Tag Archive: gaia


When God Was a Girl

Take an hour out and treat yourself – reclaim your herstory, reclaim your divinity! Wonderful and informational.  “Historian Bettany Hughes visits a world where Goddesses ruled the heavens and earth, and reveals why our ancestors thought of the divine as female. Travelling across the Mediterranean and the Near East, Bettany goes to remote places, where she encounters fearsome Goddesses who controlled life and death, and she ends up in modern-day India, where the Goddess is still a powerful force for thousands of Hindus. Immersing herself in the excitement of the Durga Puja festival, Bettany experiences Goddess worship first-hand, and finds out what the Goddess means to Her devotees.”

 

Pandora

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

“Pandora’s themes are hope, prosperity and wishes. Her symbols are boxes. Unlike the later associations with Pandora, this Goddess’s name means ‘all-giver’ or ‘sender of gifts’. And even when the evils of the world threaten, let us not forget that Pandora’s box still, and always, holds hope.

Unlike modern connotations of putting away boxes, the name for this holiday, Boxing Day, came from the old custom of tradespeople and servants carrying boxes today to receive gratuities. This is how we come by the tradition of Christmas bonuses!

In keeping with this tradition, with a uniquely magical twist, make a special wish box for yourself or your family today. Begin with any box that has a good lid. Fill it with special cloth and trinkets that represent your goal(s). Also place therein one object, herb, or stone to represent hope (basil and amethyst are two good choices). Decorate the exterior lavishly and leave it in a special place with a candle that you can light briefly each day. When a wish is fulfilled, carry the corresponding token to keep that energy with you or give it to someone who needs that specific vibration in their life.

The token for hope, however, in the tradition of Pandora, never leaves the box, so that will always be part of your home.”

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

"Pandora " by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

“Pandora ” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Patricia Monaghan states: “Originally [Pandora] was ‘rich in gifts,’ the ‘all-giver’, the earth in female form, endlessly producing food for people and animals; the name may have been a title of the Greek Gaia.  She was also called Anesidora (‘sender-forth of gifts’) and shown as a gigantic woman rising from the earth while little men opened Her way with hammer-blows.

Later, as Greek society changed, She became the evil Eve of their legend, the one who brought all sorrow to earth.  Gifted with all talents, the most beautiful creature imaginable, She was given a box and instructed never to open it.  But, too curious to obey, She did so, and all the evils that afflict humanity escaped to run rampant through the world.  Only one being, the hope Goddess Spes, remained in the box to comfort us.

Yet even this late story has symbolic overtones that point to Pandora’s earlier identity with the earth mother.  Originally the ‘box’ was a pithos, an earthware jar used to store food and to bury the dead.  This pithos symbolized the earth mother’s womb, in which the dead were placed in fetal position to await rebirth.  Thus when ‘Pandora’s box’ – the womb – is opened, we are born into our trials and even our death, though women continue to hold hope within us” (p. 247).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Buzzle.com, “The Greek Myth of Pandora“.

Theoi.com, “Pandora“.

Wikipedia, “Pandora“.

Goddess Tellus Mater

“Mother Earth” by *MD-Arts

“Tellus Mater’s themes are earth, ecology, promises, abundance, prosperity and fertility. Her symbols are the globe, soil and grain.  The Roman Earth Mother celebrates today’s festivities, the Earth’s Birthday, by sharing of Her abundance, being a Goddess of vegetation, reproduction, and increase. In regional stories, Tellus Mater gave birth to humans, which is why bodies are returned to the soil at death – so they can be reborn from Her womb anew.

According to James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Anglican archbishop, God created the earth on October 26, 4004 B.C.E. While this date is uncertain at best, it gives us a good excuse to honor Tellus Mater and hold a birthday party on Her behalf.

Make a special cake for the Earth Mother out of natural fertilizers. Take this to a natural setting (don’t forget the candle). Light the candle and wish for the earth’s renewal, then blow it out, remove the candle, and bury your gift to Tellus Mater in the soil, where it can begin manifesting your good wishes!

While you’re outside, pick up a pinch of soil, a stone, or any natural object that strikes your eye and keep it close. This is a part of Tellus Mater, and it will maintain her power for abundance wherever you go today. It will also help you stay close to the Earth Mother and honor the living spirit of earth in word and deed.”

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

“In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus or Terra Mater (‘Mother Earth’) is a Goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial eraTellus was the name of the original earth Goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier.  The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities.  She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.

