Tag Archive: sea


Goddess Leucothea

“The Archer” by `Heidi-V-Art

“Leucothea’s themes are creativity, energy, communication, balance, harmony and change. Her symbols are bow and arrow, white items, milk and seawater.  In Greek tradition, this woman gave birth to the centaurs [though there seems to be some conflict in that] and was a wet nurse to Dionysus. Her name translates as ‘milk-white-Goddess’, alluding to a strong maternal nature. In later times She became a sea Goddess, bearing the visage of a mermaid. Through this transformation we see the mingling of the spiritual nature (water) with that of the earth (half-human appearance) to create Sagittarius’s customary energies.

In astrology, Sagittarius is the centurion archer who represents a harmonious mingling of physical and spiritual living. Those born under this sign tend toward idealism, upbeat outlooks, and confidence. Like Leucothea, Saggitarians seem to have a strong drive for justice, especially for those people under their care.

To consume a bit of Leucothea’s maternal nature or invoke Her spiritual balance in your life, make sure to include milk or milk products in your diet today. Or, wear something white to figuratively don Her power.

For help with personal transformations, especially those that encourage personal comfort and tranquillity, soak in a nice, long saltwater or milk bath today. As you do, ask Leucothea to show you the right steps to take next.”

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

“Elemental Goddess Water” by `AutumnsGoddess

“In Greek mythology, Leucothea (‘white Goddess’) was one of the aspects under which an ancient sea Goddess was recognized, in this case as a transformed nymph.

In the more familiar variant, Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, sister of Semele, and queen of Athamas, became a Goddess after Hera drove her insane as a punishment for caring for the newborn Dionysus. She leapt into the sea with her son Melicertes in her arms, and out of pity, the Hellenes asserted, the Olympian gods turned them both into sea-gods, transforming Melicertes into Palaemon, the patron of the Isthmian games, and Ino into Leucothea.

In the version sited at Rhodes, a much earlier mythic level is reflected in the genealogy: there, the woman who plunged into the sea and became Leucothea was Halia (‘of the sea’, a personification of the saltiness of the sea) whose parents were from the ancient generation, Thalassa and Pontus or Uranus. She was a local nymph and one of the aboriginal Telchines of the island.

Halia became Poseidon‘s wife and bore him Rhodos/Rhode and six sons; the sons were maddened by Aphrodite in retaliation for an impious affront, assaulted their sister and were confined beneath the Earth by Poseidon. Thus the Rhodians traced their mythic descent from Rhode and the Sun god Helios.

In the Odyssey (5.333 ff.) Leucothea makes a dramatic appearance as a gannet who tells the shipwrecked Odysseus to discard his cloak and raft and offers him a veil (kredemnon) to wind round himself to save his life and reach land. Homer makes Her the transfiguration of Ino. In Laconia, She has a sanctuary, where She answers people’s questions about dreams. This is Her form of the oracle.”

In more modern works, Leucothea is mentioned by Robert Graves in The White Goddess.

In Ezra Pound‘s Cantos, She is one of the Goddess figures who comes to the poet’s aid in Section: Rock-Drill (Cantos 85–95). She is introduced in Canto 91 as “Cadmus’s daughter”:

As the sea-gull Κάδμου θυγάτηρ said to Odysseus
KADMOU THUGATER
“get rid of parap[h]ernalia”

She returns in Cantos 93 (‘Κάδμου θυγάτηρ’) and 95 (‘Κάδμου θυγάτηρ/ bringing light per diafana/ λευκὁς Λευκόθοε/ white foam, a sea-gull… ‘My bikini is worth yr/ raft’. Said Leucothae… Then Leucothea had pity,/’mortal once/ Who now is a sea-god…'”), and reappears at the beginning of Canto 96, the first of the Thrones section (‘Κρήδεμνον…/ κρήδεμνον…/ and the wave concealed her,/ dark mass of great water.’).

Leucothea appears twice in Dialoghi con Leucò (Dialogues with Leucò) by Cesare Pavese.

Leucothoé was the first work by the Irish playwright Isaac Bickerstaffe published in 1756.

A similar name is carried by two other characters in Greek mythology.

Leucothoë: a mortal princess, daughter of Orchamus and sister of Clytia, Leucothoë loved Apollo, who disguised himself as Leucothea’s mother to gain entrance to her chambers. Clytia, jealous of her sister because she wanted Apollo for herself, told Orchamus the truth, betraying her sister’s trust and confidence in her. Enraged, Orchamus ordered Leucothoë buried alive. Apollo refused to forgive Clytia for betraying his beloved, and a grievous Clytia wilted and slowly died. Apollo changed her into an incense plant, either heliotrope or sunflower, which follows the sun every day.

Leucothoë: one of the Nereids.” [1]

“The Etruscan Losna may well be comparable.” [2]

“The Sacrifice of Iphigenia” by Timanthus

Now, concerning Ino, Patricia Monaghan tells us that Ino was the daughter of Harmonia, ‘she who makes sinewy’ and was originally a Goddess of orgiastic agricultural rites in pre-Helleinc Greece, to whom human victims apparently were sacraficed in a magical attempt to make rain fall as freely as blood on the soil.  When later tribes brought their own pantheon into Ino’s realm, the religious conflict that ensued was recorded in the legend that Ino was a rival of the King’s wife Nephele.  Ino brought on a famine and in punishment was pursued into the sea bearing Her son Melicertes.  Both were then ‘transformed’ into sea deities by Greek legend” (p. 163).

