Tag Archive: excellence


Goddess Samjuna

“Ushas” by Lisa Hunt

“Samjuna’s themes are knowledge, learning, excellence and reason. Her symbols are walnuts (the mind). In Hindu tradition, this Goddess is the source of all conscious thought and action. Her name even means ‘consciousness’, and She is the patroness of learning, reason, logic and knowledge.

Every year at this time, the Nobel Prize is awarded for mastery in chemistry, medicine, literature and peace keeping. It is a time to revel in humankind’s achievements and limitless potential for good, motivated by Samjuna’s gentle leadings.

To honor this Goddess and the people who have achieved the pinnacle of what She represents, spend time enriching your mind today. For instance, you might read field manuals applicable to your career to advance your knowledge, watch educational television; go to a library, and perhaps donate to its shelves some old books that you no longer read; organize a local reading group for improved literary appreciation; or turn off the television and engage in intelligent conversation for mutual edification. The options here are limitless.

For a Samjuna charm that improves conscious awareness and your reasoning powers, carry a shelled walnut today. The shape of this nut equates to the mind. Eat this at the end of the day to internalize her power for thoughtful actions.”

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

Surya and Sanjana

According to Patricia Monaghan, “‘Knowledge’ was the Indian wife of the sun [Surya], whose brilliance finally so tired Her that Samjuna hid in the wilderness disguised as a mare, leaving behind a replica of Herself [Chhaya or Savarna].  But he discovered Her ruse and transformed himself into a stallion to seek Her and, finding Her, to have intercourse with Her.  From this union came the twin gods of agriculture , the horse-headed Aswins.  Samjuna agreed to return to the sky with the sun god, but first She had Her father [Vishwakarma] trim away some of the sun’s rays to diminish his brightness.  From the extra pieces of the sun were fashioned the weapons of other gods”  (p. 272).

“The Goddess Within Painting” by Louise Green

“Saranya, or Saraniya (also known as Saranya, Sanjna, or Sangya) is the wife of Surya, and a Goddess of the dawn and the clouds in Hindu mythology, and is sometimes associated with Demeter, Greek Goddess of agriculture. According to Max Müller and A. Kuhn, Demeter is the mythological equivalent of the Sanskrit Saranyu, who, having turned Herself into a mare, is pursued by Vivasvat, and becomes the mother of Revanta and the twin Asvins, the Indian Dioscuri (the Indian and Greek myths being regarded as identical). She is also the mother of Manu, the twins Yama and Yami. According to Farnell, the meaning of the epithet is to be looked for in the original conception of Erinys, which was that of an earth-Goddess akin to Ge, thus naturally associated with Demeter, rather than that of a wrathful avenging deity. [1]

“She is considered as the Goddess who gave birth to all animals.  She is also thought to be the Vedic Mare Goddess.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Indianetzone.com, “Saranyu“.

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

Wikipedia, “Saranyu“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks.com, “Gods and Goddesses of Ancient India“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Saranyu: the Runaway Horse Goddess: Part I” & “Saranyu: the Runaway Horse Goddess: Part II“.

Wikipedia, “Chhaya“.

Goddess Naru-Kami

“Zeus Bolt” by hellsign

“Naru-Kami’s themes are offerings, excellence and the arts. Her symbols are needles, thunder & lightning and trees. In Japan this Goddess embodies the odd combination of weather magic and artistic inspiration. Perhaps this is how we come by the phrase ‘struck by lightning’ to describe a flash of creativity. In local tradition, any place hit by lightning is thereafter sacred to Naru-Kami. She is also the patroness of trees.

Participants in the Hari-kuyo [which actually takes place in February…], known as the Mass for Broken Needles, honor the ancient art of sewing by bringing broken or bent needles into temples and later consigning them to the sea with thankfulness.

We can translate this observance into a blessing for any creative tool, be it a paintbrush, clay, a musical instrument or even a computer! Take the item and wrap it in green paper (which comes from this Goddess’s sacred trees). Leave it on your altar or in your workroom for the day so Naru Kami can fill it with her inspiring energy.

For those who sew, crochet or knit, definitely take out your needles today and leave them in a special spot with an offering for the Goddess, cakes or tofu being customary. At the end of the day, take these up and use them in your craft to honour Naru Kami and commemorate this holiday with your skills.”

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

Patricia Monaghan says that “the Japanese thunder Goddess was the protector of trees and the ruler of artisans.  Wherever She threw a bolt, that place was afterward considered sacred” (p. 227).  All the other sources I could find pretty much stated the same information.