Tellus/Pax panel of Ara Pacis

The attributes of Tellus were the cornucopia, or bunches of flowers or fruit. She was typically depicted reclining.  Her male complement was a sky god such as Caelus (Uranus) or a form of Jupiter. A male counterpart Tellumo or Tellurus is mentioned, though rarely. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia (Gē Mâtēr), and among the Etruscans She was Cel. Michael Lipka has argued that the Terra Mater who appears during the reign of Augustus is a direct transferral of the Greek Ge Mater into Roman religious practice, while Tellus, whose temple was within Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), represents the original earth Goddess cultivated by the state priests.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us: “The Roman ‘Mother Earth’ was honored each April 15 [Fordicidia], when a pregnant cow was sacrificed and its unborn calf burned.  The Romans tried to offer appropriate tribute to each divinity and they felt that the earth – pregnant in spring with sprouting plants – would especially appreciate such a sacrifice.

“Ceres” by ~rebenke

Tellus’ constant companion was Ceres, the grain Goddess, and the two of them interested themselves not only in vegetative reproduction but in humanity’s increase as well.  Therefore, they were invoked at every marriage that they might bless it with offspring.  Tellus too was considered the most worthy Goddess on whom to swear oaths, for the earth, witnessing all doings on Her surface, would see that an oath taker kept his promise.  Finally, Tellus, to whom the bodies of the dead were returned as to a womb, was the motherly death Goddess, for unlike Her Greek counterpart Gaia, Tellus was associated with the underworld as well as the earth’s surface” (p. 293 – 294).

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

On a side note, “the identity of the Goddess Nerthus, called Terra Mater, Mother Earth by Tacitus in Germania, has been a topic of much scholarly debate.”  Click here to read a fantastic article by William Reaves entitled “Nerthus: Toward an Identification”.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Reaves, William P. “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wikipedia, “Terra (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Berger, Pamela C. Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint.

GardenStone. The Nerthus Claim.

Lipka, Michael. Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach.

Novaroma.org, “Fordicidia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Cels“.

Wikipedia, “Fordicidia“.

Goddess Eurynome

 

“Eurynome” by Hrana Janto

“Eurynome’s themes are unity, peace and balance. Her symbols is sacred dancing. This ancient Greek Goddess reached out to the chaos at the beginning of time, embraced it, and made order in the world. Through Her sacred dance, the winds were born, from Her womb came the land and the stars, and then She created rulers for the poles (one male, one female) so that balance would forever be maintained.  [Also born from the chaos was Gaia, the Earth Mother].

On October 24, 1945, the peace-keeping United Nations was formally established in the orderly spirit of Eurynome to stress the need for understanding between people and the power of working for a unified cause.

To honor this occasion and uplift Eurynome’s positive energies, gather today with any group that you work with regularly. Do something together that focuses on your power as a group to really make a difference in one another, your community, or the world.

To bring Eurynome’s organization and balance into your home, take a small bowl filled with water and three drops each of one male-oriented herbal oil (like cedar, clove, lavender, mint, or pine) and one female-oriented oil (like apple, coconut, jasmine, lemon or vanilla). Put on some inspiring music, dance joyfully around your living space, and sprinkle this water as you go to draw Eurynome’s blessings to you.”

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

“Gaia 1 Photograph” by Renata Ratajczyk

Patricia Monaghan writes: “The most ancient of Greek Goddesses, She rose naked from the primordial chaos and instantly began to dance: a dance that separated light from darkness and sea from sky.  Whirling in a passion of movement, Eurynome created behind Herself a [north] wind that grew lustful toward Her.  Turning to face it, She grasped the wind in Her hands, rolled it like clay into a serpent, and named it Ophion.

Then Eurynome [pronounced you-reh’ no-may] had intercourse with the wind serpent and, transforming Herself into a dove, laid the universal egg from which creation hatched.  Installing Herself high above the new earth on Mt. Olympus, Eurynome looked down on it complacently.  But Ophion, Her own creation, bragged that he had been responsible for all that was tangible.  Forthwith Eurynome kicked out his teeth and threw him into an underworld dungeon.

“Goddess of the Tides” by Jonathon Earl Bowser

There was another Goddess of this name – or perhaps the later Eurynome was an elaboration of the creator Goddess.  Said by the Greeks to rule the sea, She may have been the same Goddess as – or part of a trinity with – the great sea rulers Tethys and Thetis.  The ‘wide ruling one,’ Eurynome had a temple in wild Arcadia, difficult to reach and open only once a year.  If pilgrims penetrated the sanctuary, they found the image of the Goddess as a woman with a a snake’s tail, tied with golden chains.  In this form, Eurynome of the sea was said to have been the mother of all pleasure, embodied in the beautiful triplets, the Graces [by Zeus]” (p. 119).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

Suggested Links:

Elliott, Daphne. Pantheon.org, “Greek Creation Myths“.

