Tag Archive: nature


Goddess Hertha

"Incense Fire" by *Zingaia

“Incense Fire” by *Zingaia, based on Jean Delville’s drawing, “Parsifal”.

“Hertha’s themes are rebirth, kinship, health, longevity and tradition. Her symbols are dormant trees and snow. In ancient times, on this day people venerated Hertha, the Teutonic Goddess of fertility, domesticated animals, magic and nature. In Germanic tradition, Hertha descended through the smoke of any fire today and brought gifts, much like an early Santa Claus figure (giving Her solar associations too). Her connection to nature has survived in the name for our planet: Earth.

Yule takes its designation from a Old English word meaning ‘wheel’, representing the turning of time’s wheel back toward the sun. In early times, this festival included parties for various sun Gods and Goddesses; it eventually was translated into the celebration of Christ’s birth. Any light source or burning incense can symbolize Hertha’s presence today.

Besides this, look to the world’s traditions for magical ways of making your celebration special. For example, Swedes eat a rice pudding with one lucky almond; whoever gets the nut receives good fortune. Russians toss grain into people’s homes for providence as they carol. Armenians make a wish on the Yule log when ignited and sometimes make divinations by the cider patterns made afterward. Bohemians cut apples in half. If there’s a perfect star in the center and it has plump seeds, it portends joy and good health. Finally, kiss someone under the mistletoe for a long, happy relationship.”

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

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

According to Wikipedia, Hertha is another name for the ancient Germanic earth Goddess, Nerthus (click on Her name to be taken to that entry).  In addition to that information presented in Nerthus’ entry, Patricia Monaghan wrote that “no legends survive of the Germanic Goddess from whom we get our word for earth.  It is known, however, that She was worshiped into historic times, when plows were carried in Christian Shrovetide processions in honor of the earth’s fertility.   Hertha was also frequently invoked by medieval witches as their special patron” (p. 152).

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Asatru Religion, “Goddess Nerthus Or Eartha Or Jordh“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Nerthus“.

GardenStone. Goddess Holle: In Search of a Germanic Goddess.

Krasskova, Galina . Northern Tradition Paganism, “Who is Nerthus?

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nerthus” at p. 488.

Mystic Wicks, “Nerthus {Goddess of the Week}“.

PaganNews.com, “Nerthus“.

Reaves, William P. Boudicca’s Bard, “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Twilightmists.tripod.com. “Hertha, Ertha, Nerthus“.

Wikipedia, “Nerthus“.

Williamson, George S. The Longing for Myth in Germany: Religion and Aesthetic Culture from Romanticism to Nietzsche.

Goddess Fauna

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“Fauna” by Katrina Sesum

“Fauna’s themes are fertility, nature and divination. Her symbols are all forest items.  In Roman mythology, Fauna is the consort to Faunus, whom this date venerates. With Faunus, She protects the woodlands and plants that live there. While Her role in stories seems minor, Fauna’s power lives on in botanical terminology, Her name having been given to vegetation.

Faunus was a woodland god like Pan, who sends messages through the forests for those who know nature’s omens and signs. If at all possible, go to a natural location today (even a park or a quiet tree in your neighborhood will do) with a small libation of wine or milk, both of which are customary. Pour this on the ground, focusing on your intention to learn more about nature’s messages to us. Then spend at least twenty minutes observing.

Take notes as you do. Do the trees’ leaves seem to talk? Do they move in a specific way? Are birds taking flight? Where do they go? Do any drop feathers on the ground? Do any animals appear unexpectedly? If so, what does the creature do, and where does it go? All these things, and other similar experiences, can carry a sign meant to help you today or in the days ahead.”

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

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“Fauna” by Charlie Terrell

Thalia Took writes a very in-depth piece on Fauna that I’d like to share with you; she writes: “Fauna is an old Roman Goddess of Prophecy and Fruitfulness, with ties to the forest and fields and the animals found there. She is closely related to the God Faunus; She is variously His wife, sister, or daughter. Her name, like Faunus’s, is from the Latin faveo, ‘to befriend, support, or back up’, from which we get our ‘favor’; an alternate etymology is from fari, ‘to speak, talk, or say’, referring to Their powers of prophecy. Her name then could be variously translated as ‘She Who Favors’, ‘the Friendly One’, ‘the Speaker’, or even ‘She Who Has Your Back’. She was identified with the prophetic Goddess Fatua, again meaning, ‘the Speaker’, but with additional meanings of ‘She Who Speaks Prophecy’, or ‘the Oracle’.

Fauna’s origins are in Latium, the land of the Latins, the people of the area around Rome, and She is closely associated with them. According to yet another of the Roman stories glorifying the city’s origins, Fauna was one of the Hyperborians, who were believed to live far in the north (hyperboreas in the Greek literally means ‘beyond the North Wind’), and said to worship Apollo. She hooked up with the hero Hercules and as a result gave birth to a son Latinus, later a king of the Latins, and therefore a mythical ancestor of the Roman people and a claim to the famous blood of Hercules. Faunus was Her second husband, Whom She married after Hercules left Her (per his usual modus operandi). Other stories reverse that, making Faunus Her original husband, and then make Her relationship with Hercules an extramarital affair. Still other stories name Faunus as the father of Latinus, by the river nymph Marica, Who was Herself identified with Aphrodite, the Greek Love Goddess.

