Tag Archive: catholicism


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.”

 

This is the second episode following “When God Was a Girl” in a BBC documentary series, Divine Women by historian Bettany Hughes.  “Historian Bettany Hughes continues her journey into the hidden and controversial history of women’s place in religion as she uncovers the lost era of the priestess. She delves into the ancient Greek worship of the goddess of sex, Aphrodite, and finds out what this practice meant for women. She also heads to ancient Rome, where the fate of the civilisation lay in the hands of six sacred virgins. Returning to the crucial early years of Christianity, she finds evidence that overturns centuries of Church teaching and challenges the belief that women should not be priests.”

 

Saint Triduana

“Beltane: Lady of the Sacred Well” by Angie Latham

“Triduana’s themes are banishing, health and protection. Her symbols are water and oak.  In Scotland, this Goddess rules over sacred water sources, from which She selflessly gives Her elixir to all who ask in humility. Many of Her wells are said to dwell beneath oak trees, ancient symbols of protection and well-being.

Since the 1800’s, people have been coming to Loch mo Naire around this time of year to heal their body, mind or spirit. People sip a bit of the water and bathe in it three times, giving an offering of silver coins to the generous water spirit there. For us this means drinking eight glasses of water today, as is often recommended by physicians for improved health. This helps flush our toxins and draws Triduana’s healing energy into our bodies.

Another custom easily followed is that of taking off one’s clothes and walking backward to banish sickness. Both of these actions symbolize a turning away or a change. If possible, choose clothing you don’t need anymore, take it off, throw it out, then walk backward to a place where you can put on fresh clothing and don Triduana’s blessings!

Interestingly enough oak leaves have long been considered excellent health charms. If you can catch one before it touches the earth, you ensure yourself of Triduana’s protection and a month without colds.”

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

“Brigid – Guiding back to the Light” by Wendy Andrew

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Triduana is “a Scottish name for Brigid from the Edinburgh area…Triduana’s sacred pace was a well beneath a Druidic oak” (p. 298).

“According to the 16th-century Aberdeen Breviary, Triduana was born in the Greek city of Colosse, and travelled from Constantinople with Saint Rule, who brought the bones of Saint Andrew to Scotland in the 4th century AD.  A pious woman, she settled at Rescobie near Forfar in Angus, but her beauty attracted the attentions of a King of the Picts named Nectan. To stall these unwanted attentions, Triduana tore out her own eyes and gave them to Nechtan. Afterwards, she was associated with curing eye disorders. She spent her later years in Restalrig, Lothian, and healed the blind who came to her. She was buried at Restalrig when she died.

The 17th-century Acta Sanctorum records a story of a blind English woman miraculously cured by Triduana. The saint appears to her in a dream, and instructs her to travel to Restalrig. She does so, and regains her sight at Triduana’s tomb. The woman’s daughter is later cured of blindness after praying to Triduana.

In the 12th century, the Norse Earl of Orkney Harald Maddadsson punished bishop John of Caithness by having him blinded. According to the 13th-century Orkneyinga Saga, John prayed to ‘Trøllhaena’, and later regained his sight when brought to her ‘resting place’, possibly referring to a local northern shrine rather than Restalrig.

The principal centre of devotion to Triduana was at Restalrig, now part of Edinburgh, where the parish church is dedicated to her. The 15th-century St Triduana’s Aisle often flooded in the past, and was though to be a holy well, known as St Triduana’s Well. The aisle was heavily restored by the architect Thomas Ross in 1907. Other dedications to Triduana include chapels at Ballachly (Caithness), Loth (Sutherland), and on Papa Westray in Orkney.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Triduana“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Catholic.org, “St. Triduana“.

Foster, John. “The Legend and Shrine of Saint Triduana“.

Saintwiki.com, “Barrett/Scottish Saints/St. Triduana“.

Scottish-places.info, “Overview of St Triduana’s Well“.

