Tag Archive: divination


Goddess Xi Hou

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“Xi Hou’s themes are kinship, longevity, unity, divination and weather. Her symbols are sunlight and gold dragons. As the Chinese mother of the sun, this Goddess joins our festivities today to celebrate Her child’s rebirth. Each morning, Xi Hou diligently bathes one of ten suns in the lake of creation so it can shine in purity, and then She puts it on top of the trees, where it’s received by a dragon chariot that moves the sun across the sky.

Consider following Chinese custom, and rejoice in the solstice by gathering in the kitchen with your housemates and leaving offerings of chopsticks, oranges, incense, and candles for unity and long life for all those gathered. Open a curtain to let the sun light flood in, than thank Xi Hou for Her child and its warmth. Also, at some point during the day, enjoy some Oriental-style dumplings (dim sum) for kinship.

Among the favorite activities today are weather prophecies. Go outside and see what direction the wind is coming from. An east wind portends trouble, west winds indicate the ripening of an effort or a good grain crop, south winds counsel watching your money, as the harvest will be poor (don’t invest in crop shares!), and north winds foretell bounty.

Red clouds reveal that your personal energy will wane and droughts may follow, black clouds predict floods, yellow clouds precede prosperity and abundant crops, and white clouds reveal arguments or war.”

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

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“Hsi-Ho” by Janet Hess

The Goddess Xi Hou (pronounced SHE-hoe) is the “mother of the ten suns; this ancient Chinese heroine created the calendar by selecting the order in which She would bathe Her children – thus establishing which day came before which.  After bathing the child in the sweet waters of the Kan Yuan Gulf, She hung the day’s sun in a mulberry tree and raised it into the sky” (Monaghan, p. 156).

Also seen as Xi He and Hsi-Ho (see my February 7th entry Goddess Hsi-Ho).

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Hsi-Ho”.

 

Suggested Links:

Cnculture.org, “Ho Yi Shoots down the Suns“.

Wikipedia, “Dōngzhì Festival“.

Goddess Fauna

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“Fauna” by Katrina Sesum

“Fauna’s themes are fertility, nature and divination. Her symbols are all forest items.  In Roman mythology, Fauna is the consort to Faunus, whom this date venerates. With Faunus, She protects the woodlands and plants that live there. While Her role in stories seems minor, Fauna’s power lives on in botanical terminology, Her name having been given to vegetation.

Faunus was a woodland god like Pan, who sends messages through the forests for those who know nature’s omens and signs. If at all possible, go to a natural location today (even a park or a quiet tree in your neighborhood will do) with a small libation of wine or milk, both of which are customary. Pour this on the ground, focusing on your intention to learn more about nature’s messages to us. Then spend at least twenty minutes observing.

Take notes as you do. Do the trees’ leaves seem to talk? Do they move in a specific way? Are birds taking flight? Where do they go? Do any drop feathers on the ground? Do any animals appear unexpectedly? If so, what does the creature do, and where does it go? All these things, and other similar experiences, can carry a sign meant to help you today or in the days ahead.”

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

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“Fauna” by Charlie Terrell

Thalia Took writes a very in-depth piece on Fauna that I’d like to share with you; she writes: “Fauna is an old Roman Goddess of Prophecy and Fruitfulness, with ties to the forest and fields and the animals found there. She is closely related to the God Faunus; She is variously His wife, sister, or daughter. Her name, like Faunus’s, is from the Latin faveo, ‘to befriend, support, or back up’, from which we get our ‘favor’; an alternate etymology is from fari, ‘to speak, talk, or say’, referring to Their powers of prophecy. Her name then could be variously translated as ‘She Who Favors’, ‘the Friendly One’, ‘the Speaker’, or even ‘She Who Has Your Back’. She was identified with the prophetic Goddess Fatua, again meaning, ‘the Speaker’, but with additional meanings of ‘She Who Speaks Prophecy’, or ‘the Oracle’.

Fauna’s origins are in Latium, the land of the Latins, the people of the area around Rome, and She is closely associated with them. According to yet another of the Roman stories glorifying the city’s origins, Fauna was one of the Hyperborians, who were believed to live far in the north (hyperboreas in the Greek literally means ‘beyond the North Wind’), and said to worship Apollo. She hooked up with the hero Hercules and as a result gave birth to a son Latinus, later a king of the Latins, and therefore a mythical ancestor of the Roman people and a claim to the famous blood of Hercules. Faunus was Her second husband, Whom She married after Hercules left Her (per his usual modus operandi). Other stories reverse that, making Faunus Her original husband, and then make Her relationship with Hercules an extramarital affair. Still other stories name Faunus as the father of Latinus, by the river nymph Marica, Who was Herself identified with Aphrodite, the Greek Love Goddess.