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“Courtesan” by *OtherworldCreations

In a similar vein, Fauna was sometimes judged to be a prostitute or courtesan; though this seems to be a late tale and may simply be a reaction to Her as a Goddess of Fertility. Her husband Faunus was sometimes said to be the same as the God Inuus, a God of sex, intercourse, and fertility, Whose name is supposedly from a Latin verb inire, ‘to copulate’; and since She is supposed to be the female equivalent of Faunus, that would make Her a Goddess of sex and copulation as well. Faunus was sometimes said to be the God for Whom the Lupercalia, a very old festival of purification and renewed fertility with strong sexual overtones, was celebrated; and two Faunalia, rural festivals of feasting and dancing, were celebrated to Them, on the Ides of February (the 13th, and in the old lunar calendar, the full moon) and the 5th of December.

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Art by Jonathon Earl Bowser

In other legends however, Fauna is known for Her chastity and modesty; She was said to never leave Her grove or let a man look upon Her, and no man was allowed in Her temple. These tales are associated with the Bona Dea, ‘the Good Goddess’, said to be a cult name of Fauna. The Bona Dea, called so because Her true name was considered too sacred to be spoken aloud, is a Goddess of women and healing Whose worship was exclusive to women, men being forbidden to participate in Her rites. Perhaps Her virginity or chastity was a way of explaining why She would not allow men in Her rituals, and was the Roman way of rationalizing a Goddess Who was purely concerned with women.

Far more is known of Faunus than Fauna; His tales may perhaps shed some light on Her attributes and personality. Faunus was a very popular and ancient God Who protected and watched over livestock and Who haunted fields and the forest. As a prophetic God, He used both dreams and His own disembodied voice to reveal the future, and had a shrine in Tivoli at the grove of Albunea where prophetic dreaming was practiced. Their father was usually said to be the prophetic God Picus; though Their mother is not mentioned, Picus was famous for His devotion to Canens, a forest nymph known for Her beautiful singing voice.

Though myth is not necessarily that straightforward about things, Canens and Faunus do have a bit in common as They were both known as ‘the Voice of the Woods’. Canens in turn is associated with the witch Kirke, as Kirke was also enamoured of Picus, though She couldn’t steal Him away from Canens; and Latinus is sometimes said to be the son of Kirke and the famous Greek traveller and all-around tricksy guy Odysseus, or his son Telemakhos.

In some legends told of the Bona Dea, Faunus does not treat Her well at all; in one, She is His daughter; He lusts after Her, and when She rejects Him, He gets Her drunk and beats Her with sticks of myrtle, and then rapes Her as a serpent. In another, He beats Her to death, again with myrtle branches, for the crime of drinking. These legends seem to have been created to explain why both myrtle and wine played a part in the rites of the Bona Dea; they also emphasize Faunus’s wild, untamed and dangerous nature. The names Fauna and Faunus ‘the Friendly One(s)’ may well have been placating names, to keep the worshipper on Their good sides, much like the fairies of Celtic lore are called ‘the Good Folk’, so as to prevent any harm they might do. Fauna and Faunus were known to travel with an entourage of fauns (yes, like Mr. Tumnus, though without the Christian/Aslanic associations), wild and mischevious spirits of the countryside, equated with the satyrs of the Greeks, and believed to cause nightmares. Faunus Himself was identified with the Greek Pan, the Wild God par excellence.

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“Fauna of a wood” by ~Selenaart

It would seem, then, that Fauna represents the thin line separating the wild from the untamed, as Goddess of both the dark mysterious forest and the cultivated fields, and Her very name is now used to refer to the animal kingdom, the fauna, (as opposed to the plant kingdom, called flora). As the Bona Dea was worshipped exclusively by women, Fauna is a Goddess of the wild sexuality of women, specifically sexual intercourse itself as an expression of the Life Force, and also of fertility (the latter was after all, until modern times and the invention of reliable contraception, a common result of the former). She brings prophecy through dreams and the voices of the wild places, and Her association with dreams and nightmares again connects to humanity’s dark and untamed nature. Several of the other Goddesses She is connected with were known as sorceresses and healers, such as Kirke and the Bona Dea (and by extension Angitia), which would make magic and healing another of Her attributes. All these Goddesses—The Bona Dea (and so majestic Maia as well) Angitia, Albunea, Canens, Marica, and even Kirke, whichever native Goddess She stands in for—can perhaps be thought of a constellation of related Goddesses of wild, magical, and sexual natures, possibly originally springing from the same source.” [1]

Fauna_by_Bizenghast

“Fauna” by ~Bizenghast

According to Judika Illes, “In addition to secret, mystic rites, Fauna was also very publicly a Goddess of physical healing.  The sick were tended to in Her temple’s garden of medicinal herbs, essentially a sacred hospital.  In Rome, snakes were associated with healing in general, but especially with women’s reproductive health.  Snakes, Fauna’s sacred creature, were housed in Her temple gardens.

