Tag Archive: excellence


The Gratiae

“Charites: Spring” by iizzard

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Three Graces” by Josephine Wall

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

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

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

The Graces in a 1st century fresco at Pompeii

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

“The Three Graces” by Paul Vincenti

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancient Numismatic Mythology, “Three Graces Mythology“.

Wikipedia, “Charites“.

Suggested Links:

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kharites“.

Goddess Ishikore-Dome

"Where Have You Put the Sun?" by neyukiorg

“Ishikore-dome’s themes are the arts and excellence.  Her symbols are stone and mirrors.  This Shinto Goddess is the protectress of all stonecutters and smiths, having fashioned the mold from which an eight-petaled mirror was made for Amaterasu (the sun Goddess). The beauty of Ishikore-dome’s creation was such that Amaterasu came out of hiding, bringing spring’s wonderful sunshine with Her! Similary, Ishikore-dome tempts us to come out of our home-cave today, explore and express our talents, and enjoy the warmer weather.

The sign of Aries is said to produce a feisty, courageous spirit, which is exactly what it takes sometimes to stop being the proverbial wallflower and try new things. If there’s an art form you’ve always wanted to try, or one that you love but hesitate to try because of perceived shortcomings, let Ishikore-dome’s encouraging energy nudge you into action today. Remember, Buddhists believes that developing artistic proficiency comes down to three things: practice, practice and practice!

To conduct yourself with greater courage and a unique artistic flair, make a simple Ishikore-dome charm from a small mirror. Face-down on the mirror, glue a symbol of the area in you life in which you need more creativity, mastery or mettle and carry it with you. This symbolically reflects your desire to the Goddess.”

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

"Amaterasu" by tattereddreams

“Ishikori-dome is the Shinto Goddess of stone-cutting. Although some sources refer to Her as a God, most say that She was a Goddess. When Amaterasu, the Goddess of the sun, locked Herself away in a cave in grief over Her sister Wakahirume‘s death, the gods commissioned Ishikori-dome to create a mirror in an attempt to lure Amaterasu out of the cave. She formed a stone mold which was then filled with copper to create the mirror known as Yata-no-kagami (eight-hand mirror), and the mirror was hung outside Amaterasu’s cave. When She was lured out of the cave by the laughing of the other gods at the antics of Ame-no-Uzume, Goddess of dance, Amaterasu saw Herself in the mirror and was so distracted that the gods had time to seal the cave so that She could not return to Her self-imposed exile. The mirror itself is said to now reside in the Ise Jingu shrine, and most Shinto shrines display a mirror as a symbol of Amaterasu. Ishikori-dome’s name, which means “stone-forming old woman,” is also seen as Ishikori-dome-no-Mikoto, Ishikori-dome-no-kami, and Ishikore-dome.” [1]

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Ishikori-dome“.

Suggested Links: 

Darshan. Oriental Wicca, “The Way of the Kami“.

Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Ishikoridome

Goddess Chihnu

“Chihnu’s themes are arts, creativity, tradition and excellence.  Her symbols are woven items, thread or yarn, home crafts and lyres.  In China and surrounding regions, Chihnu’s name means ‘weaving woman’. According to myths, Chihnu’s talents in this art are so great that She can weave seamless garments for the gods. From Her heavenly domain in the constellation Lyre, She acts like a refreshing spring wind to inspire excellence in our inherited arts and crafts.

The annual Thai festival of Phra Buddha Bat Fairl features folk dancing and traditional handcrafts in honor of Buddha’s footprint, which is enshrined nearby. Generally, it is a time to rejoice in Thai tradition, so if you have a Thai restaurant in the neighborhood, by all means indulge yourself, saying a brief prayer of thanks to the provider of your feast – Chihnu.

To make a Chihnu-inspired creativity charm, take three strands of yellow thread or yarn (yellow is the color of inventiveness).

Braid these together so that the strands cross four times, saying:

One, Chihnu’s power absorbs
Two, inside the magic’s stored
Three, the magic’s alive in me
Four, bear Chihnu’s creativity!’

Carry this when you need more ingenious energy, or leave it near your artistic endeavors so they can absorb Chihnu’s compelling excellence.

Finally, wear woven or handmade items to honor Chihnu’s talents today.”

