Tag Archive: cornucopias


Goddess Spes

“Gathering Flowers” by Albert Lynch

“Spes’ themes are thankfulness, hope, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are a bouquet of flowers. In Roman tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘hope’. She joins us today to celebrate the successful harvest and keep our hearts hopeful as the earth’s plenty wanes. In art, Spes often appears as a simple bundle of flowers whose beauty inspires the most distraught of spirits.

Follow pilgrim tradition and set aside time today to thank the Goddess for Her blessings in any way that seems suited to your path and vision. For example, give Spes an offering of the first slice of holiday bread, share food with those in need, or perhaps treat the birds and squirrels in your neighborhood to some bread and nuts.

Locally we invite any friends who have no family nearby to join with us in a delightful symbolic meal. Serve round rye bread and dill dip for unity and kinship, sweet potatoes for life’s sweetness and Spes’s harvest energies, cranberries mixed with oranges to keep our energy and health intact, vegetables for firm foundations, and pumpkin pie with magical sigils carved in the crust for the Goddess’s protective spark. If you look at your own traditional menu, I’ll bet you will find many other foods and beverages that have similar symbolism to bring meaning and Spes’s magic to your table for this holiday. As you eat, remember to pass all the food and beverages clockwise to invoke Spes’s ongoing providence.”

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

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

Patricia Monaghan told us that Spes was “an early Cretan Goddess called Elphis in Greece. She was the one force left in the box of Pandora after evil had escaped into the world.  Spes was ruler of the Underworld and of death’s cousin, sleep; Her plant was the poppy, but otherwise nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.  In Greece and Rome, Spes became the personification of hope, worshiped in temples dedicated to Her as early as the fourth century B.C.E.” ( p. 285).

On theodora.com, it states that “Spes, in Roman mythology, the personification of Hope. Originally a nature Goddess (like Venus the garden Goddess, with whom She was sometimes identified *), She represented at first the hope of fruitful gardens and fields, then of abundant offspring, and lastly of prosperity to come and good fortune in general, being hence invoked on birthdays and at weddings. Of Her numerous temples at Rome, the most ancient was appropriately in the forum olitorium (vegetable market), built during the first Punic War, and since that time twice burnt down and restored.

The day of its dedication (August 1) corresponded with the birthday of Claudius, which explains the frequent occurrence of Spes on the coins of that emperor. Spes is represented as a beautiful maiden in a long light robe, lifting up Her skirt with Her left hand, and carrying in Her right a bud already closed or about to open. Sometimes She wears a garland of flowers on Her head, ears of corn and poppy-heads in Her hand, symbolical of a prosperous harvest.

Like Fortuna, with whom She is often coupled in inscriptions on Roman tombstones, She was also represented with the cornu copiae (horn of plenty).

* “See G. Wissowa, Religion and Kultus der Romer (1902), according to whom Spes was originally not a garden Goddess, but simply the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfilment of one’s desires.” [2]  In my opinion, that would seem to support Monaghan’s statement that “nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.”  My interpretation is that She was just that – Hope – a personification of hope and “the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfillment of desires.”

“Angel” by Dawn Wilson-Enoch

 

 

Sources:

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

Theodora.com,  “Spes“.

 

Suggested Links:

Forumancientcoins.com, “Spes – the Personification of Hope“.

Theoi.com, “Elpis“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Fortuna of Good Hope“.

Wikipedia, “Spes“.

Goddess Tellus Mater

“Mother Earth” by *MD-Arts

“Tellus Mater’s themes are earth, ecology, promises, abundance, prosperity and fertility. Her symbols are the globe, soil and grain.  The Roman Earth Mother celebrates today’s festivities, the Earth’s Birthday, by sharing of Her abundance, being a Goddess of vegetation, reproduction, and increase. In regional stories, Tellus Mater gave birth to humans, which is why bodies are returned to the soil at death – so they can be reborn from Her womb anew.

