Tag Archive: promises


Goddess Iris

"Iris" by Howard David Johnson

“Iris” by Howard David Johnson

“Iris’ themes are winter, peace, protection, air, meditation, promises and beginnings. Her symbols are rainbows and water. This Greek messenger to the gods traverses between the Earth and heavens, appearing as a winged maiden on a shining, hopeful rainbow. In this form She represents the calm after the storm – the end of the year’s activities and the advent of a new beginning. Traditional offerings to Her include figs, cakes, wheat and honey. In some stories it was Iris’ job to gather water from the Underworld for use in taking sacred oaths.

The phrase Halcyon Days comes from the ancient belief that fourteen days of calm weather were to be expected around the winter solstice—usually 21st or 22nd of December in the Northern Hemisphere, as that was when the halcyon calmed the surface of the sea in order to brood her eggs on a floating nest. The Halcyon days are generally regarded as beginning on the 14th or 15th of December. Thus, the week before and after the winter solstice are said to bear both the halcyon’s and Iris’s calm ambiance and hopeful demeanor.

To inspire an improved outlook, find a rainbow sun catcher and put it in a window today so that Iris’s radiance can fill your home. Get an extra one for your car (or maybe a rainbow-colored air freshener), so you can keep that energy with you throughout the day.

For another aromatic approach, open a window briefly today and let Iris fly in on wings of change and refreshment. Burn some violet or lavender incense as you do. These two aromatics accentuate this Goddess’s vibrations.”

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

"Iris" by Josephine Wall

“Iris” by Josephine Wall

Patricia Monaghan wrote that “the rainbow Goddess Iris was Hera‘s messenger, a winged maiden who – when not delivering messages for Her mistress – slept under Hera’s bed.  It was Iris who, when Her mistress slept with Zeus, prepared their bed with sanctified hands.  She was one of the few Olympians who could journey at will to the underworld, where She fetched water for solemn oaths; for this reason, She was sometimes called a form of the witch Goddess Hecate” (p. 164).

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Iris”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Iris The Greek Goddess of the Rainbow“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Iris” (p. 512 – 513).

Lady Zephyr. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Iris“.

Mythagora.com, “Iris“.

Theoi.com, “Iris“.

Hildreth, S.Y. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Iris“.

Wikipedia, “Iris (mythology)“.

Goddess Tellus Mater

“Mother Earth” by *MD-Arts

“Tellus Mater’s themes are earth, ecology, promises, abundance, prosperity and fertility. Her symbols are the globe, soil and grain.  The Roman Earth Mother celebrates today’s festivities, the Earth’s Birthday, by sharing of Her abundance, being a Goddess of vegetation, reproduction, and increase. In regional stories, Tellus Mater gave birth to humans, which is why bodies are returned to the soil at death – so they can be reborn from Her womb anew.

According to James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Anglican archbishop, God created the earth on October 26, 4004 B.C.E. While this date is uncertain at best, it gives us a good excuse to honor Tellus Mater and hold a birthday party on Her behalf.

Make a special cake for the Earth Mother out of natural fertilizers. Take this to a natural setting (don’t forget the candle). Light the candle and wish for the earth’s renewal, then blow it out, remove the candle, and bury your gift to Tellus Mater in the soil, where it can begin manifesting your good wishes!

While you’re outside, pick up a pinch of soil, a stone, or any natural object that strikes your eye and keep it close. This is a part of Tellus Mater, and it will maintain her power for abundance wherever you go today. It will also help you stay close to the Earth Mother and honor the living spirit of earth in word and deed.”

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

“In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus or Terra Mater (‘Mother Earth’) is a Goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial eraTellus was the name of the original earth Goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier.  The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities.  She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.

