Tag Archive: lucina


Goddess Lucina

"Lucina" by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina themes are banishing, kindness, charity, health and protection. Her symbols are candles (light sources).  Lucina means light, and judging by Her description and attributes, it is very likely that this Swedish Goddess was the prototype for Saint Lucy. Lucina is a mother and guardian, offering fertility, protection, and well-being. In worship, Lucina is often represented by a simple, lit candle.

To chase away winter’s oppression and darkness, Saint Lucy’s festival is one of lights and charitable acts. Saint Lucy is the patroness who protects against winter throat infections, and commemorating her (or Lucina) today keeps one healthy.

Begin the day in Swedish tradition by lighting a candle to represent the Goddess’s presence. After this a breakfast of coffee, saffron buns, and ginger cookies is traditional fare. Coffee provides energy to give of yourself, saffron is often used is healing spells, and ginger promotes success in all your endeavours today.

To manifest Lucina’s energy and keep the Goddess close by today, carry luminescent stones like moonstone or cat’s eye with you, then visit hospitals or elder homes in the spirit of giving of yourself. Lucina will bless those you visit, and you, with well-being, productivity and safety.”

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

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

According to Patricia Monaghan, “The little red ladybug was the emblem of this Roman Goddess, later merged with Juno and Diana, and even later converted to Christianity as St. Lucy.  The early Italic Lucina was a Goddess of light and therefore – because birth is the first time we see Her – of labor and childbed as well.  She was variously honored in September and in December – still the times for festivals of Lucina as the candle-bearing saint; Her holidays were enforced by the superstition that any work done on those days would be undone by the morrow” (p. 199).

"Juno" by Moreau

“Juno” by Gustave Moreau

Thalia Took writes: “Lucina is a Roman Goddess of Light, a Moon-Goddess who is especially a Birth-Goddess, for when a baby is born it is brought into the light of the world for the first time. As such, this epithet was applied to both Juno and Diana in their capacity as Childbirth-Goddesses, and together these Goddesses were sometimes called the Lucinae. It could also be used as an epithet of Hecate as Moon-Goddess. The name is probably from the Latin lux, ‘light’ or ‘daylight’, from which we get words like lucidluminous, and that’s right, the name Lucifer, ‘Bringer of Light’ used of the planet Venus as the morning star. (It was also, incidentally, the name of a 4th century bishop who founded his own sect, the Luciferians. Just imagine—’Bishop Lucifer’!) As the Goddess of Childbirth, Lucina protected pregnant women and the newborn child, and She was invoked by women who were having difficulty conceiving and who wanted children.

An ancient bronze mask of Juno Lucina shows Her with Her hair in tight stylized braids; a tiny crescent moon is engraved on Her forehead, as if it is an ornament dangling from Her parted hair. A different image of Her shows Her with a child on Her lap, with two more at Her feet, and holding a flower as a reminder of how She alone conceived Her son Mars, with the help of a magical flower given to Her by Flora.

Juno Lucina had been worshipped from an early age at a grove on the Cispian Hill, one of the heights of the larger Esquiline Hill in Rome. Her worship was said to have been instituted by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines who had ruled jointly with Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, making it very old indeed and possibly pointing to an origin for Lucina in a Sabine Moon-Goddess. The slightly later (and still mostly legendary) King Servius Tullius of the 6th century BCE was said to have begun the custom of offering a coin (I’d guess that it was traditionally a silver one, as the shiny disk of the coin could then be symbolic of the Moon) to Juno Lucina on the birth of a child, which would indicate some sort of shrine there at the time. Her main temple was built on the same site in 375 BCE, and dedicated on March 1st. In later times a large wall was added enclosing both the temple and the grove that grew on the slope of the hill. This grove was evidentally an important part of Her worship; some authorities believe that Lucina was originally derived from lucus, grove, and this grove had an ancient and celebrated tree on which offerings of locks of hair were made by the Vestal Virgins, perhaps as acknowledgement that as avowed virgins they had chosen not to be mothers.

The Matronalia, or the Festival of Mothers, was held at this temple on the anniversary of its founding. Some said it was instituted in honor of the Sabine women who were instrumental in brokering peace between the warring Sabines and early Romans. On the day of the festival, the matrons (married women) of Rome processed to the temple, where offerings and prayers were made to Juno Lucina and Her son Mars: at home, it was the custom for the women to receive gifts from their husbands, and a feast was held in which the matron waited on the slave women.

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Juno Lucina was invoked during childbirth for an easy delivery and healthy child; when worshippers called on Lucina, they let their hair loose and untied any knots in their clothing as an act of sympathetic magic, to symbolically loosen any hindrances to childbirth and allow the energy to flow. When the child was born an altar was set up to Her in the atrium of the house, and a lectisternium, (or probably more properly, asellisternium, which was for Goddesses) or banquet was given to Her.

She was equated with the Greek Eileithyia. In ancient Egypt was a city by the name of Nekheb, of whom the patron Goddess was Nekhbet, the Egyptian Childbirth-Goddess; when the Greeks took over in Ptolemaic times, they renamed the city Eileithyia after their Birth-Goddess; and when the Romans annexed Egypt, they called it Lucina.

Sources:

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

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Lucina“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Benko, Stephen. The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. The Goddess Pages: A Divine Guide to Finding Love and Happiness, “Saint Lucy (Lucina)” (p. 183 – 189).

Colbert, Joanna. Gaiantarot.typepad.com, “Why We Honor St. Lucia” and “More about Saint Lucia“.

Fitzgerald, Waverly. Schooloftheseasons.com,St. Lucy’s Day“.

Lanzillotta, Peter E. Interfaithservicesofthelowcountry.com, “Santa Lucia: The Saint for the Season of Light“.

Loar, Julie. Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine, “Juno Lucina“.

Lundy, John Patterson. Monumental Christianity, or, the Art and Symbolism of the Primitive Church.

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. Pagan Pregnancy: A Spiritual Journey from Maiden to Mother, “Lucina“.

Theoi.com, “Eileithyia“.

Wikipedia, “Lucina (goddess)“.

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“.

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