According to James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Anglican archbishop, God created the earth on October 26, 4004 B.C.E. While this date is uncertain at best, it gives us a good excuse to honor Tellus Mater and hold a birthday party on Her behalf.

Make a special cake for the Earth Mother out of natural fertilizers. Take this to a natural setting (don’t forget the candle). Light the candle and wish for the earth’s renewal, then blow it out, remove the candle, and bury your gift to Tellus Mater in the soil, where it can begin manifesting your good wishes!

While you’re outside, pick up a pinch of soil, a stone, or any natural object that strikes your eye and keep it close. This is a part of Tellus Mater, and it will maintain her power for abundance wherever you go today. It will also help you stay close to the Earth Mother and honor the living spirit of earth in word and deed.”

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

“In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus or Terra Mater (‘Mother Earth’) is a Goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial eraTellus was the name of the original earth Goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier.  The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities.  She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.

Tellus/Pax panel of Ara Pacis

The attributes of Tellus were the cornucopia, or bunches of flowers or fruit. She was typically depicted reclining.  Her male complement was a sky god such as Caelus (Uranus) or a form of Jupiter. A male counterpart Tellumo or Tellurus is mentioned, though rarely. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia (Gē Mâtēr), and among the Etruscans She was Cel. Michael Lipka has argued that the Terra Mater who appears during the reign of Augustus is a direct transferral of the Greek Ge Mater into Roman religious practice, while Tellus, whose temple was within Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), represents the original earth Goddess cultivated by the state priests.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us: “The Roman ‘Mother Earth’ was honored each April 15 [Fordicidia], when a pregnant cow was sacrificed and its unborn calf burned.  The Romans tried to offer appropriate tribute to each divinity and they felt that the earth – pregnant in spring with sprouting plants – would especially appreciate such a sacrifice.

“Ceres” by ~rebenke

Tellus’ constant companion was Ceres, the grain Goddess, and the two of them interested themselves not only in vegetative reproduction but in humanity’s increase as well.  Therefore, they were invoked at every marriage that they might bless it with offspring.  Tellus too was considered the most worthy Goddess on whom to swear oaths, for the earth, witnessing all doings on Her surface, would see that an oath taker kept his promise.  Finally, Tellus, to whom the bodies of the dead were returned as to a womb, was the motherly death Goddess, for unlike Her Greek counterpart Gaia, Tellus was associated with the underworld as well as the earth’s surface” (p. 293 – 294).

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

On a side note, “the identity of the Goddess Nerthus, called Terra Mater, Mother Earth by Tacitus in Germania, has been a topic of much scholarly debate.”  Click here to read a fantastic article by William Reaves entitled “Nerthus: Toward an Identification”.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Reaves, William P. “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wikipedia, “Terra (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Berger, Pamela C. Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint.

GardenStone. The Nerthus Claim.

Lipka, Michael. Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach.

Novaroma.org, “Fordicidia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Cels“.

Wikipedia, “Fordicidia“.

Goddess Epona

“Epona” by Joanna Barnum

“Epona’s themes are protection of animals; especially those who serve humankind. Her symbol is the horse.  Epona protects the creatures who faithfully keep humans company. This pre-Roman Gaulish Goddess is nearly always shown riding or lovingly feeding a horse and accompanied by a dog – these are Her two sacred animals.  Also, sometimes depicted with corn in Her lap and carrying a goblet, Epona inspires love, fertility and providence in your life. In some myths, Epona appeared to acknowledge a king’s sovereignty, giving Her leadership qualities that can help you when you need more authority in a situation.

To generate a little more providence in your life, eat corn today. Say a silent prayer to Epona, asking Her to saturate your food with power, then consume it to internalize the energy.

If you have a pet, consider blessing it today. To do this, find a small silver charm or a horse or a dog (like those from charm bracelets). This image invokes Epona’s protection. Alternatively, use a little bell and draw the image of a horse or dog on it.

Hold the token cupped in your hands. Visualize it filled with glittery white light and say,

‘Epona, watch over_____________ [fill in with the of the animal]. Keep them safe and healthy no matter where they may be.’