Tellus/Pax panel of Ara Pacis

The attributes of Tellus were the cornucopia, or bunches of flowers or fruit. She was typically depicted reclining.  Her male complement was a sky god such as Caelus (Uranus) or a form of Jupiter. A male counterpart Tellumo or Tellurus is mentioned, though rarely. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia (Gē Mâtēr), and among the Etruscans She was Cel. Michael Lipka has argued that the Terra Mater who appears during the reign of Augustus is a direct transferral of the Greek Ge Mater into Roman religious practice, while Tellus, whose temple was within Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), represents the original earth Goddess cultivated by the state priests.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us: “The Roman ‘Mother Earth’ was honored each April 15 [Fordicidia], when a pregnant cow was sacrificed and its unborn calf burned.  The Romans tried to offer appropriate tribute to each divinity and they felt that the earth – pregnant in spring with sprouting plants – would especially appreciate such a sacrifice.

“Ceres” by ~rebenke

Tellus’ constant companion was Ceres, the grain Goddess, and the two of them interested themselves not only in vegetative reproduction but in humanity’s increase as well.  Therefore, they were invoked at every marriage that they might bless it with offspring.  Tellus too was considered the most worthy Goddess on whom to swear oaths, for the earth, witnessing all doings on Her surface, would see that an oath taker kept his promise.  Finally, Tellus, to whom the bodies of the dead were returned as to a womb, was the motherly death Goddess, for unlike Her Greek counterpart Gaia, Tellus was associated with the underworld as well as the earth’s surface” (p. 293 – 294).

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

On a side note, “the identity of the Goddess Nerthus, called Terra Mater, Mother Earth by Tacitus in Germania, has been a topic of much scholarly debate.”  Click here to read a fantastic article by William Reaves entitled “Nerthus: Toward an Identification”.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Reaves, William P. “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wikipedia, “Terra (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Berger, Pamela C. Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint.

GardenStone. The Nerthus Claim.

Lipka, Michael. Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach.

Novaroma.org, “Fordicidia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Cels“.

Wikipedia, “Fordicidia“.

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 Antheia

“The Oracle” by Howard David Johnson

“Antheia’s themes are promises, friendship, trust, honor, community, love and relationships. Her symbols are gold colored items, honey and myrrh.  Since 800 B.C.E. Antheia has been known as the Greek Goddess of marriage, companionship and good council. These attributes manifested themselves in a triple Goddess figure who flowered, sought a mate and reached perfection. Today we ask Her to bless our rites by flowering within our souls so we too can obtain spiritual perfection.

In ancient Greece, Arretophoria – the festival of trust and friendship, was held sometime between June and July. Each year, two maidens were given a special honey-laden diet and clothed in golden robes to take on a special trust. They delivered a package untouched to a secret place in a local temple, then spent the year in community service, never peeking inside the box. This sounds like a fun activity for couples or friends. Each person picks out a trust gift for the other and gives it to them to put in a special place. The entire time the gift remains there unopened, Antheia will energize it and bless the people in that relationship, so don’t get tempted to peek. Believe me, when I say it’s worth the wait. At the end of the year, don something gold, burn myrrh to create a sacred space in which Antheia dwells and open the gifts, explaining the significance of the items. I guarantee it’s a present you’ll never forget.”

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

“Charites: Spring” by iizzard

“Antheia was one of the Charites, or Graces, of Greek mythology and ‘was the Goddess of flowers and flowery wreaths worn at festivals and parties.’ Her name is derived from the Ancient Greek word anthos, meaning flower, and She was depicted on vases as an attendant of Aphrodite with other Charites. She was known to the Romans as Anthea. Her center of worship was on the island of Crete.

Antheia is also the Greek name of Ancient Sozopolis in modern Bulgaria, and another Antheia was a village which was later adopted into Patras around 1000 BC.

“: : A n t h e i a : :” by Lil-kokoro

Antheia was the Goddess of Vegetation, Lowlands, Marshlands, Gardens, Blossoms, the Budding Earth, and Human Love.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Antheia“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Her Cyclopedia, “The Goddess Antheia“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Kharites“.

