Tag Archive: protection


Goddess Boldogasszony

“Boldogasszony’s themes are winter, love, romance, relationships, devotion, purity and fertility. Her symbol is milk.  This Hungarian mother and guardian Goddess watches diligently over Her children, wanting only the best for them, as any mother would. Her sacred beverage, milk, is also considered a suitable libation when asking for this Goddess’s blessing.

Hungarian wedding festivals often take place in winter, after the harvest season and meat preparation. The traditions here are laden with magic we can ‘borrow’ for building strong personal relationships, asking for Boldogasszony’s blessing by having a cup of milk present at any activity. For example, cutting a rope that is attached to your home symbolizes your release from the old ways and freedom to enter into commitment. Stepping across birch wood purifies intentions and ensures a fertile, happy union.

Lighting a torch (or candle) represent vigilant devotion in a relationship. Do this at the time of your engagement, as you recite vows, or as you both enter a new residence for the first time so that commitment will stay with you. Wherever you are, eating off each other’s plates and drinking from one cup deepens harmony (include a milk product like cheese). Finally, dancing with kitchen utensils ensures that the home fire will always stay warm.”

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

According to the Wikipedia, Boldogasszony was a mother Goddess.  “Her name means ‘Blessed Lady’ or ‘Bountiful Queen’. She was the Goddess of motherhood and helped women in childbirth. After Hungarians were Christianized with the help of St. Gerard of Csanad, Her figure fell out of favor for that of the Virgin Mary. She is also considered the ‘Queen (Regina) of Hungary'”. [1]

I pretty much found the same information on Britannica.com: “Boldogasszony, also called Nagyboldogasszony,  the Hungarian equivalent of the Beata Virgo (Latin: ‘Blessed Virgin’), referring to the Virgin Mary as the patron saint of the Hungarian nation. Originally, Boldogasszony was probably one of the main deities of pagan Magyar mythology. The name was transferred to the Virgin Mary on the advice of St. Gerard of Csanad (Gerard Sagredo), one of the chief Christian evangelizers of Hungary.

Stephen I, the first Hungarian king (997–1038), offered his country to Mary as the patroness of the Hungarians (Magyarok Nagyasszonya) at the end of his reign. As a consequence, the country was often referred to as Mary’s realm, the Regnum Marianum. On the occasion of the country’s millennial celebrations (1896), Pope Leo XIII sent an encyclical letter to the Hungarian nation, granting permission for Hungarian Catholics to celebrate the feast of the patroness Boldogasszony.” [2]

According to the Encyclopedia of Spirits: “Boldog Asszony literally means ‘Happy Woman.’  Asszony, translated as ‘woman,’ possesses an extra nuance: Asszony indicates a relationship so close and intimate that, though not a physical blood relative, it is impossible to conceive of having a wedding or funeral without Her.  That’s the gist of Boldog Asszony, presiding spirit of life cycles, especially births and weddings.

Boldog Asszony grants fertility, oversees pregnancy, and supervises birth.  It is traditional to honor Her immediately after birth.  An offering table is laid to Her, and She must be formally thanked.  She is, as Her title indicates, a generally benevolent, patient Goddess not given to the temper tantrums displayed by some Birth Fairies.  If a family fails to honor Her, it may take years for Her displeasure to manifest: fail to thank Boldog Asszony at the birth of a baby, and that baby may never have a happy marriage.  (The opportunity exists in the years in between to apologize and make amends.)

Art by Réka Somogyi

Boldog Asszony is a title, not a name, and it is now generally applied to the Virgin Mary, but the original Boldog Asszony was a Goddess with dominion over joy, fertility, and abundance, among the primary deities of the Hungarian pantheon.  Saint Gellert, who converted the Hungarians to Christianity in the eleventh century, wrote that the Church was associating Boldog Asszony with Mary and calling Her the Queen of Hungary.

Boldog Asszony has seven daughters who bring good fortune.  To differentiate Her from Her daughters, She is called Nagy Boldogaszony (‘Big or Great Boldog Asszony’) while Her daughters are Kis Boldogaszony (‘Little Boldog Asszony’).  She is intensely identified with Mary.  Alternatively, She is identified with Saint Anne, while Little Boldog Asszony, reduced to one daughter, is identified with Anne’s daughter, Mary.

