Tag Archive: feathers


Mother of All Eagles

“Eagle Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Mother of All Eagles’ themes are freedom, perspective, overcoming, health, power, destiny, the Air Element and movement. Her symbols are feathers (not Eagle – gathering these is illegal).  On the warm summer winds, Eagle Mother glides into our reality, carries us above our circumstances and stretches our vision. Among Native Americans, the Eagle Mother represents healing, Her feathers often being used by shamans for this purpose. Beyond this, She symbolizes comprehension, finally coming to a place of joyfully accepting our personal power over destiny.

On this day in 1982, President Reagan declared National Bald Eagle Day to honor the American emblem of freedom. In Native American tradition, this emblem and the Eagle Mother reconnect us with sacred powers, teaching us how to balance our temporal and spiritual life on the same platter.

Find a new, large feather for Eagle Mother talismans, one different from those you gathered for Maat, because the two have very different energies (check craft shops). Wrap the pointed end with cloth crisscrossed by leather thonging or a natural-fabric ribbon. Each time you cross the leather strings, say,

‘___________ bound within, when released by wind, let the magic being.’

Fill in the blank with the Eagle Mother attributes you desire, then have the feather present or used it in rituals or spells to disperse incense, thereby releasing its magic on the winds.”

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

“Eagle Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Michael Babcock says, “Despite the fact that the life-giving and death-wielding Bird Goddess is one of the oldest representations of the Goddesseagles have usually been linked with the masculine, with a few exceptions (the Sphinx of Egypt had the wings of an eagle, and the Aztec Goddess Cihuacoatl was also called Eagle Woman [as was the Mayan Goddess Ix-Chel]). This Eagle Woman shows a new marriage of the feminine and the eagle. She represents all an eagle stands for: spirit, valor, majesty, renewal, accuracy of sight, spiritual aim, and the ability to soar to the heights. She also holds in Her hands a vessel, the traditional symbol for the feminine, for that which receives, contains, and nourishes. Here both sets of values are joined, emblematic of a different combination of strengths that are part of being woman-born.” [1]

The fearsome skeletal Aztec warrior Goddess, Itzpapalotl with Her wings and long claws also has some eagle attributes. [2]

“The golden eagle is…revered by the Huichol people living along the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit. The Huichols call themselves Virarica (‘the healing people’) and are believed to have preserved the purest preColombian culture in our hemisphere. The golden eagle, Grandmother Eagle Goddess (Tate Warika Uimari) is guardian of the South (symbolizing the element of air, breath of life and healing). She is one of the guides into the Nierica (or passageway into the ‘other’ World) and connects the earth and sky.” [3]

As a totem, the eagle is associated with spirit, healing and creation.

“The eagle is symbol of the zenith.
A great reminder of your own ability to soar to great heights.
Those with an Eagle totem need to have an involvement with creation;
a willingness to experience extremes;
a willingness to use your ability
even if it means getting ‘scorched’ a little as you fly high;
a willingness to seek out your true emotions.
A demanding totem, but one that offers so much reward at the end of the journey.

Its four-toed feet remind you to stay grounded even went soaring high;
Its talons remind you to grasp the things of the earth;
Its sharp beak shows you when to speak, how much, and how strongly.

This totem will show you opportunities and how to ride the winds to your benefit.
Eagle people can live in the realm of the spirit
yet still remain connected and balanced within the realm of the Earth.

You must become much more than you ever dreamed possible.

Eagles are messengers from heaven and are the embodiment of the spirit of the sun.” [4]

From their Medicine Cards deck, Jamie Sams and David Carlson tell us that “Eagle medicine is the power of the Great Spirit, the connection to the Divine. It is the ability to live in the realm of spirit, and yet remain connected and balanced within the realm of Earth. Eagle soars and is quick to observe expansiveness within the overall pattern of life. From the heights of the clouds, Eagle is close to the heavens where the Great Spirit dwells.

The feathers of Eagle are considered to be the most sacred of healing tools. They have been used for centuries by shamans to cleanse the auras of patients coming to them for healing. Within the belief systems of Native American tribes, Eagle represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one’s personal power. It is only through the trial of experiencing the lows in life as well as the highs, and through the trial of trusting one’s connection to the Great Spirit, that the right to use the essence of Eagle medicine is earned.

