Tag Archive: serpent


Goddess Hecate

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“Hecate” by *mari-na

“Hecate’s themes are the moon, beginnings and magic. Her symbols are serpents, horses or dogs (Her sacred animals), light (especially a torch), myrrh, silver and moonstone. This Greco-Roman Goddess rules the moon and opportunities. Tonight She opens the path through which the old year departs and the new enters. People customarily worship Hecate at crossroads, where worlds meet, which may be why She became a witch’s Goddess. On this, Hecate’s Day, She bears a torch, lighting the way to the future.

At the eve of a New Year, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a full of Goddess-centered thinking and action. Note your achievements, and thank Hecate for helping you find the way when your vision seemed clouded. An additional benefit here is that speaking this Goddess’s name today banishes unwanted ghosts, including those figurative ghosts of past negative experiences. Let Hecate take those burdens so your new year will begin without anything holding you back.

To accept this Goddess’s powers in your life throughout your celebrations today, wear white or silver items, and light a white candle in Her honor. For a token that will emphasize Hecate’s magic and lunar energies whenever you need them, bless a moonstone, saying something like:

‘Hecate, fill this silver stone
keep your magic with me where ever I roam.’

Carry this, keeping the Goddess close to your heart and spirit.”

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

"Hecate" by Hrana Janto

“Hecate” by Hrana Janto

“At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this Goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally She stopped to gather offerings left by Her devotees where three roads crossed, for this threefold Goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it was even said that Hecate could look three ways because She had three heads: a serpent, a horse, and a dog.

"Hecate redux" by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

“Hecate redux” by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

While Hecate walked outdoors, Her worshipers gathered inside to eat Hecate suppers in Her honor, gatherings at which magical knowledge was shared and the secrets of sorcery whispered and dogs, honey and black female lambs sacrificed. The bitch-Goddess, the snake-Goddess, ruled these powers and She bestowed them on those who worshiped Her honorably. When supper was over, the leftovers were placed outdoors as offerings to Hecate and Her hounds. And if the poor of Greece gathered at the doorsteps of wealthier households to snatch the offerings, what matter?

"Hecate" by Katlyn Breene

“Hecate” by Katlyn Breene

Some scholars say that Hecate was not originally Greek, Her worship having traveled south from Her original Thracian homeland. Others contend that She was a form of the earth mother Demeter, yet another of whose forms was the maiden Persephone. Legends, they claim, of Persephone’s abduction and later residence in Hades give clear prominence to Hecate, who therefore must represent the old wise woman, the crone, the final stage of woman’s growth-the aged Demeter Herself, just as Demeter is the mature Persephone.

In either case, the antiquity of Hecate’s worship was recognized by the Greeks, who called Her a Titan, one of those pre-Olympian divinities whom Zeus and his cohort had ousted. The newcomers also bowed to Her antiquity by granting to Hecate alone a power shared with Zeus, that of granting or withholding from humanity anything She wished. Hecate’s worship continued into classical times, both in the private form of Hecate suppers and in public sacrifices, celebrated by ‘great ones’ or Caberioi, of honey, black female lambs, and dogs, and sometimes black human slaves.

"Hecate" by *Hrefngast

“Hecate” by *Hrefngast

As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said to be the moon-Goddess in Her dark form, as Artemis was the waxing moon and Selene the full moon. But She may as readily have been the earth Goddess, for She ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death She ruled the magical powers of regeneration; in addition, She could hold back Her spectral hordes from the living if She chose. And so Greek women evoked Hecate for protection from Her hosts whenever they left the house, and they erected Her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions” (Monaghan, p. 146 – 148).

hekate__s_advance_by_hellfurian_guard-d38okib

“Hekate’s Advance” by ~Hellfurian-Guard

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Torch, dark moon, raisin & currant cakes, crossroads, three-headed animals or statues, the number 3, masks, and candles.

Animals: Dogs, horses, sheep (especially black female lambs), owls, bats, snakes, and boars.

Plants: Willows, dark yew, blackthorn, groves of trees, saffron, raisins & currants, and gourds (especially pumpkins).

Perfumes/Scents: Queen of the Night (a light flowery fragrance), cinnamon, myrrh, mugwort, honey, lime, and lemon verbena.

Gems and Metals: Sapphire, silver, gold, moonstone, black tourmalin, black onyx, hematite, smoky quartz, and any stone that is dark or luminous.

Colors: Black, orange, yellow-orange, and red-orange.  [1]

 

Some educational and informational videos

 

 

And I just thought this song was kind of catchy 🙂

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Hecate”.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Hekate“.

D’Este, Sorita & David Rankine. Hekate Liminal Rites.

Ford, Michael W. Book of the Witch Moon: Chaos, Vampiric & Luciferian Sorcery, “Hecate”. (p. 99 – 107). (For those with a taste for a “darker” flavor 😉 )

Goddessgift.com, “Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Grimassi, Raven. The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation.

Hecatescauldron.org, “Hecate’s Cauldron“.

Hekate Symposium 2013, “Hekate: Bright Goddess of the Mysteries by Sorita d’Este“.

James-Henderson, Yvonne. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Hecate“.

Kirkpatrick, Carrie. Goddess Enchantment, Magic and Spells Vol 2, “Goddess of Transformation Hecate“.

Littleton, C. Scott. Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, “Hecate” (p. 617 – 620).

MacLeod NicMhacha, Sharynne. Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess, “The Double Life of Hecate” (p. 59 -63).

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Hecate – Crossroads“.

Reichard, Joy. Celebrate the Divine Feminine, “13. Hecate” (p. 167 – 182).

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Hecate: intuitive wise woman“.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

The-goddess-hecate.blogspot.com, “The Goddess Hecate“.

Theoi.com, “Hecate“.

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

Wikipedia, “Hecate“.

Goddess Nina

“Nina’s themes are health, cooperation, dreams, magic and meditation. Her symbols are lions, fish and serpents (Her sacred animals). A very ancient mother Goddess figure in Mesopotamia, Nina has many powers, including healing, herb magic, meditation, dream interpretation and helping civilization along when needed. Today we will be focusing on Her healthful attributes and knowledge of herbs to improve well-being for the winter months.