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“Courtesan” by *OtherworldCreations

In a similar vein, Fauna was sometimes judged to be a prostitute or courtesan; though this seems to be a late tale and may simply be a reaction to Her as a Goddess of Fertility. Her husband Faunus was sometimes said to be the same as the God Inuus, a God of sex, intercourse, and fertility, Whose name is supposedly from a Latin verb inire, ‘to copulate’; and since She is supposed to be the female equivalent of Faunus, that would make Her a Goddess of sex and copulation as well. Faunus was sometimes said to be the God for Whom the Lupercalia, a very old festival of purification and renewed fertility with strong sexual overtones, was celebrated; and two Faunalia, rural festivals of feasting and dancing, were celebrated to Them, on the Ides of February (the 13th, and in the old lunar calendar, the full moon) and the 5th of December.

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Art by Jonathon Earl Bowser

In other legends however, Fauna is known for Her chastity and modesty; She was said to never leave Her grove or let a man look upon Her, and no man was allowed in Her temple. These tales are associated with the Bona Dea, ‘the Good Goddess’, said to be a cult name of Fauna. The Bona Dea, called so because Her true name was considered too sacred to be spoken aloud, is a Goddess of women and healing Whose worship was exclusive to women, men being forbidden to participate in Her rites. Perhaps Her virginity or chastity was a way of explaining why She would not allow men in Her rituals, and was the Roman way of rationalizing a Goddess Who was purely concerned with women.

Far more is known of Faunus than Fauna; His tales may perhaps shed some light on Her attributes and personality. Faunus was a very popular and ancient God Who protected and watched over livestock and Who haunted fields and the forest. As a prophetic God, He used both dreams and His own disembodied voice to reveal the future, and had a shrine in Tivoli at the grove of Albunea where prophetic dreaming was practiced. Their father was usually said to be the prophetic God Picus; though Their mother is not mentioned, Picus was famous for His devotion to Canens, a forest nymph known for Her beautiful singing voice.

Though myth is not necessarily that straightforward about things, Canens and Faunus do have a bit in common as They were both known as ‘the Voice of the Woods’. Canens in turn is associated with the witch Kirke, as Kirke was also enamoured of Picus, though She couldn’t steal Him away from Canens; and Latinus is sometimes said to be the son of Kirke and the famous Greek traveller and all-around tricksy guy Odysseus, or his son Telemakhos.

In some legends told of the Bona Dea, Faunus does not treat Her well at all; in one, She is His daughter; He lusts after Her, and when She rejects Him, He gets Her drunk and beats Her with sticks of myrtle, and then rapes Her as a serpent. In another, He beats Her to death, again with myrtle branches, for the crime of drinking. These legends seem to have been created to explain why both myrtle and wine played a part in the rites of the Bona Dea; they also emphasize Faunus’s wild, untamed and dangerous nature. The names Fauna and Faunus ‘the Friendly One(s)’ may well have been placating names, to keep the worshipper on Their good sides, much like the fairies of Celtic lore are called ‘the Good Folk’, so as to prevent any harm they might do. Fauna and Faunus were known to travel with an entourage of fauns (yes, like Mr. Tumnus, though without the Christian/Aslanic associations), wild and mischevious spirits of the countryside, equated with the satyrs of the Greeks, and believed to cause nightmares. Faunus Himself was identified with the Greek Pan, the Wild God par excellence.

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“Fauna of a wood” by ~Selenaart

It would seem, then, that Fauna represents the thin line separating the wild from the untamed, as Goddess of both the dark mysterious forest and the cultivated fields, and Her very name is now used to refer to the animal kingdom, the fauna, (as opposed to the plant kingdom, called flora). As the Bona Dea was worshipped exclusively by women, Fauna is a Goddess of the wild sexuality of women, specifically sexual intercourse itself as an expression of the Life Force, and also of fertility (the latter was after all, until modern times and the invention of reliable contraception, a common result of the former). She brings prophecy through dreams and the voices of the wild places, and Her association with dreams and nightmares again connects to humanity’s dark and untamed nature. Several of the other Goddesses She is connected with were known as sorceresses and healers, such as Kirke and the Bona Dea (and by extension Angitia), which would make magic and healing another of Her attributes. All these Goddesses—The Bona Dea (and so majestic Maia as well) Angitia, Albunea, Canens, Marica, and even Kirke, whichever native Goddess She stands in for—can perhaps be thought of a constellation of related Goddesses of wild, magical, and sexual natures, possibly originally springing from the same source.” [1]

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“Fauna” by ~Bizenghast

According to Judika Illes, “In addition to secret, mystic rites, Fauna was also very publicly a Goddess of physical healing.  The sick were tended to in Her temple’s garden of medicinal herbs, essentially a sacred hospital.  In Rome, snakes were associated with healing in general, but especially with women’s reproductive health.  Snakes, Fauna’s sacred creature, were housed in Her temple gardens.

