Tag Archive: dionysus


Goddess Leucothea

“The Archer” by `Heidi-V-Art

“Leucothea’s themes are creativity, energy, communication, balance, harmony and change. Her symbols are bow and arrow, white items, milk and seawater.  In Greek tradition, this woman gave birth to the centaurs [though there seems to be some conflict in that] and was a wet nurse to Dionysus. Her name translates as ‘milk-white-Goddess’, alluding to a strong maternal nature. In later times She became a sea Goddess, bearing the visage of a mermaid. Through this transformation we see the mingling of the spiritual nature (water) with that of the earth (half-human appearance) to create Sagittarius’s customary energies.

In astrology, Sagittarius is the centurion archer who represents a harmonious mingling of physical and spiritual living. Those born under this sign tend toward idealism, upbeat outlooks, and confidence. Like Leucothea, Saggitarians seem to have a strong drive for justice, especially for those people under their care.

To consume a bit of Leucothea’s maternal nature or invoke Her spiritual balance in your life, make sure to include milk or milk products in your diet today. Or, wear something white to figuratively don Her power.

For help with personal transformations, especially those that encourage personal comfort and tranquillity, soak in a nice, long saltwater or milk bath today. As you do, ask Leucothea to show you the right steps to take next.”

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

“Elemental Goddess Water” by `AutumnsGoddess

“In Greek mythology, Leucothea (‘white Goddess’) was one of the aspects under which an ancient sea Goddess was recognized, in this case as a transformed nymph.

In the more familiar variant, Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, sister of Semele, and queen of Athamas, became a Goddess after Hera drove her insane as a punishment for caring for the newborn Dionysus. She leapt into the sea with her son Melicertes in her arms, and out of pity, the Hellenes asserted, the Olympian gods turned them both into sea-gods, transforming Melicertes into Palaemon, the patron of the Isthmian games, and Ino into Leucothea.

In the version sited at Rhodes, a much earlier mythic level is reflected in the genealogy: there, the woman who plunged into the sea and became Leucothea was Halia (‘of the sea’, a personification of the saltiness of the sea) whose parents were from the ancient generation, Thalassa and Pontus or Uranus. She was a local nymph and one of the aboriginal Telchines of the island.

Halia became Poseidon‘s wife and bore him Rhodos/Rhode and six sons; the sons were maddened by Aphrodite in retaliation for an impious affront, assaulted their sister and were confined beneath the Earth by Poseidon. Thus the Rhodians traced their mythic descent from Rhode and the Sun god Helios.

In the Odyssey (5.333 ff.) Leucothea makes a dramatic appearance as a gannet who tells the shipwrecked Odysseus to discard his cloak and raft and offers him a veil (kredemnon) to wind round himself to save his life and reach land. Homer makes Her the transfiguration of Ino. In Laconia, She has a sanctuary, where She answers people’s questions about dreams. This is Her form of the oracle.”

In more modern works, Leucothea is mentioned by Robert Graves in The White Goddess.

In Ezra Pound‘s Cantos, She is one of the Goddess figures who comes to the poet’s aid in Section: Rock-Drill (Cantos 85–95). She is introduced in Canto 91 as “Cadmus’s daughter”:

As the sea-gull Κάδμου θυγάτηρ said to Odysseus
KADMOU THUGATER
“get rid of parap[h]ernalia”

She returns in Cantos 93 (‘Κάδμου θυγάτηρ’) and 95 (‘Κάδμου θυγάτηρ/ bringing light per diafana/ λευκὁς Λευκόθοε/ white foam, a sea-gull… ‘My bikini is worth yr/ raft’. Said Leucothae… Then Leucothea had pity,/’mortal once/ Who now is a sea-god…'”), and reappears at the beginning of Canto 96, the first of the Thrones section (‘Κρήδεμνον…/ κρήδεμνον…/ and the wave concealed her,/ dark mass of great water.’).

Leucothea appears twice in Dialoghi con Leucò (Dialogues with Leucò) by Cesare Pavese.

Leucothoé was the first work by the Irish playwright Isaac Bickerstaffe published in 1756.

A similar name is carried by two other characters in Greek mythology.