Pan-American Health Day focuses on worldwide cooperation in the public health field. On the home front, do everything possible to make your home and body healthy and strong. Beginning in your living space, wash the floors using sage water and burn a sage smudge stick. This herb decreases germ infestation and is magically aligned with Nina’s energy. As you go through your home, carry a small bell and add an incantation like this:

‘Nina, come and make us well
banish sickness with the ringing of this bell.’

Ring the bell in each room at the end of the incantation. In many religious traditions, bells are considered to scare away the evil influences that cause sickness.

To overcome a troublesome malady, put a picture of one of Nina’s sacred animals under your pillow to invoke a healing dream. This tradition is very old and sometimes results in healthful energy being conveyed through your dream, or in a dream that shows you what to do for the cure.”

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

First off, I found that Nina is another name the Goddess Inanna.  “Nina, in Assyro-Babylonian mythology, was the daughter of Ea, the god of water, wisdom and technical skill.  Nina is also the Goddess [of] Ninevah, the capital city of ancient Assyria.” [1]

“Ninhursag” by Dalgis Edelson

Then, I ran across this fabulous article entitled “Nina: Ancient Sumerian Mother of the Mermaids“.  Apparently, “in the cities of Harran and Ur, they called Her ‘Ningal‘ or ‘Nikkal‘; in Nippur, ‘Ninlil‘; and, at the shrine at Al Ubaid, She was ‘Ninhursag‘. When spoken of in conjunction with ‘Nammu‘ and the myth of the formation of the people of the Earth, She was ‘Ninmah’.

In Her capacity as Comforter of Orphans, Caretaker of the Elderly and the Ill, Shelterer of the Homeless and Feeder of the Hungry, She was called ‘Nanshe‘; on the plains of Khafajah, ‘Ninti‘ or ‘Nintu‘; on the Isle of Dilmun, ‘Nin Sikil‘.

When She provided: healing herbs, ‘Ninkarrak‘, ‘Gula’ or ‘Bau‘; dream interpretation, ‘Ninsun‘ or ‘Ninsunna’; beer and wine for holy rites, ‘Ninkasi‘, or, as She arose from the deep waters of the primordial sea, simply: Ama Gal Dingir, the Mother Great Goddess.

The Goddess ‘Atargatis‘ (who maintained a presence at the temple of Ascalon on the Mediterranean Coast, famous for its dove cotes and as a shrine of oracular prophesy) is considered to be quite possibly connected to the early Sumerian images of Nina or Nammu because of Her association with the city of Nineveh (on the Tigris River) and Her primary image as a Goddess of the sea — depicted with the tail of a fish!

“Atargatis” by *PinkParasol                                                                                                                                                     

Whether Atargatis came ashore from the Mediterranean at Ascalon or was born of the waters of the Tigris is a matter for debate. That She bore a daughter who walked on two feet, Shammuramat, is not. Also, it is known that upon Her altars, Her priestesses and devotees sacrificed to Her fish.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Jean. Gather.com, “Nina: Ancient Sumerian Mother of Mermaids“.

Orrar.net, “Goddess Nina“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Sacred-texts.com, “CHAPTER VI: Wars of the City States of Sumer and Akkad“.

Siren, Christopher. Home.comcast.net, “Sumerian Mythology FAQ“.

Goddess Eurynome

 

“Eurynome” by Hrana Janto

“Eurynome’s themes are unity, peace and balance. Her symbols is sacred dancing. This ancient Greek Goddess reached out to the chaos at the beginning of time, embraced it, and made order in the world. Through Her sacred dance, the winds were born, from Her womb came the land and the stars, and then She created rulers for the poles (one male, one female) so that balance would forever be maintained.  [Also born from the chaos was Gaia, the Earth Mother].

On October 24, 1945, the peace-keeping United Nations was formally established in the orderly spirit of Eurynome to stress the need for understanding between people and the power of working for a unified cause.

To honor this occasion and uplift Eurynome’s positive energies, gather today with any group that you work with regularly. Do something together that focuses on your power as a group to really make a difference in one another, your community, or the world.

To bring Eurynome’s organization and balance into your home, take a small bowl filled with water and three drops each of one male-oriented herbal oil (like cedar, clove, lavender, mint, or pine) and one female-oriented oil (like apple, coconut, jasmine, lemon or vanilla). Put on some inspiring music, dance joyfully around your living space, and sprinkle this water as you go to draw Eurynome’s blessings to you.”

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

“Gaia 1 Photograph” by Renata Ratajczyk

Patricia Monaghan writes: “The most ancient of Greek Goddesses, She rose naked from the primordial chaos and instantly began to dance: a dance that separated light from darkness and sea from sky.  Whirling in a passion of movement, Eurynome created behind Herself a [north] wind that grew lustful toward Her.  Turning to face it, She grasped the wind in Her hands, rolled it like clay into a serpent, and named it Ophion.

Then Eurynome [pronounced you-reh’ no-may] had intercourse with the wind serpent and, transforming Herself into a dove, laid the universal egg from which creation hatched.  Installing Herself high above the new earth on Mt. Olympus, Eurynome looked down on it complacently.  But Ophion, Her own creation, bragged that he had been responsible for all that was tangible.  Forthwith Eurynome kicked out his teeth and threw him into an underworld dungeon.

“Goddess of the Tides” by Jonathon Earl Bowser

There was another Goddess of this name – or perhaps the later Eurynome was an elaboration of the creator Goddess.  Said by the Greeks to rule the sea, She may have been the same Goddess as – or part of a trinity with – the great sea rulers Tethys and Thetis.  The ‘wide ruling one,’ Eurynome had a temple in wild Arcadia, difficult to reach and open only once a year.  If pilgrims penetrated the sanctuary, they found the image of the Goddess as a woman with a a snake’s tail, tied with golden chains.  In this form, Eurynome of the sea was said to have been the mother of all pleasure, embodied in the beautiful triplets, the Graces [by Zeus]” (p. 119).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

Suggested Links:

Elliott, Daphne. Pantheon.org, “Greek Creation Myths“.

Eurynome.com, “The Mother of Us All“.

Leeming, David & Jake Page. Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine, “Eurynome“.