 

Saint Anne

St. Anne with her child, Mary

“Saint Anne’s themes are miracles, wishes, kindness and health. Her symbols are freshwater and household items.  Saint Anne is a freshwater Goddess who helps us learn the value of abounding selflessness and how to better tend our household matters when the chaos of summer seems to have our attention elsewhere. In Canada she is also credited with miraculous healing.

Traditionally, supplicants come to Saint Anne wearing outfits from their cultures, kneeling and speaking their requests. This is a little awkward in our workaday world. So, instead, quaff a full glass of spring-water first thing in the morning so Saint Anne will stay with you all day, protecting your from the sniffles and encouraging a little domesticity.

If you house is cluttered, you can invoke Saint Anne and welcome her energy into your home simply by straightening up and using a little magical elbow grease as you go! Visualize white light filling your home, sing magical songs, burn some incense and use plain water to wash the floors so Saint Anne’s power can be absorbed into every nook and cranny. If you know of a person who’s been laid up and unable to do such things for themselves, I also suggest offering a a helping hand. This will draw Saint Anne’s well-being to that individual and fill his or her living space with healthful energy. The act of kindness will also draw Saint Anne’s blessings to you.”

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

“The Virgin and Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci

“Saint Anne (also Ann or Anna, from Hebrew Hannah meaning “favor” or “grace”) of David‘s house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah. Mary’s mother is not named in the canonical gospels or the Qur’an, and her name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James, written perhaps around 150, seems to be the earliest that mentions them.

Eastern Orthodox icon of St. Anna

The story bears a similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah had also been childless. Although Hanna receives little attention in the Western church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Hanna in the Eastern church occur as early as the 6th century.  In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, she is revered as Hanna. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hanna, is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both the Birth of Mary and the Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Great Feasts. The Dormition of Hanna is also a minor feast in the Eastern Church. In Protestant tradition it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as a monk after receiving heavenly aid from St. Anne.

Anne is also a revered woman in Islam and is recognized as a highly spiritual woman as well as the mother of Mary. The daughter of Faqud, Hannah was childless until her old age. She saw a bird feeding its young while sitting in the shade of a tree, which awakened her desire to have children of her own. She prayed for a child and eventually conceived. Her husband, known as Imran in the Qur’an, died before the child was born. Expecting the child to be male, Hannah vowed to dedicate him to isolation and the service in the Temple.  However, Hannah bore a daughter instead, and she named her Mary. Her words after the birth of Mary reflect her status as a great mystic. Hannah wanted a son, but she realized that the daughter was God’s gift to her.

Varying theologians have believed either that Joachim was Anne’s only husband or that she was married thrice. Ancient belief, attested to by a sermon of St John Damascene, was that Anne married once. In late medieval times, legend held that Anne was married three times, first to Joachim, then to Clopas and finally to a man named Solomas and that each marriage produced one daughter: Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salomae, respectively.  The sister of Saint Hanna was Sobe who was the mother of Saint Elizabeth.

St Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary by Jean Bellegambe

Similarly, in the 4th century and then much later in the 15th century, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anne by virgin birth.  Those believers included the 16th century Lutheran mystic Valentine Weigel who claimed Anne conceived Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. This belief was condemned as an error by the Catholic Church in 1677. Instead, the Church teaches that Mary was conceived in the normal fashion, but that she was miraculously preserved from original sin in order to make her fit to bear Christ. The conception of Mary free from original sin is termed the Immaculate Conception—which is frequently confused with the Virgin Birth or Incarnation of Christ.

In the fifteenth century, the Catholic cleric Johann Eck related in a sermon that St Anne’s parents were named Stollanus and Emerentia. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) regards this genealogy as spurious.” [1]

I thought this was pretty powerful when I came across this piece written by Peregrinus in regards to “What is the real significance we can take from this icon?”  He writes, “And this matters, because it means that Mary did not spring into existence, fully formed, a vessel to carry the Incarnate Son of God. She was human, with a human story, rooted in humanity, with a mother who conceived, bore, nourished and raised here. She was connected intimately with her mother and, through her mother, with the rest of humanity. Anne’s importance is that she anchors Mary, and therefore Christ, in humanity. And I think it’s significant that, while Rome was prepared to tolerate every kind of nonsense being written and believed about Anne, it was not prepared to tolerate the idea that she bore Mary in a virgin birth of her own.

