Tag Archive: shamans


“I feel I actually encountered the Goddess most meaningfully during this time of personal suffering…I did not feel a truly personal experience of Goddess ‘energy’ until this pregnancy loss.” – This speaks to me and is so profound. I knew the Goddess, somehow, I’ve always known Her; but it wasn’t until my miscarriage in 2006, a few years after I formally dedicated myself to Her, that I too really truly felt Her and knew Her – it’s very difficult to explain. I grieved, I was at an all-time low, in pieces, an emotional mess – and yet I stood humbled and in awe of Her, Her power, and Her strong encircling presence – it had never felt so strong. It was She who helped me go through this transformation and bring me onto the path I’m on today. It was good to read this because I know that I’m not alone in feeling this and other women too have had a similar experience in really coming to know the Goddess through their miscarriages, trials and tribulations.

Of course, I also became familiar with Her in a totally different way and tuned into a different energy with the birth of my daughter in 2008. It is through these shamanic experiences that we come to know Her in our own ways.

editMollyNov 083Childbirth is a rite of passage so intense physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, that most other events in a woman’s life pale next to it. In our modern lives, there are few remaining rituals of initiation, few events that challenge a person’s mettle down to the very core. Childbirth remains a primary initiatory rite for a woman.” –Maren Hansen (MotherMysteries)

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read an article with the theme of “Birth as a Shamanic Experience.” I can no longer find the exact article (online or printed), but I distinctly remember my feeling upon reading it: I was entering into a mystery. Giving birth was big. Bigger than anything I’d ever done before and it went beyond the realm of a purely biological process and into something else. Like shamanic experiences, giving birth is often described as involving a sense of connection to the…

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Goddess Takánakapsâluk

“Sedna” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Takánakapsâluk’s themes are providence, purification, strength, thankfulness, luck and health. Her symbols are saltwater and Arctic animals.  This Arctic sea Goddess rules over the successful catching of game and over personal health. Takánakapsâluk lives far beneath the cold waters, where She also receives the spirits of the dead and cares for them.

Among [Yup’ik] hunters, this was the time of year when special rituals propitiate the spirits of Takánakapsâluk’s animals, who gave themselves for the tribe’s food. Specifically, all the bladders of seals, whales and polar bears(?) were returned to Her icy waters in thankfulness. In a similar spirit, go to any open body of water and toss a small biodegradable offering to the Goddess in thanks for your food. Consider abstaining from meat today, or from some other beloved food, as a way of showing appreciation for the Goddess’s bounty.

The [Bladder Festival] traditionally included ritual fire jumping and sweat baths for purification. Try this yourself by jumping a small candle (carefully, please!) or taking a steamy shower (the Goddess is part of that water). Additionally, any show of physical prowess today brings continued strength. So, add a little exercise to your day. Take a brisk walk, do some jumping jacks. As you do, think of Takánakapsâluk filling you with revitalizing health.”

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

OK, I just have to vent a bit here.  Throughout this journey so far with this book, I’ve come across some really bad information (gods being portrayed as Goddesses – my main pet peeve).  For today, Telesco calls today’s holiday/celebration “Kashim”.  Now, kashim is NOT an Inuit or Yup’ik celebration; it’s “a building used by Eskimos as a community gathering place or as a place where men congregate and socialize.” [1].  Also, she writes about this celebration as if it is still practiced today.  While there is a “Bladder Festival” that is still celebrated today, it’s not celebrated in the above fashion as she would have you think as it was originally written in her book; “it was last celebrated in the early part of the twentieth century.” [2]  Also, I didn’t see mention of polar bear bladders being offered – only seal, whale and walrus bladders.  What kills me is that when I Google “Takanakapsaluk”, I obviously come across other sites that have done or are doing something similar to what I’m doing with this blog – and they’ve just retyped word for word what is in the book without doing the time to actually sit and do the research as to whether or not the information is accurate or correct; it’s just bad information being passed along as if it’s fact when in fact, it’s very inaccurate and misleading.  OK – thanks for “listening” – end of rant.

