Tag Archive: ducks


Goddess Sequana

Artwork by John Shannon

“Sequana’s themes are wishes, youthfulness, luck, health, and movement.  Her symbols are ducks and boats.  A Celtic river Goddess, Sequana flows in with April showers, raining good health and improved fortunes upon us. Statuary of Her shows Sequana standing in a duck-shaped boat (the duck is Her sacred animal) with open arms ready to receive our prayers.

Children in France run merrily to the Rhine River around this date to launch miniature boats with candles inside. Each boat represents life’s voyage being filled with joy. Anyone finding a boat later may make a wish as they bring it to shore. This is a charming custom that you can re-create if you have a stream, river, pond or lake nearby. Or, fill a children’s pool with water. Make a wish to Sequana  as you launch your boat. Putting the boat on the water invokes Sequana’s happiness and motivational energy for achieving a personal goal. Coax the boat toward a friend or partner on the other side so they can make a wish!

If neither of these options works out, float a rubber ducky in your bathtub and soak in Sequana’s revitalizing waters. Add to the bath pantry herbs that match your goals. For wishes add sage, for youthful energy add rosemary, for luck, allspice, for health, fennel, and for movement, ginger. No time for a bath? Make these five herbs into a tea and quaff them to internalize Sequana’s powers for the day.”

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

In Gallo-Roman religion, Sequana  (pronounced sek-oo-ANN-a) was the Goddess of the river Seine, particularly the springs at the source of the Seine, and the Gaulish tribe the Sequani. Her name means “the fast-flowing one” and is also seen as Sequanna, Siquanna, and Secuana.

The springs, called the Fontes Sequanae (“The Springs of Sequana”) are located in a valley in the Châtillon Plateau, to the north-west of Dijon in Burgundy, and it was here, in the 2nd or 1st century BCE, that a healing shrine was established. Her waters were believed to heal physical infirmities, especially diseases of the eye.  “As in many other cases to be river-Goddess meant that you were strongly connected to a role as healer (see also for example Sulis)” [1].

This bronze figure of the Goddess Sequana was discovered in 1937.  The statue is some eighteen inches high. Photographer: DAVID ARNOLD/National Geographic Stock

The sanctuary was later taken over the by Romans, who built two temples, a colonnaded precinct and other related structures centered on the spring and pool and continued Her worship.  Many dedications were made to Sequana at Her temple, including a large pot inscribed with Her name and filled with bronze and silver models of parts of human bodies to be cured by Her. Wooden and stone images of limbs, internal organs, heads, and complete bodies were offered to Her in the hope of a cure, as well as numerous coins and items of jewellery. Respiratory illnesses and eye diseases were common. Pilgrims were frequently depicted as carrying offerings to the Goddess, including money, fruit, or a favorite pet dog or bird.  [2] [3]

“The only surviving image of Sequana is a large bronze statue of a woman draped in a Romanesque gown and with a diadem on Her head who stands on a boat, the prow of which was shaped like the head of a duck. This statue can now be seen in the Museé Archeologique de Dijon. Though duck lore is scarce in later Celtic writing it may be, by association with Sequana as a healing water Goddess that the duck was also associated with healing cults. Indeed, inscriptions at the site thanking Sequana for Her gift of healing conclusively prove that Fontes Sequanae was a healing center and Sequana Herself was a healing Goddess.

From other surviving inscriptions it would seem that Sequana’s sanctuary was usurped by Christianity and re-dedicated to a supposed male saint, St. Sequanus so that the healing cult of the Goddess continued, only in a different guise. The Goddess is also invoked as Siquanna at Saint-Germain-la-Feuille, Côte d’Or, France.” [4]

Sources:

DameBoudicca. Pride & Sensibility, “Goddess of the week – Sequana“.

Nemeton: The Sacred Grove, Home of the Celtic gods, “Sequana: A Gaulish Goddess, also known as Secuana, Siquanna: The Fast-flowing One“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sequana“.

Wikipedia, “Sequana“.