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Naru-Kami”.

 

Suggested Links:

Disano, Adriana. Helium.com, “An overview of Japanese goddesses“.

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 Srinmo

“Srinmo’s themes karma, Universal Law, excellence, sports and cycles. Her symbols are the wheel and boomerang. In Tibet, this Goddess holds the Great Round, a cosmic wheel upon which the movement of human life is recorded with each thought, word, and deed. Srinmo’s demonic visage represents the human fear of death and reminds that one should strive for good in this life for the beauty it brings now and n our next incarnation.

In Virginia, the Boomerang Festival is a festival of skill centering on the ancient boomerangs believed to have been used originally by the Egyptians.

Metaphysically speaking, the boomerang’s movement represents the threefold law and Srinmo’s karmic balance (i.e., everything you send out returns to you thrice).
To give yourself a greater understanding of this principle, or to recognize the cycles in your life that may need changing, carry any round object today, such as a coin. Put it in your pocket, saying

‘What goes around comes around.’

Pay particular attention to your routine and the way you interact with people all day, and see what Srinmo reveals to you.

For aiding the quest for enlightenment, and generally improving karma through light-filled living, try this little incantation in the car each time you make a right-hand turn today:

‘As I turn to the right,
I move closer to the Light!'”

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

Today’s research comes from a fantastic piece written by  Victor & Victoria Trimondi; and the following excerpt is the story of the bondage of the earth Goddess Srinmo and the history of the origin of Tibet.  “According to Tibetan tradition, the whole Tibetan territory can be represented as a vast wild female demon lying on her back facing East and stretching her limbs all over the country. The accounts of this conception are found in several Tibetan texts that originated between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, including the famous terma-revealed chronicle Maṇi Kabum (ma ni bka’ ‘bum, 12th century) and above cited chronicle The Clear Mirror (rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long) written by the great scholar Södnam Gyaltsen (bsod nams rgyal mtshan, 1312-1375).” [1]

“The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is considered the progenitor of the Tibetans, he thus determines events from the very beginning. In the period before there were humans on earth, the Buddha being was embodied in a monkey and passed the time in deep meditation on the ‘Roof of the World‘. There, as if from nowhere, a rock demoness by the name of Srinmo appeared. The hideous figure was a descendent of the Srin clan, a bloodthirsty community of nature Goddesses. ‘Spurred on by horniness’ — as one text puts it — She too assumed the form of a (female) monkey and tried over seven days to seduce Avalokiteshvara. But the divine Bodhisattva monkey withstood all temptations and remained untouched and chaste. As he continued to refuse on the eighth day, Srinmo threatened him with the following words: ‘King of the monkeys, listen to me and what I am thinking. Through the power of love, I very much love you. Through this power of love I woo you, and confess: If you will not be my spouse, I shall become the rock demon’s companion. If countless young rock demons then arise, every morning they will take thousands upon thousands of lives. The region of the Land of Snows itself will take on the nature of the rock demons. All other forms of life will then be consumed by the rock demons. If I myself then die as a consequence of my deed, these living beings will be plunged into hell. Think of me then, and have pity’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32). With this she hit the bullseye. ‘Sexual intercourse out of compassion and for the benefit of all suffering beings’ was — as we already know — a widespread ‘ethical’ practice in Mahayana Buddhism. Despite this precept, the monkey first turned to his emanation father, Amitabha, and asked him for advice. The ‘god of light from the West’ answered him with wise foresight: ‘Take the rock demoness as your consort. Your children and grandchildren will multiply. When they have finally become humans, they will be a support to the teaching’ (Hermanns, 1956, p. 32).

Nevertheless, this Buddhist evolutionary account, reminiscent of Charles Darwin, did not just arise from the compassionate gesture of a divine monkey; rather, it also contains a widely spread, elitist value judgement by the clergy, which lets the Tibetans and their country be depicted as uncivilized, underdeveloped and animal-like, at least as far as the negative influence of their primordial mother is concerned. ‘From their father they are hardworking, kind, and attracted to religious activity; from their mother they are quick-tempered, passionate, prone to jealousy and fond of play and meat’, an old text says of the inhabitants of the Land of Snows (Samuel, 1993, p. 222).

Two forces thus stand opposed to one another, right from the Tibetan genesis: the disciplined, restrained, culturally creative, spiritual world of the monks in the form of Avalokiteshvaraand the wild, destructive energy of the feminine in the figure of Srinmo.

