Tag Archive: cow


Goddess Vasudhara

“Vasudhara” by Sundar Sinkhwal

“Vasudhara’s themes are religious devotion, charity, thankfulness and abundance. Her symbols are cows and golden items. In India, this golden-breasted earth Goddess provides us with enough abundance to be able to give back freely of what we receive. Vasushara’s golden color alludes to some solar attributes, including manifesting financial prosperity for those who call upon Her. In Her wealth-giving aspect, Vasudhara sometimes appears as a cow.

Around this date, many churches in the United States and Canada begin their annual fund-raising campaign by asking parishioners to give back a little of what the divine has given them.  While many New Age practitioners don’t belong to a church, this idea still holds merit and would please Vasudhara greatly. Donate a little money to a pagan defense fund, for example.  Put on something gold to draw the Goddess’s prosperity back to you, then buy some good magic books for your library. The proceeds indirectly ‘give back’ to the teachers whom you admire through royalties!

If your schedule allows, stop in at your favorite New Age store and volunteer an hour of your time to give back to the community. Write thank-you letters to people who have somehow touched your life deeply. Should any of these people live nearby, help them with chores or bring them a special dish for dinner.  These acts of kindness are a type of stewardship that reflects Vasushara’s spirit by blessing others.”

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

A Newari Representation of Vasudhara

From Wikipedia: “Vasudhārā whose name means ‘stream of gems’ in Sanskrit, is the Buddhist bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. She is popular in many Buddhist countries and is a subject in Buddhist legends and art. Originally an Indian bodhisattva, Her popularity has spread to southern Buddhist countries. Her popularity, however, peaks in Nepal where She has a strong following among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and is thus a central figure in Newar Buddhism.  She is named Shiskar Apa in Lahul and Spiti.

The origin of Vasudhārā in Buddhism appears in the Buddhist text The Vasudhara Dharani.  According to a legend in the text known as ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra,’ an impoverished layman named Sucandra approaches the Buddha Shakyamuni requesting a way to obtain large amounts gold, grain, silver, and gems in order to feed his large family and engage in acts of charity with the surplus fortune. Shakyamuni, aware of a mantra about the bodhisattva Vasudhara that would suit his purposes, bestows Sucandra with an incantation and religious ritual that when followed would result in good fortune and prosperity brought on by Vasudhara Herself. Upon commencing the rituals and teaching them to others, Sucandra begins to prosper. Noticing his success, the monk Ananda asked Shakyamuni how he had obtained this fortune so quickly. Shakyamuni instructs Ananda to also practice the Vasudhara Dharani and ‘impart it to others ‘for the good of many’.’

Although ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ seems to contradict the Buddha’s renunciation of material possessions and earthly pleasures, Shakyamuni does not instruct the monk to recite the mantra for material benefit but instead he stresses that the mantra is for ‘the good of many’ and for ‘the happiness of many’.  Thus the mantra is meant more as means of alleviating suffering rather than obtaining wealth through Vasudhara, who not only grants physical wealth and abundance but also spiritual wealth and abundance. Click here to continue reading about Her legends from Taranatha.

Like the legend of the ‘Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ these legends are significant because they encourage both the lay and monastic worship of Vasudhara.  In addition, they stress the importance of charity, teaching worshippers to share in their good fortune rather than amassing it for themselves.

Vasudhara [Tib. Norgyun(ma)]

In Buddhist art, Vasudhara has a consistent iconography. She can easily be identified as a bodhisattva by the elaborate headdress and the extensive amount of jewelry she wears.  Her skin has a golden hue in bronze and painted images. This color is associated with precious metals and symbolizes opulence, fertility, and generosity in Buddhist iconography. Vasudhara is typically seated on a lotus flower base in the lalitasana, or royal pose, with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging of the flower base but resting on a small treasure.  She can, however, also be represented in a standing position.  When standing, Vasudhara has a full vase representing abundance underneath each foot.

Despite this consistency in Her representations, the number of Her arms may differ from image to image. In visual representations, Vasudhara can have as few as two arms and as many as six. The two-armed representations are more common in Tibetan art and Indian art, while six-armed representations are almost exclusive to Nepalese art.  Although the six-armed image originates in India, they are rare and only few examples have been found.