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“Fatidica” by Lord Leighton

Iconography: Fauna is portrayed seated upon a throne, holding a cornucopia.

Creature: Snake

Element: Earth

Day: December 4th commemorates the anniversary of Her Mystery.

Offerings: There is controversy as to whether wine is forbidden from Fauna’s rites.  One theory is that, because wine was once taboo for Roman women, any wine brought into Fauna’s temple was euphemistically called ‘milk’.  Alternatively, the legend goes that wine and myrtle were banned because Faunus once got drunk and beat Fauna with a myrtle branch.  That may be a euphemism for the myth in which Faunus rapes his daughter (who may also be his consort).” [2]

Alternate spellings: Faula; Fatuai seems to be Her Oscan name.

Also called: Fatua, Fatuella; She was called Damia at Tarentum (a city originally founded by Greek colonists), a name that refers to the secret sacrifice made to the Bona Dea.” [3]

Sources:

Illes, Judika. The Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Fauna“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Fauna“.

Suggested Links:

Ladyoftheabyss. Witchesofthecraft.com, “Earth Goddesses – FAUNA“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “The Bona Dea“.

Wikipedia, “Fauna (goddess)“.

Goddess Yellow Woman

Corn Maiden by kelpie2004

“Yellow Woman’s themes are nature, providence and animals. Her symbols are yellow items, green items and embroidered items. This Pueblo Goddess of magic, agriculture and the hunt is also the heroine of many local stories, having taught humans important sacred ceremonies. Today She helps us remember these rituals and reintegrate the into our lives. Art depicts Yellow Woman wearing an embroidered blanket-dress, a green mask (revealing Her connection to nature), and a white mantle. Sometimes She appears as a Corn Goddess and other times as a witch, bear, or ogress.

This is a time of the Buffalo Dance, which honors nature and mimes, and ancient hunting ritual thought to ensure a successful hunt. This dance is a type of sympathetic magic that also appeases the souls of the animals about to be captured.  For our purposes, this equates to a kind of ritual mime in which we enact our hopes as realized, asking Yellow Woman to guide our movements so they will manifest in magic.  For example, to improve self-love, give yourself a hug so you receive that energy. For relationships, open your arms wide so they await the right person (figuratively receiving a ‘good catch’, which is in Yellow Woman’s dominion too!)

To improve awareness of the significance of ritual, eat corn today or wear yellow, white, and/or green clothing. Embroidered items also please this Goddess.”

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

Hopi Hemis Kachin Mana Kachina

From The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky: “Southwestern indigenous aboriginals and pueblo peoples – the Arikara, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Mandan, Hidasta, Abnaki, Cherokee and Huron – see corn as a Goddess. Corn Woman encompasses the figures of Corn Mother, the Corn Maidens, and Yellow Woman. They all relate to corn as a sacred being who gives of Herself to Her people to sustain them and nourish them. The Arikara Creator God, Nesaru, fashioned Corn Mother from an ear of corn which grew in heaven.  Corn Mother then came to earth and taught people how to honor the deities and to plant corn.” [1]

“Corn Woman or Maiden who is a figure in many stories. She may appear as a kachina mana, that is, a female kachina. At Cochiti, for example, Yellow Woman kachina wears a green mask and has Her hair done in butterfly whorls on the sides of Her head. She wears an embroidered ceremonial blanket as a dress and an all-white manta over Her shoulders. Yellow Woman tends to be a stock heroine in many stories, taking on a wide range of identities, including bride, witch, chiefs daughter, bear woman, and ogress.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Americanindianoriginals.com, “Kachina Dolls: Their Meaning and Tribal Development – Corn Maiden Kachina Doll“.

Marashinsky, Amy Sophia. The Goddess Oracle, “Corn Woman“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Jukiewicz, Carol E. Groups.yahoo.com/group/indigenous_peoples_literature, “[indigenous_peoples_literature] Yellow Woman stories“.

Kachina-doll-shop.com, “Kachina Names & Meanings“.

Nagoda-Bergquist, Susi. Coyoteandanotherone.com, “Yellow Woman, The Moon“.

Redaspen.blogspot.com, “Evil Kachina and Yellow Corn Woman“.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Yellow Woman.

Yellow Woman Stories [PDF from boblyman.net]

Yellow-Woman—talking-points [Female Archetypes and “Yellow Woman” DOC from TeacherWeb]

Goddess Oonagh

Art by Howard David Johnson

“Oonagh’s themes are fairies, nature, devotion and relationships. Her symbols are all fairy plants, silver and dew.  This ancient Irish Queen of the Fairies is also a potent Goddess of magic. In Irish legends, Oonagh is a faithful wife and the most beautiful of all Goddesses, having long silky hair and a robe of silver and dew. Today She brings the fey into our lives to remind us of the unseen worlds and to awaken the child within each of us that dares to dream and wish.