Wow, I thought, how could this be?  That seemed a bit of a stretch.  However, going back and reading about Ino from Wikipedia, it states: “In historical times, a sisterhood of maenads of Thebes in the service of Dionysus traced their descent in the female line from Ino; we know this because an inscription at Magnesia on the Maeander summoned three maenads from Thebes, from the house of Ino, to direct the new mysteries of Dionysus at Magnesia.” [3] Ah…there it is – there’s the connection between the orgiastic agricultural rites Monaghan spoke of and the Dionysian Mysteries.

 

 

 

Sources:

Mlahanas.de, “Leucothea“.

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

Wikipedia, “Leucothea“.

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi.com, “INO LEUKOTHEA“.

Wikipedia, “Ino“.

Dahut-Ahes

“Babonneau Ahes Dahud” by Christophe Babonneau

“Ahes’ themes are water, abundance, fertility, passion and courage. Her symbols are seawater and sea creatures.  This ancient pagan Goddess symbolizes the sea’s abundance, fertility and passion. She also teaches us about courage; She fought fervently against Christian influences to turn Her into a monstrous figure akin to a siren.

Ahes was honored with a plethora of beautiful ceremonies around the end of summer. If you have a beech tree nearby, you can follow the custom of gathering beneath it’s bowers or nearby a small pond. Here, wash any white cloth (perhaps an altar cloth). This brings Ahes’s health and productivity to wherever you keep that fabric swatch. For those who can’t find a beech tree or a pond, just add a little salt to your laundry today instead for a similar effect.

To engender this Goddess’s abundance, scent you hair with any earthy shampoo or cream rinse (the Bretons used moss). Definitely include some seafood in your diet today to partake of Her courage. Flavoring the fish with white borage flower, thyme, or a little black tea will accentuate brave energies.  And finally, if you have a seashell or bit of driftwood, find a way to release it back into Ahes’ care today (for example, give it to a river or leave it in a well). This thanks the Goddess for Her providence and encourages Her blessings in your life.”

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

Art by Luis Royo

I have found in my research that Ahes was also referred to as Dahud-Ahes and Dahut.  According to Patricia Monaghan, “this pagan princess lived in Brittany, the far-western Celtic wilderness of France, during the period when the Christian monks were destroying the remnants of the old European religion – the worship of maternal nature.  These flesh-despising monks ruined the princess’ pleasurs until Dahut begged her father, King Gradlon, to build her a retreat from the cruelties of the new way.

Gradlon seemed to ignore her, but all the while he was secretly building a magnificent city for her.  Located on the rocky Pointe du Raz and called Ys, it was to be hers to do with as she wished.  When he presented it to Dahut, the sensual princess was filled with joy at the splendid homes arranged to catch the setting sun’s rays.

Dahut’s people were rich and happy, but it soon became clear that Ys had been built too close to the sea.  Storms endangered the small fishing craft by which the people of Ys earned their wealth. Dahut asked Gradlon to build them a safe harbor, but the king, threatened with damnation by the monks, built instead a fin new church to the Christian god right in the center of Ys.

Furious, Dahut rowed that night through dangerous coastal waters to a secret island where women – possibly immortals – continued to celebrate the ancient rites.  There she asked them to command the sea spirits, the Korrigans, to help her; she offered eternal fidelity to the old ways in return.

But then Dahut’s ambition poisoned her.  Granted the aid Ys needed, Dahut asked for yet another miracle: that magical powers would raise her palace high above the Christian church.  She was granted that, too, but her selfish desire took its toll.  For many years Dahut and her people lived in splendor and pleasure.  But the princess’ sickness grew.  Eventually she began to take one-night lovers, having them destroyed immediately after they left her.  The powers of passion and ambition that Dahut had stirred grew so strong that finally the king of the waters himself came to claim the princess – and he drowned the entire city of Ys when he did.

Although the above story is told as a local historical legend, it is possible that Dahut was originally a Breton Goddess – possibly Celtic, for her image recalls that of the Welsh Arianhod, who similarly mated with the ocean king.  But Brittany was also a center for pre-Celtic civilizations of note, including that of the megalith builders whose alignments to the winter solstice surround the hamlet of Carnac.  Dahut’s heritage could thus, like that of Celtic Brigid, include ancient material transformed as times changed” (p. 95 – 96).

“Dahut” by maelinn

At Joellessacredgrove.com, it states that “modern legends tell that her city was swept away by a wave caused by an intervening Christian saint. Pagan stories tell how she asked a city of Korrigans, the Breton sea faeries, to disguise her sea world until it was safe again for them to emerge again in a world without religious persecution. In this way she is similar to the sleeping deities, such s King Arthur, who lie in a state of suspended animation waiting until their people call upon them again.

Dahud was dubbed a Goddess of ‘debauchery’ by her detractors, while some more recent legends go so far as to make her the destroyer of her realm through her excesses and her worship of ‘idols’. Patriarchal legends say her father, recognizing her as evil, either escaped her world, or drowned her.

