Tag Archive: poetry


Goddess Thalia

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“The Muse of Comedy” by ~kimbessent

“Thalia’s themes are humor, festivities and recreation. Her symbols are party decorations. Among the Greek Muses, Thalia is the Goddess of festivity and humor. She inspires today’s Feast of Fools celebration with unbridled revelry and joyfulness to round out year on an upbeat, playful note.

During the Middle Ages, around this time of year, a mock religious ritual called the Feast of Fools took place, much like the impious Saturnalia. Normal roles were often reversed and reverence went by the wayside, replaced by fun and pleasure. I see no reason not to follow the example of our ancestors and give ourselves time to frolic a bit today. Do something that energizes you, inspires you or makes you laugh out loud For example, throw yourself a party complete with silly decorations and hats. Watch your favorite comedy flicks with a friend.

Or, go out dancing, play video games, socialize with folks who make you feel good and generally let Thalia live through (and in) your pleasure.

To keep Thalia’s playful, enthusiastic engry with you, bless an amethyst (for joy and luck) saying:

‘Thalia, inspire my humor and muse;
throughout my life, joy diffuse.’

Carry this with you anytime you feel your sense of humor waning.”

"Thalia, Muse of Comedy" by Jean-Marc Nattier

“Thalia, Muse of Comedy” by Jean-Marc Nattier

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

 

"Thalia" by Thalia Took.  She is shown here with the comic mask of the Dionysian rites, and in Her hair are narcissuses and roses, both the variety called Thalia.

“Thalia” by Thalia Took. She is shown here with the comic mask of the Dionysian rites, and in Her hair are narcissuses and roses, both the variety called Thalia.

According to the Wikipedia: “Thalia (‘the joyous, the flourishing’, from Ancient Greek: thállein; ‘to flourish, to be verdant’) was the Muse who presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. In this context her name means ‘flourishing’, because the praises in Her songs flourish through time.  She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses.

According to pseudo-Apollodorus, She and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes.  Other ancient sources, however, gave the Corybantes different parents.

She was portrayed as a young woman with a joyous air, crowned with ivy, wearing boots and holding a comic mask in Her hand. Many of Her statues also hold a bugle and a trumpet (both used to support the actors’ voices in ancient comedy), or occasionally a shepherd’s staff or a wreath of ivy.” [1]

 

Thalia Took writes, “The name Thalia can be interpreted several ways–‘The Luxurious One’, ‘She Who Flourishes’, ‘She Who Brings Flowers’, ‘Luxurious Growth’ are some of them, all encompassing ideas of growth and blooming.

Thalia can refer to either one of the nine Muses or one of the three Graces. Both hang out on Mt. Helicon, and I have a sneaking, though unprovable, suspicion that they are one and the same.

See also my drawing of the Nine done for a newsletter cover.

See also the similarly named Etruscan Goddess Thalna.” [2]

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Thalia (Muse)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Eighthmuse.com, “About Thalia, the Mythica Eight Muse“.

Greekmyths-greekmythology.com, ‘The Nine Muses of Greek Mythology“.

Herwood, Mary Carol. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Nine Muses of Greek Mythology – a Series – #6 – Thalia“.

Theoi.com, “Thalia“.

Goddess Calliope

“The Nine Muses – Calliope – The muse of Epic Poetry” by Paul Vincenti

“Calliope’s themes are art, communication and history. Her symbols are stories, books, pens and pencils and quills. A member of the Thracian muses, Calliope is the Goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, whose symbol is that of a stylus and tablets. Greek stories claim that this Goddess is the mother of all poets and musicians.

Tellabration, a national storytelling festival in Connecticut, began in 1988 as a way of preserving and perpetuating oral traditions and the bardic art of telling ‘tall tales’ and good stories, which Calliope inspires. Today She joins our celebration to motivate creativity in all areas of our lives, especially written and spoken words.

In today’s hurry-up world we often forget how powerful a word or phrase can be. To honor this Goddess, slow down a little all day long, and really consider how you’re communicating your ideas.

As the old saying goes, be sure your brain is in gear before shifting your tongue to high. During those moments of contemplation, Calliope will flow through you and give you the words you need.

During a break, take out a beloved book and start reading it again (Walden is my choice). Calliope will help you find something new and wonderful in those pages to inspire you even further in any task you undertake today. And perhaps go out and buy yourself a special pen and pencil and bless them to use for important missives.”

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

“Calliope” by Joseph Fagnani

“In Greek mythology, Calliope (‘beautiful-voiced’) was the muse of epic poetry, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, and is believed to be Homer‘s muse, the inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad.

One account says Calliope was the lover of the war god Ares, and bore him several sons: MygdonEdonusBiston, and Odomantus (or Odomas), respectively the founders of Thracian tribes known as the MygdonesEdonesBistones, and Odomantes.