Put the charm on the animal’s collar or cage or in it’s bedding.”

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

“Epona (pronounced Ey-PONE-ah) was the ancient Horse Goddess of the pre-Christian Pagan people, known as the Gauls, or Celtic French. She was worshipped for many hundreds of years as a Horse Goddess, who not only protected horses, but also their owners. Epona is also one of the most well known of all the Goddesses within the Celtic Pantheon, and She was granted such titles as ‘The Great Mare,’ the ‘Divine Mare,’ and the ‘Mare Goddess.’

Epona was worshipped throughout the entire Celtic world in a variety of other, different aspects. In Ireland she was known as Macha, the Goddess of War, while in Wales She became Rhiannon, the Goddess of the Underworld. It was in the aspect of Rhiannon that Epona appears in the Welsh collection of tales known as The Mabinogion. She has also been identified with the Celtic Goddess Edain, or Etain, whose full name, when translated, is Etain Echraidhe, which means ‘Etain, the horse rider,’ or ‘Etain, the rider of horses.’

Epona was worshipped widely throughout the entire Celtic and Roman worlds, and Her worship was exceptionally strong in both Rhineland and Gaul. In fact, Epona’s worship became so strong that it spread as far away as the Danube River, Yugoslavia, North Africa and Rome. The Roman army was so impressed by Her that it eventually adopted Her cult, and the Roman soldiers introduced Epona’s worship to the many people that they encountered in their travels.

The British worshipped Epona in the form of a cult, and they gave Her the title ‘Rigantona‘ or ‘Rig Antonia,’ which means ‘Great Queen.’ The Goddess Rhiannon, whose worship occurred at a much later point in time, was strongly associated with Epona, and She was known by that title as well.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

Epona was also known by a variety of other names, which changed according to the various languages and myths that were indigenous to each particular region. It actually matters little whether She was known as Rhiannon, Macha or Epona, because no matter which aspect She happened to appear in, Her image always remained the same. She appeared as a woman with very long hair who was riding side saddle upon a white mare. When She appeared in the aspect of Epona, however, She was depicted as a woman with very long hair, lying half-naked on a white mare.

Stories about Epona [are] lost to the world forever, although one story regarding Her origin remains. During the decline of the Roman Empire, a Greek writer named Agesilaos wrote a story in which he claimed that Epona was the product of a man named Phoulonios Stellos, who had no interest whatsoever in women. Instead of mating with a woman he preferred to mate with a mare, and when that mare gave birth, it was to a beautiful human-looking daughter. Interestingly, it was actually the mare, herself, who named her daughter Epona, and by her doing so, she deified Epona as the Goddess of Horses.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Epona could take the tangible forms of both parents.  Sometimes, too, She appeared as a rushing river, which suggests that Epona was a fertility Goddess, often seen in Celtic culture as a water spirit.  Similarly, the connection among Celtic peoples of the horse and the sun suggests a solar nature to Epona, supported as well by the patera or round sunlike plate that She carries in many sculptures.

The sacred mare Epona appeared as the bestower of sovereignty in the ancient Celtic rituals of kingship, which may have included a rite of marriage with the mare Goddess.  Among Indo-European peoples in India, a rite of mare-marriage, which solidified a man’s claim on the rulership of a geographical area, is attested and has been connected by scholars to the figure of Epona.

Aerial view of the Uffington White Horse

Recent excavations of the magnificent British monument, the White Horse of Uffington, strongly suggests that the 360-foot-long horse represents Epona.  Using a new technique, archaeologists have been studying the rate at which the hillside, upon which the White Horse is carved into the chalky soil, has descended towards the deep valley (the Vale of the White Horse) beneath.  The White Horse has puzzled researchers for many years, some maintaining that it was a late medieval creation, others that it derived from the post-Celtic era.  Even before the recent attempt to date the monument itself, it has been noted that the horse’s design echoed that of coins issued by the Celtic warrior Queen Boudicca.  The identification of the White Horse with the Celts is now virtually certain – and as the Celts had only one horse-divinity, the likelihood is that the horse on the hill was Epona.  Vestiges of Her are also found in the figure of Lady Godiva and the mysterious white-horse-riding woman of Banbury Cross” (p. 114).

