Tag Archive: snakes


Goddess Hecate

395655_10150460228851962_427400950_n

“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 Fauna

383939_10150435717071962_572800503_n

“Fauna” by Katrina Sesum

“Fauna’s themes are fertility, nature and divination. Her symbols are all forest items.  In Roman mythology, Fauna is the consort to Faunus, whom this date venerates. With Faunus, She protects the woodlands and plants that live there. While Her role in stories seems minor, Fauna’s power lives on in botanical terminology, Her name having been given to vegetation.

Faunus was a woodland god like Pan, who sends messages through the forests for those who know nature’s omens and signs. If at all possible, go to a natural location today (even a park or a quiet tree in your neighborhood will do) with a small libation of wine or milk, both of which are customary. Pour this on the ground, focusing on your intention to learn more about nature’s messages to us. Then spend at least twenty minutes observing.

Take notes as you do. Do the trees’ leaves seem to talk? Do they move in a specific way? Are birds taking flight? Where do they go? Do any drop feathers on the ground? Do any animals appear unexpectedly? If so, what does the creature do, and where does it go? All these things, and other similar experiences, can carry a sign meant to help you today or in the days ahead.”

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

tumblr_lnt4r7uA6O1qai62so1_r1_1280

“Fauna” by Charlie Terrell

Thalia Took writes a very in-depth piece on Fauna that I’d like to share with you; she writes: “Fauna is an old Roman Goddess of Prophecy and Fruitfulness, with ties to the forest and fields and the animals found there. She is closely related to the God Faunus; She is variously His wife, sister, or daughter. Her name, like Faunus’s, is from the Latin faveo, ‘to befriend, support, or back up’, from which we get our ‘favor’; an alternate etymology is from fari, ‘to speak, talk, or say’, referring to Their powers of prophecy. Her name then could be variously translated as ‘She Who Favors’, ‘the Friendly One’, ‘the Speaker’, or even ‘She Who Has Your Back’. She was identified with the prophetic Goddess Fatua, again meaning, ‘the Speaker’, but with additional meanings of ‘She Who Speaks Prophecy’, or ‘the Oracle’.

Fauna’s origins are in Latium, the land of the Latins, the people of the area around Rome, and She is closely associated with them. According to yet another of the Roman stories glorifying the city’s origins, Fauna was one of the Hyperborians, who were believed to live far in the north (hyperboreas in the Greek literally means ‘beyond the North Wind’), and said to worship Apollo. She hooked up with the hero Hercules and as a result gave birth to a son Latinus, later a king of the Latins, and therefore a mythical ancestor of the Roman people and a claim to the famous blood of Hercules. Faunus was Her second husband, Whom She married after Hercules left Her (per his usual modus operandi). Other stories reverse that, making Faunus Her original husband, and then make Her relationship with Hercules an extramarital affair. Still other stories name Faunus as the father of Latinus, by the river nymph Marica, Who was Herself identified with Aphrodite, the Greek Love Goddess.

courtesan_by_roman_de_la_rose-d4vgw5q

“Courtesan” by *OtherworldCreations

In a similar vein, Fauna was sometimes judged to be a prostitute or courtesan; though this seems to be a late tale and may simply be a reaction to Her as a Goddess of Fertility. Her husband Faunus was sometimes said to be the same as the God Inuus, a God of sex, intercourse, and fertility, Whose name is supposedly from a Latin verb inire, ‘to copulate’; and since She is supposed to be the female equivalent of Faunus, that would make Her a Goddess of sex and copulation as well. Faunus was sometimes said to be the God for Whom the Lupercalia, a very old festival of purification and renewed fertility with strong sexual overtones, was celebrated; and two Faunalia, rural festivals of feasting and dancing, were celebrated to Them, on the Ides of February (the 13th, and in the old lunar calendar, the full moon) and the 5th of December.

00f0f6f2cf74

Art by Jonathon Earl Bowser

In other legends however, Fauna is known for Her chastity and modesty; She was said to never leave Her grove or let a man look upon Her, and no man was allowed in Her temple. These tales are associated with the Bona Dea, ‘the Good Goddess’, said to be a cult name of Fauna. The Bona Dea, called so because Her true name was considered too sacred to be spoken aloud, is a Goddess of women and healing Whose worship was exclusive to women, men being forbidden to participate in Her rites. Perhaps Her virginity or chastity was a way of explaining why She would not allow men in Her rituals, and was the Roman way of rationalizing a Goddess Who was purely concerned with women.