In Her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to Her. Most representations show Her holding a sheaf of corn in Her left hand, symbolizing an abundant harvest.  She may also be holding a gem or small treasure, a symbol of wealth. Representations with more arms, such as the six-armed Nepali representation, also depict Her holding a full vase and the Book of Wisdom. With Her free hands, Vasudhara performs mudras. A commonly seen mudra in paintings and figurines featuring Vasudhara is the varada mudra, also known as the charity mudra, which symbolizes the ‘pouring forth of divine blessings.’ Vasudhara is the subject of numerous bronzes and paintings. She is predominantly the central figure of bronze sculptures or painted mandalas. She may also, however, appear alongside Her consort, Vaiśravaṇa (Jambhala) the Buddhist God of Riches. Despite his status, She surpasses him in popularity and is more commonly the central figure of Her own mandalas.

Vasudhara is particularly popular in Nepali Buddhism among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. In this region she is a common household deity. This is known from the countless number of bronzes and paintings found representing Her. These images are small in size, typically 18 cm or smaller.  Because of their small size it is known that these images were primarily for private use, namely household veneration of the Goddess. Additionally, there is a cult dedicated to Her worship followed by the Buddhist Newars.  Followers of this cult believe that Her worship brings wealth and stability. Despite the strong following of this cult by the Buddhist Newars, unfortunately, it is now in decline.

As the Bodhisattva of abundance and prosperity, Her popularity in this region is due to the predominance of agriculture and trade essential to the economy of the Kathmandu Valley.  The Newars believe that Her veneration will generally result in good fortune.

One of the earliest Nepalese representations of Vasudhara is a pauhba (textile art depicting Hindu and Buddhist images on course cotton), dating back to 1015 C.E.  This pauhba is known as the Mandala of Vasudhara. The Goddess is the central image of this mandala, which depicts scenes of dedication, ritual initiation, festive music, and dance associated with Her worship. Its purpose is didactic (to teach). The mandala teaches the importance of worshipping Vasudhara primarily through the narrative of a non-believer whom She converted to belief.

In addition to Her popularity in Nepal, Vasudhara is also an important ‘wealth deity’ in Tibetan Buddhism.  Although popular in Tibet, Vasudhara does not assume as important of a role as She does in Nepalese Buddhism. In Tibet, the worship of Vasudhara is limited to mostly lay people as opposed to worship by both lay and monastic life. This is because Tibetan monastic life regards Vasudhara as a ‘benefactor of the laity’ and instead primarily engages in the worship of the Goddess Tara for all their needs.  This, however, does not mean that monastic life disregards Her completely. They do perform rites and rituals to the Goddess habitually but it is usually at the request of a patron.

The iconography of Vasudhara varies slightly in this region. In Tibetan art She appears more commonly with two arms. The six-armed representations, however, also exist and it is believed they filtered into Tibet through Nepal because of the late appearance of these images in manuscripts and art.  Unlike Nepalese art, Vasudhara rarely appears alone in Tibetan art. Instead She is paired with Jambhala or appears alongside other deities.  Despite these slight differences, most of Her iconography remains unchanged and Vasudhara can be easily recognized by Her attributes in most Buddhist art.

Vasudhara is often compared to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. As Goddesses of wealth, both deities have a similar iconography and are worshipped for their role in an abundant harvest.  Both assume a golden hue in artistic representations, perform the same mudra, and hold similar objects. For example, Vasudhara and Lakshmi are often depicted holding gems or having pots of treasure under their feet. It is believed that the convention of depicting Vasudhara standing on vases originated from earlier representations of Lakshmi.  Furthermore, both Goddesses are often depicted paired with their respective consorts, Lakshmi alongside Vishnu and Vasudhara alongside Jambhala.” [1]

“Invite Vasudhara into your home, offer Her flowers and water, and recite Her mantra daily to invite wealth and abundance into your life. Her mantra is: OM SHRI VASUDHARA RATNA NIDHANA KASHETRI SOHA.” [2]

Sources:

Fsmegamall.com, “Bejeweled Vasudhara – Goddess of Wealth and Abundance“.

Wikipedia, “Vasudhara“.

 

Suggested Links:

Huntington, John C. & Dina Bangdel. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, “125| Vasundhara“.

Isley, A. Krishna. Krishna76.deviantart.com, “Vasundhara in Vajrayana Buddhi“. (An excellent academic essay!)

News.richmond.edu, “Religion professor researches Buddhist goddesses of Tibet“.

Shaw, Miranda Eberle. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Smithsonian Institution. Asia.si.edu, “Devi: The Great Goddess“.

“Tauro” by palomi

“Fuwch Gyfeilioru’s themes are creativity, communication, arts, learning and knowledge. Her symbols are cows and milk. Fuwch Gyfeilioru is the Welsh Goddess of knowledge, inspiration, wisdom and happiness. Appearing sometimes as an elfin cow, She has an endless supply of magical milk that refreshes ailing dispositions with joy and creativity.

