Tag Archive: cybele


Some great links to read to help you understand the influences and type of energy this Full Moon brings and to help you figure out what you want to work on during this Full Moon coming up on March 27…”Full Moon in Libra – March 27th, 2013” by Dipali Desai; “March Full Worm Moon” by Robert McDowell; “The Sun enters Aries” by Dana Gerhardt; and “Libra Full Moon: Befriending the Enemy” by April Elliott Kent.

Journeying to the Goddess

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that March’s full moon is known as the Worm Moon amongst the Native Americans – As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

According to the Wise Witches Society, this moon is known as the Seed Moon; sowing season and symbol of the start of the new year.

MARCH: Storm Moon (March) Also known as: Seed…

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When God Was a Girl

Take an hour out and treat yourself – reclaim your herstory, reclaim your divinity! Wonderful and informational.  “Historian Bettany Hughes visits a world where Goddesses ruled the heavens and earth, and reveals why our ancestors thought of the divine as female. Travelling across the Mediterranean and the Near East, Bettany goes to remote places, where she encounters fearsome Goddesses who controlled life and death, and she ends up in modern-day India, where the Goddess is still a powerful force for thousands of Hindus. Immersing herself in the excitement of the Durga Puja festival, Bettany experiences Goddess worship first-hand, and finds out what the Goddess means to Her devotees.”

 

Goddess Ops

“Demeter” by Shanina Conway

“Ops’ themes are opportunity, wealth, fertility and growth. Her symbols are bread, seeds and soil.  This Italic Goddess of fertile earth provides us with numerous ‘op-portunities’ to make every day more productive. In stories, Ops motivates fruit bearing, not just in plants but also in our spirits. She also controls the wealth of the gods, making her a Goddess of opulence! Works of art depict Ops with a loaf of bread in one hand and the other outstretched, offering aid.

On August 25, Ops was evoked by sitting on the earth itself, where She lives in body and spirit. So, weather permitting, take yourself a picnic lunch today. Sit with Ops and enjoy any sesame or poppy breadstuffs (bagel, roll, etc) – both types of seeds are magically aligned with Ops’s money-bringing power. If possible, keep a few of the seeds from the bread in your pocket or shoe so that after lunch, Op’s opportunities for financial improvements or personal growth can be with you no matter where you go. And don’t forget to leave a few crumbs for the birds so they can take you magical wishes to the four corners of creation!

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, invoke Ops by getting as close to the earth as you can (sit on your floor, go into the cellar). Alternatively, eat earthy foods like potatoes, root crops, or any fruit that comes from Ops’s abundant storehouse.”

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

“Rhea” by Ian Ian Marke

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Ops’ “name survives in our word opulent, and in Rome She represented the opulence of the earth’s fruiting.  Worshiped at harvest festivals on August 25 [Opiconsivia] and December 19 [Opalia], She was associated with the god Consus, ruler of the ‘conservation’ of the grain that Ops brought Her people.  Newborn children were put in Her care, so that She would care for them as tenderly as She cared for the shoots of springtime plants.  She was called by several titles: Consivia, the sower; Patella, stimulator of the wheat crop; and Rucina, promoter of the harvest. She was a very ancient Roman Goddess, identified in later days with the Greek Rhea” (p. 240).

According to E.M. Berens, “In Rome the Greek Rhea was identified with Ops, the Goddess of plenty, the wife of Saturn, who had a variety of appellations. She was called Magna-Mater, Mater-Deorum, Berecynthia-Idea, and also Dindymene. This latter title She acquired from three high mountains in Phrygia, whence She was brought to Rome as Cybele during the second Punic war, BCE 205, in obedience to an injunction contained in the Sybilline books. She was represented as a matron crowned with towers, seated in a chariot drawn by lions.” [1]

Demeter in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson & Brian Clark

Micha F. Lindemans on Encyclopedia Mythica tells us that “The Roman (Sabine) Goddess of the earth as a source of fertility, and a Goddess of abundance and wealth in general (Her name means ‘plenty’). As Goddess of harvest She is closely associated with the god Consus. She is the sister and wife of Saturn. One of Her temples was located near Saturn’s temple, and on August 10 a festival took place there. Another festival was the Opalia, which was observed on December 9. On the Forum Romanum She shared a sanctuary with the Goddess Ceres as the protectors of the harvest. The major temple was of Ops Capitolina, on the Capitoline Hill, where Caesar had located the Treasury. Another sanctuary was located in the Regia on the Forum Romanun, where also the Opiconsivia was observed on August 25. Only the official priests and the Vestal Virgins had access to this altar.” [2]

 

Sources:

Aworldofmyths.com, “Ops“.

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Gypsymagicspells.blogspot.com, “Ops – Goddess of Opulence“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Ops“.

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

Wikipedia, “Ops“.

At the height of the Midsummer, the Celtic Moon month of Oak is the perfect time to cast spells that encourage growth of all things.

The longest day of the year and the shortest nightfall is during the Oak Moon.  Known as the Summer Solstice, celebrations revolve around the power of the Sun at its zenith.  Folklore decrees, “He who sleeps on the shortest night shall sleep all year,” meaning that this is a time for action, not rest.