Far more is known of Faunus than Fauna; His tales may perhaps shed some light on Her attributes and personality. Faunus was a very popular and ancient God Who protected and watched over livestock and Who haunted fields and the forest. As a prophetic God, He used both dreams and His own disembodied voice to reveal the future, and had a shrine in Tivoli at the grove of Albunea where prophetic dreaming was practiced. Their father was usually said to be the prophetic God Picus; though Their mother is not mentioned, Picus was famous for His devotion to Canens, a forest nymph known for Her beautiful singing voice.

Though myth is not necessarily that straightforward about things, Canens and Faunus do have a bit in common as They were both known as ‘the Voice of the Woods’. Canens in turn is associated with the witch Kirke, as Kirke was also enamoured of Picus, though She couldn’t steal Him away from Canens; and Latinus is sometimes said to be the son of Kirke and the famous Greek traveller and all-around tricksy guy Odysseus, or his son Telemakhos.

In some legends told of the Bona Dea, Faunus does not treat Her well at all; in one, She is His daughter; He lusts after Her, and when She rejects Him, He gets Her drunk and beats Her with sticks of myrtle, and then rapes Her as a serpent. In another, He beats Her to death, again with myrtle branches, for the crime of drinking. These legends seem to have been created to explain why both myrtle and wine played a part in the rites of the Bona Dea; they also emphasize Faunus’s wild, untamed and dangerous nature. The names Fauna and Faunus ‘the Friendly One(s)’ may well have been placating names, to keep the worshipper on Their good sides, much like the fairies of Celtic lore are called ‘the Good Folk’, so as to prevent any harm they might do. Fauna and Faunus were known to travel with an entourage of fauns (yes, like Mr. Tumnus, though without the Christian/Aslanic associations), wild and mischevious spirits of the countryside, equated with the satyrs of the Greeks, and believed to cause nightmares. Faunus Himself was identified with the Greek Pan, the Wild God par excellence.

fauna_of_a_wood_by_selenaart-d39boie

“Fauna of a wood” by ~Selenaart

It would seem, then, that Fauna represents the thin line separating the wild from the untamed, as Goddess of both the dark mysterious forest and the cultivated fields, and Her very name is now used to refer to the animal kingdom, the fauna, (as opposed to the plant kingdom, called flora). As the Bona Dea was worshipped exclusively by women, Fauna is a Goddess of the wild sexuality of women, specifically sexual intercourse itself as an expression of the Life Force, and also of fertility (the latter was after all, until modern times and the invention of reliable contraception, a common result of the former). She brings prophecy through dreams and the voices of the wild places, and Her association with dreams and nightmares again connects to humanity’s dark and untamed nature. Several of the other Goddesses She is connected with were known as sorceresses and healers, such as Kirke and the Bona Dea (and by extension Angitia), which would make magic and healing another of Her attributes. All these Goddesses—The Bona Dea (and so majestic Maia as well) Angitia, Albunea, Canens, Marica, and even Kirke, whichever native Goddess She stands in for—can perhaps be thought of a constellation of related Goddesses of wild, magical, and sexual natures, possibly originally springing from the same source.” [1]

Fauna_by_Bizenghast

“Fauna” by ~Bizenghast

According to Judika Illes, “In addition to secret, mystic rites, Fauna was also very publicly a Goddess of physical healing.  The sick were tended to in Her temple’s garden of medicinal herbs, essentially a sacred hospital.  In Rome, snakes were associated with healing in general, but especially with women’s reproductive health.  Snakes, Fauna’s sacred creature, were housed in Her temple gardens.

fatidica_large

“Fatidica” by Lord Leighton

Iconography: Fauna is portrayed seated upon a throne, holding a cornucopia.

Creature: Snake

Element: Earth

Day: December 4th commemorates the anniversary of Her Mystery.

Offerings: There is controversy as to whether wine is forbidden from Fauna’s rites.  One theory is that, because wine was once taboo for Roman women, any wine brought into Fauna’s temple was euphemistically called ‘milk’.  Alternatively, the legend goes that wine and myrtle were banned because Faunus once got drunk and beat Fauna with a myrtle branch.  That may be a euphemism for the myth in which Faunus rapes his daughter (who may also be his consort).” [2]

Alternate spellings: Faula; Fatuai seems to be Her Oscan name.

Also called: Fatua, Fatuella; She was called Damia at Tarentum (a city originally founded by Greek colonists), a name that refers to the secret sacrifice made to the Bona Dea.” [3]

Sources:

Illes, Judika. The Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Fauna“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Fauna“.

