Tag Archive: grain


Goddess Henwen

“Demeter” by ~eclipse79

“Henwen’s themes are peace, prosperity, fertility and the harvest. Her symbols are sows, grain, honey, eagles and wolves.  This fertile British Goddess appears in the form of a pregnant sow who births abundance in our lives. In mythology She wandered the countryside mothering grains, bees, cats, eagles, and wolves as She travelled. Henwen also presides over all physical and magical agricultural efforts.

In Devon village, England, there lies an old stone called Devil’s Boulder. Legend says that during a battle, Satan flung this stone into the village. To keep peace and prosperity in the town and ensure continued good harvests, the stone must be turned annually.  For us, this might translate into an annual furniture rearrangement, leaving one piece of grain in each piece to invoke Henwen’s ongoing providence for your home.

To partake of Henwen’s abundance and encourage your own nurturing nature, try eating a whole-grain toast for breakfast with honey (which comes from the Goddess’ bees!). Or enjoy a BLT for lunch and pork roast for dinner. Since the sow in Henwen’s sacred animal, eating its meat symbolically allows you to ‘take in’ this Goddess’ essence.

If you have indoor plants, ask Henwen to keep them green and growing by putting a piece of grain or small dab of honey in each pot. This will become part of the soil, nourishing the plant with Henwen’s power.”

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

“Ceridwen” by =wintersmagic

“Henwen, pronounced [HEN-oon] was a sow Goddess much like Her Welsh counterpart Cerridwen.” [1]

“In British mythology, this magical sow Goddess came forth early in creation to give life to the world.  As She roamed the hilly countryside, She gave birth to litter after litter.  But instead of piglets, Henwen produced a grain of wheat and a bee; a grain of barley and a bee; a wolf cub, an eaglet, and a kitten, each strange litter in a different part of the country” (Monaghan, p. 150).

 

 

Sources:

Joellessacredgrove.com, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bamfield.eu, “The Celts and Their Pigs“.

Blair, Nancy. Goddess in a Box, “Henwen“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “Henwen: A Cymric Goddess: Old White“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Henwen“.

Lowchensaustralia.com, “Ancient Celtic Mythology – Caridwen or Hen Wen; in Wales, Brighid“.

Mallory, James. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture,Pig” (p. 427).

Wikipedia, “Henwen“.

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 Cerridwen

“Cerridwen’s themes are fertility, creativity, harvest, inspiration, knowledge and luck. Her symbols are the cauldron, pigs and grain. The Welsh mother Goddess, Cerridwin also embodies all lunar attributes and the energy of the harvest, specifically grains. In Celtic mythology, Cerriwin owned a cauldron of inexhaustible elixir that endowed creativity and knowledge. At the halfway point of the year, Her inspiration comes along as motivation to ‘keep on keepin’ on.’ Her symbol is a pig, an animal that often represents good fortune and riches, including spiritual enrichment.

Since most folks don’t have a cauldron sitting around, get creative! Use a special cup, bowl or vase set in a special spot to represent Cerridwin’s creativity being welcome in your home. Fill the receptacle with any grain-based product (like breakfast cereal) as an offering. Whisper your desire to the grain each time you see it or walk by. At the end of the day, pour the entire bowl outside for the animals. They will bear your wishes back to the Goddess.

For meat eaters, today is definitely a time to consider having bacon for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch or pork roast for dinner to internalize Cerridwin’s positive aspects. Vegetarians? Fill up your piggy bank with odd change you find around your house and apply the funds to something productive to inspire Cerridwin’s blessing.”

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

Thalia Took tells us that “Cerridwen [pronounced (KARE-id-ooín or KARE-id-win)](‘White Sow’, or ‘White Crafty One’) is the Welsh grain and sow-Goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and Goddess of transformation. Her son Afagddu was so horribly ugly She set to making a brew of wisdom for him, to give him a quality that could perhaps overcome his ugliness. Every day for a year and a day She added herbs at the precise astrological times, but on the day it was ready the three magical drops fell instead on the servant boy, Gwion Bach, who was set to watch the fire. Instantly becoming a great magician, the boy fled from Her wrath, and as She pursued him they each changed shape–a hound following a rabbit, an otter chasing a salmon, a hawk flying after a sparrow–until finally the boy changed to a kernel of wheat, settling into a pile of grain on a threshing-floor. Cerridwen, becoming a black hen, found him out and swallowed him down.

Nine months later She gave birth to Taliesin, who would be the greatest of all bards.

“Shapeshifter” by Lisa Hunt

Called ‘the White Lady of Inspiration and Death’, Cerridwen’s ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing seasons. Her cauldron contains awen, meaning the divine spirit, or poetic or prophetic inspiration. Her link as the Mother of Poetry is seen in Her reborn son Taliesin, and in the Welsh word that makes up part of Her name, cerdd, which also means poetry.