In a further myth, non-Buddhist Tibet itself appears as the embodiment of Srinmo (Janet Gyatso, 1989, p. 44). The local demoness is said to have resisted the introduction of the true teaching by the Buddhist missionaries from India with all means at Her disposal, with weaponry and with magic, until She was ultimately defeated by the great king of law, Songtsen Gampo (617-650), an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (and thus of the current Dalai Lama). ‘The lake in the Milk plane,’ writes the Tibet researcher Rolf A. Stein, ‘where the first Buddhist king built his temple (the Jokhang), represented the heart of the demoness, who lay upon Her back. The demoness is Tibet itself, which must first be tamed before She can be inhabited and civilized. Her body still covers the full extent of Tibet in the period of its greatest military expansion (eighth to ninth century C.E.). Her spread-eagled limbs reached to the limits of Tibetan settlement … In order to keep the limbs of the defeated demoness under control, twelve nails of immobility were hammered into Her’ (Stein, 1993, p.34). A Buddhist temple was raised at the location of each of these twelve nailings.

Mysterious stories circulate among the Tibetans which tell of a lake of blood under the Jokhang, which is supposed to consist of Srinmo’s heart blood. Anyone who lays his ear to the ground in the cathedral, the sacred center of the Land of Snows, can still — many claim — hear Her faint heartbeat. A comparison of this unfortunate female fate with the subjugation of the Greek dragon, Pythonat Delphi immediately suggests itself. Apollothe god of light (Avalokiteshvara), let the earth-monster, Python (Srinmo), live once he had defeated it so that it would prophesy for him, and built over the mistreated body at Delphi the most famous oracle temple in Greece.

The earth demoness is nailed down with phurbas. These are ritual daggers with a three-sided blade and a vajra handle. We know these already from the Kalachakra ritual, where they are likewise employed to fixate the earth spirits and the earth mother. The authors who have examined the symbolic significance of the magic weapon are unanimous in their assessment of the aggressive phallic symbolism of the phurba.

In their view, Srinmo represents an archetypal variant of the Mother Earth figure known from all cultures, whom the Greeks called Gaia (Gaea). As nature and as woman She stands in stark contrast to the purely spiritual world of Tantric Buddhism. The forces of wilderness, which rebel against androcentric civilization, are bundled within Her. She forms the feminine shadow world in opposition to the masculine paradise of light of the shining Amitabha and his radiant emanation son, AvalokiteshvaraSrinmo symbolizes the (historical) prima materia, the matrix, the primordial earthly substance which is needed in order to construct a tantric monastic empire, then She provides the gynergy, the feminine élan vitale, with which the Land of Snows pulsates. As the vanquisher of the earth Goddess, Avalokiteshvara triumphs in the form of King Songtsen Gampo, that is, the same Bodhisattva who, as a monkey, earlier engendered with Srinmo the Tibetans in myth, and who shall later exercise absolute dominion from the ‘Roof of the World’ as Dalai Lama.

Tibet’s sacred center, the Jokhang (the cathedral of Lhasa), the royal chronicles inform us, thus stands over the pierced heart of a woman, the earth mother Srinmo. This act of nailing down is repeated at the construction of every Lamaist shrine, whether temple or monastery and regardless of where the establishment takes place — in Tibet, India, or the West. Then before the first foundation stone for the new building is laid, the tantric priests occupy the chosen location and execute the ritual piercing of the earth mother with their phurbas. Tibet’s holy geography is thus erected upon the maltreated bodies of mythic women, just as the tantric shrines of India (the shakta pithas) are found on the places where the dismembered body of the Goddess Sati fell to earth.

Srinmo with different Tibetan temples upon her body

In contrast to Her Babylonian sister, Tiamat, who was cut to pieces by Her great-grandchild, Marduk, so that outer space was formed by Her limbs, Srinmo remains alive following Her subjugation and nailing down. According to the tantric scheme, Her gynergy flows as a constant source of life for the Buddhocratic system. She thus vegetates — half dead, half alive — over centuries in the service of the patriarchal clergy. An interpretation of this process according to the criteria of the gaia thesis often discussed in recent years would certainly be most revealing. (We return to this point in our analysis of the ecological program of the Tibetans in exile.) According to this thesis, the mistreated ‘Mother Earth’ (Gaia is the popular name for the Greek earth mother) has been exploited by humanity (and the gods?) for millennia and is bleeding to death. But Srinmo is not just a reservoir of inexhaustible energy. She is also the absolute Other, the foreign, and the great danger which threatens the Buddhocratic state. Srinmo is — as we still have to prove — the mythic ‘inner enemy’ of Tibetan Lamaism, while the external mythic enemy is likewise represented by a woman, the Chinese Goddess Guanyin.