Leucothoë: a mortal princess, daughter of Orchamus and sister of Clytia, Leucothoë loved Apollo, who disguised himself as Leucothea’s mother to gain entrance to her chambers. Clytia, jealous of her sister because she wanted Apollo for herself, told Orchamus the truth, betraying her sister’s trust and confidence in her. Enraged, Orchamus ordered Leucothoë buried alive. Apollo refused to forgive Clytia for betraying his beloved, and a grievous Clytia wilted and slowly died. Apollo changed her into an incense plant, either heliotrope or sunflower, which follows the sun every day.

Leucothoë: one of the Nereids.” [1]

“The Etruscan Losna may well be comparable.” [2]

“The Sacrifice of Iphigenia” by Timanthus

Now, concerning Ino, Patricia Monaghan tells us that Ino was the daughter of Harmonia, ‘she who makes sinewy’ and was originally a Goddess of orgiastic agricultural rites in pre-Helleinc Greece, to whom human victims apparently were sacraficed in a magical attempt to make rain fall as freely as blood on the soil.  When later tribes brought their own pantheon into Ino’s realm, the religious conflict that ensued was recorded in the legend that Ino was a rival of the King’s wife Nephele.  Ino brought on a famine and in punishment was pursued into the sea bearing Her son Melicertes.  Both were then ‘transformed’ into sea deities by Greek legend” (p. 163).

Wow, I thought, how could this be?  That seemed a bit of a stretch.  However, going back and reading about Ino from Wikipedia, it states: “In historical times, a sisterhood of maenads of Thebes in the service of Dionysus traced their descent in the female line from Ino; we know this because an inscription at Magnesia on the Maeander summoned three maenads from Thebes, from the house of Ino, to direct the new mysteries of Dionysus at Magnesia.” [3] Ah…there it is – there’s the connection between the orgiastic agricultural rites Monaghan spoke of and the Dionysian Mysteries.

 

 

 

Sources:

Mlahanas.de, “Leucothea“.

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

Wikipedia, “Leucothea“.

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi.com, “INO LEUKOTHEA“.

Wikipedia, “Ino“.

Goddess Eos

“Eos” by ~Vildamir

“Eos’ themes are wealth, love, joy, health, fertility, leadership, passion and beauty. Her symbol is saffron. In Indo-European tradition, Eos is a sky Goddess who offers us dawn’s hopeful, renewing energy. Greek stories tell of Eos’s intense beauty, which inspires passion. As a faithful consort and fertile divinity, She also ensures us of productivity and devoted love.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive herb, and on the last Sunday in October, people in Consuegra, Spain, honor the crop with folk dances and pageantry. Magically speaking, saffron embodies Eos’ loving, joyful, healthy, and fertile powers, which is why it was sacred to Her.  So consider getting up at dawn and adding a few strands of saffron to your morning tea to bring renewed hope.

Later in the day, consume saffron rice to internalize any of Eos’ attributes. Or, carry a container of saffron as a charm to manifest passion, inspire inner beauty, and motivate positive financial improvements.

The ancients also used saffron to dye the robes of the kings, giving it associations with leadership. So, if you need to improve your sense of control or authority in any situation, integrate something with a saffron hue into your wardrobe today. The color’s vibrations strengthen self-confidence and generate the administrative skills you need.”

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

“Eos goddess of morningredness1″ by Drezdany

“The Greek Goddess of dawn, Eos was the daughter of two early light deities, Hyperion and Thea.  The lovely winged creature drove a chariot hitched to four swift steeds, dragging light across the sky; She changed at midday into another Goddess, Hemera (‘light of day’), and later into sunset Goddess Hesperide.

Eos had a strong sexual appetite – almost as strong as that of the love Goddess Aphrodite Herself.  [“In the Greek legend, Aphrodite had found Eos in bed with Her lover Ares; to punish Eos She ‘cursed’ Her with an insatiable taste for mortal youths, and Eos became infamous for Her many lovers.” [1] ]  She had many lovers, often kidnapping handsome men to serve Her needs.  One was the gigantic Orion, a rather brutal human who, because of his constant mistreatment of his wife Merope, was blinded by Merope’s father and by the wine god Dionysus.  In order to restore his sight, Orion was told to bathe his face in Eos’ rays.  She saw him standing on a hilltop and not only restored Orion’s sight but stole him away for Her lover.  Orion never did remedy his violent ways, however, and was eventually removed to the stars for an offense against Artemis.