Day: Tuesday. (Do not do laundry or anything that pollutes or dirties water on Her day).

Sacred day: She is now associated with Christmas and with various harvest festivals throughout the year.

Offerings: Water, wine, pastries, dried and fresh fruit, Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy).

See also: Atete; Black Madonna; Fairy, Birth; Szépasszony” (Illes, p. 292 – 293).

 

 

In this video, Zsuzsanna Budapest tells her story with her experience with Boldogasszy during WWII and the Hungarian Revolution.

 

 

 

Sources:

Britannica.com, “Boldogasszony“.

Illes, Juika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Boldog Asszony“.

Wikipedia, “Magyar mythology“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Content.yudu.com (Goddess Magazine – August 2009), “Boldogasszony – Glad Woman” (p. 14- 17).

Goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com, “Goddess Boldogasszony“.

Hamori, Fred. Users.cwnet.com, “The Sumerian and Hungarian Fertility Goddess“.

Holland, Ellen. Holland’s Grimoire of Magickal Correspondences: A Ritual Handbook.

Infinite8design.com, “Goddesses of Hungary“.

Zbudapest.com, The Goddess/Wiccan Movement: Interview with Z Budapest“.

Goddess Aine

queen-fairies-animation-girl

“Aine’s themes are protection, healing, The Spark of Life, divination, luck, fertility, earth and the moon. Her symbols are moon (lunar items), silver & white items and meadowsweet.  This Celtic Goddess of the moon shines on today’s celebration, Her name meaning ‘bright’. Aine has strong connections with the land. Her blessing ensures fertile fields. She also gives luck to mortals and keeps us healthy.

Dating back to the 1400s, Zibelemärit, an onion festival, takes place in Bern, Switzerland. It includes several parades with intricate mechanical figurines and a huge harvest festival with – you guessed it – tons of onions!   Magically speaking, onions are closely related to Aine because of their lunar appearance. According to metaphysical traditions, carrying or growing onions grants safety and banishes negativity.

A freshly cut onion rubbed on sores, bug bites, or scratches restores Aine’s healthy energy by gathering the problem and taking it away. Bury or burn this slice to dispel the problem altogether.

One great (and tasty) way to invoke Aine, improve well-being, and improve your lunar attributes is by making and eating onion soup (or any other onion dish) today. Use red, Spanish, white, and cooking onions along with chives. By heating and blending them, you mix the magic to perfection. Stir clockwise, whispering Aine’s name into to soup so she abides in each vitality-laden sip.”

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

Art by Briar

Art by Briar

Aine (pronounced AW-neh) was one of the very ancient and powerful Goddesses of sovereignty in Ireland. She was a fertility Goddess in that She had control and command over crops and animals and encouraged human love.  ”One of the great Goddesses of ancient Ireland survives in modern times as the queen of the fairies of south Munster, the southwest corner of the island, who is said to haunt Knockainy Hill there.  Originally Aine was a sun Goddess who assumed the form of Lair Derg (‘red mare’), the horse that none could outrun.  Her special feast was Midsummer Night, when farmers carried torches of straw in procession around Knockainy and waved them over the cattle and the fields for protection and fruitfulness.

Two stories are told of Aine.  In one, She was the daughter of an early Irish god [Egobail, foster son of Manannan mac Lir; while some versions say She was daughter or wife of Manannan mac Lir] and was infatuated with the semidivine hero Fionn.  She had taken a geasa (magical vow) that She would never sleep with a man with gray hair, but Fionn was young with no silver streaking his bushy hair.  One of Aine’s sisters, Miluchrach, was also interested in Fionn: She enchanted a lake and tempted Fionn to take a dip.  When the hero emerged from the magic waters, his body was still youthful and strong, but his hair was stained gray.  True to Her geasa, Aine thereafter scorned the hero” (Monaghan, p. 37).

