Tag Archive: honey


Goddess Strenia

“Strenia’s themes are children and protection. Her symbols are bay, palm and fig leaves, honey and youthful images. While this Goddess’s traditional festival date in Italy was January 1, She joins in our holiday observances, Rights of the Child Day, today to extend Her protective care to children. Among the Sabines and Romans, Strenia safeguarded the youth by providing health and strength. Traditional offerings for this Goddess include burning leaves and leaving out sweet breads mixed with dates of figs.

On this day in 1959, Strenia was likely standing by and applauding as the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to encourage proper treatment of our youth and inspire their future.

So, take time with the children in your life today. Teach them in the ‘way they should grow’ and revel in their innocent trust and love. Invoke Strenia’s blessings and health for that young one by sharing fig cookies (heck, eat a few yourself for strength!).

 

Or, make the child a small power pouch that includes a bay leaf and a dried crumb of sweet bread. This way they can carry the Goddess with them even when you’re not around.

For those without children, try volunteering at a youth shelter or orphanage today. Take one of those kids out for lunch or to the zoo. Through your efforts, Strenia can gather that child in arms of warmth and comfort.”

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

“Sabine” by `Foxfires

“In ancient Roman religion, Strenua or Strenia was a Goddess of the new year, purification, and wellbeing.  She had a shrine (sacellum) and grove (lucus) at the top of the Via Sacra.  Varro said She was a Sabine Goddess. W.H. Roscher includes Her among the indigitamenta, the lists of Roman deities maintained by priests to assure that the correct divinity was invoked in public rituals.  The procession of the Argei began at Her shrine.

On January 1, twigs from Strenua’s grove were carried in a procession to the citadel (arx) .  The rite is first noted as occurring on New Year’s Day in 153 BCE, the year when consuls first began assuming their office at the beginning of the year. It is unclear whether it had always been held on that date or had been transferred that year from another place on the calendar, perhaps the original New Year’s Day on March 1.

The name Strenia was said to be the origin of the word strenae (preserved in French étrennes), the new-year gifts Romans exchanged as good omens in an extension of the public rite:

From almost the beginning of Mars‘ city the custom of New Year’s gifts (strenae) prevailed on account of the precedent of king Tatius who was the first to reckon the holy branches (verbenae) of a fertile tree (arbor felix) in Strenia’s grove as the auspicious signs of the new year.”

During the Principate, these strenae often took the form of money.

Johannes Lydus says that strenae was a Sabine word for wellbeing or welfare (hygieia, Latin salus). The supposed Sabine etymology may or may not be factual, but expresses the Sabine ethnicity of Tatius.  St. Augustine says that Strenia was the Goddess who made a person strenuus, ‘vigorous, strong.’

According to some scholars the Befana tradition is derived by the Strenua cult.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Strenua“.

 

Suggested Links:

Labefanas.com, “History of La Befana“.

Societyofdiana.blogspot.com, “Dea Strenia

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 Antheia

“The Oracle” by Howard David Johnson

“Antheia’s themes are promises, friendship, trust, honor, community, love and relationships. Her symbols are gold colored items, honey and myrrh.  Since 800 B.C.E. Antheia has been known as the Greek Goddess of marriage, companionship and good council. These attributes manifested themselves in a triple Goddess figure who flowered, sought a mate and reached perfection. Today we ask Her to bless our rites by flowering within our souls so we too can obtain spiritual perfection.

In ancient Greece, Arretophoria – the festival of trust and friendship, was held sometime between June and July. Each year, two maidens were given a special honey-laden diet and clothed in golden robes to take on a special trust. They delivered a package untouched to a secret place in a local temple, then spent the year in community service, never peeking inside the box. This sounds like a fun activity for couples or friends. Each person picks out a trust gift for the other and gives it to them to put in a special place. The entire time the gift remains there unopened, Antheia will energize it and bless the people in that relationship, so don’t get tempted to peek. Believe me, when I say it’s worth the wait. At the end of the year, don something gold, burn myrrh to create a sacred space in which Antheia dwells and open the gifts, explaining the significance of the items. I guarantee it’s a present you’ll never forget.”

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

“Charites: Spring” by iizzard

“Antheia was one of the Charites, or Graces, of Greek mythology and ‘was the Goddess of flowers and flowery wreaths worn at festivals and parties.’ Her name is derived from the Ancient Greek word anthos, meaning flower, and She was depicted on vases as an attendant of Aphrodite with other Charites. She was known to the Romans as Anthea. Her center of worship was on the island of Crete.

Antheia is also the Greek name of Ancient Sozopolis in modern Bulgaria, and another Antheia was a village which was later adopted into Patras around 1000 BC.