 

Magical Solar Energy

Magic at this time should concentrate on areas of life that fall under sunny auspices, such as health, success, prosperity and blessings.  Cast spells that inject solar energy into your projects by decorating your altar with gold and yellow.  Wear orange to boost your and stamina.

 

A TREE OF HEALING AND PEACE

Artwork by Eugene Damblans

The oak can be used as a haven for restoration.  When your spirit needs rest and comfort it can be soothed beneath the tree’s vast branches, and many sacred rituals were conducted in the shadow of an oak tree in Ancient Britain.  Meditating with your spine resting on the trunk of an oak tree soothes the nervous system and induces feelings of inner peace.

Brave Energy

Oak trees act as a conduit for the energy of endurance, fortitude and strength, offering a magical remedy for fear and despair.  They bring courage and protection from adversity.

Community Tree

The great size and age of the oak made it a symbol of the continuity of the community.  The water that collects in the dips of its branches were thought to be sacred and was used to cleanse and heal the body of negative energy.

 

OAK MOON MAGIC

Growth and fertility spells work best at this time of year.  Focus on building and consolidating your wisdom, endurance and security.

Feel energized by the power of the Sun and oak during this magical time of year.  Harness powerful solar energies for Oak Moon spells to bring cheer and success to your life. 

An Oak Vision Quest

Go on a vision quest during the Oak Moon and spend time in nature to receive messages from the oak tree.  For best results carry out this quest at the time of the Summer Solstice to enhance your insight with the energy of the Sun.  As you’ll need to spend a night outside for this quest, It’s best to do it with a friend.

“Oak Tree Meditation” by Laura Iverson

1. Go to a hilltop where both sunset and sunrise will be clearly visible.

2. Begin the quest at sunset, ending at sunrise.

3. As the Sun falls say a prayer to the great oak tree for guidance.

4. Look out for signs, such as animals that cross your path, or shooting stars.

5. Keep a record of your feelings and thoughts throughout the quest.

6. At sunrise give thanks for what you have received from the natural world.

Oak Moon Activities

As the Sun reaches the height of its power in the month of Oak, so then energy of the natural world – and your own spirits will soar.  Use this abundant feeling of vitality to attune yourself to the season and engage in some of these activities.

  • Dance outside in the Sun – it’s so energizing.
  • Go for a walk every day and enjoy the long, light summer evenings.
  • Keep an acorn form the fall and use it as a charm during the Oak Moon.
  • Have a gold-themed dinner to celebrate the Sun.
  • Bury a letter to the fairies under an oak tree, detailing your summer wishes.
  • Wear an oak leaf in your hair to bring you luck.
  • Kiss an oak tree to increase your attractiveness.

Solar Success Spell

Make a wish during the Oak Moon to imbue it with solar energy.  You’ll need to choose a wishing symbol, such as a coin for wealth.

You Will Need:

  • Gold candle
  • Symbol of your intention
  • Oak leaves

1. Hold the gold candle towards the sky and say, “Power of the Sun enter this candle.  May the flame of success burn brightly.”  Place the candle in a holder next to a spell symbol that represents your wish.

2. Surround the candle with oak leaves and say, “Mighty oak tree, lend me your strength.”

3. Light the candle and make your wish, then let the candle burn down – success will be yours.

A Purification Spell

Fallen Oak Leaf – air dried, pulverized and blessed ready to be used – for sale by Lady of the Moss on etsy.com.

You can burn oak leaves to purify the atmosphere and banish fear and doubt.

You Will Need:

  • Small bottle of wine
  • Basket
  • Pestle and mortar
  • Needle and thread
  • Fireproof bowl
  • Charcoal disk and matches

1. On the night after the full Moon go to an oak tree and pour a libation of wine onto the roots, asking the tree for its help.

2. Gather a basket of leaves and sew them together, then hang up the leaves to dry out for three days.

3. When the leaves have dried, carefully remove the thread and pound the leaves with a pestle and mortar into a kind of incense.  Light the charcoal in the fireproof dish.

4. When it glows red add the dried leaves to create a magical purification smoke.

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  11.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Goddess Tree, “Oak“.

Goddess Iambe

“Iambe’s themes are communication, creativity, art, humor and playfulness. Her symbol is any paired items. Iambe means ‘speech’, indicating this Goddess’s intimate connection with the art of communication. In Greek stories, Iambe always had a witty (and sometimes satirical) comeback. This may be why She was credited with creating the writer’s bane of iambic pentameter verse (a metered verse with two distinct accents). In mythology, Iambe used this form of poetry to cheer up Demeter, with tremendous success.

“Gemini” by Josephine Wall

Astrologically, the twins personify individuals who have dual natures: they are filled with charm and creativity but also seem elusive, like Iambe and Her poetic method. You can remember Iambe and learn more about Her style today by reading Shakespeare, one of the few humans to master it (or perhaps rent one of the recent Shakespearean movies)!

If that’s not your proverbial cup of tea, use this invocation to Iambe as a prayer, part of a ritual, or whatever is appropriate for you:

‘Iambe, I sing your mystic poems.
From dots and tittles, the magic’s sown.
With celestial pens, you scribe each spell,
and lessons in joy, may I learn them well.
Iambe, your metered muse confounds,
yet where’er it’s spoken, magic abounds,
full and fierce, potent and free,
and when I hear it I know, that the magic is me!’

