Tag Archive: new year


Happy New Year!

goddess89

May the Goddess bless you with love & laughter to lighten your days,
and warm your heart & home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.

May the Goddess bless you with peace and plenty and bless your world
with joy that long endures.

May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Well, there you have it – 365 Goddesses 🙂  Wow, have I really researched and completed that many Goddess entries??  Well, kind of…I plan to go through and “clean-up” some of the earlier entries (primarily Jan 2012 – March 2012) because I wasn’t using the same techniques or format back then when I first started that I’ve been using now – it just kind of evolved and progressed as we made our way through this journey.  I’ll also be checking for broken links and adding additional “Suggested Links” as I come across new information and plan to reorganize the Goddess entries into different categories (i.e. by culture, etc.).  If there is a Goddess that you’d like to see researched, let me know as I have a few of my own that weren’t covered this year (the Morrigan and Demeter for example).

This however will be my last post for awhile.  We will be in the process of actually packing and moving starting tomorrow and I’m not sure when we’ll be settled into our new home in Georgia or when we’ll be back online.  Till then, I’ll check in when I can from my iPhone.

Goddess Bless!!!

The Celtic calendar begins with the month of the Birch Moon, a time of new beginnings and making plans for the future.

birch moon

The first of the 13 months of the Celtic calendar is the month of the Birch Moon.  It begins just after Yuletide and runs through most of January.

Staring just after the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – the month of the Birch Moon marks the period of the year when the hours of daylight start to increase over the hours of darkness.  Its associated color is flame red; from this comes the red candles that we burn at Yuletide.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

The month of the Birch Moon falls into the “quiet time” during the bleakest period of winter.  None of the eight major Neopagan festivals occur in this month.  There is little to do but wait for warmer weather.

This month is therefore primarily a time of contemplations, of looking to the future and starting to make plans for the year ahead- hence the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

THE LADY OF THE WOODS

The silvery bark that covers the trunk of the birch tree resembles the silver of the moonlight, which it reflects at night giving it a magical look.

birch-wood-tree

“Tree Goddess”. Photo taken by Norse Witch

With its long, slender branches that stretch up to the sky, the birch symbolizes the female aspects of nature and is often known as “the Lady of the Woods.”  Growing up to 100 feet high, it has also been thought of as a ladder that shamans can climb to reach the gods.

 

BIRCH MOON MAGIC

The month of the Birch Moon is the ideal time to weave magic focusing on new beginnings and purification, or to cast spells for support, shielding and cleansing.

bafef5c7-22ab-4b47-a74f-412250104c6c

“The Birch” by Margaret Walty

At the beginning of the year, concentrate on new beginnings.  Ask for general luck in whatever the coming year brings, and focus on what you want to achieve.

Resolution Blessing Spell

The birch is the first tree to grow back after a forest has been cut down or razed, reinforcing its association with new beginnings.  It is a tree of extreme hardiness, thriving in places where the oak cannot.  When you make a New Year’s resolution, increase your chances of sticking to our guns by performing this blessing spell.

You Will Need:

  • Red candle
  • Red ribbon
  • Birch wand
  • Frankincense, rose, and benzoin essential oil

resolution spell1. Go for a walk in your local park and collect a birch twig no more than 12 inches long.  As birch is a very common tree, you should be able to find one easily, even in urban areas and parks.

2. Mix a few drops of rose frankincense and benzoin essential oil into the palm of your hand and rub the mixture into a red candle.

3. Light the candle, and stand in front of it for a few moments visualizing your resolution.  If you are planning to learn to play guitar, for instance, visualize ourself happily strumming your favorite song.  You may want to state your intent aloud, saying, “I will learn to play guitar.”

4. Holding your birch twig at one end, pass it through the candle’s flame.  Then turn around, clockwise, holding the twig in front of you to draw a circle around yourself.

5. Repeat the incantation, “I manifest new chances for good fortune, clarity and insight.  I open myself to new experience and allow change to manifest in my life.”

6. Now sit down for a few minutes and quietly contemplate your wish.  When you have finished, blow out the candle.

Purification and Cleansing

purificationThe silver color of the birch’s bark is associated with purity and cleansing.  Criminals and naughty schoolboys were often beaten with birch twigs – “birched” – in order to purify them and drive out any evil influences.

This is a good time to cleanse your mind of negative thoughts and attitudes, such as anger and jealousy, or an addictive behavior, such as smoking.  A full Moon that calls within the month of the Birch Moon is called the Cold Moon; you can strengthen your intent by performing the following ritual at this time.