Srinmo survived — even if it was under the most horrible circumstances, yet the Tibetans also have a myth of dismemberment which repeats the Babylonian tragedy of Tiamat. Like many peoples they worship the tortoise as a symbol of Mother Earth. A Tibetan myth tells of how in the mists of time the Bodhisattva Manjushri sacrificed such a creature ‘or the benefit of all beings’. In order to form a solid foundation for the world he fired an arrow off at the tortoise which struck it in the right-hand side. The wounded animal spat fire, its blood poured out, and it passed excrement. It thus multiplied the elements of the new world. Albert Grünwedel presents this myth as evidence for the “tantric female sacrifice” in the Kalachakra ritual: ‘The tortoise which Manjushri shot through with a long arrow … [is] just another form of the world woman whose inner organs are depicted by the dasakaro vasi figure [the Power of Ten]’ (Grünwedel, 1924, vol. II, p. 92).

The relation of Tibetan Buddhism to the Goddess of the earth or of the country (Tibet) is also one of brutal subjugation, an imprisonment, an enslavement, a murder or a dismemberment. Euphemistically, and in ignorance of the tantric scheme of things it could also be interpreted as a civilizing of the wilderness through culture. Yet however the relation is perceived — no meeting, no exchange, no mutual recognition of the two forces takes place. In the depths of Tibet’s history — as we shall show — a brutal battle of the sexes is played out.” [2]

Well damn…who knew??  I really had no idea how misogynistic Buddhism was until it was brought to my attention back in mid June of this year.  A person had shared several links with me and to be honest, it was very unsettling.  One relevant link that was shared I will share here in this entry is entitled Thai Buddhism and Patriarchy by Ouyporn Khuankaew.

“Although many people believe Buddhism is an ‘egalitarian’ religion, the fact will remain that sexism/gender bias has been a very integral part of the faith for many centuries. Overall, there is less virulent anti-woman bigotry within Buddhism than many other religions, especially the Abrahamic cultus of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but misogyny and chauvinism have been apparent enough in the Eastern faiths as well, including the Buddhist.” [3]

Man, way to pop my happy little Zen bubble, huh?

 

 

 

Sources: 

Murdock, D.M. Examiner.com, “Women in Buddhism“.

Sehnalova, Anna. 4shared.com, “The Myth of the ‘Supine Demoness’“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “2. The Dalai Lama (Avalokiteshvara) and the Demoness (Srinmo)“.

Suggested Links:

Cabezón, José Ignacio. Thlib.org, “Pabongkha Hermitage“.

O’Neill, Brendan. Reason.com, “The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism“.

Trimondi, Victor & Victoria. Trimondi.de, “Part I – 1. Buddhism and misogyny – an historical overview“.  (Here is a link to the Contents page)

Visitourchina.com, “History of Jokhang Temple“.

Wikipedia, “Women in Buddhism“.

Goddess Izanami-No-Kami

“Izanami” by Jay Tomioka

“Izanami-no-kami’s themes are art, creativity and excellence. Her symbol is poetry.  In Japan, this creative Goddess is considered to have made all things, and She inspires similar inventiveness within us. Traditionally, She is honored through artistic displays, including dance, song, music, and poetry reading.

Every September, poets from across Japan come to the Imperial Palace to compose verses. Upon receiving a cup of sake floated down the river, each poet must create an impromptu verse. The winner becomes the nation’s poet laureate.  In keeping with this idea, concentrate on trying your own hand at a little sacred poetry today, perhaps even a haiku. Traditional haiku contains seven syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line and seven or five in the last; each line evokes an image or feeling in the reader’s mind. Here’s one example:

Izanami-no-kami
paints the universe
radiant – eternity

If poetry isn’t your forte, engage in another art form through which Izanami-no-kami’s imaginative spirit can shine. Ask for Her assistance and inspiration before you begin, and see what wonders Her nudge can arouse in you. Or, visit an art gallery, making notes of the things that really strike a harmonious chord in your spirit.”

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

So, I’m not exactly sure where Patricia Telesco’s description of Izanami comes from, because the descriptions I found paint Her as a creatrix and Queen of the Underworld, sharing some common elements with Persephone‘s story.