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

“Iambe aka Baubo” by octomantic

Homer called Her Iambe, but She is best known as Baubo, the elderly servant of the King of Eleusis, whose bawdy jests roused the grieving Demeter from Her profound depression during Her search for her daughter, Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades.  (And just how did She cheer up the grieving Demeter you ask?  By pulling up Her dress and making Her laugh at Her vagina and belly. From then on, Baubo has been celebrated as a symbol of bawdy female humor and is usually depicted as a face just above the vagina with two chubby legs, causing ruckus with no underpants and making everybody laugh.) [1]

Other than Her appearance as Baubo in the myths of Demeter and the abduction of  Persephone, little is known of the Goddess Iambe.

Iambe was the daughter of the union of Pan and Echo, it is said. Some scholars, however, believe that She was actually a regional Goddess from much earlier, pre-agricultural times.

“To Worship Her” by Wynterskye

Her identity was shared with those of earlier Goddesses, such mother/vegetation Goddesses as Atargatis, a Goddess originating in northern Syria, and Kybele (Cybele), a Goddess from Asia Minor.

Indeed Iambe’s name has survived even though Her legends have not fared so well.  We recognize Her name, for it is ‘She of Iambic Pentameter Fame’, the da Dum, da Dum,da Dum rhythm that we hear in some of the world’s most popular poetry and song, not to mention the works of William Shakespeare.  ‘To be, or not to be’ is a good example.

Iambe was married to a swineherder. Perhaps that doesn’t sound very fancy today, but it may have been quite a lucrative occupation when acorns were in abundance as a free source of feed for the livestock of the region!

Her sons all rose to prominence. One was a famous warrior  and another the high priest of the religion of the followers of Demeter.

“The World On Her Mind 1” by *Osorris

Iambe was worshipped in many of Her guises, long before the Goddess Demeter taught humans how to grow grain, a time when the magnificent Goddesses of vegetation fed their subjects with the berries, acorns and fish, not the fruits of the harvest.” [2]

Wikipedia states “Iambe in Greek mythology was a Thracian woman, daughter of Pan and Echo and a servant of Metaneira, the wife of Hippothoon. Others call her a slave of Celeus, king of Eleusis. The extravagant hilarity displayed at the festivals of Demeter in Attica was traced to her, for it is said that when Demeter, in Her wanderings in search of Her daughter, arrived in Attica, Iambe cheered the mournful Goddess with her jokes. She was believed to have given the name to iambic poetry, for some said that she hanged herself in consequence of the cutting speeches in which she had indulged, and others that she had cheered Demeter by a dance in the Iambic metre.” [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Iambe, Greek Goddess of Humor and Poetry“.

Schramm, Adriane. Vice.com, “Baubo, the Vulva Clown“.

Wikipedia, “Iambe“.

Suggested Links:

Baubo’s Garden, “Who is Baubo?

Boyd, Tracy. Sacredthreads.net, “I AM BAUBO, THE ACORN FOOL“.

Goddessgift.com, “Baubo“.

Goddessgift.com, “Baubo and Iambe“.

Goddessgift.com, “Demeter, Greek Goddess fo the Bountiful Harvest“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Iambe“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baubo: dance like no-one is watching…“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Iambe: playful is as playful does“.

Wikipedia, “Baubo“.

Goddess Tanat

“Tanit, Ibicenco Godess” by Dominique Sanson

“Tanat’s themes are unity, joy and luck.  Her symbols are flowers and triangles.  In Cornwall, Tanat is the mother Goddess of fertility who has given all Her attention to nursing spring into its fullness. She also staunchly protects Her children (nature and people) so that our spirits can come to know similar fulfillment.

The Furry Dance is an ancient festival that rejoices in Tanat’s fine work manifested in spring’s warmth and beauty. To bring this Goddess’s lucky energy into your life, it’s customary to dance with a partner. In fact, the more people you can get dancing, the more fortunate the energy! Usually this is done on the streets throughout a town as a show of regional unity, but when propriety won’t allow such a display, just dance around a room together instead. Don’t worry about the steps – just do what feels right.

Wearing something with floral or triangular motifs (guys, wear a necktie, and gals, pull out a square scarf and fold it in half crosswise) activates Tanat’s happiness in your life and in any region where you have the token on today. As you don the item, say:

‘Liberate happiness in and around
by Tanat’s blossoming power
joy will be found!’

Or, if you want to use the same thing to generate unity and harmony, use this incantation:

 ‘Harmony and unity
Tanat’s blessings come to me!’

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

“Temple of Tanit” by hold-steady

According to Edain McCoy, the Goddess “Tanit (Cornish) [was] a Phoenician moon and fertility Goddess.  Many scholars and mythologists believe She came into the Celtic pantheon as Dana or Dôn, both mother Goddesses.  Tanit was worshiped as Tanat in Cornwall on Beltaine.” [1]  As I couldn’t find any other information on the Celtic Tanat, I will continue this entry on the Phoenician-Carthaginian Goddess Tanit.

