Tag Archive: hope


Pandora

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

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

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

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

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

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

"Pandora " by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

“Pandora ” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

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

Theoi.com, “Pandora“.

Wikipedia, “Pandora“.

Goddess 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 Tonacacihuatl

“Mictecacihuatl” by *RadiusZero

“Tonacacihuatl’s themes are ghosts, death and hope. Her symbols are flowers and all symbols of death.  In Mexico this Goddess’s name means ‘Our Lady of Flesh’. Tonacacihuatl is a creatrix who gives life to all things and to whom the spirits of children return at death.

Part of a weeklong festival for the dead, Angelitos Day is specifically focused on departed children. If there is a child who had passed over and who was special to you somehow, make cakes or foods that feature symbols of death and leave them in a special spot. This invites Tonacacihuatl to release that child’s spirit for the day and welcomes the souls of the departed to the festival.

Put out the child’s picture in a place of honor with a candle nearby to help light their way. Cook and eat the young one’s favorite foods, leave a lamp lit near your threshold, and strew flowers (especially marigolds or dandelions) on the walkway to guide the child’s spirit back home.

According to tradition, eating hen or chicken today ensures a visitation by ghosts, because then the bird can’t crow loudly and frighten away the spirits! In all due caution, however, you might want to keep a little salt, violet petals, sage, or ginseng handy to banish any unwanted ghostly guests.”

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

“Tonacacihuatl” by Tlisza Jaurique

Tonacacihuatl (pronounced toe-na-ka-SEE-wah-tl) is primaeval female principle, or Goddess of creation in Aztec mythology.  By some accounts, She was the mother of CamaxtliHuitzilopochtliQuetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.  She combined with Her husband, Tonacatecuhtli, created life on earth and, in some accounts, is identified with Omecihuatl. This Goddess lived in the highest of the thirteen Aztec heavens.

She and Her husband have the task of transferring the souls of infants from Heaven to the womb of the mother.

 

* The first picture is actually of another Aztec Goddess, Mictecacihuatl, but I really wanted to use it as I believe She is an appropriate Goddess for this time of year.  “In Aztec mythology, Mictecacihuatl (pronounced ‘Meek-teka-see-wahdl’ or ‘Meek-teka-kee-wadl’) is Queen of Mictlan, the underworld, ruling over the afterlife with Mictlantecuhtli, another deity who is designated as Her husband.

Her role is to keep watch over the bones of the dead. She presided over the ancient festivals of the dead, which evolved from Aztec traditions into the modern Day of the Dead after synthesis with Spanish cultural traditions. She is said now to preside over the contemporary festival as well. Mictecacihuatl is known as the Lady of the Dead, since it is believed that She was born, then sacrificed as an infant. Mictecacihuatl was represented with a defleshed body and with jaw agape to swallow the stars during the day.” [1]

 

Sources:

Mythologydictionary.com, “Tonacacihuatl“.

Wikipedia, “Mictecacihuatl

 

Suggested Links:

Holmer, Rick. The Aztec Book of Destiny.

Quipoloa, J. Amoxtli.org, “The Aztec Universe“.

Ruiz de Alarcón, Hernando. Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions that Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain.

Wikipedia, “Santa Muerte“.

Goddess Tesana

“Dawn” by kristinamy

“Tesana’s themes are the harvest, light, fertility, abundance, hope, beginnings, growth, opportunity and restoration. Her symbols are the dawn, the color red and fruit.  In Etruscan, Tesana means ‘dawn’. As the first rays of light begin to reach through the darkness, Tesana is there, offering the hope of a better tomorrow and the warmth of a new day. Through Her steadfast attendance, the earth and its people bear life and become fruitful.

Mnarja is the primary folk festival in Malta and originated as an orange and lemon harvest celebration. Then name Mnarja means ‘illumination’ and all the ritual fires ignited toady symbolically keep Tesana’s fertility burning. So, light a candle this morning at dawn’s first light to welcome Tesana and invoke Her assistance. Choose the color of the candle to reflect your goal: pink for hope, white for beginnings (a clean slate) and green for growth or restoration. If you like, also carve an emblem of your goal into the wax, leaving the taper to burn until it melts past the symbol (this releases the magic).

