Tag Archive: heroine


Goddess Meng Jiangnu

“Meng Jiangnu’s themes are the harvest, children, unity, kinship and community. Her symbols are pumpkin and squash.  In the true spirit of a global culture, Meng Jiangnu is ‘imported’ for today’s festivities from China, being a pumpkin girl born from the vines of two different households. Her birth united the two families and brought them harmony where strife had once been. Today She continues to offer us unity with those we love, plus a profusion of positive feelings.

Around this time of year in France, people gather in central markets looking for the Mother of all Pumpkins, which actually gets enthroned for the festivities! This is later made into a communal soup, so those who eat it are magically partaking of Meng Jiangnu’s energy. Eating this soup reaffirms community spirit and ensures a good pumpkin harvest the next year. So definitely make pumpkin or squash a part of your menu today. Consider pumpkin bread for breakfast with a friend or family member to encourage good feelings toward each other throughout the day. At lunch, a warm buttered squash side dish keeps love warm. Last of all, don’t forget some pie for dessert after dinner to bring sweetness to your relationships!

Carve a pumpkin or squash with a symbol of any pressing need you have in a relationship. Put a candle inside and light it up so the pumpkin girl can shine Her energy into that situation and begin the healing process.”

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

In reading the above description given by Patricia Telesco, I truly don’t believe that pumpkins would be a symbol for Meng Jiangnu considering that pumpkins are native to North America and wouldn’t have been found in China when Meng Jiangnu’s story takes place – which was set during the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE-206 BCE).  “Extensive documentation [tells us] that pumpkins (Curcubita Pepo) are a New World crop introduced to China along with corn, peppers, potatoes, tobacco etc., durng the late Ming [1368 CE – 1644 CE]/early Qing period [1644 CE – 1912 CE].” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Meng-Jiang Jyu a “Chinese folktale heroine…was born in a miraculous way.  Two neighboring families, both of them childless, found a watermelon exactly halfway between their homes.  Within it was this magical girl, whom the families decided to raise jointly.  Meng-Jiang was a good girl who make both sets of parents happy.  When she came to marry, she was lucky enough to find a young man in the village [Fan Qiliang] who cherished her.  All went well until one summer day the emperor’s soldiers came and, without giving him a choice, conscripted Meng-Jiang’s husband to build the Great Wall.

Months passed and, worried that her husband would be cold without his winter clothes, Meng-Jiang set off to find him.  She walked and walked, asking everyone for her lover, but each village sent her further.  She almost drowned crossing the Yellow River, but the river god became sympathetic to her cause and saved her.  Finally, she reached her destination, only to find that her beloved husband had died; his bones had been interred somewhere in the Wall.  She cried out to heaven, and the Wall collapsed – revealing thousands of bones.  How could she find her husband’s?  Recalling their vow to be blood of each other’s blood, she bit herself and, bleeding, walked among the bones.  Those of her husband’s recognized and absorbed her blood, so she was able to give them a proper burial” (p. 215).

“Meng’s tragedy was related to the atrocious Emperor Qin Shihuang who came to survey the damage done to the wall. But when he saw Meng Jiang, he was enchanted by her beauty and wanted to marry her. Meng Jiang said she would only marry him on three conditions – first, her former husband was to be given a grand burial; second, the emperor and his court must go into mourning for Qiliang; and third, she wanted to visit the ocean. Although the emperor hated the idea of officially mourning a commoner, he agreed so he could gain her hand in marriage. After Meng Jiang got her third wish, she scolded the Emperor bitterly and committed suicide by casting herself into the ocean. The Emperor sent his men to dredge the ocean but the waves chased them away.

The image of Meng represents the kindness of ancient women and the torture brought on the people by war. The story shows the dislike ancient people had towards war. It has been passed down from generation to generation in Bo Shan.

the Statue Lady Meng

The section of the Great Wall that was toppled by Meng and the sea where she committed suicide are in today’s Zibo City, Shandong Province. The Temple of Lady Meng-Jiang, first established in the Song Dynasty about 1,000 years ago, has been maintained and worshipped at the eastern beginning of the Great Wall till this day in Qinhuangdao City of Hebei Province today.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Meng-Jiang Jyu”.

