Tag Archive: snake goddess


Goddess Nisaba

“Egyptian Girl with Snakes” by Frances Bramley Warren

“Nisaba’s themes are creativity, communication, excellence, inspiration, Universal Law, divination and dreams. Her symbols are pens, computers, books and snakes (Her sacred animal).  In Sumerian tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘She who teaches the decrees’, referring specifically to imparting divine laws to humankind. In order to communicate these matters effectively, Nisaba invented literacy, and She uses creative energy to inspire scribes. Besides this, Nisaba is an oracular Goddess, well gifted in dream interpretation.

Since 1928, this day, Author’s Day, has been observed as a time to honor authors who have contributed to American literature and encourage new writers in their talents. If you’re an aspiring author, today’s definitely the time to submit a poem, article, or manuscript, invoking Nissaba’s on it before sending it out.  Also, take a moment to ask Nisaba to empower all your pens, pencils, resource books, computer, and so on, so that all your future writing efforts will be more successful and fulfilling.

For those who don’t consider authorship a forte, you can ask Nisaba to give you a symbolic dream instead.

Put a marigold, rose, or onion peel under your pillow to help with this, and keep a dream journal or tape recorder handy. Immediately upon waking, record any dream you recall. Then go to a favored dream guide, and whisper the Goddess’s name before looking up interpretations.”

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

Patricia Monaghan writes: “‘She who teaches the decress’ of divinity to humans, this Goddess brought literacy and astrology to a Sumerian king on a tablet inscribed with the names of the beneficent stars.  An architect as well, She drew up temple plans for Her people; She was also an oracle and dream interpreter.  The most learned of deities, this snake Goddess also controlled the fertility of Her people’s fields” (p. 231).

Nisaba’s “sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, She appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of corn and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.

As with many Sumerian deities, Nisaba’s exact place in the pantheon and Her heritage appears somewhat ambiguous. She is the daughter of An and Urash. From Sumerian texts, the language used to describe Urash is very similar to the language used to describe Ninhursag. Therefore, the two Goddess may be one and the same. Nisaba is the sister of Ninsun, the mother of Gilgamesh. If Urash and Ninhursag are the same Goddess, then Nisaba is also the half sister of Nanshe and (in some versions) Ninurta.

In some other tales, She is considered the mother of Ninlil, and by extension, the mother-in-law of Enlil.

The god of wisdom, Enki, organized the world after creation and gave each deity a role in the world order. Nisaba was named the scribe of the gods, and Enki then built Her a school of learning so that She could better serve those in need. She keeps records, chronicles events, and performs various other bookwork related duties for the gods. She is also in charge of marking regional borders.

She is the chief scribe of Nanshe. On the first day of the new year, She and Nanshe work together to settle disputes between mortals and give aid to those in need. Nisaba keeps record of the visitors seeking aid and then arranges them into a line to stand before Nanshe, who will then judge them. Nisaba is also seen as a caretaker for Ninhursag’s temple at Kesh, where She gives commands and keeps temple records.

The Goddess of writing and teaching, She was often praised by Sumerian scribes. Many clay-tablets end with the phrase “Nisaba be praised” to honor the Goddess. She is considered the teacher of both mortal scribes and other divine deities. In the Babylonian period, She was replaced by the god Nabu, who took over Her functions. In some instances, Nisaba was his instructor or wife before he replaced Her.

As the Goddess of knowledge, She is related to many other facets of intellectual study and other gods may turn to Her for advice or aid. Some of these traits are shared with Her sister Ninsina. She is also associate with grain, reflecting Her association with an earth Goddess mother.” [1]

Also seen as Nissaba, Nidaba, Nanibgal, and Nunbarshegunu (lady whose body is dappled barley).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Nisaba“.

Wikipedia, “Nidaba“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Nisaba {Goddess of the Week}“.

Artesia. Goddessschool.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Wise Woman and Mother Goddess“.

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: An Illustrated Dictionary, “Nisaba“.

Etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk, “A Hymn to Nisaba (Nisaba A): translation“.

Gatewaystobabylon.com, “Nabu“.

Lambert, Wilfred G. Babylonian Wisdom Literature, “Nisaba and Wheat“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1, “Nisaba of Eresh: Goddess of Grain, Goddess of Writing“.

Robson, Eleanor. Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.

Sitarik, Jessica. Crystalvaults.com, “Nisaba: Sumerian Knowledge Goddess“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Eastern Mediterranean“.

Tudeau, Johanna. Oracc.museum.upenn.edu, “Nidaba (goddess)“.

