Tag Archive: astarte


Full Hunter’s Moon – October

Well we certainly have an interesting time coming up – Full Moon, a lunar eclipse, Mercury going retrograde and Samhain just around the corner! Here are some links to let you know what is going on and what to expect! “Right of Action: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse Oct 2013!” by Aepril Schaile. “Power and Surrender – Friday’s Lunar Eclipse in Aries” by Virgo Magic. “Lunar Eclipse October 2013” by Marina E. Partridge. “Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse in Aries – October 18th, 2013” by Dipali Desai. “Celestial Twinkle: Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio October 21st – November 2013” by Dipali Desai. And of course all the fabulous articles on Mooncircles.com.

Journeying to the Goddess

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that this full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

According to the Wise Witches Society, this full Moon is also referred to as the Full Harvest Moon.  “This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the 

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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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Full Hunter’s Moon – October

“Hunter’s Moon” by Tamas Ladanyi

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that this full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

“Harvest Moon Painting” by Samuel Palmer

According to the Wise Witches Society, this full Moon is also referred to as the Full Harvest Moon.  “This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.” (This is all generally speaking as this year was a weird year with a supposed “Blue Moon” in August that I think threw things off a bit).

Known as the Blood Moon, “this is the annual slaughter of all but breeding stock that took place at this time of the year (see “Samhain Lore“) . This is the time of seeking inner peace and truth. The zodiac association [generally] is Libra. [1]

“Orange Dream” by Cebarre

OCTOBER: Blood Moon (October) Also known as: Harvest Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Falling Leaf Moon, Ten Colds Moon, Moon of the Changing Season
Nature Spirits: frost faeries, plant faeries
Herbs: pennyroyal, thyme, catnip, uva ursi, angelica, burdock
Colors: dark blue-green
Flowers: calendula, marigold, cosmos
Scents: strawberry, apple blossom, cherry
Stones: opal, tourmaline, beryl, turquoise
Trees: yew, cypress, acacia
Animals: stag, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion
Birds: heron, crow, robin
Deities: Ishtar, Astarte, Demeter, Kore, Lakshmi, Horned God, Belili, Hathor
Power Flow: to let go; inner cleansing. Karma and reincarnation. Justice and balance. Inner harmony.  [2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

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

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“.

McDowell, Robert. Mooncircles.com, “The Divine Feminine and the Promise of the Hunter’s Moon“.

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

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Full Hunter’s Moon” .

Sites.google.com, “October: Blood Moon“.

Turner, Bekah Finch. Mooncircles.com, Taurus Full Moon & Hallowmas ~ Back to Earth“.

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! 

Goddess Ashtart

“Ashtart’s themes are love, prophecy (especially by stars), hope, protection, victory and romance. Her symbols are the star, fire, red and white items and the lion. A Lebanese Goddess for the lovelorn, Ashtart fell from the heavens as a star and landed in Byblos. She became the city’s patroness, renowned for Her prophetic insight, assistance in relationships and protectiveness, especially when one faces a difficult battle. This tremendous power explains the artistic depictions of Ashtart riding a lion (a solar/fire symbol) or having the head of a lion.

International music festivals have been held in Byblos since the late 1960’s to celebrate it as one of the oldest towns in the world with ongoing inhabitants (and an ever-present Goddess!). It was here that a forerunner of the alphabet developed, inspired by the papyrus export trade. With this in mind, take a piece of onionskin paper and describe your emotional needs on it with red ink or crayons. Burning this releases the wish to Ashtart and begins manifesting the magic.

Honor Ashtart and gain Her insight by star-gazing tonight. If you see a falling star and can repeat your wish for love three times before it disappears, folklore says it will be granted. If you see a meteor shower, count the sparks you see while thinking of a suitable binary question for this Goddess. An ever-numbered answer means ‘yes’, an odd-numbered answer means ‘no’.”

