Tag Archive: harvest


Goddess Takel

“Takel’s themes are banishing, health, protection, harvest, thankfulness and kinship. Her symbols are root crops. In Malaysia, this Goddess supports the heavens with a pillar from the center of Her creation, the Earth. Takel is the supreme Goddess of agriculture and its abundance. She comes to us at the end of the old year to keep us healthy and well provided for in the new.

Each December, people in Malaysia give thanks to the spirits for Takel’s abundance and the success of families, and they pray for ongoing health, protection and victory over any evils the may face. It is an example worth considering.

Follow Malaysian custom and consume Takel’s bounty today through luscious feasts. As you take the first slice or serving of any entrée, set it aside for the Goddess. Don’t forget to include root crops, especially yams or sweet potatoes, in your feast today. These are some of Takel’s sacred foods, and they will fill your heart with an abundance of love.

Later, after dinner has settled, dance in a joyful manner, being thankful for what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t. Takel will join you in that dance, and the energy it generates will empower the next year with health, prosperity and unity.”

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

Sorry guys – I could find no information on today’s Goddess, Takel.

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

Wikipedia, “Malaysian Chinese religion“.

Goddess Ikapati

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“Dewi Sri” by Much

“Ikapati’s themes are prayer, harvest, thanksgiving, luck and protection. Her symbols are harvested foods.  In the language of the Philippines, this Goddess’s name literally means ‘giver of food’, making Her the provider of the Misa de Gallo! She diligently promotes abundance of fields and crops, and She protects farm animals from disease.

When the sun begins to rise today, people take to the streets with all manner of noise makers to invoke Ikapati’s protection and to banish evil influences that might hinder next year’s crops. Effectively, even in more Christianized forms, this is a lavish harvest festival in which Filipinos thank the divine for their fortune and food, which is always a worthy endeavor.

We can join the festivities today by eating the customary rice cakes to internalize Ikapati’s providence and drinking ginger tea for health and energy. It is traditional during this meal to invite the Goddess to join you at the table. Just leave her a plate and cup filled with a portion of whatever you have.

Tonight, consign this offering to the earth, where Ikapati dwells (or to your compost heap), and whisper a wish for improved luck to the soil. The Goddess will then accept the gift and turn it into positive energy for the planet and your life.”

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

According to Wikipedia, Ikapati is an ancient Tagalog Goddess also known as Lakapati.  Lakapati is “the Goddess of fertility and the most understanding and kind of all the deities. Also known as Ikapati, She was the giver of food and prosperity. Her best gift to mankind was agriculture (cultivated fields). Through this, She was respected and loved by the people. Later, She was married to Mapulon and had a daughter.” [1]

Interestingly enough, I found on a few sites that Lakapati is described as a transgender or hermaphroditic deity.  In a book entitled Mythologies – A Polytheistic view of the World, it states: “Lakampati (Lacapati/Lacanpate) – the major fertility deity of the ancient Tagalogs.  Farmers with their children brought offerings for him at the fields and invoke him to protect them from famine.  Some sources also said that foods and words are offered to him by his devotees asking for ‘water’ for their fields and ‘fish’ when they set sail in the sea for fishing.  Lakampati was a hermaphrodite deity and was commented by some authors and friars as ‘the hermaphrodite devil who satisfies his carnal appetite with men and women’.  He is identified to the ancient Zambal Goddess Ikapati although he/she also has a characteristics similar to other Zambal deities such as Anitong Tawo, Dumangan, Kalasokus, and Kalaskas” (p. 120).