Sedna from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck

So, back to Takánakapsâluk.  This Goddess is actually Sedna‘s Iglulik Inuit equivilant (who actually live very far from Alaska – north of Hudson Bay in the Canadian Northwest Territories actually).  “Like Sedna, [Takánakapsâluk] receives the dead and causes misfortune, but is known also as a healer who helps hunters.” [3]  Now, about Sedna in a nutshell: “Sedna is an important figure in Inuit mythology, but is often the case with myths and legends; there is much controversy over who She was and how She came to be. The one thing that all of the stories have in common is the fact that Sedna did not begin life as a Goddess, but at a mortal woman.

By all cases, Sedna was believed beautiful and highly desired by all the men of her village. In some accounts, She was also labeled as vain and selfish and did not feel that any of the men were good enough for Her. In other accounts, She simply found no man that suited Her wants and needs. In either case, She flatly refused to marry.

“Sedna” by Hrana Janto

Frustrated with his daughter, some claim that Her father eventually threw Her into the sea off the side of his boat, but the girl hung tightly to the side. Fearing she would tip it over and kill them both, Her father cut off Her fingers, one by one. As they fell into the water, they turned into sea life like the seal, walrus, and fish. The creatures thankful for their birth, turned Sedna into a Goddess and gave Her dominion over them.” [3]

You can click here to read June 26’s entry on Sedna for more detailed information and other “Suggested Links” to go through for your own research purposes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “Understanding the Moral Behind the Inuit Goddess Sedna“.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cate. Hooperbaytundra.blogspot.com, “The Bladder Festival“.

Spiritandhistory.tumblr.com, “Today In Spirit, Fes & History: 10 December – Native American/First Nations: Inuit/Eskimo Bladder Festival/Feast of Sedna/Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales“.

Stern, Pamela R. Salempress.com, “American Indian Culture: Bladder Festival“.

Tedlock, Dennis & Barbara Tedlock. Teachings from the American Earth: Indian Religion and Philosophy, “A Shaman’s Journey to the Sea Spirit Takánakapsâluk” (p. 13 – 19).

Vitebsky, Piers. Shamanism, “A summer of shamanic procedure: Combing the Hair of the Woman at the Bottom of the Sea” (p. 125).

Walsh, Roger. The World of Shamanism.

Wikipedia, “Sedna (mythology)“.

Goddess Meme

 

“African Spirit Series II” by Ricardo Chávez-Méndez

“Meme’s themes are ghosts, joy, health, offerings, longevity and the harvest. Her symbols are beer and corn. The Ugandan creatrix of life, Meme was also the first woman of the region. In Her human form She taught shamans the art of healing, and She continues to be called upon to aid in all matters of health and well-being.

The Misisi Beer Festival in Uganda takes place right after the millet harvest, with a plethora of beer, plantain, bullock and chicken. Any of these foods can be added to your diet today in thankfulness for Meme’s providence.

Follow Ugandan custom and join with your family or friends. The eldest member of the gathering should pour a libation to the ground in Meme’s name and then offer the rest to those gathered. This mini-ritual ensures long life and unity for everyone. It also ensures a good harvest the next year (of a literal or figurative nature).

To inspire Meme’s health or request her aid in overcoming a specific fall malady, carry a corn kernel with you today, and consume corn during your dinner meal. Bless the corn beforehand to ingest this Goddess’s vitality.

Alternatively, take a small bowl of beer and place a finger into it. Channel your negativity and illness into the beer (visualize this as dark, muddy water leaving your body), then pour it out to disperse that negative energy and give it into the Goddess’s care.”

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

I couldn’t find anything at all at first on today’s Goddess.  I thought that Meme was perhaps another name for the Goddess Mawu at first, as She is described as a supreme deity and creatrix of the universe and life; or even Her daughter, Gbadu who was the first woman that Mawu had created…or even Nowa – an African shaman Goddess.  I finally did though come across Meme’s name while doing a search in Google Books.