  

On an Etsy.com page selling a replica of an Epona statue found in Alesia, France, I found a piece of information especially inspiring:

Epona in our everyday lives

“Although Epona was and still is traditionally seen as a horse Goddess, She can fit into so many aspects of our lives. She is the Goddess of dreams not only of the sleeping kind but the dreams of hope and ambition. She can be helpful in manifesting dreams and is a good protector to have when venturing on a new path in life. A prayer or invocation can be offered to Her if one is having trouble sleeping or wishes to have insightful or peaceful dreams. She is a nurturing caregiver and can be called upon as a protector of families, children and women who are about to give birth.

Epona is also good to turn to when seeking positive blessings and prosperity. She is good to call upon during dark, difficult times in life such as grief and loss and can offer guidance that is gentle and loving in nature. Roses are a wonderful offering to leave on your altar for the Goddess Epona as are rose petals or rose incense. Sandalwood incense can also be used as an offering. When burning a candle for Epona, the most common color associated with Her is white.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Horse and Motherhood

Preferred Colors: Brown, black and white

Associated Symbol: Horse, cornucopia, keys

Animals Associated with: Horse, mares and foals, dog, birds.

Suitable Offerings: Fruits, mare’s milk, apples, hay, sweet grass, oats, fresh water, a thick stout that you can practically chew on.  Roses, rosebuds, rose garlands.

Scents/Incense: Rose, sandalwood.

Gemstones: Cat’s eye, ruby, azurite, obsidian, and moonstone

Astrology: Aries

Tarot: Queen of Wands

Chakra: The sexual and heart chakras

Feast Days: The Autumn Equinox, when night and day are of equal length, occurs during the month of the Vine Moon; December 18 (based on the Roman calendar).

[34, 56]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Etsy.com/shop/Harmonycraft, Epona – Celtic Horse Goddess“.

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Epona, The Gaulish Horse Goddess“.

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

PaganNews.com, “Epona“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Epona“.

Tribeofthesun.com, Epona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

EPONA.net (An in-depth Epona site with historical facts about Epona)

Firewolf, Dawn. Realmagick.com, “Epona“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Women and Horses in Mythology: Epona“.

Lady Zephyr. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Myst, Willow. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Epona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess: Divine Horse“.

Readtiger.com, “Epona“.

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

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Goddess Fortuna

“Fortuna” by Jean Francois Armand Felix Bernard

“Fortuna’s themes are luck, wealth, abundance, destiny and success.  Her symbols are a wheel and cornucopia.  Fortuna, whose name means ‘she who brings’, is the keeper of our destiny and the guiding power behind all fortunate turns of events. She stands on top of Fortune’s wheel, steering us toward success and victory all year long.

Who of us couldn’t use a little of Fortuna’s assistance with tax day on the horizon. For a little extra cash, dab your automobile’s, bike’s, or motorcycle’s wheels with almond oil or pineapple juice. Symbolically, this invokes Fortuna’s help by keeping money ‘rolling’ in! Also dab your steering wheel similarly – this way you can keep a ‘handle’ on personal finances.

Romans traditionally asked Fortuna about their fate and difficult problems today, then received replies on slips of paper, often baked into small balls akin to a fortune cookie! This is fun for a gathering of people to try. Each person should write a word or short phrase on a piece of paper (all of which are equal in size). These get dropped in a bowl, and at the end of the day everyone can reach in to see what Fortuna has to say!

Wear colors that indicate to Fortuna what you need most (green for prosperity and luck, blue for victory, red for success, yellow for communication and creativity, and purple for spirituality and leadership qualities). Or, don lucky clothing and carry your lucky charms. Fortuna’s energy is already housed within them.”