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“Dewi Sri” by Erwin Silman

According to Sri Owen, which was surprising to me, “Filipino rice spirits…are often male.  One group consisted of four brother gods: Dumangan, the god of good harvests and giver of grains; Kalaskas, who supervised the ripening of the rice grains; Kalasokus, in charge of the yellowing and drying of the crop ready for harvest; and Damulag, who protected the rice from wind (remember those terrible Philippines typhoons).  However, they had a female colleague, Ikapati, who was Goddess of cultivated lands and taught agriculture” (p. 54).  This leads me to wonder if Ikapati is somehow “related to” or has any connection with Dewi Sri, Mae PhosopPo Ino NogarWakasaname-no-Kami (who also is an androgynous deity)…

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Owen, Sri. The Rice Book: History, Culture, Recipes, “The Feminine Rice Spirit“.

Wikipedia, “Deities of Philippine mythology“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Halili, M. C. Philippine History.

Ramos, Michael. Polvoron: Tales and Stories from the Philippine Islands, “Pearls“.

Goddess Sakwa Mana

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“Blue Corn Maiden” by Cher Lyn

“Sakwa Mana’s themes are prayer, communications, cycles, harvest, health and joy. Her symbols are the color blue, corn, prayer sticks and pine. The Hopi Blue Corn Maiden, this Goddess participates in the Soyal festival by carrying a tray of blue corn and spruce bows, both of which represent the Goddess’s ongoing providence, no matter the reason.

The Zuni and Hopi gather in kivas today and celebrate Soyal, the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and Hopi. They celebrate in order to comfort and bring happiness to the old year so that the new one will be filled with earth’s and Sakwa Mana’s bounty. Several customary activities today are fun to try. First, offer the gift of a feather to a friend. This ensures them of a new year filled with health and joy. To invoke Sakwa Mana’s blessing on the gift, pack it with a few pine needles. Over time, the feather will absorb the Goddess’s aroma and disperse her power each time it’s fanned in ritual.

Making a sun shield brings victory in your life over any darkness holding you back. To create a simple one, cut out a round piece of paper and decorate it with your creative vision of the sun. Either keep this with you or put it in a predominant spot in your home. When success comes, burn the paper with a thankful heart.Finally, find a fallen pine twig outside and attach a small feather to it. This represents both the Goddess and your wish for a gentle voice in prayer.”

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

Gilbert-Atencio-Blue-Corn-Maiden

“Blue Corn Maiden” by Gilbert Atencio

According to Hopi legend, Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved Her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that She gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but She also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.

One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something She would not normally do. While She was out of Her adobe house, She saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and-white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved Her at once.

He invited Her to come to his house, and She had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved Her very much, She was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to Her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.

Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods She loved to find in summer. Under all the ice and snow, all She found was four blades of yucca.

She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina’s house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow Her to start a fire when he was in the house.

When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.

Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.

As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.

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“Corn Maiden” by Hrana Janto

Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.

They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them Her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.

Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to Her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.

Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.

 

 

 

Sources:

Firstpeople.us, “Blue Corn Maiden and the coming of Winter“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Brownielocks.com, “The History of the Soyaluna (Soyal, Soyala, Sol-ya-lang-eu)“.

Great-spirit-mother.org, “Corn Mother creation story“.

Lyn, Cher. Mysticartmedicine.com, “Blue Corn Maiden“.

Pyramidmesa.com, “The Revenge of Blue Corn Ear Maiden“.

Also see my previous posts on Yellow Woman, First Woman, Selu, Corn Mother, and Iyatiku.

Goddess Spes

“Gathering Flowers” by Albert Lynch

“Spes’ themes are thankfulness, hope, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are a bouquet of flowers. In Roman tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘hope’. She joins us today to celebrate the successful harvest and keep our hearts hopeful as the earth’s plenty wanes. In art, Spes often appears as a simple bundle of flowers whose beauty inspires the most distraught of spirits.

Follow pilgrim tradition and set aside time today to thank the Goddess for Her blessings in any way that seems suited to your path and vision. For example, give Spes an offering of the first slice of holiday bread, share food with those in need, or perhaps treat the birds and squirrels in your neighborhood to some bread and nuts.