“The Family of St Anne” by Marten De Vos

Even the spurious traditions about Anne reflect this, for example by giving her, and therefore Jesus, a large extended family, a kinship network. And it’s a humanly imperfect family, as well, because Judas is part of it. And, as a long-lived, wealthy matriarch with three husbands and an extended family, she offers an attractive alternative to a stereotypical model of female holiness – virginity, persecution and early death. She became the patron of the primal female business of childbirth, and the almost equally primally male business of mining.

The facts of Anne’s life, and our ignorance of them, are in the end unimportant. We know she existed; we know that she played her part in the progress of human history towards the Incarnation, even though she almost certainly never knew that. She stands for the connections we all have to one another, even when we don’t know about them, and for the significance and the holiness of the things that we things we do in life that are ordinary and unremarkable, even to us. She stands for countless other men and women, whose names and whose live are equally unknown, who have played their part, and still play their part, in writing the stories that we are living.” [2]  Christian or not, I think that’s pretty moving, reminding us all of the strength of the matriarch and the interconnectedness we all share with each other.

Click here to view additional information on her including patronages and her prayers.

 

 

 

Sources:

Peregrinus. Catholica.com.au, “St Anne – the Mother of the Mother of God“.

Wikipedia, “Saint Anne“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Catholic-forum.com, “Patron Saints for Girls: Saint Anne“.

Catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com, “St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.

Ewtn.com, “SAINT ANNE – Mother of the Blessed Virgin“.

Moytura.com, “Journeys to Canada: St. Anne de Beaupré“.

Newadvent.org, “St. Anne“.

Reams, Sherry L. University of Rochester, “Legends of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary: Introduction“.

Saints.sqpn.com, “Saint Anne“.

Lady of Regla

“Yemaya” by Hrana Janto

“Lady of Regla’s themes are kinship, protection, kindness, the moon, love, devotion, fertility and relationships. Her symbols are fish, the moon, silver (lunar) or blue items (Her favorite color) and the crab.  This West Indian fish mother swims in with summer rains as the bearer of fertility, family unity, prospective life mate and other traditionally lunar energies. Shown in art looking much like a mermaid, the Lady of Regla is also the patroness of the Cancer astrological sign.

In astrology, those born under the sign of Cancer have a great deal of compassion, desire family closeness and stability and are ruled by the moon, all of which characterize this Goddess’s energies to a tee. How you emphasize those powers depends on what you need. For harmony at home, add blue highlights to our decorating scheme and ear pale blue clothing when having difficult conversations.

Eat fish or crab today to digest a little extra self-love or empathy or to encourage fertility in any area of your life. To spice up this magic, serve the fish with a bit of lemon juice – a fruit that emphasizes devotion to kinship.

If you’d like to dream of future loves or get Lady Regla’s perspective on a difficult family situation, leave Her an offering of yams before going to bed. According to local custom, this invokes Regla’s favor and you will experience helpful night visions – so take notes!”

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

One of the original images of the Virgin of Regla from Spain

“The Virgin of Regla is actually named for a seaport in Spain, the city of Regla, Spain. There is an image of the Virgin Mary there known as the Virgen de Regla. Another city was founded on the same bay as the City of Havana, Cuba, and it was named Regla, and so the patron of this city was also the same Virgen de Regla.