Sometime in November, the people of ancient Ireland celebrated a day for the ‘wee folk’ known as the Lunantishees.  This was a time to revel in fairy folklore and superstition.  We can honor Oonagh and Her children by following suit. Today wear green, which is a favorite fairy color. Don some pleasant-sounding bells that tinkle lightly when you walk. Fairies love this sound.  Or, carry a staurolite stone, also known as the fairy cross. This stone not only brings luck but also helps in controlling elemental beings such as the fey.

To see fairies today, find a four-leafed clover and lay seven kernels of grain beneath it. Or go to an area where oak, ash and thorn trees grow together. This is said to be sacred ground for both the fey and Oonagh.

If you’re concerned about fairy mischief, wear red for protection. Or, carry some flint as the Irish did to keep fairies at arm’s length.”

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

Art by Gloria Scholik

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Oona (pronounced OO-nuh) was “the most beautiful of Ireland’s fairy queens.  She was said to have golden hair so long it swept the ground; She flew through the earth robed in gossamer silver bejeweled with dew.  Oona lived with the fairy king Finnvara [High King of the Daoine Sidhe] who was constanly unfaithful to Her with mortal women; She retained, nonetheless, an even, benevolent termperament” (p. 239 – 240).

Judika Illes adds that “Oonagh is a Goddess of love and protectress of young animals.  Oonagh may also have influence over the realm of death.  She is Mistress of Illusion and Glamour: Her silver gossamer dress appears to shimmer with diamonds, but it’s really sparkling dew.  Oonagh’s blessings are invoked to find true love and to experience romantic happines.

Manifestation: Oonagh is described as so beautiful that no one (at least no mortal) can look at Her without being awed and amazed.

Consort: Fionnbharr

Metal: Silver  ”  [2]

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Oonagh“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Carleton, William. Sacred-texts.com, “A Legend of Knockmany“.

Eric (Coolsite-DS). Daoinesidhe.net, “Daoine Sidhe means“.

Esotericonline.net, “The Fey” (includes rules you need to abide when journeying with the Fey about half way down the page – GOOD STUFF!)

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Daoine Sidhe“.

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Lunantishee“.

Moonsong, Jasmeine. Wiccanmoonsong.blogspot.com, “Oonagh“.

Shee-eire.com, “Úna“.

Virtue, Doreen. Archangels and Ascended Masters, “Oonagh“.

Wikipedia, “Fairy Queen“.

Goddess Gaia

“Magic Mountain” by Hans-Peter Kolb

“Gaia’s themes are abundance, providence, thankfulness, nature, divination, promises and the earth. Her symbols are harvested foods (especially fruit and grains) and soil. In Greek tradition, Gaia stretched out at the beginning of time, becoming the earth’s land. In this form, She continues to give life and sustenance to all things that dwell in and on the planet, even when the cold weather tries to steal away that life. So sacred are Gaia’s soils that any promise made with one hand on the earth is irrevocable. The oracle at Delphi belonged to Gaia before Apollo took over, giving Her the additional attribute of prophesy.

The Thanksgiving theme among Canadians is much the same as in the United States; it’s a time of expressing gratitude to the earth and the heavens for their ongoing providence.  Enjoy a robust feast of harvested edibles today to internalize Gaia’s blessings and foresight. Remember to give thanks to the creatrix of your feast before eating!  Also consider following Greek custom by leaving Gaia an offering of barley, honey, or cakes in an opening in the earth. This show of gratitude inspires Gaia’s fertility in the coming months and years.

To help keep yourself true to a promise, carry a few pinches of soil with you in a sealed container today. If you sense your resolve waning, release a little back to Gaia. This invokes Her strength and sense of duty.”

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

“Breath of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

“In the beginning, the Greeks said, there was only formless chaos: light and dark, sea and land, blended in a shapeless pudding.  Then chaos settled into form, and that form was the huge Gaia, the deep-breasted one, the earth.  She existed before time began, for Time was one of Her children.  In the timeless spans before creation, She existed, to Herself and of Herself alone.

“Giants of Gaia” by Diana Elizabeth Stanley

But finally Gaia desired love, and for this purpose She made Herself a son: Uranus, the heaven, who arched over his Mother and satisfied Her desire.  Their mating released Gaia’s creative force, both marvelous and monstrous.  Uranus hated and envied Gaia’s other children, so the primeval Mother kept them hidden from his destructiveness.

Eventually, however, Her dark and crowded womb grew too heavy to endure.  So Gaia created a new element: gray adamant.  And from it She fashioned a new tool, never known before: a jagged-toothed sickle. With this Gaia armed Her son Cronos (Time), who took the weapon from his Mother’s hand and hid himself.

“The Mutiliation of Uranus by Saturn” by Giorgio Vasari & Cristofano Gherardi

Soon, Uranus came, drawing a dark sky-blanket over himself as he approached to mount his Mother-Lover. Then his brother-son Cronos sprang into action, grasping Uranus’ genitals and sawing them off with the rough blade. Blood fell in a heavenly rain on Mother Gaia.  So fertile was that even the blood of the mutilated sky impregnated Her.  The Erinyes sprang up; so did the Giants; and so did the ash-tree nymphs, the Meliae, humanity’s ancestors (and, in some stories, by throwing Uranus’ testicles into the sea, they caused the sea to foam and out of that white foam rose Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty).