Locally we invite any friends who have no family nearby to join with us in a delightful symbolic meal. Serve round rye bread and dill dip for unity and kinship, sweet potatoes for life’s sweetness and Spes’s harvest energies, cranberries mixed with oranges to keep our energy and health intact, vegetables for firm foundations, and pumpkin pie with magical sigils carved in the crust for the Goddess’s protective spark. If you look at your own traditional menu, I’ll bet you will find many other foods and beverages that have similar symbolism to bring meaning and Spes’s magic to your table for this holiday. As you eat, remember to pass all the food and beverages clockwise to invoke Spes’s ongoing providence.”

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

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

Patricia Monaghan told us that Spes was “an early Cretan Goddess called Elphis in Greece. She was the one force left in the box of Pandora after evil had escaped into the world.  Spes was ruler of the Underworld and of death’s cousin, sleep; Her plant was the poppy, but otherwise nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.  In Greece and Rome, Spes became the personification of hope, worshiped in temples dedicated to Her as early as the fourth century B.C.E.” ( p. 285).

On theodora.com, it states that “Spes, in Roman mythology, the personification of Hope. Originally a nature Goddess (like Venus the garden Goddess, with whom She was sometimes identified *), She represented at first the hope of fruitful gardens and fields, then of abundant offspring, and lastly of prosperity to come and good fortune in general, being hence invoked on birthdays and at weddings. Of Her numerous temples at Rome, the most ancient was appropriately in the forum olitorium (vegetable market), built during the first Punic War, and since that time twice burnt down and restored.

The day of its dedication (August 1) corresponded with the birthday of Claudius, which explains the frequent occurrence of Spes on the coins of that emperor. Spes is represented as a beautiful maiden in a long light robe, lifting up Her skirt with Her left hand, and carrying in Her right a bud already closed or about to open. Sometimes She wears a garland of flowers on Her head, ears of corn and poppy-heads in Her hand, symbolical of a prosperous harvest.

Like Fortuna, with whom She is often coupled in inscriptions on Roman tombstones, She was also represented with the cornu copiae (horn of plenty).

* “See G. Wissowa, Religion and Kultus der Romer (1902), according to whom Spes was originally not a garden Goddess, but simply the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfilment of one’s desires.” [2]  In my opinion, that would seem to support Monaghan’s statement that “nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.”  My interpretation is that She was just that – Hope – a personification of hope and “the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfillment of desires.”

“Angel” by Dawn Wilson-Enoch

 

 

Sources:

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

Theodora.com,  “Spes“.

 

Suggested Links:

Forumancientcoins.com, “Spes – the Personification of Hope“.

Theoi.com, “Elpis“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Fortuna of Good Hope“.

Wikipedia, “Spes“.

Goddess Matariki

“Matariki’s themes are stars, harvest and peace. Her symbols are stars and the number 7. In Polynesian tradition, this Goddess and Her six children became the Pleiades, and they continue to help humans by showing us when to begin harvesting the labors of hand or heart.

From mid- to late November the people of Hawaii take part in special rituals to celebrate the appearance of the Pleiades in the skies, which is the beginning of harvest season. In reverence for this occasion, all war is forbidden. It makes one wish that Matariki and her children appeared around the world all the time!

To encourage similar peacefulness in your own life, and harmony with those around you, carry seven stars in your pocket, wallet, or purse today. You can draw these on paper, use seven typed asterisks, get the marshmallow kind out of a cereal box, or collect seven noodles from a chicken ‘n’ stars can. If you use edible items, eat them at the end of the day to bring serenity to your spirit.

If there’s something you’ve been working on that seems to be taking forever, look to Matariki to show you how to begin effectively manifesting your efforts. Pray, meditate, and watch for unique openings throughout the day, especially after the stars appear in the sky, representing her power.”

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

“The Pleiades” by Corina Chirila

The only other real mention that I found defining Matariki as a Goddess comes from the Goddess A Day site that states, “To the Maori, the Pleiades are Matariki and her six daughters: Tupu-a-Nuku, Tupu-a-Rangi, Wai-Tii, Wai-Ta, Wai-puna-Rangi, and Uru-Rangi.” [1]

However, the rest of my research found that Matariki wasn’t a Goddess, but is actually the Maori name for the Pleiades.  My research also found that Matariki is the traditional Maori New Year that is celebrated anywhere from late May to early June.  

