Tag Archive: nymphs


The Tennin

Painting by Zeng Hao

“The Tennin’s themes are protection and anti-theft.  Their symbols are drums and feathers.  These semi divine beings are a kind of angel in Buddhist tradition. They like to make music, and their singing voices are as lovely as their stunning visages. Art renderings show them wearing feathered robes and sprouting wings a bit like oversized sylphs. On this day they join their voices to our celebration and wrap us in wings of safety.

Follow Japanese conventions of the Furukawa Matsuri festival and go through your home or entire town making as much noise as possible by banging pots, blowing horns, ringing bells. This protects you from the threat of thievery and unwanted ghostly visitations, as well singing sacred songs that draw the Tennin’s attention and aid. A flurry of lantern lighting or in our case, lamp lighting often accompanies this activity, to shine a light on the darkness and reclaim the night with divine power.

To remember the Tennin specifically and invite their protective energy, put a lightweight item (like a silk scarf, a sheer curtain, or something else with diaphanous qualities) in the region that needs guarding. Put on a tape, record, or CD of vocal music (or sing yourself), and they will come. To protect yourself, carry a feather in your purse or wallet.”

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

Tennin which may include tenshi (lit. heavenly messenger) and the specifically female tennyo are spiritual beings found in Japanese Buddhism that are similar to western angels, nymphs or fairies.  They were imported from Chinese Buddhism, which was influenced itself by concepts of heavenly beings found in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism.

Tennin are mentioned in Buddhist sutras, and these depictions form the basis for depictions of the beings in Japanese art, sculpture and theater.  They are usually pictured as unnaturally beautiful women dressed in ornate, colorful kimonos (traditionally in five colors), exquisite jewelry, and flowing scarves that wrap loosely around their bodies.  They usually carry lotus blossoms as a symbol of enlightenment or play musical instruments such as the biwa or flute.

Tennin are believed to live in the Buddhist heaven as the companions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  Some legends also make certain tennin solitary creatures living on mountain peaks. Pilgrims sometimes climb these mountains in order to meet the holy spirits.

Painting by Cheryl Kirk Noll

Tennin can fly, a fact generally indicated in art by their colored or feathered kimonos, called hagoromo (‘dress of feathers’).  In some legends, tennin are unable to fly without these kimonos (and thus cannot return to heaven).  More rarely, they are shown with feathered wings.  In a Noh play, Hagoromo, which bears a number of similarities to the western Swan Maiden legends, tennyo come down to the earth and take off their hagoromo.  A fisherman spies them and hides their clothes in order to force one to marry him.  After some years, he tells his wife what he did, and she finds her clothes and returns to heaven.  The legend says it occured on the beach of Miyo, now part of the city of Shizuoka.” [1]

"Heaven Song" by Jia Lu

 

This sounds very much like one of the versions of the story of the Chinese Goddess Chihnu and  Niu-Lang.  One version of Her tale asserts that Chihnu came down to Earth and had Her clothes stolen while She bathed in a river. The culprit was Niu-Lang, a humble cowherd who was amazed at Her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without Her clothes She could not return to Heaven. So She decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal and had two children with him.  Seven years later She found Her clothes. Some say that She returned to Heaven on Her own accord, others say Heaven found out eventually, and whisked Her off to the stars…

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Tennin“.

 

Suggested Links:

OnMark Productions.com, “Japanese Buddhism – Apsaras, Celestial Beings, Heavenly Maidens & Musicians, Tennyo, Karyobinga“.

The Camenae

"The Four Nymphs" by Eichenelf

“The Camenae’s themes are divination, protection, victory, children, birth and communication.  Their symbols are written word, any divination tool and fertility symbols.  This group of Goddesses correspond to the Muses of Greek tradition: they know our past, see what’s in store in the future, foretell children’s fates, and teach us the effective use of ‘letters’ (the alphabet), the arts, and how to tell fortunes. They also oversee midwives.

The festival of Megalesia celebrates the accuracy of the Sibylline oracles, who predicted the way for the Roman victory in the Punic Wars. Romans traditionally honored the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele, today with music and song, so put on some magical tunes! The Camenae will saturate the music and uplift your spirit.

Ask the Camenae to help you write personalized invocations or spells today. Put pen to pad and let these Goddesses inspire sacred words suited to your path and needs. Keep these in a magic journal for the future.

The Roman oracles often drew lots to determine a querent’s answer. If you have a question weighing heavily on your heart today, follow this custom and take out some variegated beans. Hold them. Concentrate on the question, then pick out one bean. A black one means ‘no’; white means ‘yes’. Red means that anger is driving action, brown means things are muddled, and green indicates growth potential. If you don’t have beans, colored buttons are a suitable alternative.”

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

In Roman mythology, the Camenae (also Casmenae, Camoenae) were originally Goddesses of childbirth, wells and fountains, and also prophetic deities.

There were four Camenae: Carmenta, Egeria, Antevorta (also Porrima) and Postverta (also Postvorta or Prorsa).

The last two were sometimes specifically referred to as the Carmentae, and in ancient times might have been two aspects of Carmenta rather than separate figures; in later times, however, they are distinct beings believed to protect women in labor.

“Carmenta or Carmentis was the chief among the nymphs.  Not only was She a Goddess of childbirth and prophecy, but She was also associated with technological innovation. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet. The name Carmenta is derived from Latin carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and also the root of the English word charm. Though She is an ancient Italian Goddess, in later times Carmenta was said to have come from Greece: in that story She is said to have originally been a prophetess of Arcadia called Nicostrate, but it was changed later to honor Her renown for giving oracles. She was the mother of Evander and along with other followers they founded the town of Pallantium, which later was one of the sites of the start of Rome. Gaius Julius Hyginus (Fab. 277) mentions the legend that it was She who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which Her son Evander introduced into Latium.