Calliope also had two famous sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or the king Oeagrus of Thrace. She taught Orpheus verses for singing. She was also the wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive. Calliope married Oeagrus close to PimpleiaOlympus.

Calliope is always seen with a writing tablet in Her hand. At times, She is depicted as carrying a roll of paper or a book or as wearing a gold crown.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Calliope“.

 

Suggested Links:

Herwood, Mary Carol. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Greek Goddesses – #6 – the Muse Calliope“.

Theoi.com, “Mousai“.

Paleothea.com, “The Muses“.

Theoi.com, “KALLIOPE“.

Wikipedia, “Muse“.

Goddess Izanami-No-Kami

“Izanami” by Jay Tomioka

“Izanami-no-kami’s themes are art, creativity and excellence. Her symbol is poetry.  In Japan, this creative Goddess is considered to have made all things, and She inspires similar inventiveness within us. Traditionally, She is honored through artistic displays, including dance, song, music, and poetry reading.

Every September, poets from across Japan come to the Imperial Palace to compose verses. Upon receiving a cup of sake floated down the river, each poet must create an impromptu verse. The winner becomes the nation’s poet laureate.  In keeping with this idea, concentrate on trying your own hand at a little sacred poetry today, perhaps even a haiku. Traditional haiku contains seven syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line and seven or five in the last; each line evokes an image or feeling in the reader’s mind. Here’s one example:

Izanami-no-kami
paints the universe
radiant – eternity

If poetry isn’t your forte, engage in another art form through which Izanami-no-kami’s imaginative spirit can shine. Ask for Her assistance and inspiration before you begin, and see what wonders Her nudge can arouse in you. Or, visit an art gallery, making notes of the things that really strike a harmonious chord in your spirit.”

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

So, I’m not exactly sure where Patricia Telesco’s description of Izanami comes from, because the descriptions I found paint Her as a creatrix and Queen of the Underworld, sharing some common elements with Persephone‘s story.

Patricia Monaghan writes: “Before this world, there was only a chaos of oil and slime, which slowly congealed to produce unnamed and innumerable divinities.  [The first gods according to Wikipedia were Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi who] finally, said the Japanese, [summoned] two distinct [divine beings]: Izanami, the inviting woman, and Her consort, Izanagi, the inviting man.  Standing on the rainbow, they stirred chaos with a spear [named Ame-no-nuboko] until a bit of matter formed.  Placing this island on the oily sea, they descended to create and populate the earth.

But they did not, at first, know how.  It was only after watching two water birds mating that they understood the necessary procreative act.  So they too mated, and Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan, to its waterfalls and mountains, and then to the animals and plants that live there.

Last to be conceived was fire, which virually exploed from Izanami’s body, leaving Her retching and bleeding.  From all Her excretions – from Her blood, Her vomit, Her urine – new creatures sprang up and established themselves on the new land.  But Izanami Herself died.

She traveled to the underworld – Yomi (‘gloomy land’).  Izanagi, however, desperate without Her, traveled to Yomi to ask Her to return.  She, however, had already established Herself in the world of death and refused [a few sources state that She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living].  But She suggested that he speak to the lord of death, asking for Her release.  Izanami warned him, though, not tot enter the palace.

“Izanami” by Matthew Meyer

Heedlessly curious, Izanagi approached the dark building; then he took a broken comb and broke off its last tooth.  Lighting it, he looked inside, where the body of Izanami was decomposing.  Her spirit attacked him, humiliated at having been seen that way; She drove him from the underworld and, as they parted, claimed his actions constituted a final divorce.  Some say that Izanami rules still as queen of death from Her home in gloomy Yomi” (Monaghan, p. 168 – 169).

The actions that Monaghan writes of were Izanagi pushing a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka (cavern that was the entrance of Yomi) thus creating a boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  This infuriated Izanami-no-Mikoto and She screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade that if he left Her She would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day to which he replied he would give life to 1,500.

To purify himself after coming into contact with the dead, Izanagi bathed in the sea and as he bathed, a number of deities came into being to include the sun Goddess Amaterasu, born of a tear from his left eye.

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Izanami-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Britannica.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

Goddesses.info, “IZANAMI“.

Meyer, Matthew. Matthewmeyer.net, “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami” and “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami(part 2)“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

University of Georgia: Department of Geology, “The Origin of Japan and her People“.

 

Goddess Cerridwen

“Cerridwen’s themes are fertility, creativity, harvest, inspiration, knowledge and luck. Her symbols are the cauldron, pigs and grain. The Welsh mother Goddess, Cerridwin also embodies all lunar attributes and the energy of the harvest, specifically grains. In Celtic mythology, Cerriwin owned a cauldron of inexhaustible elixir that endowed creativity and knowledge. At the halfway point of the year, Her inspiration comes along as motivation to ‘keep on keepin’ on.’ Her symbol is a pig, an animal that often represents good fortune and riches, including spiritual enrichment.