“Eos’ Triumph” by eveningstars242

Another mortal lover was Tithonus, for whom Eos conceived so lasting an affection that She begged immortality for him.  Alas for him, Eos forgot to add a request for eternal youth.  Slowly Tithonus wizened, and Eos’ love faded.  She fled his bed, but took enough pity on Her former lover to turn Tithonus into a cricket and install him in a little cage near Her door, whence he could chirp good-bye to Her as She left on Her day’s journey” (Monaghan, p. 113).

Her Roman counterpart was the Goddess Aurora and the Etruscan Goddess Tesana was equated with Her.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

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

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Eos“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Eos“.

Mythagora.com, “Eos: Erigeneia, The Dawn“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Eos“.

Wikipedia, “Eos“.

The lunar month of Ivy offers the opportunity to give thanks for life’s blessings and to prepare for a period of spiritual growth.

The Ivy Moon coincides with the end of the harvest season when successes and losses must be accounted for.  In ancient times, intoxicating ale was brewed from ivy and was used to induce visions of the battlefield.

The plant teaches us that restrictions are necessary to help us hone our skills.  During this month remember that your enemies are your teachers and that opposition is a blessing in disguise.  Focus on magic that strengthens your resolve.

 

Prepare for the Future

Spells that boost your sense of responsibility will make you ready for what lies ahead.  Be prepared to take the long-term view and accept and celebrate your life as it is  right now.  Trust that the Ivy Moon will prepare you to receive an answer to your prayers at exactly the right time.

Ivy/Gort card from “Voices of the Trees” by Mickie Mueller

As the winter months draw in, you’ll need to improve your resilience and tenacity.  Spells for good health are advised at this time of year.

THE RITUAL OF THE “IVY GIRL”

Ivy grows in a spiral formation reminding us that each cycle of the seasons brings us closer to the center, to the spirit.  The last harvest sheaf to be cut in the village was once bound with ivy and called the “Ivy girl.”  This was given to the farmer whose harvest was last, as a reminder of his responsibility to the spirits of the land.

 

Ivy Mythology

Ivy is ruled by the planet Saturn and is often linked with horned gods such as Pan and Dionysus, and as such is a plant of protection, sexuality, property and faith.  Ivy was also believed to protect from alcohol intoxication.  For this reason, intertwined vines of grape and ivy, representing balance, were depicted in ancient images of Dionysus.

 

IVY MOON MAGIC

You can use the month of the Ivy Moon for spells and rituals for protection, or harness its energy to make charms that will strengthen resolve and help you face challenges.

House Protection Spell

Utilize the magic of ivy to protect your home from negative influences.

You Will Need:

  • A black candle
  • Lots of ivy stems

1. Light the candle and say, “I call upon the spirits of this place, come in peace.”

2. Make a circle of ivy stems on the floor and step into the circle.

3. Turn to the north and recite, “Spirits of the Earth protect me.”

4. To the east say, “Spirits of the air protect me.”

5. To the south say, “Spirits of fire protect me.”

6. To the west say, “Spirits of water protect me.”

7. Place the stems that formed your circle at the boundaries of your property.

 

Facing Challenges

Performing this ritual during the Ivy Moon will help you to learn from difficult circumstances and move on.  To perform this ritual you will need:

  • A piece of paper
  • A pen
  • A white candle
  • A fire-proof dish

1. Write a list of the troubles that you are experiencing.

2. Next to each one write what you have gained from it, for example “It made me stronger.”

3. Light the candle saying, “This flame represents my faith in the universe.  I give thanks for the lessons I have learned.”

4. Burn the paper and feel yourself grow stronger.

 

Women’s Ivy Charms

Ivy is a feminine plant and it is particularly lucky for women.  Use the following ivy charms all year round to utilize ivy’s powerful magical properties.

  • Brides who carry or wear ivy will have a long, committed and prosperous marriage.  Sew an ivy leaf into a small pocket of white linen, and give this to a bride to slip into the hem of her wedding dress for luck.
  • To guard against accidents while driving, carefully secure an ivy leaf on your car dashboard.
  • Grow ivy vines around the front door of your house to prevent negativity from entering your home.

 

Ivy Spell Bags

Use the magic of ivy to strengthen your willpower.