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

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ashtart (either ‘the Star’, or ‘She of the Womb’), is better known by the name Astarte, the Greek version of Her name. Ashtart is a Semitic Goddess of Love and War and the Canaanite Great Goddess who is the cult partner of Ba’al (“the King”). Semitic describes a group of languages, and by extension, kindred cultures of the Near East and Africa which include Phoenician, Arabic, Hebrew and Assyrian. She is the Deity of the Planet Venus and a Fertility Goddess, and Her cult was known throughout the ancient world for its practice of temple prostitution. She was the main Deity of the cities Sor (more familiarly Tyre), Zidon (Sidon) and Gubla (Byblos), and is frequently shown as an archer either beside or standing on a lion, much like the Babylonian Ishtar, who is quite similar. Snakes and the cypress tree are sacred to Her; and, like the related Arabic Goddess Al-Uzza, whose name, “the Mighty One”, is an epithet of Ashtart, the acacia tree is also Hers.

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

As with many of the other Near Eastern Goddesses of the planet Venus, two of Her aspects are that of the Goddess of War and the Goddess of Love. As Venus the Morning Star, Ashtart is a Goddess of War and Hunting; and as the Evening Star, She is the Goddess of Love, Sex, Fertility and Vitality, depicted as a nude woman. In Her role as Goddess of Love She was honored with sexual rites, especially in the city of Sidon or Zidon, and some of Her priests and priestesses there were chosen from the royal family.

In the legends of Ugarit (the modern Ras Shamra on the coast of Syria) of the 14th century BCE, Ashtart is mentioned with the virgin Warrior-Goddess Anath (Anat) as restraining the young God Ba’al, who wishes to overthrow the River God, Yam. When Yam is taken captive, Ba’al kills him, and Ashtart rebukes him for the murder, cursing Him with His own name. She is sometimes called “Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al” which may refer to Her magical knowledge of His secret name in which His power resides; the idea of a secret or cult name of a Deity, known only to the initiated, was not uncommon in the area: Jehovah is supposed to possess a secret name of power, uttered by Lilith when She left the Garden; and in a legend of Isis, the great Egyptian Goddess, She brings about the downfall of the aging God Ra by speaking his hidden name.

Gold pendant, possibly Astarte. Ugarit. 1500-1200/1150 BCE. Drawing by Stéphane Beaulieu

Several gold pendants from Ugarit, dating to about 1300 BCE depict Ashtart in a highly stylized manner. From a flat gold plate, roughly teardrop-shaped, Her face and breasts emerge; and Her pubic area is depicted as a triangle with dots, I assume representing hair. There is also, however, what appears to be a stylized tree ‘growing’ from that triangle and which ends just below Her navel. This ‘tree’ is perhaps to be equated with the Near Eastern Tree of Life.

Ashtart was worshipped with the young God ‘Adon, son of Malidthu, in the town of Aphek or Aphaca in Palestine, the modern Afka. ‘Adon is a title, rather than a name (as is common among the Phoenicians) meaning ‘Lord’, and He may actually be Eshmun, the young God of Health. The site of the town Aphek was known for its stunning beauty, as it was situated high on a cliff from which a river issued to fall in a great torrent. Under the Greek name Adonis (which also means ‘Lord’), He was a young and very beautiful God with whom Aphrodite (the Greek equivalant of Ashtart) fell in love. Alas, one day while out hunting He was killed by a boar and the Goddess mourned terribly for Him. He represents the young vegetation/crops that are killed in the droughts of the dry season, and the river at Aphek was said to run red with His blood in the rainy season. He had a famous festival in midsummer celebrating His death and resurrection that eventually spread with His worship to Greece, Egypt and Rome, and which was celebrated primarily by women.” [1]

“Astarte” by Christian Brinton

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Astarte (‘womb’ or ‘she of the womb’) was the Goddess who appears in the Old Testament as Ashtorth, a non-name formed by misreading the Goddess’ name with different vowels so that the word becomes ‘shameful thing.’  What seems to have been shameful to the patriarchal Hebrews was the untrammeled sexuality of the Goddess, one of those who ‘conceived but did not bear’ offspring for Her partners.  In this, Her identity as the Canaanite version of Ishtar becomes more clear, in the ancient eastern Mediterranean the spirit of sexuality was the Goddess who ruled the planet Venus.  As the morning star Astarte was like Anat, a war Goddess robed in flames and armed with a sword and two quivers full of death-dealing arrows, flying into battle like a swallow.  But as the evening star, a Goddess of desire, Astarte descended to the Underworld to reclaim a lost lover, thereby causing all human and animal copulation to cease until She returned” (Monaghan, p. 57)