If you have pulled this symbol, Eagle is reminding you to take heart and gather your courage, for the universe is presenting you with an opportunity to soar above the mundane levels of your life. The power of recognizing this opportunity may come in the form of a spiritual test. In being astute, you may recognize the places within you soul, personality, emotions, or psyche that need bolstering or refinement.

By looking at the overall tapestry, Eagle teaches you to broaden your sense of self beyond the horizon of what is presently visible.

In learning to fiercely attack your personal fear of the unknown, the wings of your soul will be supported by the ever-present breezes, which are the breath of the Great Spirit.

Feed your body, but more importantly feed your soul. Within the realm of Mother Earth and Father Sky, the dance that leads to flight involves the conquering of fear and the willingness to join in the adventure that you are co-creating with the Divine.

If Eagle has majestically soared into your cards, you are being put on notice to reconnect with the element of air. Air is of the mental plane, and in this instance it is of the higher mind. Wisdom comes in many strange and curious forms and is always related to the creative force of the Great Spirit.

“Eagle Spirit” by Christian Riese Lassen

If you have been walking in the shadows of former realities, Eagle brings illumination. Eagle teaches you to look higher and to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the shadow as well as the light. See the beauty in both, and you will take flight like the Eagle.

Eagle medicine is the gift we give ourselves to remind us of the freedom of the skies. Eagle asks you to give yourself permission to legalize freedom and to follow the joy your heart desires.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Babcock, Michael. Goddess Knowledge Cards, “Eagle Woman“.

Lin’s Domain, “Eagle“.

Sams, Jamie and David Carlson. Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, “Eagle Spirit“.

Spiritsong. “Golden Eagle“.

Wikipedia, “Itzpapalotl“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Ix Chel {Goddess of the Week}“.

All Totems, “Eagle Spirit Meaning, Symbols, and Totem“.

Venefica, Avai. Whats-your-sign.com, “Symbolic Eagle Meaning“.


Goddess Maat

“Maat” by Lisa Iris

“Maat’s themes are freedom, new beginnings, justice, morality, organization, promises and Universal Law. Her symbols are ostrich feathers (or any feathers).  In Egypt, Maat is the ultimate representation of fairness, justice and truth. As the spirit of orderliness and legislation, she assists us by overseeing any legal matters, hearings, promises and oaths to ensure harmony and honesty. In some Egyptian stories, a person’s soul was weighed against Maat’s feather to gain entrance to paradise.

On June 19, 1865, the slaves in Texas were finally told about the Emancipation Proclamation signed three years previously. While freedom was slow in coming, it finally arrived, likely in part thanks to Maat’s encouragement.
For all of Maat’s spells it’s best to have a feather to use as a component and focal point. Change the color of our feather to suit the goal. Pick blue for true seeing (or to encourage honesty with yourself), white for pure promises, black and white for legal equity and pale yellow to inspire a new beginning filled with Maat’s keen insight. Bless the feather using the following incantation (fill in the blank with your goal), then release it to the wind so the magic begins to move!

‘Maat, on this feather light bring to me renewed insight. To my life ______________impart; make a home within my heart.'”

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

“Although She was often personified, Ma´at is perhaps best understood as an idea, rather than a Goddess, but She was central to conceptions of the universe, balance and divine order in Ancient Egypt. The name Ma´at is generally translated as ‘that which is straight’ or ‘truth’ but also implies ‘order’, ‘balance’ and ‘justice’. Thus Ma´at personified perfect order and harmony. She came into being when Ra rose from the waters of Nun (Chaos) and so She was often described as a daughter of Ra. She was sometimes considered to be the wife of Thoth because he was a god of wisdom.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the universe was ordered and rational. The rising and setting of the sun, the flooding of the Nile and the predicable course of the stars in the sky reassured them that there was permanence to existence which was central to the nature of all things. However, the forces of chaos were always present and threatened the balance of Ma´at. Each person was duty bound to preserve and defend Ma´at and the Pharaoh was perceived as the guardian of Ma´at. Without Ma´at, Nun would reclaim the universe and chaos would reign supreme.