Cerridwen signifies inspiration from an unexpected corner. Plans may go awry; projects may change. Do not be too quick to hold a project to its course–instead let it take its shape as it will.

Variant spellings: Ceridwen, Caridwen, Kyrridwen” [1]

“Cerridwen – the Magician” by Lisa Hunt

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Magic and fertility

Preferred Colors: Green

Associated Symbol: Cauldron

Associated Animal: Crow

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Best Moon Phase: New

Strongest Around: Imbolc

Suitable Offerings: Vervain, acorns

Associated Planet: Moon   [2]

 

 

This 13 minute video does a wonderful job discussing Her story and Her aspects.

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Cerridwen“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com,Goddess Cerridwyn“.

Daily Goddess, “Cerridwen: Death & Rebirth“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Ceridwen“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow.  Within the Sacred Mists, “Goddess of the Week: Cerridwen“.

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

MoonBird, Maeve.  Order of the White Moon, “Ceridwen“.

PaganPages.org, “Cerridwen“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Cerridwen: mighty and magical can-do woman!“.

The Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, The Tale of Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

Wikipedia, “Ceridwen“.

Charila

“Hellenic Priestess” by Kira Hagen

“Charila’s themes are cleansing, fertility, luck, protection, providence and kindness. Her symbols are leeks, onions, grain and Honey Cakes.  Charila comes to our aid when there is a famine, a drought or some kind of abuse, be it in the earth or in our spirits. Greek mythology tells us that Charila was a young girl who approached a king seeking food. The king was angered and slapped her. Charila hanged herself in disgrace, but not without some notice by the Delphic oracle. The prophetess told the king to change his unsympathetic ways and make offerings to Charila to appease her spirit. Some traditional offerings for her include honey cakes and grains.

During Pharmakos in Greece, a criminal representing the community was ritually driven out of the city with leeks and onions rather than being executed. This act of mercy propitiated Charila, cleansed the city of it’s ‘sins’ and ensured continuing good fortune for the region. This also brought fertility, onions being an aphrodisiac. So, whether you need Charila’s luck, productivity, forgiveness or protection, definitely add onions and leeks to the menu (followed by a hefty does of breath mints)!

To draw Charila’s kindness or good fortune to your home, take a handful of any type of grain adn sprinkle it on the walkway near your living space saying,

‘Follow me, wherever I roam
and let tenderness and luck fill my home!'”

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

The only real mention I found for today’s entry on Charila was that “Charila [was] a festival observed once in nine years by the Delphians.  It owes its origin to this circumstance: In a great famine the people of Delphi assembled and applied to their king to relieve their wants.  He accordingly distributed the little corn which he had among the noblest; but a poor little girl, called Charila, begged the king with more than common earnestness, he beat her with his shoe, and the girl unable to bear this treatment, hanged herself in her girdle.  The famine increased; and the oracle told the king, that to relieve his people, he must atone for the murder of Charila.  Upon this a festival was instituted, with expiatory rites.

The king presided over this institution, and distributed pulse and corn to such as attended.  Charila’s image was brought before the king, who struck it with his shoe; after which it was carried to a desolate place, where they put a halter around its neck, and buried it where Charila was buried.” [1]

  

This practice to me, sounds like a type of sympathetic magic.  As the famine increased after Charila’s death, the king had to atone for his sins.  The remnants or consequences of his actions then had to be banished.  In order to banish that energy (for lack of a better word), Charila’s image (in the form of a doll I’ve read) had to be sent away and buried in order to be done with the ordeal and put things right and restore order.  This kind of reminds me of the Marazanna (or Morena), a Slavic Goddess of winter, death and nightmares.  “It is custom in countries such as Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to make an effigy of Marazanna, parade it around and then burn and drown Her in order to celebrate the end of winter and the joy of rebirth of Spring and victory over death. It was believed that the ritual would ensure good harvest. Destroying the effigy of the evil Goddess was believed also to remove all the effects brought by Her.” [2]  The intent behind both celebrations sound very similar.

Sources:

Hellenica, “Festivals: Charila“.

Swiech, Barbara. BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, “Slavic goddess and Spring“.

Goddess Sif

“Sif” by helgath

“Sif’s themes are summer, kinship, arts, passion, and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun, gold and hair.  This Scandinavian earth Goddess has long golden hair that shines even more brightly now that the sun is reclaiming its dominance in the sky. On warm nights, especially in summer, She enjoys making love beneath an open sky in the fields, symbolically giving life and adoration to the earth.

People greet the traditional first day of summer exuberantly in Iceland today, as winter has been very long and often very difficult. They exchange gifts wrapped in gold to celebrate the sun’s return, gather with family and friends, and revel in regional arts, especially dramas.