She is hailed as a Goddess of earthly pleasure by her followers. Archetypally she can be viewed as a mother Goddess cradling the reborn infant of the Old Religion, and as a rebel against patriarchy and its new rules.” [1]

“Morgan La Fay” by Wendy Andrew

Upon further research, I also found links between Dahut and Morgan le Fay.  According to Arthurianadventure.com, “Once stories of Morgan had crossed the English Channel, Morgan became linked to a favourite Breton Goddess, named Dahut (or Ahes) Dahut was a princess, who had caused the destruction of her city Ys. But, we also read in earlier tales, that Dahut (or Ahes) was originally a Breton sea goddess. Later accounts say that she had died when the sea had flooded Ys, or that she had escaped by being transformed into a mermaid. It is interesting to note that the word Mor, in Breton, means the sea, and this draws out the connection between Morgan and the sea. Perhaps, they believed that she was a sea or water goddess.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arthurianadventure.com, Morgan le Fay” (down to section labeled “Brittany”).

Joellessacredgrove.com, Celtic Gods and Goddesses D,E,F“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Dahut“.

Covenofthegoddess.com,Goddess Dahut Vision Ritual“.

Deamatre.wordpress.com, “Dahud“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, Dahut, Dagosoitis (Guardian of the Waters) Dahud Ahes, Ahès (Good Witch) Marie-Morgane (Born of the Sea) Sirona, Syrene, Seraine (Star)“.

Timelessmyths.com, Dahut“.

Wikipedia, “Dahut“.

Goddess Doris

“Goddess of The Sea” by xxstarslayerxx

“Doris’ themes are abundance, providence and water. Her symbols are seawater, plants and animals (especially fish).  The daughter of Oceanus, this Grecian sea Goddess is associated with sea’s gifts and its wealth. She joins in today’s festivities by bringing an abundance of seafood to nourish the body, as well as spiritual sustenance to fulfill our souls.

The Fairhope Jubilee takes place in Mobile Bay, Alabama, sometime in August when there’s an overcast sky, an easterly wind and a rising tide. When these three factors are in place an odd phenomenon occurs: bottom-dwelling fish get trapped between the shore and low-oxygen water. So people rush out with any containers they can find and gather up Doris’s plenty! For us, this equates to gathering up the sea’s plenty, figuratively, perhaps by having fish for dinner. Remember to thank Doris as you eat so that you internalize her providence.

To make a Doris charm that will draw abundance into any area of your life in need, find a seashell, a tumbled sea stone or something similar that comes from the ocean. Place the token in seawater for three hours by a waxing moon so that abundance will grow like the moon. Bless it, saying,

‘Doris, by this gift from your seas, draw abundance and wealth to me.
Like a wave upon high tide, let your blessings here abide.’

Carry the token regularly.”

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

“Sea Goddess” by russhorseman

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Doris is “an ancient, probable pre-Hellenic Goddess of the waters, She may have been the ancestor Goddess of the Dorians.  She was the mother of the Nereids and, possibly, Thetis” (p. 106).

According to Wikipedia, “Doris, an Oceanid, was a sea nymph in Greek mythology, whose name represented the bounty of the sea. She was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and the wife of Nereus. She was also aunt to Atlas, the titan who was made to carry the sky upon his shoulders, whose mother Clymene was a sister of Doris. Doris was mother to the fifty Nereids, including Thetis, who was the mother of Achilles, and AmphitritePoseidon‘s wife, and grandmother of Triton.” [1]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Doris (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks.com, “Amphibious Gods“.

Mythography.com, “Doris in Greek Mythology“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Doris“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Nereids“.

Wikipedia, “Oceanid“.

Wikipedia, “Nereid“.

Old Woman of the Sea

“Nereid” by Sussi1

“The Old Woman of the Sea’s themes are water, recreation, rest and art. Her symbols are sand, saltwater and sea creatures.  Among the Native Americans of California, this simple designation says it all. This Goddess is a primordial being whose essence and power is linked with the ocean and all that dwells within. Old Woman of the Sea washes into our lives today with waves of refreshment and relaxation. She is also a powerful helpmate for all water-related magic.

Sandcastle-building competitions began in Imperial Beach, California in 1981. Many of the artistically crafted sculptures feature sea creatures and other water themes. Alongside the festival, all manner of community activities take place, including children’s competitions, feasting and live music. So, stop by a gardening store and get yourself a little sand! Mix up some saltwater to mold and shape it. As you do, listen to some watery music and focus on the Old Woman of the Sea. Try to capture her image in the sand and as you do, you will capture her magical power in your heart.

If you live anywhere near a beach, today’s a perfect time to practice sand and water magic. Write a symbol in the sand describing what you hope to achieve, then let the tide carry it to the Old Woman for an answer. Or, step into the surf and let the goddess draw away your tension and anxiety into her watery depths.”

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

“The Crone” by Sunny Strasburg

“Old Woman of the Sea is the Salinan Goddess of water, particularly the ocean and its power. The Salinan tribes of California told a flood story as follows: At the beginning of the world, Eagle was chief among the animals. Old Woman of the Sea was jealous of his power and plotted against him.