“For some time Ashtart under the name Ashtoreth seems to have been worshipped side by side with the Hebrew God as His consort; He was early on called Ba’al, a general title meaning ‘Lord’, used in the area to refer to each people’s particular patron God, though their real (and sometimes secret) names were different. This fell out of favor in time as the Hebrews transitioned to monotheism. Apparently they had a hard time with this, though, as Jehovah is forever chiding His people for ‘backsliding’ and returning to the worship of Ba’al and Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth in the Bible is worshipped in groves called after Her asherah and may have been honored as a pillar of wood, or as manifest in the grove itself. In one tale from the Biblical book Judges, Jehovah has Gideon destroy his own father’s shrines to Ba’al and Ashtoreth, which he does in the middle of the night under cover of darkness, as he was too scared of the repercussions to do it in broad daylight.

King Solomon, famous for his great wisdom, was said to have had 700 wives, many of whom were from neighboring Pagan tribes. To accommodate their religions, he built for them temples to their Gods, including a sanctuary to Ashtart in Jerusalem. Jehovah, known far and wide for His jealousy, couldn’t tolerate this and brought about Solomon’s death. On other occasions when the Hebrews reverted to the old religion, Jehovah in a divine fit of pique ‘gave them over into the hands of their enemies’ (also from Judges).

Ashtart also had temples in Ascalon in Philistia, about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Beth-shean, or Scythopolis, near the Sea of Galilee. She is also said to be the mother of the maiden Yabarodmay, by Ba’al.

The Goddess Athirat-of-the-Sea, who also features in the Ba’al legend, is the wife of El, the Father of the Gods; She has much in common with Ashtart and the two may be aspects of the same Goddess. Some sources make Athirat the Goddess worshipped by the Hebrews as Jehovah’s consort; the two are quite confused, both by modern scholars and the ancients.

Ashtart’s name has many variations depending on the language or city in which She was worshipped. Some examples: She is Astarte to the Greeks, Ashtoreth or Ashtaroth among the Hebrews, Attart or Athtart in the city of Ugarit, Astartu in Akkadian.

Epithets: ‘Goddess of Heaven’, ‘Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Sky-of-Ba’al’, ‘The Strong One’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Fields’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Battle’; and Kbd, ‘Glory’.” [2]

“Inanna” by Hrana Janto

“Her colors were red and white; in Her honor the acacia tree produced flowers in these colors, so She called it Her emblem.  She also loved the cypresses of Her native country and the stallions that She rode, the first fruits of the harvest, the firstborn of the womb, and all bloodless sacrafices.  In some pictures, Astarte stands small-breasted and naked on the back of a lioness, with a lotus and a mirror in one hand and two snakes in the other.  At other times, to show Her fierce and hungry nature, She was shown with the head of lioness” (Monaghan, p. 57).

“Inanna” by Lisa Hunt

She is the western Semitic equivilant of the Eastern Semitic Inanna, of the Sumerians and Ishtar of the Babylonians; the Greeks identified Her with their Aphrodite, who may have Her origins in Ashtart anyway, as She was believed to have come from the East. Atargatis is confused or equated with Her, and may have originally been the same Goddess; Ba’alat, ‘the Lady of Gubla’ (Byblos) is likely a title for Ashtart. She was equated by the Etruscans with their Mother and Sky Goddess Uni, and is related to Tanit of Carthage.” [3]

* A note on Goddesses of the Near East – “It is often difficult to distinguish the like-named Goddesses of the ancient Near East, partially because the persecuting Hebrews blurred the distinctions between them and partly because over the ages tribes identified their native Goddesses with those of conquering or neighboring peoples.  Such is the case with Astarte, ofter fused or merged with Anat, Asherah, even Atargatis.  Whether She was origionally an independent deity whose identity grew indistinct, or whether Her name was at first a title of Asherah or another Goddess, may never be known.  But Astarte was probably the West Semitic (especially Phoenician) version of that Goddess named, in other languages, Ishtar and Aphrodite” (Monaghan, p. 56 – 57).

Sources:

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks, “Astarte“.

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar“.