Theoi.com, “Eurynome“.

Westmoreland, Perry L. Ancient Greek Beliefs.

Wikipedia, “Eurynome (Oceanid)“.

Goddess Çhicomecoatl

“Çhicomecoatl’s themes are fire, providence, energy, community, abundance, fertility and strength. Her symbols are hot spices (especially chili peppers), corn and fire.  In Mexico, this Goddess presides over maize and all matters of plenty during this time of harvest. Çhicomecoatl is also the hearth Goddess and provides warmth, energy and fertility in those in need. Her fiery, strong character is depicted vibrantly in artistic renderings in which Çhicomecoatl bears the sun as a shield.

Around this time of year, people in New Mexico celebrate The Whole Enchilada Festival in which they enjoy a day of taste-testing a ten-foot-long enchilada in a communal atmosphere, and you might like to follow suit.  The hot spices in enchiladas (or other Mexican foods you like) motivate Çhicomecoatl’s fire within for physical and emotional warmth. If you’re sensitive to hot peppers, add corn to your diet today instead. This invokes the Goddess’s strength and fertility.

More simply still, Çhicomecoatl abides in any fire source. So, light a candle first thing in the morning to welcome Her into your home today. For portable magic, carry matches or put a lighter in your pocket. Throughout the day, light a match or the lighter when ever you need a boost of energy or vitality, or when you need to improve your communications with those around you. This action also draws Çhicomecoatl’s attention to your financial needs.”

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

“In Aztec mythology, Chicomecōātl (‘Seven snakes’), was the Aztec Goddess of agriculture during the Middle Culture period. She is sometimes called ‘Goddess of nourishment’, a Goddess of plenty and the female aspect of corn. Every September a young girl representing Chicomecōātl was sacrificed. The priests decapitated the girl, collected her blood and poured it over a figurine of the Goddess. The corpse was then flayed and the skin was worn by a priest.

She is regarded as the female counterpart of the maize god Centeōtl, their symbol being an ear of corn. She is occasionally called Xilonen, (‘the hairy one’, which referred to the hairs on unshucked maize), who was married also to Tezcatlipoca.

She often appeared with attributes of Chalchiuhtlicue, such as Her headdress and the short lines rubbing down Her cheeks. She is usually distinguished by being shown carrying ears of maize.” [1]

“CHICOMECOATL” by ~marffi89

“This maize Goddess of the Aztecs had many forms, as many as did the growing corn: She was a maiden decked with water flowers, a young woman whose embrace brought death, a mother carrying the sun as a shield.  One of the most popular divinities of ancient Mexico, She was depicted wearing a four-sided headdress and carrying a magic corncob labeled ‘forgiving strength.’  It is possible that Çhicomecoatl was originally worshiped by the residents of central Mexico who preceded the Aztecs, and that Her rites in their era were less bloody than the Aztec sacrifices of young girls in Çhicomecoatl’s name” (Monaghan, p. 85).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Chicomecoatl“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Key, Anne. Matrifocus.com, “Chicomecóatl: Goddess of Sustenance“. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!  As always is the case with MatriFocus, a great in-depth article)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Maize Deity (Chicomecoatl)“.

Goddess Nugua

“Nu Kua” by Susanne Iles

“Nugua’s themes are balance, masculinity, femininity, cooperation and equality. Her symbols are the Yin-Yang symbol and opposites.  In China, Nugua is know as ‘she who restores balance.’ Nugun’s energy brings life back into equilibrium when circumstances may have threatened us with chaos. In art She is depicted as being part rainbow-colored dragon and part woman, representing the importance of maintaining balance between the lower and the higher self.

Around this time of year, when the daylight and nighttime hours are growing closer to equal, the Chinese hold a dragon-boat festival that revels in Nugua’s balance-the masculine (yin) and feminine (yang), the light and the dark and the cooperative energies that dance between the tow. To commemorate this yourself, be sure to carry a coin with you (the heads/tails represents duality), but keep it where you won’t accidentally spend it. Bless it saying,

‘By day and dark, Nugua’s balance impart.’

If negativity threatens your sense of stability, follow Chinese custom and drum out the evil. Use anything that has a drum-like sound, move counterclockwise, the direction of banishing and visualize Nugua’s rainbow filling every inch of your home.

Offering beans, peachers and rice are also customary. So, either leave these in a special spot or eat them to internaoze any of Nuguga’s attributes you need today.”

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

“Nu-Gua” by ~nuu

Today’s entry is another name for a Goddess that was previously researched back on February 13, Nu Kua.  Instead of reblogging that entry, I will cite what Patricia Monaghan says about Nu Kua.

“The creator Goddess of ancient China made the first human being from yellow clay.  At first, She carefully molded them.  At length, finding this too tedious, Nu Kua just dipped a rope into slip-like clay and shook it to so drops splattered onto the ground.  Thus were two types of beings born: from molded figures, nobles; from the clay drops, peasants.

Later this serpent-bodied Goddess quelled a rebellion against the heavenly order and, when the dying rebel chief shook heaven’s pillars out of alignment, She restored order by melting multi-colored stones to rebuild the blue sky.  Finding other problems on earth, Nu Kua set about correcting them: She cut off the toes of a giant tortoise and used them to mark the compass’ points; She burned reeds into ashes, using them to dam the flooding rivers.  She also concerned Herself with the chaos of human relations, and established rites of marriage so that children would be raised well.  Order restored, Nu Kua retreated to the distant sky – Her domain and Her attribute” (p. 233 – 234).

Sources:

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

Suggested Links:

Ferrebeekeeper, “Nüwa, the Serpent Goddess“.

Iles, Susanne. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Nu-kua, the Goddess of Creation.”

Squidoo, “Nu Kua, Dragon Goddess of Love“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Nu Kua“.

Wikipedia, “Nüwa“.

Wu, Helen. Chinesestoryonline.com, “Chinese Were Created by a Goddess – Nuwa“.

“Goddess of Rice” by echo-x

“Boru Deak Parudjar’s themes are the harvest, blessings, longevity, courage, opportunity. Her symbols are soil and rice. The Malaysian creatrix and guardian of life, Boru Deak Parudjar grew bored of the upper realms and jumped away from them as soon as an opportunity opened up. It is this type of adventurous spirit and leap of faith that she inspires today.