Wikipedia, “Lady Meng Jiang“.

 

Suggested Links:

Kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com, “A Chinese Folklore: Tears of Meng Jiang Nu“.

Goddess Olwen

“Olwen” by Alan Lee

“Olwen’s themes are the arts, creativity, excellence and the sun. Her symbols are late-blooming flowers, red and gold items and rings.  A Welsh sun Goddess whose name means ‘golden wheel’, Olwen overcame thirteen obstacles to obtain Her true love (symbolic of thirteen lunar months) and She teaches us similar tenacity in obtaining our goals. Art portrays this Goddess as having a red-gold collar, golden rings and sun-colored hair that shines with pre-autumn splendor on today’s celebrations.

Announced thireen months in advance, the celebration of Eisteddfod preserves Welsh music and literature amid the dramatic backdrop of sacred stone circles. The Eisteddfod dates back to Druid times; it was originally an event that evaluated those wishing to obtain bardic status. Follow these hopeful bards’ example and wear something green today to indicate your desire to grow beneath Olwen’s warm light. Or, don something red or gold to generate the Goddess’s energy for excellence in any task.

You can make an Olwen creativity charm out of thireen different flower petals. It is best to collect thirteen different ones, but any thirteen will do along with a red- or gold-colored cloth. Fold the cloth over the petals inward three times for body, mind and spirit saying with each fold,

‘Insight begin, bless me, Olwen.’

Carry this with you, releasing one petal whenever you want a little extra inspiration.”

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

“Danu of the Celts” by Dean Morrissey

Patricia Monaghan has this to say about Olwen: “The Welsh sun Goddess’ name may mean ‘leaving white footprints’ or ‘golden wheel’.  She was the opposite of the ‘silver-wheeled’ moon Goddess Arianrhod.  Olwen [pronounced O-loon]  was mentioned in early Arthurian legend as a princess who, attired in many rings and a collar of red gold, married a man named Culhwch [pron. kil-hooch], despite the knowledge that this marriage would kill Her father.

The father, [Ysbaddaden] whose name translates as the ‘giant hawthorn tree,’ tried to prevent the consummation of Her love for Culhwch by placing thirteen obstacles – possibly the thirteen lunar months of the solar year – in Her path, but Olwen survived the tests by providing the thirteen necessary dowries.

That Olwen was specifically the summer sun seems clear from descriptions Her: She had streaming yellow hair, anemone fingers, and rosy cheeks; from every footstep trefoil sprang up.  The ‘white lady of the day,’ She was called, the flower-bringing ‘golden wheel’ of summer” (p. 238 – 239).

 

 

 

Sources:

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses – Olwen“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Blueroebuck.com, “Olwen“.

Brookroad.org.uk, “CULHWCK AND OLWEN or the TWRCH TRWYTH“.

Celtnet.org.uk/celtic/ , “Olwen – A Cymric Goddess: White Track, Fair“.

Dames, Michael. Second-congress-matriarchal-studies.com, “Footsteps of the Goddess in Britain and Ireland“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Spring Goddesses“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Sun Goddesses“.

Timelessmyths.com, “Culhwch and Olwen“.

“Water” by Jia Lu

“Tamayorihime’s themes are cleansing, health, children and water. Her symbol is water (especially moving water or saltwater).  An ancient Japanese sea Goddess, Tamayorihime rules not only moving water sources but also all matters of health. She also watches over birth waters to ensure a speedy, safe delivery for pregnant women.

The Tenjin festival began in 949 C.E. as a way to get rid of summer maladies. If you’ve had a cold, the flu or some other ailment, try an adaption of Japanese custom. Take a piece of paper that you’ve left on your altar for a while and rub it on the area of your body that’s afflicted. Drop the paper into moving water (like the toilet) to carry away sickness in Tamayorihime’s power. Alternatively, burn the paper to purge the problem. Mingle the ashes with a few drops of saltwater and carry them in a sealed container as a Tamayorihime amulet for health.