Ivy leaves, ginger and Echinacea placed in a yellow spell bag will guard against addictive behavior.

Ivy leaves, chicory, sea salt and sage in a navy blue bag will guard against overspending.

A charm of ivy leaves, hawthorn leaves, and red chili seeds placed in a white spell bag will help to keep you faithful to your lover.

Placing ivy leaves, lily petals and lilac flowers in a blue spell bag will prevent you from returning to a destructive relationship.

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  15.

Goddess Ninkasi

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Braciaca” as today’s Goddess. However, my research revealed that Braciaca is “an obscure god of Roman Britain remembered in an inscription at Haddon House, Derbyshire” [1]  and was associated with Bacchus (Dionysus) and Mars [2].  I was going to do an entry on his consort if he had one, but apparently nothing is known of him except for a single inscription on an altarstone found at Haddon Hall, Derby, Derbyshire. [3]  Since Braciaca was associated with malt and is pretty much accepted to be a god of brewing, I am focusing today’s entry on the Goddess Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of beer.

“Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian matron Goddess of the intoxicating beverage, beer.

Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and Her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. Furthermore, She is the Goddess of alcohol. She was also borne of ‘sparkling fresh water.’ She is the Goddess made to ‘satisfy the desire’ and ‘sate the heart.’ She would prepare the beverage daily.

 

Sumerian Beer Recipe, 3200 BCE

The Sumerian written language and the associated clay tablets are among the earliest human writings. Scholarly works from the early 1800s onward have developed some facility translating the various Sumerian documents. Among these is a poem with the English title, ‘A Hymn to Ninkasi‘. The poem is, in effect, a recipe for the making of beer. A translation from the University of Oxford describes combining bread, a source for yeast, with malted and soaked grains and keeping the liquid in a fermentation vessel until finally filtering it into a collecting vessel.” [4]

 

 

Woman brewing beer in ancient Egypt

In a detailed article entitled Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer, Johanna Stucky writes, “Not only was Nin-kasi Herself the beer — ‘given birth by the flowing water…’ (Black, Cunningham, Robson, and Zólyomi 2004: 297) — but She was the chief brewer of the gods. So it is not surprising to learn that, in early times in ancient Sumer (southern Mesopotamia), brewers were usually female. Women made beer at home for immediate consumption, since it did not keep. It is possible also that temple brewers were priestesses of Nin-kasi. Later, when beer production became an industry, men seem to have taken over the process, but women still made beer for home use (Homan 2004: 85). Perhaps because they brewed the beer, women were often tavern keepers. For instance, Siduri, a minor Goddess whom Gilgamesh met at the end of the earth, was a divine tavern keeper.” [5]

 

 

 

 

 

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

I did find references that She was associated with wine as well.  On one site, it stated that She actually somehow became “incorporated” into the Goddess Ishtar [6] though I could find no reason or explanation as to how and why.  However, my guess is that because according to Patricia Monaghan, “Ninkasi has been described as another form of Siduri” [7]; and Siduri (meaning “young woman” in Hurrian), maybe an epithet of Ishtar. [8]

 

 

 

Sources:

Answers.com, “Braciaca“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “Brâg“.

Dl.ket.org/latin3/mores/, “Mars Braciaca“.

Inanna.virtualave.net, “The Goddess Ishtar“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ninkasi” (p. 73).

Wikipedia, “Ninkasi“.

Wikipedia, “Siduri“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Nin-kasi: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Beeradvocate.com, “Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Brewing and Beer“.

Faraci, Devin. Badassdigest.com, “The Badass Hall of Fame: Ninkasi“.

Frothnhops.com, “Ancient Gods of Beer“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Sumerian Goddesses“.

Peyrafitte, Nicole. Nicolepeyrafitte.com/blog/, “Ninkasi: ‘The Lady who fills the Mouth’“.

 

And just for funNinkasibrewing.com

Hermaphroditos

“Hermaphroditos’ themes are balance, masculinity, femininity, honor, reason and leadership. Symbols are two-sided items and Yin/Yang symbols.  This androgynous deity was once the son of Hermes, but he loved the nymph Salmakis so much that the lovers became one body and soul, neither the male nor the female being discernible. In this form, Hermaphroditos reminds us that the Goddess is also God, blending the best of both sexes together into powerful, productive energy.