Suggested Links:

Ladyoftheabyss. Witchesofthecraft.com, “Earth Goddesses – FAUNA“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “The Bona Dea“.

Wikipedia, “Fauna (goddess)“.

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 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 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 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“.

Goddess Uto

“Snake Goddess” by dmarshallarts

“Uto’s themes are ecology , nature and magic. Her symbols are green items and snakes.  This ancient Egyptian Goddess bears a name that means ‘green one’. She embodies the earth’s regenerative force, specifically in its vegetation. Art often shows Uto in the form of a snake, ever transforming and renewing Herself and the earth. This tremendous magical power comes from being able to draw on the essence of creation and all that dwells therein. As she wields this beneficial energy, She inspires today’s activities by assisting our summer efforts to restore the planet.

I suspect this Goddess inspired the creation of World Environment Day in 1972, specifically to increase enthusiasm for global environmental causes and natural restoration. The United Nations continues to encourage its members to have special activities today that further earth-first thinking and world healing in all forms. So, put on something green today, get outside and get busy! Organize a recycling drive, pick up litter in a nearby park, plant some seedlings or trees, begin composting, make a donation to a reputable environmental group. Anything you can do to help restore the earth’s greenery honors and welcomes Uto’s regenerative spirit to the earth. Let Her guide you hands and efforts today, flowing through you with healthy energy, ministering to the earth.”

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

“Wadjet” by Blade68

According to J. Hill, “Wadjet (Wadjyt, Wadjit, Uto, Uatchet, Edjo, Buto) was one of the oldest Egyptian Goddesses. Her worship was already established by the Predynastic Period, but did change somewhat as time progressed. She began as the local Goddess of Per-Wadjet (Buto) but soon became a patron Goddess of Lower Egypt. By the end of the Predynastic Period She was considered to be the personification of Lower Egypt rather than a distinct Goddess and almost always appeared with Her sister Nekhbet (who represented Upper Egypt). The two combined represented the country as a whole and were represented in the pharaoh´s ‘nebty’ name (also known as ‘the two ladies’) which indicated that the king ruled over both parts of Egypt. The earliest recovered example of the nebty name is from the reign of Anedjib of the First Dynasty.

Pharaoh crowned by Nekhbet and Wadjet

In the Pyramid Texts it is suggested that She created the first papyrus plant and papyrus swamp. Her link to the papyrus is strengthened by the fact that Her name was written using the glyph of a papyrus plant and the same plant was the heraldic plant of Lower Egypt.

According to another myth Wadjet was the daughter of Atum (or later Ra) who was sent Her as his ‘eye‘ to find Tefnut and Shu when they were lost in the waters of Nun. He was so happy when they returned that he cried and created the first human beings from his tears. To reward his daughter, he placed Her upon his head in the form of a cobra so that She would always be close to him and could act as his protector.

She was one of the Goddesses given the title ‘Eye of Ra‘ (connecting Her to BastHathorSekhment and Tefnut amongst others). In fact the symbol of the ‘Eye of Ra’ was often called ‘the Wedjat’. In this form She was sent out to avenge Her father and almost caused the destruction of mankind. Humanity was saved when She was tricked with some beer which had been dyed red with pomegranate juice to resemble blood.

There is also a suggestion that She was very closely linked to the principle of Ma´at (justice or balance). Before being crowned as king, Geb attacked and raped his mother Tefnut. When he went to take his place as pharaoh and put the Royal Ureas on his own forehead, the snake reared up and attacked the god and his followers. All of Geb´s retinue died and the god himself was badly injured. Clearly, his actions were against Ma´at and Wadjet was not prepared to allow him to go unpunished.

Wadjet is often described as an agressive deity while while Her sister Nekhbet was thought of as a more matronly protector. However, She also had Her gentler side. Wadjet was believed to have helped Isis nurse the young Horus and to help mother and baby hide from Set in the marshes of the delta. She was also considered to offer protection to all women during childbirth.

She (and Her sister) also protected the adult Horus from the followers of Set. Horus pursued them in the form of a winged sun disc and Nekhbet and Wadjet flanked him in the form of crowned snakes. This protection was also extended towards the pharaoh who wore the ‘Royal Ureas’ (serpent) on his (or her) forehead. From the Eighteenth Dynasty the queens also added one or two snakes to their headdresses representing Wadjet and Her sister.