Yemaya Orisha of the ocean (Ocean Goddess) and Lady of Regla

Later on, the slaves in Cuba who were followers of the Lukumi religion of Nigeria adopted the Virgin of Regla as the surrogate for the African Goddess Yemaya. It may be that the original Virgen de Regla actually was, originally, an African Goddess who had been adopted into Christianity by way of Catholic syncretism, and then, ironically, She was transformed back into an African Goddess by way of the syncretism of Cuban Santeria. [1]

Concerning the statue, Virgin de Regla, “historians distinguish between legend and history.  According to legend, the statue of the Virgin de Regla was commissioned by Augustine (354-430) himself and brought by Saint Cyprian, deacon, after the death of Augustine and during the invasion of the Vandals to the southern shores of Spain.  The statue found a new home in the seaport city of Chipiona and was venerated in the local monastery by both Augustinian canons and African hermits.  In the eighth century the invasion of Andalusia by the Saracens forced the statue to go underground.  Indeed, the monks hid the image in a cistern next to a fig tree where she remained until the liberation of the country by Alphonse the Wise in the thirteenth century.  In that period, Our Lady manifested herself to a canon regular from León  pointing him to the place where the statue lay hidden.  The rediscovery of the hidden image, chalice, and burning lamp led to the revival of the devotion to the Virgin de Regla. The cistern and fig tree still exist, and the location is called Humilladero.

 

From the point of history, the origin of the name appears shrouded in mystery.  According to some, the name makes reference to the Rule of the Augustinians. Thus the Virgin would be the protector of the Rule (regla). On the other hand, it is known that Don Alonso Perez de Guzman (1580-90) erected in Chipiona, a castle by the name of Castillo de Regla.

Iconographical studies point out that the statue can be dated as early as 1200.  It is believed that the image has always been that of a black Madonna.  The beginning of the devotion and first known miracles can be dated as early as 1330.  The official act of the foundation of the monastery bears the date of August 22, 1399 which corresponds to the date at which the Duke of Arcos, Don Pedro Ponce de León, entrusted the new foundation to the Order of Saint Augustine.  After a long period of neglect and dereliction, the monastery and sanctuary were restored in l833 and again in 1851, thanks especially to the Spanish Infantes, the Dukes of Montpensier.

The patronal feast coincides with the feast of the birthday of Mary on September 8. It is celebrated with a procession in commemoration of that of September 8, 1588 when the proud Spanish Armada sail toward England.  Historians evaluate the number of participants in this grandiose manifestation of devotion at eighty-thousand and the length of the procession at nine kilometers.  The devotion to Our Lady of Regla reached its zenith in the eighteenth century.  Devotion to ‘Our Lady of Regla’ is practiced even today, not only in Spain but also in Cuba, at a location outside of La Havana, called Regla, in Miami, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and in the Netherlands.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Ojinaga.com, “Virgen de Regla“.

Roten, Johann G. University of Dayton, “Who is ‘Our Lady of Regla?

 

 

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

Wikipedia, “Black Madonna“.

Wikipedia, “Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.

Virgin Mary

“Mary’s themes are miracles and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun (or yellow/gold items) and rosary beads.  It is no coincidence that many of the world’s Goddesses have ‘ma’ as part of their name, being mothers of humankind. The virgin Mary became the maiden, virginal Goddess archetype in Christianity, faithfully interceding for people with the gods and attending to our needs.

If you feel like you need a miracle, be sure to wear yellow- or gold-colored items today. As you don each one, say:

 ‘Mary hear me
Mary see me
Mary free me’

This date commemorates the appearance of Mary in Fatima, where children praying for peace began a cycle of visitors all looking for this Goddess to appear again. According to the story, when seventy thousand people were gathered there on this day, the rain stopped and the sun began to dance for joy as if guided by Mary’s hand. Whenever the sun shines again today, it is a sign of Her blessing.

To make your own prayer beads (to beseech Mary or any Goddess), cook rose petals in a little water in an iron pot until nearly black and pasty. Add a little orris powder and rose-scented oil, and shape the beads to two times the size you want them to be when dry. Pierce them with a needle and string tem, turning them regularly until they’re dry. Bless them in a manner suited to your path, then use the beads to energize your prayers by holding them as you entreat the Goddess.”

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

 Judaeo-Christian theology attempted to bury Our Mother God, but She reappears as the Blessed Virgin Mary, capturing the hearts of Her Children.