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 Athena

“Athena” by InertiaK

“Athena’s themes are protection, victory, courage and leadership. Her symbols are new clothing, olives, owls and the oak.  Among the Greeks, especially those dwelling in Athens, Athena was the great protectress, standing for personal discipline and prowess, especially in battles. When you find your self-control lacking or you need the courage to withstand a storm, Athena stands ready to come to the rescue. Grecian art shows Athena bearing a spear, wearing a breastplate and accompanied by an owl. She is also the patroness of spinners and many other forms of craftspeople who work with their hands.

The Greeks celebrated this Goddess by giving Her a new wardrobe today, making offerings and taking Her images out for cleansing. So, if you have any likeness of the Goddess, dust them off and adorn them in some way, perhaps using an oak leaf for a dress to honor Athena.

Wearing a new piece of splendid clothing or adding olives to your diet today draws Athena’s attributes into your life. Or, use pitted olives as a spell component. On a small piece of paper, write the word that best describes what you need from Athena. Stuff this into the olive and bury it. By the time the olive decomposes, your desire should be showing signs of manifestation.

Finally, place a small piece of oak leaf in your shoe today so Athena’s leadership and bravery will walk with you, helping you to face whatever awaits with a strong heart.”

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

“Athena” by Howard David Johnson

Patricia Monaghan provides us with some very interesting information (some of which is new to me).  She says, “[Athena] was not always accepted as patron of the famous city that bears Her name.  Greek legend says that the sea god, Posidon, disputed with the Goddess for rulership of the city.  It came to a vote of the people of the town in question.  The citizens, men and women alike, gathered and cast their ballots.  Naturally, the men voted for the god, the women for the Goddess.  As it happened, there was one more voter on the women’s side, and so Athena won the day.  (An alternate version says that the Olympian deities judged the contest.  They ruled that because Athena had planted the first olive tree, whereas all Poseidon could offer was the changeful sea, the Goddess would be a better city ruler than the god).

"Athena & Poseidon" by Rachael McCampbel

“Athena & Poseidon” by Rachael McCampbell

The men of Athens bitterly agreed to accept the Goddess as their patron.  But being poor losers, they levied three heavy requirements on the women: that they should forgo being called citizens, that they should no longer vote, and that their children should be called by their fathers’ rather than their mothers’ names.

They then prepared a new identity for the city’s Goddess.  They claimed that She was a virginal Goddess without sexuality, a motherless Goddess who sprang full-grown from the head of Zeus, who had swallowed Her mother, Metis.  This Athena was ‘all for the father’ (as Aeschylus had Her say), who voted on the side of the new patriarchal order against the earlier system of mother right.  But hidden in the legend of the Athenian vote are clues to Athena’s original identity.  If children did not bear their mothers’ names, if women were not full citizens, if women did not vote, why bother to legislate against it? [Makes you think about what’s going on in today’s political arena here in the US, doesn’t it?]

“Athena” by Hrana Janto

There was yet another version of the birth of Athena [which is completely new to me], one that is far less flattering to male divinity.  This story says that She  was the daughter of Pallas, a winged giant.  He tried to rape his virginal daughter, so She killed him.  She tanned his skin to make a shield and cut off his wings to fasten to Her feet.  Another myth in which virginity is threatened says that Hephaestus, the smith god, attempted to rape Her, but only managed to ejaculate on Her leg.  The Goddess wiped it off in disgust.  But the semen touched all-fertile Gaia, whereupon a half-serpent boy named Erichthonius was born.  Athena accepted the boy as Her offspring and gave him to the Augralids to guard.

A curious part of this relatively obscure story is the shaky nature of the boy. As Hephaestus had no known reptile ancestors, it must be that Athena provided the serpent blood. Her intimate connection with Medusa, whose snake-haired visage Athena wears on Her goat-skin cloak called the aegis, is also relevant. Similarly, the massive snake that reared beside Her statue in the Parthenon, Her major temple on the Athenian Acropolis, suggests that the snake was one of the primary symbols of the virgin Goddess.

“Snake Goddess” by Pamela Matthews

It is now well established that Athena–Her name is so ancient that it has never been translated–was originally a Minoan or Mycdenaean household Goddess–possibly related to the bare-breasted Cretan figures seen embracing snakes or holding them overhead. This original Athena was the essence of the family bond, symbolized by the home and its hearth–and by the mild serpent, who– like the household cat, lived in the storehouse and protected the family’s food supplies against destructive rodents. As household Goddess, Athena ruled the implements of domestic crafts: the spindle, the pot, and the loom. By extrapolation, She was the guardian of the ruler’s home, the Goddess of the palace; by further extrapolation, She was the symbol of the community itself, the larger social unit based on countless homes [much like Minerva‘s origins if you recall].