The Hay on Wye is a Welsh festival of words and language, specifically in the form of plays, music, debate, poetry and creative written and verbal forms that certainly honor Fuwch Gyfeilioru in spirit. In keeping with the theme, take out your magic diary today. Place one hand on the cover, asking this Goddess’s insight, then read it over. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by our awareness of metaphysical matters and your growth in the last few months. Drink a glass of milk, consume milk by-products or include beef as part of a meal to physically accept Fuwch Gyfeilioru’s powers into yourself. Focus intently on your goals as you eat or drink and don’t forget to thank the Goddess for Her gift by way of a mealtime prayer.

To motivate a litte extra creativity, make a milk shake (any flavor, but add a pinch of cinnamon for energy and nutmeg for luck). The blender “whips up” Fuwch Gyfeilioru’s energy in the shake as you incant,

“Creativity I claim, by my will and in the Goddess’s name!”

Drink expectantly.”

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

“The Cow Jumped Over the Moon” by Phyllis Saroff

So for today’s Goddess, the only information I could find on Her comes from Her Cyclopedia.  It states that , Fuwch-Gyfeilioru is a pure white Cosmic Elfin Cow; She Who produces endless streams of milk; She Who has the power to heal, to make fools wise and everyone in the world happy.” [1]  Apparently, She is similar to the Norse Goddess, Audhumla, the primeval cow or the first auroch who played a large part in Norse creation myths.

 

 

Sources:

Her Cyclopedia, “Fuwch-Gyfeilioru“. (Which appears to be a dead link now 😦  )

 

 

Suggested Links:

Leviton, Richard. Encyclopedia of Earth Myths, “White Cow“.

Mallory, James. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, “Cow” (p. 137).

Goddess Nut

“Queen of the Sky” by MyWorld1

“Nut’s themes are air and health.  Her symbols are a pot, turquoise, musk, a star, wind and cow images.  This great Egyptian sky Goddess bears a star-spangled belly that stretches over the earth like a protective atmosphere. Today She breaths on us with a late-March zephyr bearing health and well-being.  Legend tells us that when Ra went to escape the earth, Nut offered Her aid by becoming a huge cow who lifted him into heaven. When Nut found Herself dizzy from the effort, four gods rushed to Her aid. They later became the four pillars of creation – the four winds.

If the weather permits, I highly recommend a brisk, refreshing walk. Breathe deeply of the air, which has rejuvenating, healthy energies today. As you exhale, repeat the Goddess’s name, Nut, and listen as She responds in the breeze.

Any type of wind magic honors Nut, and it is certainly fitting today. If the wind blows from the west, sprinkle water into it for emotional healing. If it blows from the east, toss a feather out so it can return to you with healthy outlooks. If it blows from the north, sift a little soil into the wind to give fruitful foundations to a generating idea, and if it blows from the south, burn musk incense to manifest vital energy and a little passion.”

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

“Nut’s name is translated to mean ‘sky’ and She is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, with Her origins being found on the creation story of Heliopolis. She was originally the Goddess of the nighttime sky, but eventually became referred to as simply the Sky Goddess. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of Her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. Mostly depicted in nude human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars).” [1]

“Nut” by Lisa Hunt

“Nut is the Mother of Osiris, Horus the Elder, Seth, Isis and Nephthys. Her brother and husband is the earth-god Geb, and Their parents are Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture). Nut and Geb were married in secret against the will of Ra, the one-time King of the Gods. When Ra found Them coupling, He had Shu the air-god violently seperate Them, forcing Geb to the earth, where His body’s contours became the hills, and lifting Nut into the sky (which implies that, like Lilith, Nut preferred the top position). Since then They have always been seperated, and Geb has been inconsolable.

Ra then forbade Nut to have Her children on any day of the year. But Thoth, god of wisdom, helped Her, by winning at gaming with the Moon. From His winnings–which were a little of the Moon’s light–Thoth made five extra days that were outside the year, and Nut was able to give birth to Her five children. These five days in the Egyptian calendar did not belong to any month, and with the twelve months of thirty days each brought the total of days up to 365 (and no, they made no allowance for leap-year, though they knew perfectly well.)

Like Hathor, who is also a sky-Goddess, Nut can take the form of a cow. She is also depicted as a slender woman whose arched body touches the earth with only the tips of Her fingers and Her tippy-toes, Her starry body forming the heavens. Nut’s fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions of north, south, east, and west.