“Tanit” by suburbanbeatnik

“Tanit, or Tanith, is the Great Goddess of Carthage, worshipped there as its chief Deity as ‘the Lady of Carthage’. She is a Sky Goddess who ruled over the Sun, Stars, and Moon; and as a Mother Goddess She was invoked for fertility. The palm tree is Hers, as the desert version of the Tree of Life; and as symbolic of the life-force of the Earth the serpent is Hers as well—in fact Her name means ‘Serpent Lady’. She is identified with both Ashtart (Astarte) and Athirat, and Her other symbols include the dove, grapes and the pomegranate (both symbolic of fruitfulness and fertility), the crescent moon, and, like Ashtart, the lion.

Carthage was a city of the Phoenician colony in northern Africa, not far from the modern city of Tunis in Tunisia. Carthage, the Roman rendition of the Phoenician name Karthadasht, which means ‘New Town’, was founded in around the 9th century BCE, by Dido (‘Giver’ or ‘Grantor [of prayers]’, or alternately ‘Wanderer’) or Elissa (from the Phoenician Elishat), the daughter of the King of Tyre in Roman legend. Dido, however, being also used as an epithet of the Phoenician Moon-Goddess, is probably to be considered an aspect of or alternate name for Tanit, the patron Goddess of Carthage. Worship of Tanit dates to the 5th century BCE, and it is unsure whether Tanit was a local deity adapted by the Phoenician colonists or a version of Ashtart/Athirat they had brought with them from Phoenicia.

With Her consort Ba’al-Hammon, the God of the Sky, She watched over and protected Carthage. As a protective Deity She had some martial aspects, and like Ashtart could be depicted riding a lion holding a spear or long sceptre. In Carthage She was said to have an Oracle; perhaps this is connected to Her role as Star-Goddess.

The Sign of the Goddess Tanit. Carthage. c. 5th century BCE to 2nd century CE

Tanit has Her own abstract symbol, peculiarly Hers (and accordingly called the ‘symbol of Tanit’): a triangle with a circle at the top, with a horizontal line between the two; sometimes two additional vertical bars come from the ends of the horizontal. This has been interpreted as either a stylization of an altar, or a woman or Goddess in a long dress, Her arms upraised in an attitude of worship or blessing.

From Carthage (modern Tunisia), north Africa 1st century CE

Some stelae do show a more realistic depiction of the Goddess in this attitude, so my money is on it as an abstract depiction of a woman. This symbol is found all over Carthage, though there is only one example of it in Phoenicia itself.

Carthage was at once time the great enemy of Rome, and three bitter wars were fought between the two powers over the course of more than a hundred years in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. The Romans eventually were the victors, and in their hatred utterly destroyed the city; according to tradition the city was razed and the site plowed with salt so that nothing would ever grow there again.

The utter destruction of the city notwithstanding, remains of a sanctuary to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon have been found, with a children’s cemetery adjacent. The Carthaginians and Phoenicians had a reputation for the sacrifice of children, though many of the accounts of it come from peoples who were not unbiased, such as the Hebrews or the Romans. In Phoenicia, the Hebrews claimed that the Phoenicians burned children to their God ‘Moloch‘ (of whom there is little to no other evidence) by burning them alive.

            

In Carthage, the great children’s cemetery has been taken as indication of child sacrifice to both Ba’al-Hammon and Tanit, for many of the stelae above the remains are inscribed to those Deities. The cemetery was named in modern times the Tophet, from a Biblical word for ‘Hell’, referring to the place in Jerusalem where the children were allegedly given to Moloch. Much of the evidence for infanticide among the Phoenicians is questionable at best; the accounts from the Bible and Rabbinical tradition especially are subject to mistranslations and biases. Among other ancient writers the idea of child sacrifice among the Phoenicians is not mentioned, even though some of them were avowed enemies of Phoenicia. This issue is still being debated on both sides; my take on it (which is of course subject to my own bias) is to seriously doubt that children were sacrificed, and to attribute most of the stories to propaganda, repeated by different enemy cultures (especially the Romans). Why would people sacrifice children to an otherwise benevolent Mother Goddess? And given the number of remains that have been found—20,000 urns dating from 400-200 BCE—what civilization is going to kill that many of its own children? I suspect that the graves found in the so-called ‘Tophet’ of Carthage are simply the remains of children who died naturally in a time when infant mortality was much higher than in modern times, and during which several wars were fought—tough times when it might be expected less children would survive. That the stelae are inscribed to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon is not surprising; it does not mean that they were sacrificed to those Deities, rather that they were committed to the safekeeping of the Goddess and God after death.

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

The Romans, despite their hatred for the Carthaginians, identified Tanit with their Juno Lucina, an aspect of their Great Goddess as Mother and Patroness of Childbirth, a Light-Goddess who brings forth children into the day. As Tanit was also a Goddess of the Sky, the Romans named Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, or Virgo Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Virgin’.

In Roman legend, Hannibal, the great general of Carthage, raided a temple of Juno Lucina, near Crotona, a city in southern Italy originally founded by the Greeks (therefore technically the temple is to Hera Lacinia). This temple was famous for having a column of solid gold; Hannibal, to test the story, drilled into the column. Finding that it was indeed solid, he decided he would take it as plunder. That night, however, he dreamt that the Goddess warned him not to despoil Her temple, telling him that She’d destroy his remaining eye if he did. In Juno Lacinia Hannibal recognized his own hometown Goddess, Tanit, so left the column unmolested in the temple. From the filings of the column he had a golden cow cast, which was then placed on the top of the column.