“Matariki is the Māori name for the seven-star constellation that rises in the north-east before dawn in late May/early June. In Western astronomy it is known the Pleiades, and it forms the shoulder of Taurus the Bull.  Matariki marks the start of a new phase of life. It is a time of festivity for Māori, the tangata whenua, or first people of New Zealand.  Matariki is an important time in the Māori calendar and is associated with the start of the cold season when the pātaka kai (food storehouses) are full and the land is at its most unproductive.” [1]

“The Matariki star constellation marked a time for starting all things new, this was a particularly important period for new crops to be planted and the preserving of old crops to be finished. When Matariki was sighted ceremonial offerings of food were planted for the gods Uenuku and Whiro to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Even the stars themselves were looked upon for guidance as to how successful the coming season would be; the brighter the star constellation the warmer the year was destined and the better the harvest was thought to be.

The timing of Matariki fell at the end of a harvest and food stores were full. Meat, fruits, herbs and vegetables had been gathered and preserved and the migration of certain fish ensured a great period of feasts. Matariki was seen as a time to share with each other, for family and friends to come together and share in the gifts that the land and sea had provided for them.” [2]

Similar to Samhain, “traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.” [3]

Matariki Across the World

“Sprinling Stars – Matariki” by Ira Mitchell

“Matariki’s seven stars can be viewed from anywhere in the world and the constellation is globally recognised as a key navigational aid for sailors. It features in many cultures and acts as an important signal for seasonal celebrations around the world.

Europe: Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, is described as seven sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone. In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England.

Māori and Pacific cultures: In Māori and Pacific stories, Matariki is described as a mother surrounded by Her six daughters.

Japan: In Japan, Matariki is known as Subaru.

Other: The Matariki cluster of stars has also been celebrated by Africans, American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Chinese and Vikings.

Unity, harvesting and planting, paying tributes to ancestors and looking ahead to the future are all themes of these celebrations.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Matariki“.

Taitokerau.co.nz, “Matariki“.

Teara.govt.nz, “Story – Matariki – Māori New Year“.

Wellington.govt.nz, “Matariki – Overview“.

 

Suggested Links:

Matarikievents.co.nz, “Matariki – Home“.

Ngawhetu.com, “Māori New Year“.

Tetaurawhiri.govt.nz, “Matariki“.

Wikipedia, “Matariki“.

 

Goddess Tatsuta-Hime

“Oriental Autumn” by ~OzureFlame

“Tatsuta-Hime’s themes are children, health, luck, thankfulness, autumn, blessings, abundance and protection. Her symbols are Fall leaves.  This windy Japanese Goddess blows into our lives today offering blessings and abundance for all our efforts. Tradition tells us that She weaves the Fall leaves into a montage of color, then sweeps them away along with any late-fall maladies. Sailors often wear an amulet bearing Her name to weather difficult storms at sea safely.

The Shichi-go-San Festival, also known as the 7-5-3 Festival, in Japan is a huge birthday celebration for children who have reached these ages. Parents take their young ones to local shrines for the Goddess’ and Gods’ blessings. Here they receive a gift of rice for prosperity, and a bit of pink hard candy for a long life.

If you have children, by all means follow this custom to draw Tatsuta-Hime’s protective energies into their lives. Place some rice, a piece of pink candy, and a strand of the child’s hair in a little sealed box. Write the Goddess’s name somewhere on the box to keep her blessing intact. Put this in the child’s room or on the family altar.

To manifest this Goddess’s health and well-being, take several swatches of fabric bearing her name and sew them into various items of clothing, or carry on in your pocket. Should your day prove emotionally stormy, this little charm will keep you centered, calm, and ‘on course’.”