Wadjet was associated with the fifth hour of the fifth day of the month and with ‘iput-hmt’ (Epipi), the harvest month of the Egyptian calendarFestivals were held in Her honour on the 10th day of ‘rh-wr’ (Mekhir) which was also called ‘the day of going forth of the Goddess’, the 7th day of ‘khnty-khty’ (Payni) and the 8th day of ‘Wpt-rnpt’ (Mesori). These latter two dates coincide roughly with the winter and spring solstices.

She was worshiped at the Temple of Wadjet, known as ‘Pe-Dep’. This temple was already long established by the Old Kingdom and is referred to in the Pyramid Texts. In this temple, Wadjet was linked with Horus. Wadjet was thought to be the wife of Hapi in Lower Egypt and was linked to Set in his role as a representative of Lower Egypt. She was sometimes described as the wife of Ptah and the mother of Nefertem, probably because She occasionally took the form of a lion like Sekhmet.

Her sacred animal was the cobra, and She was often depicted as either a rearing cobra, a winged cobra, or a woman with the head of a cobra.She was also depicted as a woman wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. She often appears with Her sister Nekhbet who was in as a snake or woman. By the Late Period She was also associated with the ichneumon (a mongoose-like creature). This animal was known for its skill in killing snakes and was also sacred to Horus.  The Egyptians placed mummified ichneumon and shrew (small mice) inside statuettes of Wadjet which were interred with the dead. The two animals represented day (ichneumon) and night (shrew). She was also worshipped as a vulture Goddess. In Her form of the ‘eye of Ra’ She was depicted as a lion-headed woman wearing a solar disc and the Uraeus (cobra).” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Hill, J. Ancient Egypt Online, “Wadjet“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Becoming an Oracle, “The Ancient Egyptian Cobra Oracle“.

Crystalinks, “Wadjet“.

Ferrebeekeeper, “Per-Wadjet“.

Harris, Catherine C. Tour Egypt, “Wadjet, the Serpent Goddess“.

Seawright, Caroline.  Kunoichi’s Web Page, “Wadjet, Goddess of Lower Egypt, Papyrus, and Protector of Pharaoh…

Wikipedia, “Wadjet“.

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 Bona Dea

“Greek Goddess: Demeter” by *Gypsy-Love

“Bona Dea’s themes are femininity, blessing, fertility, divination and abundance.  Her symbols are vines and wine.  Bona Dea’s name literally means ‘good Goddess’. Her energies come into our lives at the outset of this month, offering all good things, especially fertility and a greater appreciation of the Goddess within each of us.  Traditionally, Bona Dea is a women’s Goddess who received offerings of wine in exchange for prophetic insights during Her observances.

On March 1, February was escorted out of Rome with a flourish of adaptable activities. Exchange sweet gifts as the Romans did to ensure yourself of a sweeter future. Greet a friend with Bona Dea’s name to invoke Her blessings on them. Put up a grapevine wreath fashioned like a heart (or other symbol of something you need), and leave a glass of wine on your altar to honor Bona Dea’s presence in your home and your life.

In Rome, female slaves would get this day off, and the head of the house would wait on them. In modern times this equates to switching roles for a day at home. Whoever normally gets up and fixes breakfast gets to sleep in, Whoever normally does chores gets to go out and socialize, and so forth. Bona Dea appreciates the considerate gesture as much as you do and will rain Her goodness upon your home.”

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

Bona Dea (“The Good Goddess”) was a Goddess in ancient Roman religion. She was associated with chastity and fertility in women, healing, and the protection of the Roman state and people. According to Roman literary sources, She was brought from Magna Graecia at some time during the early or middle Republic, and was given Her own state cult on the Aventine Hill.

“Fauna” by Bizenghast

The Goddess had two annual festivals. One state sponsored festival was held at Her Aventine temple; the other in early December was hosted by the wife of Rome’s senior annual magistrate, for an invited group of elite matrons and female attendants. “The festival on the first of May (the or the kalends) commemorated the date Her temple was founded; at the ceremony prayers were made to Her to avert earthquakes. She had a secret festival, attended only by women, whether patrician, free or slave, that took place over the night of the 3rd and 4th of May (and/or December).  It was held during the Faunalia, and was referred to as the sacra opertum, (“the secret or hidden sacrifice”): at this ritual sacrifices were made for the benefit of all the people of Rome, something proper to the realm of a Mother or Earth Goddess who is concerned with the well-being of all of Her children.” [1] Her rites allowed women the use of strong wine and blood-sacrifice, things otherwise forbidden them by Roman tradition.  “During the May Bona Dea celebration a pregnant sow was sacrificed to Mother Earth and Ceres.” [2]