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

“Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek Goddess Tyche) was the Goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good luck or bad: She could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness. She was also a Goddess of fate: as Atrox Fortuna, She claimed the young lives of the princeps Augustus‘ grandsons Gaius and Lucius, prospective heirs to the Empire.

“Tyche” by Tatjana Heinz

Her father was said to be Jupiter and like him, She could also be bountiful (Copia). As Annonaria She protected grain supplies. June 11 was sacred to Her: on June 24 She was given cult at the festival of Fors Fortuna.” [1]

“Fortuna was usually depicted holding in one hand a cornucopia, or a horn of plenty, from which all good things flowed in abundance, representing Her ability to bestow prosperity; in the other She generally has a ship’s rudder, to indicate that She is the one who controls how lives and fates are steered. She could also be shown enthroned, with the same attributes of rudder and cornucopia, but with a small wheel built into the chair, representing the cycles of fate and the ups and downs of fortune. Sometimes She is blind, as an acknowledgment that good luck does not always come to those who seem to most deserve it; at other times She is described as having wings, much like many Etruscan Goddesses—and indeed She was equated with the old Etruscan Fate Goddess Nortia, who was often shown winged.

The name Fortuna finds its root in the Latin fero, meaning ‘to bring, win, receive, or get’. She may have originally been a Goddess of Fertility, Who brought prosperity and success in the form of abundant harvests and offspring. Her worship in Rome traditionally goes back to the time of Ancus Martius, the 4th King of Rome, who is said to have reigned from 640-616 BCE. According to the propaganda of the time (and the Romans invented an awful lot of it to make it seem that their city had always been destined for greatness, and wasn’t just some upstart town founded by a bunch of sheep herders on some hills surrounded by malaria-infested swampland, which it was), when Fortuna first came to Rome, She immediately threw off Her shoes and discarded Her wings, announcing that She’d found Her true home and intended to never leave it.

Alternatively, Fortuna’s name may derive from that of the Etruscan Goddess Veltha or Voltumna, whose name encompasses ideas of turning and the alternating seasons. Voltumna in turn may be related to the Roman Goddess Volumna, who watched over and protected children; and both of these themes are found with Fortuna, who was often depicted with a wheel, and who was said to predict the fates of children at their births. As a Goddess of Fate Fortuna naturally had the power to foretell the future; and under Her aspect of Fortuna Primigenia in Praeneste She had an oracle, in which tablets inscribed with messages were chosen from a jar. She also had an oracular shrine at Her cult-center in Antium.

Fortuna had a very old temple in Rome on a hill between the Forum Romanum (the Roman Forum) and the Forum Boarium (supposedly the old cattle-market), near to the temple of Mater Matuta. Both temples had the same dedication day, the 10th of June, and each had a horseshoe-shaped altar before it of the earliest type. Fortuna’s temple had a very old statue of gilded wood inside, also of an archaic type; and the altar and statue indicate that Her worship dates at least to the earliest days of Rome, if She is not an earlier Goddess of the Latins.

The Emperor Trajan (97-117 CE) dedicated a temple to Fortuna, at which offerings were made to the Goddess on the 1st day of January, at the start of the New Year, probably to ensure good luck and success for the coming year. This temple was dedicated to Fortuna in all of Her aspects.

card 10 from the Fortuna’s Wheel Tarot

With Greek influence, Fortuna was equated to Tykhe, their Goddess of Luck and Fortune. Under the title Dame Fortune, Fortuna never lost Her power as an allegorical figure—She makes an appearance on card 10 of the Tarot Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune, and She is still to some extent honored today, for She features in gamblers’ prayers to ‘Lady Luck’.

“Madame Fortune” by Mary Petroff

She is associated with the Goddess Felicitas, the personification of happiness, and Spes, the Goddess of Hope.

Fortuna had quite a few aspects, many of which had their own holidays and centers of worship.” [2] Click here for a thorough listing at Thalia Took’s site, The Obscure Goddess Online Directory.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Fortuna“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Fortuna: healthy and wealthy – and infinitely wise!“.