4th century BCE Carthaginian coin featuring the Goddess Tanit.

On coins of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE She is occasionally depicted riding a lion and holding a lance; generally She is shown in portrait form wearing a diadem or crown, with wheat sheaves bound in Her hair as a wreath, the crescent moon behind.

Tanit’s worship was spread from Carthage to SpainMalta and Sardinia, especially by soldiers. The temple on the acropolis of Selinus in Sicily may be Hers, for examples of Her symbol have been found there. Under Her name Virgo Caelestis, Tanit/Juno had a shrine in Rome on the north side of the Capitoline Hill.

“Tanit” by Monica Sjöö

Tanit’s statue was brought to Rome by the young Emperor Elagabalus, who reigned 218-222 CE, and who was notoriously reviled as a depraved pervert (he was quite obviously gay, though who knows how much of his legend is true and how much is exaggerated). He was murdered at age 18 in a latrine, his body dragged through the streets before being thrown into the Tiber like a common criminal. He was, however, also a big fan of the eastern Deities, and gets his name from his worship of the Sun-God Elagabal. He had a great temple to Elagabal built in Rome, and installed the statue of Tanit there, calling Her Caelestis.Also called: Tanith, Tent, Thinit, Tinnit, Rat-tanit; Tanis is the Greek version of Her name. She was called ‘Lady of Carthage’, ‘Lady of the Sanctuary’, and ‘the Face of Ba’al’. The Romans called Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, Virgo Caelestis ‘the Heavenly Virgin’, and Caelestis Afrorum Dea, ‘the African/Carthaginian Heavenly Goddess’, as well as the assimilated name Juno Caelestis.

She was identified with Aphrodite, Demeter, and Artemis by the Greeks and with Juno by the Romans, especially their Juno Lucina, Goddess of Light and Childbirth. The Romans also associated Her with the Magna Mater, the Great Mother, Rhea or Kybele. [2]

Sources:

McCoy, Edain. Celtic Women’s Spirituality: Accessing the Cauldron of Life, “Tanit“.

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

Suggested Links:

Sheldon, Natasha. Archeology@Suite 101, “The Trophet of Carthage: Site of Human Sacrifice to Baal and Tanit or a Children’s Graveyard?

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive!The Mysteries of Tanit – 1: The Phoenicians in Spain“.

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive! The Mysteries of Tanit – 2: Tanit of Ibiza“.

Wikipedia, “Tanit“.

Goddess Maia

“Spring Enchantress” by Karl Bang

“Maia’s themes are sexual prowess, playfulness, and wishes.  Her symbols are braided and knotted items.  This Roman Goddess, whose name means ‘mother’, offers all who seek it fulfilment and renewed zest. Maia gave Her name to the month of May. She is the queen of the flowers, and today was one of Her festival days, celebrated suitably with an abundance of blossoms. In later times, Maia became strongly associated with Bona Dea, whose name literally translates as ‘good Goddess’.

As a child, on this day I left bundles of wildflowers anonymously at neighbors’ homes.  As a random act of beauty and kindness, this still holds merit today and certainly honors Maia.

In magical circles people customarily braid wishes into the ribbons of the Maypole and leave them there to germinate and grow until fall. To do this yourself, find three strands of blue ribbon and braid them together so they meet five times, saying:

‘This the month of May, for ______ [health, love, money or whatever]
I wish today Ribbons of blue, help my wish come true.
Braided within, the spell begins.
Bound to and fro, the magic grows.
When in Fall untied, this wish is mine!

 Wear a flowery shirt, skirt, or tie today to welcome Maia and brighten your day.”

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

“In Greek mythology, Maia (pronounced May-ah) is one of the Pleiades and the mother of Hermes. The Goddess known as Maia among the Romans may have originated independently, but attracted the myths of Greek Maia because the two figures shared the same name.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Maia embodied the concept of growth, as Her name was thought to be related to the comparative adjective maius, maior, ‘larger, greater’. Originally, She may have been a homonym independent of the Greek Maia, whose myths She absorbed through the Hellenization of Latin literature and culture.

“Green Goddess of Beltane” by ArwensGrace

In an archaic Roman prayer, She appears as an attribute of Vulcan, in an invocational list of male deities paired with female abstractions representing some aspect of their functionality. She was explicitly identified with Earth (Terra, the Roman counterpart of Gaia) and the Good Goddess (Bona Dea) in at least one tradition.  Her identity became theologically intertwined also with the Goddesses FaunaMagna Mater (‘Great Goddess’, referring to the Roman form of Cybele but also a cult title for Maia), OpsJuno, and Carna, as discussed at some length by the late antiquarian writer Macrobius, probably under the influence of the 1st-century BCE scholar Varro, who tended to resolve a great number of Goddesses into one original ‘Terra.’  The association with Juno, whose Etruscan counterpart was Uni, is suggested again by the inscription Uni Mae on the Piacenza Liver. The month of May (Latin Maius) was supposedly named for Maia, though ancient etymologists also connected it to the maiores, ‘ancestors,’ again from the adjective maius, maior, meaning those who are ‘greater’ in terms of generational precedence. On the first day of May, the Lares Praestites were honored as protectors of the city, and the flamen of Vulcan sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia, a customary offering to an earth Goddess that reiterates the link between Vulcan and Maia in the archaic prayer formula. In Roman myth, Mercury (Hermes), the son of Maia, was the father of the twin Lares, a genealogy that sheds light on the collocation of ceremonies on the May Kalends. On May 15, the Ides, Mercury was honored as a patron of merchants and increaser of profit (through an etymological connection with merx, merces, ‘goods, merchandise’), another possible connection with Maia his mother as a Goddess who promoted growth.” [1]