“It is well known that the earliest human civilizations known to archaeology are dominated by the iconography of the Supreme Mother God [see The Feminine Heritage].  Gradually, as the feminine-centered civilization weakened, She was depicted with decidedly inferior male consorts (often lunar or earthly in symbolism contrasting with the Solar and Heavenly iconography of the Supreme Mother).

Then, as true patriarchy takes hold, the male consort is promoted above God the Mother in an attempt to justify male domination on earth with a newly patriarchal ‘heaven’. The Solar and Heavenly symbolism is transferred to the former consort, while the Our Mother is given the Earth and Moon iconography which had been given to the masculine god in the days of his subordinate status; but which had originally belonged to the Daughter.

Eventually, the pantheons of the world were dominated by male gods with Our Mother God and Her various Aspects and Angelic Emanations being represented by subsidiary figures or “Goddesses”, often married, and subordinate, to “Gods”.

Finally, with the Abrahamic religions, we have a return to the pure monotheism of the earliest times, only this time it is as purely masculine as the original Faith of humanity was purely feminine.

Such, at any rate, was the intention. In reality, at every stage, wherever the patriarchy was not strong enough to suppress it – whenever there was even a momentary break in the patriarchal lockdown – the original faith blossomed again and Her children turned back to Our Mother.

As the Prophet Jeremiah angrily records:

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.” – Jeremiah 7:18

 The women are by no means ashamed of this, but proclaim:

“We will do everything we said we would do. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour out wine offerings to Her.” – Jeremiah 44:17

The Queen of Heaven! Let us note how gloriously Our Mother returns! From the rigid exclusion of Her attempted by the patriarchy, the people do not move shamefacedly back to depicting Her in Her intermediate status as a subordinate Earth Goddess. No, She is the Queen of Heaven, as She was in the beginning.

“The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity” by Diego Velázquez

The very words ‘Queen of Heaven’ are an abomination to the prophet. Who, then, would have imagined that a thousand years later, followers of the most widespread branch of the Abrahamic faith would return officially to the worship of the Queen of Heaven? Yet this is the very title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” [1]

 

Mary Protectress, Mother, Goddess & Saint

“Mary is celebrated around the world as the Divine Feminine by millions of people, many of them Catholics. Those who are devoted to Mary, honor Her as the mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin Mary is known as the dispenser of mercy, the ever patient mother, and protectress of humanity, and special protectress of women and children.

Many believe that with the rise of Christianity and papal power, the Goddess slowly disappeared from western culture and faded into the Mists of Avalon . . . So great was devotion to the Goddess that She was resurrected in the hearts of the people by a new Goddess, Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Christian version of the Green Man.

Officially, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary was mortal and is not a Goddess, but despite this official position, many Catholics honor Mary as a Goddess. Other Catholics revere Mary as Mother of Jesus, but not as divine.

Visions of the Virgin Mary have appeared to thousands of people around the world. Her sacred shrines are at Lourdes in France and Guadalupe in Mexico, as well as many other places. Her apparitions are often to children.

 

Artemis Diana of Ephesus

 

 

Reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis

Mary was declared to be the ‘Mother of God’ by the Christian church in the 7th century at Ephesus, Turkey. Ephesus was the home of a magnificent temple to the Goddess, Artemis Diana, one of whose sacred titles was ‘Queen of Heaven’.  Mary is a more recent and much loved incarnation of the Great Goddess of the ancient Middle-eastern cultures. Mary shares many standard Goddess attributes and symbols.

The Christian church also conferred the Goddess’s title on the Mother of Jesus. They called Her, ‘Mary, Queen of Heaven‘ and ‘Mary, Queen of the Angels’ both are very ancient titles of the widely worshipped Great Goddesses on the Middle-east.

Isis suckling Horus

The Madonna and child have been revered since the earliest times. Isis and Her son Horus, Mary and Her son Jesus, Demeter and Her daughter Kore, all have attracted a devout following. Long before Isis, and long before Mary or Demeter, the human psyche fashioned Madonna and child icons and placed them in sacred shrines. In ritual caves and worshipped the icons as sacred representation  in sacred groves, to honor the Mother & Child. Mary is always shown wearing a head covering like Muslim women today, a head covering was required for women throughout Christian history. In 1983 the rule requiring woman to cover their hair in Church was omitted from the updated official revised Catholic Canon pertaining to such matters.