Patricia Monaghan writes: “Before this world, there was only a chaos of oil and slime, which slowly congealed to produce unnamed and innumerable divinities.  [The first gods according to Wikipedia were Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi who] finally, said the Japanese, [summoned] two distinct [divine beings]: Izanami, the inviting woman, and Her consort, Izanagi, the inviting man.  Standing on the rainbow, they stirred chaos with a spear [named Ame-no-nuboko] until a bit of matter formed.  Placing this island on the oily sea, they descended to create and populate the earth.

But they did not, at first, know how.  It was only after watching two water birds mating that they understood the necessary procreative act.  So they too mated, and Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan, to its waterfalls and mountains, and then to the animals and plants that live there.

Last to be conceived was fire, which virually exploed from Izanami’s body, leaving Her retching and bleeding.  From all Her excretions – from Her blood, Her vomit, Her urine – new creatures sprang up and established themselves on the new land.  But Izanami Herself died.

She traveled to the underworld – Yomi (‘gloomy land’).  Izanagi, however, desperate without Her, traveled to Yomi to ask Her to return.  She, however, had already established Herself in the world of death and refused [a few sources state that She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living].  But She suggested that he speak to the lord of death, asking for Her release.  Izanami warned him, though, not tot enter the palace.

“Izanami” by Matthew Meyer

Heedlessly curious, Izanagi approached the dark building; then he took a broken comb and broke off its last tooth.  Lighting it, he looked inside, where the body of Izanami was decomposing.  Her spirit attacked him, humiliated at having been seen that way; She drove him from the underworld and, as they parted, claimed his actions constituted a final divorce.  Some say that Izanami rules still as queen of death from Her home in gloomy Yomi” (Monaghan, p. 168 – 169).

The actions that Monaghan writes of were Izanagi pushing a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka (cavern that was the entrance of Yomi) thus creating a boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  This infuriated Izanami-no-Mikoto and She screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade that if he left Her She would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day to which he replied he would give life to 1,500.

To purify himself after coming into contact with the dead, Izanagi bathed in the sea and as he bathed, a number of deities came into being to include the sun Goddess Amaterasu, born of a tear from his left eye.

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Izanami-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Britannica.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

Goddesses.info, “IZANAMI“.

Meyer, Matthew. Matthewmeyer.net, “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami” and “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami(part 2)“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

University of Georgia: Department of Geology, “The Origin of Japan and her People“.

 

Goddess Astraea

Art by Lisa Iris

“Astraea’s themes are excellence, learning, purity, justice, knowledge, reason and innocence. Her symbols are stars.  This Greek Goddess motivates fairness and virtue within us. She empowers our ability to ‘fight the good fight’ in both word and deed, especially when we feel inadequate to the task. According to lore, She left earth during the Iron Age because of man’s inhumanity to man. She became the constellation Virgo.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Virgo, like Astraea, strive endlessly for perfection within and without, sometimes naively overlooking the big picture because of their focus on detail. Astraea reestablished that necessary perspective by showing us how to think more globally. To encourage this ability, draw a star on a piece of paper and put it in your shoe so that your quest for excellence is always balanced with moderation and sound pacing.

To meditate on this Goddess’s virtues and begin releasing them within, try using a bowl (or bath) full of soapsuds sprinkled with glitter (this looks like floating stars) as a focus. Light a candle nearby and watch the small points of light as they dance; each one represents a bit of magical energy and an aspect of Astraea. Tell the Goddess your needs and your dreams, then float in Her starry waters until you feel renewed and cleansed.”

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

Art by Kagaya

Astraea (“the star maiden”) was a daughter of Themis and Zeus, “She lived on earth in the Golden Age when all lived in peace together.  But as humankind grew more and more violent, the gods abandoned this world and retreated to the heavens.  Patient and hopeful, Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave, but finally even She was forced to abandon the earth” (Monaghan, p. 57).

“Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, She ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo the scales of justice She carried became the nearby constellation Libra, reflected in Her symbolic association with Justitia in Latin culture. In the Tarot, the 8th card, Justice, with a figure of Justitia, can thus be considered related to the figure of Astraea on historical iconographic grounds.

According to legend, Astraea will one day come back to Earth, bringing with Her the return of the utopian Golden Age of which She was the ambassador.

Astraea is always associated with the Greek Goddess of justice, Dike, who used to live on Earth but left, sickened by human greed. Astraea is sometimes confused with Asteria, the Goddess of the stars and the daughter of Koios and Phoebe.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Astraea“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Gods-and-monsters.com, “Astraea of Greek Mythology“.

Theoi Greek Mythology,Astraea“.