“In early tales She is associated with the semi-mythological King of MunsterAilill Aulom, who is said to have ‘ravished’ Her, an affair ending in Áine biting off his ear – hence ‘Aulom’, meaning ‘one-eared’. By maiming him this way, Áine rendered him unfit to be King, thereby taking away the power of sovereignty.” [1]  ”After the rape Áine swore vengeance on Ailill and eventually contrived his death. This story is about what happens when a ruler decides to rape the Land rather than enter into a marriage with Her. Áine knows the energies of a righteous vengeance quite intimately. She said:
I’ll have you been to me, to have done me violence and to have killed my father. To requite this I too will do you violence and by the time we are done I will leave you with no means of reprisal. *
The descendants of Aulom, the Eóganachta, claim Áine as an ancestor.” [2]

“Lady of the lake” by *oloferla

“Lady of the lake” by *oloferla

“In another story, Gerald, the human Earl of Desmond, captured Aine while She was combing Her hair on the banks of Her sacred lake (thought to be based on the story of Ailill Aulom).  Aine bore the first Earl Fitzgerald to the man, but made Gerald promise never to express surprise at the powers his son might develop.  All went well for many years until one day when Gerald saw his son jump into and out of a bottle.  He could not contain an exclamation of shock and the boy disappeared, flying away in the shape of a wild goose.  Disappointed in Her human mate, Aine disappeared into Knockainy, where She is said to still live in a splendid castle” (Monaghan, p. 37).  ”Thus the FitzGeralds also claim an association with Áine; despite the French-Norman origins of the clan, the FitzGeralds would become known for being ‘More Irish than the Irish themselves.’” [2]

“She is credited for giving meadowseet its delicate scent.   Some also claim that She was a minor moon Goddess, or that Her identity may have later become merged with the Goddess Anu.” [3]  She is also associated with the Morrigan (probably by means of Anu – as Anu is one of the Goddesses that makes up the trinity along with Badb and Macha to form the Morrigan; or perhaps the Lair Derg (‘red mare’) and Macha).  The feast of Midsummer Night was held in her honor. In County Limerick, She is remembered in more recent times as Queen of the fairies.

fairy-fairies-18369084-1024-768

ASSOCIATIONS:
Pantheon: Celtic
Element: Air
Direction: Northwest
Planets: Sun, moon
Festivals: Midsummer/Summer Solstice
Sacred Animals: Red mare, rabbit, swan   [4]
Colors: Red, gold, green, blue, and tan
Representations: Hay, straw, fire
Stones/Incense: Bloodstone, dragonsblood, fairy dust

HERBS, TREES & FUNGI:
Healing : AngelicaBalm,  BlackberryCowslipElderFennelFlaxGarlicGoat’s RueMugwort,NettleOak
Fertility : HawthornMistletoeOak
Prosperity : AlfalfaAshElder
Protection : AgrimonyAngelicaAshBirchBlackberryBladderwrackBroomElderFennel,FlaxHollyLavenderMallowMistletoeMugwortNettleOakParsley            [5]

 

 

 

 

* “To me this is a warning about what the Land will eventually do to us all if we continue on the path of resource rape, and environmental poisoning that our current society follows. Áine will protect Herself.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Cetictale.com, “Áine“.

Gods-heros-myth.com, “The Goddess Aine“.

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

Yourinnergoddess.net, “Aine“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Aine“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Áine {Goddess of the Week}“.

Áine.com

Ancientworlds.net, “Cnoc Áine“.

Faeryhealing.com, “The Faery Healing Goddesses“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Aine and Her Midsummer Lavender Cookies“. – for the kitchen witches ;)

Jarvis, Lana. Goddessalive.co.uk, “AINE: Goddess of Midsummer, Goddess of the People“.

Journal of a Poet, “Aine, Irish Love Goddess and Faerie Queen“.

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “Unveiling the Celtic Goddess, Aine“.

Kynes, Sandra. Kynes.net, “Pilgrimage to Ireland“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Matrifocus.com, “The Stone Heart of Summer“.

Talkwiththegoddess.wordpress.com, “Goddess Card Dec. 5“.

Indigoreadingsblog.blogspot.com, “Today’s Reading – Aine“.

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 Tatsuta-Hime

“Oriental Autumn” by ~OzureFlame

“Tatsuta-Hime’s themes are children, health, luck, thankfulness, autumn, blessings, abundance and protection. Her symbols are Fall leaves.  This windy Japanese Goddess blows into our lives today offering blessings and abundance for all our efforts. Tradition tells us that She weaves the Fall leaves into a montage of color, then sweeps them away along with any late-fall maladies. Sailors often wear an amulet bearing Her name to weather difficult storms at sea safely.