Since most folks don’t have a cauldron sitting around, get creative! Use a special cup, bowl or vase set in a special spot to represent Cerridwin’s creativity being welcome in your home. Fill the receptacle with any grain-based product (like breakfast cereal) as an offering. Whisper your desire to the grain each time you see it or walk by. At the end of the day, pour the entire bowl outside for the animals. They will bear your wishes back to the Goddess.

For meat eaters, today is definitely a time to consider having bacon for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch or pork roast for dinner to internalize Cerridwin’s positive aspects. Vegetarians? Fill up your piggy bank with odd change you find around your house and apply the funds to something productive to inspire Cerridwin’s blessing.”

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

Thalia Took tells us that “Cerridwen [pronounced (KARE-id-ooín or KARE-id-win)](‘White Sow’, or ‘White Crafty One’) is the Welsh grain and sow-Goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and Goddess of transformation. Her son Afagddu was so horribly ugly She set to making a brew of wisdom for him, to give him a quality that could perhaps overcome his ugliness. Every day for a year and a day She added herbs at the precise astrological times, but on the day it was ready the three magical drops fell instead on the servant boy, Gwion Bach, who was set to watch the fire. Instantly becoming a great magician, the boy fled from Her wrath, and as She pursued him they each changed shape–a hound following a rabbit, an otter chasing a salmon, a hawk flying after a sparrow–until finally the boy changed to a kernel of wheat, settling into a pile of grain on a threshing-floor. Cerridwen, becoming a black hen, found him out and swallowed him down.

Nine months later She gave birth to Taliesin, who would be the greatest of all bards.

“Shapeshifter” by Lisa Hunt

Called ‘the White Lady of Inspiration and Death’, Cerridwen’s ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing seasons. Her cauldron contains awen, meaning the divine spirit, or poetic or prophetic inspiration. Her link as the Mother of Poetry is seen in Her reborn son Taliesin, and in the Welsh word that makes up part of Her name, cerdd, which also means poetry.

Cerridwen signifies inspiration from an unexpected corner. Plans may go awry; projects may change. Do not be too quick to hold a project to its course–instead let it take its shape as it will.

Variant spellings: Ceridwen, Caridwen, Kyrridwen” [1]

“Cerridwen – the Magician” by Lisa Hunt

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Magic and fertility

Preferred Colors: Green

Associated Symbol: Cauldron

Associated Animal: Crow

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Best Moon Phase: New

Strongest Around: Imbolc

Suitable Offerings: Vervain, acorns

Associated Planet: Moon   [2]

 

 

This 13 minute video does a wonderful job discussing Her story and Her aspects.

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Cerridwen“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com,Goddess Cerridwyn“.

Daily Goddess, “Cerridwen: Death & Rebirth“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Ceridwen“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow.  Within the Sacred Mists, “Goddess of the Week: Cerridwen“.

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

MoonBird, Maeve.  Order of the White Moon, “Ceridwen“.

PaganPages.org, “Cerridwen“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Cerridwen: mighty and magical can-do woman!“.

The Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, The Tale of Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

Wikipedia, “Ceridwen“.

Goddess Luonnotar

"Light Goddess" by Mi9

“Luonnotar’s themes are creativity, tradition, fertility and beginnings.  Her symbols are eggs, the East Wind and poetry.  A Finno-Ugric creatrix, Luonnotar closes the month of February with an abundance of creative, fertile energy. Her name means ‘daughter of earth’, and according to legend She nurtured the cosmic eggs from which the sun, moon and stars developed. In the Kalevala, Luonnotar is metaphorically represented as the refreshing east wind – the wind of beginnings. She also created the first bard, Väinämöinen.

The Kalevala is the epic poem of more than twenty thousand verses that recounts the history and lore of the Finnish people. Luonnotar appears in the creation stanzas, empowering the entire ballad with Her energy. If there’s anything in your life that needs an inventive approach or ingenious nudge, stand in an easterly wind today and let Luonnotar’s power restore your personal muse. If the wind doesn’t cooperate, stand instead in the breeze created by a fan facing west!

To generate fertility or internalize a little extra resourcefulness as a coping mechanism in any area of your life, make eggs part of a meal today. Cook them sunny-side-up for a ‘sunny’ disposition, over easy to motivate transitions, or hard boiled to strengthen your backbone!”