The Egyptians also had a strong sense of morality and justice. They felt that the good should prosper, and that the guilty would be punished. They praised those who defended the weak and the poor and placed a high value on loyalty especially to ones family. However, they also understood that it was not possible to be perfect, just balanced. Ma´at transcended specific ethical rules (which differed according to different times and different peoples) and instead focused on the natural order of things. That being said, certain actions were clearly against Ma´at as they increased the effect of chaos and had a purely negative effect on the world.

“Maat” by Hrana Janto

Each Egyptian’s soul was judged in the Hall of Ma´at (depicted in the book of the dead and book five of the book of gates) when they died. Their heart (conscience) was weighed against the feather of Ma´at (an ostrich feather) on scales which represented balance and justice. If their heart was heavier than the feather because they had failed to live a balanced life by the principles of Ma´at their heart was either thrown into a lake of fire or devoured by a fearsome deity known as Ammit. If, however, the heart balanced with the feather of Ma´at they would pass the test and gain eternal life. At certain times it was Osiris who sat as judge in the ritual, and many other deities were involved in the ceremony, but the scales always represented Ma´at.

The Ancient Egyptians also had a well developed legal system to ensure that Ma´at was preserved in daily life. It is thought that the Priests of Ma´at were involved in the justice system as well as tending to the needs of the goddess.

All rulers respected Ma´at, but Akhenaten in particular emphasised his adherence to Ma´at, despite (or perhaps because of) his rather unconventional approach to the gods. Hatshepsut also emphasised her reverence for Ma´at by taking the throne name Ma´atkare (justice is the soul of re), again possibly because as a female ruler she needed to show that her position was in line Ma´at. She also built a small temple to Ma´at within the precinct of Montu in Karnak.

Ma’at kneels before Hathor, and spreads out Her wings to protect the cartouche containing the name of Queen Nefertari.

Ma´at was depicted as a woman wearing a crown with a single ostrich feather protruding from it. She is occassionally depicted as a winged Goddess. Her totem was a stone platform representing the stable foundation on which order was built and the primeaval mound which first emerged from the waters of Nun (chaos).” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “sometimes divided into two identical Goddesses, Maat had no temples but was worshiped in the rhythm of truth, wherever it was perceived” (Monaghan, p. 201).

Also seen as ma’at, māt, mayet.

Sources:

Hill, J. Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Maat“.

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

Suggested Links:

EgyptWorld, “The Goddess Maát“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Maat the Egyptian Goddess“.

Osirisnet.net, “Ma’at“.

Seawright, Caroline. Tour Egypt, “Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order…

Wikipedia, “Maat“.

The Tennin

Painting by Zeng Hao

“The Tennin’s themes are protection and anti-theft.  Their symbols are drums and feathers.  These semi divine beings are a kind of angel in Buddhist tradition. They like to make music, and their singing voices are as lovely as their stunning visages. Art renderings show them wearing feathered robes and sprouting wings a bit like oversized sylphs. On this day they join their voices to our celebration and wrap us in wings of safety.

Follow Japanese conventions of the Furukawa Matsuri festival and go through your home or entire town making as much noise as possible by banging pots, blowing horns, ringing bells. This protects you from the threat of thievery and unwanted ghostly visitations, as well singing sacred songs that draw the Tennin’s attention and aid. A flurry of lantern lighting or in our case, lamp lighting often accompanies this activity, to shine a light on the darkness and reclaim the night with divine power.

To remember the Tennin specifically and invite their protective energy, put a lightweight item (like a silk scarf, a sheer curtain, or something else with diaphanous qualities) in the region that needs guarding. Put on a tape, record, or CD of vocal music (or sing yourself), and they will come. To protect yourself, carry a feather in your purse or wallet.”

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

Tennin which may include tenshi (lit. heavenly messenger) and the specifically female tennyo are spiritual beings found in Japanese Buddhism that are similar to western angels, nymphs or fairies.  They were imported from Chinese Buddhism, which was influenced itself by concepts of heavenly beings found in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism.

