Tag Archive: cherry blossoms


Goddess Laka

"Laka" by Kristine Provenza

“Laka’s themes are tradition, heritage, weather and arts.  Her symbols are lei flowers, dance and the color yellow.

Laka is the Hawaiian Goddess of Hula, through which the myths, legends and histories of the Hawaiian people are kept intact. Today She charges us with the sacred duty of collecting the treasures of our personal legacies and recording them for sharing with future generations.

In stories, Laka is the sister of Pele (the volcano Goddess) and a nature Goddess who can be invoked for rain. Artistic renditions show Her wearing yellow garments, bedecked with flowers and always dancing.

The cherry blossoms of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaii are spiritual, not real, symbolizing the power of tradition among the predominantly Japanese community. On this day people gather together and honor their heritage by participating in martial arts, Japanese dances, weaving and arts competitions. So, if there’s any art or craft you learned from an elder in your family, take the time to display that craft or work on it today to commemorate Laka’s attributes.

If possible, get together with members of your family and begin creating a family journal that will record all the important events in your lives. Cover the journal with yellow paper dabbed with fragrant oil to invoke tending care on the sacred documents.”

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

“Laka is most well known as the Goddess of the hula and the forest. Even today, in very traditional hula halaus, an altar or offering is prepared in honor of Laka with a very specific succession of plants.” [1]  After the dance, “the altar is dismantled and ever leaf is taken to the ocean or a deep stream as a way to honor Laka further.

She is also known as the Goddess of the wild woods and over all vegetation.  Plants sacred to Her are: maile, Lama, hala pepe,`ie `ie, ki, `ôhia lehua, and palai.  The maile flowers are commonly used to make Lei, which are draped over the neck.  As vegetation Goddess, She is associated with the nourishing elements of light and rain.  Rain connects Laka to Her husband, Lono, the fertility god who descended to earth on a Rainbow to marry Her.” [2]

“In some traditions of Hawaii the hula was brought to the islands by a brother and sister, both named Laka. Although prayers are addressed to Laka in many hula performances, few, if any, hulas are ever dedicated to her. Because of many stories connecting Laka to impregnation and fruitfulness, Beckwith calls Her ‘the Goddess of love.’ The name laka means “gentle, docile, attracted to, to attract,” and there are old chants asking Laka to attract not only love, but wealth. Of very different origin, She was nevertheless incorporated into the Pele religion. Due to Her associations with the forest She represents the element of plants.” [3]

Sources:

Flidai. The Goddess Tree, “Laka, Polynesian Fertility Goddess“.

King, Serge Kahili. Hawaiian Huna Village, “Hawaiian Goddesses“.

Please also visit these sites for some great information on Laka’s background and associations:

Lakainapali, Tracy. Hawaiian Huna Village “Hula: The Soul of Hawaii“.

Powers That Be, “Hawaiian Goddess Laka“.

Retro Glyhs, “Laka“.

Goddess Sengen-sama

“Sakuya-hime” by Getabo Hagiwara

“Sengen-sama – Her themes are growth and maturity. Her symbols are flower buds.  Sengen-sama, a Japanese growth Goddess, lives high on Fujiyama, giving Her unique perspectives about each person’s path in life. When you need to see yourself more clearly or inspire development in your spirit, call on Her for aid. According to Japanese tradition, this Goddess makes the flowers blossom today, just as She can make our lives blossom into maturity. She also governs cherry blossoms, which represent the beauty and fragility of life.

Put a nosegay of new blossoms on your altar or in a special place to remember Sengen-sama today. Use one as a boutonniere to liven up your clothing and inspire progress in any situation that seems to be stagnating. After the day is done, dry the petals of the blossom and burn them on a day when you want a little extra motivation.

In Japan, this day is a time to honor those who have come of age (on turning twenty) in the last year. These people dress in new clothing to mark the transition and go to community centres to celebrate. In keeping with this theme, consider having a rite of passage for any children in your life who have shown unique maturity (no matter their age). Bring them into the magic circle, present them with ritual tools, let them choose a magical name, and then give them permission to participate as a full adult in all your rituals to come.”

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

Sengen is the Shinto Goddess of Fujiyama, the highest mountain in Japan, considered the most holy. Once a very active volcano, Fujiyama covered Tokyo (some 70 miles away) with 6 inches of ash in the eruption of 1707. Its isolation and the perfection of the shape of its cone has made it a celebrated subject of poetry and art. Fujiyama (whose name means “Never Dying Mountain”) probably derives its name from the old Ainu fire Goddess Fuchi.  As Goddess of Mount Fuji, Sengen-sama has a shrine at the top of the mountain, where Her worshippers and pilgrims ascend to the summit during the summer in great numbers to greet the rising sun (which even at that time of year is usually snow-covered).  It is for this reason that She is sometimes called Asama (dawn of good luck) and that Mount Fuji has solar associations.

Sengen is depicted as a girl all in white to whom camellias are sacred.  She is said to live within a luminous cloud in the crater of Fujiyama, and She presides over a healing stream on the south side of the mountain.  As Goddess of cherry blossoms, She is also knows as Konohana (child flower) or Konohana-Sakuya-Hime (the princess who makes the tree-blossom bloom)

Sengen was wedded to Ninigi, God of rice and the grandson of Amaterasu, the Sun-goddess. Sengen-sama became pregnant so soon after their wedding that Ninigi doubted that She had been faithful to him. Sengen-sama built a hut with no doors, and said that when She delivered Her child, She would set fire to the house. If the baby was not Ninigi’s, then She and the child would die in the flames. As it turned out, the babies (She had twins) were Ninigi’s children, and they and Sengen-sama survived the fire.  She had a total of three fiery sons by Ninigi –Po-deri-no-mikoto (“Fire-shine”), Po-suseri-no-mikoto (“Fire-full”), and Po-wori-no-mikoto (“Fire-fade”).  Po-wori-no-mikoto was in his turn the grandfather of the first Emperor of Japan, whose descendants preside over Japan to this day. [1] [2]

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