In local legend, Boru Deak Parudjar’s father, Batara Guru (the creator god of Sumatra), sent a bit of soil to the water to await his daughter in the lower worlds. The earth grew to sustain the Goddess. This change in the waters made Naga (a primordial sea serpent) very angry – he wiggled until Boru Deak Parudjar’s earth began to cleave, creating mountains and valleys. Which just goes to show that stirring things up sometimes has a good outcome!

Following ancient custom, the elder of a house makes sacrifices and prays poetically for direction, the Goddess’s blessings, health and good harvest. Foods include rice dishes and rice wine. So, add any rice dish to your diet today: rice cereal for Boru Deak Parudjar’s growth-oriented energy, rice pudding for Her sweet blessings, herbed rice to spice up your life with a little adventure. When you need a bit of this Goddess’s courage, place a piece of rice in your footprint (someplace where it won’t be disturbed). As you put rice in the imprint, say,

‘Let courage guide my feet all this day.'”

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

From my research, Boru Deak Parudjar didn’t jump from the upper realms because She was bored; She jumped into the primordial waters of the middle world to escape marrying Raja Odap-Odap – a lizard god to whom Her sister was betrothed to before she committed suicide after finding out that he preferred Boru Deak Parudjar to her. [1]

“Among the Batak of Indonesia, this creatrix, Si Boru Deak Parujar, was born in the heavens with Her sister, Sorbayati.  Their parents arranged for Sorbayati, the older sister, to marry the lizard god, Raja Odap-Odap.  but at a dance party he revealed that he really preferred Si Boru Deak Parajar.  Humiliated, Sorbayati threw herself off heaven’s balcony; her body disintegrated into bamboo and rattan.  The bereaved Sister then descended.  Since She could not bring back Her sister, Si Boru Deak Parujar created the earth on the back of a snake.  Only after doing so would She agree to marry the lizard god, who was transformed into a human at the wedding.  From this union were born the first humans, including the first woman, Si Boru Ihat Manisia, and her twin borther, [Si Raja Ihat Manisia]. (Bonnefoy)” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Bonnefoy, Yves. Asian Mythologies, “The Origin of Humanity and the Descent to Earth of the First Human Beings in the Myths of Indonesia“. (p.166)

Leeming, David Adams. Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1, “Batak“. (p. 66)

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines,Si Boru Deak Parujar” (p. 224).

 

 

Suggested Links:

Foubister, Linda. Goddess in the Grass: Serpentine Mythology and the Great Goddess, The Cosmic Serpent“. (p. 29)

Slayford-Wei, Lian. Helium, “The History and Significance of the Goddess: Boru Deak Parudjar“.

Wikipedia, “Dewi Sri“.

Goddess Tanat

“Tanit, Ibicenco Godess” by Dominique Sanson

“Tanat’s themes are unity, joy and luck.  Her symbols are flowers and triangles.  In Cornwall, Tanat is the mother Goddess of fertility who has given all Her attention to nursing spring into its fullness. She also staunchly protects Her children (nature and people) so that our spirits can come to know similar fulfillment.

The Furry Dance is an ancient festival that rejoices in Tanat’s fine work manifested in spring’s warmth and beauty. To bring this Goddess’s lucky energy into your life, it’s customary to dance with a partner. In fact, the more people you can get dancing, the more fortunate the energy! Usually this is done on the streets throughout a town as a show of regional unity, but when propriety won’t allow such a display, just dance around a room together instead. Don’t worry about the steps – just do what feels right.

Wearing something with floral or triangular motifs (guys, wear a necktie, and gals, pull out a square scarf and fold it in half crosswise) activates Tanat’s happiness in your life and in any region where you have the token on today. As you don the item, say:

‘Liberate happiness in and around
by Tanat’s blossoming power
joy will be found!’

Or, if you want to use the same thing to generate unity and harmony, use this incantation:

 ‘Harmony and unity
Tanat’s blessings come to me!’

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

“Temple of Tanit” by hold-steady

According to Edain McCoy, the Goddess “Tanit (Cornish) [was] a Phoenician moon and fertility Goddess.  Many scholars and mythologists believe She came into the Celtic pantheon as Dana or Dôn, both mother Goddesses.  Tanit was worshiped as Tanat in Cornwall on Beltaine.” [1]  As I couldn’t find any other information on the Celtic Tanat, I will continue this entry on the Phoenician-Carthaginian Goddess Tanit.

“Tanit” by suburbanbeatnik

“Tanit, or Tanith, is the Great Goddess of Carthage, worshipped there as its chief Deity as ‘the Lady of Carthage’. She is a Sky Goddess who ruled over the Sun, Stars, and Moon; and as a Mother Goddess She was invoked for fertility. The palm tree is Hers, as the desert version of the Tree of Life; and as symbolic of the life-force of the Earth the serpent is Hers as well—in fact Her name means ‘Serpent Lady’. She is identified with both Ashtart (Astarte) and Athirat, and Her other symbols include the dove, grapes and the pomegranate (both symbolic of fruitfulness and fertility), the crescent moon, and, like Ashtart, the lion.

Carthage was a city of the Phoenician colony in northern Africa, not far from the modern city of Tunis in Tunisia. Carthage, the Roman rendition of the Phoenician name Karthadasht, which means ‘New Town’, was founded in around the 9th century BCE, by Dido (‘Giver’ or ‘Grantor [of prayers]’, or alternately ‘Wanderer’) or Elissa (from the Phoenician Elishat), the daughter of the King of Tyre in Roman legend. Dido, however, being also used as an epithet of the Phoenician Moon-Goddess, is probably to be considered an aspect of or alternate name for Tanit, the patron Goddess of Carthage. Worship of Tanit dates to the 5th century BCE, and it is unsure whether Tanit was a local deity adapted by the Phoenician colonists or a version of Ashtart/Athirat they had brought with them from Phoenicia.

With Her consort Ba’al-Hammon, the God of the Sky, She watched over and protected Carthage. As a protective Deity She had some martial aspects, and like Ashtart could be depicted riding a lion holding a spear or long sceptre. In Carthage She was said to have an Oracle; perhaps this is connected to Her role as Star-Goddess.