At the midpoint of the year we take a moment’s pause from the Goddess to honor Her consort and other half, the God, represented by fathers everywhere. Take time to thank the special men in your life and pamper them today. Ask Hermaphroditos to show you the Goddess within them, and how God and Goddess work together, making each person unique.

In magic traditions, the God aspect is the conscious, logical force of the universe who offers us the attributes of leadership, reason and focus.

This persona and energy is part of the Goddess – one cannot be serparated from the other.

This is a good day to look withing yourself, find both aspects of the divine and concentrate on bringing them into balance. If you’re normally headstrong, back off a bit. If you’re normally a wallflower, get daring! If you like to plan, become spontaneous – and so forth. Hermaphroditos will show you the way.”

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

“The Nymph Salmacis and Hermaphroditus” by François-Joseph Navez

“In Greek mythology, Hermaphroditus was the son of Hermes, messenger of the gods, and Aphrodite, Goddess of love.  The boy was so beautiful that a nymph named Salmacis fell in love with him and prayed that they would be united forever. The gods granted her the wish one day when Hermaphroditus came to the fountain where she lived. As he was bathing, Salmacis embraced him and pulled him underneath the water, and their bodies merged into one. The result was a person with the figure and breasts of a woman but with the sex organs of a man.

Other versions of the story claim that any man who bathed in the fountain was transformed into a half man, half woman just like Hermaphroditus. It was also said that the waters of the fountain caused anyone who drank from it to grow weak. The original story appears in the [Book IV of] Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid. The English writer Edmund Spenser includes the notion of such a pool, which weakened those who drank from it, in the Faerie Queene.” [1]

“Hermaphroditus’ name is derived from those of his parents, Aphrodite and Hermes [and is the basis for the word hermaphrodite].  All three of these gods figure largely into the Greek tradition of fertility gods and all possess distinctly sexual overtones. Sometimes, Hermaphroditus is referred to as Aphroditus. Half-siblings of Hermaphroditus include the phallic god Priapus and the youthful god of desire Eros.

Contrary to Patricia Telesco’s account, another version of Hermaphroditus’ story goes like this: “Hermaphroditus was raised by nymphs on Mount Ida, a sacred mountain in Phrygia. At the age of fifteen, he grew bored of his surroundings and traveled the cities of Lycia and Caria. It was in the woods of Caria that he encountered Salmacis the Naiad in her pool. She is overcome by lust for the boy, and tries to seduce him, but is rejected. When he thinks her to be gone, Hermaphroditus undresses and enters the waters of the empty pool. Salmacis springs out from behind a tree and jumps into the pool. She wraps herself around the boy, forcibly kissing him and touching his breast. While he struggles, she calls out to the gods in prayer that they should never part. Her wish is granted, and their bodies blend into one intersexual form. Hermaphroditus, in his grief, makes his own prayer: cursing the pool so that any other who bathes within it shall be transformed as well.” [3]

“Salmacis and Hermaphroditus” by Jean François de Troy

Salmacis is a very interesting character to me.  “In Greek mythology, Salmacis was an atypical naiad who rejected the ways of the virginal Greek goddess Artemis in favour of vanity and idleness. Her attempted rape of Hermaphroditus places her as the only nymph rapist in the Greek mythological canon (though see also Dercetis).

‘There dwelt a Nymph, not up for hunting or archery:
unfit for footraces. She the only Naiad not in Diana’s band.
Often her sisters would say: “Pick up a javelin, or
bristling quiver, and interrupt your leisure for the chase!”
But she would not pick up a javelin or arrows,
nor trade leisure for the chase.
Instead she would bathe her beautiful limbs and tend to her hair,
with her waters as a mirror.’

Ovid, Metamorphoses. Book IV, 306-312.