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“Fatidica” by Lord Leighton

Iconography: Fauna is portrayed seated upon a throne, holding a cornucopia.

Creature: Snake

Element: Earth

Day: December 4th commemorates the anniversary of Her Mystery.

Offerings: There is controversy as to whether wine is forbidden from Fauna’s rites.  One theory is that, because wine was once taboo for Roman women, any wine brought into Fauna’s temple was euphemistically called ‘milk’.  Alternatively, the legend goes that wine and myrtle were banned because Faunus once got drunk and beat Fauna with a myrtle branch.  That may be a euphemism for the myth in which Faunus rapes his daughter (who may also be his consort).” [2]

Alternate spellings: Faula; Fatuai seems to be Her Oscan name.

Also called: Fatua, Fatuella; She was called Damia at Tarentum (a city originally founded by Greek colonists), a name that refers to the secret sacrifice made to the Bona Dea.” [3]

Sources:

Illes, Judika. The Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Fauna“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Fauna“.

Suggested Links:

Ladyoftheabyss. Witchesofthecraft.com, “Earth Goddesses – FAUNA“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “The Bona Dea“.

Wikipedia, “Fauna (goddess)“.

Goddess Istustaya

“Istustaya’s themes are divination, communication (with the Divine) and destiny. Her symbols are sacred dance, circles, mirrors and thread.  In Anatolia this Goddess rules over all matters of fate and is an adept diviner, often using a mirror for descrying so She can share insights into our future. Besides this, She personally weaves the thread of life for each person born, patterning his or her destiny.

The Mevlana is celebrated by the Whirling Dervishes in Turkey as a ritual dance through which the devout attains oneness with the Divine, often for the purpose of fortune-telling. The festival includes chanting while dancers twirl around, effectively becoming the center of a magical circle formed by their skirts. So, if you hold a ritual today, use yarn or thread to mark the sacred space, with a mirror and your preferred divinatory tool on the altar to honor Istustaya. Dance clockwise around the circle, or your home, before attempting any divinatory effort. This draws the Goddess’s vision into your spirit.

If you want to try mirror descrying specifically to venerate Istustaya, sit somewhere comfortable with a candle behind the mirror. Dab a little sandalwood oil in the surface, rubbing it clockwise. Let your eyes un-focus and wait to see what images appear in the reflected light and oil. These may be symbolic or literal in nature. A dream interpretation guide may help in figuring out the meaning.”

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

“Goddess of The Sea” by xxstarslayerxx

All I could find on today’s Goddess states that “Istustaya [was one of] two Goddesses of destiny with Hattian origin in Hittite religion.

The task of Istustaya and Papaya is to spin the tread of life, especially the one of the king. They sit at the shores of the Black Sea. After Telipinu’s return they take part on the conference of gods.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Istustaya and Papaya“.

 

Suggested Links:

Bryce, Trevor. Life and Society in the Hittite World.

McMahon, Gregory; Gary M. Beckman; & Richard Henry Beal. Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

Taracha, Piotr. Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia.

Wikipedia, “Istustaya and Papaya“.

Goddess Aine

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“Aine’s themes are protection, healing, The Spark of Life, divination, luck, fertility, earth and the moon. Her symbols are moon (lunar items), silver & white items and meadowsweet.  This Celtic Goddess of the moon shines on today’s celebration, Her name meaning ‘bright’. Aine has strong connections with the land. Her blessing ensures fertile fields. She also gives luck to mortals and keeps us healthy.

Dating back to the 1400s, Zibelemärit, an onion festival, takes place in Bern, Switzerland. It includes several parades with intricate mechanical figurines and a huge harvest festival with – you guessed it – tons of onions!   Magically speaking, onions are closely related to Aine because of their lunar appearance. According to metaphysical traditions, carrying or growing onions grants safety and banishes negativity.

A freshly cut onion rubbed on sores, bug bites, or scratches restores Aine’s healthy energy by gathering the problem and taking it away. Bury or burn this slice to dispel the problem altogether.

One great (and tasty) way to invoke Aine, improve well-being, and improve your lunar attributes is by making and eating onion soup (or any other onion dish) today. Use red, Spanish, white, and cooking onions along with chives. By heating and blending them, you mix the magic to perfection. Stir clockwise, whispering Aine’s name into to soup so she abides in each vitality-laden sip.”