Goddess Inna

“Inna’s themes are harvest, offering, protection, promises and justice. Her symbols are yams and harvested foods.  In Nigeria, Inna ensures an abundant yam harvest for the Yam Festival, as well as good crops for farmers who honor Her. During the summer months, She appears as a protectress who oversees our lands, homes, promises and all matters of justice. Oaths taken in Inna’s name are totally binding.

Around the end of June, nearly every group in Nigeria celebrates the New Yam Festival with offerings to the Goddess and a feast of yams. This is a sacred crop here and eating yams today will purify your body and spirit. If you can’t find yams, try sweet potatoes instead, sprinkling them with a little brown sugar to ensure sweet rewards for your diligent efforts. To get the wheels of justice turning a little faster, forego the sugar and eat the potatoes steaming hot (heat represents motivating energy).

People traditionally practice yam divination today. You can try this yourself using any potato. Cut it in half the long way, then toss the two sides in the air while praying for Inna’s insight. If one lands face up and the other face down, it is a good sign for your family or the entire community in which you live. The coming year will be filled with Inna’s abundance and equity. To increase the meaning in this system, draw two personally significant symbolsin the potao and see if either comes up!”

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

 

“Igbo Woman” by Arteyez

I could find no information on Inna other than that She is an African Goddess of Justice. [1]  I found one Goddess by the name of Aha-Njoku (also called the “Lady of Yams), worshipped by the Igbo people of Nigeria, who oversees the growth and harvesting of yams and the women who care for them. [2]  Perhaps a minor local deity or spirit?  Or Perhaps somehow related to Goddess Ala?

 

 

Sources:

Godfinder.org, “Inna“.

Wikipedia, “Ahia Njoku“.

Goddess Maat

“Maat” by Lisa Iris

“Maat’s themes are freedom, new beginnings, justice, morality, organization, promises and Universal Law. Her symbols are ostrich feathers (or any feathers).  In Egypt, Maat is the ultimate representation of fairness, justice and truth. As the spirit of orderliness and legislation, she assists us by overseeing any legal matters, hearings, promises and oaths to ensure harmony and honesty. In some Egyptian stories, a person’s soul was weighed against Maat’s feather to gain entrance to paradise.

On June 19, 1865, the slaves in Texas were finally told about the Emancipation Proclamation signed three years previously. While freedom was slow in coming, it finally arrived, likely in part thanks to Maat’s encouragement.
For all of Maat’s spells it’s best to have a feather to use as a component and focal point. Change the color of our feather to suit the goal. Pick blue for true seeing (or to encourage honesty with yourself), white for pure promises, black and white for legal equity and pale yellow to inspire a new beginning filled with Maat’s keen insight. Bless the feather using the following incantation (fill in the blank with your goal), then release it to the wind so the magic begins to move!

‘Maat, on this feather light bring to me renewed insight. To my life ______________impart; make a home within my heart.'”

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

“Although She was often personified, Ma´at is perhaps best understood as an idea, rather than a Goddess, but She was central to conceptions of the universe, balance and divine order in Ancient Egypt. The name Ma´at is generally translated as ‘that which is straight’ or ‘truth’ but also implies ‘order’, ‘balance’ and ‘justice’. Thus Ma´at personified perfect order and harmony. She came into being when Ra rose from the waters of Nun (Chaos) and so She was often described as a daughter of Ra. She was sometimes considered to be the wife of Thoth because he was a god of wisdom.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the universe was ordered and rational. The rising and setting of the sun, the flooding of the Nile and the predicable course of the stars in the sky reassured them that there was permanence to existence which was central to the nature of all things. However, the forces of chaos were always present and threatened the balance of Ma´at. Each person was duty bound to preserve and defend Ma´at and the Pharaoh was perceived as the guardian of Ma´at. Without Ma´at, Nun would reclaim the universe and chaos would reign supreme.