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

“Aeris: Air” by AkinaSaita

Though Tatsuta-Hime (pronounced tat-SUE-tah HEE-may) is a minor wind Goddess, Her essence and actions are unforgettable.  It is said that each year Tatsuta-Hime, Goddess of dyeing and weaving, dyes silk yarn and weaves a beautiful multicolored tapestry of yellow, orange, russet, crimson and gold.  She then incarnated Herself as wind and blew Her own work to shreds.  According to Janet and Stewart Farrar, Her male counterpart is Tatsuta-Hiko and is prayed to for good harvests.

 

 

 

Sources:

Farrar, Janet & Stewart. The Witches’ Goddess.

Goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com, “Tatsuta-Hime“.

Hathaway, Nancy. The Friendly Guide to Mythology, “Tatsuta-Hime“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Tatsuma-Hime”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Darumamuseumgallery.blogspot.com, “Four Seasons Deities“.

Satow, Sir Earnest Mason & A.G.S. Hawes. A Handbook for Travelers in central and northern Japan, “Tatta“, (p. 386).

Shine Tsu-Hiko.

Goddess Feronia

“Fire goddess” by ~Nigith

“Feronia’s themes are fertility, abundance, earth, freedom, sports and recreation. Her symbols are fire and coals.  This Roman fire Goddess provides fertility and abundance during even the harshest of times. When boredom sets in, she arrives with arms bearing festive energies and earth’s riches as a ‘pick-me-up’. According to Roman tradition, She is also the patroness and liberator of slaves, or of anything that allegorically enslaves us.

Every November 13, the Plebeian games opened in Rome with all manners of sport competitions. This festival also honored the Goddess Feronia and her liberating nature.  Mirroring this theme, get outside and do something physical to release any anger or tension you bear. Give it into Feronia’s care so She can transform it into healthful energy.

Carry a piece of coal today to generate a little of Feronia’s abundance in all your efforts. Keeping this near your stove (or any fire source, like the heater) maintains this Goddess’s energy in your home year-round. If a day comes when you have a really pressing need, burn the coal in Feronia’s liberating flames to release the magic for fast manifestation.

If you find your inner reserves waning with the winter’s darkness, light a candle sometime today to invoke Feronia’s vitality. Better still, light it for a few minutes each day until you feel your energy returning.”

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

“Feronia was a Goddess broadly associated with fertility and abundance. She was especially honored among plebeians and freedmen. Her festival, the Feroniae, was November 13, during the Ludi Plebeii (“Plebeian Games“), in conjunction with Fortuna Primigenia; both were Goddesses of Praeneste.” [1]

“Goddess of Fire” by ~kepper

Patricia Monaghan wrote that “far from the growing cities of Italy, this solitary Goddess made Her simple home in woodlands like those at Campania or at the foot of mountains like Soracte.  She may date to the era before Rome some believe She is a vestigial Etruscan Goddess, powerful enough to maintain Her own identity after Roman conquest, for Her major sanctuaries were in the central Italian areas where the Etruscans once lived.  Orchards and fields, volcanoes and thermal springs were Her abode, for She was a fire Goddess ruling the heat of reproductive life as well as the fires beneath the earth’s crust.  At Her festivals on the Ides of November, great fairs were held and first fruits offered; freedom was bestowed on slaves; men walked barefoot across coals to the cheering of crowds.

Art by Elena Dudina

The energy of Feronia could not be contained within cities, and Her sanctuaries were therefore in the open country.  So unsociable was She that when Her Campanian forest shrine once burned and Her worshipers planned to remove Her temple to the safety of a town, the Goddess instantly restored the charred trees to leafy greenness” (p. 124 – 125).

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Feronia (mythology)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Illes, Judika. Judikailles.com, “Feronia“.

Mythindex.com, “Feronia“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Chapter III: Feronia“.