“Goddess of Spring” by Wonderdyke

According to Thalia Took, “Maia is the Oscan Earth-Goddess, and an ancient Roman Goddess of springtime, warmth, and increase. She causes the plants to grow through Her gentle heat, and the month of May is probably named for Her. Her name means ‘She Who is Great’, and is related to Oscan mais and Latin majus, both of which mean “more”. She is also called Maia Maiestas, “Maia the Majestic”, which is essentially a doubling of Her name to indicate Her power, as both ‘Maia’ and ‘Maiestas’ have their roots in latin magnus, “great or powerful”. She was honored by the Romans on the 1st and 15th of May, and at the Volcanalia of August 23rd, the holiday of Her sometimes husband, the Fire-God Vulcan.

“Vulcan and Maia” by Bartholomaeus Spranger

She seems to have been paired with Vulcan because they were both considered Deities of heat: through the increasing warmth of Maia’s spring season flowers and plants sprouted and grew; while Vulcan’s stronger summer heat brought the fruits to ripeness. The flamen Volcanalis, the priest who officially oversaw the rites of Vulcan, sacrificed a pregnant sow to Maia on the first day of May. The offering of a pregnant sow was traditionally given to Earth-Goddesses such as Tellus or Ceres and signified both the remarkable fecundity of the Earth (as there are usually between 6 and 12 piglings in a litter) as well as the darker side of the Earth Mother, as sows have been known to eat their young. Rites to Maia were also performed at the August Volcanalia, a festival to ward off the destructive fires that could be caused by the dry weather and burning sun of summertime.

Portrait of Josephine Crane Bradley by Alfons Maria Mucha

In a later period, Maia was confused with a Greek Goddess of the same name. This Maia (whose name in Greek can take such various meanings as ‘midwife’, ‘female doctor’, ‘good mother’, ‘foster mother’, or ‘aunty’) was a nymph and the mother of Hermes, the trickster God of merchants, travellers, and liars; She was also said to have been the eldest and most beautiful of the seven sisters who formed the constellation of the Pleiades, whose heliacal rising (meaning when the constellation is just visible in the east before the sun rises) signalled the beginning of summer. Through this association the Roman Maia became the mother of Mercury, and Her festival on the Ides of May (the 15th) coincided with the festival commemorating the date of the dedication of His temple on the Aventine.

Ovid gives several possibilities as to how the month May got its name, and though he admits confusion, one of the possibilities he gives is that it is named after the personification of Majesty, whom he describes as seated in a place of high honor on Mt. Olympos, clothed in gold and purple. At face value it would seem he simply made this up; but as an alternate name (not just an epithet) of Maia is Maiesta, “Majesty”, he may have been closer than he thought.

Though a Goddess of the merry flowering springtime may seem kinda fluffy-bunny, the roots of Her name point to a powerful and ancient great Goddess of the Earth, growth, fertility and heat. It is rumoured that Maia was the ancient and original name of the Bona Dea (“the Good Goddess”), whose name was so sacred it was forbidden to be spoken aloud; and through this connection Maia was associated with the Goddesses Fauna and Fatua. She was also associated with Ops, the Earth-Goddess who symbolizes the wealth of the Earth, and the eastern Great Mother Cybele.

Alternate names: Maiesta, Maja, Majestas, Majesty.” [2]

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Maia (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Carnaval.com, “May Day“.

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Day of Maia“.

Ladd, Stephanie Anderson. Owl & Crow, “The Goddess Maia – Queen of May“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Maia“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Maia“.

Visuddhi, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Maia, the Goddess of May“.

The Camenae

"The Four Nymphs" by Eichenelf

“The Camenae’s themes are divination, protection, victory, children, birth and communication.  Their symbols are written word, any divination tool and fertility symbols.  This group of Goddesses correspond to the Muses of Greek tradition: they know our past, see what’s in store in the future, foretell children’s fates, and teach us the effective use of ‘letters’ (the alphabet), the arts, and how to tell fortunes. They also oversee midwives.

The festival of Megalesia celebrates the accuracy of the Sibylline oracles, who predicted the way for the Roman victory in the Punic Wars. Romans traditionally honored the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele, today with music and song, so put on some magical tunes! The Camenae will saturate the music and uplift your spirit.

Ask the Camenae to help you write personalized invocations or spells today. Put pen to pad and let these Goddesses inspire sacred words suited to your path and needs. Keep these in a magic journal for the future.

