month’s Full and New Moons, find out more about Moon Astrology  and read blogs.  They even have a different 3-Minute Moon Ritual for each Full Moon!  How cool is that?

Goddess Tauropolos

"TAURUS" by ShellyeSR

“Tauropolos’ themes are work, patience, strength, and courage.  Her symbol is the bull.  No Goddess could better represent this date other than Tauropolos, the Cretan bull Goddess whose name literally means ‘Bull Lady’ (and that’s no bull!). Teaching us the virtues of diligence and the rewards of hard work, Tauropolos also has a strong connection to the fields (the plough) and the hearth, where food from the fields gets prepared.

The Cretans were all known for having bull-leaping festivals that honored this Goddess, probably as a fertility rite and test of one’s bravery. Oddly enough, this is how we come by the saying ‘seize the bull by the horns!’.

So, if there’s an area of your life in which you want to really seize the day, try this symbolic spell. Find and image of a bull (in a magazine, carved out of stone, or in some other form). Put it on the floor, and put a symbol of your aspiration on the side of the image across from you. Say:

‘Tauropolos, prepare the fields for success
Help me now to do my best.’

Leap over the image and claim victory!

If you can’t find bull images, any harvested item may represent Tauropolos instead. If you choose this option, be sure to consume the food later. This way you can internalize this Goddess’s tenacity, persistence and fortitude, then apply them toward successfully achieving your goals.”

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

“Tauropolos, known as Artemis Tauropolos,  is “an epithet for the Goddess Artemis, variously interpreted as worshipped at Tauris, or pulled by a yoke of bulls, or hunting bull Goddess. A statue of Artemis “Tauropolos” in Her temple at Brauron in Attica was supposed to have been brought from the Taurians by Iphigenia. Tauropolia was also a festival of Artemis in Athens.

There was a Tauropolion, a temple in a temenos sacred to Artemis Tauropolos, in the north Aegean island of Doliche (now Ikaria).” [1]

"Taurus" by faerieofskye

This very interesting piece entitled, “Artemis 0f the Bulls” by Carla Osborne describes the importance of bulls in ancient Greek religion, particularly in Crete and how they played a part in the worship of Mithras. “Artemis and Goddesses similar to Her were also closely connected to the bull and cow, sacred from Neolithic times. The head and horns of a bull resemble the uterus and ovaries of a woman, and the cow produced milk for people as well as her young. Both could provide meat, leather for clothing and footwear, horns for musical instruments, and so on. These connections had persisted on Crete more  than elsewhere in Southern Greece, where they were connected to Britomartis instead.

The bull’s head was clearly connected to rebirth and new life. The butterfly, one of the symbolic carriers of human souls in the cycle of rebirth. Hence the association between the bull’s head, butterfly and double ax. The bull and double ax became especially connected to Artemis. The ceremony of blood baptism was used in Her worship, later taken as a sacrament by the worshippers of Mithras.

Atia undergoing the taurobolium from HBO/BBC's series "Rome"

The ceremony used by those worshippers may not have been identical to that of Tauropolos, however. Worshippers of Mithras stood beneath a grating, and were drenched with bull’s blood as its throat was cut above it. According to Greek writers, priestesses of Tauropolos were the only ones able to drink bull’s blood and survive, implying a strong taboo due to its sacred nature. They were also known to sometimes sacrifice gelded horses.

Baptism does not need more than a few drops of a liquid for sprinkling, as can be seen in present day Christian ceremionies. The religion around Mithras was created for professional soldiers, men who faced bloody death each day, an entirely different life pattern from most worshippers of Tauropolos.

On Bronze Age Crete, the Goddess of the Sun (Alectrona perhaps) was the one to whom bulls were sacred. The bull game of Crete was called the taurokathapsia, ‘purifying bull dance.’ This was not a bullfight, but a test  of bravery and skill, in which young women and men ran at the bull, grasped its horns, and somersaulted over its back. While Tauropolos does mean bullslayer, this refers to the sacrifice of bulls, not the process of infuriating and tormenting a large bull prior to killing it through loss of blood and repeated sword thrusts.

Sacrifice often involved beheading the bull and leaving its head in the temple, where the skull was used in sacred decoration. The meat was returned to the family who provided the bull, or if community sacrifice, was shared in a feast. No evidence exists of a human sacrifice in the Neolithic, the time these ceremonies derive from, or any such sacrifices later in this context.

The story of the island of Taurus, with its homicidal priestess of Artemis Iphigeneia is probably a demonization of other religious practises. Bull heads were mounted on the walls of many temples, from Catal Huyuk to Crete. The practice of embalming and displaying the heads of honored ancestors may also be the original action. It was meant to allow the ancestors to be part of the family, still remembered and respected, who in turn contributed wisdom and protection.