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

Art by Briar

Art by Briar

Aine (pronounced AW-neh) was one of the very ancient and powerful Goddesses of sovereignty in Ireland. She was a fertility Goddess in that She had control and command over crops and animals and encouraged human love.  ”One of the great Goddesses of ancient Ireland survives in modern times as the queen of the fairies of south Munster, the southwest corner of the island, who is said to haunt Knockainy Hill there.  Originally Aine was a sun Goddess who assumed the form of Lair Derg (‘red mare’), the horse that none could outrun.  Her special feast was Midsummer Night, when farmers carried torches of straw in procession around Knockainy and waved them over the cattle and the fields for protection and fruitfulness.

Two stories are told of Aine.  In one, She was the daughter of an early Irish god [Egobail, foster son of Manannan mac Lir; while some versions say She was daughter or wife of Manannan mac Lir] and was infatuated with the semidivine hero Fionn.  She had taken a geasa (magical vow) that She would never sleep with a man with gray hair, but Fionn was young with no silver streaking his bushy hair.  One of Aine’s sisters, Miluchrach, was also interested in Fionn: She enchanted a lake and tempted Fionn to take a dip.  When the hero emerged from the magic waters, his body was still youthful and strong, but his hair was stained gray.  True to Her geasa, Aine thereafter scorned the hero” (Monaghan, p. 37).

“In early tales She is associated with the semi-mythological King of MunsterAilill Aulom, who is said to have ‘ravished’ Her, an affair ending in Áine biting off his ear – hence ‘Aulom’, meaning ‘one-eared’. By maiming him this way, Áine rendered him unfit to be King, thereby taking away the power of sovereignty.” [1]  ”After the rape Áine swore vengeance on Ailill and eventually contrived his death. This story is about what happens when a ruler decides to rape the Land rather than enter into a marriage with Her. Áine knows the energies of a righteous vengeance quite intimately. She said:
I’ll have you been to me, to have done me violence and to have killed my father. To requite this I too will do you violence and by the time we are done I will leave you with no means of reprisal. *
The descendants of Aulom, the Eóganachta, claim Áine as an ancestor.” [2]

“Lady of the lake” by *oloferla

“Lady of the lake” by *oloferla

“In another story, Gerald, the human Earl of Desmond, captured Aine while She was combing Her hair on the banks of Her sacred lake (thought to be based on the story of Ailill Aulom).  Aine bore the first Earl Fitzgerald to the man, but made Gerald promise never to express surprise at the powers his son might develop.  All went well for many years until one day when Gerald saw his son jump into and out of a bottle.  He could not contain an exclamation of shock and the boy disappeared, flying away in the shape of a wild goose.  Disappointed in Her human mate, Aine disappeared into Knockainy, where She is said to still live in a splendid castle” (Monaghan, p. 37).  ”Thus the FitzGeralds also claim an association with Áine; despite the French-Norman origins of the clan, the FitzGeralds would become known for being ‘More Irish than the Irish themselves.’” [2]

“She is credited for giving meadowseet its delicate scent.   Some also claim that She was a minor moon Goddess, or that Her identity may have later become merged with the Goddess Anu.” [3]  She is also associated with the Morrigan (probably by means of Anu – as Anu is one of the Goddesses that makes up the trinity along with Badb and Macha to form the Morrigan; or perhaps the Lair Derg (‘red mare’) and Macha).  The feast of Midsummer Night was held in her honor. In County Limerick, She is remembered in more recent times as Queen of the fairies.

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ASSOCIATIONS:
Pantheon: Celtic
Element: Air
Direction: Northwest
Planets: Sun, moon
Festivals: Midsummer/Summer Solstice
Sacred Animals: Red mare, rabbit, swan   [4]
Colors: Red, gold, green, blue, and tan
Representations: Hay, straw, fire
Stones/Incense: Bloodstone, dragonsblood, fairy dust

HERBS, TREES & FUNGI:
Healing : AngelicaBalm,  BlackberryCowslipElderFennelFlaxGarlicGoat’s RueMugwort,NettleOak
Fertility : HawthornMistletoeOak
Prosperity : AlfalfaAshElder
Protection : AgrimonyAngelicaAshBirchBlackberryBladderwrackBroomElderFennel,FlaxHollyLavenderMallowMistletoeMugwortNettleOakParsley            [5]

 

 

 

 

* “To me this is a warning about what the Land will eventually do to us all if we continue on the path of resource rape, and environmental poisoning that our current society follows. Áine will protect Herself.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Cetictale.com, “Áine“.