 

Goddess Vasudhara

“Vasudhara” by Sundar Sinkhwal

“Vasudhara’s themes are religious devotion, charity, thankfulness and abundance. Her symbols are cows and golden items. In India, this golden-breasted earth Goddess provides us with enough abundance to be able to give back freely of what we receive. Vasushara’s golden color alludes to some solar attributes, including manifesting financial prosperity for those who call upon Her. In Her wealth-giving aspect, Vasudhara sometimes appears as a cow.

Around this date, many churches in the United States and Canada begin their annual fund-raising campaign by asking parishioners to give back a little of what the divine has given them.  While many New Age practitioners don’t belong to a church, this idea still holds merit and would please Vasudhara greatly. Donate a little money to a pagan defense fund, for example.  Put on something gold to draw the Goddess’s prosperity back to you, then buy some good magic books for your library. The proceeds indirectly ‘give back’ to the teachers whom you admire through royalties!

If your schedule allows, stop in at your favorite New Age store and volunteer an hour of your time to give back to the community. Write thank-you letters to people who have somehow touched your life deeply. Should any of these people live nearby, help them with chores or bring them a special dish for dinner.  These acts of kindness are a type of stewardship that reflects Vasushara’s spirit by blessing others.”

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

A Newari Representation of Vasudhara

From Wikipedia: “Vasudhārā whose name means ‘stream of gems’ in Sanskrit, is the Buddhist bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. She is popular in many Buddhist countries and is a subject in Buddhist legends and art. Originally an Indian bodhisattva, Her popularity has spread to southern Buddhist countries. Her popularity, however, peaks in Nepal where She has a strong following among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and is thus a central figure in Newar Buddhism.  She is named Shiskar Apa in Lahul and Spiti.

The origin of Vasudhārā in Buddhism appears in the Buddhist text The Vasudhara Dharani.  According to a legend in the text known as ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra,’ an impoverished layman named Sucandra approaches the Buddha Shakyamuni requesting a way to obtain large amounts gold, grain, silver, and gems in order to feed his large family and engage in acts of charity with the surplus fortune. Shakyamuni, aware of a mantra about the bodhisattva Vasudhara that would suit his purposes, bestows Sucandra with an incantation and religious ritual that when followed would result in good fortune and prosperity brought on by Vasudhara Herself. Upon commencing the rituals and teaching them to others, Sucandra begins to prosper. Noticing his success, the monk Ananda asked Shakyamuni how he had obtained this fortune so quickly. Shakyamuni instructs Ananda to also practice the Vasudhara Dharani and ‘impart it to others ‘for the good of many’.’

Although ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ seems to contradict the Buddha’s renunciation of material possessions and earthly pleasures, Shakyamuni does not instruct the monk to recite the mantra for material benefit but instead he stresses that the mantra is for ‘the good of many’ and for ‘the happiness of many’.  Thus the mantra is meant more as means of alleviating suffering rather than obtaining wealth through Vasudhara, who not only grants physical wealth and abundance but also spiritual wealth and abundance. Click here to continue reading about Her legends from Taranatha.

Like the legend of the ‘Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ these legends are significant because they encourage both the lay and monastic worship of Vasudhara.  In addition, they stress the importance of charity, teaching worshippers to share in their good fortune rather than amassing it for themselves.

Vasudhara [Tib. Norgyun(ma)]

In Buddhist art, Vasudhara has a consistent iconography. She can easily be identified as a bodhisattva by the elaborate headdress and the extensive amount of jewelry she wears.  Her skin has a golden hue in bronze and painted images. This color is associated with precious metals and symbolizes opulence, fertility, and generosity in Buddhist iconography. Vasudhara is typically seated on a lotus flower base in the lalitasana, or royal pose, with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging of the flower base but resting on a small treasure.  She can, however, also be represented in a standing position.  When standing, Vasudhara has a full vase representing abundance underneath each foot.