In a similar prolific tone, the customary food to encourage Tesana’s fertility and continuing good harvests today is rabbit. If this isn’t a meat you enjoy, make rarebit instead; this was a substitute for costly rabbits in the Middle Ages.”

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

 

“Eos’ Triumph” by eveningstars242

According to Thalia Took, “Thesan is the Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, Divination and Childbirth, as well as a Love-Goddess. She is depicted on several Etruscan mirror backs, bearing, like many other Etruscan Goddesses, a great pair of wings from Her back, especially appropriate to a Sky-Goddess. One meaning of Her name is simply ‘Dawn’, and related words are thesi, ‘illumination’, and thesviti, ‘clear or famous’. The other meaning of Her name connects Her with the ability to see the future, for thesan also means ‘divination’, as seen in the related Etruscan word thesanthei, ‘divining’ or ‘brilliant’. This relates to Her function as a Dawn Goddess–for as the dawn illuminates what was previously dark, so divination throws light on the dark future and enables one to see what may happen. She is called by some a childbirth Goddess, as She is present at the beginning of the day, which finds its parallel in the beginning of a new baby’s life. Similarly, the Roman Goddess of Light and Childbirth, Lucina, brings the infant into the light of the world.

The Etruscans identified their Thesan with the Greek Goddess of the Dawn Eos. In the Greek legend, Aphrodite had found Eos in bed with Her lover Ares; to punish Eos She ‘cursed’ Her with an insatiable taste for mortal youths, and Eos became infamous for Her many lovers. The Etruscans seemed to quite like these stories and easily transferred them to their Dawn-Goddess Thesan; the stories depicted on the mirrors are generally straight out of Greek myth.

On one relief mirror back (kind of a rarity in Etruscan mirrors since the decoration on the back is almost always engraved rather than cast), Thesan is shown in the act of abducting Kephalos, a young man of Athens who was married to the King’s daughter, Procris. Thesan is winged here, and wears a chiton and diagonal himation that flow in the breeze; about Her head is a halo, to emphasize Her function as Light-Goddess. She runs off to the left carrying Kephalos in Her arms, who is shown as nude and much smaller than She is. He does not look at all distressed at the situation and He rests in Her arms with his right hand on Her shoulder. Like many depictions of Etruscan women and their lovers, She is shown as larger and therefore more important or powerful than the man: this has been taken as an indication of the high status of Etruscan women.

Eos carries off Cephalus, on an Attic red-figure lekythos, ca. 470–460 BCE

The same scene is depicted on a mirror handle in high relief openwork; Kephalos is again quite a lot smaller (and younger) than Thesan, who is not winged this time, but whose cloak billows behind Her in the breeze. She smiles down at young Kephalos as She lifts him up, and he is nude save for a short cloak and hunting boots.

The so-called “Memnon pietà”: The goddess Eos lifts up the body of her son Memnon (Attic red-figure cup, ca. 490–480 BC, from Capua, Italy)

Another favorite scene of Thesan/Eos depicts a far more somber affair.  When Her son Memnon (by Tithonus, another young man She abducted to be Her lover) was killed in the Trojan War, Eos grieved so terribly that She threatened never to bring forth the dawn again. She was finally persuaded to return, but in Her grief She weeps tears of dew every morning for Her beloved son. One mirror-back shows Her before Tinia (Zeus) with Thethis (Thetis), the mother of Achilles. Both Goddesses plead with Tinia to spare their sons’ lives; but both were already doomed to die. The relief mirror mentioned above has been interpreted by some as showing Thesan carrying off the body of Her dead son Memnon (who the Etruscans called Memrun): the figures are not labelled as is usual in Etruscan mirrors, making the differing interpretations possible.

Another more purely Etruscan depiction of Her shows Her with Usil the Sun God and Nethuns (the Roman Neptune), God of the Sea. It would appear that this mirror is to be symbolically read as the dawn preceding the Sun at daybreak as it rises from the Sea (notwithstanding the fact that Etruria is on the west coast of Italy).