This was the familiar creation story that the ancient Greeks told their children.  Even after the earth mother had been supplanted as the primary divinity by invading Olympians, the Greeks worshiped Gaia’s power with barley and honey cakes placed at sacred openings in Her surface.  At such fissures, too, gifted people would read the will of the Great Mother, for She was through all ages the “primeval prophet” who inspired the oracles at Delphi, Dodona, and elsewhere.  And it was to Gaia – even in the days when Zeus ruled the pantheon – that the Greeks swore their most sacred oaths, thus recognizing Her ancient theological sovereignty” (Monaghan, p. 131).

“Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Tellus.

Many Neopagans worship Gaia. Beliefs regarding Gaia vary, ranging from the belief that Gaia is the Earth to the belief that She is the spiritual embodiment of the earth, or the Goddess of the Earth.

“Spring I – Gaia” by ~SargonX

Gaia’s name was revived in 1979 by James Lovelock, in Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth; his Gaia Hypothesis was supported by Lynn Margulis. The hypothesis proposes that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shapes the Earth’s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions. Further books by Lovelock and others popularized the Gaia Hypothesis, which was widely embraced and passed into common usage as part of the heightened awareness of environmental concerns of the 1990s.” [1]

Here’s a quote that I’d love to leave you with by Sir James Lovelock from Ages of Gaia:

“What if Mary is another name for Gaia?
Then her capacity for virgin birth is no miracle,
it is a role of Gaia since life began.
She is of this Universe and, conceivably,
a part of God. On Earth, she is the source
of life everlasting and is alive now;
she gave birth to humankind
and we are part of her.”

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Gaia (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Auralia. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Gaia“.

Goddessgift.com, “Mother Gaia’s Healing Chicken Soup” – for the kitchen witches out there 😉

Greekmedicine.net, “Greek Mythology: Gaia – Mother Earth, Mother Nature“.

Green-agenda.com, “Home“. (* This site actually seems to state that the modern green movement has some type of nefarious agenda of sorts, but it lists some awesome quotes that I wanted to share.)

Lash, John Lamb. Metahistory.org, “TAKE BACK THE PLANET: A Review of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009)“. (A movie I thoroughly enjoyed!)

Livingstone, Glenys. Matrifocus.com, “Beltane/Samhain @ EarthGaia“.

Mythagora.com, “Gaia

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Gaia: dose up on mama love“.

Sozaeva, Katy. Voices.yahoo.com, “Gaia – Goddess Worship and Understanding Our World from a Feminine Perspective“.

Theoi.com, “Gaia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Gaea“.

 

Goddess Hybla

“Gaia The Earth Mother” by Peggy Kane

“Hybla’s themes are the earth, ecology, nature and animals. Her symbols are all natural objects.  This Sicilian Goddess presides over earth and nature, tending to all its needs. She also gave birth to humanity and inspires greater earth awareness within us.

Saint Francis of Assisi‘s life is celebrated today because of his gentle relationship with nature, which he considered a family member (often calling animals ‘brothers and sisters’). This is why he became the patron of many environmentalists. To remember him and honor Hybla’s spirit, which he so powerfully displayed, say a prayer for the earth today. Invoke Hybla’s nurturing energy with words like these:
‘Earth Mother, look upon your children;
Look upon the plants – restore the earth’s greenery.
Look upon the animals and protect them from more harm.
Look upon the waters and purify each drop.
Look upon the winds, and cleanse the air.
Take the world gently in you caring arm
and love it back into wholeness once more
Amen.’

Tuck a flower petal or leaf in your pocket or shoe today to keep Hybla’s earth awareness close by. And, if you have pets, today is the perfect time to bless them. Give them special foods, find non-chemical pest repellents, and pamper them with extra love. Remember, life is a network: showing kindness to one strand extends that energy outward to the web.”

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

This is a new Goddess to me, and quite intriguing, as one set of my grandparents immigrated here from Sicily in the early 1900’s.  She is one that I would personally like to research further and work with since I have a great reverence for the Earth Mother.  Also, now as Samhain grows near, for She is a Goddess of earth with connections to the Underworld and of course my Ancestors.

“The Love Embrace of the Universe” by Frida Kahlo

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Hybla was the greatest Goddess of ancient Sicily and still appears in Italian place names; She was an earth Goddess and ancestor of humanity (p 157).

Hybla is the Sicel Goddess of nature. The Sicels were the original inhabitants of Sicily, and we know of their deities through Greek explorers and writers. Hybla was worshipped on hills in Sicily which had unusual natural phenomena, such as a volcano and mineral springs. The hills were also home to bees that produced some of the finest honey known to the ancient world. Hybla’s name was also seen as Hyblaea, and She became syncretized with the Roman Goddess Venus, who took on the name Venus Victrix Hyblensis.” [1]

Douglas Sladen writes: “A Goddess of the nether world in the Sikel religion not identified with any Greek Goddess, but in Roman times, says Freman, ‘the Goddess of Hybla became identified with the Latin Venus.  But it should be remembered that the Latin Venus was, in Her first estate, a harmless Goddess of growth, falling in well with one aspect of the powers of the nether world.  Her worship is  of course, connected with Etna” (p. 202).