Mikha, Abbey. Assyrian Voice,One Goddess With Many Names“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ashtart“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Astarte: survive and surmount life’s battles – goddess of victory“.

Stuckey, Johanna H. MatriFocus Web Magazine for Goddess Women, “Goddess Astarte: Goddess of Fertility, Beauty, War and Love“.

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

Wikipedia, “Astarte“.

Goddess Nejma

“Nejma’s themes are protection, health, courage, and organization.  Her symbols are caverns and water.  In Morocco, Nejma oversees all other health and healing spirits, organizing their efforts to ward off spring colds and other maladies. Local legends claim that She lives in the grotto of d’El Maqta, which is likely representative of a motherly womb in which our spirits are made whole.

On the first day of summer in the Moroccan region, locals use the solar symbolism to avert evil and danger. We can adapt their customs by taking baths, which invoke Nejma to strengthen the body, and by staying awake longer than usual, which purportedly raises courage. Additionally, eating carrots, turnips, beets, or other vegetables internalizes Nejma’s protective qualities for year-round well-being.

You can honor Nejma, inspire Her energy, and help yourself by seeing to matters of personal health today. Get a checkup, eat well-rounded meals instead of junkfood, review your diet, take a healthy walk, start an exercise program, let some fresh air into the house or smudge it with sage for purification, visualize yourself being washed clean by white light. And don’t forget to think positively! An upbeat mental outlook puts you much closer to the goal of being whole in body, mind and spirit.”

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

During my research for this entry, I found no mention of this Goddess except in Encyclopedia Mythica.  It states that Nejma is “a healing spirit in Moroccan folklore. She is the chief of the healing spirits that inhabit the grotto of d’El Maqta.” [1]  Now, this entry from Encyclopedia Mythica is dated 2006 with no sources or references listed; whereas Telesco’s book is dated 1998 – so I can’t help but assume that Lindemans’ source of information may have been Telesco’s book and not from another independent source – make of that what you will.  Of course Nejma could be mentioned in a book somewhere that I don’t have access to at this moment, but it seems as though I would’ve found mention of Her somewhere on the internet when I Googled Her…If anyone reading this has any info from outside sources, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

“Female siren” by ~XiaoBotong

I also could find no mention of a place (village, town or city) called d’El Maqta, let alone a grotto located in said place in Morocco.  The only mention of any Moroccan deity I could find was that of a female mythological figure called Qandiša.  “Qandiša is known in folk tales either as a Goddess of lust, or simply as a female demon who lives in springs and rivers.  She is said to seduce young men and then drives them insane.  On the summer solstice, sacrifices are made to Her.  Qandiša is a possible version of an older Goddess such as Astarte.” [2]  So, They have the water aspect in common, but driving young men insane is anything but healing…

                   

Upon researching the name “Nejma“, I came across a variant – “Nejmah” meaning “‘star’ in Arabic and refers to the eight pointed star that is a common repeating motif in Islamic art.” [3]  Hhmmm, an eight pointed star is also a symbol of Inanna, Ishtar and Venus…Interesting…..

Sources:

Kimball, Carolyn. Etsy.com: KimballPrints, “Nejmah“.

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

Wikipedia, “Qandisa“.

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“.

Goddess Ishtar

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ishtar’s themes are love, fertility, passion, sexuality, and the moon.  Her symbols are a star, the moon, lions and doves.  In Babylon, Ishtar encompasses the fullness of womanhood, including being a maternal nurtures, an independent companion, an inspired bed partner, and an insightful advisor in matters of the heart. Having descended from Venus (the planet that governs romance), She is the moon, the morning star and the evening star, which inspire lovers everywhere to stop for a moment, look up and dare to dream. Saturday is Ishtar’s traditional temple day, and Her sacred animals include a lion and a dove.

Babylonians give Ishtar offerings of food and drink on this day. They then joined in ritual acts of lovemaking, which in turn invoked Ishtar’s favor on the region and its people to promote continued health and fruitfulness. If you’d like to connect with this fertile energy but have no bed partner, a magical alternative is using symbolism. Place a knife (or athame, a ritual dagger often representing the masculine divine or the two-edged sword of magic) in a cup filled with water. This represents the union of yin and yang. Leave this is a spot where it will remain undisturbed all day to dray Ishtar’s loving warmth to your home and heart.