Like more than a few Etruscan Goddesses, She seems to have survived into Tuscan folklore at least until the 19th century as a spirit called Tesana. She was said to visit mortals as they dreamt, in the time when the sun is rising but before the sleeper had yet awakened. She was believed to bring words of encouragement and comfort, and Her presence in a dream gave good fortune and blessings for the day.

“Eos goddess of morningredness1” by Drezdany

She is equated with Eos and Aurora, the Roman Dawn-Goddess.” [1]

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Thesan“.

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Eos“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Eos“.

Mythagora.com, “Eos: Erigeneia, The Dawn“.

The Roman-Colosseum, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Aurora“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Eos“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Etruscan“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Aurora“.

Wikipedia, “Aurora (mythology)“.

Wikipedia, “Eos“.

“Rain Goddess” by Zeellis Tech

“Saoquing Niang’s themes are weather, harvest, and hope.  Her symbols are rain, clouds, stars (or light) and brooms.  Known as the Broom Lady in the Far East, Saoquing Niang lives among the stars, sweeping away or bringing rain clouds, depending on the land’s needs. From a spiritual perspective, Saoquing Niang’s moisture fills us with refreshing hope when our soul is thirsty.

A traditional rain ceremony in Laos, Bun Bang Fai is very ancient and ensures a good harvest. It includes all manner of festivities, such as fireworks that carry people’s prayers into the sky. In keeping with this, if sparklers are legal in your area, light one or two and scribe your wishes with light for Saoquing Niang to see.

For weather magic, tradition says that if you need Saoquing Niang’s literal or figurative rains, simply hang a piece of paper near your home with Her name written on it (ideally in blue pen, crayon, or marker). Take this paper down to banish a tempest or an emotional storm.

To draw Saoquing Niang’s hope into your life, take a broom and sweep your living space from the outside in toward the center. You  don’t actually have to gather up dirt (although symbolically getting rid of ‘dirt’ can improve your outlook). If you like, sing ‘Rain, rain, go away’ as you go. Keep the broom in a special place afterward to represent the Goddess.”

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

“Sao Ch’ing Niang Niang is the Chinese Goddess of good weather. Also known as the ‘Broom Lady’, She resides in the Broom-Star, Sao-Chou, and sweeps the clouds. She sweeps them in when rain is needed and out when it is not. Farmers often hang pictures of brooms on their fences when in need of Sao Ch’ing’s services. Her name, which literally means ‘broom Goddess’, is also seen as Sao Ch’ing Niang, Saoqing Niang, Sao Ching Niang Niang, and Sao-Ts’ing Niang”. [1]

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sao Ch’ing Niang Niang“.

Suggested Links:

Harmony Home, “Broom or Besom“.

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Sao-Ts’ing-Niang“.

Lady of the Earth, “The Care and Feeding of the Wicca Broom“.

Goddess Blodeuwedd

“Blodeuwedd” by Scarlettletters

“Blodeuwedd’s themes are beauty, relationships, charity, and hope.  Her symbols are flowers and owls.  This intensely beautiful Welsh Goddess’ name means ‘flower face’, because magicians fashioned Her visage from oak, meadowsweet, and broom flowers. Folktales say that Blodeuwedd was unfaithful to Her husband. As punishment for Her crime, the same magicians who gave Her a flower face chose to be merciful and transformed Blodeuwedd into an owl rather than inflicting some other punishment. She has forever remained in this form, mourning the loss of love and reminding people of two important lessons: relationships are fragile, and beauty is indeed only skin deep.

The English sell geraniums today to collect funds for charities, specifically those that support services for the blind, who cannot see Blodeuwedd’s radiance as we do. In the language of flowers, geraniums represent solace – which is what any act of charity stimulates today. It provides hope to those in need and inspires Blodeuwedd’s beauty within your soul. Even if your pocket is empty, extend assistance to someone or something in need. Offer to help an elderly friend with chores, give some returnable bottles to a homeless person, act as big brother or sister to orphans, give water to a stray cat. Benevolence had many forms, and it makes the world a much nicer place in which to live!”