 

 

 

Sources:

Fiorentino, Paolo. Sicily Through Symbolism and Myth: Gates to Heaven and the Underworld, “The Goddess Hybla“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Hybla“.

Sladen, Douglas. Sicily: The New Winter Resort, An Encyclopedia of Sicily, “Hybla” (p. 202).

 

 

Suggested Links:

Freeman, Edward. History of Sicily V1.

Wikipedia, “Sicels“.

I really wanted to share this here with you as we think about and meditate on the Autumn season, finding balance and get ready for the coming winter.  This comes from today’s DailyOm, entitled “Seasons of Beauty”.

As we cultivate our life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are creating and doing as it is about our appearance.


We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age. Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages—from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between—human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention. Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.


When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience. In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes. Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being—our essence. This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

 

I also came across this beautiful and inspirational video today from the Tuatha de Brighid Flamekeepers group I belong to.  Learning to Dance in the Rain Movie.  Enjoy!

 

Source:

~ Dailyom.com, “Seasons of Beauty“.

Goddess Ningal

“Stream” by Hojatollah Shakiba

Ningal’s themes are ecology, nature, abundance, earth and water. Her symbols are water, maritime art, seafood, reeds and marsh plants. This ancient Mesopotamian Goddess abides in regions filled with reeds or marshes, which She also vehemently protects. She is also considered an earth and vegetation Goddess who visits us with abundance during the autumn.

The Wings ‘n Water Festival takes place over two days during the third weekend in September. It’s dedicated to fund-raising for Ningal’s endangered wetlands in southern New Jersey and educating the public on the tremendous value of these regions to the local ecology. To honor this effort and the spirit of Ningal, consider making a donation to a group that strives to protect wetlands (please investigate them first!), and perhaps enjoy a nice seafood chowder as New Englanders do today. This meal reconnects you with the water element and Ningal’s fertility.

For tokens that bear Ningal’s power into your home, look to cattails, lily pads, mosses, indoor water fountains, or art that depicts these types of things. First thing in the morning, don dark greens, mossy browns, or clothing that depicts reeds or marshy scenes.  Also, drink plenty of water or take a cool bath to create a stronger connection to this element’s power and to commemorate Ningal’s dwelling place.”

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

“Anqet, Goddess of the Nile” by ~ThornErose

“The ‘Great Lady’ of the fruitful earth was courted by the moon god [Nanna], the Sumerian and Ugaritic people said.  He brought Her necklaces of lapis lazuli and – for he was the rain provider – turned deserts into orchards to win Her heart” (Monaghan, p.230).

This Goddess of reeds was the daughter of Enki and Ningikurga and bore to Nanna Utu the sun god, Inanna, and in some texts, Ishkur.  She is chiefly recognised at Ur, and was probably first worshipped by cow-herders in the marsh lands of southern Mesopotamia. [1]

Upon further exploration of Ningal, I came across this very informative and in depth piece from GatewaysToBabylon.com entitled “Ningal: The Joyous Bride, Initiator of the Mysteries of Femininity”.  It explains:

“Ningal’s character as far as the myths where She figures is concerned comprehend two fundamental phases in the life of Every Woman. She is first the beloved daughter and maiden who becomes the joyous Bride of Nanna, the Moon Lord, a bit on the shy side who by Herself finds out about love and Her own sexuality wooing and being wooed by the most courteous and impetuous of all the young Anunnaki gods, Nanna the Moon, the Torch of the Night, the firstborn of Enlil and Ninlil, the Prince of the Gods. Hers and Nanna’s is perhaps the second most beloved of all Mesopotamian courtship songs…Ningal is also connected to Dream Divination and Interpretation, so the link with the Moon in all senses and spheres, and introspection as well. The most beloved of all love stories in Mesopotamia is, of course, the Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, and Inanna, Ningal’s and Nanna’s daughter, is the archetypal and universal Joyous Bride of world myth and religion.

Secondly, as the mother of Inanna, Ningal features in many of the Sumerian love lyrics that Gwendolyn Leick (Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature, Routledge, 1994) calls The Bridal Songs, defines as ‘the group of texts which feature Inanna as a girl expecting to be married’ (page 66).

“Inanna In The Morning Mist” by ~EroticVisions

Fundamentally, the Bridal Songs [are] concerned with the preparation for and the anticipation of wedding bliss, when groom and bride meet on the threshold of the bride’s home. They talk very much about the first longings and joyous expectation the young couple feel to meet in public or in hiding to get to know each. Ningal in the Bridal Songs is Inanna’s loving mother and initiator of the young Goddess in the Mysteries of Femininity. It is to Her that Inanna runs to upon the arrival of Dumuzi in their home, and Ningal gladly answers the girl’s questions and guide Her on what to wear, say, act and expect from the upcoming events. Indeed, we could very well say that Ningal preceeds the archetypal Fairy Goddessmothers of later fairy tales.