Eurynome.com, “The Mother of Us All“.

Leeming, David & Jake Page. Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine, “Eurynome“.

Theoi.com, “Eurynome“.

Westmoreland, Perry L. Ancient Greek Beliefs.

Wikipedia, “Eurynome (Oceanid)“.

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 Gaia

“Magic Mountain” by Hans-Peter Kolb

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

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

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

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

“Breath of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

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

“Giants of Gaia” by Diana Elizabeth Stanley

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

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

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

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

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

“Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Tellus.

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

“Spring I – Gaia” by ~SargonX

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Gaia (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Auralia. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Gaia“.

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

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

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

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

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

Mythagora.com, “Gaia

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

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

Theoi.com, “Gaia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Gaea“.

 

Virgin Mary

“Mary’s themes are miracles and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun (or yellow/gold items) and rosary beads.  It is no coincidence that many of the world’s Goddesses have ‘ma’ as part of their name, being mothers of humankind. The virgin Mary became the maiden, virginal Goddess archetype in Christianity, faithfully interceding for people with the gods and attending to our needs.

If you feel like you need a miracle, be sure to wear yellow- or gold-colored items today. As you don each one, say:

 ‘Mary hear me
Mary see me
Mary free me’

This date commemorates the appearance of Mary in Fatima, where children praying for peace began a cycle of visitors all looking for this Goddess to appear again. According to the story, when seventy thousand people were gathered there on this day, the rain stopped and the sun began to dance for joy as if guided by Mary’s hand. Whenever the sun shines again today, it is a sign of Her blessing.

To make your own prayer beads (to beseech Mary or any Goddess), cook rose petals in a little water in an iron pot until nearly black and pasty. Add a little orris powder and rose-scented oil, and shape the beads to two times the size you want them to be when dry. Pierce them with a needle and string tem, turning them regularly until they’re dry. Bless them in a manner suited to your path, then use the beads to energize your prayers by holding them as you entreat the Goddess.”

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

 Judaeo-Christian theology attempted to bury Our Mother God, but She reappears as the Blessed Virgin Mary, capturing the hearts of Her Children.

“It is well known that the earliest human civilizations known to archaeology are dominated by the iconography of the Supreme Mother God [see The Feminine Heritage].  Gradually, as the feminine-centered civilization weakened, She was depicted with decidedly inferior male consorts (often lunar or earthly in symbolism contrasting with the Solar and Heavenly iconography of the Supreme Mother).

Then, as true patriarchy takes hold, the male consort is promoted above God the Mother in an attempt to justify male domination on earth with a newly patriarchal ‘heaven’. The Solar and Heavenly symbolism is transferred to the former consort, while the Our Mother is given the Earth and Moon iconography which had been given to the masculine god in the days of his subordinate status; but which had originally belonged to the Daughter.

Eventually, the pantheons of the world were dominated by male gods with Our Mother God and Her various Aspects and Angelic Emanations being represented by subsidiary figures or “Goddesses”, often married, and subordinate, to “Gods”.

Finally, with the Abrahamic religions, we have a return to the pure monotheism of the earliest times, only this time it is as purely masculine as the original Faith of humanity was purely feminine.

Such, at any rate, was the intention. In reality, at every stage, wherever the patriarchy was not strong enough to suppress it – whenever there was even a momentary break in the patriarchal lockdown – the original faith blossomed again and Her children turned back to Our Mother.

As the Prophet Jeremiah angrily records:

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.” – Jeremiah 7:18

 The women are by no means ashamed of this, but proclaim:

“We will do everything we said we would do. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour out wine offerings to Her.” – Jeremiah 44:17

The Queen of Heaven! Let us note how gloriously Our Mother returns! From the rigid exclusion of Her attempted by the patriarchy, the people do not move shamefacedly back to depicting Her in Her intermediate status as a subordinate Earth Goddess. No, She is the Queen of Heaven, as She was in the beginning.

“The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity” by Diego Velázquez

The very words ‘Queen of Heaven’ are an abomination to the prophet. Who, then, would have imagined that a thousand years later, followers of the most widespread branch of the Abrahamic faith would return officially to the worship of the Queen of Heaven? Yet this is the very title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” [1]

 

Mary Protectress, Mother, Goddess & Saint

“Mary is celebrated around the world as the Divine Feminine by millions of people, many of them Catholics. Those who are devoted to Mary, honor Her as the mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin Mary is known as the dispenser of mercy, the ever patient mother, and protectress of humanity, and special protectress of women and children.