Although Minoan civilization declined, Athena was not lost. A maiden Goddess, apparently called Pallas, arrived with the Greeks; She was a warrior, a kind of Valkyrie, a protector of the tribe. This figure was bonded to that of the indigenous tribal symbol to form Pallas Athena, and Her legend was re-created to suit the new social order. But Athena’s ritual reflected Her origins. Each year midsummer Her splendid image was taken from her temple on the Acropolis and borne ceremoniously down to the sea. There Athena was carefully washed and, renewed in strength and purity, was decked in a newly made robe woven by the city’s best craftswomen. It was the same ritual that honored Hera and showed Athena as a woman’s deity–the mistress of household industry and family unity” (p. 59 – 60).

Pallas Athene, 1898, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna

Thalia Took explains that “Athene was probably originally a Goddess of lightning and storms, hence the spear (representing the lightning) and Her famous brilliant eyes, which earned Her the epithet Oxyderkes, the Bright-Eyed. Birds as creatures of the air are Hers as well, especially the owl, with its bright eyes and reputation for wisdom [see Athena Glaukopis].

Athena can be summed up in one word: ability. That ability encompasses just about everything: wisdom, war, weaving, shipbuilding, dance, athletics, music, invention, crafts, and technology in general. Athene brings strength and wisdom, and aid in determining the best course–consult Her in a situation when you are not sure whether to use diplomacy or if the time has come to fight.

“Athena” by Green–Cat

Some of Her epithets include: Polias (‘of the City’), Parthenos (‘Virgin’), Promachos (‘Champion’), Ergane (‘Worker’), and Nike (‘Victory’).

Athena has many, many epithets and aspects. Articles marked with an * have illustrations, by me (and you can reasonably expect some more, since, as I’ve said, I’m on a wicked Athena kick lately). Here we go:

Aeantis, Aethyia, Ageleia, Agoraea, Agripha, Akraia, Akria, Alalkomeneis, Alea, Alkimakhe, Amboulias, Anemotis, Apatouria, Areia, Asia, Axiopoinos, Boarmia, Boulaia, Contriver, Damasippos, Dea Soteira, Ergane, Erysiptolis, Glaukopis*, Gorgopis, Hephaistia, Hippia, Hippolaitis, Hygieia, Itonia, Keleuthea, Khalinitis, Khalkeia, Kissaea, Kledoukhos, Koria, Koryphasia, Kranaia, Kydonian, Kyparissa, Laossoos, Laphria, Larisaea, Leitis, Lemnia, Mekhanitis, Metros, Narkaea, Nike, Nikephoros, Onga, Ophthalmitis, Optiletis, Oxyderkes, Paeonia, Pallas, Panakhaia, Pania, Pareia, Parthenos, Phratria, Polias, Poliatas, Polyboulos, Polymetis, Poliykhos, Promakhorma, Promakhos, Pronaia, Pronoia, Pylaitis, Saitis, Salpinx, Skira, Sthenias, Soteira, Souniados, Taurobolos, Telkhinia, Tithrones, Tritogeneia, Xenia, Zosteria

Note on the spelling: I have kicked all the C’s (a Latin convention) out of the spelling, since they didn’t exist in Greek, even to replacing ‘ch’ with ‘kh’.” [1] [2]

“Athena” by louelio

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Sun, golden shield and helmet, spear, spindle, bowl, intertwined snakes, the Parthenon, the seven auras, and the number 7.

Animals: Owl (wisdom), dove (victory), ram, eagle, tiger, leopard, and other cats.

Plants: Geranium, tiger lily, oak, cypress, olive tree, Hellebore (Christmas and Lenten roses), and citrus trees.

Perfumes/Scents: Patchouli, dragon’s blood, musk, indigo, orange blossom, cinnamon, and cedarwood.

Gems and Metals: Onyx, ruby, star sapphire, turquoise, gold, lapis lazuli, and ivory.

Colors: Gold, orange, yellow, emerald green, and royal blue. [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Athena“.

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

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aethyia. Order of the White Moon, “Athena“.

ancientgreece.com, “Athena – Ancient Greek Goddess“.

The Shrine of the Goddess Athena.

Goddessgift.com, “Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Athena: firm but fair – goddess of war and diplomacy“.

Stebbins, Elinor. Sweet Briar College {History of Art Program}, “Athena, Goddess of Wisdom“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Athena Glaukopis“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Athene“.

Wikipedia, “Athena“.

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