A Simple Cold Moon Ritual:

1. Light a white candle besides a small bowl of natural spring or rain water.

2. Stand over the water and pray for the strength to let go of your vice.

3. Write down your negative behavior nine times on a piece of paper.

4. Fold up the paper, place it inside a freezer bag, and pour in some of the prayer water.

5. Place the bag inside your icebox to “freeze” your bad habits – putting them behind your forever.

Birch Throughout the Year

birch year

  • Birch is used for purification, exorcism and protection.  A red ribbon tied to a birch twig will help ward off the evil eye.
  • Witches’ brooms are made of birch twigs tied around an ash branch with strips of willow.  The purifying birch sweeps away evil spirits, as well as dirt.
  • At Beltane (May Day), birch twigs are used to light the fires that signal the beginning of the new season.

 

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  5.

 

Suggested Links:

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Birch“.

The Goddess Tree, “Birch“.

Jaecap. People.tribe.net, “The Birch Tree“.

Spiritblogger.wordpress.com, “Spirit Message of the Day – Celtic Tree Month Birch – Strength“.

The 13th Lunar month of the Celtic calendar is Elder.  This tree marks a time of endings and beginnings.

The Elder Moon is the last month in the cycle of the 13 Celtic Moon months, and it indicates the renewal of energy and continuous journey of the soul toward greater happiness and understanding.  The Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night occurs during Elder Moon and is the chance to focus on your heart’s desire.

Annual Evaluation

The Elder Moon is time to bring a halt to habit-forming patterns that have restricted your growth, so that you may heal and move on.  Evaluate what you learned during the past year and give yourself time to work out what you want from life.  Perform spells that conclude the annual cycle and release the energy you invested in previous projects and endeavors, so that you may concentrate on conceiving your new dreams for the New Year.

TREE OF LIFE AND DEATH

“The Elder” by Margaret Walty

The elder tree’s ability to recover when damaged has made it a symbol of regeneration since ancient times, and for this reason it was used in burial rites in British long barrows, an ancient style of grave.  Due to its white flowers (life) and black berries (death), the tree is also sacred to the Mother Goddess who governs birth and death.

Protective Powers

Art by Oskar Klever

The wood is believed to have protective properties to because of the powerful Dryad spirit that lives within it.  When planted near a home, the tree will ward off intruders. The healing powers of the elder are also thought to cure insomnia (by placing elderberries in a spell bag under a pillow) and ensure health of unborn babies (when pregnant women kiss its bark).

 

ELDER MOON MAGIC

Use the powers of the elder tree to bring a sense of completion to the old year and feeling of renewal for the start of the next cycle.

Review the Year

Bring a sense of completion to your Celtic lunar year.

  • Review the last 13 Moons, writing down what you have learned from each.  Acknowledging your lessons helps you move on.
  • Areas of your life that are unfulfilled indicate stuck energy.  Hold quartz and direct love toward your current job, cramped apartment or credit card bill.  New opportunities will appear as if by magic.
  • Resolve difficult relationships by writing a letter to the soul of the person with whom you are in conflict – this helps to clear the way for change.  Then burn the letter.

Release Negativity

Upon reaching the end of the Celtic calendar, the Elder Moon month is the perfect time to release negative energies before entering the New Year, feeling renewed.

1. Dig a hole in the ground and say, “Mother Earth, I ask you to transform my pain into healing.”

2. Place a photo of yourself and a drawing, or written account, of any negative incidents into the hole.

3. Speak or shout your feelings into the hole.

4. When you feel ready, place an elder twig into the hole to represent the end of the cycle.

5. Fill in the hole and stamp the earth down three times saying, “I release the past, so let it be.”

 

Protection Charm

Use this charm to repel unwanted attention and harassment during the party season.

1. Collect together five tiny elder twigs, a white ribbon, a white candle and a strand of your hair.

2. Light the candle saying, “White light surround me, safe will I stay.”

3. Drip the wax onto one of the elder twigs and press your hair into it before it dries.

4. Surround the twig with the others, making a small magical bundle.

5. Secure it with the white ribbon saying, “As I will it, so let it be.”

6. Slip the protection charm into your party handbag and you’re ready to go.

 

Elder Tree Blessing

Use this blessing to heal an environment where there has been an argument, accident, illness or shock.

1. Gather together some elderberries and leaves.

2. Face the north and say, “I call upon the guardians of the earth to bless this place.”  Throw some elderberries and leaves towards the north.