Roman Colosseum, “Roman Festivals“.

Sacred-texts.com, “II. THE ROMAN GODDESS FORTUNA“.

Serenity. Order of the White Moon, “Fortuna“.

Tafarella, Santi. Prometheus Unbound, “The Goddess Fortuna: Thinking about Darwinian Contingency Metaphorically“.

Venefica, Avia. What’s-Your-Sign.com, “Goddess Symbols of Fortuna“.

Goddess Bona Dea

“Greek Goddess: Demeter” by *Gypsy-Love

“Bona Dea’s themes are femininity, blessing, fertility, divination and abundance.  Her symbols are vines and wine.  Bona Dea’s name literally means ‘good Goddess’. Her energies come into our lives at the outset of this month, offering all good things, especially fertility and a greater appreciation of the Goddess within each of us.  Traditionally, Bona Dea is a women’s Goddess who received offerings of wine in exchange for prophetic insights during Her observances.

On March 1, February was escorted out of Rome with a flourish of adaptable activities. Exchange sweet gifts as the Romans did to ensure yourself of a sweeter future. Greet a friend with Bona Dea’s name to invoke Her blessings on them. Put up a grapevine wreath fashioned like a heart (or other symbol of something you need), and leave a glass of wine on your altar to honor Bona Dea’s presence in your home and your life.

In Rome, female slaves would get this day off, and the head of the house would wait on them. In modern times this equates to switching roles for a day at home. Whoever normally gets up and fixes breakfast gets to sleep in, Whoever normally does chores gets to go out and socialize, and so forth. Bona Dea appreciates the considerate gesture as much as you do and will rain Her goodness upon your home.”

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

Bona Dea (“The Good Goddess”) was a Goddess in ancient Roman religion. She was associated with chastity and fertility in women, healing, and the protection of the Roman state and people. According to Roman literary sources, She was brought from Magna Graecia at some time during the early or middle Republic, and was given Her own state cult on the Aventine Hill.

“Fauna” by Bizenghast

The Goddess had two annual festivals. One state sponsored festival was held at Her Aventine temple; the other in early December was hosted by the wife of Rome’s senior annual magistrate, for an invited group of elite matrons and female attendants. “The festival on the first of May (the or the kalends) commemorated the date Her temple was founded; at the ceremony prayers were made to Her to avert earthquakes. She had a secret festival, attended only by women, whether patrician, free or slave, that took place over the night of the 3rd and 4th of May (and/or December).  It was held during the Faunalia, and was referred to as the sacra opertum, (“the secret or hidden sacrifice”): at this ritual sacrifices were made for the benefit of all the people of Rome, something proper to the realm of a Mother or Earth Goddess who is concerned with the well-being of all of Her children.” [1] Her rites allowed women the use of strong wine and blood-sacrifice, things otherwise forbidden them by Roman tradition.  “During the May Bona Dea celebration a pregnant sow was sacrificed to Mother Earth and Ceres.” [2]

“Goddess” by helushia

Men were barred from Her mysteries and the possession of Her true name.  “There were other taboos concerning the worship of the Bona Dea: neither wine nor myrtle were to be mentioned by name during Her secret festival, likely because they were both sacred to Her and therefore very powerful. According to a late legend seeking to explain these prohibitions, Her husband, Faunus, the God of the Wild (later equated with the Greek Pan), came home once to find She had drunk an entire jar of wine. For being drunk He beat Her to death with a myrtle scourge, and this was why myrtle was forbidden, and wine had to be referred to by another name, ‘milk’ and the jar itself was called a mellarium, or ‘honey jar’.” [3]

Given that male authors had limited knowledge of Her rites and attributes, ancient speculations about Her identity abound. Among them that She was an aspect of TerraOps, the Magna Mater, or Ceres, or a Latin form of Damia. Most often, She was identified as the wife, sister or daughter of the god Faunus, thus an equivalent or aspect of the nature-goddess Fauna, who could prophesy the fates of women.