“The Water Nymph” by Herbert James Draper

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, she becomes one with Hermaphroditus, and Hermaphroditus curses the fountain to have the same effect on others. However, it’s very likely that Ovid fabricated the entire tale himself – his use of ‘praetereo, dulcique animos novitate tenebo’ could be read in several ways, as ‘novitate’ could be translated as either something strange or something new, which would imply that it was a new tale. Salmacis could also have been intended simply as a contrast to the previous tales in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, as others involve a dominant male pursuing an elusive female.” [4]

One blogger writes that this minor Greco-Roman deity of bisexuality, effeminacy, sexuality and fertility “except for one myth of his own life appears no where else in Greek or Roman mythology .  His character suggests very little about his personality.  Hermaphroditus is literally the combination of the male and female aspects, which I suppose, depending on how you look at it, can be both a positive and a negative trait.  But considering his final wish, Hermaphroditus sounds like an angry and bitter person, one who wishes others ill in order to make them suffer the pain he also suffered.  There was no logical reason for him to ask for the pool to be cursed (but then, when has anything truly been logical in myths?)” [5]

Herm of Aphroditus at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

“The oldest traces of the cult in Greek countries are found in Cyprus. Here, according to Macrobius (Saturnalia, iii. 8), there was a bearded statue of a male Aphrodite, called Aphroditos by AristophanesPhilochorus in his Atthis (ap. Macrobius loc. cit.) further identified this divinity, at whose sacrifices men and women exchanged garments, with the Moon. A terracotta plaque from the 7th century BC depicting Aphroditos was found in Perachora, which suggests it was an archaic cult.

The deification and the origins of the cult of hermaphrodite beings stem from Eastern religions (see Ardhanarishvara – the composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvat), where the hermaphrodite nature expressed the idea of a primitive being that united both genders. This double sex also attributed to Dionysus and Priapus – the union in one being of the two principles of generation and conception – denotes extensive fertilizing and productive powers.

This Cyprian Aphrodite is the same as the later Hermaphroditos, which simply means Aphroditos in the form of a herm (see Hermae), and first occurs in the Characters (16) of Theophrastus.  After its introduction at Athens (probably in the 5th century BCE), the importance of this deity seems to have declined. It appears no longer as the object of a special cult, but limited to the homage of certain sects, expressed by superstitious rites of obscure significance.” [6]

 

 

Sources:

Hellenica, “Hermaphroditus“.

Myths Encyclopedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

Sita. A Witchy Life, “Weekly Deity: Hermaphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Hermaphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “HERMAPHRODITOS“.

Wikipedia, “Aphroditus“.

Wikipedia, “Metamorphoses“.

Wikipedia, “Salmacis (fountain)“.

The Gratiae

“Charites: Spring” by iizzard

“The Gratiae’s themes are the arts, creativity, honor, love, excellence and beauty.  Their symbols are sweet aromas, art (all), and wine.  The Gratiae are akin to the Greek Graces, who inspire all arts, from a dancer’s elegance, a model’s beauty, and a diplomat’s words to a terminal romantic’s loving presentation. They arrive as earth is blossoming to encourage a flood of creativity that leads to excellence. It is traditional to offer them the first draught of wine at a gathering to invoke their blessing and aid.

The Gratiae were present in spirit on this day in 1916 when the American Academy of Arts was signed by Woodrow Wilson to honour excellence in the industry. Toast the occasion with wine or grape juice, giving the first glass to these creative Ladies to encourage their energy to visit your home.

Wear a sweet-smelling perfume or cologne today as an aroma therapeutic supplication to the Gratiae. Each time you catch that fragrance it will motivate beauty in any of your artistic skills. Better still, through the aroma the Gratiae can attract the attention of potential lovers!

Consider stopping at an art exhibition today or doing something creative yourself (even coloring!). Otherwise, do a little decorating. Hang a new poster, put out some fresh flowers, rearrange your knickknacks in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. These kind of actions appeal to the Gratiae’s sense of style and tempt them to join you!”

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

“The Three Graces were Goddesses of gracefulness, the charms of beauty, and cheerful amusement (the characteristics of loveliness). They appear to have received these designations from the Greeks during the archaic and classical periods (5th to 8th centuries B.C.), and they were known most commonly at that time as the Three Charities. This appellation was later Latinized by the Romans occupying the formerly Greek regions in which they were worshiped, and this resulted in the designation by which western civilization knows them today, the Three Graces.

“The Three Graces” by Josephine Wall

Initially in Greek mythology they were seen as simple guardians of the vernal sweetness and beauty of nature, and only later as the friends and protectors of everything graceful and beautiful. Pindar has written about the Graces as the source of all decorum, purity of happiness in life, good will, and beneficence and gratitude among men. Beauty, sweetness, and the best charm of poetry are believed to come from the Graces. The Greeks believed that without gracefulness, all labor was in vain and meaningless. Hence, the three deities assisted Hermes (Mercury) in his capacity as the god of oratory. In all things they were characterized as the spreaders of joy and enhancers of enjoyment of life. Social intercourse, manners, and culture were their domain, and they were frequently the subject of artists and poets alike.