Gods-heros-myth.com, “The Goddess Aine“.

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

Yourinnergoddess.net, “Aine“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Aine“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Áine {Goddess of the Week}“.

Áine.com

Ancientworlds.net, “Cnoc Áine“.

Faeryhealing.com, “The Faery Healing Goddesses“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Aine and Her Midsummer Lavender Cookies“. – for the kitchen witches ;)

Jarvis, Lana. Goddessalive.co.uk, “AINE: Goddess of Midsummer, Goddess of the People“.

Journal of a Poet, “Aine, Irish Love Goddess and Faerie Queen“.

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “Unveiling the Celtic Goddess, Aine“.

Kynes, Sandra. Kynes.net, “Pilgrimage to Ireland“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Matrifocus.com, “The Stone Heart of Summer“.

Talkwiththegoddess.wordpress.com, “Goddess Card Dec. 5“.

Indigoreadingsblog.blogspot.com, “Today’s Reading – Aine“.

Goddess Dou Mou

“Dou Mou’s themes are death, ghosts, divination and health. Her symbols are the sun, moon and stars. Dou Mou is the Chinese Goddess of the North Star. To this day, people invoke Dou Mou to protect spirits of departed loved ones and to safeguard the living from sickness. From Her heavenly domain between the sun and the moon, Dou Mou records each birth and death, and she is the patroness of fortune-tellers.

In mid-November, the Chinese celebrate the last of three festivals for the dead. Today they burn clothing for departed loved ones to keep them from death’s chill, along with money and other gifts that the smoke delivers.

If there’s someone you’d like to send a message to on the other side, burn it. Dou Mou will transport it to their attention.

Because of today’s focus on death and divination, you might wish to go to a medium today or try a fortune-telling method that uses spirits guides (like the Ouija).

***The only caution here is to invoke Dou Mou before you proceed, so only spirits that have your best interest at heart will respond!!!
Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door open to strangers, let the Goddess stand firmly between you and the spirit realm.

To generate Dou Mou’s protection for your health, wear silver and gold or white and yellow items today (representing the sun and the moon). Or dab yourself with lemon and lime juice for a similar effect.”

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

This is another name for the Goddess Tou Mou, whom I did an entry on back on April 13.  You can click here to read my entry on Her.

 

 

Suggested Links:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tou Mu“.

Taoist Resources, “Constellation Mother“.

Taoistsecret.com, “Goddess of the Northern Star“.

Vabien. Vabien’s Deities Site, “The Mother of Taoism – Dou Mu Yuan Jun“.

Werner, E.T.C. Myths & Legends of China, ”Goddeses of the North Star“.

 

Goddess Nisaba

“Egyptian Girl with Snakes” by Frances Bramley Warren

“Nisaba’s themes are creativity, communication, excellence, inspiration, Universal Law, divination and dreams. Her symbols are pens, computers, books and snakes (Her sacred animal).  In Sumerian tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘She who teaches the decrees’, referring specifically to imparting divine laws to humankind. In order to communicate these matters effectively, Nisaba invented literacy, and She uses creative energy to inspire scribes. Besides this, Nisaba is an oracular Goddess, well gifted in dream interpretation.

Since 1928, this day, Author’s Day, has been observed as a time to honor authors who have contributed to American literature and encourage new writers in their talents. If you’re an aspiring author, today’s definitely the time to submit a poem, article, or manuscript, invoking Nissaba’s on it before sending it out.  Also, take a moment to ask Nisaba to empower all your pens, pencils, resource books, computer, and so on, so that all your future writing efforts will be more successful and fulfilling.

For those who don’t consider authorship a forte, you can ask Nisaba to give you a symbolic dream instead.

Put a marigold, rose, or onion peel under your pillow to help with this, and keep a dream journal or tape recorder handy. Immediately upon waking, record any dream you recall. Then go to a favored dream guide, and whisper the Goddess’s name before looking up interpretations.”

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

Patricia Monaghan writes: “‘She who teaches the decress’ of divinity to humans, this Goddess brought literacy and astrology to a Sumerian king on a tablet inscribed with the names of the beneficent stars.  An architect as well, She drew up temple plans for Her people; She was also an oracle and dream interpreter.  The most learned of deities, this snake Goddess also controlled the fertility of Her people’s fields” (p. 231).

Nisaba’s “sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, She appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of corn and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and Her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two Goddess may be one and the same. Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same Goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta.

In some other tales, She is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built Her a school of learning so that She could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, She and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where She gives commands and keeps temple records.