The Egyptians also had a strong sense of morality and justice. They felt that the good should prosper, and that the guilty would be punished. They praised those who defended the weak and the poor and placed a high value on loyalty especially to ones family. However, they also understood that it was not possible to be perfect, just balanced. Ma´at transcended specific ethical rules (which differed according to different times and different peoples) and instead focused on the natural order of things. That being said, certain actions were clearly against Ma´at as they increased the effect of chaos and had a purely negative effect on the world.

“Maat” by Hrana Janto

Each Egyptian’s soul was judged in the Hall of Ma´at (depicted in the book of the dead and book five of the book of gates) when they died. Their heart (conscience) was weighed against the feather of Ma´at (an ostrich feather) on scales which represented balance and justice. If their heart was heavier than the feather because they had failed to live a balanced life by the principles of Ma´at their heart was either thrown into a lake of fire or devoured by a fearsome deity known as Ammit. If, however, the heart balanced with the feather of Ma´at they would pass the test and gain eternal life. At certain times it was Osiris who sat as judge in the ritual, and many other deities were involved in the ceremony, but the scales always represented Ma´at.

The Ancient Egyptians also had a well developed legal system to ensure that Ma´at was preserved in daily life. It is thought that the Priests of Ma´at were involved in the justice system as well as tending to the needs of the goddess.

All rulers respected Ma´at, but Akhenaten in particular emphasised his adherence to Ma´at, despite (or perhaps because of) his rather unconventional approach to the gods. Hatshepsut also emphasised her reverence for Ma´at by taking the throne name Ma´atkare (justice is the soul of re), again possibly because as a female ruler she needed to show that her position was in line Ma´at. She also built a small temple to Ma´at within the precinct of Montu in Karnak.

Ma’at kneels before Hathor, and spreads out Her wings to protect the cartouche containing the name of Queen Nefertari.

Ma´at was depicted as a woman wearing a crown with a single ostrich feather protruding from it. She is occassionally depicted as a winged Goddess. Her totem was a stone platform representing the stable foundation on which order was built and the primeaval mound which first emerged from the waters of Nun (chaos).” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “sometimes divided into two identical Goddesses, Maat had no temples but was worshiped in the rhythm of truth, wherever it was perceived” (Monaghan, p. 201).

Also seen as ma’at, māt, mayet.

Sources:

Hill, J. Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Maat“.

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

Suggested Links:

EgyptWorld, “The Goddess Maát“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Maat the Egyptian Goddess“.

Osirisnet.net, “Ma’at“.

Seawright, Caroline. Tour Egypt, “Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order…

Wikipedia, “Maat“.

Goddess Bai Mundan

“Warm Winds II” by Jia Lu

“Bai Mundan’s themes are love, devotion, romance, femininity and promises. Her symbols are any items associated with love and romance; and the peony. This Goddess is beautiful and sensual, but also filled with only the most honorable intentions. It is Her sacred task to tempt the ascetics in the keeping of their vows (turning the tables somehow on the theme of this holiday). Her name means ‘white peony’, a flower that in Chinese tradition affords this Goddess’s protection.

The story of Ch’un Hyang is one of the best known ancient novels of Korea. The heroine, Ch’un Hyang, secretly married a nobleman’s son. Even when beaten by a lusty governor, however, she remained devoted and refused all advances, as if guided by Bai Mundan’s fidelity and esteem. For modern-minded people, this basically means ‘loving the one you’re with’ and really appreciating their companionship today. If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten your partner a gift for no reason, or spent quality time alone with them, by all means, do so! Bai Mundan’s energy is wherever two hearts emit true, faithful emotions.

If you don’t have a partner, try this Bai Mundan love spell. You’ll need a white peony (or any other white-petaled flower, like a daisy). Slowly tear off all the petals, saying,

‘Bai Mundan, for love I ask; help me in this sacred task.’

Let the earth and air accept the petals but one, which you should carry with you as a love charm. Release it in thankfulness when your wish is answered.”