Tennin are mentioned in Buddhist sutras, and these depictions form the basis for depictions of the beings in Japanese art, sculpture and theater.  They are usually pictured as unnaturally beautiful women dressed in ornate, colorful kimonos (traditionally in five colors), exquisite jewelry, and flowing scarves that wrap loosely around their bodies.  They usually carry lotus blossoms as a symbol of enlightenment or play musical instruments such as the biwa or flute.

Tennin are believed to live in the Buddhist heaven as the companions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  Some legends also make certain tennin solitary creatures living on mountain peaks. Pilgrims sometimes climb these mountains in order to meet the holy spirits.

Painting by Cheryl Kirk Noll

Tennin can fly, a fact generally indicated in art by their colored or feathered kimonos, called hagoromo (‘dress of feathers’).  In some legends, tennin are unable to fly without these kimonos (and thus cannot return to heaven).  More rarely, they are shown with feathered wings.  In a Noh play, Hagoromo, which bears a number of similarities to the western Swan Maiden legends, tennyo come down to the earth and take off their hagoromo.  A fisherman spies them and hides their clothes in order to force one to marry him.  After some years, he tells his wife what he did, and she finds her clothes and returns to heaven.  The legend says it occured on the beach of Miyo, now part of the city of Shizuoka.” [1]

"Heaven Song" by Jia Lu

 

This sounds very much like one of the versions of the story of the Chinese Goddess Chihnu and  Niu-Lang.  One version of Her tale asserts that Chihnu 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. 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 Her off to the stars…

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Tennin“.

 

Suggested Links:

OnMark Productions.com, “Japanese Buddhism – Apsaras, Celestial Beings, Heavenly Maidens & Musicians, Tennyo, Karyobinga“.

Goddess Tamra

“Tamra’s themes are air, earth, nature, health, longevity, devotion, wishes and relationships.  Her symbols are feathers and birdseed.  In Hindu tradition, this Goddess was the ancestor of all birds, She can teach us their special language, which often bears communications from the divine. As the consort of the turtle god, Kashyapa, She also represents a potent union between earth and air elements.

People in Nebraska spend six weeks watching the cranes who rest and feed here during the migratory season. This region of the United States boats the largest group of sand hill cranes, about fifty thousand birds.

Magically speaking, these creatures represent health, longevity and devotion. Visualise a crane residing in your heart chakra anytime you need improved well-being.

Birds offer numerous magical applications. For warmth in a relationship, scatter feathers to the winds with your wish. The birds will use the feathers in their nests, symbolically keeping your nest intact and affectionate.

Or, disperse birdseed while thinking of a question. As the birds fly away, watch their movement. Flight to the right indicates a positive response; to the left is negative. If the birds scatter, things are iffy. If they fly straight up overhead, a heartfelt wish is being taken to Tamra.”

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

Yet, another Goddess that proved to be elusive.  Apparently, She was one of the 13 daughters of the Prajapati Daksha (AditiDitiKadruDanu, Arishta, Surasa, SurabhiVinata, Tamra, Krodhavaśā, Ida, Khasa and Muni) all of whom were given in marriage to Kashyapa.[1]  The only real mention I found of Her was in the Agni Purāṇa (a genre of Hindu religious texts, containing the descriptions and details of various incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu).  It states, “Kasyapa was the son of Marici, who was the son of Brahma. Kasyapa’s wife Tamra had many daughters like Kaki, Syeni, Bhasi, Grdhrka, Suki and Griva. From Kaki were born the crows in the world.” [2]

“Tamra had six daughters. These were the mothers of the birds and of goats, horse, sheep, camels and donkeys.” [3]

Sources:

Bharatadesam: everything about india, “Matsya Purana” (down to subheading “Daksha’s Descendants“).

Parmeshwaranand, Swami. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Purāṇas: S-Z, “Kaka (Crow)” at p. 717.

Wikipedia, “Kashyap“.

Suggested Links:

Hamilton, Francis. Genealogies of the Hindus: Extracted From Their Sacred Writings… 

International Gita Society, “1. Brahma Purana

Yahoo! Answers: India, “Hinduism – Why the Crows are referred our ancestors? What about other birds?

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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