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

“Blodeuwedd in Bloom” by Selina Fenech

“Blodeuwedd (pronunciation: bluh DIE weth [“th” as in “weather”]) is the Welsh Goddess of spring created from flowers, and the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, son of Arianrhod and is a central figure in the fourth branch of the Mabinogi. In the late Christianized myth, She was created by the great magicians Math and Gwydion to be Lleu’s mate, in response to a curse pronounced by his Mother that he would never have a wife from any race then on the Earth. They fashioned Blodeuwedd from nine types of blossom–oak, meadowsweet, broom, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut, primrose, and hawthorn–and breathed life into Her. She proved treacherous to Lleu, and She and Her lover Gronw Pebyr plotted against him, killing the invulnerable Lleu by tricking him into the only pose in which he could be harmed. Blodeuwedd was punished for this by being transformed into the night-bird, the owl, though She kept Her name–in Welsh, blodeuwedd, meaning “Flower-face”, is a name for the owl.

She is the white Goddess of Death and Life in Her May-aspect, and part of a triad consisting of Arianrhod (virgin), Blodeuwedd (lover), and Cerridwen (crone).

She represents temporary beauty and the bright blooming that must come full circle through death: She is the promise of autumn visible in spring.

Alternate spellings: Blodeuedd, Blodewedd” [1]

“Many researchers and historians see Blodeuwedd as the symbol of betrayal (Amy Sophia Marashinsky in the “The Goddess Oracle”) or a representative of the May Queen, who was wedded ritually to the king who would be sacrificed to Her (Robert Graves in “The White Goddess”), but I believe that Her story can be interpreted in a different way.
Blodeuwedd was the Flower Maiden, made by men, for a man, in ‘the image of their own desires, feelings and ideas about what a Lover should be.’ Blodeuwedd married Llew and became the perfect wife and mate. When She meets Gronw, something deep within Blodeuwedd came alive. She embraces and declares Her feelings of love and makes a choice to be with Gronw. Blodeuwedd takes Her power back and in this act, becomes the Mother aspect of the Goddess– a woman who is strong in who She is and who embraces Her power; the power to nurture, to heal, and to love with abandon.

“Blodeuwedd” by Hrana Janto

After Llew is killed, She is pursued and as a punishment, turned into an owl. Owls are associated with wisdom. Blodeuwedd has become the Crone. She has learned what happens when She accepts Herself and turns against what others want Her to be. Blodeuwedd was ‘transformed into the diametrical opposite of her previous self. From a meek, gentle, smiling, benign, beautiful and perfect Mate, She became a solitary night predator, maw gaping in silent flight, screech cutting through the forest. In a positive sense, we may say that She became assertive, independent, self-realized – and wise.’ For me, the lesson of Blodeuwedd is that we must leave behind our youth and innocence and claim the Feminine Divine in order to transform and become wise.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic/Welsh

Element: Water

Sphere of Influence: Promotion and Wisdom

Preferred Colors: White, yellow

Associated Symbols: Owl, lilies

Animals Associated With: Owl

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Best Moon Phase: Full

Suitable Offerings: Lilies

Associated Planet: Moon  [3]

Festival Day: Beltane, 1st May

Associations: Nine flower blossoms of primrose, bean, broom, meadowsweet, cockle (burdock), nettle, oak, hawthorn and chestnut

Aspects: Goddess as Lover, Goddess as Sexual Love, Goddess as Virgin complete unto Herself

Names: Flower Goddess; Lady of Flowers; Lady of the Nine Buds of Plant and Tree; Lily Maid of Celtic initiation ceremonies.  Also known as the Ninefold Goddess of the Western Isles of Paradise.

Associations: Elen, Olwen of the White Tracks, Rhiannon.  [4]

 

 

A great 13 minute video discussing the Goddess Blodeuwedd

 

 

 

Sources:

Cross, Jamie.  Order of the White Moon, “Blodeuwedd“.

Goddess Within, “Goddess Invocations: Blodeuwedd“.

PaganNews.com, “Blodeuwedd“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Burning Snow. Order of the White Moon, “Blodeuwedd“.