One day, She came on to the land with Her basket, which held the sea. She poured the water out, covering almost all of the land—everything was covered except for the top of one mountain, where all the animals gathered. Eagle asked Puma to give him some of his whiskers, from which he made a lariat. Eagle lassoed the basket away from Old Woman of the Sea. Without Her basket, Old Woman of the Sea died and the water stopped rising. Eagle then had Kingfisher dive down into the water and fetch some mud, from which he formed the world.

Eagle then formed humans out of elderberry branches; when he breathed on them, they came to life and became the Salinan people.” [1]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Old Woman of the Sea“.

 

Suggested Links:

Smith, Evans Lansing & Nathan Robert Brown. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Mythology, “Eagle, Cunning Defender of Creation (Salinan)“.

Westfall, Vern A. The Many Faces of Creation: A History of Man’s Search for His Place and Purpose in the Universe, “A Salinan Indian Myth” (p. 45).

“Water” by Jia Lu

“Tamayorihime’s themes are cleansing, health, children and water. Her symbol is water (especially moving water or saltwater).  An ancient Japanese sea Goddess, Tamayorihime rules not only moving water sources but also all matters of health. She also watches over birth waters to ensure a speedy, safe delivery for pregnant women.

The Tenjin festival began in 949 C.E. as a way to get rid of summer maladies. If you’ve had a cold, the flu or some other ailment, try an adaption of Japanese custom. Take a piece of paper that you’ve left on your altar for a while and rub it on the area of your body that’s afflicted. Drop the paper into moving water (like the toilet) to carry away sickness in Tamayorihime’s power. Alternatively, burn the paper to purge the problem. Mingle the ashes with a few drops of saltwater and carry them in a sealed container as a Tamayorihime amulet for health.

For personal cleansing and healing, soak in an Epsom-salt bath today. As you lie in the tub, stir the water clockwise with your hand to draw Tamayorihime’s health to you, or counterclockwise so She can banish a malady. If time doesn’t allow for this, add a very small pinch of salt to your beverages and stir them similarly throughout the day, while mentally or verbally reciting this invocation:

‘Health be quick, health be kind, within this cup the magic bind!’

Drink the beverage to internalize Tamayorihime’s energy.”

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

Tamayorihime, painted wood sculpture, dated to 1251, at Yoshino Mikumari Jinja.

According to the Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime (or –bime) is a common noun meaning a divine bride, in other words, a woman who cohabits with a kami and gives birth to his child.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan says that “like her sister Japanese heroines Ikutamayorihime and Seyadatarahime, she was a young woman who became a mother ancestor to an important family after mating with an otherworldly creature.  This being used to come under cover of darkness, which apparently did not disturb the girl until she became pregnant.  Then, to discover his identity, she sewed a long hemp thread to his hem, and, next morning, followed it to a dark cave.  At its mouth she called out for her lover to show his face.  ‘You would burst with fright,’ a deep voice answered from the earth’s center.  Unafraid, she continued to make her demand until he appeared, a scaly monster with a needle stuck in its throat.  Tamayorihime fainted, but lived to bear the hero Daida, greatest warrior of Kyushu.  The heroine’s name, meaning a woman (hime) possessed (yor) by a god (tama), may have been a title borne by the Japanese shamans called miko.  Similar stories are told of Psyche and Semele” (p. 291).

In the book Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki by E. Leslie Williams, I was able to find reference to Tamayorihime as an “earth-bound Female spirit cognitively linked with the ocean depths…a daughter of the sea deity, Watatsumi, in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki myth cycles.” [2]  “She appears in the KOJIKI as the mother of Emperor Jinmu (Jimmu).  In this case She appears accompanied by two other deities and the three together are known as the Mikomori Sannyoshin. ” [3]

 

 

Sources:

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayorihime“.

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

Onmarkproductions.com, “Mikumari Myōjin Shrines“.

Williams, E. Leslie. Spirit Tree: Origins of Cosmology in Shintô Ritual at Hakozaki.

 

Suggested Links:

Faure, Bernard. The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender.

Greve, Gabi. Wkdfestivalsaijiki.blogspot.com, “Samekawa Ablutions“.

Mizue, Mori. Encyclopedia of Shinto, “Tamayoribime“.

Ouwehand, C. Namazu-e and Their Themes: An Interpretative Approach to Some Aspects of Japanese Folk Religion.

Wikipedia, “Shinto shrine“.

Wikipedia, “Tamayori-bime“.

 

 

Goddess Sedna

“Sedna” by Hrana Janto

“Sedna’s themes are are thankfulness, providence, nature and abundance. Her symbols are water, an eye and fish.  The mother of the sea, which is sometimes called the ‘eating place’ in northern climates, Sedna is a very important figure in Alaskan mythology as the provider of nourishment for both the body and soul. In narratives, Sedna gave birth to fish, seals, polar bears and whales – the life sustaining animals in this region. Artistic renderings show Her as having one eye that sees all things in Her domain.

At this time of year, fisherman in Alaska dance through town giving out whale meat. According to custom, this dance propitiates the spirits of the food-providing whales who have died in the previous year. It also ensures an abundance of food in the year ahead. Adapting this a bit, abstain from your favorite meat product today and ask for Sedna’s blessing on the animals who provide your food year-round. Vegetarians can forgo their favorite staple and ask Sedna to bless the Earth’s greenery instead! Eating fish, however, is perfectly suited to the occasion, as it will fill you with Sedna’s nourishment. Remember to eat thankfully!

