Tag Archive: mitra


Goddess Bamya

“Bamya’s themes are victory, banishing, protection and overcoming. Her symbols are light and fire.  In Zoroastrian tradition, this Goddess guides the sun god Mithra’s vehicle through the sky. More important, as the Goddess of twilight, Her presence signals the beginning of today’s festival, Sada.

As the sun sets in Iran today, a huge bonfire will be ignited near a water source to symbolize the power of light to overcome darkness and the power of good over evil. For us this means accepting our power and potential to overcome and obstacles that life may bring in any season.

Too often our lives seem overwhelmed with obligations, and we find ourselves feeling lost in the seething sea of humanity. Bamya’s counsel today is to learn how to swim in that sea by recognizing the ability of one person to truly make a difference – be it within yourself, in the life of another, in a specific situation, or in the world.

At sunset today, light an orange candle (or another one the color of twilight) and greet Bamya with a prayer like this:

“Lady of the gentle twilight, I welcome you
As the sun sets on this day
let things from the past
that I no longer need
also fade away
Teach me to leave them behind
as easily as you leave behind the daylight
As darkness falls
grant rest to my unsettled spirit
so that I can rise tomorrow
renewed and whole
Bamya be with me.
Amen.”

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

The few sites that I found that mentioned Bamya pretty much stated the same thing: “In Zoroastrian tradition, this Goddess guides the sun god Mithra’s vehicle through the sky. Also the Goddess of twilight.” [1]

In the The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, it states “Bāmyā: (Av) 1. shining; radiant; repsplendent. 3. deity of dawn who guides the vehicle of Mithra; epithet of the Fravashis.” [2]  Also in this book, under Hvare, it states: Hvare: (Av) 1. sun. 3. deity of the sun who is considered fairest of Mazda‘s creations and is considered to purify the earth and all things therein.  He is distinguished for powers of observation.  His chariot is drawn by Bamya.” [3]  Neither one of these entries mention whether this deity is male or female.

"Ushas" by Lisa Hunt

“Ushas” by Lisa Hunt

From the book Spiritual Body, Celestial Earth from Mazdean Iran to Shi’ite Iran, I found this entry: Siroza…Here we might mention other figures of ‘feminine Angels,’ in connection with Daena and Ashi Vanuhi;…Bamya (beaming, radiant), who drives the chariot of Mithra and the third night after death appears to the sacred soul when Mithra climbs the mountain; in Manicheism, She becomes the ‘Friend of Light’, Ushah, who bears the very name dawn; Ushahina, the special Angel of the hours between midnight and the moment the stars become visible” (Corbin, p. 280).

Sources:

Corbin, Henry. Spiritual Body, Celestial Earth from Mazdean Iran to Shi’ite Iran.

Gandhi, Maneka & Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, “Bāmyā“.

Gandhi, Maneka & Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, “Hvare“.

Levigilant.com, Gods List B., “Bamya“.

Suggested Links:

Bharucha, Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai. A Brief Sketch of the Zoroastrian religion & customs, (p.xxxvii).

Hurst, George Leopold. Sacred Literature, (p. 85).

Iranpoliticsclub.net, “Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses“.

West, M.L. Indo-European Poetry and Myth, (p. 129).

Goddess Al-Lat

“Virgo” by Josephine Wall

“Al-Lat’s themes are religious devotion, meditation, purity, home, justice and children. Her symbols are the moon, silver, and white stones.  A Persian and Arabian moon Goddess, Al-Lat is the feminine form of Allah. Post-Islamic writings banished Her name from holy books, but Her presence remained behind as a domestic guardian, the giver of children and protectess of all good and just deeds.

Around this time of year, Muslims observe Ramadan and begin a time of abstinence to purify themselves and honor their sacred book, the Qu’ran. During this fast, people are instructed to look within and rededicate their hearts to the tenets of their faith. To do this and also honor Al-Lat, fast for this day if physically feasible. Or, just abstain from one well-loved food or beverage for the day and study your own sacred text(s). Pray to Al-Lat for insight into the deeper meanings of the words. Write down any osbervations in a journal so Al-Lat’s presence will inspire good deeds and positive action for many years to come.

To attract Al-Lat’s protective energies into your home, grasp four white items (coral and moonstone are excellent choices), saying,

‘Within these _________of white,
Al-Lat, place your protective light.
Where’er these _________s are placed around,
your safety and presence shall abound.’

Put these as close as possible to the four directional points of the area that needs guardian power.”

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

“Evening Wind” by Aaron Paquette

Patricia Monaghan explains that “in Arabic, Allah means ‘god.’ Similarly, Al-Lat means simply ‘Goddess,’ the supreme reality in female form.  Al-Lat is a mythic figure of great antiquity, one of the trinity of desert Goddesses named in the Koran, Al-Uzza and Menat being the others.  Like the Greek Demeter, Al-Lat represented the earth and its fruits; it follows that She also ruled human generation.