Many believe that with the rise of Christianity and papal power, the Goddess slowly disappeared from western culture and faded into the Mists of Avalon . . . So great was devotion to the Goddess that She was resurrected in the hearts of the people by a new Goddess, Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Christian version of the Green Man.

Officially, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary was mortal and is not a Goddess, but despite this official position, many Catholics honor Mary as a Goddess. Other Catholics revere Mary as Mother of Jesus, but not as divine.

Visions of the Virgin Mary have appeared to thousands of people around the world. Her sacred shrines are at Lourdes in France and Guadalupe in Mexico, as well as many other places. Her apparitions are often to children.

 

Artemis Diana of Ephesus

 

 

Reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis

Mary was declared to be the ‘Mother of God’ by the Christian church in the 7th century at Ephesus, Turkey. Ephesus was the home of a magnificent temple to the Goddess, Artemis Diana, one of whose sacred titles was ‘Queen of Heaven’.  Mary is a more recent and much loved incarnation of the Great Goddess of the ancient Middle-eastern cultures. Mary shares many standard Goddess attributes and symbols.

The Christian church also conferred the Goddess’s title on the Mother of Jesus. They called Her, ‘Mary, Queen of Heaven‘ and ‘Mary, Queen of the Angels’ both are very ancient titles of the widely worshipped Great Goddesses on the Middle-east.

Isis suckling Horus

The Madonna and child have been revered since the earliest times. Isis and Her son Horus, Mary and Her son Jesus, Demeter and Her daughter Kore, all have attracted a devout following. Long before Isis, and long before Mary or Demeter, the human psyche fashioned Madonna and child icons and placed them in sacred shrines. In ritual caves and worshipped the icons as sacred representation  in sacred groves, to honor the Mother & Child. Mary is always shown wearing a head covering like Muslim women today, a head covering was required for women throughout Christian history. In 1983 the rule requiring woman to cover their hair in Church was omitted from the updated official revised Catholic Canon pertaining to such matters.

Through time, the names and sometimes the images of the Madonna and child have changed, but the location of these shrines and the wide devotion to them has remained constant. in many cultures.  Image of the Madonna & Child are central to Catholicism, as they were often central to the Pagan worship of the Goddess Isis and other Goddesses in the ancient world. Below are Demeter and her daughter Kore.

 Demeter and Persephone / Kore

 


One of the most beloved images in all Christianity is The Black Madonna. Devotion to the Black Virgin has never been stronger; Her shrines attract thousands of worshippers each year. The Black Madonna is revered throughout the world, particularly in France, Poland, Italy, and Spain. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Crusades and holy pilgrimages. There are thousands of these beautiful sacred Madonna Icons.

The Black Madonna is honored as a true Goddess figure, and has been since Christianity entered Europe. She is honored by many as Isis, Gaia, Kali, Mary, “the Other Mary” (Mary Magdalene), Diana, Sheela Na Gig, and the Ancient Primal Earth-Mother Goddess.  All are beloved all are revered; each region has their own traditions.

For many European Christians, the blending of their ancient Goddesses with the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a well-accepted fact of their faith for centuries, there is no conflict. The holy Black Madonna, be She called Isis, or Mary, or Kali, or Diana, embodies all the aspects of Female Divinity for many millions of people. Mary’s blessings and intervention are still sought daily by millions who pray to the Mother.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is believed by many to have been the wife of Jesus, or his most favoured Apostle, though most Catholics today vigorously reject this idea. At the very least, Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ chief Apostle and a Priestess of early Christianity in her own right. Church fathers have tried for two thousand years to erase Mary Magdalene as a woman of importance, spirituality and power. They have failed, Mary Magdalene remains a figure of  importance for women. The Apostle Mary Magdalene is not a fallen woman, she is a free woman, and one of the “Three Marys” of the New Testament who shared the life and labors of Jesus.  Fragments have survived of ‘The Gospel of Mary‘ written in the first century or two of Christianity.  We will probably never recover a copy of the complete Mary Gospel, but what has been found  profoundly alters our perceptions of the role of women in early Christianity.  Women were church leaders and teachers in the early years after the death of Jesus; Mary Magdalene and Phoebe were among them.