A non-Icelandic version of this might be performing a ritual drama in which you slowly raise a golden sphere with trailing gold ribbons (representing the sun and Sif). Once the sphere is in full view, high in the room, say:

‘Sif, be welcome
Sif is here
She shines Her golden warmth on us and the earth
Warming both, nurturing all.’
 

Afterward, try this Sif-centered spell for unity and passion at home: Have a small, enclosed fire source burning (this represents the sun’s blessing). Each person in your household then takes one strand of hair and gives it to the flame. As this burns, add dried lemon peel and basil to emphasize harmony (and offset the scent of the hair). Sprinkle the ashes in the soil around the living space.”

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

“Sif” by InertiaK

“Sif is the Norse Goddess of the grain, who is a prophetess, and the beautiful golden-haired wife of Thor. Thor is the thunder God and frequent companion of Loki, as he makes the perfect patsy, being not too bright. Sif is of the elder race of Gods or Aesir. She is a swan-maiden, like the Valkyries, and can take that form.

By Her first marriage to the Giant Orvandil, Sif had a son named Ullr (“the Magnificent”), who is a god of winter and skiing. By Her second husband Thor, She had a daughter, Thrudr (“Might”), a Goddess of storm and clouds and one of the Valkyries, and two sons, Magni (“Might”) and Modi (“Anger” or “The Brave”), who are destined to survive Ragnarok and inherit Mjollnir from Thor (though some say the Giantess Jarnsaxa “Iron Sword” is their mother). Sif is famous for Her very long, very golden hair.

“Sif nLoki” by idahoj1

One night, Loki, who just couldn’t resist a little chaos and mischief, snuck into Her chamber and chopped it all off. A sobbing and horrified Sif went straight to Her husband, who in His rage started breaking Loki’s bones, one by one, until finally He swore to make the situation right. So Loki went to the dwarves and persuaded them to make not only a new head of magic hair for Sif from pure gold, but also a magical ship and a spear. But Loki could not resist pushing His luck, and made a wager with two other dwarves, Brokk and Sindi, daring them to make better treasures. Loki was so sure of the outcome that He had let His own head be the prize. Underestimating the dwarves’ skills (or the depth of their hatred for Him), He suddenly realized with a shock that Brokk and Sindi were winning! In desperation He changed Himself into a horsefly, biting and pestering the dwarves while they worked. In spite of this they managed to produce several treasures, the most famous of which was Mjollnir, Thor’s Hammer. The Gods were then called to arbitrate and declared Brokk and Sindi the winners. Loki promptly disappeared. When He was tracked down He was again given to the dwarf brothers, but this time Loki agreed, yes, they had a right to His head, but the wager had said nothing about His neck. Frustrated with this ‘logic’, the dwarves had to content themselves with sewing His lips shut. The new head of golden hair was given to Sif, where it magically grew from Her head just as if it were natural. Her golden hair is said to represent the wheat of summer that is shorn at harvest-time.” [1]

Sif

“If you are going through a difficult time in your life right now, remember Sif and Her story.  Sif wouldn’t let any situation in Her life disable Her, or cause Her to become un-peaceful.  She would simply wait it out, knowing that everything will be taken care of in the end.  There is always darkness before the sun.  Believing in this will all your heart, bake a home made bread with many grains, in honor of Sif and Her representation of harvest.  Make sure to throw some bread back into the earth as an offering!” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Sif: Goddess of Grain and Gold“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Sif“.

 

Suggested Links:

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

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Sif“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Sif“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddess, “Meeting Sif, Norse Goddess of Family and Harvest” (p. 205 – 225).

Thorshof.org, “How Sif Got Her Golden Hair“.

Valkrietower, “Sif“.

Goddess Mielikki

“Mielikki’s themes are change and providence. Her symbols are bears, grain and woodland plants.  The Finnish Goddess of game, hunting and the forest, Mielikki protects our resources during the remaining cold season by keeping the pantry filled. As the Goddess of abundant grain, she also encourages the return of fertility to the earth.

Go into your kitchen and get a small handful of any grain-based cereal. Take this outside and release a pinch of it to the earth, saying something like:
‘Mielikki, see this grain and bless
return to earth in fruitfulness
Hear the prayer that fills my heart
to my home, providence impart.’

Take the remaining pinch back in the house and store it in an airtight container, symbolically preserving your resources.

Tyvendedagen means ‘twentieth day after Christmas’. In Norway, today marks off the official end of the Yule season. It’s celebrated with races, sleigh rides, and the storage of ornaments and by burning the Christmas tree to drive away winter. So, when you dismantle your Yule tree, keep a jar full of its needles handy. Burn these throughout the year to banish frosty feelings or to warm up a chilly relationship. The pine smoke, being from a woodland tree, also draws Mielikki’s attention to any pressing needs you may have.”

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

In one legend, Mielikki plays the central role in creating the first bear.  Click here to read the story.

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