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1482) Left to right: Mercury, the Three Graces, Venus, Flora, Chloris, Zephyrus.

The Charities are not known for an independent mythological presence, that is, they are typically depicted and described in relationship to other gods and Goddesses in Greek mythology. Their strongest association is with Aphrodite (Venus), and it has been reported that they were present at Her birth.  While their earliest forms were less defined, they were generally represented in the form of young maidens and portrayed as dancing, singing, charming, and running or bathing in fountains, or decking themselves in flowers (the rose was their sacred flower as it was Aphrodite’s, and they were reputed to facilitate its growth and blossom). Their attributes also included the myrtle and dice (a symbol of cheerful amusement). They are depicted holding apples, perfume vases, ears of corn, heads of poppies, or musical instruments such as the lyre, flute, or syrinx.

The Graces in a 1st century fresco at Pompeii

During their early development they were occasionally shown clothed (mostly during the classical period in Greece), but since Hellenistic times they have been shown almost exclusively nude or wearing transparent gowns. The reason for such a display was to convey sincerity and candor, without disguise or pretense.

“The Three Graces” by Paul Vincenti

Their home was among the muses upon Mount Olympia. Usually Zeus is considered to be their father, but their mother has been believed to be Hera, Eurynome, Eunomia, Eurydomene, Harmonia, or Lethe. Others have indicated them to be daughters of Apollo and Aegle or Euanthe, or of Dionysus and Aphrodite or Coronis. However, they are most frequently thought of as offspring of Zeus and Eurynome (daughter of Oceanus). Although the Three Graces are often thought to be the sole attendants of Aphrodite, they are commonly presented beside the Muses and the four seasons (Horae). It has been said, while the Muses inspired, the Charities applied the artists products to the embellishment of life (author unknown). In addition to the Muses and seasons, other companions of the trio were Hera, Hermes, Eros, Aphrodite, and Apollo. In earlier times, Dionysus was also a companion until his worship turned to riotous celebration and drunkenness, behaviors incompatible with the more refined tastes of the Graces that advocated moderation in everything.” [1]

“They ordinarily numbered three, from youngest to oldest: Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”).  The Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to them.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancient Numismatic Mythology, “Three Graces Mythology“.

Wikipedia, “Charites“.

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kharites“.

Semele

“Semele’s themes are fertility, grounding, joy, playfulness, pleasure and youthfulness.  Her symbols are wine or grape juice and soil.  In Greek mythology, Semele is a young earth Goddess who, in mortal form, gave birth to the ever-exuberant party animal Dionysus (the god of wine).  Today Semele flows into our lives bringing spring’s zeal, joy, and playfulness carefully balanced with the exhortation to keep one foot firmly on terra firma. Semele’s name translates as ‘land’, giving Her additional associations with fertility and grounding.

Semele became a Goddess after insisting on seeing Zeus (Dionysus’ father) in his full glory. This killed Semele, but Zeus rescued Her from Hades and made Her a Goddess.

A three-day celebration began in Athens around this time to celebrate spring known as Antheseria. The first day of the observance was called the ‘opening of the casks’! So, if you have a favorite wine, today is definitely the time to take it out and enjoy it with some friends. Toast to Semele for giving the world a wine god who lives in every drop poured!

To ‘grow’ any of Semele’s virtues within yourself, find a small planter, some rich soil, and a flowering seed. Name the seed after that characteristic, and water it with a bit of wine or grape juice. If you use diligent care and maintain a strong focus on your goal, when the seed blossoms that energy should show signs of manifesting in your life.”

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

“Semele, [also known as Thyone], was the daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia.  She was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths.