Through time, the names and sometimes the images of the Madonna and child have changed, but the location of these shrines and the wide devotion to them has remained constant. in many cultures.  Image of the Madonna & Child are central to Catholicism, as they were often central to the Pagan worship of the Goddess Isis and other Goddesses in the ancient world. Below are Demeter and her daughter Kore.

 Demeter and Persephone / Kore

 


One of the most beloved images in all Christianity is The Black Madonna. Devotion to the Black Virgin has never been stronger; Her shrines attract thousands of worshippers each year. The Black Madonna is revered throughout the world, particularly in France, Poland, Italy, and Spain. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Crusades and holy pilgrimages. There are thousands of these beautiful sacred Madonna Icons.

The Black Madonna is honored as a true Goddess figure, and has been since Christianity entered Europe. She is honored by many as Isis, Gaia, Kali, Mary, “the Other Mary” (Mary Magdalene), Diana, Sheela Na Gig, and the Ancient Primal Earth-Mother Goddess.  All are beloved all are revered; each region has their own traditions.

For many European Christians, the blending of their ancient Goddesses with the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a well-accepted fact of their faith for centuries, there is no conflict. The holy Black Madonna, be She called Isis, or Mary, or Kali, or Diana, embodies all the aspects of Female Divinity for many millions of people. Mary’s blessings and intervention are still sought daily by millions who pray to the Mother.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is believed by many to have been the wife of Jesus, or his most favoured Apostle, though most Catholics today vigorously reject this idea. At the very least, Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ chief Apostle and a Priestess of early Christianity in her own right. Church fathers have tried for two thousand years to erase Mary Magdalene as a woman of importance, spirituality and power. They have failed, Mary Magdalene remains a figure of  importance for women. The Apostle Mary Magdalene is not a fallen woman, she is a free woman, and one of the “Three Marys” of the New Testament who shared the life and labors of Jesus.  Fragments have survived of ‘The Gospel of Mary‘ written in the first century or two of Christianity.  We will probably never recover a copy of the complete Mary Gospel, but what has been found  profoundly alters our perceptions of the role of women in early Christianity.  Women were church leaders and teachers in the early years after the death of Jesus; Mary Magdalene and Phoebe were among them.


Pope John Paul II was deeply devoted to the Blessed Mother and did much to bring honor and vitality to Her worship. Many millions of Catholics around the world share his deep devotion to Mary. It is because of the love for Mary that the Church considered elevating the Blessed Virgin Mary to the role of Co-Redeemer with her son Jesus Christ. This is a controversial issue in the church.” [2]

“In Christianity, you see, the patriarchal doctrine is carefully sealed. There was and is no room doctrinally for a Co-Redeemer, let alone a Creatrix and officially, the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary is simply that She was the physical vehicle of Christ’s incarnation.

However, both Her titles and Her iconography tell a different story. Despite the official theology, the image of the Supreme Mother is returning to the West.

She was called Mother of God – an extraordinary title which logically implies that She is antecedent to, and the Cause of, any other Divinity.

 

The ancient titles of the Supreme Creatrix were bestowed on Her – Queen of Heaven; Star of the Sea; Rose of the World. She was pictured ‘clothed in the Sun’ like the Solar Mother, with the moon at Her feet. She was depicted crushing the head of the serpent just like Eurynome, the Mother-Creatrix of ancient European religion.

Even theologically, the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was hard to suppress. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means that She was conceived without sin. Now, according to Christian doctrine, all humans are conceived in original sin, and only Christ can redeem that sin. But the Blessed Virgin Mary, before the incarnation of Christ, was sinless, unlike any human being, and made the redemption possible.