Al-Lat was worshiped at Ta’if near Mecca in the form of a great uncut block of white granite, which Her worshipers addressed as ‘My Lady’ or Rusa (‘good fortune’).  Women were required to appear before Her naked and circle the sacred rock; if these conditions were met, the Goddess would grant all requests.  Solid as the earth She represented, Al-Lat was considered unshakable and immovable.  Thus Her people swore their most solemn oaths by Her, with the following words: ‘By the salt, by the fire, and by Al-Lat who is the greatest of all” (p. 41).

“Al’Uzza, Allat and Menat, the Triple Goddesses of Arabia” by Thalia Took

Thalia Took tells us that “Al-Lat, whose name is a contraction of al-Illahat, ‘the Goddess’, is mentioned by Herodotus as Alilat, whom he identifies with Aphrodite. She is sometimes also equated with Athene, and is called ‘the Mother of the Gods’, or ‘Greatest of All’. She is a Goddess of Springtime and Fertility, the Earth-Goddess who brings prosperity. She and Al-Uzza were sometimes confused, and it seems that as one gained in popularity in one area the other’s popularity diminished. The sun in Arabia was called Shams and considered feminine, and may represent an aspect of Al-Lat. She had a sanctuary in the town of Ta’if, east of Mecca, and was known from Arabia to Iran. Her symbol is the crescent moon (sometimes shown with the sun disk resting in its crescent), and the gold necklace She wears is from a pendant identified to Her. As a Fertility-Goddess She bears a sheaf of wheat; and in Her hand She holds a small lump of frankincense, as Her emblem is found carved on many incense-holders.” [1]

According to Wikipedia, “in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian Goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal. She was reportedly also venerated in Carthage under the name Allatu.

The Goddess occurs in early Safaitic graffiti (Safaitic han-‘Ilāt ‘the Goddess’) and the Nabataeans of Petra and the people of Hatra also worshipped Her, equating Her with the Greek Athena and Tyche and the Roman Minerva. She is frequently called ‘the Great Goddess’ in Greek in multi-lingual inscriptions.  According to Wellhausen, the Nabataeans believed al-Lāt was the mother of Hubal (and hence the mother-in-law of Manāt).

Allat-Minerva from As-Suwayda, Syria (National Museum of Damascus)

 

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, considered Her the equivalent of Aphrodite:

‘The Assyrians call Aphrodite Mylitta, the Arabians Alilat, and the Persians Mitra. In addition that deity is associated with the Indian deity Mitra (Vedic). The Persian and Indian deity were developed from the proto-indo-iranian deity known as mitra.’

According to Herodotus, the ancient Arabians believed in only two gods:

‘They believe in no other gods except Dionysus and the Heavenly Aphrodite; and they say that they wear their hair as Dionysus does his, cutting it round the head and shaving the temples. They call Dionysus, Orotalt; and Aphrodite, Alilat.’

 

 

 

 

 

In the Qur’an, She is mentioned along with al-‘Uzzá and Manāt in Sura 53: 19–23. The tribe of ʿād of Iram of the Pillars is also mentioned in Sura 895–8, and archaeological evidence from Iram shows copious inscriptions devoted to Her for the protection of a tribe by that name.

Al-lāt is also explicitly attested from early Islamic records discussing the pre-Islamic period. According to the Book of Idols (Kitāb al-ʾAṣnām) by Hishām ibn al-Kalbi, the pre-Islamic Arabs believed Al-lāt resided in the Kaʿbah and also had an idol inside the sanctuary:{{quote|Her custody was in the hands of the Banū Attāb ibn Mālik of the Thaqīf, who had built an edifice over Her. The Quraysh, as well as all the Arabs, venerated al-Lāt. They also used to name their children after her, calling them Zayd al-Lāt and Taym al-Lāt. […] Al-Lāt continued to be venerated until the Thaqīf embraced Islam, when the Apostle of God dispatched al-Mughīrah ibn-Shu‘bah, who destroyed her and burnt Her temple to the ground.

The shrine and temple dedicated to al-Lat in Taif, was demolished by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, on the orders of Muhammad, during the Expedition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, this occurred in the same year as the Battle of Tabuk (which occurred in October 630 AD). Muhammad sent Abu Sufyan with a group armed men to destroy the Idol al-Lat (also referred to as al-Tagiyyah) that was worshipped by the citizens of Taif.  The destruction of the idol was a demand by Muhammad before any reconciliation could take place with the citizens of Taif who were under constant attack and suffering from a blockade by the Banu Hawazin, led by Malik, a convert to Islam who promised to continue the war against the citizens of the city which was started by Muhammad in the Siege of Taif.” [2]

Bas-relief: Nemesis, Allāt and the dedicator (Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon)

Now, what’s interesting is that Muhammad himself commanded his followers to offer prayers to these “Allah’s daughters” (Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Menat).  He later retracted it and blamed it on the Devil after supposedly receiving a revelation from God that the verses should be removed and was “comforted by God” after doing so.  It is important to note that such “after the fact corrective revelations” are very common with cults, using the old time excuse, “The devil made me do it”. [3]

To me, this is nothing more than another example of the patriarchy showing it’s true colors: demanding the rejection and destruction of the Great Mother and forcing Her underground in an attempt to elevate their mighty sky god in order to dominate and control the populace; using tactics such as war – causing suffering and death – to convert and force their religion on the people in order to achieve their own selfish and manipulative means.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brother Andrew. http://www.bible.ca, “Islamic roots of polytheism: Allah’s Daughters: Lat, Uzza, and Manat “.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Al-Lat”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “The Arab Triple Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Al-lāt“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arabianwomen.nielsonpi.com, “Women in the Ancient Arabia and the Middle East“.