In one version of the myth, Semele was a priestess of Zeus, and on one occasion was observed by Zeus as she slaughtered a bull at his altar and afterwards swam in the river Asopus to cleanse herself of the blood. Flying over the scene in the guise of an eagle, Zeus fell in love with Semele and afterwards repeatedly visited Her secretly. Zeus’ wife, Hera, a Goddess jealous of usurpers, discovered his affair with Semele when She later became pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in Her that Her lover was actually Zeus. Hera pretended not to believe Her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele asked Zeus to grant Her a boon. Zeus, eager to please his beloved, promised on the River Styx to grant Her anything She wanted. She then demanded that Zeus reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood. Though Zeus begged Her not to ask this, She persisted and he was forced by his oath to comply. Zeus tried to spare Her by showing Her the smallest of his bolts and the sparsest thunderstorm clouds he could find. Mortals, however, cannot look upon Zeus without incinerating, and She perished, consumed in lightning-ignited flame. Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus, however, by sewing him into his thigh (whence the epithet Eiraphiotes, ‘insewn’, of the Homeric Hymn). A few months later, Dionysus was born. This leads to his being called “the twice-born”. When he grew up, Dionysus rescued his mother from Hades, and She became a Goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by Her son Dionysus.” [1]

"Bacchanale" by Paul Jean Gervais

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Semele

 

Suggested Links:

Gill, N.S. About.com, “Semele

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Semele Thyone

Goddess Kore

Kore“Kore – Her theme’s are luck, cycles and youthful energy. Her symbols are coins, corn, the Number Seven, flower buds and pomegranate.  An aspect of Persephone before her marriage to Hades, this youthful Goddess motivates good fortune, zeal and a closer affinity to earth’s cycles during the coming months. Kore, whose name means ‘maiden’, is the youngest aspect of the triune Goddess. She was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, as beautiful as spring’s blossoms and as fragrant as its breezes. It was this beauty that inspired Hades to tempt her with a pomegranate, a symbol of eternal marriage. Because she ate the fruit, Persephone spends winter with Hades as his wife and returns to the earth in spring.

Traditionally, the Festival of Kore is celebrated on this day by the Greeks who carried an image of Kore around the temple seven times for victory, protection and good fortune. Since your home is your sacred space, consider walking clockwise around it seven times with any Goddess symbol you have (a round stone, vase or bowl will suffice). As you go, visualize every nook and cranny filled with the yellow-white light of dawn, neatly chasing away any lingering winter blues.

This is also Twelfth Night. Customarily, all holiday decorations should be down by now. This day marks winter’s passage and perpetuates Kore’s gusto and luck in your home year-round. Also consider carrying a little un-popped popcorn in your pocket to keep Kore’s zeal and vigour close by for when you need it.”

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

Patricia Monaghan wrote: “The most familiar ‘maiden’ goddess (for that is the meaning of her name) to bear this title in Greece was Persophone, but the term was also used of such nubile deities as Despoina, Athene, and Artemis.  Kore was the youngest form of the threefold goddess, the others being matron and crone.  As such, she represented the youthful earth, the fresh season of buds and flowers, and the fragrant breezes of springtime” (p. 183).

Thalia Took tells us that ”

Kore and Demeter are thought of as two faces of the same Goddess, and with Persephone, Kore’s name as Queen of the Underworld, they make up the classic Triple Goddess–Kore (whose name means simply “The Maiden”), Demeter (“Earth or Barley Mother”) and Persephone (“Destroyer of Light”), the Crone or death Goddess. Within Herself, the Goddess (and Woman) contains the whole cycle of life, from birth to death to rebirth.

An early form of Demeter or Kore as Underworld Goddess is the horse-headed black Goddess Melaina. Persephone is also sometimes called the daughter of the Underworld river Styx, and mother of Dionysos.

The journey of the Great Goddess through death and rebirth formed the basis of the famed cult of the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiatory rites to the Goddess held in the Greek city of Eleusis that were said to have been founded by the Goddess Herself. Over time the Mysteries became very popular and were considered a highly ethical ritual to take part in that promised eternal life after death. The mystery of Nature’s death and rebirth told through the tale of Demeter and Kore is a women’s mystery that was recognized as humanity’s mystery.

In a reading this card indicates that the situation is more complex than originally thought. Large patterns and cycles are at play here; it may help to keep in mind that things are cyclical and will come around. It can also represent finding your power in a bad situation–after Kore was carried off against Her will to the Underworld, She became its Queen.

Alternate names: Core, Cora, Persephone, Persephoneia, Persephassa”. [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Blueroebuck.com, “Kore“.

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