Within the strict patriarchal economy of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary cannot be recognized as God; but in Her iconography, Her titles and Her devotional cultus (none of which have a great deal to do with the biblical and historical Mary), She is clearly God the Mother.

Western devotees of Our Mother God look upon the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary with love and devotion: easily and naturally recognising Her as Our Lady. The question that then arises is: ‘Can we, and should we, take these beautiful images back? Or, since they are made within a patriarchal tradition that denies Her Divinity, would that be wrong?’

This is a question that each must consider for herself.” [3]

 

 

 

* A note on the term “virgin” – “The Virgin Mary was also said to have been a temple priestess. In the time, there were hierodules in the Temple of Jerusalem.  Mother Mary is said to have been dedicated to Temple work, she lived there, wove tapestries, altar cloths, and prayed for the betterment of the people. She is repeatedly called a ‘Temple Virgin’. The term ‘virgin’ doesn’t have a connection to her actual physical state. The term ‘almah’ can be translated to mean ‘virgin’ or ‘maiden’ all of which would be used to identify an unmarried girl. In Goddess worship, the term ‘virgin’ means simply that she is beholden to no man, free to love as she chooses; ‘one in herself, to be true to her own nature and instinct. Unexploited, not in man’s control.’  It is interesting how a minor change in translation can change the entire meaning of who Mary, the Virgin Mother was. The connection between the Goddess creation myths and the stories of Mary’s virgin birth are strikingly clear. As Elinor Gadon writes, ‘There is no more matriarchal image than the Christian mother of God who bore a child without male assistance.'” [4]

Sources:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Blessed Virgin Mary – Our Mother God Cannot be Banished“.

Moonwise, Lotus. Order of the White Moon, “Mary: Virgin & Magdalene“.

Willowroot, Abby. Spiralgoddess.com, “Mary“.

Suggested Links:

Acharya S/D.M. Murdock. Truth Be Known, “Who is the Virgin Mary?

Brother Markus. Woman Thou Art God, “The Tradition of Mary, the Great Goddess“.

Burns, Anita. The Messenger, “The Great Goddess – MARY“.

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Goddess Mother Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Books About Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Mary as Goddess: Virgin, Mother, Queen“.

Hayhouse.com, “Mary Queen of Angels by Doreen Virtue“.

Goddess Iemanja

“Iemanja’s themes are foresight, divination and psychic abilities.  Her symbol is water.  In Brazil, Iemanja is considered the ocean’s spirit. Every drop of saltwater bears Her imprint and calls us back to Iemanja, our ancient mother and home. As a water elemental, Iemanja gives Her followers vision, inspiration and the ability to flow smoothly through life’s torrential times.

At daybreak on this day, mediums in Brazil begin singing and dancing to summon the spirit of Iemanja, who provides glimpses of the year ahead. Worshipers take offerings carved with wishes to rivers or to the ocean. Here, Iemanja’s spirit accepts the gifts and the magic of the wish begins. To follow this custom, take any small natural token and toss it in moving water with your wish; the water should be flowing toward you if you wish to bring energy and flowing away from you if you want to carry away problems.

In keeping with today’s theme, soak in a mild saltwater bath to cleanse away any unwanted energy and heighten your senses. Then try your favorite divination tool. Pray to Iemanja beforehand to bless your efforts. See what messages she has for you, especially on emotionally charged matters (water equates with emotions in metaphysical traditions).

Finally, to honor Iemanja, wear ocean-blue clothing today, carry a blue-toned stone (like lace agate of lapis), put a seashell or coral in your pocket, dance in the rain (if the weather cooperates), or play in your sprinkler. Rediscover the element of water.”

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

Iemanjá is also known as Yemanjá or Janaína in Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda religions.

The Umbanda religion worships Iemanjá as one of the seven orixás of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron deity of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight. A syncretism happens between the Catholic Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (Our Lady of the Seafaring) and the orixá Iemanjá of the African Mythology. Sometimes, a feast can honor both.

In Salvador, Bahia, Iemanjá is celebrated by Candomblé on the very same day consecrated by the Catholic Church to Our Lady of Seafaring (Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes). Every February 2, thousands of people line up at dawn to leave their offerings at her shrine in Rio Vermelho.