Goddess Olwen

“Olwen” by Alan Lee

“Olwen’s themes are the arts, creativity, excellence and the sun. Her symbols are late-blooming flowers, red and gold items and rings.  A Welsh sun Goddess whose name means ‘golden wheel’, Olwen overcame thirteen obstacles to obtain Her true love (symbolic of thirteen lunar months) and She teaches us similar tenacity in obtaining our goals. Art portrays this Goddess as having a red-gold collar, golden rings and sun-colored hair that shines with pre-autumn splendor on today’s celebrations.

Announced thireen months in advance, the celebration of Eisteddfod preserves Welsh music and literature amid the dramatic backdrop of sacred stone circles. The Eisteddfod dates back to Druid times; it was originally an event that evaluated those wishing to obtain bardic status. Follow these hopeful bards’ example and wear something green today to indicate your desire to grow beneath Olwen’s warm light. Or, don something red or gold to generate the Goddess’s energy for excellence in any task.

You can make an Olwen creativity charm out of thireen different flower petals. It is best to collect thirteen different ones, but any thirteen will do along with a red- or gold-colored cloth. Fold the cloth over the petals inward three times for body, mind and spirit saying with each fold,

‘Insight begin, bless me, Olwen.’

Carry this with you, releasing one petal whenever you want a little extra inspiration.”

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

“Danu of the Celts” by Dean Morrissey

Patricia Monaghan has this to say about Olwen: “The Welsh sun Goddess’ name may mean ‘leaving white footprints’ or ‘golden wheel’.  She was the opposite of the ‘silver-wheeled’ moon Goddess Arianrhod.  Olwen [pronounced O-loon]  was mentioned in early Arthurian legend as a princess who, attired in many rings and a collar of red gold, married a man named Culhwch [pron. kil-hooch], despite the knowledge that this marriage would kill Her father.

The father, [Ysbaddaden] whose name translates as the ‘giant hawthorn tree,’ tried to prevent the consummation of Her love for Culhwch by placing thirteen obstacles – possibly the thirteen lunar months of the solar year – in Her path, but Olwen survived the tests by providing the thirteen necessary dowries.

That Olwen was specifically the summer sun seems clear from descriptions Her: She had streaming yellow hair, anemone fingers, and rosy cheeks; from every footstep trefoil sprang up.  The ‘white lady of the day,’ She was called, the flower-bringing ‘golden wheel’ of summer” (p. 238 – 239).

 

 

 

Sources:

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses – Olwen“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Blueroebuck.com, “Olwen“.

Brookroad.org.uk, “CULHWCK AND OLWEN or the TWRCH TRWYTH“.

Celtnet.org.uk/celtic/ , “Olwen – A Cymric Goddess: White Track, Fair“.

Dames, Michael. Second-congress-matriarchal-studies.com, “Footsteps of the Goddess in Britain and Ireland“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Spring Goddesses“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Sun Goddesses“.

Timelessmyths.com, “Culhwch and Olwen“.

Vatiaz

“Woman warrior” by bitrix-studio

“Vatiaz’s themes are sports, tradition, strength, excellence & recreation. Her symbols are charms for strength or physical well-being.  Vatiaz is the Mongolian Goddess of physical prowess. Her name even means ‘woman of great strength’. Now that summer is fully underway, we could use some of Vatiaz’s strength just to keep up!

The Naadam festival began in the thirteenth century with Marco Polo, who reported a gathering of ten thousand white horses with Mongolian leaders participating in numerous game of skill ranging from archery to wrestling. Today the tradition continues with sports, focused on exhibiting excellence and skill, followed by a community party to celebrate and revel in local customs. If there’s a sports exhibition or game that you enjoy, try to get out to the proverbial ‘ball-park’ to honor Vatiaz and enjoy Her excellence as exhibited through professional athletes.

For those who are not sports fans, making a Vatiaz charm for strength and vitality is just as welcome by the Goddess and invokes Her ongoing participation in your life. You’ll need a bay leaf, a pinch of tea and a pinch of marjoram (one herb each for body, mind & spirit). Wrap these in a small swatch of cotton, saying,

‘Health, strength & vitality, Vatiaz, bring them to me!’

Put the swatch in the bottom of your daily vitamin jar to empower the vitamins with Vatiaz’s well-being.”