The Roman oracles often drew lots to determine a querent’s answer. If you have a question weighing heavily on your heart today, follow this custom and take out some variegated beans. Hold them. Concentrate on the question, then pick out one bean. A black one means ‘no’; white means ‘yes’. Red means that anger is driving action, brown means things are muddled, and green indicates growth potential. If you don’t have beans, colored buttons are a suitable alternative.”

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

In Roman mythology, the Camenae (also Casmenae, Camoenae) were originally Goddesses of childbirth, wells and fountains, and also prophetic deities.

There were four Camenae: Carmenta, Egeria, Antevorta (also Porrima) and Postverta (also Postvorta or Prorsa).

The last two were sometimes specifically referred to as the Carmentae, and in ancient times might have been two aspects of Carmenta rather than separate figures; in later times, however, they are distinct beings believed to protect women in labor.

“Carmenta or Carmentis was the chief among the nymphs.  Not only was She a Goddess of childbirth and prophecy, but She was also associated with technological innovation. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet. The name Carmenta is derived from Latin carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and also the root of the English word charm. Though She is an ancient Italian Goddess, in later times Carmenta was said to have come from Greece: in that story She is said to have originally been a prophetess of Arcadia called Nicostrate, but it was changed later to honor Her renown for giving oracles. She was the mother of Evander and along with other followers they founded the town of Pallantium, which later was one of the sites of the start of Rome. Gaius Julius Hyginus (Fab. 277) mentions the legend that it was She who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which Her son Evander introduced into Latium.

It was forbidden to wear leather or other forms of dead skin in her temple, which was next to the Porta Carmentalis in Rome.  On Her festival day, the Carmentalia, which fell on January the 11 and 15, Vestal Virgins drew water from that spring for the rites.” [1] [2]

 

Egeria was a nymph or minor Goddess attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to whom She imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor.  Her origin is unclear; She is consistently, though not in a very clear way, associated with another figure of the Diana type; their cult is known to have been celebrated at sacred groves, such as the site of Nemi at Aricia, and another one close to Rome, expedient for Her presumed regular meetings with King Numa; both Goddesses are also associated with water; gifted with wondrous, religious or medical properties (the source in that grove at Rome was dedicated to the exclusive use of the Vestal Virigns); their cult was associated with other, male figures of even more obscure meaning, such as one named Virbius, or a Manius Egerius, presumably a youthful male, that anyway in later years was identified with figures like Atys or Hippolyte, because of the Diana reference.

After the death of Numa the nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.  The spring and grove outside the Porta Capena was dedicated to Egeria.

Described sometime as a ‘mountain nymph’ (by Plutarch), She is usually regarded as a water nymph and somehow Her cult also involved some link with childbirth, like the Greek Goddess Ilithyia.” [2]

 

“Antevorta and Postvorta were probably at first two aspects of Carmenta who in time became important enough on Their own to be considered seperate Goddesses, though They were still generally believed to be sisters or attendents of Carmenta. Their names refer to Their prophetic powers that come into play at the birth of a child: both come from the root vertere, meaning ‘to change, turn, or alter’; so Antevorta then means, ‘Before Change’ and Postvorta ‘After Change’.  At the Carmentalia these two aspects were especially celebrated; and given that the festival was held on the 11th and the 15th of January (not the 11th through the 15th of January), perhaps They were each given one day, Antevorta turning towards the past on the 11th, and Postvorta to the future on the 15th. Alternatively, Postvorta is sometimes spelled Postverta, glossed as ‘feet first’, referring to the breech position of birth, while Antevorta was called Prorsa (‘straight forwards’) or Porrima, both taken to mean ‘head first’, the more usual position of a baby at birth.” [3]

The Camenae were later identified with the Greek Muses; in his translation of Homer’s OdysseyLivius Andronicus rendered the Greek word Mousa as Camena.

 

 

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Camenae“.

Took, Thalia.  The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Ægeria“.

Wikipedia, “Camenae“.

Wikipedia, “Carmenta“.

Wikipedia, “Egeria (mythology)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Myth Index, “Camenae“.

Mythology Guide, “Camenae“.

Goddess Cybele

“Cybele” by Pamela Matthews

“Cybele’s themes are love, health, humor, victory, strength and relationships.  Her symbols are pine, meteorite stones and keys.  A black stone that personified this Roman earth Goddess is credited with a successful battle against Hannibal. It is this strength, especially in difficult relationships, that Cybele augments in us as this month draws to a close.

Legend tells us that Cybele loved a shepherd named Attis, who went mad and killed himself. Cybelle, in distress, asked Jupiter to restore him. Jupiter responded by making Attis into a pine tree. Symbolically, this allowed him to eternally embrace Cybele, with his roots in the earth.

Following the story of Cybelle and Attis, Hilaria begins in sorrow over Attis’s death and ends in joy. Today, laughter and fun activities are considered healthy. So, rent a good comedy flick, go out to a comedy club, or do something that really uplifts your spirit. Your laughter invokes Cybele’s attention and blessings.

To create stability in a relationship, make this Cybele charm:

Take an iron key (or a piece of iron and any old key bound together). Hold them in your strong hand, visualizing the key being filled with radiant red light (love’s color). Say:

‘Cybele, let this key to our hearts be filled
Love and devotion her instilled.’

 Wear the key on a long chain so it rests over your heart chakra.”

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

The famous leopard-enthroned Goddess from the granary at Çatal Hüyuk, close to 6000 BCE.