3. Turn to the east and repeat the ritual, this time calling upon the guardians of air.

4. Turn to the south and repeat, calling upon the guardians of fire.

5. Finally, turn to the west and all upon the guardians of water.

6. End by randomly scattering the remaining leaves and release the energy.

 

 

 

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  17.

 

Suggested Links:

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Elder“.

The Goddess Tree, “Elder“.

Spiritblogger.wordpress.com, “Spirit Message of the Day – Creative Renewal Cycle“.

Goddess Strenia

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

“Sabine” by `Foxfires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Strenua“.

 

Suggested Links:

Labefanas.com, “History of La Befana“.

Societyofdiana.blogspot.com, “Dea Strenia

Goddess Matariki

“Matariki’s themes are stars, harvest and peace. Her symbols are stars and the number 7. In Polynesian tradition, this Goddess and Her six children became the Pleiades, and they continue to help humans by showing us when to begin harvesting the labors of hand or heart.

From mid- to late November the people of Hawaii take part in special rituals to celebrate the appearance of the Pleiades in the skies, which is the beginning of harvest season. In reverence for this occasion, all war is forbidden. It makes one wish that Matariki and her children appeared around the world all the time!

To encourage similar peacefulness in your own life, and harmony with those around you, carry seven stars in your pocket, wallet, or purse today. You can draw these on paper, use seven typed asterisks, get the marshmallow kind out of a cereal box, or collect seven noodles from a chicken ‘n’ stars can. If you use edible items, eat them at the end of the day to bring serenity to your spirit.

If there’s something you’ve been working on that seems to be taking forever, look to Matariki to show you how to begin effectively manifesting your efforts. Pray, meditate, and watch for unique openings throughout the day, especially after the stars appear in the sky, representing her power.”

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

“The Pleiades” by Corina Chirila

The only other real mention that I found defining Matariki as a Goddess comes from the Goddess A Day site that states, “To the Maori, the Pleiades are Matariki and her six daughters: Tupu-a-Nuku, Tupu-a-Rangi, Wai-Tii, Wai-Ta, Wai-puna-Rangi, and Uru-Rangi.” [1]

However, the rest of my research found that Matariki wasn’t a Goddess, but is actually the Maori name for the Pleiades.  My research also found that Matariki is the traditional Maori New Year that is celebrated anywhere from late May to early June.  

“Matariki is the Māori name for the seven-star constellation that rises in the north-east before dawn in late May/early June. In Western astronomy it is known the Pleiades, and it forms the shoulder of Taurus the Bull.  Matariki marks the start of a new phase of life. It is a time of festivity for Māori, the tangata whenua, or first people of New Zealand.  Matariki is an important time in the Māori calendar and is associated with the start of the cold season when the pātaka kai (food storehouses) are full and the land is at its most unproductive.” [1]

“The Matariki star constellation marked a time for starting all things new, this was a particularly important period for new crops to be planted and the preserving of old crops to be finished. When Matariki was sighted ceremonial offerings of food were planted for the gods Uenuku and Whiro to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Even the stars themselves were looked upon for guidance as to how successful the coming season would be; the brighter the star constellation the warmer the year was destined and the better the harvest was thought to be.

The timing of Matariki fell at the end of a harvest and food stores were full. Meat, fruits, herbs and vegetables had been gathered and preserved and the migration of certain fish ensured a great period of feasts. Matariki was seen as a time to share with each other, for family and friends to come together and share in the gifts that the land and sea had provided for them.” [2]

Similar to Samhain, “traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.” [3]

Matariki Across the World

“Sprinling Stars – Matariki” by Ira Mitchell

“Matariki’s seven stars can be viewed from anywhere in the world and the constellation is globally recognised as a key navigational aid for sailors. It features in many cultures and acts as an important signal for seasonal celebrations around the world.

Europe: Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, is described as seven sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone. In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England.

Māori and Pacific cultures: In Māori and Pacific stories, Matariki is described as a mother surrounded by Her six daughters.

Japan: In Japan, Matariki is known as Subaru.

Other: The Matariki cluster of stars has also been celebrated by Africans, American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Chinese and Vikings.

Unity, harvesting and planting, paying tributes to ancestors and looking ahead to the future are all themes of these celebrations.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Matariki“.

Taitokerau.co.nz, “Matariki“.

Teara.govt.nz, “Story – Matariki – Māori New Year“.

Wellington.govt.nz, “Matariki – Overview“.

 

Suggested Links:

Matarikievents.co.nz, “Matariki – Home“.

Ngawhetu.com, “Māori New Year“.

Tetaurawhiri.govt.nz, “Matariki“.