Here lies a profound healing for the Feminine in all levels and spheres, because it is clear the bond and trust between Ningal the mother and Inanna, the daughter, as well as the embedded social norm that a girl’s initiator into full adulthood should be preferably her mother. Incidentally, in Enlil and Ninlil, Ninlil’s mother offers the advice of caution, to which Ninlil and Enlil paid lip service.

I may risk a hunch that nowhere in world myth and religion is a mother-and-daughter relationship so joyous and trusting on both sides such as in Ningal and Inanna.

We can see therefore that Inanna expresses all that Ningal as a young lady could not tell Her mother Ningikuga about Nanna, and it is clear to see that having learnt to assert Herself with Nanna, Ningal empowered Her only daughter to express Her feelings, to act and prepare Herself to welcome the beloved into Her life.

Finally, it is Ningal’s sad fate to lament the downfall and destruction of Ur, Her city, in the famous Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur. In the second millennium before common era, if not earlier, She was introduced to Syria probably via Harran, the ancient centre of moon-worship. In Ugarit She was known as Nikkal.” [2]

Sources:

Gatewaystobabylon.com, “The Joyous Bride, Initiator of the Mysteries of Femininity“.

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

Wikipedia, “Ningal“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, “Ningal“.

Crystalinks.com, “Sumerian Gods“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Sumerian Goddesses“.

Green, Tamara M. The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran.

Lishtar. Gatewaystobabylon.com,Nanna and Ningal or: A Young God Meets Young Goddess – Sumerian Style“.

Moss, Robert. Blog.beliefnet.com, “The Warning from Ur: Don’t lose the Goddess’ gift of dreams“.

MXTODIS123. Reclaimingthedarkgoddess.blogspot.com, “Ningal and Nanna, A Love Story“.

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

Wikipedia, “Lament for Ur“.

Goddess Amari De

Art by Marisa Lopez (Sarima)

“Amari De’s themes are art, humor, relationships, love, fertility, wealth, health and beauty. Her symbol is light.  In Romania, Amari De is a Romani Goddess who is the great mother of all things and the personification of nature. According to lore, She bestows wealth, health, beauty, love, fertility and insight to those who seek Her. Descriptions say that She was so holy that a divine light always shone from Her face.

A Transylvanian folk festival, Tirgul de fete de pe Muntele Gaina (Maidens Fair on Hen Mountain) – was originally a marriage fair where young people came looking for partners. Over time, the custom faded and now it is simply a crafts, costume and musical exhibition with lighthearted satire and nightlong bonfires that glow with Amari De’s light. In keeping with the tradition, if you’re planning a wedding or engagement, today would be a wonderful date to consider fore either, as it draws Amari De’s positive energy to that relationship.

This is a good time for single folks to get out and mingle, carrying an Amari De love charm along for a little extra help. Find a little piece of luminescent cloth (like a fine silk that shines) and wrap it around a pack of matches. Bless the token saying,

‘Amari De, bring love my way!’

Ignite one of the matches before going into a social situation so Amari De can light your way!”

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

Again, not too much information on this Goddess to be found.  I did find that Amari De was the chief Goddess among the Romani who is believed to be of Indian origin, and bears the Sanskrit name Amari De or De Develeski. [1]

According to various sites on the Web (I could not find an original source), Amari De, like Kali Sara, was a Black Madonna worshipped by the Romani in France. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

danahorochowski. 5dTERRA SERENITY GLOBAL COOP, “MOONTIME, GRANDMOTHER NOKOMIS = Divine Mother =The Feminine Energy of God, the all-encompassing love“.

Durdin-Robertson, Lawrence. The Religion of the Goddess.

 

Suggested Links:

Everything Under the Moon, “Romany???

Johnson, Cait. Witches of the Craft, “The Love Goddess for You“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Amari De“.

Wikipedia, “Mari (goddess)“.

Wikipedia, “Romani People“.

Goddess Nemetona

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

“Nemetona’s themes are wishes, protection, joy, fairies, magic, luck and nature. Her symbols are Hawthorn trees (or trees in general).  In Romano-Celtic regions, Nemetona guards groves of trees with a special protective presence that marks the area as a sacred site. Within this space, the soul is hushed and calm, becoming one with nature and the Goddess. Nemetona’s name means ‘shrine’ giving new depth of meaning to William Cullen Bryant’s poetic phrase ‘the groves were God’s first temples.’

Bawming the Thorn‘ is a ritual that takes place around this time of year in Appleton, England. It is an occasion for the community to gather together and decorate a hawthorn tree in the center of town. Local people believe this was a spot of ancient Pagan worship, which is highly likely since hawthorns are sacred to both witches and fairy-kind. In magic traditions, carrying a hawthorn ensures happiness and promotes good luck (not to mention bearing a bit of Nemetona with you). Wherever the oak, ash and thorn grow together is a very magical spot filled with Nemetona’s power and one that will be visited regularly by fairies!”

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

“Queen of Forest” by maillevin

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Nemetona was “the British ‘Goddess of the sacred grove’ as one of the divinities worshiped at Bath, where Sul was honored as patron of the thermal springs.  Nemetona was depicted as a seated queen holding a scepter, surrounded by three hooded figures and a ram” (p. 228).