Cybele was an originally Anatolian form of Earth Mother or Great Mother. Little is known of Her oldest Anatolian cults, other than Her association with mountains, hawks and lions. She was Phrygia‘s State deity; Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Anatolian Asia Minor, and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.

“Also known as Kybele and Magna Mater and the Mother of the Gods, the worship of this Goddess spread throughout the Roman Empire. As a Phrygian deity, She was a Goddess of caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops. She ruled over wild beasts, and was also a bee Goddess.  Cybele was the Goddess of nature and fertility. Because Cybele presided over mountains and fortresses, Her crown was in the form of a city wall.

Her Greek mythology counterpart was Rhea.” [1]

“Cybele” by Picot

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partly assimilated to aspects of Gaia (the “Earth”), Her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Corn-Mother Goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked Her as a protector but Her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show Her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-Goddess, who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Uniquely in Greek religion, She had a transgendered or eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of Her Greek cults included rites to Her divine “Phrygian” castrate shepherd-consort Attis, whose rites and myths appear to have been Greek inventions. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of Her cult, and claimed Her conscription as a key religious component in their success against Carthage during the Punic Wars. They also reinvented Her as a Trojan Goddess, and thus as an ancestral Goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas, in Rome’s foundation myth. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of Her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus records that specific laws were passed when some of the undesirable aspects of the Cybele cult became apparent. Cybele’s religion was a bloody cult that required its priests and priestesses as well as followers to cut themselves during some rituals. The priests castrated themselves at their initiation; there was wild music, chanting, and frenzied dancing.  “As part of their worship, priests also performed mysterious rites in Her honor. Of particular note was the sacrifice of a bull performed as part of an initiation into Cybele’s cult. This ritual was known as the taurobolium, and during the rite a candidate for initiation stood in a pit under a floor with a wooden grate. The bull was sacrificed above the grate, and the blood ran through holes in the wood, showering the initiate. This was a form of ritual purification and rebirth.” [2]

Atia undergoing the taurobolium from HBO/BBC’s series “Rome”

Along with Her consort, the vegetation god Attis, Cybele was worshipped in wild, emotional, bloody, orgiastic, cathartic ceremonies.  Her annual spring festival celebrated the death and resurrection of Her beloved Attis.  During the Republic and early Empire, festival days were celebrated with eunuchs priests, called Corybantes,  preceding the Goddess through the streets, banging cymbals and drums, wearing bright attire and heavy jewelry, their hair long and ‘greased’.  Priests and priestesses were segregated, their activities confined to their temples, and Roman citizens were not allowed to walk in procession with them. Neither Roman citizens nor their slaves were allowed to become priests or priestess in the cult. No native-born Roman citizen was to be allowed to dress in bright colors, beg for alms, walk the streets with flute players or worship the Goddess in ‘wild Phrygian ceremonies’. Those Romans who wanted to continue to worship the Goddess set up secret societies known as sodalitates so they could dine together in the Goddess’ honor. [3] [4]

“The Cult of Cybele has frequently been looked upon as a mystery religion, similar to the Cults of Isis and Demeter. Cybele, however, was completely unlike those two positive and loving Mother Goddesses. Indeed, Cybele appears to have come out of a completely different mold. In fact, Cybele was so completely opposite from Isis, that it is impossible to imagine her even being in the presence of children, much less breast-feeding one. It is extremely doubtful, as well, whether anyone could ever picture Cybele wandering through and nurturing the green fields and peaceful forests of Earth.” [5]

 

Please click here for a very comprehensive article on Cybele, the Great Phrygian Mother Goddess.

Sources:

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Cybele, the Great Phrygian Mother Goddess“.

KET Distance Learing, “The Cult of Cybele“.

Smart, Anthony E. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Cybele“.

Wigington, Patti. About.com: Paganism/Wicca, “Cybele, Mother Goddess of Rome“.

Wikipedia, “Cybele“.

Suggested Links:

Kybele: Gourmet Food Production, “Goddess Kybele”.

The Linen Press, “Cybele“.

MaatRaAh. The Church of the Most High Goddess, “Pagan Goddess of the Sibyl and Cybele Oracle“.

Roman Empire & Colosseum, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Cybele“.

Source Memory, “Cultural Continuities: Goddess of the Feline Throne“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kybele“.

Welcome to the Temple of Cybele.

Women in Greek Myths, “Cybele, Agdistis, and Attis“.

Worm Moon – March

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us that March’s full moon is known as the Worm Moon amongst the Native Americans – As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

According to the Wise Witches Society, this moon is known as the Seed Moon; sowing season and symbol of the start of the new year.

"Moonseed" by Kristen Holmberg

“Moonseed” by Kristen Holmberg

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

 

 

* Check out Mooncircles.com every month, or better yet, subscribe to their monthly newsletter to get the scoop on each month’s Full and New Moons, find out more about Moon Astrology  and read blogs.  They even have a different 3-Minute Moon Ritual for each Full Moon! 

Sources:

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

Willow Grove, “The Witch’s Esbats“.

Wise Witches Society, “Full Moon Names and Their Meanings“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Fine-Arts and Bluesband & Poetry Press, “The Names of the Moons

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

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

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