If you have any clothes, jewellery or towels that have a star or moon on them, take them out and use them today. Ishtar abides in that symbolism. As you don the item, likewise accept Ishtar’s mantle of passion for whatever tasks you have to undertake all day.”

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

“Semiramis” by kk-graphics

“Ishtar is the Babylonian Goddess of Love and War, embodied in the two aspects of the planet Venus–as Evening Star, She brings lovers to celebration and bed; and as the Morning Star, She brings the fiery sword of War. She represents one of the many faces of the ancient Near Eastern Great Goddess, among them the Phoenicians Asherat or Ashtoreth (in Greek Astarte) and Anat, Sumerian Inanna, Phrygian Cybele, and Greek Aphrodite, most of whom share legends of dying and resurrected lovers.

As Goddess of love and sex, Ishtar is the force that draws mates together and brings fertility, both for humans and animals. She is Goddess of courtesans, and sacred prostitution was part of Her cult. She is Herself a harlot who took many lovers.

A Neo-Assyrian seal (circa 750-650 BC) of Ishtar (at left) standing with her bow on her mythical lion.

As Goddess of war, Ishtar takes part in battle and is shown standing on the back of a lion bearing bow and arrows. She was known for a fiery and fickle temper which usually spelled doom for Her lovers.

“Innana, Queen of Heaven” by buechnerstod

One of Ishtar’s lovers was the grain-god Tammuz (who still has a Jewish month named after Him). He died young (as the grain is cut just as it reaches the perfection of ripeness), and some legends imply that Ishtar had a hand in His death. But Ishtar was inconsolable and determined to fetch him back from the Underworld. At each of the seven gates of the Land of the Dead Ishtar, like Inanna, was required to give over an article of clothing or jewelry until finally She came naked and humbled before Her sister Queen Ereshkigal, who then imprisoned Ishtar.

The world mourned for the lost Goddess of love, and Her father Sin the Moon God sent an envoy armed with powerful magic who successfully rescued Her. Tammuz was eventually also brought back to live in the land of the gods. The Descent of Ishtar was celebrated annually in Babylonian lands.

Epithets: The Star of Lamentation, Lady of Battles, Courtesan of the Gods” [1]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Sumerian

Element: Air

Sphere of Influence: Love and fertility

Preferred Colors: Gold and blue

Associated Symbol: 8 pointed star, reed bundle

Best Day to Work With: Friday

Suitable Offerings: Lapus Lazuli

Associated Planet: Venus    [2]

Gemstones: Carnelian, coral, agate, brown jasper (orange stones), quartz crystal, moonstone, garnet  [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Inanna/Ishtar“.

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

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Ishtar“.

Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who Is Goddess Ishtar?

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar: unleash the feminine divine“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Queen of Heaven and Earth: Inanna-Ishtar of Mesopotamia” (p. 19 – 38).

Ra-Hoor-Khuit Network, “Ishtar“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess, “Ishtar“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Tale of Ishtar“.

Wikipedia, “Ishtar“.

Worm Moon – March

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.

"Moonseed" by Kristen Holmberg

“Moonseed” by Kristen Holmberg

MARCH: Storm Moon (March) Also known as: Seed Moon, Moon of Winds, Plow Moon, Worm Moon, Lentzinmanoth (Renewal Month), Lenting Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon, Moon of the Snowblind
Nature Spirits: Mer-people, Air and Water beings who are connected with spring rains and storms
Herbs: broom, High John root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish moss
Colors: pale green, red-violet
Flowers: jonquil, daffodil, violet
Scents: honeysuckle, apple blossom
Stones: aquamarine, bloodstone
Trees: alder, dogwood
Animals: cougar, hedgehog, boar
Birds: sea crow, sea eagle
Deities: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hecate, Cybele, Astarte, Athene, Minerva, Artemis, Luna
Power Flow: energy breaks into the open; growing, prospering, exploring. New beginnings; balance of Light and Dark. Breaking illusions. Seeing the truth in your life however much it may hurt. [1]

 

 

* 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! 

Sources:

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

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?