The Sign of the Goddess Tanit. Carthage. c. 5th century BCE to 2nd century CE

Tanit has Her own abstract symbol, peculiarly Hers (and accordingly called the ‘symbol of Tanit’): a triangle with a circle at the top, with a horizontal line between the two; sometimes two additional vertical bars come from the ends of the horizontal. This has been interpreted as either a stylization of an altar, or a woman or Goddess in a long dress, Her arms upraised in an attitude of worship or blessing.

From Carthage (modern Tunisia), north Africa 1st century CE

Some stelae do show a more realistic depiction of the Goddess in this attitude, so my money is on it as an abstract depiction of a woman. This symbol is found all over Carthage, though there is only one example of it in Phoenicia itself.

Carthage was at once time the great enemy of Rome, and three bitter wars were fought between the two powers over the course of more than a hundred years in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. The Romans eventually were the victors, and in their hatred utterly destroyed the city; according to tradition the city was razed and the site plowed with salt so that nothing would ever grow there again.

The utter destruction of the city notwithstanding, remains of a sanctuary to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon have been found, with a children’s cemetery adjacent. The Carthaginians and Phoenicians had a reputation for the sacrifice of children, though many of the accounts of it come from peoples who were not unbiased, such as the Hebrews or the Romans. In Phoenicia, the Hebrews claimed that the Phoenicians burned children to their God ‘Moloch‘ (of whom there is little to no other evidence) by burning them alive.

            

In Carthage, the great children’s cemetery has been taken as indication of child sacrifice to both Ba’al-Hammon and Tanit, for many of the stelae above the remains are inscribed to those Deities. The cemetery was named in modern times the Tophet, from a Biblical word for ‘Hell’, referring to the place in Jerusalem where the children were allegedly given to Moloch. Much of the evidence for infanticide among the Phoenicians is questionable at best; the accounts from the Bible and Rabbinical tradition especially are subject to mistranslations and biases. Among other ancient writers the idea of child sacrifice among the Phoenicians is not mentioned, even though some of them were avowed enemies of Phoenicia. This issue is still being debated on both sides; my take on it (which is of course subject to my own bias) is to seriously doubt that children were sacrificed, and to attribute most of the stories to propaganda, repeated by different enemy cultures (especially the Romans). Why would people sacrifice children to an otherwise benevolent Mother Goddess? And given the number of remains that have been found—20,000 urns dating from 400-200 BCE—what civilization is going to kill that many of its own children? I suspect that the graves found in the so-called ‘Tophet’ of Carthage are simply the remains of children who died naturally in a time when infant mortality was much higher than in modern times, and during which several wars were fought—tough times when it might be expected less children would survive. That the stelae are inscribed to Tanit and Ba’al-Hammon is not surprising; it does not mean that they were sacrificed to those Deities, rather that they were committed to the safekeeping of the Goddess and God after death.

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

The Romans, despite their hatred for the Carthaginians, identified Tanit with their Juno Lucina, an aspect of their Great Goddess as Mother and Patroness of Childbirth, a Light-Goddess who brings forth children into the day. As Tanit was also a Goddess of the Sky, the Romans named Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, or Virgo Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Virgin’.

In Roman legend, Hannibal, the great general of Carthage, raided a temple of Juno Lucina, near Crotona, a city in southern Italy originally founded by the Greeks (therefore technically the temple is to Hera Lacinia). This temple was famous for having a column of solid gold; Hannibal, to test the story, drilled into the column. Finding that it was indeed solid, he decided he would take it as plunder. That night, however, he dreamt that the Goddess warned him not to despoil Her temple, telling him that She’d destroy his remaining eye if he did. In Juno Lacinia Hannibal recognized his own hometown Goddess, Tanit, so left the column unmolested in the temple. From the filings of the column he had a golden cow cast, which was then placed on the top of the column.

4th century BCE Carthaginian coin featuring the Goddess Tanit.

On coins of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE She is occasionally depicted riding a lion and holding a lance; generally She is shown in portrait form wearing a diadem or crown, with wheat sheaves bound in Her hair as a wreath, the crescent moon behind.

Tanit’s worship was spread from Carthage to SpainMalta and Sardinia, especially by soldiers. The temple on the acropolis of Selinus in Sicily may be Hers, for examples of Her symbol have been found there. Under Her name Virgo Caelestis, Tanit/Juno had a shrine in Rome on the north side of the Capitoline Hill.

“Tanit” by Monica Sjöö

Tanit’s statue was brought to Rome by the young Emperor Elagabalus, who reigned 218-222 CE, and who was notoriously reviled as a depraved pervert (he was quite obviously gay, though who knows how much of his legend is true and how much is exaggerated). He was murdered at age 18 in a latrine, his body dragged through the streets before being thrown into the Tiber like a common criminal. He was, however, also a big fan of the eastern Deities, and gets his name from his worship of the Sun-God Elagabal. He had a great temple to Elagabal built in Rome, and installed the statue of Tanit there, calling Her Caelestis.Also called: Tanith, Tent, Thinit, Tinnit, Rat-tanit; Tanis is the Greek version of Her name. She was called ‘Lady of Carthage’, ‘Lady of the Sanctuary’, and ‘the Face of Ba’al’. The Romans called Her Dea Caelestis, ‘the Heavenly Goddess’, Virgo Caelestis ‘the Heavenly Virgin’, and Caelestis Afrorum Dea, ‘the African/Carthaginian Heavenly Goddess’, as well as the assimilated name Juno Caelestis.

She was identified with Aphrodite, Demeter, and Artemis by the Greeks and with Juno by the Romans, especially their Juno Lucina, Goddess of Light and Childbirth. The Romans also associated Her with the Magna Mater, the Great Mother, Rhea or Kybele. [2]

Sources:

McCoy, Edain. Celtic Women’s Spirituality: Accessing the Cauldron of Life, “Tanit“.

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

Suggested Links:

Sheldon, Natasha. Archeology@Suite 101, “The Trophet of Carthage: Site of Human Sacrifice to Baal and Tanit or a Children’s Graveyard?