Wikipedia, “Matariki“.

 

Goddess Sopdet

“Sopdet” by BlueSilver

“Sopdet’s themes are fertility, destiny and time. Her symbols are stars and dogs.  The reigning Egyptian Queen of the Constellations, Sopdet lives in Sirius, guiding the heavens and thereby human destiny. Sopdet is the foundation around which the Egyptian calendar system revolved, Her star’s appearance heralding the beginning of the fertile season. Some scholars believe that the Star card of the Tarot is fashioned after this Goddess and Her attributes.

The long, hot days of summer are known as the ‘Dog Days‘ because they coincide with the rising of the dog star, Sirius. In ancient Egypt this was a welcome time as the Nile rose, bringing enriching water to the land. So, go outside tonight and see if you can find Sirius. When you spy it, whisper a wish to Sopdet suited to Her attributes and your needs. For example, if you need to be more timely or meet a deadline, she’s the perfect Goddess to keep things on track.

If you’re curious about your destiny, watch that region of the sky and see if any shooting stars appear. If so, this is a message from Sopdet. A star moving on your right side is a positive omen; better days are ahead. Those on the left indicate the need for caution, and those straight ahead mean things will continue on an even keel for now. Nonetheless, seeing any shooting star means Sopdet has received your wish.”

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

“Sopdet – Cosmic Auset” by TRSkye (available for purchase on Etsy.com).

“Sopdet (‘skilled woman’, also known as Sothis) represented Sirius, the Dog-Star. Sirius was the most important star to ancient Egyptian astronomers because it signalled the approach of the inundation and the beginning of a new year. New year was celebrated with a festival known as ‘The Coming of Sopdet’.

In fact, the ‘Sothic Rising’ only coincided with the solar year once every 1460 years. The Roman emperor Antoninus Pius had a commemorative coin made to mark their coincidence in CE 139. The Sothic Cycle (the periods between the rising of the star) have been used by archaeologists trying to construct a chronology of Ancient Egypt.

Sopdet was the wife of Sahu (‘the hidden one’), the constellation Orion, and the mother of Sopdu (‘skilled man’), a falcon god who represented the planet Venus. This triad echoed the trio of Osiris, Isis and Horus, but the connections were not always simple. Sopdet became increasingly associated with Isis, who asserts that She is Sopdet (in ‘the lamentations of Isis and Nephthys‘ c 400 BCE) and will follow Osiris, the manifestation of Sahu. However, as well as being considered to be the spouse of Orion (Osiris), She is described by the pyramid texts as the daughter of Osiris.

 

Although Sopdet started out as an agricultural deity, closely associated with the Nile, by the Middle Kingdom She was also considered to be a mother Goddess. This probably related to Her growing connection with the Goddess Isis. This connection was further strengthened by Sopdet’s role in assisting the Pharaoh find his way to the imperishable stars. It may be no coincidence that Sirius disappeared for seventy days every year, and mummification took seventy days.

         

In the first Dynasty ivory tablets Sopdet was depicted as a reclining cow with a unidentified plant-like emblem (possibly signifying representing the new year) between Her horns. However, She was most often depicted as a woman wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt topped by a star or a headdress with two plumes.

Less often, She is portrayed as a large dog, and by the Roman period the hybrid Goddess Isis-Sopdet was depicted as a woman riding side-saddle on a large dog.

Sopdet was occasionally shown as a male deity. During the Middle Kingdom the male Sopdet was in associated with Horus as one of the gods who held up the four corners of the earth and held Nut (the sky) in place. During the Greek period She was linked to Anubis as Sopdet-Anubis, possibly because of Her canine associations.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Sopdet“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Sopdet/Sothis {Goddess of the Week}“.

Cowofgold.wikispaces.com, “Sopdet“.

Crystalinks.com, “Sirius“.

Egyptianmyths.net, “Sopdet“.

Thegoddesshouse.blogspot.com, Sopdet – The Goddess of the New Year“.

Herebedragons.weebly.com, Ancestral Memories,”Get Sirius“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Sopdet“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sopdet“.

Schwader, Ann K. Goddessschool.com, “Sothis/Sopdet: Star of the Eastern Horizon“.

Seawright, Caroline. Articles by Caroline Seawright, “Sopdet, Goddess of Sirius, New Year and Inundation…“.

Tribe.net, “Sopdet“.

Wikipedia, “Sopdet“.

Writing, Jimmy Dunn. Touregypt.net, “Sah and Sopdet (Sothis), the Egyptian Astral God and Goddess“.

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