For personal cleansing and healing, soak in an Epsom-salt bath today. As you lie in the tub, stir the water clockwise with your hand to draw Tamayorihime’s health to you, or counterclockwise so She can banish a malady. If time doesn’t allow for this, add a very small pinch of salt to your beverages and stir them similarly throughout the day, while mentally or verbally reciting this invocation:

‘Health be quick, health be kind, within this cup the magic bind!’

Drink the beverage to internalize Tamayorihime’s energy.”

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

Tamayorihime, painted wood sculpture, dated to 1251, at Yoshino Mikumari Jinja.

According to the Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime (or –bime) is a common noun meaning a divine bride, in other words, a woman who cohabits with a kami and gives birth to his child.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan says that “like her sister Japanese heroines Ikutamayorihime and Seyadatarahime, she was a young woman who became a mother ancestor to an important family after mating with an otherworldly creature.  This being used to come under cover of darkness, which apparently did not disturb the girl until she became pregnant.  Then, to discover his identity, she sewed a long hemp thread to his hem, and, next morning, followed it to a dark cave.  At its mouth she called out for her lover to show his face.  ‘You would burst with fright,’ a deep voice answered from the earth’s center.  Unafraid, she continued to make her demand until he appeared, a scaly monster with a needle stuck in its throat.  Tamayorihime fainted, but lived to bear the hero Daida, greatest warrior of Kyushu.  The heroine’s name, meaning a woman (hime) possessed (yor) by a god (tama), may have been a title borne by the Japanese shamans called miko.  Similar stories are told of Psyche and Semele” (p. 291).

In the book Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki by E. Leslie Williams, I was able to find reference to Tamayorihime as an “earth-bound Female spirit cognitively linked with the ocean depths…a daughter of the sea deity, Watatsumi, in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki myth cycles.” [2]  “She appears in the KOJIKI as the mother of Emperor Jinmu (Jimmu).  In this case She appears accompanied by two other deities and the three together are known as the Mikomori Sannyoshin. ” [3]

 

 

Sources:

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime“.

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

Onmarkproductions.com, “Mikumari Myōjin Shrines“.

Williams, E. Leslie. Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki.

 

Suggested Links:

Faure, Bernard. The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender.

Greve, Gabi. Wkdfestivalsaijiki.blogspot.com, “Samekawa Ablutions“.

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayoribime“.

Ouwehand, C. Namazu-e and Their Themes: An Interpretative Approach to Some Aspects of Japanese Folk Religion.

Wikipedia, “Shinto shrine“.

Wikipedia, “Tamayori-bime“.

 

 

Vatiaz

“Woman warrior” by bitrix-studio

“Vatiaz’s themes are sports, tradition, strength, excellence & recreation. Her symbols are charms for strength or physical well-being.  Vatiaz is the Mongolian Goddess of physical prowess. Her name even means ‘woman of great strength’. Now that summer is fully underway, we could use some of Vatiaz’s strength just to keep up!

The Naadam festival began in the thirteenth century with Marco Polo, who reported a gathering of ten thousand white horses with Mongolian leaders participating in numerous game of skill ranging from archery to wrestling. Today the tradition continues with sports, focused on exhibiting excellence and skill, followed by a community party to celebrate and revel in local customs. If there’s a sports exhibition or game that you enjoy, try to get out to the proverbial ‘ball-park’ to honor Vatiaz and enjoy Her excellence as exhibited through professional athletes.

For those who are not sports fans, making a Vatiaz charm for strength and vitality is just as welcome by the Goddess and invokes Her ongoing participation in your life. You’ll need a bay leaf, a pinch of tea and a pinch of marjoram (one herb each for body, mind & spirit). Wrap these in a small swatch of cotton, saying,

‘Health, strength & vitality, Vatiaz, bring them to me!’

Put the swatch in the bottom of your daily vitamin jar to empower the vitamins with Vatiaz’s well-being.”