Pope John Paul II was deeply devoted to the Blessed Mother and did much to bring honor and vitality to Her worship. Many millions of Catholics around the world share his deep devotion to Mary. It is because of the love for Mary that the Church considered elevating the Blessed Virgin Mary to the role of Co-Redeemer with her son Jesus Christ. This is a controversial issue in the church.” [2]

“In Christianity, you see, the patriarchal doctrine is carefully sealed. There was and is no room doctrinally for a Co-Redeemer, let alone a Creatrix and officially, the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary is simply that She was the physical vehicle of Christ’s incarnation.

However, both Her titles and Her iconography tell a different story. Despite the official theology, the image of the Supreme Mother is returning to the West.

She was called Mother of God – an extraordinary title which logically implies that She is antecedent to, and the Cause of, any other Divinity.

 

The ancient titles of the Supreme Creatrix were bestowed on Her – Queen of Heaven; Star of the Sea; Rose of the World. She was pictured ‘clothed in the Sun’ like the Solar Mother, with the moon at Her feet. She was depicted crushing the head of the serpent just like Eurynome, the Mother-Creatrix of ancient European religion.

Even theologically, the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was hard to suppress. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means that She was conceived without sin. Now, according to Christian doctrine, all humans are conceived in original sin, and only Christ can redeem that sin. But the Blessed Virgin Mary, before the incarnation of Christ, was sinless, unlike any human being, and made the redemption possible.

Within the strict patriarchal economy of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary cannot be recognized as God; but in Her iconography, Her titles and Her devotional cultus (none of which have a great deal to do with the biblical and historical Mary), She is clearly God the Mother.

Western devotees of Our Mother God look upon the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary with love and devotion: easily and naturally recognising Her as Our Lady. The question that then arises is: ‘Can we, and should we, take these beautiful images back? Or, since they are made within a patriarchal tradition that denies Her Divinity, would that be wrong?’

This is a question that each must consider for herself.” [3]

 

 

 

* A note on the term “virgin” – “The Virgin Mary was also said to have been a temple priestess. In the time, there were hierodules in the Temple of Jerusalem.  Mother Mary is said to have been dedicated to Temple work, she lived there, wove tapestries, altar cloths, and prayed for the betterment of the people. She is repeatedly called a ‘Temple Virgin’. The term ‘virgin’ doesn’t have a connection to her actual physical state. The term ‘almah’ can be translated to mean ‘virgin’ or ‘maiden’ all of which would be used to identify an unmarried girl. In Goddess worship, the term ‘virgin’ means simply that she is beholden to no man, free to love as she chooses; ‘one in herself, to be true to her own nature and instinct. Unexploited, not in man’s control.’  It is interesting how a minor change in translation can change the entire meaning of who Mary, the Virgin Mother was. The connection between the Goddess creation myths and the stories of Mary’s virgin birth are strikingly clear. As Elinor Gadon writes, ‘There is no more matriarchal image than the Christian mother of God who bore a child without male assistance.'” [4]

Sources:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Blessed Virgin Mary – Our Mother God Cannot be Banished“.

Moonwise, Lotus. Order of the White Moon, “Mary: Virgin & Magdalene“.

Willowroot, Abby. Spiralgoddess.com, “Mary“.

Suggested Links:

Acharya S/D.M. Murdock. Truth Be Known, “Who is the Virgin Mary?

Brother Markus. Woman Thou Art God, “The Tradition of Mary, the Great Goddess“.

Burns, Anita. The Messenger, “The Great Goddess – MARY“.

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Goddess Mother Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Books About Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Mary as Goddess: Virgin, Mother, Queen“.

Hayhouse.com, “Mary Queen of Angels by Doreen Virtue“.

Goddess Mati-Syra-Zemlya

“Sadness of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

“Mati-Syra-Zemlya’s themes are community, divination, promises, justice, and morality.  Her symbols are oil and soil.  This Goddess’s name means ‘moist mother’, alluding to Her fertile aspects. She attends today’s festivities to hear oaths and witness legal decisions that may affect the rest of the year. Any promise or sentence made with one hand on the earth, or in Her name, is completely binding. In some areas Her motherly nature is expressed through healing qualities, while in others She has prophetic ability. An appropriate gift for Her is hemp oil.

Landsgemeinde is a civic-oriented holiday in Switzerland during which people gather to conduct regional business, including voting, budgets, and tax proposals. It’s a very old custom adorned with lavish clothing, ceremonial swords, and, I suspect, and eavesdropping Goddess (just to keep everyone honest).