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive!The Mysteries of Tanit – 1: The Phoenicians in Spain“.

Sjöö, Monica. Goddess Alive! The Mysteries of Tanit – 2: Tanit of Ibiza“.

Wikipedia, “Tanit“.

Goddess Ix Chel

“Medicine Woman” by Lisa Iris

“Ix Chel’s themes are weather, children, fertility, and health.  Her symbols are water, turquoise, jade, silver, and blue or white items.  The aqueous Mayan Goddess of water, the moon, medicine and childbirth, Ix Chel lives in the land of mists and rainbows. Art shows Her wearing a skirt that flows with fertile waters, dotted with water lilies, and adorned with tiny bits of turquoise and jade. This skirt reaches all the way to earth, filling our lives with Ix Chel’s well-being and enrichment.

Believing that the Frost Spirit lives in the cliffs of Santa Eulalia, people brave the sheer stones once a year and make prayers to the weather deities to keep away further intrusion by the frost, which would ruin crops. Ix Chel is present to witness, being part of the frost and part of the nurturing rains, for which the priest also pray. For our purposes this equates to calling on Ix Chel’s energy to ‘defrost’ a frozen or emotionally chilly situation, or to rain on us with her healing power.

To protect your health specifically, carry a turquoise, which also safeguards you during your travel today. To inspire productivity or fertility, wear blue and white items, repeating this incantation as you put them on:

Ix Chel, be in this <…….> of blue
so my thoughts stay fixed on you
Ix Chel, be in this <…….> of white
bring abundance both day and night.'”

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

“Ix Chel” by Hrana Janto

Ix Chel (pronounced ‘ee shell’) is the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving and Childbirth. She was worshipped among the Maya of the Yucatan peninsula.  She is the Mother of all of the Mayan deities and rules over the cycles of life and death.  As the ‘Keeper of Souls’, She is constantly evolving from a young beautiful maiden into the wisened old crone who shares the wisdom of the ages with Her people.

Ix-Chel was almost too beautiful, this girl with opalescent skin who set in the skies brushing Her Shimmering hair for hours on end.  All the gods were captivated by Her.  All but one, that is.  Kinich Ahau, the Sun God, seemed immune to Ix-Chel’s charms. Yet he was the only one She really ever wanted. For years She had longed for him as She watched him glide across the sky in all his golden splendor.

But the more Ix-Chel followed him around, the worse the weather on earth became.  As She chased after him the tides would rise, creating floods that inundated the fields and caused the crops to die. So enamored was She, that Ix-Chel did not even notice the havoc She was causing.

Like many moon Goddesses Ix-Chel was a fine weaver, and it was the beautiful cloth She wove that finally captured Kinich Ahau’s attention. Soon they had become lovers.

“Mayan Myth – Goddess Ixchel” by emanuellakozas

Out of disapproval, Her grandfather hurled lightning jealously at Her, killing the girl. Grieving dragonflies sang over Ix Chel for 13 days, at the end of which time She emerged, whole and alive, and followed Her lover to his palace. But there the sun in turn grew jealous of the Goddess, accusing Her of taking a new lover: his brother, the morning star. He threw Ix Chel from heaven; She found sanctuary with the vulture divinity; the sun pursued Her and lured Her home; but immediately, he grew jealous again.

During the time the two were together, Ix Chel had born the Sun God four sons.  They are the jaguar gods who are able to creep through the night, sight unseen.  They were named for the ‘Four Directions’, and it is said that each one is responsible for holding up his corner of the earth.

“Ix Chel” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Ix-Chel finally realized that Kinich Ahau was not going to change and decided to leave him for good. Waiting until he fell asleep, She crept out into the night, taking the form of a jaguar and becoming invisible whenever he came searching for Her.

“Ix Chel” by Marcia Snedecor

Many nights She spent on Her sacred island, Cozumel, nursing women during their pregnancies and childbirth. Ix-Chel, like other moon Goddesses, governed women’s reproductive systems so it was quite understandable that She would become the protector of women during pregnancy and labor.  Mayan women were expected, at least once in their lifetime, to complete a pilgrimage to Her sacred island to offer Her gifts and to receive Her blessings.  For hundreds of years, these women made the twelve mile trip by boat, and many of the Mayan shrines dedicated to Her are still standing today.

The small Isla Mujeres (“Island of Women”) was devoted to the worship of Ix-Chel. Comfortable with all phases of life, She was honored as the weaver of the life cycle. She protected the fertility of women and was also the keeper of the souls of the dead.

“Ix Chel” by Meg Easling

As the ancient fertility Goddess, Ix Chel was responsible for sending the rains which nourished the crops, and while She was fulfilling that function, She was called ‘Lady Rainbow’.  Ix stands for Goddess and Chel for rainbow. [1] [2] [3]

“Ix Chel is shown below in three of Her many aspects. Left to right: Chak Chel, the Old Moon Goddess, called the Midwife of Creation; Ix Chel in Her main form as Mother Goddess and Weaver who set the Universe in motion; and the Young Moon Goddess, shown with Her totem animal the rabbit.

“Ix Chel” by Thalia Took

Ix Chel is a great Water Goddess, the consort of the chief God of the Maya pantheon, Votan. Her name means “Lady Rainbow”, and She is said to have founded the city of Palenque at the command of the Gods. She is a Weaver Goddess, whose whirling drop spindle is said to be at the center of the motion of the Universe. She has many aspects and titles, such as Ix Kanleom, the ‘Spider’s Web Catching the Morning Dew’, and Ix Chebal Yax. Her Nahua (Mexican/Aztec) counterpart is said to be Chalchiuhtlicue.

Chak Chel, ‘Great (or Red) Rainbow’ is the Goddess who brings about the destruction of the third creation by causing a great flood. By pouring the waters from Her jar, She prepared the way for the next age, known in Maya legend as the Fourth Sun. She is shown as an old midwife, for experienced elderly women helped younger women to give birth, and were traditionally caretakers of children. Chak Chel also helped the Maize God to be reborn, and helped in the birth of His own sons. She is shown in a pose traditional to Her, with the twisted hair-do of elderly women (though they usually wrapped it up with a strip of cloth rather than a snake).