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

It took me quite awhile to pan out anything Goddess related for Bai Mundan.  At first, I found that Bai Mudan or Bai Mu Dan, is known as ‘White Peony’ and is a type of White tea made from plucks, each with one leaf shoot and two immediate young leaves. [1]

I also found that Bai Mu Dan was a character in a Singapore TV series entitled “Legend of the Eight Immortals“; though Bai Mu Dan wasn’t a part of the original Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology (or so I originally thought) as Immortal Woman He, or He Xiangu, was the only female deity among them…

I found some clips on Youtube of a Chinese opera called “Lu Dongbin and Bai Mudan“.  Lu Dongbin, or Lǚ Dòngbīn, is a historical figure and also a deity/Immortal revered by many in the Chinese culture sphere, especially by Daoists/Taoists. Lǚ Dòngbīn is one of the most widely known of the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and considered by some to be the de facto leader. [2]

Lǚ Dòngbīn’s apparent well known overindulgence and taste for women led me to a story in which Lǚ Dòngbīn once incurred the wrath of a heavenly queen for wooing the famous Luoyang courtesan White Peony. [3]  On the Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, it sites a few more references to White Peony: from the book “The Taoist Body” by Kristofer Schipper, it describes Lü Tung-Pin’s (Lǚ Dòngbīn) seduction of White Peony, or Ho Hsien-ku (the Immortal Maiden Ho) as the future Immortal would be called.  After making love with Lü Tung-Pin, She received his “powerful drug of immortality [and] in this way it happened that the young woman was victorious in the battle of love and, at the same time, fulfilled Lü’s desire by allowing him to recruit the Immortal he needed to complete his band” to bring to the Queen Mother of the West‘s forthcoming banquet of peaches. [4]  So, I do conclude that Bai Mundan (White Peony) is indeed Ho Hsien-ku.

A reference to White Peony is also made in the Ming-dynasty novel Pure Yang Lu: of the Tang Dynasty Achieves the Dao, the 5th chapter “Pure Yang Lu: Sleeps with White Peony”, based on the play Lu: Dongbin’s love affair with White Peony, “Yellow Dragon is the instigator.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, “White Peony“.

Schipper, Kristofer Marinus. The Taoist Body, “The Immortals” (p. 163).

Taiwan-panorama.com, “It’s a God’s Life“.

Wikipedia, “Bai Mudan Tea“.

Wikipedia, “Lü Dongbin“.

 

Suggested Links:

Idema, Wilt L. The Butterfly Lovers: The Legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, Four Versions With Related Texts.

Goddess Mati-Syra-Zemlya

“Sadness of Gaia” by Josephine Wall

“Mati-Syra-Zemlya’s themes are community, divination, promises, justice, and morality.  Her symbols are oil and soil.  This Goddess’s name means ‘moist mother’, alluding to Her fertile aspects. She attends today’s festivities to hear oaths and witness legal decisions that may affect the rest of the year. Any promise or sentence made with one hand on the earth, or in Her name, is completely binding. In some areas Her motherly nature is expressed through healing qualities, while in others She has prophetic ability. An appropriate gift for Her is hemp oil.

Landsgemeinde is a civic-oriented holiday in Switzerland during which people gather to conduct regional business, including voting, budgets, and tax proposals. It’s a very old custom adorned with lavish clothing, ceremonial swords, and, I suspect, and eavesdropping Goddess (just to keep everyone honest).

If you need to tie up some pending business, work on your personal budget, or balance the check book, honor Mati-Syra-Zemlya and draw Her ethical energies to you by getting busy!

Alternatively, if you’ve been thinking about getting more involved with your local or magical community, make a commitment to Mati-Syra-Zemlya to start making efforts in that direction. Simply place a hand on the ground and speak your pledge to Her ears. The Goddess will respond by giving you the time and energy needed to fulfil that commitment.”