If you need to tie up some pending business, work on your personal budget, or balance the check book, honor Mati-Syra-Zemlya and draw Her ethical energies to you by getting busy!

Alternatively, if you’ve been thinking about getting more involved with your local or magical community, make a commitment to Mati-Syra-Zemlya to start making efforts in that direction. Simply place a hand on the ground and speak your pledge to Her ears. The Goddess will respond by giving you the time and energy needed to fulfil that commitment.”

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

“Mother Earth” by Paul Morley

“Mati Syra Zemla is the chthonic mother Goddess of the ancient Slavs; a vague personification of the earth (literally, “Damp Mother Earth”). Perhaps the Slavs’ oldest pagan deity, Her identity later blended into that of Mokos.” [1] “According to Roman Jakobson and Marija Gimbutas, the worship of such a primal earth Goddess was widespread among the Slavs and their neighbors; this is attested to by the fact that the earth deities of a number of Baltic, Phrygian, and Finno-Ugric peoples exhibit similar characteristics and seem to derive from the Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita (‘Humid Mother of the Earth’).” [2]

Mati Syra Zemla, or Matka, for short, is the Slavic Goddess of the Earth.  Her name translates to Moist Mother Earth, and describes Her as a forever fertile, life-giving force. She is not seen in human form but as the Earth itself; although it is believed that at certain times She will take human form. When She does, She is usually portrayed with black skin which associates Her with the blackness of the fertile soil.  Matka is believed to be the most ancient and powerful of all of the Eastern European deities. In fact, Matka is so powerful that She survived into the 20th century despite all attempts of the Church to do away with Her.

She is the mother of all – the people, the animals, and all of the plants of the Earth.  The Slavic people had a strong connection to their Mother Goddess and an altogether different relationship they had with all the other gods.  They looked upon Her with a mixture of love and admiration, and She was the only deity they addressed personally.  When the peasant people spoke of Her, their eyes would fill with love.  They called on Her to witness property disputes and swore by Her name.  Oaths and marriages were confirmed by swallowing a clump of earth or holding some on their head while they swear and oath. Her aid was invoked during epidemics and while in childbirth.

Matka is also viewed as a champion of justice and a wise prophetess who allows Her petitioners to come to Her without the aide of a priestess or a shaman. It was said that She held all the knowledge of the world and when asked, would release the signs that could be interpreted.

When the Slavs converted to Christianity, the Church attempted to transform Her characteristics the Virgin Mary, but this was not wholly successful, for during trying times, the people would revert to the worship of Matka.  Her Holy Days are May 1st, June 24th and August 1st.  A ritual to Her took place on the fields in August.  At this time, a libation of hemp oil was poured out onto the four directions accompanied by a prayer for protection against the destructive forces of nature.” [3]

“Melaina” by Thalia Took

Based on Mati Syra Zemla’s description as a chthonic Goddess who appears black skinned when She takes “human form”, I could not help but draw a parallel between Her and Melaine, “The Black One” who is the under-earth or chthonic aspect of the Greek Great Goddess, said to bring nightmares.  Different Goddesses are called by Her name (Aphrodite Melaenis represents a dark aspect of the Goddess of love as Underworld deity, though some say She is called “Black” because love-making often takes place at night).  Melaina is also the epithet of Demeter Herself as an Underworld Goddess, and in this respect is called Chthonia. [4]

I think its important to note that the term “chthonic” is not only used to describe earth deities, but Underworld deities as well.  As a chthonic earth Goddess, it would be easy then to see Her as a fertile life giving and nurturing mother – yet on the other hand, Her blackness would be associated with the womb, caves and descending to the Underworld deep within the earth in which we are forced to face fears, past trauma, nightmares and death (metaphorical and physical).

It is only within the caverns deep within Her dark womb that we are forced to face and learn to overcome and heal from that which has hurt us, only to re-emerge or be born anew into the world – changed, stronger and wiser.

Ancient Mother, no matter by which name You are called, I hear you calling…

Sources:

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mokos“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

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

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Mati-Syra-Zemlya {Goddess of the Week}“. * (HIGHLY SUGGEST visiting this site – packed full of detailed information and associations!)

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “Mokosh’ – The Russian Goddess Lakshmi“.

Kakasevski, Vesna (translated by Snježana Todorović). Starisloveni.com, “Mokoš“.

Goddess Cybele

“Cybele” by Pamela Matthews

“Cybele’s themes are love, health, humor, victory, strength and relationships.  Her symbols are pine, meteorite stones and keys.  A black stone that personified this Roman earth Goddess is credited with a successful battle against Hannibal. It is this strength, especially in difficult relationships, that Cybele augments in us as this month draws to a close.