“Nut” by Hrana Janto

Ra once grew disillusioned with rebellious mankind, so Nut in the form of a cow lifted Him to heaven on Her back. Stretching higher and higher, She grew dizzy, and four gods (who represent the pillars of the sky) were needed to steady Her legs.” [2]

“Nut arches over the earth morning from between her thighs. She is the arching vault of the heavens, Her body sparkling with starlight. Through Her mouth the Sky-boat of the Sun passes each evening, from her vulva the it re-emerges and the day is reborn each morning. She retains some weather working functions; the thunder is Her voice.

As Mother Night, Nut represents the unconscious, luna, moon, feminine, the emotional body. Her glyph often depicts two crossed arrows against a leopard skin. Nut is associated with the element air, rainbows and sycamore trees.” [3]

“Nut is also the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world.  Because of Her role in saving Osiris, Nut was seen as a friend and protector of the dead, who appealed to Her as a child appeals to its mother: ‘O my Mother Nut, stretch Yourself over me, that I may be placed among the imperishable stars which are in You, and that I may not die.’ Nut was thought to draw the dead into Her star-filled sky, and refresh them with food and wine: ‘I am Nut, and I have come so that I may enfold and protect you from all things evil.’

“Nuit” by indigodeep

She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the deceased. The vault of tombs often were painted dark blue with many stars as a representation of Nut. The Book of the Dead says, ‘Hail, thou Sycamore Tree of the Goddess Nut! Give me of the water and of the air which is in thee. I embrace that throne which is in Unu, and I keep guard over the Egg of Nekek-ur. It flourisheth, and I flourish; it liveth, and I live; it snuffeth the air, and I snuff the air, I the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, in peace.'” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Crystalinks, “Goddesses Nut – Nuit“.

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

Wikipedia, “Nut (goddess)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks, “Goddesses Nut – Nuit“.

GoddessGift.com, “Nut, Egyptian Goddess and the ‘Mother of All Gods’“.

Hill, J. Ancient Egypt Online, “Nut“.

Seawright, Caroline. Kunoichi’s Home Page, “Nut, Sky Goddess, Mother of the Gods…

Egypt World, “The Goddess Nut“.


Goddess Hera

“Hera” by tygodym

“Hera’s themes are love, romance, forgiveness and humor.  Her symbols are oak, myrrh and poppies. Hera rules the earth, its people and the hearts of those people. Using creativity, Hera nudges star-crossed lovers together, chaperones trysts and helps struggling marriages with a case of spring twitterpation!

Legends tells us that Hera refused to return to Zeus’s bed because of a quarrel. Zeus, however, had a plan. He humorously dressed up a wooden figure to look like a bride and declared he was going to marry. When Hera tore off the dummy’s clothes and discovered the ruse, She was so amused and impressed by Zeus’s ingenuity that She forgave him.

Ancient Greeks honored Hera and Zeus’s reconciliation today during a festival called Daedala, often in the company of old oak trees. Small pieces of fallen wood are collected to symbolize the divinities, then burned on the ritual fire to keep love warm. To mirror this custom, find a fallen branch and burn a small part of it as an offering to Hera. Keep the rest to use as a Goddess image year-round, burning a few slivers whenever love needs encouragement.

Present someone you love or admire with a poppy today to symbolically bestow Hera’s blessings on your relationship. If you have a loved one away from home, burn some myrrh incense in front of their picture so Hera can watch over them and keep that connection strong.

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

“Hera” by Soa-Lee

“Hera is the Goddess who has suffered the most at the hands of those who dabbled in Greek mythology. Summed up and dismissed as a shew and a nag, Hera was in fact the most powerful of all the Olympian Goddesses, the queen of the gods. Before that She was the primary divinity of the pre-Hellenic Greeks who honored Her through festivals similar the Olympics.

Long before the Indo-European Hellenes came down from the north to occupy the land and islands of Greece, a Mediterranean race, speaking a language different from the Hellenes, occupied Greece. The older race which are called Minoan and Early Hellenic, had customs and codes different from those of the incoming Hellenes. The older culture was, for example, matriarchal. Society was build around the woman; even on the highest level, where descent was on the female side. A man became king by formal marriage and his daughter succeeded. Therefore the next king was the man who married the daughter.

 

Until the Northerners arrived, religion and custom were dominated by the female and the Goddess.

Hera was the chief divinity of this culture; She was their queen and ancestral mother, and She ruled alone, needing no king to back Her up. The earliest evidence about Her describes Her as Queen of Heaven, great Mother Goddess, ruler of people. In these images, She was associated with the bird, the snake, and the bull, suggesting connections with water, earth, and life energies.