DAlba, Mary, PaganPages.org, “Blodeuwedd“.

Elm. Tribe of the Sun, “Blodeuwedd“.

Kennelly, Patty. Daily Goddess, “Blodeuwedd: Betrayal“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, Blodeuwedd.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, excerpt on Blodeuwedd

Oak, Broom and Meadowsweet, “Legend of Blodeuwedd“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Blodeuwedd: wisdom, age (and vise versa)“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “What We Believe: The Goddesses“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Blodeuwedd“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Tale of Blodeuwedd“.

Venefica, Avia. Whats-Your-Sign.com, “Celtic Symbols of Blodeuwedd“.

Wikipedia, “Blodeuwedd“.

White Shell Woman

"White Shell Woman" by Hanehepi Mani Dylan

“White Shell Woman’s themes are magic, overcoming, spirituality, freedom, hope, success, protection, joy and dreams.  Her symbols are eagles, rattles and the color white.  In Native American tradition, White Shell Woman came to earth bearing elemental blankets and the sunshine of protection, dreams and renewed hope. When She arrived a rainbow appeared, banishing sadness with the promise of eventually reuniting humankind with the gods. Today She renews this promise to us, whispering Her message on March’s winds and bearing it on the wings of an eagle.

Sometime in spring, the Pueblos of New Mexico hold an Eagle Dance to bring rain and ensure the tribe’s success in difficult situations. The mimelike movements of the dance unite the dancers with the Eagle spirit, connecting them with the sacred powers.

To adapt this in your own life, grab a feather duster and dance a little of White Shell Woman’s hope into your heart while you clean up your house!

If you have young children in your life, work with them on a Shell Woman anti-nightmare blanket or happiness charm. Take four strips of cloth in elemental colors, or seven in the colors of the rainbow. Sew them together to form a blanket or portable swatch. Bless the charm. saying:

‘Love and joy within each seam brings me only happy dreams Shell Woman, shine through the night Keep me safe till dawn’s first light.'”

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

"White Shell Woman" by Susan Seddon Boulet

“White Shell Woman appears in the creation stories of various Native American tribes, including the Navajo, Zuni, and Apache. In Zuni myth, White Shell Woman is an ancestor of the Sun Father, a creator god and the source of life. She lives with him in the West.

In the Navajo creation story, White Shell Woman (Yoolgai asdzáá) is the sister of the Goddess Changing Woman and a wife of Water. Created when the Talking God and the Wind breathed life into two shells, the Sisters grew lonely and sought company—Changing Woman with the Sun and White Shell Woman with a mountain stream. Eventually They gave birth to two sons, who grew up to battle the monsters that roamed the earth. In some Navajo tales, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman become the same character.

According to the Navajo, when White Shell Woman went to live on Her own, the Talking God and other deities came to visit Her. They brought ears of corn that they covered with sacred blankets to create a man and a woman. White Shell Woman was overjoyed with this couple, who along with the descendants of Changing Woman became the ancestors of the Navajo people.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Myths Encyclopedia, “White Shell Woman“.

 

Suggested Links:

American Studies at the University of Virginia, “Changing Woman: Myth, Metaphor, and Pragmatics“.

The Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation, “How White Shell Woman Became Known as Changing Woman“.


Goddess Tashmit

"Mary" by Pamela Matthews

“Tashmit’s themes are prayer, blessing, unity and hope.  Her symbols are folded hands.  The Goddess is timeless and eternal, and She has many faces with which She conveys the concepts of truth and beauty to the world’s people. Tashmit, the Chaldean Goddess of wisdom and teaching, in particular, stands ready today. Her name means ‘bearing’; it is She who listens intently to our prayers.

On the first Friday in March, people in over 170 countries join in prayer, and the Goddess asks that we do similarly. Prayer is something that seems to have gone by the wayside in our ‘instant’ world. Yet, it takes only a moment to honor the sacred. This prayer is but one example; change or adapt it liberally to suit your needs and vision:

Lady of Wisdom, Tashmit, I come to you for guidance
Shine on my path today that I might see others in an equal light
That I might walk the Path of Beauty with a loving heart and peaceful spirit
Hear the voices of your people raised together today in oneness
Hear our  prayers
Let us find unity in diversity
Heal the world
Let us know peace and guard it as sacred
With a thankful heart, so be it.'”