Benel. Al-muqaddasarabianblog.blogspot.com, “Deity: Allat”.

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “al-Lāt“.

Isidorus. The Pomegranate Seeds Discussions, Q’re, the Maiden“.

Nabataea.net, “Nabataean Pantheon“.

 

Goddess Aditi

"Universal music" by MysticalMike

“Aditi’s themes are luck, change, perspective, time, protection, prosperity, overcoming obstacles and divination.  Her symbols are butter, the number twelve and anything that changes shape.  Aditi means ‘unfettered’. In India She represents the infinite sky and the boundlessness of time and space. She offers us this expansive perspective – one in which we are citizens of eternity. Additionally, Aditi is a protector who aids in averting or surmounting difficulties. In regional prayers, people refer to Her as the ever-young protectress who guides life’s boat safely through the roughest waters.

Buddhists believe that the world is transient – that only spirit is eternal. The Butter Festival illustrates this concept with huge butter statues of heroes that are torn, distributed to participants for luck, or tossed in a river to melt away into time. Following this custom, take out an ice cube. Relax and watch the ice as it melts. Consider: Is the ice still there, even though it’s gone? Similarly, does the spirit exist outside its ‘shape’ – the body?

For a less ponderous way of honoring Aditi, light twelve candles (yellow is ideal) and watch the flame. Hindus use butter lamps instead, but this is far easier! If the flames appear dark red, your spirit is filled with strife. Mottled flames indicate weakness, tall flames symbolize mental clarity, crescent-shaped ones reveal a peaceful soul, and round ones proclaim magical power.”

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

“One of India’s most honored Goddesses is Aditi. The name means “limitless.” In that respect, it fits Her well because She is considered to be all encompassing.

"Conceiving the Heavens" by B30wuLf

A strong and mighty deity, Aditi is also called Mother Space. As such, She is credited with giving birth to the planets and the stars, which in turn tie her to the seven dimensions of the cosmos. It is said that she has a special connection to the Milky Way, although that connection is never fully explained.

Considered a highly benevolent and gentle Goddess, Aditi holds an honored position in the pantheon of Indian Gods and Goddesses. She is the Goddess of the past as well as the Goddess of the future. She is also the keeper of the light that illuminates all life and ensures consciousness.

According to Hindu myth, Aditi was given as consort to Kasyapa. She gave birth to many children including Vishnu (in his early stages of life) and Krishna (in the latter stages). He is, of course, a figure of great import among the Hindu. Aditi’s son Mitra was god of the sun while Her son, Varuna, was god of the moon. Another of her children, the great Goddess Indra, was called the mother of kings because Her children fathered a long line of rulers.

"Aditi" from The Book of Goddesses by Kris Waldherr

However, Aditi is best known as the mother of the Adityas. These children were amed in Her honor and were later associated with the signs of the zodiac. They were also believed to protect humankind from all illness and catastrophe.

All of this would certainly seem to make Aditi the ultimate mother; having given birth to those who, in turn, brought life to everything else including plants, animals, and human beings. She became the guardian of all life and the supporter of all creatures.

It is in this latter role, that Her people often seek Her assistance in much the same way that a human child would turn to his or her mother. Her children ask for help from everything from sickness to sin. She, in turn, assists them in finding the path that will bring them the happiness and contentment they deserve.

The Goddess Aditi is often shown in the guise of the cow. The reference is considered particularly honorable because of the nurturing parallel. She sustains all life and nourishes the earth in much the same way that a cow nurtures and nourishes human beings with its milk.

Some claim that, while Aditi is always present even though She cannot be seen, that she will make Herself fully visible at the advent of the apocalypse. It is then that She will wrap Her children in Her eternal cloak and protect them for all eternity.” [1]

 

Here is a  reading from “The Book of Goddesses” by  Kris Waldherr about Aditi

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “Aditi: Uncovering the Myth of the Indian Goddess”.

 

Suggested Links:

Hinduwebsite, “Aditi, the Mother of Gods“.

Mystic Wicks, “Aditi – अदिति {Goddess of the Week}

Path to the Soul, “Aditi: The Goddess of Void and New Creation

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystal Vaults, “Aditi: Hindu Goddess of the Boundless Sky“.

Wikipedia, “Aditi“.

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