To keep a small token in your home that will continually draw Sedna’s blessing to you, get a goldfish and name it after Her! Each time you feed the fish you’re symbolically giving an offering to the Goddess. When you have a need, whisper it to the fish so Sedna hears you.”

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

Sedna from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck

Patricia Monaghan tells us Sedna’s sad story: “Beside the Arctic Ocean, there once lived an old widower and his daughter, Sedna, a woman so beautiful that all the Eskimo men sought to live with Her. But She found none to Her liking and refused all offers. One day, a seabird came to Her and promised Her a soft life in a warm hut full of bearskins and fish. Sedna flew away with him.

The bird had lied. Sedna found Her home a stinking nest. She sat, sadly regretting Her rejection of the handsome human men. And that was what She told Her father, when She listed Her complaints when he visited Her a year later.

Anguta (‘man with something to cut’) put his daughter in his kayak to bring Her back to the human world. Perhaps he killed the bird husband first, perhaps he just stole the bird’s wife, but in either case the vengeance of the bird people followed him. The rising sea threatened the escaping humans with death. On they struggled, until Anguta realized that flight was hopeless.

“Sedna” by Lisa Hunt

He shoved Sedna overboard to drown. Desperate for life, She grabbed the kayak with a fierce grip. Her father cut off Her fingers. She flung Her mutilated arms over the skin boat’s sides. Anguta cut them off, shoving his oar into Sedna’s eye before She sank into the icy water.

At the bottom of the sea, She lived thereafter as queen of the deep, mistress of death and life, ‘old food dish,’ who provided for the people. Her amputated fingers and arms became the fish and marine mammals, and She alone decided how many could be slaughtered for food. She was willing to provide for the people if they accepted Her rules: for three days after their death, the souls of Her animals would remain with their bodies, watching for violation of Sedna’s demands. Then they returned to the Goddess, bearing information about the conduct of Her people. Should Her laws be broken, Sedna’s hand would begin to ache, and She would punish humans with sickness, starvation, and storms. Only if a shaman traveled to Her country, Adlivun, and assuaged Her pains would the sea mammals return to the hunters, which, if the people acted righteously, they did willingly.

“Sedna” by Susan Seddon Boulet

In Adlivun in a huge house of stone and whale ribs, Sedna dragged along the ground with one leg bent beneath Her. A horrible dog guarded Her, said by some to be Her husband. Anguta himself lived there too; some versions of the myth say that, hoping the seabirds would think Sedna dead, he allowed Her back into the kayak and returned home. But She hated him thereafter and cursed Her dogs to eat his hands and feet; the earth opened and swallowed them. In any case, Anguta served Sedna by grabbing dead human souls with his maimed hand and bringing them home. These dead lived in a region near Sedna’s home through which shamans had to pass to reach the Goddess. There was also an abyss, in which an ice wheel turned slowly and perpetually; then a caldron full of boiling seals blocked the way; finally, the horrible dog stood before Sedna’s door, guarding the knife-thin passageway to Her home. Should the shaman pass all these dangers and ease Sedna’s aching hands, the Goddess permitted him to return, bearing the news that Old Woman had forgiven Her people, that the seals would again seek the hunter, that the people would no longer starve” (p. 275-276).

“Sedna is widely worshipped among the Inuit peoples of the polar regions and has many forms and names: Ai-Willi-Ay-O or Aiviliajog; Kannakapfaluk, Arnakapfaluk (‘Big Bad Woman’) of the Copper Inuit; Idiragijenget for the Central Inuit. She is called Ikalu nappa in Her form as half-woman, half-fish; Meghetaghna in Siberia; Nerchevik in Labrador; and Nerrivik (‘Food Dish’) or Nivikkaa (‘Woman Thrown Backward Over The Edge’) in Greenland. For the Iglulik Inuit of Baffin Island She is Uiniyumayuituq or Unigumisuitok, ‘The One Who Did Not Want a Husband” [1].  Other names include Sanna, Nuliajuq, and Arnarquagssaq. [2]

“Sedna Transformed” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Charlotte Kuchinsky writes, “There seems to be no clear picture of whether the Goddess was evil or good or perhaps somewhere in between. She was definitely respected by the Inuit, but some feared Her while others cherished Her, which makes for an interesting dichotomy.

Many believe that the story of Sedna is an allegory to teach mankind that it is sometimes necessary to delve into places where we would prefer not to go. However, if we have faith and are worthy, the outcome will be positive and rich with the rewards of life.

Others believe that the story is a reminder that all of us have negative qualities that we must learn to control. However, such qualities do not immediately negate our being deserving of love and respect.

“Sedna” by Erika Brandner

I believe either is an important message to remember. All human beings have fears that hold us back and keep us from achieving all of which we are capable. I also believe that all human life deserves respect and that everyone needs the healing power of love.” [3]

I can sympathize with Sedna; I know and can understand all too well Her sadness, Her grief, Her sorrows, Her regrets, Her bitterness, Her anger, Her frustration, Her pain and fits of rage…I’ve been very much in tune with those same feelings, emotions and energies myself these past few days.  That does not make Her evil though.  Like Her, I did not die as result of my ordeals, I live to tell my tales; and like Her, yes, they’ve mentally and emotionally mutilated me, hurt me, and have made me bitter and angry, and still do lead to occasional bouts of rage when I feel threatened or wronged; or that my boundaries and limits have been breached.