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

 

Archery Contest, Naadam Festival. Photo by Bruno Morandi

So the only information I could find on today’s entry comes from Patricia Monaghan: “Among the Mongolian Buryat, this heroine was said to have traveled to heaven after her brother’s murder in order to compete for the hands of three daughters of the chief god. There were many games of physical skill, all of which she won.  Even though shamans warned the gods that she was a woman, they  could not deny her strength and skill.  So she was allowed to take the sisters back to earth, where she had them revive her brother” (p. 309).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Scathach

“Scathach” by watergal28

“Scathach’s themes are sports, strength, excellence, kinship, art, tradition, magic, protection and victory. Her symbols are Tartans (plaids) and Celtic music.  This Celtic mother figure endows strength, endurance and the ability to ‘go the distance’ no matter our situation. In Scotland She is also a warrior Goddess who protects the land using magic as a weapon, as implied by the translation of Her name, ‘she who strikes fear.’ Warriors from around Scotland were said to have studied under Scathach to learn battle cries and jumping techniques (possibly a type of martial art).

In Scotland, the second weekend in July marks the gathering of Scottish clans to revel in their heritage through numerous games of skill, strength and artistry (including bagpipe competitions). If you have any Scottish or Celtic music, play it while you get ready to energize your whole day with Scathach’s perseverance. If you don’t have the music, for a similar effect find something to wear with a Scottish motif, like heather perfume, a plaid tie, things bearing the image of a thistle or sheep or anything woolen.

 

To make a Scathach amulet to protect your home, car or any personal possessions, begin with a piece of plaid cloth and put some dried heather in it (alternatively, put in several strands of woolen yarn). Tie this up an keep it where you believe her powers are most needed.”

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

“Scáthach (pronounced scou’-ha, or skah’-thakh) is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.  She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.” [1]  Other sources say she lived in the Alps.

Scathach is said to be the daughter of Ard-Greimne and Lethra. [2] “Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.” [3]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Scathach, “the ‘shadowy one’, lived on an island near Scotland and was the greatest female warrior of her time.  Heroes from all the Celtic nations would travel to study with her, for she alone knew the magical battle skills that made them unconquerable: great leaps and fierce yells, which seem in ancient legend like puzzled accounts of Oriental martial arts.

“The Seduction of Aoife” by Howard David Johnson

“Scathach initiated young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the ‘friendship of her thighs’, that is to say, initiating them sexually.” [4]

One of her most famous students was the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn.  When the princess Emer sized him up as a possible husband, she thought him too unskilled in his profession; therefore, she suggested he study with Scathach, the foremost warrior of her day.  While Cú Chulainn was away, he learned more than martial arts, for through an affair with Scathach’s enemy, Aífe, the warrior produced a son [Connla] whom he late unwittingly killed” (p. 275).

Another account states that “As part of his training Cú Chulainn helped Scáthach overcome a neighbouring female chieftain, Aífe or Aoife (who by some accounts was also Scáthach’s sister), and forced her to make peace, in the process fathering a son by Aífe. Cú Chulainn also ended up sleeping with Scáthach’s daughter Uathach, whose husband Cochar Croibhe he then killed in a duel. On completion of his training, Scáthach also slept with Cú Chulainn.

By some accounts Scáthach was also a formidable magician with the gift of prophecy. She also, again by some accounts, became the Celtic Goddess of the dead, ensuring the passage of those killed in battle to Tír na nÓg, the Land of Eternal Youth and the most popular of the Otherworlds in Celtic mythology.” [5]

“Scathach” by Jan Hess

 

 

Sources:

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, “Scáthach“.

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

Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, “Scáthach“.

Wikipedia, “Scáthach“.

Wille, Almut. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Scathach“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bedford, Tony. Préachán Fuilteach, Cú Chulainn“.

Blueroebuck.com, “Scathach“.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. Celtic Myths and Legends, “The Shadowy One” (p. 235 – 243).

The Order of Scáthach.

Parke, Cate & Lisa Campbell. Celtic Queens, “Scáthach and the Defeat of Aoife“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Scathach“.

Goddess Rigantona

“Rhiannon” by Hrana Janto

“Rigantona’s themes are sports, excellence, magic, fertility, movement and travel. Her symbols are horses, the moon, white items and birds.  A Roman/Italic form of Rhiannon, this Goddess travels the earth on a swift white horse, a lunar symbol, sweeping us up to travel along and get everything in our lives moving! Stories portray Rigantona in the company of powerful magical birds and She also represents fertility.

In Italy, people attend the Palio Festival, a horse race that started in the 13th century and has continued ever since as a time to show physical skill and cunning. It’s a perfect place for Rigantona to shine. Any type of physical activity that you excel in will please Rigantona today and encourage Her motivational energy in your efforts. Get out and take a brisk walk, swim, rollerblade. As you move, visualize yourself atop a white horse, the Goddess’s symbol, approaching an image of a specific goal. All the energy you expend during this activity generates magic for attainment.