The Goddess of writing and teaching, She was often praised by Sumerian scribes. Many clay-tablets end with the phrase “Nisaba be praised” to honor the Goddess. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, She was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over Her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced Her.

As the Goddess of knowledge, She is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to Her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with Her sister Ninsina. She is also associate with grain, reflecting Her association with an earth Goddess mother.” [1]

Also seen as Nissaba, Nidaba, Nanibgal, and Nunbarshegunu (lady whose body is dappled barley).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Nisaba“.

Wikipedia, “Nidaba“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Nisaba {Goddess of the Week}“.

Artesia. Goddessschool.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Wise Woman and Mother Goddess“.

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, “Nisaba“.

Etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk, “A Hymn to Nisaba (Nisaba A): translation“.

Gatewaystobabylon.com, “Nabu“.

Lambert, Wilfred G. Babylonian Wisdom Literature, “Nisaba and Wheat“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1, “Nisaba of Eresh: Goddess of Grain, Goddess of Writing“.

Robson, Eleanor. Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystalvaults.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Knowledge Goddess“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Eastern Mediterranean“.

Tudeau, Johanna. Oracc.museum.upenn.edu, “Nidaba (goddess)“.

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

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

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

The Celtic Moon month of Reed prompts you to withdraw from the outer world, to look within yourself and reconnect with the past.

The celebration of Samhain, now known as Halloween, occurs during the Reed Moon.  To the Celts this month hailed the end of the year, a time to cull the livestock and to connect with ancestors.  All around the world festivals that honor the dead are celebrated.  During the Reed Moon, light a candle for loved ones who have died and you may receive a message from the spirit world.

Releasing Old Energy

The Reed Moon is a good time to use divination to gain insights into the year that has passed.  Perform spells that will release old energy, and burn symbols of illness and negativity in your bonfire on Halloween.  Remember the Celtic year does not begin until the Winter Solstice, so use this interval to dream not to make plans for the future.

THE HAUNTING SOUND OF REED

In the past, the reed was used to make swift-flying arrow shafts that slew both enemies and game.  In this way the plant was linked to the season of death and sacrifice, in which trees shed their leaves and the energy of nature became more introspective.  Many early musical instruments also used the reed to create a haunting sound that has been connected to rites for the dead and summoning the spirits.

Wind Instruments

Modern-day wind instruments have developed from the same principle used by original reed instruments, whereby a current of air is vibrated to produce a melodic sound.

Other traditional uses for reed include thatching.  Rooftops were thatched with reeds, and as the Celts withdrew into their homes for the winter they honored the plant that gave them shelter, making the reed a symbol of royalty and protection.

 

In the depth of winter, you need to recharge.  As you tend to stay indoors a lot during the cold season, this is a good time to both focus on and bless your home.

REED MOON MAGIC

Harness the power of the plant of protection and divination during this lunar month.  Using Reed magic can help you to connect with your ancestral roots or let go of the past.

Ancestor Spirit Altar

Use this ancestral ritual to connect with your ancestors and other loved ones who have crossed to the spirit world.

You Will Need:

  • Ancestral images
  • Three white candles
  • Flowers

You may choose to use a pentagram as the symbol of your spiritual tradition

First, place the ancestral images on a table, with flowers and candles.  Light each candle in turn and offer after each in the following order.

Candle one:

I honor the Ancestors of my Blood.

Candle two:

I honor the Ancestors of my Heart.

Candle three:

I honor the Ancestors of my Tradition.

Meditate, letting images peacefully drift through your mind, and ask for a sign that your loved ones are still with you in spirit.

 

Protection Charm

Use this reed charm to protect yourself from negativity.

You Will Need:

  • Freshly cut reed
  • A black ribbon

1.  Visualize yourself within a circle of white light.

2.  Tie a knot in a freshly cut reed, as it will be more flexible, and then say, “Royal Reed, plant of protection, keep me safe until the new year.”

3.  Suspend the knotted reed from the ceiling using the black ribbon.

4.  At Christmas, take it down and burn it.

 

Samhain Reed Spell

If you need help in letting go of something from your past, use a little reed magic at Samhain (October 31).

You Will Need:

  • Knife
  • Pen
  • Sea salt
  • Matches
  • Fireproof dish

1.  Go to a spot along the river bank where reeds grow tall and strong.

2.  Sprinkle sea salt on the surface of the water and say, “River of birth, river of death, I honor you.  Please accept this offering.”

3. Now choose a reed, cut it, and carefully draw a symbol, or write a word, to represent what you wish to release on the reed.

4.  Light the reed in the fireproof dish and, as it burns, visualize the old energy being transformed into light and disappearing.