It was forbidden to wear leather or other forms of dead skin in her temple, which was next to the Porta Carmentalis in Rome.  On Her festival day, the Carmentalia, which fell on January the 11 and 15, Vestal Virgins drew water from that spring for the rites.” [1] [2]

 

Egeria was a nymph or minor Goddess attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to whom She imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor.  Her origin is unclear; She is consistently, though not in a very clear way, associated with another figure of the Diana type; their cult is known to have been celebrated at sacred groves, such as the site of Nemi at Aricia, and another one close to Rome, expedient for Her presumed regular meetings with King Numa; both Goddesses are also associated with water; gifted with wondrous, religious or medical properties (the source in that grove at Rome was dedicated to the exclusive use of the Vestal Virigns); their cult was associated with other, male figures of even more obscure meaning, such as one named Virbius, or a Manius Egerius, presumably a youthful male, that anyway in later years was identified with figures like Atys or Hippolyte, because of the Diana reference.

After the death of Numa the nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.  The spring and grove outside the Porta Capena was dedicated to Egeria.

Described sometime as a ‘mountain nymph’ (by Plutarch), She is usually regarded as a water nymph and somehow Her cult also involved some link with childbirth, like the Greek Goddess Ilithyia.” [2]

 

“Antevorta and Postvorta were probably at first two aspects of Carmenta who in time became important enough on Their own to be considered seperate Goddesses, though They were still generally believed to be sisters or attendents of Carmenta. Their names refer to Their prophetic powers that come into play at the birth of a child: both come from the root vertere, meaning ‘to change, turn, or alter’; so Antevorta then means, ‘Before Change’ and Postvorta ‘After Change’.  At the Carmentalia these two aspects were especially celebrated; and given that the festival was held on the 11th and the 15th of January (not the 11th through the 15th of January), perhaps They were each given one day, Antevorta turning towards the past on the 11th, and Postvorta to the future on the 15th. Alternatively, Postvorta is sometimes spelled Postverta, glossed as ‘feet first’, referring to the breech position of birth, while Antevorta was called Prorsa (‘straight forwards’) or Porrima, both taken to mean ‘head first’, the more usual position of a baby at birth.” [3]

The Camenae were later identified with the Greek Muses; in his translation of Homer’s OdysseyLivius Andronicus rendered the Greek word Mousa as Camena.

 

 

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Camenae“.

Took, Thalia.  The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Ægeria“.

Wikipedia, “Camenae“.

Wikipedia, “Carmenta“.

Wikipedia, “Egeria (mythology)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Myth Index, “Camenae“.

Mythology Guide, “Camenae“.

Goddess Carmenta

"Premières Caresses" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

In ancient roman religion and myth, Carmenta was a goddess of childbirth and prophecy, associated with technological innovation as well as the protection of mothers and children, and a patron of midwives. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet.

“Carmenta’s themes are children, fertility, foresight and birth. Her symbols are music and babies.
Carmenta, the Roman Goddess of prophecy and birth, joins in our new year festivities by teaching us the value of preparedness and productivity. The only offerings acceptable to Carmenta are vegetable matter – as a birth Goddess, taking life is abhorrent to her. Her magical, prophetic nature can be seen in Carmenta’s name, specifically the root word carmen, meaning a spell or charm in the form of a song.
Put on some uplifting music while you get dressed this morning. Let it motivate the resourceful aspect of Carmenta within you for the entire day.

In ancient Rome, today was the second to last day of a five-day-long festival honoring Carmenta. Pregnant women offered her rice for a safe delivery, while those wishing to have children ate raspberries to internalize her fertility. Try either of these to prompt the successful completion of a project or to improve your physical, emotional or spiritual fertility.

Romans considered this an excellent day to make predictions for a child. If you know someone who’s expecting, take a ring on a long string and hold it still over the mother’s belly. If the ring swings back and forth it indicates a boy; circular movements indicate a girl.”

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

Carmenta was the leader of the Camenae, a group of prophetic water goddesses or nymphs of ancient Rome, considered goddesses of Poetry as well as Birth-Goddesses who presided over springs, wells and fountains and who were invoked for healing.  The other three Camenae were Egeria (who was a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius), Porrima (a baby is born head first when she is present), and Postverta (present at feet first births).

There is a grove outside the Porta Capena that is sacred to Carmenta.  Romans celebrated Carmenta’s festival January 11 and 15, during the first month of the  year, a symbol, perhaps of the beginning of life. The focus of this primarily female festival was on divination and reflection on the past.  Pregnant women made offerings to Her of prayers and rice in the hopes of an easy delivery.  The festivities began by making cream-filled pastries which were shaped as male and female genitalia which were eaten in honor of this Goddess of birth.  The wearing of leather or other dead animal skins were forbidden in their sacred places.

Alternate names for Carmenta: Carmentis, Themis, Timandra (Greek, “She who honors the male”?), Tiburtis (linking Her with the town of Tibur/Tivoli and Albunea, the White Sybil?)

For more information on the Camenae, click here.

 

 

crdmwritingroad

Coralie Raia's Writing Road Blog

Moody Moons

A Celebration of the Seasons & the Spirit

Award-Winning Author Nicole Evelina

Stories of Strong Women from History and Today

Eternal Haunted Summer

pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern Viking Blog written by an ancient soul

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman Polytheism

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

The art of living with a broken heart.

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.