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

"Deep Thoughts" by Hojatollah Shakiba

“Tashmit was the Assyrian spouse of Nebo.  Her name signifies ‘Obedience’…or ‘Hearing’ and carried the prayers of worshippers to Her spouse.  As Isis interceded with Osiris, She interceded with Nebo, on behalf of mankind.  But this did not signify that She was the least influential of the divine pair.  A Goddess played many parts: She was at once mother, daughter and wife of god; servant of one god or the ‘mighty queen of all the gods’.  The Great Mother was…regarded as the eternal and undecaying one; the gods passed away, son succeeding father; She alone remained.  To Her was ascribed all the mighty works of other days in the lands where the indigenous peoples first worshipped the Great Mother as Damkina, Nina, Bau, Ishtar, or Tashmit, because the Goddess was anciently believed to be the First Cause, the creatrix, the mighty one who invested the ruling god with the powers he possessed–the god who held sway because he was Her husband, as did Nergal as the husband of Eresh-ki-gal, queen of Hades.”

Tashmit was a Goddess of supplication and love who had a lunar significance.  A prayer addressed to Her in association with Nannar (Sin) and Ishtar, proceeds:

‘In the evil of the eclipse of the moon which … has taken place, In the evil of the powers, of the portents, evil and not good, which are in my palace and my land, (I) have turned towards thee!… Before Nabu (Nebo) thy spouse, thy lord, the prince, the first-born of E-sagila, intercede for me! May he hearken to my cry at the word of thy mouth; may he remove my sighing, may he learn my supplication!’
The Goddess Damkina is similarly addressed in another prayer:

O Damkina, mighty queen of all the gods, O wife of Ea, valiant art thou, O Ir-nina, mighty queen of all the gods … Thou that dwellest in the Abyss, O lady of heaven and earth!… In the evil of the eclipse of the moon, etc.

The Goddess Bau is also prayed in a similar connection as ‘mighty lady that dwellest in the bright heavens’, i.e. ‘Queen of heaven’.” [1]

Tashmit is also mentioned in a Penitential Psalm “that was said by a petitioner after singing a hymn of praise to the god Marduk: …’O brave Marduk, destroy my sin, do away my sin. O great goddess Erua, destroy my sin.  O Nabu, of fair name, destroy my sin.  O goddess Tashmit, destroy my sin.  O brave Nergal, destroy my sin.  O ye gods who dwell in the heaven of An‘, destroy my sin…'” [2]

Other names and/or Goddesses that Tishmit has been associated with are: Urmit, Varamit, Ninkarrak and Nisaba. [3]

 

 

Sources:

Budge, E. A. Wallis. Babylonian Life and History at p. 134.

Mackenzie, Donald A. Myths of Babylonia and Assyria at pp. 350 – 351.

Sophia, “Holy Wisdom”.


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 Hsi-Ho

“Goddess of the Sun” by Acchi Sanchez

“Hsi-Ho’s themes are spring, harvest, luck, divination, hope and weather.  Her symbols are water buffalos and bears.  Hsi-Ho is the Chinese Mother of the Sun, who stretches out Her son’s golden arms to warm and revitalize both the earth and its people. In Chinese mythology, Hsi-Ho bathes Her child each morning in the eastern-shore lake so he can shine brightly through the day, strengthening hope and discernment. Her sacred animals are the water buffalo and the bear, both of which represent spring.

Li Ch’un literally means ‘spring is here’. What better time to remember Hsi Ho and Her gift of sunlight? Take out a yellow candle, bathe it with a fragrant oil, then light it for a day filled with Hsi Ho’s clarity. Or carry a yellow-colored stone (zircon is ideal) for astuteness.

In China, people light a candle today and thank the star under which they were born. This candle can represent Hsi Ho, mother to the morning star. According to tradition, if you try this and the flame burns brightly, it indicates good luck in the coming months.