So Iphigeneia, whose name is also a title of Artemis, is a mortuary priestess like Kirke and Calypso.  Men in Attica could dedicate themselves to Artemis Tauropolos by undergoing a mock beheading ceremony in which a few drops of blood were drawn from his neck with a labrys. Its descendant is the English Knighting ceremony.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Osborne, Carla.  The New AmazoNation, “Different Aspects of Artemis“.

Wikipedia, “Artemis Tauropolos

Healing is in the air during the Celtic Month of Willow, inviting you to open your heart and express your emotions.

During this time of April showers, the watery month of the Willow Moon teaches you to release pent-up emotions and experience your grief.  Tears are linked to healing, and as you express difficult and painful feelings, you are able to purge yourself of subconscious fears.  The Willow Moon offered a healing month to the Celts, who literally spring-cleaned themselves in steamy saunas, known as sweat lodges, in readiness for the Beltane festival at the start of May.

Watery Tree

This month is the perfect time to perform lunar magic and to let go of the past.  Cast spells to restore and nurture during the waxing Moon and to release problems during the waning Moon. Drinking more water will help you attune to the Willow Moon and so enable you to connect to the tree’s water magic.

HEALING AND BLESSING

The willow is imbued with the power of the Moon, and so it has always been particularly linked with witchcraft.  The traditional witches’ broom is bound with a willow branch, and lunar wands used specifically for Moon magic are made of willow wood.

A lovely handmade willow wand that can be purchased from the Eire Crescent shop on Etsy.

Broken Hearts

The willow’s close ties to the Moon and tides also connect it to affairs of the heart.  An old English tradition involved jilted lovers wearing a sprig of willow in their hats, which originated from an ancient willow charm to heal a broken heart.

Lucky Tree

It was also believed that knocking on willow wood would help to banish bad luck, and that the tree’s leaves and bark could be added to healing incense and sachets to further promote health.

Focus on bringing someone round to your way of thinking.  Attract love or a new job, or aim to make a good first impression.

WILLOW MOON MAGIC

The Willow Moon provides the perfect time to harness lunar power and energy for wishing spells, divination, healing and protection.

Willow Divination

Willow is a good tree for boosting your intuition because of its watery association with the Moon.  Try these traditional “willow ways” of using your extrasensory perception!

  • Throw your shoe into a willow tree on the new Moon.  If it gets stuck you will be married in the next 12 months, but if it falls you will remain single.  you can try this eight times, if you do not get the desired result the first time!
  • Sleep with willow leaves under your pillow on the night of the full Moon to have a psychic dream.
  • Burning the bark and leaves of willow with sandalwood, outside during the waning Moon, will help you see spirits.

Protection Spell

Planting a willow tree in your yard will banish bad luck from your home.

You Will Need:

  • Willow branch
  • Spring water
  • A clear quartz crystal
  • A lock of your hair

1. On the new Moon, dig a hole and place the quartz crystal inside it.

2. Call upon the blessing of the Earth Mother with the following incantation: “Earth to earth, in power and love grow.”

3. Add the lock of your hair, to bring your own energies to the spell, and say, “I welcome you.”

4. Place the willow branch in the hold and refill the earth around it.

5. Shower the covered earth with the spring water while saying this chant: “Water to water, in power and love grow.”

6. Water the buried branch each day until it is strong.

Moon Water Spell

This willow tree ritual should be performed outside and can be used to make a wish, or heart’s desire, some true.

1. At the time of the full Moon go to a shallow river or stream where willow trees grow.

2. Stand with your feet in the water and hold your arms up to the Moon.

3. Visualize  moonlight flooding your aura, filling your body with each breath.

4. Recite this incantation: “Lady Moon of wax and wane, bring my wish and take my pain.”

5. Perform an act of ritual purification by washing your hands in the water by the roots of the tree.

6. Focus on your wish and tie a knot with a string around a willow branch to seal it.  When your wish comes true, untie the knot.

“Esbat” by NinfeAde

Healing Sachet

Use this charm during the Willow Moon to support your recovery from past bereavement or heartbreak.

You Will Need:

  • White spell bag
  • Willow leaves
  • Willow bark
  • Moonstone crystal

1. Harvest the bark and the leaves on the full Moon, leaving a strand of hair as an offering of thanks.

2. Hold up the moonstone and say “Mother Moon, Fair thou art, may your radiance heal my heart.”

3. Place all the ingredients in the bag, tying three knots to seal it, saying, “By the power of three so let it be.”

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  9.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Blue Roebuck, “Willow“.

Celtic Radio, “Celtic Zodiac: The Willow“.

The Goddess Tree, “Willow“.

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