The Young Moon Goddess may have originally been a different Goddess of the Moon who was later absorbed into Ix Chel’s legend. She is often depicted with a rabbit, for the Maya, like the Chinese, saw a rabbit in the markings on the face of the Moon. She is said to be of a merry and somewhat loose character, and rabbits are also famed for their reproductive abilities. She (as Ix Chel) had a great shrine on the island of Cozumel (one of the places to which hurricane Wilma recently caused great destruction) to which pilgrims came from all over. The crescent-shaped chair on which She sits is the Maya glyph for the Moon, Her symbol.

Thalia Took pained Ix Chel in modern Maya traditional clothing featuring the astonishing gorgeous handwoven textiles still made in remote areas of Maya country (mostly modern-day Guatemala). She sits upon a Sky-Bar, known from Maya glyphs and carvings and used as a symbol of the sky; figures drawn above or over the Sky-Bar are usually deities, or the dead. Chak Chel pours water from a jar marked with the glyph for water, and the color scheme and water critters are taken from the beautiful Maya-style frescoes found at Cacaxtla, Mexico.” [4]

“Ix Chel Mayan Moon Goddess” by Katherine Skaggs

“There is a lot we can learn from Ix Chel.  Ix Chel is the Goddess who REFUSED to become a victim of oppression.  This was a woman who, when faced with adversity, took control of Her own life and turned it around.  She teaches us that women do not have to be a victim, that we have the power of choice, and we should never let anyone take that away from us. She encourages us to acknowledge the negative forces affecting our lives and prompts us to assert ourselves fully in the face of physical or emotional violence that would diminish our sense of self.” [5] [6]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Related Names: The Queen, Lady Rainbow, Eagle Woman, Our Mother, the White Lady, Goddess of Becoming, Mother Earth, the Womb, the Cave of Life, Keeper of the Bones

Related Patronages: Water, Healing, Medicine, Weaving, Sexuality, Fertility, Childbirth, Magic

Related Animals: Dragonfly (symbolizing sense of self and creative imagination); Feathered Serpent (symbolizing energy of transformation); Snake (symbolizing renovation, renewal and medicine); Rabbit (symbolizing abundance and fertility); Red Jaguar (symbolizing authority and power)

Related essences: Almond, bergamot, marigold, oriental lily, vanilla

Related gemstones: Agate, brown jasper (orange stones), carnelian, coral

 

Sources:

Franklin, Anna. merciangathering.com, “IX CHEL“.

Goddessgift.com, “Ix-Chel, Goddess of the Moon“.

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

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Ix Chel“.

Mystic Wicks, “Ix Chel {Goddess of the Week}“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Ix Chel“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Ix Chel“.

Suggested Links:

Artemisia. Order of the White Moon, “Ixchel“.

The Blue Roebuck, “Ix Chel“.

Carol. Tribe.net, “Ix Chel – Goddess of the Moon“.

Home, Shonagh. Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “IxChel: romantic radiance“.

Wikipedia, “Ixchel“.

Goddess Mawu

“Mawu” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Mawu’s themes are creativity, Universal Law, passion, abundance, birth, and inspiration.  Her symbols are clay and the moon.  Mawu arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy. Hers is a wise passion and a timely birth, being ruled by natural laws and universal order. In Africa, She is a lunar-aligned creatrix who made people from clay. As a mother figure, Mawu inspires the universe’s abundance and every dreamers imagination.

Rituals for Mawu rejoice in Her life-giving energy, often through lovemaking. In Africa, people take this seed generation literally and sow the fields, knowing that Mawu will make the land fertile. So get yourself a seedling today and bring it into the house to welcome Mawu and Her creative powers. Name the sprout after one of Mawu’s attributes that you want to cultivate. Each time you water or tend the plant, repeat its name and accept Mawu’s germinating energy into your spirit.

Alternatively, get some non-hardening clay and begin fashioning a symbol of what you need. Devote yourself to spending time on this over twenty-eight days (a lunar cycle), until it’s complete. Each time you work, say:

 ‘Mother Mawu, make me whole
Help me obtain my sacred goal.’

By the time this is finished, you should see the first signs of manifestation.”

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

In Dahomey mythology, Mawu, (pronounced MAH-woo) and sometimes alternatively spelled Mahu, is a West African Mother Earth creator Goddess associated with both the sun and moon.  She is the Goddess of the night, of joy, and of motherhood as well as the ruler of the world’s wisdom and knowledge.   She is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world. Sometimes She is seen as a moon Goddess, the twin sister-wife of the sun god Lisa (alternatively spelled Liza), but sometimes “She” is seen as one androgynous or hermaphroditic deity, Mawu-Lisa.  Mahu and Lisa are the children of Nana Buluku, and are the parents of Xevioso.   [1] [2] [3]

“Mawu and Lisa had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, and they divided the responsibilities of the world among them. Mawu is also the Goddess of motherhood, since it was she that created the first humans out of clay, and she gives humans their souls.”  [4]

“Mawu” by Lisa Iris

“After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When She asked Awe, a monkey She had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only She could give life and that She could also take it away.

This myth is similar to the Yoruba story of Yemaja and Aganju, parents of the Orishas.” [5]

“Mawu” by Lisa Hunt

In another version of Her story I read,  “Mawu is said to have created all of the life on earth with Her husband, Liza, but after doing so, She worried that it might be too heavy…and so She called on the serpent Aido Hwedo for help. Legend has it that the serpent thus curled itself into a ball beneath the earth and pushed it up into the sky; Mawu then retired to the jungle realm of heaven and for awhile, all remained in peace and harmony.

But, before long, the people of the earth began to fight amongst each other….having forgotten that it was Mawu who had provided each of them with not only the world on which they lived, but also the essence of life, their souls.   To fight each other was to fight Mawu as well.  Mawu then sought aid from the monkey, Awe, who turned out to be an insolent braggart who boasted that he was just as powerful as She.  He boasted that he, too, could make life…and when the people of Earth heard this, they began to believe him.