“: : A n t h e i a : :” by Lil-kokoro

Antheia was the Goddess of Vegetation, Lowlands, Marshlands, Gardens, Blossoms, the Budding Earth, and Human Love.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Antheia“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Antheia“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kharites“.

Goddess Kali

“Kali” by Lisa Iris

“Kali’s themes are rebirth, cycles, joy, courage, hope, cleansing and change.  Her symbols are flowers, dance, iron, swords, peacock feathers and honey.  Kali, a Hindu Goddess whose name means ‘time’, is the genetrix of natural forces that either build or destroy. Even in destruction, however, She reminds us that good really can come of bad situations. If you find your hopes and dreams have been crushed, Kali can change the cycle and produce life out of nothingness. Where there is sorrow, She dances to bring joy. Where there is fear, She dances in courage.

During the Festival of Shiva, or Maha Shivratri, Hindus gather at Shiva’s temples to honor this celestial dance of creation, and Kali dances with them in spirit. Beforehand, they fast and bathe in holy waters for purification. Doing similarly (in your tub or shower) will purge your body and soul of negative influences. Add some flower petals or sweet perfume tot the bath to invoke Kali’s power.

To invoke Kali’s assistance in bringing new life to stagnant projects or ruined goals, leave her an offering of honey or flowers, and make this Kali amulet: Take any black cloth and wrap it around a flower dabbed with a drop of honey, saying:

 ‘Kali, turn, dance, and change
Fate rearrange
End the devastation and strife
what was dead return to life.’

Carry this with you until the situation changes, then bury it with thankfulness.”

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

Who can comprehend the Divine Paradox of Mother Kali?  Fierce, black in color, large, shimmering eyes, destructive, triumphantly smiling amidst the slaughter of billions of demons, wearing a necklace of skulls and a skirt of severed arms, glowing effulgently like the moon in the night sky, holding the head of a demon, a Trident that flashes like lightning and a knife etched with sacred mantras and infused with Divine Shakti, Kali stands peaceful and content, suffused with the fragrances of jasmine, rose and sandalwood!

Goddess Kali

Goddess Kali is equated with the eternal night, is the transcendent power of time, and is the consort of the god Shiva. It is believed that its Shiva who destroys the world, and Kali is the power or energy with which Shiva acts. Therefore, Kali is Shiva’s Shakti, without which Shiva could not act. Frequently, those not comprehending Her many roles in life call Kali the Goddess of death and destruction.  It is partly correct to say Kali is a Goddess of death, but She brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality. Nowhere in the Hindu stories is She seen killing anything but demons nor is She associated specifically with the process of human dying like the Hindu god Yama (who really is the god of death). It is true that both Kali and Shiva are said to inhabit cremation grounds and devotees often go to these places to meditate. This is not to worship death but rather it is to overcome the I-am-the-body idea by reinforcing the awareness that the body is a temporary condition. Shiva and Kali are said to inhabit these places because it is our attachment to the body that gives rise to the ego. Shiva and Kali grant liberation by removing the illusion of the ego. Thus we are the eternal I AM and not the body. This is underscored by the scene of the cremation grounds.

According to Hindu myth, The Goddess Kali is an incarnation of Parvati. She assumed this form in order to vanquish the demon Raktabija, whose name means “the seed of blood”. The gods could not kill the demon Raktabija because he had received from Brahma the boon of being born anew a one thousand times more powerful than before, each time a drop of his blood was shed. Every drop of his blood that touched the ground transformed itself into another and more powerful Raktabija. Within a few minutes of striking this demon the entire battlefield covered with millions of Raktabija clones. In despair, the gods turned to Shiva. But Shiva was lost in meditation at the time and the gods were afraid to disturb him. Hence they pleaded with his consort Parvati for Her assistance.

“Kali” by maigo-no-kirin

The Goddess immediately set out to do battle with this dreaded demon in the form of Kali or “the Black One”. Her eyes were red, Her complexion was dark, Her features gaunt, Her hair unbound, and Her teeth sharp like fangs. As Kali came in to do battle, Raktabija experienced fear for the first time in his demonic heart. Kali ordered the gods to attack Raktabija. She then spread Her tongue to cover the battlefield preventing even a single drop of Raktabija’s blood from falling on the group. Thus, She prevented Raktabija from reproducing himself and the gods were able to slay the demon. Another form of the legend says that Kali pierced Raktabija with a spear, and at once stuck Her lips to the wound to drink all the blood as it gushed out of the body, thus preventing Raktabija from reproducing himself.