Legend tells us that Cybele loved a shepherd named Attis, who went mad and killed himself. Cybelle, in distress, asked Jupiter to restore him. Jupiter responded by making Attis into a pine tree. Symbolically, this allowed him to eternally embrace Cybele, with his roots in the earth.

Following the story of Cybelle and Attis, Hilaria begins in sorrow over Attis’s death and ends in joy. Today, laughter and fun activities are considered healthy. So, rent a good comedy flick, go out to a comedy club, or do something that really uplifts your spirit. Your laughter invokes Cybele’s attention and blessings.

To create stability in a relationship, make this Cybele charm:

Take an iron key (or a piece of iron and any old key bound together). Hold them in your strong hand, visualizing the key being filled with radiant red light (love’s color). Say:

‘Cybele, let this key to our hearts be filled
Love and devotion her instilled.’

 Wear the key on a long chain so it rests over your heart chakra.”

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

The famous leopard-enthroned Goddess from the granary at Çatal Hüyuk, close to 6000 BCE.

Cybele was an originally Anatolian form of Earth Mother or Great Mother. Little is known of Her oldest Anatolian cults, other than Her association with mountains, hawks and lions. She was Phrygia‘s State deity; Her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Anatolian Asia Minor, and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BCE.

“Also known as Kybele and Magna Mater and the Mother of the Gods, the worship of this Goddess spread throughout the Roman Empire. As a Phrygian deity, She was a Goddess of caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops. She ruled over wild beasts, and was also a bee Goddess.  Cybele was the Goddess of nature and fertility. Because Cybele presided over mountains and fortresses, Her crown was in the form of a city wall.

Her Greek mythology counterpart was Rhea.” [1]

“Cybele” by Picot

In Greece, Cybele met with a mixed reception. She was partly assimilated to aspects of Gaia (the “Earth”), Her Minoan equivalent Rhea, and the Corn-Mother Goddess Demeter. Some city-states, notably Athens, evoked Her as a protector but Her most celebrated Greek rites and processions show Her as an essentially foreign, exotic mystery-Goddess, who arrives in a lion-drawn chariot to the accompaniment of wild music, wine, and a disorderly, ecstatic following. Uniquely in Greek religion, She had a transgendered or eunuch mendicant priesthood. Many of Her Greek cults included rites to Her divine “Phrygian” castrate shepherd-consort Attis, whose rites and myths appear to have been Greek inventions. In Greece, Cybele is associated with mountains, town and city walls, fertile nature, and wild animals, especially lions.

In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of Her cult, and claimed Her conscription as a key religious component in their success against Carthage during the Punic Wars. They also reinvented Her as a Trojan Goddess, and thus as an ancestral Goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas, in Rome’s foundation myth. With Rome’s eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele’s cults spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of Her cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute in Greek and Roman literature, and remain so in modern scholarship.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus records that specific laws were passed when some of the undesirable aspects of the Cybele cult became apparent. Cybele’s religion was a bloody cult that required its priests and priestesses as well as followers to cut themselves during some rituals. The priests castrated themselves at their initiation; there was wild music, chanting, and frenzied dancing.  “As part of their worship, priests also performed mysterious rites in Her honor. Of particular note was the sacrifice of a bull performed as part of an initiation into Cybele’s cult. This ritual was known as the taurobolium, and during the rite a candidate for initiation stood in a pit under a floor with a wooden grate. The bull was sacrificed above the grate, and the blood ran through holes in the wood, showering the initiate. This was a form of ritual purification and rebirth.” [2]

Atia undergoing the taurobolium from HBO/BBC’s series “Rome”

Along with Her consort, the vegetation god Attis, Cybele was worshipped in wild, emotional, bloody, orgiastic, cathartic ceremonies.  Her annual spring festival celebrated the death and resurrection of Her beloved Attis.  During the Republic and early Empire, festival days were celebrated with eunuchs priests, called Corybantes,  preceding the Goddess through the streets, banging cymbals and drums, wearing bright attire and heavy jewelry, their hair long and ‘greased’.  Priests and priestesses were segregated, their activities confined to their temples, and Roman citizens were not allowed to walk in procession with them. Neither Roman citizens nor their slaves were allowed to become priests or priestess in the cult. No native-born Roman citizen was to be allowed to dress in bright colors, beg for alms, walk the streets with flute players or worship the Goddess in ‘wild Phrygian ceremonies’. Those Romans who wanted to continue to worship the Goddess set up secret societies known as sodalitates so they could dine together in the Goddess’ honor. [3] [4]