Bona Dea’s cults in the city of Rome were led by the Vestal Virgins, and Her provincial cults by virgin or matron priestesses. Surviving statuary shows Her as a sedate Roman matron with a cornucopia and a snake. Personal dedications to Her are attested among all classes, especially plebeiansfreedmen and women, and slaves. Approximately one third of Her dedications are from men, some of whom may have been lawfully involved in Her cult.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Gill, N.S. About.com, “Ancient/Classic History Glossary“.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. About.com, “Bona Dea – The Good Goddess“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “The Bona Dea.”

Wikipedia, “Bona Dea

Goddess Nantosuelta

“Nantosuelta” by YvonneVetjens

“Nantosuelta’s themes are health, miracles, providence and abundance.  Her symbols are spring water and cornucopia.  This Gaulisch Goddess’s name literally translates as ‘of the winding stream’. We can go to Nantosuelta’s cool, clean waters when our body, mind or soul requires refreshment and healing. Additionally, artists often depict Nantosuelta carrying a cornucopia, giving her the symbolism of providence and abundance.

What do you need in your life right now? If it’s love, drink a warm glass of spring water to draw Nantosuelta’s energy and emotional warmth to you. If you need a cooler head, on the other hand, drink the water cold.

On this  day in 1858, a young girl had a vision of Mary (a Goddess type) near a grotto in Lourdes, France. According to magical tradition, this is an area where the Goddess was worshiped in ancient times. After the vision, the water became renowned for its miraculous  healing qualities, reinforcing the fact that the Goddess is alive and well.

While most of us can’t travel to Lourdes, we can enjoy a healing bath at home. Fill the tub with warm water (Nantosuelta exist in the streaming water), a few bay leaves, a handful of mint and a pinch of thyme (three healthful herbs). Soak in the water  and visualize any sickness or disease leaving your body. When you let out the water, the negative energy neatly goes down the drain!”

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

In Celtic mythology, Nantosuelta was a Goddess of nature, the earth, fire, and fertility. The Mediomatrici (AlsaceLorraine) depicted Her in art as holding a model house or dovecote, on a pole (a bee hive). Nantosuelta is attested by statues, and by inscriptions. She was sometimes paired with Sucellus. Nantosuelta was also the Goddess of Nature in Lusitanian mythology. In addition, Her symbol the raven symbolized Her connection as a Goddess of the dead and fertility – which thus linked Her with the Irish Goddess Morrígan and Her two companions.

Relief of Nantosuelta and Sucellus from Sarrebourg

In one relief, Nantosuelta holds a patera, or a broad ritual dish that was used for drinking during a ritual, and tips the contents of the patera onto an altar.  In an English relief, Nantosuelta is shown with apples instead of a patera.  Other attributes include a pot or a beehive. [1]

A depiction of Nantosuelta from Speyer, showing her distinctive sceptre and birds. The head of Sol can be seen in the tympanum.

Nantosuelta’s name was reconstructed by linguists and cannot be definitely translated, yet two accepted approximations of its meaning in Proto-Celtic are “She of the Winding River” and “She of the Sun-drenched Valley”, though Her attributes do not show Her as a water-deity (actually, the watery attributes seem more likely to describe the Goddess Icovellauna, ‘Divine Pourer of the Waters’, a Gallic Goddess who was also worshipped in Metz, France).

“Cathedral of Illumination” by Jonathon Earl Bowser

“For a long time the name Nantosuelta was assumed to mean ‘winding river’, being derived from the reconstructed proto-Celtic from *Nanto-swelt- with the feminine ending ā which can be rendered as ‘river-turning [spirit]’. However, in common with the Brythonic languages it is possible that the Gaulish nanto could mean both river/stream and valley (the Cymric cognate being nant that is usually taken to mean ‘stream’ but which, in its older form, also meant ‘valley’. The swel component of the came could be derived from the proto-Celtic *sƒwol-/*s3li- (sun, which yields the Cymric form of haul). The final particle, ta is contained in the proto-Celtic word tတ-je/o (thaw) and bears the connotation of ‘to warm’. Thus, an alternative interpretation for Nantosuelta would be ‘She of the Sun-warmed Valley’. Potentially this could be used in the context of ‘plenty’ but it might also bear the context of the sun-drenched realms of the netherworld. Thus Nantosuelta’s association with the raven might indicate that She had a function as a psychopomp.” [2]