5.  Once the reed has burned away, pour the ashes into the water and walk away, feeling fully cleansed of the past.

 

Traditional Magic

  • Try bringing some reed magic into your life with these traditional rituals:
  • Leap over a small bonfire to leave behind the old year.
  • Eat an apple at Samhain at midnight to dream of your spirit guide.
  • Carve out a turnip or pumpkin as a lantern of protection.
  • Bury an apple at a crossroads as an offering to the spirits of the dead.
  • Use the runes for divination or to gain insight into your current situation.

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  16.

 

 

Suggested Link:

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Reed“.

The Goddess Tree, “Reed“.

Goddess Iðunn

“Apples of Idhun” by ~AmaranthusCaudatus

“Iðunn’s themes are love, divination, dreams and longevity. Her symbols are apples. This Teutonic Goddess of longevity and love was born of flowers and lives in Asgard, protecting the magical apples of immortality. The wife of Bragi (Bragi is the son of Odin and Gunnlöð, conceived when Gunnlod bartered the mead of inspiration for three nights with Odin [1]), a poetic god, She joins in today’s festival, Allantide, with Her apples and Bragi’s kind words to ensure lasting love.

Follow Cornwall customs. Polish an apple today, sleep with it under your pillow, and ask Iðunn to bring you sweet dreams of love. At dawn, rise without speaking to anyone and go outside. The first person you see is said to be a future spouse (or friend, for those who are already married).

All types of apple magic are suited to this day. Peel an apple while thinking of a question and toss it over your shoulder. Whatever symbol or letter the peel forms represents your answer. Eat the apple, then try composing some love poems for that special someone in your life!

Drink apple juice first thing in the morning, blessing it in Iðunn’s name, to improve your communications with all your loved ones. Enjoy a slice of apple pie at lunch to bring sweetness to your relationships and improve self-love. Come dinner, how about a side of applesauce to keep relationships smooth and empowered by Iðunn’s staying power?”

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

“Idun and the Apples” by J. Doyle Penrose.

“Iðunn (pronounced EE-doon) is the daughter of the Duergar Ivaldi, and a Valkyrie named Hildegun (Her name means ‘battle’ or ‘war’). Hildegun was abducted by Ivaldi when She was young and later had at least two children by him (one source mentions Idunna having a brother). It is interesting that Idunna both bears the apples of inspiration and youth, and married a god of musicians and poets while being the child in part, of one of the Duergar. This is a Divine race very often associated with craftsmanship and by extension creativity.” [1]  A great combination, right?

“In the Scandinavian eddas, this Goddess performed the same function as Hebe did for the Greeks: She fed the gods magical food that kept them young and hale.  The Norse gods and Goddesses were not immortal; they relied on Iðunn’s magical apples to survive.  But once the evil Loki let Iðunn and Her apples fall into the hand of the enemies of the gods, the giants who lived in the fortress of Jötunheimr.  The diviniteies immediately began to age and weaken.  Charged with reclaiming the Goddess of youth and strength, Loki flew to Jötunheimr in the form of a falcon, turned Iðunn into a walnut, and carried Her safely home” (Monaghan, p. 160).

“There is also some scholarly speculation that Idun and Sága might be one and the same” [2] though I haven’t been able to locate the scholarly evidence to back up this claim.

 

 

Sources:

Krasskova, Galina. Northernpaganism.org, “What We Know About Iduna“.

Ladysaga.tripod.com, “Idun“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Guerber, H.A. Levigilant.com, “Chapter 7. Idun. Myths of Northern Lands“.

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Idunna/Iðunn” (p. 56 – 59).

She-wolf-night.blogspot.com, “Hidden Within the Norse Gods – Part I“.

Wikipedia, “Iðunn“.

Goddess Gaia

“Magic Mountain” by Hans-Peter Kolb

“Gaia’s themes are abundance, providence, thankfulness, nature, divination, promises and the earth. Her symbols are harvested foods (especially fruit and grains) and soil. In Greek tradition, Gaia stretched out at the beginning of time, becoming the earth’s land. In this form, She continues to give life and sustenance to all things that dwell in and on the planet, even when the cold weather tries to steal away that life. So sacred are Gaia’s soils that any promise made with one hand on the earth is irrevocable. The oracle at Delphi belonged to Gaia before Apollo took over, giving Her the additional attribute of prophesy.

The Thanksgiving theme among Canadians is much the same as in the United States; it’s a time of expressing gratitude to the earth and the heavens for their ongoing providence.  Enjoy a robust feast of harvested edibles today to internalize Gaia’s blessings and foresight. Remember to give thanks to the creatrix of your feast before eating!  Also consider following Greek custom by leaving Gaia an offering of barley, honey, or cakes in an opening in the earth. This show of gratitude inspires Gaia’s fertility in the coming months and years.