 

Gifts for Iemanjá usually include flowers and objects of female vanity (perfume, jewelry, combs, lipsticks, mirrors). These are gathered in large baskets and taken out to the sea by local fishermen. Afterwards a massive street party ensues.

Iemanjá is also celebrated every December 8 in Salvador, Bahia. The Festa da Conceição da Praia (Feast to Our Lady of Conception of the church at the beach) is a city holiday dedicated to the Catholic saint and also to Iemanjá. Another feast occurs on this day in the Pedra Furada, Monte Serrat in Salvador, Bahia, called the Gift to Iemanjá, when fishermen celebrate their devotion to the Queen of the Ocean.

Outside Bahia State, Iemanjá is celebrated mainly by followers of the Umbanda religion.

 

On New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, millions of cariocas, of all religions, dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw (white) flowers and other offerings into the sea for the Goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Some send their gifts to Iemanjá in wooden toy boats. Paintings of Iemanjá are sold in Rio shops, next to paintings of Jesus and other Catholic saints. They portray Her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana.

In São Paulo State, Iemanjá is celebrated in the two first weekends of December on the shores of Praia Grande city. During these days many vehicles garnished with Iemanjá icons and colors (white and blue) roam from the São Paulo mountains to the sea littoral, some of them traveling hundreds of miles. Thousands of people rally near Iemanjá’s statue in Praia Grande beach.

 

In Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, on February 2, the image of Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes is carried to the port of Pelotas. Before the closing of the Catholic feast, the boats stop and host the Umbanda followers that carry the image of Iemanjá, in a syncretic meeting that is watched by thousand of people on the shore.

 

 

 

Saint Agatha

St. Agatha of Sicily

“Saint Agatha’s themes are health, well-being and protection.  Her symbols are any health related items.  Saint Agatha was a third-century Italian martyr who now presides over matters of health and protects homes from fire damage. Many nurses and healers turn to her for assistance in their work. While this saint was a historical persona (not simply a rewritten Goddess figure), she certainly embodies the healthy guardian energies of the Goddess.

Traditionally, candles are taken from a central location to people’s homes to bring Agatha’s blessings. So, get yourself a special Agatha candle, of any color, and light it in a safe place whenever you feel under the weather.

Take out your first-aid kit or bandages and bless it today, saying:

‘Restore vitality, well-being impart
Saint Agatha, hear the cry of my heart
On these tools of healing your blessing give
That I stay healthy as long as I live.’

When you use any item in the first-aid kit, you can activate the restorative magic by repeating the incantation.

To protect your home from fire, take a sprig of mistletoe left over from the holiday season and put it near your hearth. Invoke Saint Agatha’s protection by saying:

‘Saint Agatha, let my home be protected
Let these fires never be neglected.’

If you don’t have mistletoe, substitute any red-colored stone.”

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

“Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge – – himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: ‘Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil.’

Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel — a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured and refused her any medical care. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: “Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul.”

Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread.

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason — though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Here is a prayer to her in times in need:

‘Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen'” [1]

“Saint Agatha is one of the seven women excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.  Saint Agatha is the patron saint of of Ali, Sicily; bellfounders; against breast cancer; bakers; Catania, Sicily; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Sicily; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses; and Zamarramala, Spain.

Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over different aspects of life.  Because saints were believed to have led holy lives and were close to God in heaven, people (Catholics especially) feel that their prayers are particularly effective. Often one asks particular saints to pray for them if they feel they have a particular interest in their problem [much as we, as Pagans, would commune with a specific God or Goddess].

For instance one might ask Saint Agatha, patron saint for breast cancer to pray for a friend or relative who is inflicted with this disease. The giving of a St. Agatha medal might help to comfort someone whose patron saint is St. Agatha.” [2]

An annual festival to commemorate the life of Saint Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from February 3 to 5. The festival culminates in a great all-night procession through the city for which hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents turn out.

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