“Hera” by cheungygirl

The ancient Hera passed through three stages: youth, prime and age. First She was the maiden Hebe or Parthenia, called virginal not because She avoided intercourse but because She had no children and was free of responsibility. In this stage She was also called Antheia (‘flowering one’), symbol of both the flower of human youth and the budding earth in springtime. Next She revealed Herself as the mature woman, Nymphenomene, (‘seeking a mate’) or Teleia (‘prefect one’)’; She was the earth in summer, the mother in Her prime of life. Finally She showed herself as Theria (‘crone’), the woman who has passed through and beyond maternity and lives again to Herself.

In all these stages, She represented the epitome of woman’s strength and power. Far from being spiteful and malicious, She was generous and self-assured. The ancient Hera was so beloved that being recast in such negative aspects in the myths created by the conquering northern Hellenes, She was still worshiped and revered. It seems the women refused to give Her up entirely. In spite of the slanderous tales about Her, She would emerge at festivals in Her honor as a Goddess who cared for women.

Hera has three symbols which can be connected with her three ancient phases. The first of these is the cuckoo, a bird in many places connected with springtime. Later myths frequently mentioned that Hera had a tender spot for the cuckoo. At Mycene, a Creatan colony, on the Greek mainland, miniature temples mounted with cuckoos have been found buried in the rubble along with statuettes of a naked Goddess holding the same birds on Her arms. As Hera’s worship goes back to that period, these statutes may represent Her most ancient worship.

Another symbol of Hera is the peacock. Hera’s watchfulness is symbolized by the peacock and the ‘eyes’ in its feathers. The bird was a sacred symbol of Hera and wandered the in temples of Hera. In addition, the peacock is often associated with summer and therefore this may symbolized Hera’s second phase, the mature woman, the mother phase.

“Hera: Queen of Heaven” by iizzard

The third symbol for Hera is the pomegranate which She shares with Persephone. She is often depicted holding the pomegranate but there is no reference in Her myths to its significant. Ripening late in the year, the leathery-skinned pomegranate, so full of juicy seeds, is a marvelous image for a woman in her late years, Her crone years. The deep red juice of this fruit was often likened to blood and in some areas of Greece, was designated as food for the dead, heightening this connection to Her crone phase.

“Hera Base Card Art – Hanie Mohd” by Pernastudios

Others symbols for Hera include lilies and cows. In ancient Greece at Hera’s temple in Argos, Her priestesses gathered lilies of the valley and garlanded Her alter with them. The lily is a powerful symbol of the feminine and can be given as an offering to honor the Goddess and to invoke Her presence. The cow, a less frequent symbol of Hera, was associated with Her because She was said to have cow eyes, and disguised Herself as a cow in one myth. Also cows were often sacrificed to her. Hera’s cow identity shows Her to be a heavenly Goddess ruling the celestial vault and its luminaries.

Another symbol with Hera is the apple. At Her forced marriage to Zeus, Hera was given a special magic garden in the West where She kept Her apples of immortality. This magical garden was called the Hesperides, probably a symbol of Her regenerating womb; Her apples were guarded by Her sacred serpent.”  [1] <– Click here to continue reading this informative entry by Anne Morgan on the Order of the White Moon’s site, including information on building an altar to Hera, information on Her feasts and rituals and a very thorough bibliography.

 

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Milky Way (our galaxy), the seasons of the year, diadem (diamond crown) or tiara, spas and baths.

Animals: Peacock, cow, eagle, crabs, snails, and other creatures with shells.

Plants: Lilies, poppies, stephanotis, cypress, coconut, iris, white rose, waterlily, maple trees, and all white flowers.

Perfumes/Scents: Rose, iris, myrrh, civet, jasmine, patchouli, and stehanotis.

Gems and Metals: Silver, pearls, garnet, citrine, amber, diamond, platinum and star sapphire.

Colors: White, royal blue, purple, rose, dark green, silver and grey. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Hera

Morgan, Anne.  Order of the White Moon, “Hera: Great Mother Goddess“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddessgift.com, “Hera, Greek Goddess of Love and Marriage“.

Heckart, Kelley. Kelley Heckart, author of Historical Celtic fantasy romances, “Pre-Hellenic Goddesses“.

Regula, deTraci. About.com, “Fast Facts on: Hera

Sosa, Sylvia. Sweet Biar College {History of Art Program}, “Hera: The First Greek Goddess“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Hera“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Hera and HPH“.

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