Drunk on Raktabija’s blood, Kali ran across the cosmos killing anyone who dared cross Her path. She adorned herself with the heads, limbs and entrails of her victim. The gods were witnessing the balance of the universe being shattered. As a last resort they had to rouse Shiva from his meditation. To pacify Her, Shiva threw himself under Her feet. This stopped the Goddess. She calmed down, embraced Her husband, shed Her ferocious form to became Gauri, “the Fair one”.

Kali intends Her bloody deeds and destruction for the protection of the good. She may get carried away by Her gruesome acts but She is not evil. Kali’s destructive energies on the highest level are seen as a vehicle of salvation and ultimate transformation.  She destroys only to recreate, and what She destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. The Goddess Kali is represented as black in color. Black in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit is kaala –the feminine form is kali – so She is Kali, the black one. Black is a symbol of The Infinite and the seed stage of all colors. The Goddess Kali remains in a state of inconceivable darkness that transcends words and mind. Within Her blackness is the dazzling brilliance of illumination. Kali’s blackness symbolizes Her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all the colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them.

Kali’s nudity has powerful meaning. In many instances She is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In Her absolute, primordial nakedness She is free from all covering of illusion. She is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of ‘clothes’. It symbolizes that She is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the effects of maya (illusion). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such truth simply burns them away.

“Kali” by Dazy-Girl

She is full-breasted; Her motherhood is a ceaseless creation. Her disheveled hair forms a curtain of illusion, the fabric of space – time which organizes matter out of the chaotic sea of quantum-foam. Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. She wears a girdle of severed human hands – hands that are the principal instruments of work and so signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have been overcome, severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali. She has blessed the devotee by cutting him free from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth are symbolic of purity (Sans. Sattva), and Her lolling tongue which is red dramatically depicts the fact that She consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden (i.e. Her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors”).

Kali’s four arms represent the complete circle of creation and destruction, which is contained within her. She represents the inherent creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her right hands, making the mudras of “fear not” and conferring boons, represent the creative aspect of Kali, while the left hands, holding a bloodied sword and a severed head represent Her destructive aspect. The bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the sword of knowledge, that cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head). Kali opens the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the eight bonds that bind human beings. Finally Her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which She is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of ‘Kala’, the Sanskrit term for Time.

Kali is considered to be the most fully realized of all the Dark Goddesses, a great and powerful black earth Mother Goddess capable of terrible destruction and represents the most powerful form of the female forces in the Universe. Worship of the Goddess Kali is largely an attempt to appease Her and avert Her wrath. Her followers gave her offerings of blood and flesh, which was important in Her worship, just as blood sacrifice was important in worship of the early Biblical God, who commanded that the blood must be poured on his alters (Exodus 29:16) for the remission of sins (Numbers 18:9).  As mistress of blood, She presides over the mysteries of both life and death.  Regardless, Her followers still found Her to be a powerful warrior Goddess and found Her greatest strength to be that of a protector.

Kali is not always thought of as a Dark Goddess.  Despite Kali’s origins in battle, She evolved to a full-fledged symbol of Mother Nature in Her creative, nurturing and devouring aspects. Some groups of people, unfamiliar with the precepts of Hinduism, see Kali as a satanic demon probably because of tales of her being worshipped by dacoits and other such people indulging evil acts. By not understanding the story behind Mother Kali it is easy to misinterpret Her iconography. In the same way one could say that Christianity is a religion of death, destruction and cannibalism in which the practitioners drink the blood of Jesus and eat his flesh.  Of course, we know this is not the proper understanding of the communion ritual. Rather, She is referred to as a great and loving primordial Mother Goddess in the Hindu tantric tradition. In this aspect, as Mother Goddess, She is referred to as Kali Ma, meaning Kali Mother, and millions of Hindus revere Her as such.

Of all the forms of Devi, She is the most compassionate because She provides moksha or liberation to Her children. She is the counterpart of Shiva the destroyer. They are the destroyers of unreality. The ego sees Mother Kali and trembles with fear because the ego sees in Her its own eventual demise. A person who is attached to his or her ego will not be receptive to Mother Kali and she will appear in a fearsome form. A mature soul who engages in spiritual practice to remove the illusion of the ego sees Mother Kali as very sweet, affectionate, and overflowing with incomprehensible love for Her children.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Bijjam Snaps, The Story of Kali

The Buddha Garden, The Hindu Goddess Kali

Dolls of India, Kali the Goddess: Gentle Mother…Fierce Warrior

Exotic India, Mother Goddess as Kali – The Feminine Force in Indian Art

Infinite Goddess – Embracing the Divine Mother, Kali Goddess

Mythical-Folk, Kali Ma

Rise of Womanhood, Goddess of Destruction

Sathya Sai Baba, Hindu Gods & Goddesses in India – Hinduism, Mother Kali – Goddess Kalika Devi

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kila. Matrifocus: Cross-Quartly for the Godess Woman, “Reconciling Kali and Gauri: Goddess Thealogy and the Art of Peace“.