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

“The daughter of Yu-huang, the Jade Emperor, She spends all Her time spinning beautiful silk robes and lacey garments for the Heavenly Host. She also makes the finest gossamer clouds and Her tapestry of the constellations is a work of art.

Her father was so pleased with Zhi-Nu‘s diligent work that He married her to the Heavenly Official In Charge Of Cowsheds. (That may not sound like much of a reward, but then you haven’t met him.)

The two of them fell headlong in love and pretty soon She was getting behind in Her spinning duties. So they were whisked off into the sky and separated by the Milky Way. You can still see them there; She is Vega in the constellation Lyra and he is Altair in the constellation Aquila.

Now they are only allowed to meet once a year, when a flock of magpies swarm into the sky and create a bridge for them to cross. For the rest of the year they live apart and She is the Heavenly Spinster in more ways than one. This is what comes of a marriage made in Heaven.

Now some versions of this tale assert that Zhi-Nu actually came down to Earth and had Her clothes stolen while She bathed in a river. The culprit was Niu-Lang, a humble cowherd who was amazed at Her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without Her clothes She could not return to Heaven — at least, not without some very awkward questions being asked. So She decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal and had two children with him.  Seven years later She found Her clothes. Some say that She returned to Heaven on Her own accord, others say Heaven found out eventually, and whisked them off to the stars as before.

It doesn’t really matter which version is true. The end of this story is far more important than the beginning, as all Chinese lovers will testify. The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is when Zhi-Nu and Niu-Lang cross the magpie bridge and their happy tears often cause rain on earth. In some parts of China an annual festival allows lovers to meet in honor of these astral deities. Their stars burn brightly in the Heavens, lovers hold hands and gaze into the night sky, and Chinese Valentine’s Day begins…” [1] [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Godchecker.com, “Zhi-Nu

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Chih Nu

Suggested Links:

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Chih Nu

Goddess Victoria

"Nike goddess of victory" by gregor999

“Victoria’s themes are victory, success and excellence.  Her symbols are wings (or feathers) and laurel.  Victoria, as Her name implies, is the Roman Goddess of attainment. Early in the year She inspires resolve within us to do everything we undertake, with excellence as a goal. In works of art, Victoria is often depicted with wings that allow her to surmount any obstacle or problem.

Drink a tea made from lemon balm, ginger, and a pinch of cinnamon to generate a successful attitude.

Remember : If you think you can, you can!

Put a leaf (a form of laurel) in you shoe so that Victoria’s triumphant energy can walk with you all day long. Later in the day, burn a few bay leaves on a fire source to fill your home with success. Alternative aromas that invoke Victoria’s favour are rose and red sandalwood.

To make a victory charm, find a feather (or cut paper in the shape of a feather) and empower it with this incantation:

‘With the wings of Victoria, I will rise
above all areas where trouble lies
Through diligence and mastery I will see
today begins my victory!’

Carry this token anytime you feel your confidence waning, or when you need a boost to get over any seemingly insurmountable obstacle.”

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

In ancient Roman religion, Victoria was the personified Goddess of victory. She is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Goddess Nike, and was associated with Bellona. She was adapted from the Sabine agricultural Goddess Vacuna and had a temple on the Palatine Hill. The Goddess Vica Pota was also sometimes identified with Victoria.

Unlike the Greek Nike, Victoria (Latin for “victory”) was a major part of Roman society. She was often associated with Jupiter, Mars and other deities and was especially worshipped by the army.  Multiple temples were erected in Her honor. She was normally worshipped by triumphant generals returning from war.  Victoria usually appeared in reliefs on the spandrels of triumphal arches, such as the Arch of Augustus, the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Arch of Constantine.  Augustus had an altar to Victoria installed in the senate building, the Curia Julia, with a statue of Victoria standing with one foot on a globe.  The cult of Victoria was one of the last Pagan cults to succumb to Christianity. When Her statue was removed in 382 CE by emperor Gratianus there was much anger in Rome.

Also unlike the Greek Nike, who was known for success in athletic games such as chariot races, Victoria was a symbol of victory over death and determined who would be successful during war.

Gold coin of Constantine II depicting Victoria on the reverse

 

Victoria appears widely on Roman coins (until the 3rd century CE), jewelry, architecture, and other arts. She is often seen with or in a chariot, as in the late 18th-century sculpture representing Victory in a quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. [1] [2]

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