The Shichi-go-San Festival, also known as the 7-5-3 Festival, in Japan is a huge birthday celebration for children who have reached these ages. Parents take their young ones to local shrines for the Goddess’ and Gods’ blessings. Here they receive a gift of rice for prosperity, and a bit of pink hard candy for a long life.

If you have children, by all means follow this custom to draw Tatsuta-Hime’s protective energies into their lives. Place some rice, a piece of pink candy, and a strand of the child’s hair in a little sealed box. Write the Goddess’s name somewhere on the box to keep her blessing intact. Put this in the child’s room or on the family altar.

To manifest this Goddess’s health and well-being, take several swatches of fabric bearing her name and sew them into various items of clothing, or carry on in your pocket. Should your day prove emotionally stormy, this little charm will keep you centered, calm, and ‘on course’.”

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

“Aeris: Air” by AkinaSaita

Though Tatsuta-Hime (pronounced tat-SUE-tah HEE-may) is a minor wind Goddess, Her essence and actions are unforgettable.  It is said that each year Tatsuta-Hime, Goddess of dyeing and weaving, dyes silk yarn and weaves a beautiful multicolored tapestry of yellow, orange, russet, crimson and gold.  She then incarnated Herself as wind and blew Her own work to shreds.  According to Janet and Stewart Farrar, Her male counterpart is Tatsuta-Hiko and is prayed to for good harvests.

 

 

 

Sources:

Farrar, Janet & Stewart. The Witches’ Goddess.

Goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com, “Tatsuta-Hime“.

Hathaway, Nancy. The Friendly Guide to Mythology, “Tatsuta-Hime“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Tatsuma-Hime”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Darumamuseumgallery.blogspot.com, “Four Seasons Deities“.

Satow, Sir Earnest Mason & A.G.S. Hawes. A Handbook for Travelers in central and northern Japan, “Tatta“, (p. 386).

Shine Tsu-Hiko.

Goddess Ahnt Kai

“Dancer” by ~omonteon

“Ahnt Kai’s themes are balance, femininity, freedom, protection, fertility and overcoming. Her symbols are fish, sacred music and dance.  In Mexico, this Goddess of women and children taught them how to freely dance and sing, expressing the beauty within and liberating them from societal constraints. In myths of the Seris, Ahnt Kai specifically teaches the fish dance, alluding to fertility.

Sometime around the 1930’s a comic-strip artist captured the image of Sadie Hawkins optimistically stepping outside the usual boundaries of ‘womanhood’ to ask a man for a date. The custom continued through special dances for many decades, as people revelled in Ahnt Kai’s liberating atmosphere.  Thus, for both women and men, today is a time to free yourself from any restricting, stereo-typical, negative, or outmoded images that originate with yourself, others, the media, or the public. Ahnt Kai’s counsel today is to remember that true comeliness, true beauty, is not measured by externals – it begins within as we reunite ourselves with the Goddess and learn to love ourselves just as we are.

Add fish to your diet today (maybe a tuna sandwich) to internalize self-love and begin the process of personal liberation. Name the meal after an attribute needed to overcome your constrains. Ask the Goddess to bless your food, then eat with anticipation and self-confidence!”

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

I couldn’t find too much on today’s Goddess.  What little I did find stated that She was the “Goddess of women and children. Daughter of Koo-mah’mm hahs-ay’ tahm (First Woman). She flies at night and lives above the peak of Tiburon mountain. She is the teacher of singing and dancing, and tells the women and children when to do the Fish Dance. She heals snake bites. Equivalent to Athena (Greek), Kuan Yin (Far East) and Estsanatlehi (North America).” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Angelfire.com, “Mythologies of Central America“.

 

Suggested Links:

women in pre-columbian latin america [DOC from web.clark.edu/afisher/…text/women_medieval_meso-america.doc] – (p.7 just above “Inca Society”.)

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

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

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

Goddess Yama-No-Shinbo

“Yama-No-Shinbo’s theme are luck, wealth, prosperity, protection and joy. Her symbols are good-luck charms. This Japanese Goddess of prosperity and good fortune joins in today’s festivities by blessing all efforts to improve our luck. Her name means ‘mother of the mountain’, which, in feng shui (the art of placement in accordance with a region’s energy patterns for the most beneficial result), represents a protective, ancient power that brings happiness and wealth to those within its shadow.