Pirera, Anna. Goddess Gallery, “Kali“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Kali: chaotic kindess“.

Stolan, Mihai. Liveonlineyoga.com, “Yoga of the Ten Great Cosmic Powers“.

Goddess Oshun

“Oshun” by Selina Fenech

“Oshun’s themes are divination and love. Her symbols are flowing water, seashells and amber beads.  Oshun is a beautiful, oracular Goddess of love. Generous and beneficent, she opens her eyes to let us peek into what the future holds for relationships. According to legends, Oshun didn’t always know how to tell the future. She was taught by Obatala, one skilled in divination, in return for retrieving his stolen clothing from Elegba. But Elegba exacted his price too. Once Oshun learned to divine, she had to teach all the other orishas the fortune-telling secrets.

Traditionally, Saint Agnes’s Day is spent divining information about love’s path and relationships in the coming year. Following Oshun’s example, make a fortune-telling tool from three shells, each of which has a ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. If shells aren’t handy, use three coins/ Think of a ‘yes’ or’ ‘no’ question related to love. Three tops (or heads) mean ‘yes’. Two tops mean things are generally positive, but uncertain. One top indicates a ‘wait’ or a negative response, and three bottoms is a definite ‘no’. Put the shells under your pillow before you go to bed to dream of future loves.

Or, to encourage Oshun’s problem-solving skills in a relationship, carry a small piece of amber or wear a piece of amber-coloured clothing when you meet your loved one to talk things over.”

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

“Oshun” by Hrana Janto

“Oshun is the Yoruban Orisha (deity) of the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Yemaya). She is widely loved, as She is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, and She especially watches over the poor and brings them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a fish’s tail.

The Yoruba clans inhabit parts of western central Africa, in present-day Nigeria. Oshun is the Goddess of the river of the same name, and She is especially worshipped in river-towns. During Her yearly festival, She is said to choose one or more women dancers to descend into (much like participants in Vodou ceremonies may be ‘mounted’ or ‘possessed’ by a lwa). These women then take new names in honor of Oshun and are thereafter consulted as healers.

Oshun was taught divination with cowrie shells by Obatala, the first of the created gods, and then She brought the teaching to humans. She was at one time the wife of Shango, the storm god, as was Oya, the goddess of the winds and tempests. Oshun is also said to be the mother of the birds or fishes.

“Erzulie” by Kris Waldherr

With the African diaspora, Oshun was brought to the Americas, and adopted into the pantheons that branched out of the African traditions. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which retains close ties with the Yoruban religion, as well as in Cuban Santeriá, She is called Oxum. In Haitian Vodoun She is an inspiration for Erzulie or Ezili, also a Goddess of water and love.

Oshun, like the other Orisha, has a number associated with Her–five; a color–yellow or amber; and a metal–gold or bronze. The peacock and the vulture are sacred to Her. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey, mead, white wine, oranges, sweets, or pumpkins, as well as perfume.

 

Alternate spellings: Oxun, Osun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun.

Titles: Oshun Ana, ‘Goddess of Luxury and Love’; Oshun Telargo, as the modest one; Oshun Yeye Moro, as the coquette; Oshun Yeye Kari, ‘Mother of Sweetness’. [1]

For a very informative and comprehensive list of Oshun’s associations and stories, please click here to visit Tribe of the Sun’s “Oshun” page.

 

 

Source:

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

 

Suggested Link:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Oshun“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oshun

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oshun“.

Wikipedia, “Oshun“.

Goddess Benten

“Benten’s themes are luck, wealth and beauty. Her symbols are boats, dragons, guitars, snakes and saltwater.

As the Japanese Goddess steering the New Year’s Treasure Ship, Benten is a perfect figure to call on for financial improvements this year. She is the only Goddess of luck in Japan – the sole female among the Seven Gods of Fortune, and is referred to as queen of the seas and patroness of gamblers. Japanese woman invoke her to bring beauty and fortune into their lives; for she resides over love, eloquence, wisdom and the fine arts.  She is the patroness of geisha and those who take joy in the arts. Benten is depicted as riding a gold dragon, playing a biwa (guitar), and sending out white snakes with her missives. Her robe bears a jewel that grants wishes.