Despite this consistency in Her representations, the number of Her arms may differ from image to image. In visual representations, Vasudhara can have as few as two arms and as many as six. The two-armed representations are more common in Tibetan art and Indian art, while six-armed representations are almost exclusive to Nepalese art.  Although the six-armed image originates in India, they are rare and only few examples have been found.

In Her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to Her. Most representations show Her holding a sheaf of corn in Her left hand, symbolizing an abundant harvest.  She may also be holding a gem or small treasure, a symbol of wealth. Representations with more arms, such as the six-armed Nepali representation, also depict Her holding a full vase and the Book of Wisdom. With Her free hands, Vasudhara performs mudras. A commonly seen mudra in paintings and figurines featuring Vasudhara is the varada mudra, also known as the charity mudra, which symbolizes the ‘pouring forth of divine blessings.’ Vasudhara is the subject of numerous bronzes and paintings. She is predominantly the central figure of bronze sculptures or painted mandalas. She may also, however, appear alongside Her consort, Vaiśravaṇa (Jambhala) the Buddhist God of Riches. Despite his status, She surpasses him in popularity and is more commonly the central figure of Her own mandalas.

Vasudhara is particularly popular in Nepali Buddhism among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. In this region she is a common household deity. This is known from the countless number of bronzes and paintings found representing Her. These images are small in size, typically 18 cm or smaller.  Because of their small size it is known that these images were primarily for private use, namely household veneration of the Goddess. Additionally, there is a cult dedicated to Her worship followed by the Buddhist Newars.  Followers of this cult believe that Her worship brings wealth and stability. Despite the strong following of this cult by the Buddhist Newars, unfortunately, it is now in decline.

As the Bodhisattva of abundance and prosperity, Her popularity in this region is due to the predominance of agriculture and trade essential to the economy of the Kathmandu Valley.  The Newars believe that Her veneration will generally result in good fortune.

One of the earliest Nepalese representations of Vasudhara is a pauhba (textile art depicting Hindu and Buddhist images on course cotton), dating back to 1015 C.E.  This pauhba is known as the Mandala of Vasudhara. The Goddess is the central image of this mandala, which depicts scenes of dedication, ritual initiation, festive music, and dance associated with Her worship. Its purpose is didactic (to teach). The mandala teaches the importance of worshipping Vasudhara primarily through the narrative of a non-believer whom She converted to belief.

In addition to Her popularity in Nepal, Vasudhara is also an important ‘wealth deity’ in Tibetan Buddhism.  Although popular in Tibet, Vasudhara does not assume as important of a role as She does in Nepalese Buddhism. In Tibet, the worship of Vasudhara is limited to mostly lay people as opposed to worship by both lay and monastic life. This is because Tibetan monastic life regards Vasudhara as a ‘benefactor of the laity’ and instead primarily engages in the worship of the Goddess Tara for all their needs.  This, however, does not mean that monastic life disregards Her completely. They do perform rites and rituals to the Goddess habitually but it is usually at the request of a patron.

The iconography of Vasudhara varies slightly in this region. In Tibetan art She appears more commonly with two arms. The six-armed representations, however, also exist and it is believed they filtered into Tibet through Nepal because of the late appearance of these images in manuscripts and art.  Unlike Nepalese art, Vasudhara rarely appears alone in Tibetan art. Instead She is paired with Jambhala or appears alongside other deities.  Despite these slight differences, most of Her iconography remains unchanged and Vasudhara can be easily recognized by Her attributes in most Buddhist art.

Vasudhara is often compared to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. As Goddesses of wealth, both deities have a similar iconography and are worshipped for their role in an abundant harvest.  Both assume a golden hue in artistic representations, perform the same mudra, and hold similar objects. For example, Vasudhara and Lakshmi are often depicted holding gems or having pots of treasure under their feet. It is believed that the convention of depicting Vasudhara standing on vases originated from earlier representations of Lakshmi.  Furthermore, both Goddesses are often depicted paired with their respective consorts, Lakshmi alongside Vishnu and Vasudhara alongside Jambhala.” [1]

“Invite Vasudhara into your home, offer Her flowers and water, and recite Her mantra daily to invite wealth and abundance into your life. Her mantra is: OM SHRI VASUDHARA RATNA NIDHANA KASHETRI SOHA.” [2]

Sources:

Fsmegamall.com, “Bejeweled Vasudhara – Goddess of Wealth and Abundance“.