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

 

Archery Contest, Naadam Festival. Photo by Bruno Morandi

So the only information I could find on today’s entry comes from Patricia Monaghan: “Among the Mongolian Buryat, this heroine was said to have traveled to heaven after her brother’s murder in order to compete for the hands of three daughters of the chief god. There were many games of physical skill, all of which she won.  Even though shamans warned the gods that she was a woman, they  could not deny her strength and skill.  So she was allowed to take the sisters back to earth, where she had them revive her brother” (p. 309).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Scathach

“Scathach” by watergal28

“Scathach’s themes are sports, strength, excellence, kinship, art, tradition, magic, protection and victory. Her symbols are Tartans (plaids) and Celtic music.  This Celtic mother figure endows strength, endurance and the ability to ‘go the distance’ no matter our situation. In Scotland She is also a warrior Goddess who protects the land using magic as a weapon, as implied by the translation of Her name, ‘she who strikes fear.’ Warriors from around Scotland were said to have studied under Scathach to learn battle cries and jumping techniques (possibly a type of martial art).

In Scotland, the second weekend in July marks the gathering of Scottish clans to revel in their heritage through numerous games of skill, strength and artistry (including bagpipe competitions). If you have any Scottish or Celtic music, play it while you get ready to energize your whole day with Scathach’s perseverance. If you don’t have the music, for a similar effect find something to wear with a Scottish motif, like heather perfume, a plaid tie, things bearing the image of a thistle or sheep or anything woolen.

 

To make a Scathach amulet to protect your home, car or any personal possessions, begin with a piece of plaid cloth and put some dried heather in it (alternatively, put in several strands of woolen yarn). Tie this up an keep it where you believe her powers are most needed.”

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

“Scáthach (pronounced scou’-ha, or skah’-thakh) is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.  She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.” [1]  Other sources say she lived in the Alps.

Scathach is said to be the daughter of Ard-Greimne and Lethra. [2] “Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.” [3]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Scathach, “the ‘shadowy one’, lived on an island near Scotland and was the greatest female warrior of her time.  Heroes from all the Celtic nations would travel to study with her, for she alone knew the magical battle skills that made them unconquerable: great leaps and fierce yells, which seem in ancient legend like puzzled accounts of Oriental martial arts.

“The Seduction of Aoife” by Howard David Johnson

“Scathach initiated young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the ‘friendship of her thighs’, that is to say, initiating them sexually.” [4]

One of her most famous students was the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn.  When the princess Emer sized him up as a possible husband, she thought him too unskilled in his profession; therefore, she suggested he study with Scathach, the foremost warrior of her day.  While Cú Chulainn was away, he learned more than martial arts, for through an affair with Scathach’s enemy, Aífe, the warrior produced a son [Connla] whom he late unwittingly killed” (p. 275).

Another account states that “As part of his training Cú Chulainn helped Scáthach overcome a neighbouring female chieftain, Aífe or Aoife (who by some accounts was also Scáthach’s sister), and forced her to make peace, in the process fathering a son by Aífe. Cú Chulainn also ended up sleeping with Scáthach’s daughter Uathach, whose husband Cochar Croibhe he then killed in a duel. On completion of his training, Scáthach also slept with Cú Chulainn.

By some accounts Scáthach was also a formidable magician with the gift of prophecy. She also, again by some accounts, became the Celtic Goddess of the dead, ensuring the passage of those killed in battle to Tír na nÓg, the Land of Eternal Youth and the most popular of the Otherworlds in Celtic mythology.” [5]

“Scathach” by Jan Hess

 

 

Sources:

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, “Scáthach“.

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

Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, “Scáthach“.

Wikipedia, “Scáthach“.

Wille, Almut. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Scathach“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bedford, Tony. Préachán Fuilteach, Cú Chulainn“.

Blueroebuck.com, “Scathach“.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. Celtic Myths and Legends, “The Shadowy One” (p. 235 – 243).

The Order of Scáthach.

Parke, Cate & Lisa Campbell. Celtic Queens, “Scáthach and the Defeat of Aoife“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Scathach“.

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