To welcome Benten’s prosperity into your home, sprinkle a little saltwater on the threshold today. Or, to generate beauty within and without, soak in a bath of Epsom salts while listening to guitar music.

The Shigoto Hajime festival honors the beginning of the work week in Japan, where it is believed that good omens for work begin today. If you want to get a peek at how your employment will fare this year, try divination by dice (a traditional gambler’s tool). Hold one die in your hand, ask for Benten to provide a sign, then roll it. The results can be interpreted as follows:

(1) a negative omen;
(2) feeling torn between two good options;
(3) a good omen;
(4) financial security;
(5) not much material change, but improvements in interoffice relationships;
(6) an excellent omen; roll again If you get two more sixes, Benten’s treasures will be yours!”

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

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “among the seven Japanese divinities of good luck, only one was a goddess: Benten, who brought inspiration and talent, wealth, and romance to those who honored her.  Benten was also queen of the sea, a dragon woman who swam in state through her domain with a retinue of white snakes.  In her dragon body she protected her devotees from earthquakes by mating with the monstrous snakes who thrashed under the Japanese islands.  But she could also wear the form of a lovely human woman, and in this form she was usually portrayed, mounted on a dragon who was both her steed and her paramour” (p. 69).

saraswati benzaiten_saraswati

Benten, also called Benzaiten “is the Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Worship of Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, in contrast to Saraswati who holds a stringed instrument known as a veena. Benzaiten is a highly syncretic entity with both a Buddhist and a Shinto side.

Benzaiten as a female kami is known as Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto.  Also, she is believed by Tendai Buddhism to be the essence of kami Ugajin, whose effigy she sometimes carries on her head together with a torii. As a consequence, she is sometimes also known as Uga Benzaiten or Uga Benten. Shrine pavilions called either Benten-dō or Benten-sha, or even entire Shinto shrines can be dedicated to her, as in the case of Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or Nagoya’s Kawahara Shrine.” [1]

il_fullxfull.361170508_aluv

“Japanese Goddess of Sea” by KatyDidsCards

In Japanese mythology “…Benten was said to have descended to earth where she met and married a dragon in order to stop him eating young children. Because of this, she is sometimes depicted as riding a dragon in art.

Another legend tells of how the goddess helped the young poet Baishu. He had found a poem written by a maiden and had fallen in love with her, despite never having seen what she looked like. Praying to the goddess for help, Benten arranged for the young poet and the girl to meet outside the shrine. Later, it turned out that the young girl Baishu had fallen in love with was actually the soul of the women he later met and married.

chineese-goddess

8-Armed Benzaiten (Jp. = Happi Benzaiten 八臂弁財天)
At Hoan-den (Enoshima Island in Japan)
Kanagawa Pretectural Asset, Kamakura Period

In art, Benten is sometimes shown with snakes. Some statues of her reveal eight arms, six of these which are raised and the hands holding different objects. These include a bow and arrow and two hands are folded in prayer” [2] as well as a sword, a jewel, a wheel, and a key.

From The White GoddessArea of Influence:

Water, Words, Speech, Eloquence, Music, Knowledge, Fortune, Beauty

il_570xN.365169550_j2cu

“Benzaiten (Benten) Shinto Goddess of Music & Luck” by LaPetiteMascarade

Pantheon: Japanese

Abode: Caverns

Animals: Dragons, Sea Serpents

Colours: Bue, Silver, White, Yellow

Crystal: Conch, Mother of pearl, Iron, Gold

Direction: East, West

Element: Air, Water

Musical Instrument: Lute

Offerings: Honey, Yellow flowers, Wild berries

Planet: Venus

Plant/Tree: Lotus, Waterlillies, Yellow flowers

Symbols: Sword, Bow and arrow, Wheel, Key, Axe, Spear, Pestle

Tarot Card: Cups

Time: Summer Solstice

 

 

 

Also known as: Benjaiten, Bensai-Ten, Benzai-Ten, Benzai-Tennyo, Benzaiten, Ichiki-Shima-Hime, Sarasvati, Zeniari, [3]; and according to Thalia Took, “Benzaiten is also linked to Kwannon or Kwan Yin, the sometimes female, sometimes male Bodhisattva of compassion in Buddhism.” [4]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

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

Slayford-Wei, Lian. Humanities360.com, “The History and Significance of the Goddedss Benten“.

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

The White Goddess, “Benten – Goddess of everything that flows“.

Wikipedia, “Benzaiten“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

A-to-Z Photo Dictionary: Japanese Buddhist Statuary, “BENZAITEN, BENTEN“.

The Broom Closet, “Benten: Japanese Goddess of Eloquence“.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Benten“.

Lindemans, Micha. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Benten“.

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

 

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