The annual festival of Bettar-tchi takes place near the shrine of Ebisu to encourage good luck. Sticky items are among the favored tokens carried today, to encourage good fortune to literally stick to the participants.  For our purposes this might translate into using double-sided tape inside a piece of clothing so that the outside can gather Yama-no-Shinbo’s fortunate energy.  Alternatively, put a symbol of an area of your life that needs better luck (such as a dollar bill for money) on the refrigerator with a magnet, while whispering a brief prayer to the Goddess. This action symbolizes prosperity sticking with you (and attracting right energy.)

Take out any tokens or objects around your home that you value for their lucky energy. Clean them off, and ask Yama-no-Shinbo to energize them anew for protection. Put your hands over the tops of these, visualize a personally lucky-coloured light filling them, and say:

‘Goddess of fortune
fill this charm
keep me ever safe from harm.'”

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

Patricia Monaghan refers to this Goddess as Yama-no-Kami.  She writes: “In Japan, this Goddess was a spirit of sacred mountains, one who brought good luck to hunters and woodsmen who attended Her rites but who could be quite stern with those who did not.  One-legged and one-eyed, She was invoked as a protector of women in childbed under the name of Juni-sama, for She has a secret box of souls from which She endows each new being. As a seasonal Goddess, She annually gives birth to twelve children, the year’s twelve months.  In singular form, She is Yama-no-Shinbo, the mountain mother (p. 319).

Wikipedia states: “Yama-no-Kami is the name given to a kami of the mountains in the Shinto religion of Japan. These can be of two different types. The first type is a god of the mountains who is worshipped by hunters, woodcutters, and charcoal burners. The second is a god of agriculture who comes down from the mountains and is worshipped by farmers. This kami is generally considered as a Goddess, or a female deity.

Yama-no-Kami appearing in Japanese mythology include:

  • Oho-Yamatsumi, the father of Konohanasakuya-hime.
  • Masaka-Yamatsumi
  • Odo-Yamatsumi
  • Oku-Yamatsumi
  • Kura-Yamatsumi
  • Shigi-Yamatsumi
  • Ha-Yamatsumi
  • Hara-Yamatsumi
  • To-Yamatsumi
  • Konohanasakuya-hime, the wife of Ninigi and great-grandmother of Emperor Jimmu.
  • Ohoyamakui, the god of Mount Hiei.
  • Shirayama-hime, the Goddess of Mount Hakusan.

Their Chinese parallel is the shanshen.” [1]

“Seasons” by Jia Lu

Apparently “when She so chooses, She can appear as beautiful, passionate, and maternal.  But, She also has a darker form, that of a hideous and malicious old hag.  It is said that She can change between the two in the flash of an eye.” [2]

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Yama-no-Kami”.

MXTODIS123. Reclaimingthedarkgoddess.blogspot.com, “Yamanokami“.

Wikipedia, “Yama-no-Kami”.

Suggested Links:

Billington, S. The Concept of the Goddess.

Hiroshi, Iwai. Eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp, “Yamanokami“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1, “Yama no Kami: Mountain Mother of Japan”. (p. 159 – 168) – HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Morika, Kiyomi. The Sociology of Japanese Religion.

Goddess Fortuna Redux

Art by Mario Duguay

“Fortuna Redux’s themes are travel, good fortune, success and fate. Her symbols are chamomile and oak.  This aspect of Fortuna specifically watches over all travellers, especially now that the weather might make for unsafe conditions. Whenever you travel, She goes with you to make a happier, luckier journey filled with success. She can also give you predictions about what to expect during your travels.

If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip, today is the perfect time to start. Fortuna Redux will make sure you get good connections, directions, hotels, or whatever you need so your journey will go off without a hitch.

No matter where you have to go today, you can take this Goddess’s blessing with you simply by carrying some chamomile tea bags or placing an oak leaf in your shoe. This invokes Her protection on your car, the bus, train, or any other mode of transportation to help you avoid mishaps and traffic jams en route!  Better still, if the day gets hectic, you can drink the tea for improved luck!