“Mother Nature IV” by Anthony Burks

In African Mythology, A to Z, Meme is mentioned under an entry on about a god named Adroa.  “Adroa is a god of the Lugbara people of central Africa. Adroa has two aspects: one good and one evil. He is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and he appears to those about to die. His good and bad aspects are depicted as two half bodies: the evil one is short and coal black while his good aspect is tall and white.” [1]  “Adroa created the first man and woman – a pair of twins, Gborogboro [‘the person coming from the sky’] and Meme [‘the person who came alone’].  Meme gave birth to all the animals and then to another pair of male-female twins.  These first sets of twins were really not human; they had supernatrual powers and perform magical deeds.  After several generations of male-female miraculous twins, the hero-anscetors Jaki and Dribidu were born.  Their sons were said to be the founders of the present-day Lugbara clans” (Lynch & Roberts, p. 4).

 

 

 

Sources:

Lynch, Patricia Ann & Jeremy Roberts. African Mythology, A to Z, Adroa“.

Wikipedia, “Adroa“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Middleton, John. Lugbara Religion: Ritual and Authority Among an East African People.

Newuganda.com, “Lugbara People and Their Culture“.

Wikipedia, “Lugbara Mythology“.

Goddess Ame no Uzume

“Ame no Uzume ‘s themes are honor, longevity, wisdom, psychic abilities, prosperity, protection and kinship. Her symbols are antique items, aged wines or cheese (anything that grows better over time) and sacred dances.  A Japanese ancestral Goddess, Ame no Uzume’s magic is that of generating a long, happy life for Her followers. Shinto festivals in Her honor include special dances that invoke the Goddess’s favor for longevity, honor, prosperity, protection and a close-knit family. In some areas, people also turn to Her for foresight, considering Ame no Uzume the patroness of psychic mediums.

Join with people in Japan and celebrate the wisdom that longevity brings for the aged. If there is an elder in your family or magic community who has influenced your life positively, pray to Ame no Uzume for that person’s ongoing health and protection. Go see that individual and say thank you. The gesture greatly pleases this Goddess, who will shower blessings on you, too!

To gain Ame no Uzume’s insight in your psychic efforts, find an antique item that you can wear during readings, like a skeleton key (to ‘fit’ any psychic doorway). Empower this token, saying:

‘Ame no Uzume, open my eyes, help me to see!
Let nothing be hidden that need to be known, whene’re I speak this magical poem.’

Touch the key and recite your power phrase, the incantation, before reading.”

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

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto is the Goddess of dawn, mirth and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan, and the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami“. [1]

“Uzume” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that Uzame was “ancient Japan’s shaman Goddess…who lured the sun Goddess Amaterasu from the cave where She’d hidden.  She did so by a merry mockery of shamanic ritual.  Tying Her sleeves above Her elbows with moss cords and fastening bells around Her wrists, She danced on an overturned tub before the heavenly Sky-Rock-Cave.  Tapping out a rhythm with Her feet, She exposed Her breasts and then Her genitals in the direction of the sun.  So comic did She make this striptease that the myriad gods and Goddesses began to clap and laugh – an uproar that finally brought the curious sun back to warm the earth.

Shaman women who followed Uzume were called miko in ancient Japan.  First queens like Himiko, later they were princesses and even later, common-born women.  Some Japanese women today, especially those called noro and yuta in Okinawa and the surrounding islands, still practice shamanic divination” (p. 305).

“Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami, spirits indigenous to Japan.  She is also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, The Great Persuader, and The Heavenly Alarming Female.  She is depicted in kyōgen farce as Okame, a woman who revels in her sensuality.” [2]

“The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Uzume“.

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

Wikipedia, “Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Ama-no-Uzume“.

Ampontan. Ampontan.wordpress.com, “Yuta: The Japanese Shamans“.

Ashkenazi, Michael. Handbook of Japanese Mythology.

Corrao, Tom. Chicagookinawakenjinkai.blogspot.com, “Okinawan Uta – The Shaman Women of Okinawa“.

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu Goddess of the Sun/Uzume Goddess of Mirth and Dance“.

Lysianassa. Bukisa.com, “The Goddess Ame No Uzume in Mythology and History“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Uzume – Laughter“.

Schoenberger, Karl. Latimes.com, “Shamans Look to Spirits for Guidance: In Okinawa, Supernatural Is Taken Very Seriously“.

Wikipedia, “Ryukyuan Religion“.

Willis, Roy G. World Mythology, “The Divine Crisis“.