To help keep yourself true to a promise, carry a few pinches of soil with you in a sealed container today. If you sense your resolve waning, release a little back to Gaia. This invokes Her strength and sense of duty.”

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

“Breath of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

“In the beginning, the Greeks said, there was only formless chaos: light and dark, sea and land, blended in a shapeless pudding.  Then chaos settled into form, and that form was the huge Gaia, the deep-breasted one, the earth.  She existed before time began, for Time was one of Her children.  In the timeless spans before creation, She existed, to Herself and of Herself alone.

“Giants of Gaia” by Diana Elizabeth Stanley

But finally Gaia desired love, and for this purpose She made Herself a son: Uranus, the heaven, who arched over his Mother and satisfied Her desire.  Their mating released Gaia’s creative force, both marvelous and monstrous.  Uranus hated and envied Gaia’s other children, so the primeval Mother kept them hidden from his destructiveness.

Eventually, however, Her dark and crowded womb grew too heavy to endure.  So Gaia created a new element: gray adamant.  And from it She fashioned a new tool, never known before: a jagged-toothed sickle. With this Gaia armed Her son Cronos (Time), who took the weapon from his Mother’s hand and hid himself.

“The Mutiliation of Uranus by Saturn” by Giorgio Vasari & Cristofano Gherardi

Soon, Uranus came, drawing a dark sky-blanket over himself as he approached to mount his Mother-Lover. Then his brother-son Cronos sprang into action, grasping Uranus’ genitals and sawing them off with the rough blade. Blood fell in a heavenly rain on Mother Gaia.  So fertile was that even the blood of the mutilated sky impregnated Her.  The Erinyes sprang up; so did the Giants; and so did the ash-tree nymphs, the Meliae, humanity’s ancestors (and, in some stories, by throwing Uranus’ testicles into the sea, they caused the sea to foam and out of that white foam rose Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty).

This was the familiar creation story that the ancient Greeks told their children.  Even after the earth mother had been supplanted as the primary divinity by invading Olympians, the Greeks worshiped Gaia’s power with barley and honey cakes placed at sacred openings in Her surface.  At such fissures, too, gifted people would read the will of the Great Mother, for She was through all ages the “primeval prophet” who inspired the oracles at Delphi, Dodona, and elsewhere.  And it was to Gaia – even in the days when Zeus ruled the pantheon – that the Greeks swore their most sacred oaths, thus recognizing Her ancient theological sovereignty” (Monaghan, p. 131).

“Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Tellus.

Many Neopagans worship Gaia. Beliefs regarding Gaia vary, ranging from the belief that Gaia is the Earth to the belief that She is the spiritual embodiment of the earth, or the Goddess of the Earth.

“Spring I – Gaia” by ~SargonX

Gaia’s name was revived in 1979 by James Lovelock, in Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth; his Gaia Hypothesis was supported by Lynn Margulis. The hypothesis proposes that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shapes the Earth’s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions. Further books by Lovelock and others popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, which was widely embraced and passed into common usage as part of the heightened awareness of environmental concerns of the 1990s.” [1]

Here’s a quote that I’d love to leave you with by Sir James Lovelock from Ages of Gaia:

“What if Mary is another name for Gaia?
Then her capacity for virgin birth is no miracle,
it is a role of Gaia since life began.
She is of this Universe and, conceivably,
a part of God. On Earth, she is the source
of life everlasting and is alive now;
she gave birth to humankind
and we are part of her.”

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Gaia (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Auralia. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Gaia“.

Goddessgift.com, “Mother Gaia’s Healing Chicken Soup” – for the kitchen witches out there 😉

Greekmedicine.net, “Greek Mythology: Gaia – Mother Earth, Mother Nature“.

Green-agenda.com, “Home“. (* This site actually seems to state that the modern green movement has some type of nefarious agenda of sorts, but it lists some awesome quotes that I wanted to share.)

Lash, John Lamb. Metahistory.org, “TAKE BACK THE PLANET: A Review of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009)“. (A movie I thoroughly enjoyed!)

Livingstone, Glenys. Matrifocus.com, “Beltane/Samhain @ EarthGaia“.

Mythagora.com, “Gaia

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Gaia: dose up on mama love“.

Sozaeva, Katy. Voices.yahoo.com, “Gaia – Goddess Worship and Understanding Our World from a Feminine Perspective“.

Theoi.com, “Gaia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Gaea“.

 

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