To see what the future holds in terms of travel, try sprinkling some loose chamomile over a damp surface (ideally your car’s hood). Look to see that patterns emerge. If the flowers form an octagon, for example (the shape of a stop sign), this might be a message to stop your plans temporarily. If they form a wheel, the pattern could be interpreted as an omen to travel by car or bus.”

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

“Tout se placera” by Mario Duguay

Research for today’s Goddess turned up this very informative piece by Thalia Took.  She writes: “Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of the Roman Goddess of Luck, Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars—redux means ‘coming back’ or ‘returning’. She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of Her is of an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 BCE for the safe return of the Emperor Augustus. This altar was located near the porta Capena, a gate in the old Servian wall not far from the grove of the Camenae, and at this altar rites were performed by the priests and Vestal Virgins during the Augustalia, games celebrated in honor of Augustus on his birthday on October 12th. Though usually it is only temples that are known to have a dedication date, this altar was considered special enough that its dedication date of the 15th of December was recorded.

She had a temple in Rome in the Campus Martius, a swampy area down by the Tiber dedicated to Mars that had once been used for the assembly of soldiers. The temple to Fortuna Redux there was built by the Emperor Domitian sometime around 93 CE after he had safely returned home from a war in Germany.

Fortuna Redux may have started as a Goddess who primarily made sure the Emperor got home alive, but it seems it was not long before She was invoked to bring others home safely, especially soldiers, as one might expect. Several altars dedicated to Her have been found in Brittania, the frontier of the Empire, especially in the area up by Hadrian’s Wall, the very northern limit of Rome’s power. They commonly come from military bath-houses, and She is sometimes mentioned along with Fortuna Salutaris (‘Health-bringing Fortune’) and Fortuna Balnearis (‘Fortuna of the Bath-House’). At the Roman fort of Cilurnum on Hadrian’s Wall (the modern Chesters, Northumbria, England), Fortuna Redux shared an altar with Aesculapius, the God of Health (the Greek Asklepios); and Her company on these altars imply that She was considered a Goddess who had healing powers, or who at least had the power to preserve health and wholeness, so that Her worshippers would be able to come home.

“Fortuna” by Tadeusz Kuntze

A related aspect of the Goddess of Chance, Fortuna Restitutrix, was also concerned with the health and saftey of soldiers. Her title means ‘She Who Restores’, which can also be translated like Redux as ‘She Who Brings Back’, and She was evidentally worshipped by the military. An altar to Fortuna Restitutrix has been found in the Castra Praetoria, the barracks of the Praetorian guard in Rome, built in the first century CE, about the time Fortuna Redux seems to have come about. Her altar was in a room in the northern part of the barracks set with a black and white mosaic floor.

Also called: Fortuna Reduci, ‘Fortune Returns’; She is depicted on coins with a wheel, sometimes the emblem of Nemesis, Greek Goddess of retribution, law and justice.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Fortuna Redux“.

 

Suggested Links:

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Fortuna“.

Sacred-texts.com, “II. THE ROMAN GODDESS FORTUNA“.

Serenity. Order of the White Moon, “Fortuna“.

Tafarella, Santi. Prometheus Unbound, “The Goddess Fortuna: Thinking about Darwinian Contingency Metaphorically“.

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

Venefica, Avia. What’s-Your-Sign.com, “Goddess Symbols of Fortuna“.

Wikipedia, “Fortuna“.

Goddess Bixia Yuanjin

“Sunset Kwan Yin” by Christal

Bixia Yuanjin’s themes are air, protection, luck, freedom, birth and movement. Her symbols are wind, clouds, kites and chrysanthemum petals.  A weather Goddess who lives in cloudy high places, Bixia Yuanjin attends each person’s birth to bestow good health and luck upon the child. She is also a wind deity, helping to liberate and motivate us with fall’s gently nudging winds.

During mid-autumn, the Chinese take to nearby hills and fly kites to commemorate a sage, Huan Ching, who saved villagers from disaster by instructing them to take to high places, thereby protecting them from a mysterious plaque.  So, consider doing likewise today, even if it means just climbing a ladder! Move up off the ground, breath deeply of Bixia Yuanjin’s fresh air, and discover renewed wellness.