“The Cult of Cybele has frequently been looked upon as a mystery religion, similar to the Cults of Isis and Demeter. Cybele, however, was completely unlike those two positive and loving Mother Goddesses. Indeed, Cybele appears to have come out of a completely different mold. In fact, Cybele was so completely opposite from Isis, that it is impossible to imagine her even being in the presence of children, much less breast-feeding one. It is extremely doubtful, as well, whether anyone could ever picture Cybele wandering through and nurturing the green fields and peaceful forests of Earth.” [5]

 

Please click here for a very comprehensive article on Cybele, the Great Phrygian Mother Goddess.

Sources:

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Cybele, the Great Phrygian Mother Goddess“.

KET Distance Learing, “The Cult of Cybele“.

Smart, Anthony E. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Cybele“.

Wigington, Patti. About.com: Paganism/Wicca, “Cybele, Mother Goddess of Rome“.

Wikipedia, “Cybele“.

Suggested Links:

Kybele: Gourmet Food Production, “Goddess Kybele”.

The Linen Press, “Cybele“.

MaatRaAh. The Church of the Most High Goddess, “Pagan Goddess of the Sibyl and Cybele Oracle“.

Roman Empire & Colosseum, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Cybele“.

Source Memory, “Cultural Continuities: Goddess of the Feline Throne“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kybele“.

Welcome to the Temple of Cybele.

Women in Greek Myths, “Cybele, Agdistis, and Attis“.

Goddess Hu Tu

"Earth Princess" by angelitonegro

“Hu Tu’s themes are Earth, nature, ecology and fertility.  Her symbols are the globe, soil, all natural items and marble.  Literally means ‘Empress Earth’, in Chinese mythology, this Goddess embodies and personifies the earth in spring and its fertility. Through Her we can learn how to live abundantly, while maintaining a reciprocity with nature. Hu Tu also teaches us how to see and integrate nature’s lessons.

According to tradition, this is the birthday of Hu Tu, in the form of Mother Earth. Celebrate it as you might any birthday, with a little twist. Make a fertilizer cake for the earth and light a candle on it. Blow out the candle, making a wish to Hu Tu for earth’s revitalization. Then, give the fertilizer to the soil to start the process!

This celebration bears may similarities to Earth Day in the West, so organize litter patrols, educate yourself on recycling techniques, take a long walk to truly enjoy Hu Tu’s beauty. As you walk, feel the sacredness of the ground beneath your feet and say a silent prayer of thankfulness to Hu Tu for Her care and providence.

Finally, make yourself a Hu Tu charm that stimulates grounding and draws figurative or literal fertility to you. Find any marble (blue is best) to represent Hu Tu. Cleanse and energize this today by putting it in rich soil to connect it to Hu Tu’s foundational energy. Carry the charm whenever you feel flighty or need to be more productive.”

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

“While Hou Tu lay upon the Great Ocean She meditated upon the forms and powers within Herself and bore a great number of children, often without the aid of a consort. So rich was the Empress that life teems within and upon Her.” [1]

Hou T’u, or She, ‘princess of the earth’, was a Chinese fertility Goddess and patroness of earth’s abundance; thereby claiming the earth as Her symbolic element. Every village possessed a shrine, usually a mound of earth symbolizing the fertility of the soil, and in important towns there were larger mounds for the public celebrations. In the Forbidden City, Peking, near the Yung Ting Men or South Gate, stands the Altar of Agriculture, on whose terraces the emperor used to conduct the sacrifices to Her a on square marble altar at each summer solstice to invoke Her blessings and grace for a plentiful harvest and bring balance to the earth.  Hou T’u’s domain is all earth magic, and the ceremonies and rituals performed in Her honor were believed to bring the people into resonance with their Divine Mother.  Without this, the world would become cold and barren.  So, here’s something to contemplate today; “How can I express my appreciation for all the gifts the earth provides?” [1][2]

For a wonderful meditation and Earth healing ritual to Hu Tu, please visit Sisters in Celebration by clicking here.

Sources:

Answers.com, “Hou T’u

Loar, Julie. Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World at p. 151.

Sisters In Celebration, “Earth Healing Ritual to Hu Tu – Chinese Goddess of the Earth“.

Suggested Links:

Gaia Is Calling, “Goddess Gaia“.

Her Cyclopedia: “The Goddess Hou-T’u

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Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.