“It is Her occasional anger with humans which brings about violent storms and destructive winds when She feels that Her rules have been broken or She has been wronged.  When this happens the Inuit tribal shaman is required to take a shaman’s journey to the bottom of the ocean to speak to the Goddess. The shaman will often transform into a fish and then he or she will swim down to the bottom of the ocean to appease Sedna. Often, the shaman will comb the tangles out of Sedna’s hair and put it into braids [and massage and work the knots and tension out of Her aching muscles], since, fingerless, She is unable to. As innocuous as this sounds, because Sedna is so volatile and often hostile, this is considered the most dangerous journey an Inuit shaman can ever be called upon to make.” [4]

“Pana” by Lisa Hunt

To me, She is comparable to Ereshkigal and a strong Dark Goddess to work with if one were brave enough to descend to the icy depths of the watery Underworld and confront their own mutilations.  Questions to ask yourself: “In what ways have the painful incidents in your life taught you about your own Divine nature? How has personal loss or suffering helped you set your own personal code of ethical conduct? In what ways can your anger be of benefit or harm?

And, from the shaman’s perspective, under what circumstances, if any, can you imagine that you would be willing to face danger and even risk your life for the greater good? What would that look like to you?” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Beth. Beth Owl’s Daughter, “The Goddess Sedna“.

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “Understanding the Moral Behind the Inuit Goddess Sedna“.

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

Native-languages.org, “Legendary Native American Figures – Sedna“.

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

 

Suggested Links:

Balladeer. Balladeer’s Blog, “The Top 12 Deities From Inuit Mythology“.

Bianca. Order of the White Moon, “Sedna: Goddess of the Icy Sea“.

Goddessgift.com, “Sedna, Inuit Goddess of the Deep Sea“.

Rainewalker.com, “Sedna’s Gifts“.

Sutton, Brenda. Mythicjourneys.org, “Sedna of the Sea“.

Talk With the Goddess, “Goddess Card June 8th – Goddess Sedna“.

Temple of Sedna, “Sedna the Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Sedna (mythology)“.

Willowroot, Abby. Spiralgoddess.com, “Sedna of the North“.

Wave Maidens

“Nereidi” by Margherita Fascione

“The Wave Maidens’ themes are providence, protection (from water), charity, fertility, peace, cycles and water. Their symbols are fish and sea items.  These northern Teutonic Goddesses number nine and rule over the waves, being the joint mothers of the god Heimdel. In mythology, the Wave Maidens live at the bottom of the sea, watching over the World Mill that continually turns with the season to bring the earth and Her people fertility and harmony.

In Iceland, fishermen honor the Wave Maidens today by taking a well-deserved day off and enjoying sports, foods and dances, the proceeds from which support fishermen’s retirement homes. If you’re a fish lover, this translates into abstaining from fish today as a way of thanking the Wave Maidens for their ongoing providence.

If you live near a region where you can get to a lake or ocean, consider stopping by for a moment today and getting the Wave Maidens yourself.

Pick up a bit of sand and carry it with you to generate a better understanding of personal cycles and those of the earth. Or, gather a shell, a bit of driftwood, or a tumbled stone to promote the Wave Maidens’ flowing harmony in and around your life.

In terms of clothing, think sea-blue or green and something that’s loose, to help you physically flow as easily as the Wave Maidens through life’s circumstances.”

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

“In Norse mythology, the Wave Maidens (also known as the Billow Maidens) are the nine daughters of Rán and Ægir, the Goddess and god of the sea.  According to Patricia Monaghan, these maidens were Scandinavian giantresses.  They were portrayed as beautiful maidens dressed in white robes and veils and always helped their father, brew the beer for the gods.  Their names are poetic terms for the many different characteristics of the ocean waves:

Their names were:
(Poetic Edda)
– Angeyja (“Sorrow-Whelmer”)
– Atla (“Fury”)
– Eistla (“Foamer”)
– Eyrgjafa (“Sand-Strewer”)
– Gjalp (“Yelper”)
– Greip ( “Griper”)
– Iarnsaxe (“Iron-Sword”)
– Imd ( “Dusk”)
– Ulfrun (“She-Wolf”)

 

Or (Prose Edda):
– Bylgja (“Billow”)
– Blodughadda (“Bloody Hair”)
– Drofn (“Foam-Fleck”, “Comber” or “Foaming Sea”)
– Dufa (“The Pitching One” or “Dipping”)
– Hefring (“Riser”)
– Himinglaeva (“That through which one can see the heaven”, or maybe something like “Heaven-Clear”)
– Hrönn (“Welling Wave”)
– Kolga (“The Cool One” poetical term for wave)
– Udr (“Frothing Wave”)

In later times they were identified with Mermaids.” [1]

“Mermaid” by Alena Lazareva

“The sailors are always eager to establish a good rapport with these beautiful maidens of the oceans because, it is said that if they succeed, they can be assured a safe and uneventful voyage with these powerful Goddesses protecting and guiding them.  On the other hand, if the sailors fail to gain their approval, they can expect gale winds and a raging tempest that will most likely cause their death at sea. And while it is true that these lovely Goddesses prefer fun and positive workings, be assured that they will not hesitate to set upon their enemies with all the fury the seas can possess.