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

Goddess Venus

“Aphrodite” by ischarm

“Venus’s themes are love, passion, romance and sexuality.  Her symbols are doves, flowers, berries, trees and pine cones.  Venus was originally an Italic Goddess of blossoms; heart and flowers have slowly become attributed to Her loving, passionate energies. In fact, Her name became the root for the word venerate – to lift up, worship or esteem. So it is that Venus greets pre-spring efforts for uplifting our hearts with positive relationships.

During Lupercalia, an ancient predecessor of Valentine’s Day, single girls put their names in a box and unmarried men drew lots to see with whom they would be paired off for the coming year. To be more modern-minded, try pinning five bay leaves to your pillow instead to dream of future loves. If you’re married or otherwise involved, steep the bay leaves in water and drink the resulting tea to strengthen the love in your relationship.

To encourage balance in a relationship, bind together Venus’s symbols, a pine cone and a flower, and put them somewhere in your home. Or, to spice up a passionate moment, feed fresh berries to each other and drink a berry beverage from one cup (symbolizing united goals and destinies).

In Roman tradition, anywhere there’s a large stone adjacent to a tall tree, Venus is also there. Should you know of such a place, go there today and commune with Her warm, lusty energy.”

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

“Venus is the Roman Goddess of love and beauty, but originally a vegetation Goddess and patroness of gardens and vineyards who had no original myths of Her own. Later, under Greek influence, She was equated with Aphrodite and assumed many of Her aspects. Her cult originated from Ardea and Lavinium in Latium. The oldest temple known of Venus dates back to 293 BCE, and was inaugurated on August 18. Later, on this date the Vinalia Rustica was observed. A second festival, that of the Veneralia, was celebrated on April 1 in honor of Venus Verticordia, who later became the protector against vice. Her temple was built in 114 BCE. After the Roman defeat near Lake Trasum in 215 BCE, a temple was built on the Capitol for Venus Erycina. This temple was officially opened on April 23, and a festival, the Vinalia Priora, was instituted to celebrate the occasion.

Venus is the daughter of Jupiter, and some of Her lovers include Mars and Vulcan, modeled on the affairs of Aphrodite. Venus’ importance rose, and that of Her cult, through the influence of several Roman political leaders. The dictator Sulla made Her his patroness, and both Julius Caesar and the emperor Augustus named Her the ancestor of their (Julian) family: the ‘gens Julia’ was Aeneas, son of Venus and the mortal Anchises. Ceasar introduced the cult of Venus Genetrix, the Goddess of motherhood and marriage, and built a temple for her in 46 BCE. She was also honored in the temple of Mars Ultor. The last great temple of Venus was built by the emperor Hadrianus near the Colusseum in 135 CE.  Roman statues and portraits of Venus are usually identical to the Greek representations of Aphrodite.” [1]

“Venus meant ‘charm’ and this Roman Goddess certainly knew how to do that!  Although She was a latecomer to Roman mythology, She rose quickly among the ranks.  Like the Goddess Aphrodite whose mythology She inherited, the Roman Goddess Venus assumed the divine responsibility for love, beauty, sexuality, military victory, not to mention marriage, procreation and domestic bliss.  Venus was the ultimate multi-tasker!  She was also known as Venus Verticordia, Goddess of chastity in women (despite Her numerous randy affairs with gods and mortals), as Venus Victrix, the Goddess of victory in war and also a nature Goddess, associated with gardens and the arrival of spring. When Her son Aeneas fled Troy and founded the Roman race, Venus became known as the divine ancestor of the Roman people (the Venus Genetrix) and was treated with special honor.

Venus had many identities before She came to Rome – Inanna, Ishtar/Astarte, and the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. She had been recognized since the beginning of time as the brightest “star” in the heavens, except, of course, for the Sun.

Because of Her association with love and with feminine beauty, the Roman Goddess Venus has been a favorite subject in art and poetry.  To this day, She is a cultural icon of love and beauty, a reminder of the awesome power of female radiance and beauty.  The primordial Venus (Inanna, Ishtar and Astarte) was a triple Goddess – the morning (and evening) star represented Her as maiden who rose every morning, renewed in Her youthful beauty, then waxing into Her fullness of motherhood and next becoming the crone, gradually waning in Her power and strength but planting the seed of wisdom for the next cycle as She faded into the darkness of eternal night.” [2]





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