Should the flame spark, it portends important news or a visitor. A flame that smoulders or dies out is a negative omen.

Also make note of what the first person you meet today wears. A hat indicates rain, shoes reveal downpours throughout the spring and summer, warm clothing portends a cold year ahead and light clothing foretells warm weather.”

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

“Goddess of Fire” by Ronnie Biccard

Hsi-Ho (also known as Xi He) is a Chinese sun goddess. Her title is the Lady of the Ten Suns. She is the mother of these ten suns…one for each day of a ten day cycle. This sun Goddess lived far beyond the horizon of the eastern seas.  As a major figure in the oldest stratum of Chinese mythology, Hsi-Ho controls the time each sun has a turn in lighting the world.

It is said that early each morning, Hsi-Ho goes to the edge of the world in the East where it is said that the Fu-sang tree, a divine plant which represents the  East, the sun, blooms.  Here Her children, the suns, hang from the branches of this huge tree.  Every morning She takes them down and bathes them in the eastern lake, afterwards placing the one whose turn it is into a chariot drawn by dragons  so he can shine brightly throughout the day.  The others then wait their turn on the branches of the tree.

The legend of Hsi-Ho offers evidence of a matriarchal society in early China. It was a time that the mother was the central figure of the family just as the sun is the central figure for life here on earth.  Then, with the advent of patriarchy, the Goddess and women’s matriarchies were overthrown and submerged throughout  the centuries. [1]

“The Fu-Sang Tree” by Leslie Berger

In Chinese mythology, the sun is sometimes symbolized as a three-legged bird, called a Sun-bird. There were ten of these Sun-birds, all of whom are the offspring of Di-Jun, God of the Eastern Heaven. The ten Sun-birds resided in a mulberry tree in the eastern sea; each day one of the Sun-Birds would travel around the world on a carriage, driven by Xihe, the Mother of the Suns.

One day however, the ten suns grew tired of the same old routine and came out together. As one would imagine, this made life on earth unbearable.

Crops failed, people suffered heat stroke, there were fires, etc. Xi He’s husband Di-Jun (Tian Di) was ordered by the Emperor to keep the naughty suns under control, with disastrous consequences for them, but not for us.  Here is their story.

“Long, long ago in ancient China, near the East Sea, there was a magic mulberry called Fu Sang(扶桑) where ten three-legged crows inhabited. The crows, named Sanzu Wu (三足乌), or Jin Wu(金乌) in Chinese mythology, were the supreme god – Tian Di’s(天帝) sons who took turns to show up every day in the sky. When the one roamed in the sky with myriad golden rays, the other nine rested in the tree. And the one on duty was known as the sun, giving warmth and hope to the earth.

One day the ten crows got tired of the routine and broke the rule – they appeared in the sky together, causing a steep rise of temperature. The ground is burnt and plants caught fire. People had nothing to eat and finding water became more and more difficult. Things got even worse when some monsters began to chase and eat people. The whole world was filled with panic and despair.

Seeing this, Tian Di sent Ho Yi (后羿), a brave sharpshooter to kill those monsters as well as punish his indocile children. Tian Di gave Ho Yi a big bow and some magic arrows. With those divine weapons Ho Yi descended to the earth.

Ho-Yi shoots down the ten suns

Immediately he threw himself into the battle. After the death of all the monsters, Ho came to the ten suns who, facing his weapons, showed no sign of fear at all. They continued to abuse their power. Ho bursted into a fury and drew an arrow. With the sound of the bowstring, one sun was shot and fell downward. People on the earth felt less hot and began to cheer. Encouraged by that, Ho went on to shoot. One by one nine of the suns were shot dead, and with the drop in temperature people’s shouts of joy became louder and louder till they were heard by Tian Di. Though his children were disturbing, Tian Di had never meant to have them killed.

So he got angry with Ho Yi and forbad him returning to the heavens. Nevertheless, Tian Di was eventually a sober leader for he ordered the scared sun – the only survival to undertake the mission of delivering light and warmth to the earth. Thus the trouble blew over and the great Ho Yi together with his beautiful wife, Chang E had lived in the mortal world from then on.” [2]

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