Goddess Voluspa

“Crone Ceremony: Voluspa” by Willow Arlenea

“Voluspa’s themes are foresight, history, perspective, divination and time. Her symbols are stories and storybooks.  This Nordic Goddess was born before all things, with the knowledge of all time within Her. When asked to tell a tale to the gods, She recounted history, including the gods’ downfall. To commemorate this, wise women and seers in the northern climes are sill sometimes called Voluspa.  Voluspa teaches us the value of farsightedness and of remembering our history. We cannot know where we’re going if we don’t remember where we came from.

An old festival in Iceland known as the Islendingadagurinn [Icelandic Festival of Manitoba] preserves Voluspa’s energy by recounting local heritage and custom in a public forum including theater, singing, writing and costumes. For our adaptation, I suggest taking out or working on a family tree, or perhaps a personal journal. Read over the chronicles of people from your ethnic background and honor their lives in some appropriate manner (perhaps by lighting a candle). Voluspa lives in these moments and at any time that we give ourselves to commemorating the past.

Alternatively, get out some good storybooks and read! Turn off the TV for a while and enrich you imagination with the words of bards who keep Voluspa’s power alive in the world. Especially read to children so they can learn of this Goddess’s wonders.”

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

The seeress speaks her prophecy from a 19th century Swedish translation of the Poetic Edda. Illustration by Carl Larsson.

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “[Voluspa’s] name, or the similar word volvawas used of wise women in Scandinavia.  The most famous seer in Norse legend was the one for whom the poem Völuspá is named.  Born before this world began, Voluspa was asked to tell the history of the world.  Once started, She did not stop, even though the gods did not wish to hear of their own death at Ragnarok, the doom of the gods” (p. 312).

“Odin and the Völva” by Lorenz Frølich

“The poem [Völuspá] starts with the völva requesting silence from ‘the sons of Heimdallr‘ (human beings) and asking Odin whether he wants Her to recite ancient lore. She says She remembers giants born in antiquity who reared Her.

She then goes on to relate a creation myth; the world was empty until the sons of Burr lifted the earth out of the sea. The Æsir then established order in the cosmos by finding places for the sun, the moon and the stars, thereby starting the cycle of day and night. A golden age ensued where the Æsir had plenty of gold and happily constructed temples and made tools. But then three mighty giant maidens came from Jötunheimr and the golden age came to an end. The Æsir then created the dwarves, of whom Mótsognir and Durinn are the mightiest.

At this point ten of the poem’s stanzas are over and six stanzas ensue which contain names of dwarves. This section, sometimes called ‘Dvergatal’ (‘Catalogue of Dwarves’), is usually considered an interpolation and sometimes omitted by editors and translators.

After the ‘Dvergatal’, the creation of the first man and woman are recounted and Yggdrasill, the world-tree, is described. The seer recalls the events that led to the first ever war, and what occurred in the struggle between the Æsir and Vanir.

The seeress then reveals to Odin that She knows some of his own secrets, of what he sacrificed of himself in pursuit of knowledge. She tells him She knows where his eye is hidden and how he gave it up in exchange for knowledge. She asks him in several refrains if he understands, or if he would like to hear more.

“THE DUSK OF THE GODS” by P. N. Arbo

The seeress goes on to describe the slaying of Baldr, best and fairest of the gods and the enmity of Loki, and of others. Then She prophesies the destruction of the gods where fire and flood overwhelm heaven and earth as the gods fight their final battles with their enemies. This is the ‘fate of the gods’ – Ragnarök. She describes the summons to battle, the deaths of many of the gods and how Odin, himself, is slain.

Finally a beautiful reborn world will rise from the ashes of death and destruction where Baldr will live again in a new world where the earth sprouts abundance without sowing seed. A final stanza describes the sudden appearance of Nidhogg the dragon, bearing corpses in his wings, before the seeress emerges from Her trance.

Versions differ, for example Baldr’s return is present in Codex Regius, but absent in others.” [2]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Völuspá“.

 

Suggested Links:

Kodratoff, Yves. Nordic-life.org, “Völuspá“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Norse Mythology“.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Poetic Edda: Voluspo“.

Timelessmyths.com, “Norse Creation“.

Wikipedia, “Völva“.

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