Wikipedia, “Vasudhara“.

 

Suggested Links:

Huntington, John C. & Dina Bangdel. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, “125| Vasundhara“.

Isley, A. Krishna. Krishna76.deviantart.com, “Vasundhara in Vajrayana Buddhi“. (An excellent academic essay!)

News.richmond.edu, “Religion professor researches Buddhist goddesses of Tibet“.

Shaw, Miranda Eberle. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Smithsonian Institution. Asia.si.edu, “Devi: The Great Goddess“.

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 Nisaba

“Egyptian Girl with Snakes” by Frances Bramley Warren

“Nisaba’s themes are creativity, communication, excellence, inspiration, Universal Law, divination and dreams. Her symbols are pens, computers, books and snakes (Her sacred animal).  In Sumerian tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘She who teaches the decrees’, referring specifically to imparting divine laws to humankind. In order to communicate these matters effectively, Nisaba invented literacy, and She uses creative energy to inspire scribes. Besides this, Nisaba is an oracular Goddess, well gifted in dream interpretation.

Since 1928, this day, Author’s Day, has been observed as a time to honor authors who have contributed to American literature and encourage new writers in their talents. If you’re an aspiring author, today’s definitely the time to submit a poem, article, or manuscript, invoking Nissaba’s on it before sending it out.  Also, take a moment to ask Nisaba to empower all your pens, pencils, resource books, computer, and so on, so that all your future writing efforts will be more successful and fulfilling.

For those who don’t consider authorship a forte, you can ask Nisaba to give you a symbolic dream instead.

Put a marigold, rose, or onion peel under your pillow to help with this, and keep a dream journal or tape recorder handy. Immediately upon waking, record any dream you recall. Then go to a favored dream guide, and whisper the Goddess’s name before looking up interpretations.”

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

Patricia Monaghan writes: “‘She who teaches the decress’ of divinity to humans, this Goddess brought literacy and astrology to a Sumerian king on a tablet inscribed with the names of the beneficent stars.  An architect as well, She drew up temple plans for Her people; She was also an oracle and dream interpreter.  The most learned of deities, this snake Goddess also controlled the fertility of Her people’s fields” (p. 231).

Nisaba’s “sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, She appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of corn and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and Her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two Goddess may be one and the same. Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same Goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta.

In some other tales, She is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built Her a school of learning so that She could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, She and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where She gives commands and keeps temple records.

The Goddess of writing and teaching, She was often praised by Sumerian scribes. Many clay-tablets end with the phrase “Nisaba be praised” to honor the Goddess. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, She was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over Her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced Her.

As the Goddess of knowledge, She is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to Her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with Her sister Ninsina. She is also associate with grain, reflecting Her association with an earth Goddess mother.” [1]

Also seen as Nissaba, Nidaba, Nanibgal, and Nunbarshegunu (lady whose body is dappled barley).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Nisaba“.

Wikipedia, “Nidaba“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Nisaba {Goddess of the Week}“.

Artesia. Goddessschool.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Wise Woman and Mother Goddess“.

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, “Nisaba“.

Etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk, “A Hymn to Nisaba (Nisaba A): translation“.

Gatewaystobabylon.com, “Nabu“.

Lambert, Wilfred G. Babylonian Wisdom Literature, “Nisaba and Wheat“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1, “Nisaba of Eresh: Goddess of Grain, Goddess of Writing“.

Robson, Eleanor. Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystalvaults.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Knowledge Goddess“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Eastern Mediterranean“.

Tudeau, Johanna. Oracc.museum.upenn.edu, “Nidaba (goddess)“.

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