If birds fly into your life today, pay attention to the type of bird and its movements, because birds are Rigantona’s messengers. Birds flying to the right are good omens, those moving to the left act as a warning of danger and those flying overhead indicate productivity in whatever you try today. If any of these birds drops a feather, keep it as a gift from the Goddess.”

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

Rhiannon (from the Mabinogion) by Alan Lee

Rigatona (pronounced REE at-on-a) meaning “Great Queen” is thought to be from where the Welsh Goddess Rhiannon’s original name derived.  “Continuation of the name would indicate the existence of a Brythnoic Goddess known as Rīgantona, though no trace of Her (save for the name of Rhiannon) has been left to us. Whether this Rīgantona was an independent deity or represented an aspect of Epona (who is occasionally referred to in the plural and may be a triple-Goddess) may not be known for certain though the surviving tales of Rhiannon would suggest the later interpretation. Thus there may once have been an insular Brythonic deity known as Rīgantona Epona.

Rhiannon’s name is directly cognate with the Irish goddess Mórrígan (which also menans ‘Great Queen’). In terms of attributes, however, Rhiannon is most closely similar to an sapect of the triple-Goddes, Mórrígan known as Macha; a Goddess of war, horses and kingship.” [1]

Rhiannon is a potent symbol of fertility, yet She is also an Otherworld and death Goddess, a bringer of dreams, and a moon deity who is symbolized by a white horse. Her father was Heveydd the Old, and She was married to both Pwyll and Manan. The story of Her marriage to Pwyll, and the subsequent accusation of the murder of Her child, is well documented and most people are familiar with Rhiannon from this tale. [Click here to read Her tale].

“Rhiannon” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Patricia Monaghan comments: “What can one expect of a Goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on Her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, She was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on Her back; thus She was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when Her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped Goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of joy and oblivion, a Goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell” (p. 266 – 267).

“Rhiannon” by Jan Hess

“In Her guise as a death Goddess, Rhiannon could sing sweetly enough to lure all those in hearing to their deaths, and therefore She may be related to Germanic stories of lake and river faeries who sing seductively to lure sailors and fishermen to their doom. Her white horse images also link Her to Epona, and many scholars feel they are one and the same, or at least are derived from the same archetypal roots.

In today’s magick and ritual, Rhiannon can be called upon to aid you in overcoming enemies, exercising patience, working magick, moon rituals, and enhancing dream work.” [2]

“Call upon Rhiannon to bless rites of fertility, sex magick, prosperity and dream work. Work with Her to enhance divination skills, overcome enemies, develop patience, and to gain self confidence. She is most definitely a Fae that every woman can relate to on some level. Her perserverance and will is an example of what we as women are, have been, and will continue to be for millennia to come. Solid, unwavering beauty and strength, like Mother Earth below our feet.” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS (Rhiannon):

General: Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.

Animals: Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies), canaries and other songbirds, hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants: Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia, cedar and pine trees [evergreens], bayberry, sage and rosemary,[jasmine, any white flower]

Perfumes/Scents: Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender, narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals: Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone, crystal, quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colors: Dark green, maroon, gold, silver, rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.   [4]

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Animals and fertility

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Suitable Offerings: Music

Associated Planet: Moon    [5]

Moon Phase: Waning

Aspects: Leadership, movement, change, death, fertility, crisis, magic for women, protection, strength and truth in adversity, dreams

Wheel of the Year: Willow Moon (Saille): April 15 – May 12

Ivy Moon (Gort): September 30 – October 27   [6]

 

 

 

Great Goddess, help me remember that times of sorrow are opportunities for the greatest growth.  Rhiannon, I affirm that I have the courage to overcome my doubts and fears.

And here’s a great 13 minute video on Goddess Rhiannon, The Great Queen

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Rhiannon“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Within the Sacred Mists, “The Celtic Tradition of Witches and Wiccans“.

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

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Rhiannon, A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigatona: Great Queen“.

PaganNews.com, “Rhiannon“.

Rhiannon – Divine Queen

Saille, Rowen. Order of the White Moon, “Rhiannon: Great Queen of the Celts“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, R. Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who is Goddess Rhiannon?

Epona.net, “Later Influences of Epona“.

Goddessgift.com, “Activities to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Meditations to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess“.

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Rhiannon“.

The Mabinogion, “Rhiannon“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, “Mórrígan” (p. 339 – 340)

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

Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

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

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

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Rhiannon“.

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