By Odin, they were the mothers of Heimdall, who guarded the rainbow Bifröst.  According to the tale, in the course of a walk along the shoreline, Odin beheld the nine beautiful wave maidens as they slept on the white sand and he married all nine of them at once.  In time, they simultaneously gave birth to Heimdall, the White God who stood guard over the entrance of the fortress of the gods.

 

Nine Wave Maidens Lyrics

Nine wave maidens
Giant beauties
Soundly asleep on Midgard sands

Someone is walking
Hungry eyes gazing
The guard of the sky beholding their pride

Calling the waves
Playing in the shallows
What will they want
A seafarer’s heart
Come rain, come shine
The patience never breaking
Oh how they blind a traveler’s heart

Atla, Sindur, Egia, Ulfrun
Never profound
Never alone

Heimdall born was he of mother’s nine
Heimdall son is he of sisters nine

Calling the waves

Playing in the shallows
What will they want
A seafarer’s heart
Come rain, come shine
The patience unbreakable
Oh how they blind a traveler’s eye

Calling nine waves
Singing in the shadows
What else do they haunt than a lonely man’s heart” [2]

Sources:

Cybersamurai.net, “AegirsDaughters (The Billow Maidens)“.

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Northern Tradition Paganism, “Nine Sisters: Hail to the Gods of the Northern Seas!

Wikipedia, “Daughters of Ægir“.

Goddess Yemaja

“Yemaja’s themes are providence, blessing, luck and fertility.  Her symbols are fish, the color blue and the crescent moon.  Yemaja, the Nigerian Goddess of flowering water, bears a name that literally means ‘fish mother!’ As such, Yemaja generates providence and fertility, especially on the physical plane. In legends She gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon, and two streams of water that formed a lake. In art she’s often shown as a mermaid or a crescent moon, and Her favorite color is blue.

The name for the day is definitely fishy. Not surprisingly, new year festivities in Nigeria mark the beginning of the fishing season. Having a teeming net today portends prosperity for the rest of the season. So, what is it that you hope to catch today? Cast out your spiritual line to Yemaja for help in meeting or exceeding any goal.

To bite into a little luck, follow the example of Nigerian children. They make candies in fish shapes before this event, then dunk for them. The one to retrieve the most gets the most good fortune. Check out your local supermarket’s bulk candy section. Ours carries gummy fish that work very well for this activity.

Consider including some type of fish in your menu today (even canned tuna will do the trick). Eat it to internalize good luck and a little of Yemaja’s blessings.”

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

“Yemaya” by Sandra M. Stanton

Yemaya is the Yoruban Orisha, a very powerful nature spirit or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth.She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.

In Her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by Her son. After this She fled to a mountaintop and cursed Her son until he died. In Her sorrows She decided to take Her own life. As She died She gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when Her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.

Yemaya was brought to the New World with the African diaspora and She is now worshipped in many cultures besides Her original Africa. In Brazilian Candomblé, where She is known as Yemanja or Imanje, She is the Sea Mother who brings fish to the fishermen, and the crescent moon is Her sign. As Yemanja Afodo, also of Brazil, She protects boats travelling on the Sea and grants safe passage. In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-Goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale.

Yemaya rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokin (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, Goddess of the winds.

Our Lady of Regla in Brazil may be linked to Her, and She is equated elsewhere in the Americas with the Virgin Mary  as the Great Mother. In parts of Brazil She is honored as the Ocean Goddess at the summer solstice, while in the north east of the country Her festival is held on February 2nd (a day that is also associated with Her daughter Oya, as well as being the feast day of the Celtic Bride), with offerings of blue and white flowers cast into the Sea.

Yemaya’s colors are blue, turquoise and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. Since She is often  depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of Her. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is sacred to Her, also for the seven seas.

“Yamana” by Lisa Iris

Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life.

On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.

Alternate spellings: Yemanja, Yemojá, Yemonja, Yemalla, Yemana, Ymoja, Iamanje, Iemonja, Imanje

Epithets: Achabba, in Her strict aspect; Oqqutte in Her violent aspect: Atarmagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; Olokun or Olokum as Goddess of dreams

Also called: Mama Watta, “Mother of the Waters” [1] [2]

Symbols and Correspondences:

General: Ocean, rivers, mermaids, the Virgin Mary, New Year’s Eve, February 2, the North Star, half moon, rivers, dreams, pound cake, boats and ships, fans, sacred dance, the number 7

Animals: Fish, ducks, doves, peacocks, feathers, chickens, snakes, and all sea creatures

Plants: Oranges, tropical flowers, yams, grain, seaweed, other plants that grow in the ocean

Perfumes/scents: Scented soaps, raspberry, cinnamon, balsam

Gems and metals: Silver, pearls, mother of pearl, coral, moonstone, crystal quartz, turquoise, and any blue gem or bead

Colors: Sky blue, silver, white, green, and especially a blue dress with full skirt of 7 layers to represent ocean waves or the seven seas. [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Yemaya“.

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

Goddess Benten

“Benten’s themes are luck, wealth and beauty. Her symbols are boats, dragons, guitars, snakes and saltwater.