Chief amongst Her associations is Her little house, usually depicted on a long pole like a scepter of some kind.  Other associated objects, as previously mentioned, include a bird, a bee-hive and honeycombs.  The latter certainly have homely connotations and She therefore appears to have been a Goddess of hearth and home, well-being and prosperity.  Like Her husband, She also had nourishment and fertility aspects and sometimes carried a cornucorpia.  In Britain, She is probably to be found depicted on a small stone from East Stoke in Nottinghamshire…shown [with] bushy hair and carries a bowlful of apples.[3]  More on Nantosuelta’s epigraphy and iconography can be found here.

Variants: (Continental Celtic) Nantsovelta; (Breton Celtic) Nataseuelta

Sources:

Celtnet.org.uk, “Nantosuelta: A Gaulish Goddess (She of the Winding River; She of the Sun-warmed Valley)“.

Earlybritishkingdoms.com, “Nantosuelta, Goddess of the Home“.

Sita. Awitchylife.wordpress.com, “Weekly Deity Nantosuelta“.

Suggested Links:

http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2009.beck_n&part=159118

Goddess Pax

“nature Goddess” by katmary

“Pax’s theme is peace.  Her symbols are white items, corn (corn is the name for whatever cereal grain is in common use. The Roman cereal crops were wheat and barley, and they also used millet), cornucopias and olive branches.  Pax is the Roman Goddess of peace; She urges us to keep harmony among one another as a sacred commodity throughout the year. On coins, Pax appears youthful and often bears an olive branch to extend the hand of truce or a cornucopia, indicating that there is an abundance of peace for those who truly seek it.

Remember Pax by wearing or carrying something white today and offering to make amends with someone with whom you’ve had an argument.

Alternatively, make a funnel from a piece of white paper (like a cornucopia). Leave this somewhere predominant. Each time you have an angry or discordant thought, toss a coin into the funnel. At the end of the day donate these coins (plus a few dollars) to a charity that promotes peace.

Roman custom dictated that the images of all leaders were to be placed at Pax’s feet on this day, the Festival of Pax, as if to invoke her amicable energy in their interactions. This isn’t a bad idea for modern leaders, either! Take any pictures you have of world leaders (check newspapers and magazines). If you can’t find pictures, write their names on white paper instead. Put these in a pile before a white candle. As you light the candle, say something like this:

‘Pax, let peace fill their hearts
Let all hatred depart
Peace be between me and thee
and all those I meet.'”

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

There is no better known Goddess of peace than Pax (peace) a Roman Goddess who was the personification and spirit of tranquility and peace;  She corresponds to the Greek Goddess, Eirene.   She was the daughter of Jupiterthe King of the godsand Iustitia, the Goddess of Justice.  She is depicted as a rather youthful looking woman–sometimes seated and sometimes standing– wearing white robes and a crown of laurel; She holds a cornucopia, and an olive branch or staff Her hand.   She bestows contentment and joy…and is invoked during barters  and negotiations.
It was under the rule of Augustus that  She was finally recognized as a Goddess proper, and a minor sanctuary, the Templum Pacis, was built for Her, and the Roman emperors, including Augustus and Vespasian, used her image on their coins to honor her and to maintain peace in the empire.  A festival in her honor was celebrated on January 3rd.
Although not a very recognized Goddess in ancient days, Pax is as synonymous with peace now as She was back in the days of the Roman empire.  We should invoke Her to pray for peace and to keep our nation from wars.  And, be sure to ask for Her help in self-understanding and self-acceptance.  In many church services the kiss of peace is given and thus, in spirit only, the Goddess is invoked. [1]
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