I found what Sora Nalani wrote to be very informative and inspiring: “A Continental Deity revered during Roman times; Her name may be cognate with the Irish Valkyrie Nemain, and in fact the Romans seem to have regarded Her as having some connection with Mars.” [1]

“Nemetona is a very ancient Goddess of the Celts, specifically those in Gaul (what is now France). As well, She is thought to have been the eponymous deity of the Nemetes, a group of Germano-Celtic people living by the Rhine in an area now called Trier in Germany. The Celts, in general, did not build temples, but rather practiced their spirituality in sacred groves and Nemetona personifies this belief in the sacred land. Her name literally means ‘sacred space’, from the Celtic root ‘nemeto’ which means ‘sacred area’. She is related to the druidic concept of nemeton, the designation of sacred spiritual space.

Nemetona was worshipped primarily in what is now France and Germany, but Her worship extended into England, where there is an altar dedicated to Her in Bath. Her name survives through many place names including Augustonemeton (France), Nemetacum/Nemetocerna Atrebatum (Northern France), Nemetobriga, Nemetodurum (modern Vernantes), Nemetatae (A tribe in Northern Spain), Nemetostatio (England), Vernenetum and Medionemeton (both in England).

Loucetios Celtic God of light

Inscriptions found have shown that the Romans afflicated Nemetona with Mars. In Trier and Altrip, in Germany, inscriptions have been found pairing Her with Mars specifically and in Bath with Loucetios Mars. It is well know that as the Romans spread through the Celtic world that they paired their deities with the local deities, finding commonalities. Loucetios was a storm god, the divine mate of Nemetona, whose name means ‘bright’ or ‘shining one’. It is thought that he may be the original form of Lleu/Lugh, the Welsh god of light. With Lugh figuring as a ‘divine warrior’ in many myths, it makes a certain sense that the Romans would equate Loucetios with their god of war, Mars. Still, the fit is awkward and does little to retain the original power and meaning of both Nemetona and Her consort. As is often the case with the Roman deity overlays, it seems as if there was some breakdown of communication as the Romans tried to fit their war hungry gods over the more shamanistic gods of the Celts.”

Sora Nalani goes on to say: “At first I had found the fit of Nemetona and that of Mars to be almost ridiculous, it just didn’t seem as if it could be. But when I found a pairing of her with the Brythonic God, Mars Rigonemetis ‘King of the sacred grove’, a new picture began to form in my mind, one of a year King associated with the sacred Goddess whose tendrils of energy were inseparable from the land. It is very possible that Rigonemetis was the guardian of the sacred grove, the guardian of the sacred mother and wellspring of life; Nemetona. I then read that the Celtic ‘Mars’ was a god of protection and healing, along with agriculture in addition to the war-like aspects. Even Loucetios, a lightening god, is associated with sacred groves, as the druids associated lightening with sacred trees, in particular oaks. It is very possible the Loucetios would have been associated with ‘drunemeton‘: the sacred oak grove.

It seems a cruel twist of fate that some think She survives on as Nemhain, the Irish Goddess of battle frenzy . While the path from Goddess of the groves to the Goddess of the battlefield is not so farfetched through Her association with Her divine consort who inevitable was linked with Mars, the god of war, the pairing of Nemetona and Nemhain seems little more than a construct of similarity in names rather than an real evolution of Goddess worship.

I could not find many images of Nemetona but in the surviving iconography, She is pictured seated, holding a scepter surrounded by 3 hooded figures and a ram. This portrayal feels more Roman than it does Celtic, it seems more likely to me that her presence would have been found in the spiraling knotwork and the labyrinth iconology of the Celts.

“Nemetona” by Selina Fenech

Nemetona is a difficult Goddess to wrap my mind around. She is somewhat nebulous in my mind, partially because She seems inextricably linked with the land. She is the sacred grove and it is Her. She is sacred space, whether that is found within the majestic trees of a grove or if it is held simply within one’s heart. She is holy breath, the sanctuaries we create, not out of stone and mortar, but out of love and reverence. She is a sacred link between ourselves and the living planet. But in my mind, not in an all-consuming way, such as a deity like Gaia, but in a very personal , intimate way, our link to the land our feet walk on, to the trees our ears hear singing in the wind and the leaves that season with us. She is the animation of the living space around us, a reminder to create that which is sacred within and carry it through all our trials and journeys. She is the circle unto herself and we are within Her circle, found within our relationship with our most intimate and immediate environments. She is the wholeness within each single leaf on the plant that sits beside you, or the moving cells of your body, and the embodiment of all personal spiritual cycles. Simply put, she is sacred space.” [2]

Other names: Nemetonia, Nemetialis

 

 

Sources:

Joelle’s Sacred Grove, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

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

Nalani, Sora. Spira, “Nemetona: Goddess of the Sacred Grove“.

Suggested Links:

Druidnetwork.org, “Nemetona“.

Eagle Feather, Lavender. The Simplified Witch, “Goddess Guidance…Nemetona

Nemeton – the Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Nemetona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess (She of the Sacred Grove)“.

The Order of the Sacred Nemeton.

Wikipedia, “Nemetona“.

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