As the Japanese Goddess steering the New Year’s Treasure Ship, Benten is a perfect figure to call on for financial improvements this year. She is the only Goddess of luck in Japan – the sole female among the Seven Gods of Fortune, and is referred to as queen of the seas and patroness of gamblers. Japanese woman invoke her to bring beauty and fortune into their lives; for she resides over love, eloquence, wisdom and the fine arts.  She is the patroness of geisha and those who take joy in the arts. Benten is depicted as riding a gold dragon, playing a biwa (guitar), and sending out white snakes with her missives. Her robe bears a jewel that grants wishes.

To welcome Benten’s prosperity into your home, sprinkle a little saltwater on the threshold today. Or, to generate beauty within and without, soak in a bath of Epsom salts while listening to guitar music.

The Shigoto Hajime festival honors the beginning of the work week in Japan, where it is believed that good omens for work begin today. If you want to get a peek at how your employment will fare this year, try divination by dice (a traditional gambler’s tool). Hold one die in your hand, ask for Benten to provide a sign, then roll it. The results can be interpreted as follows:

(1) a negative omen;
(2) feeling torn between two good options;
(3) a good omen;
(4) financial security;
(5) not much material change, but improvements in interoffice relationships;
(6) an excellent omen; roll again If you get two more sixes, Benten’s treasures will be yours!”

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

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “among the seven Japanese divinities of good luck, only one was a goddess: Benten, who brought inspiration and talent, wealth, and romance to those who honored her.  Benten was also queen of the sea, a dragon woman who swam in state through her domain with a retinue of white snakes.  In her dragon body she protected her devotees from earthquakes by mating with the monstrous snakes who thrashed under the Japanese islands.  But she could also wear the form of a lovely human woman, and in this form she was usually portrayed, mounted on a dragon who was both her steed and her paramour” (p. 69).

saraswati benzaiten_saraswati

Benten, also called Benzaiten “is the Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Worship of Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, in contrast to Saraswati who holds a stringed instrument known as a veena. Benzaiten is a highly syncretic entity with both a Buddhist and a Shinto side.

Benzaiten as a female kami is known as Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto.  Also, she is believed by Tendai Buddhism to be the essence of kami Ugajin, whose effigy she sometimes carries on her head together with a torii. As a consequence, she is sometimes also known as Uga Benzaiten or Uga Benten. Shrine pavilions called either Benten-dō or Benten-sha, or even entire Shinto shrines can be dedicated to her, as in the case of Kamakura’s Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or Nagoya’s Kawahara Shrine.” [1]

il_fullxfull.361170508_aluv

“Japanese Goddess of Sea” by KatyDidsCards

In Japanese mythology “…Benten was said to have descended to earth where she met and married a dragon in order to stop him eating young children. Because of this, she is sometimes depicted as riding a dragon in art.

Another legend tells of how the goddess helped the young poet Baishu. He had found a poem written by a maiden and had fallen in love with her, despite never having seen what she looked like. Praying to the goddess for help, Benten arranged for the young poet and the girl to meet outside the shrine. Later, it turned out that the young girl Baishu had fallen in love with was actually the soul of the women he later met and married.

chineese-goddess

8-Armed Benzaiten (Jp. = Happi Benzaiten 八臂弁財天)
At Hoan-den (Enoshima Island in Japan)
Kanagawa Pretectural Asset, Kamakura Period

In art, Benten is sometimes shown with snakes. Some statues of her reveal eight arms, six of these which are raised and the hands holding different objects. These include a bow and arrow and two hands are folded in prayer” [2] as well as a sword, a jewel, a wheel, and a key.

From The White GoddessArea of Influence:

Water, Words, Speech, Eloquence, Music, Knowledge, Fortune, Beauty

il_570xN.365169550_j2cu

“Benzaiten (Benten) Shinto Goddess of Music & Luck” by LaPetiteMascarade

Pantheon: Japanese

Abode: Caverns

Animals: Dragons, Sea Serpents

Colours: Bue, Silver, White, Yellow

Crystal: Conch, Mother of pearl, Iron, Gold

Direction: East, West

Element: Air, Water

Musical Instrument: Lute

Offerings: Honey, Yellow flowers, Wild berries

Planet: Venus

Plant/Tree: Lotus, Waterlillies, Yellow flowers

Symbols: Sword, Bow and arrow, Wheel, Key, Axe, Spear, Pestle

Tarot Card: Cups

Time: Summer Solstice

 

 

 

Also known as: Benjaiten, Bensai-Ten, Benzai-Ten, Benzai-Tennyo, Benzaiten, Ichiki-Shima-Hime, Sarasvati, Zeniari, [3]; and according to Thalia Took, “Benzaiten is also linked to Kwannon or Kwan Yin, the sometimes female, sometimes male Bodhisattva of compassion in Buddhism.” [4]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

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

Slayford-Wei, Lian. Humanities360.com, “The History and Significance of the Goddedss Benten“.

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

The White Goddess, “Benten – Goddess of everything that flows“.

Wikipedia, “Benzaiten“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

A-to-Z Photo Dictionary: Japanese Buddhist Statuary, “BENZAITEN, BENTEN“.

The Broom Closet, “Benten: Japanese Goddess of Eloquence“.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, “Benten“.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Benten“.

Lindemans, Micha. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Benten“.

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

 

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