To prove it, he chopped down a tree and carved on it all the features of a person, and when he was finished, he stepped back and said that he had created a person.  Mawu observed that wooden figure lying on the ground and remarked that the figured didn’t do anything and She challenged Awe to breathe life into it.  Awe then gulped a tremendous breath of air and blew it strongly, but the person continued to lie still and mute on the ground.  Once again he tried and this time, he blew so strongly that the wooden figure moved in the wind’s path, but it remained lifeless.  After two more attempts, he admitted that he had been defeated and hung his head in shame, acknowledging that only Mawu could make life; he said that he would return to the world below and tell everyone that he had been wrong.

But, Mawu knew he really didn’t mean it, that he was a charlatan, and once he returned to earth, he would only start boasting again.  So, She made him a bowl of porridge to eat before his long journey, and into this porridge She had put the seed of death.  And only after Awe had finished eating did he learn of the seed he had eaten and would carry back to earth the knowledge that She and no other is the giver and taker of life.” [6]

Sources:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Mawu“.

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Mawu“.

Wikipedia, “Mawu“.

Suggested Links:

Antoine Family Reunion. Antoine Family Reunion, “The Vodun Creation Story“.

Goddess. The Grateful Goddess, “Goddess of the Month ~ Mawu“. 

Iles, Susan. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

The Goddess Temple, Inc. Talk with the Goddess, “Goddess Mawu“.

Moon, Tora. The Goddess Speaks, “Mawu – Goddess of Creation (Dahomey of West Africa)“.

Solarlottery.com, “Mawu-Lisa the Creators: An African Tale“.

West African Diaspora Mami Wata Vodoun, “Exploits of the Gods“.

Goddess Nu Kua

“Nu Kua, Chinese Creation Dragon Goddess” by Susanne Iles

“Nu Kua’s themes are luck, opportunity, abundance, order and divination.  Her symbols are clay and serpents.  Nu Kua is an ancient Chinese creatrix who created who formed people out of yellow clay and invented the flute. Today She plays Her music bearing good fortune, opportunity and the organizational skills with which to make both  useful. She also serenades the earth back to fullness after winter.  In legends, this serpent-bodied Goddess re-established order on the earth after a terrible rebellion. Nu Kua used melted stones to refashion the sky, tortoise toes to mark the four winds, and reeds to hold back overflowing rivers. Once this was done, the earth returned to its former beauty.

The eighth day of the Chinese new year celebrates the birthday of humanity, fashioned by Nu Kwa, and is filled with omens about human fate. For example, any person or animal born on this day is considered doubly blessed and destined for prosperity. So consider taking out a divination tool today and seeing what fate holds for you.

To generate Nu Kua’s luck or organizational skills in your life, make and carry a clay Nu Kua charm. Get some moulding clay from a toy store (if possible, choose a color that suits your goal, like green for money). Shape this into a symbol of your goal, saying:

‘From Nu Kua blessings poured
Luck and order be restored.’

If you can’t get clay, bubblegum will work too.”

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

She is one of the oldest and most powerful of the female deities from one of the Earth’s oldest civilizations.  She is depicted as a beautiful creature, half-woman, half-dragon…who wanders the Earth.   It is She who created order from the primordial chaos of the Universe, settling the land, the sea, and the sky into place. Some tales make Her the wife of Her older brother, Fu-hsi, one of the first sovereigns, whom She later succeeded.  The following myth tells the story of how the world began.

In the beginning of time, there was nothing but a cosmic egg which was formed of chaos.  A giant named P’an Kun was formed from the chaos; he slept for 18,000 years, and when he awakened, the egg cracked, and darkness poured out…along with the light which had been hidden within the chaos.  The darkness fell to create the Earth, while the light fragments joined together and created the heavens (Yin and Yang). However, P’an Kun feared that chaos might return if the light fell into the dark below, he made it his mission to keep the two separated until he was sure it was safe.

Thousands of years passed by; eventually, P’an Ku sunk down into the Earth in exhaustion and died. His expired breath became wind and clouds while his body and his limbs formed the mountains and hills. His blood began to flow as the streams and the rivers. His hair took root became the vegetation; his teeth became the minerals and the precious gems.

“Nu Wa” by *uuyly

It was then that Nü-Kua emerged from the heavens and roamed the Earth and was awed by all of its beauty, but the world was devoid of creatures, and She had no one but Herself to enjoy it. So, She decided that She would create humans so P’an Ku’s sacrifice would not be in vain. She scooped up the yellow clay and lovingly made scores of men and women, lining them up in front of her, but as perfect as Her creations appeared, they had no life. They were mere statues. She picked them up, and one by one, She breathed Her Divine breath into their lifeless bodies.  At first, She took great pride in molding them, but after awhile, it became so tedious that She began dipping a rope slip into the clay, then shaking it so that drops splattered to the ground.  Thus, two types of humans were born.  From the molded figures came the nobles; from the clay drops, the peasants were born.

In another tale, there was a great battle, the monster Kung-Kung wreaked a lot of havoc, flattening mountains, tilting the earth and tearing a hole in the sky. Fires raged out of control, the waters overran the world, and the cardinal points became misaligned. Nü Kua restored order with five colored stones, fixed the directions on the legs of a tortoise, controlled the water and put out the fires, and repaired the sky.

Another version of the myth calls Nü Kua a goddess-Queen who defeated a powerful King; angered at being beat up by a girl, he ran to the top of a mountain and pulled down the Heavenly Bamboo, tearing the sky in the process, and letting in floods of water from the heavens beyond. Nü Kua then repaired the sky and restored order. The Heavenly Bamboo can be seen as a variant of the axis mundi, or axis or the world, representing the mythical center of the world.

She is also said to have tamed a dangerous giant called King-of-Oxen, by running a rope through his nose. She was said to have brought civilization, taming wild animals and teaching humans irrigation and invented marriage.

Nü Kua represents the restoral of order and innocence after chaos. She is the tempering influence that calms situations and brings level-headedness. This card is also representative of a return to innocence, the ability to adopt a new positive attitude after events threaten to make one jaded.

Alternate names: Nü-kua, Nü Kua Shih, Nü Hsi, Nü Wa, Nugua

Titles: “Mother of the Gods”, “Defender of the Gods” [1] [2]

 

Click here for more information.

 

Suggested Link:

Iles, Susanne. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

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