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

“In the beginning, there was only the Goddess Luonnotar, whose name means ‘Daughter of Nature’. She was becoming bored of being alone in the void of emptiness, so She let herself fall into the primal ocean where She floated aimlessly. The breath of the wind gently caressed Her, and the waters of the sea made her fertile. As she floated, a duck swam by looking for a dry place to build her nest and lay her eggs. She came upon the Goddess floating in the ocean, and perceived her knee to be a small island. The duck climbed up onto Luonnotar’s knee and laid 3 of her eggs, on which she sat for 3 days. On the end of the third day, Luonnotar felt a horrible burning pain on her knee, and jerked it up violently, tossing the 3 eggs and the duck back into the sea. The eggs did not break, but rather turned into beautiful things. The lower half of the eggs became the bountiful Earth, bringing plants and animals into existence. The upper part of the eggs became the sky, the speckled parts becoming the starry heavens, the dark patches becoming the clouds in the sky and the yolks joining to become the sun. Luonnotar completed the work of creation by causing springs of water to well up, nourishing the Earth. She also dug trenches, flattened out the ground and planted the first seeds of life so that the planet could flourish.” [1]

"Luonnotar" by Lisa Hunt

In another version, Luonnotar “floated for centuries on the primordial ocean, until one day an eagle landed on Her knee and built a nest. Luonnotar sat and watched the bird eagerly, happy for something to finally be happening after centuries of loneliness and boredom. She became too excited, however, and upset the nest, and the eggs fell and broke. The broken shells of the eggs formed the heavens and the earth. The yolks became the sun, the whites the moon, and scattered fragments of the eggs transformed into the stars. Afterward, Luonnotar fashioned the continents from the eggs that made up the land, and divided the seas.” [2]

“A Goddess similar to Azer-Ava, Luonnotar was occasionally seen as a triple Goddess.  She had three sons, all culture-heros (VäinämöinenLemminkäinen and Ilmarinen representing poetry, magic and smithcraft respectively).  She was sometimes dual-sexed, with Her alternative name, Ilmater, sometimes described Her masculine name.  When part of the Goddess-trinity, Luonnotar is connected with Udutar and Terhetär, sisters who live together sifting mist through a sieve to cause disease.  In some traditions, Luonnotar gave birth to the world’s first woman, Kave, who in turn gave birth to humanity; yet at times, Kave is used as a title of Luonnatar.  Her connection to the dual Goddesses Suvetar, daughter of summer and Etelätär, daughter of the wind, is unclear, although both are invoked with titles resembling those of Luonnotar.” (Patricia Monaghan, Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, p. 364).

Sources:

The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Vol. 42.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. “Luonnotar“. Greenwood, 2009.

Blessed Shrine of Isis. Finnish Mythology

Goddess Gunnlod

"Gunnlöð" by Anders Zorn

“Gunnlod – Her themes are creativity, wisdom, health, protection and fertility.
Her symbols are mead, poetry, the cauldron or cup and apples.  This Teutonic Goddess guards the mead (a honey wine often made with apples) of sagacity and the muse – a refreshment most welcome at the outset of a new year. In art, Gunnlod is depicted as a giantess; according to stories about her, she stood vigilantly by the magic cauldron of Odherie until Odin wooed her and stole much of the elixir away.

For inspiration and insight, pick out a cup that’s special to you and fill it with apple tea and a teaspoon of honey (a mock mead). Stir it clockwise, saying:
‘Gunnlod, come to me
put ingenuity in this tea.’

Drink the tea to internalize the magic. If possible, sip it quietly while enjoying a good book of heartening poetry.

Alternatively, sip some mead, quaff some apple juice or eat an apple today for health and give a little of the leftover liquid to nearby trees. In Anglo-Saxon tradition, Wassail Day marked a time to enjoy wassail, a spiced apple cider or mead with herbs. Farmers shared this beverage with the apple groves to keep them fertile. Wassail literally means ‘be well’ or ‘be whole’. Drink of the wassail cup to ensure yourself of Gunnlod’s gifts of well-being, creativity and happiness all year.”

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

Odin and Gunnlöd

In Norse mythology, Gunnlöð (Old Norse “war-foam”) is a giantess. Her name could be written as Gunnlod.

She is daughter of the giant Suttungr, who was set guard by her father in the cavern where he housed the mead of poetry Her grandfather was Giling. Gunnlöð was seduced by Odin, who according to the Prose Edda bargained three nights of sex for three sips of the mead and then tricked her, stealing all of it. However, the poem Hávamál of the Poetic Edda tells the story a bit differently:

Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat,
Poured me precious mead:
Ill reward she had from me for that,
For her proud and passionate heart,
Her brooding foreboding spirit.
What I won from her I have well used:
I have waxed in wisdom since I came back,
bringing to Asgard Odhroerir,
the sacred draught.
Hardly would I have come home alive
From the garth of the grim troll,
Had Gunnlod not helped me, the good woman,
Who wrapped her arms around me.

 It would seem, from this version of the tale, that Gunnlöð helped Odin willingly, and that he thought well of her in return. [1]

Click here to read Gunnlod’s tale from Elizabeth Vongisith.

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