If you feel adventurous, chrysanthemum wine and cakes are traditional feast fare for longevity and good fortune. An alternative is steeping chrysanthemum petals in water and then adding the strained water to any soups, or other water-based foods and beverages for a similar effect.

Should the winds be with you, fly a kite named after a burden and liberate yourself in the winds. Also, carefully observe the shapes in the clouds today. If you have a pressing question on your heart, Bixia Yuanjin can answer it through these, her messengers.”

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

“Bixia Yuanjin (pronounced BEE-cha you-on-JEEN) is the Chinese Taoist Goddess of the dawn, childbirth, and destiny. As Goddess of dawn, She attends the birth of each new day from her home high in the clouds. As Goddess of childbirth, She attends the birth of children, fixing their destiny and bringing good fortune. Bixia Yuanjin is venerated in the Temple of the Purple Dawn at the summit of the holy mountain, Tai Shan, where women wishing to conceive come to ask for Her help. Her father, Tai Shan Wang, is the god of the mountain and judge of the underworld. Her name is also seen as Bixia Yuanjun, Bixia Yuan Jun, Pi Hsia Yuan Chun, and T’ien Hsien Niang Niang, and epithets for her include Princess of the Rosy Clouds, Princess of the Azure Clouds, and the Jade Woman.” [1]

“Bixia Yuanjun (Sovereign of the clouds of dawn) is a Daoist Goddess connected with Mt. Tai in Shandong province.  As the easternmost of the five sacred peaks of China, Mt. Tai was considered the gateway to the afterlife throughout Chinese history.  Bixia and Her main temple located there attained prominence in the early Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644).  Centered in northern China, the Goddess’s popularity extened from the imperial family to common people.  Bixia was granted elevated titles, such as Tianxian shengmu (Heavenly immortal, saintly mother) and Tianxian yünu (Hevenly immortal, jade maiden), but She is commonly known as Taishan niangniang (Our Lady of Mt. Tai) or Lao nainai (Granny) in Chinese popular religion.  She was charged with setting human life spans and judging the dead, but Her ability to facilitate the birth of male children made Her a particularly popular Goddess among women.

Several disparate versions of Bixia’s hagiography outline Her origins.  Elite texts preserved in the Daoist canon declare Her to be the daughter of the god of Mt. Tai whose history as a judge in the courts of hell extends back to the seventh century.  Late Ming popular sectarian scriptures, or baojuan (precious volumes), assert that Bixia was the daughter of a commoner.  According to the accounts, Her prayers to an ancient Daoist Goddess Xiwangmu (Queen of the West), along with Her practice of self-cultivation, helped Her to achieve immortality.

Temples throughout northern China include images of Bixia.  She is most readily identified by Her headdress, which features three or more phoenixes, Bixia usually appears seated with legs pendant and sometimes hold a tablet inscribed with a representiation of the Big Dipper as a symbol of Her authority.  Two Goddesses who often attend Bixia are Zisu niangniang (Goddess of children) and Yanguang niangniang (Goddess of eyesight), but Bixia can also appear with in a group of Goddesses” (Jestice, p. 128 – 129). [2]

 

 

Sources:

Jestice, Phyllis G. Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia, Volume 1, “Bixi Yuanjun (Pi-hsia yuan-chün)“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Bixia Yuanjin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Fertility Goddesses and Goddesses of Pregnancy and Childbirth“.

Javewu.multiply.com, “Pictures of Bi Xia Yuan Jun“.

Kohn, Livia. Daoism Handbook, “Women in Daoism” (p. 393).

Little, Stephen. Toaism and the Arts of China, “The Taoist Renaissance” (p. 278).

Naquin, Susan & Chün-Fang Yü. Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Studies on China), “PI-HSIA YUAN-CHÜN” (p. 78).

Pomeranz, Kenneth. Saturn.ihp.sinica.edu.tw, “Up and Down on Mt. Tai: Bixia Yuanjun in the Politics of Chinese Popular Religion, ca. 1500 – 1949“.

Song, Eric. Ericsong.hubpages.com,Bixia Yuanjun’s Palace“.

Tour-beijing.com, “Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple, Miao Feng Shan Niang Niang Temple“.

Westchinatours.com, “Taishan Attractions“.

Wikipedia, “Mount Tai“.

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