Suggested Links:

Dashu, Max. The Suppressed Histories Archives: real women, global vision, “Gaels and Gauls“.

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess.

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

Floyde, Marilyn. Burgundytoday.com,History of Burgundy – The Celts“.

Jackson, James Warren. James Warren Jackson’s Notes from Penhook, “Sequana, Celtic River Goddess“.

Luke, Coral.  This French Life, “The Mystery of the Goddess Sequana“.

Goddess Yemaja

“Yemaja’s themes are providence, blessing, luck and fertility.  Her symbols are fish, the color blue and the crescent moon.  Yemaja, the Nigerian Goddess of flowering water, bears a name that literally means ‘fish mother!’ As such, Yemaja generates providence and fertility, especially on the physical plane. In legends She gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon, and two streams of water that formed a lake. In art she’s often shown as a mermaid or a crescent moon, and Her favorite color is blue.

The name for the day is definitely fishy. Not surprisingly, new year festivities in Nigeria mark the beginning of the fishing season. Having a teeming net today portends prosperity for the rest of the season. So, what is it that you hope to catch today? Cast out your spiritual line to Yemaja for help in meeting or exceeding any goal.

To bite into a little luck, follow the example of Nigerian children. They make candies in fish shapes before this event, then dunk for them. The one to retrieve the most gets the most good fortune. Check out your local supermarket’s bulk candy section. Ours carries gummy fish that work very well for this activity.

Consider including some type of fish in your menu today (even canned tuna will do the trick). Eat it to internalize good luck and a little of Yemaja’s blessings.”

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

“Yemaya” by Sandra M. Stanton

Yemaya is the Yoruban Orisha, a very powerful nature spirit or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth.She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.

In Her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by Her son. After this She fled to a mountaintop and cursed Her son until he died. In Her sorrows She decided to take Her own life. As She died She gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when Her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.

Yemaya was brought to the New World with the African diaspora and She is now worshipped in many cultures besides Her original Africa. In Brazilian Candomblé, where She is known as Yemanja or Imanje, She is the Sea Mother who brings fish to the fishermen, and the crescent moon is Her sign. As Yemanja Afodo, also of Brazil, She protects boats travelling on the Sea and grants safe passage. In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-Goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale.

Yemaya rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokin (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, Goddess of the winds.

Our Lady of Regla in Brazil may be linked to Her, and She is equated elsewhere in the Americas with the Virgin Mary  as the Great Mother. In parts of Brazil She is honored as the Ocean Goddess at the summer solstice, while in the north east of the country Her festival is held on February 2nd (a day that is also associated with Her daughter Oya, as well as being the feast day of the Celtic Bride), with offerings of blue and white flowers cast into the Sea.

Yemaya’s colors are blue, turquoise and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. Since She is often  depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of Her. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is sacred to Her, also for the seven seas.

“Yamana” by Lisa Iris

Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life.

On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.

Alternate spellings: Yemanja, Yemojá, Yemonja, Yemalla, Yemana, Ymoja, Iamanje, Iemonja, Imanje

Epithets: Achabba, in Her strict aspect; Oqqutte in Her violent aspect: Atarmagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; Olokun or Olokum as Goddess of dreams

Also called: Mama Watta, “Mother of the Waters” [1] [2]

Symbols and Correspondences:

General: Ocean, rivers, mermaids, the Virgin Mary, New Year’s Eve, February 2, the North Star, half moon, rivers, dreams, pound cake, boats and ships, fans, sacred dance, the number 7

Animals: Fish, ducks, doves, peacocks, feathers, chickens, snakes, and all sea creatures

Plants: Oranges, tropical flowers, yams, grain, seaweed, other plants that grow in the ocean

Perfumes/scents: Scented soaps, raspberry, cinnamon, balsam

Gems and metals: Silver, pearls, mother of pearl, coral, moonstone, crystal quartz, turquoise, and any blue gem or bead

Colors: Sky blue, silver, white, green, and especially a blue dress with full skirt of 7 layers to represent ocean waves or the seven seas. [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Yemaya“.

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

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