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

“Mother Earth” by Paul Morley

“Mati Syra Zemla is the chthonic mother Goddess of the ancient Slavs; a vague personification of the earth (literally, “Damp Mother Earth”). Perhaps the Slavs’ oldest pagan deity, Her identity later blended into that of Mokos.” [1] “According to Roman Jakobson and Marija Gimbutas, the worship of such a primal earth Goddess was widespread among the Slavs and their neighbors; this is attested to by the fact that the earth deities of a number of Baltic, Phrygian, and Finno-Ugric peoples exhibit similar characteristics and seem to derive from the Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita (‘Humid Mother of the Earth’).” [2]

Mati Syra Zemla, or Matka, for short, is the Slavic Goddess of the Earth.  Her name translates to Moist Mother Earth, and describes Her as a forever fertile, life-giving force. She is not seen in human form but as the Earth itself; although it is believed that at certain times She will take human form. When She does, She is usually portrayed with black skin which associates Her with the blackness of the fertile soil.  Matka is believed to be the most ancient and powerful of all of the Eastern European deities. In fact, Matka is so powerful that She survived into the 20th century despite all attempts of the Church to do away with Her.

She is the mother of all – the people, the animals, and all of the plants of the Earth.  The Slavic people had a strong connection to their Mother Goddess and an altogether different relationship they had with all the other gods.  They looked upon Her with a mixture of love and admiration, and She was the only deity they addressed personally.  When the peasant people spoke of Her, their eyes would fill with love.  They called on Her to witness property disputes and swore by Her name.  Oaths and marriages were confirmed by swallowing a clump of earth or holding some on their head while they swear and oath. Her aid was invoked during epidemics and while in childbirth.

Matka is also viewed as a champion of justice and a wise prophetess who allows Her petitioners to come to Her without the aide of a priestess or a shaman. It was said that She held all the knowledge of the world and when asked, would release the signs that could be interpreted.

When the Slavs converted to Christianity, the Church attempted to transform Her characteristics the Virgin Mary, but this was not wholly successful, for during trying times, the people would revert to the worship of Matka.  Her Holy Days are May 1st, June 24th and August 1st.  A ritual to Her took place on the fields in August.  At this time, a libation of hemp oil was poured out onto the four directions accompanied by a prayer for protection against the destructive forces of nature.” [3]

“Melaina” by Thalia Took

Based on Mati Syra Zemla’s description as a chthonic Goddess who appears black skinned when She takes “human form”, I could not help but draw a parallel between Her and Melaine, “The Black One” who is the under-earth or chthonic aspect of the Greek Great Goddess, said to bring nightmares.  Different Goddesses are called by Her name (Aphrodite Melaenis represents a dark aspect of the Goddess of love as Underworld deity, though some say She is called “Black” because love-making often takes place at night).  Melaina is also the epithet of Demeter Herself as an Underworld Goddess, and in this respect is called Chthonia. [4]

I think its important to note that the term “chthonic” is not only used to describe earth deities, but Underworld deities as well.  As a chthonic earth Goddess, it would be easy then to see Her as a fertile life giving and nurturing mother – yet on the other hand, Her blackness would be associated with the womb, caves and descending to the Underworld deep within the earth in which we are forced to face fears, past trauma, nightmares and death (metaphorical and physical).

It is only within the caverns deep within Her dark womb that we are forced to face and learn to overcome and heal from that which has hurt us, only to re-emerge or be born anew into the world – changed, stronger and wiser.

Ancient Mother, no matter by which name You are called, I hear you calling…

Sources:

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

McCannon, John. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Mokos“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mati Syra Zemlya“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Melaina“.

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Mati-Syra-Zemlya {Goddess of the Week}“. * (HIGHLY SUGGEST visiting this site – packed full of detailed information and associations!)

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “Mokosh’ – The Russian Goddess Lakshmi“.

Kakasevski, Vesna (translated by Snježana Todorović). Starisloveni.com, “Mokoš“.

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