“Goddess” by helushia

Men were barred from Her mysteries and the possession of Her true name.  “There were other taboos concerning the worship of the Bona Dea: neither wine nor myrtle were to be mentioned by name during Her secret festival, likely because they were both sacred to Her and therefore very powerful. According to a late legend seeking to explain these prohibitions, Her husband, Faunus, the God of the Wild (later equated with the Greek Pan), came home once to find She had drunk an entire jar of wine. For being drunk He beat Her to death with a myrtle scourge, and this was why myrtle was forbidden, and wine had to be referred to by another name, ‘milk’ and the jar itself was called a mellarium, or ‘honey jar’.” [3]

Given that male authors had limited knowledge of Her rites and attributes, ancient speculations about Her identity abound. Among them that She was an aspect of TerraOps, the Magna Mater, or Ceres, or a Latin form of Damia. Most often, She was identified as the wife, sister or daughter of the god Faunus, thus an equivalent or aspect of the nature-goddess Fauna, who could prophesy the fates of women.

Bona Dea’s cults in the city of Rome were led by the Vestal Virgins, and Her provincial cults by virgin or matron priestesses. Surviving statuary shows Her as a sedate Roman matron with a cornucopia and a snake. Personal dedications to Her are attested among all classes, especially plebeiansfreedmen and women, and slaves. Approximately one third of Her dedications are from men, some of whom may have been lawfully involved in Her cult.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Gill, N.S. About.com, “Ancient/Classic History Glossary“.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. About.com, “Bona Dea – The Good Goddess“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “The Bona Dea.”

Wikipedia, “Bona Dea

Goddess Lilith

“Lilith” by zummerfish

“Lilith’s themes are freedom, courage, playfulness, passion, pleasure and sexuality.  Her symbol is an apple.  In Hebrew legends, Lilith is a dangerously beautiful Goddess who refused to subordinate Herself to Adam, feeling She was created as an equal. This makes Lilith perhaps the first true liberationist, and She resolves to make modern life similarly equal for all people. She also boldly instructs us to stand up for what we believe in, unbridled and courageous, no matter the cost. According to legend, Lilith was turned away from paradise for Her ‘crime’, and She has been depicted in art as a demon.

Leap Year occurs every four years to keep our calendar in sync with the solar year. Customarily, women break loose today, asking men out or proposing marriage. In today’s liberal society, actions like this aren’t overly surprising. Nonetheless, Lilith charges us with the duty of ever seeking after equality, not just for women but for all of earth’s people. If there’s someone you’ve wronged with presupposition or prejudice, make amends today.

To internalize Lilith’s fairness, bravery, or exuberant lustiness, eat an apple today. Quite literally take a bite out of life, and enjoy some daring activity to its fullest without fear or guilt.

 Like Lilith, you are the master of your destiny!”

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

Lilith is depicted on a Babylonian clay plaque from 2000-1600 BCE as beautiful winged woman with bird’s feet and claws.

“Lilith dates back to the bird-serpent Goddess of antiquity. In Sumeria, She was portrayed as having both the wings and claws of a bird. Some reliefs show Her lower half as being the body of a serpent or She is shown as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman.

There are many possibilities as to Her early Goddess names: Belil-ili, Belili, Lillake, or Ninlil.

She was a Goddess of agriculture as well as the “hand of Inanna”. She was said to dwell in the trunk of the Huluppu-tree:

‘Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree.
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.’

Lilith also helped women in childbirth and nursed infants.

Recent translations of Her name are varied and range from ‘screech owl’, lilah which is darkness or night in Hebrew, to Lilitu which is said to be the Babylonian word for ‘evil night-spirit.’

Her symbols are the crossroad, owl, serpent, tree, and dark moon.

The Hebrew Lilith

“Lilith” by Notvitruvian

When Jewish patriarchy overtook the land, they made Lilith evil in order to stop the people from worshipping Her.

In Kabbalistic tradition, Lilith was made the first wife of Adam. Some sources say that Lilith was Adam’s spirit wife. Other sources claim that Lilith was fashioned from the earth at either the same time as Adam or before Adam. This made Lilith Adam’s equal.

As Adam’s equal, Lilith refused to lie on Her back while Adam took the dominant position in sex (missionary style). Lilith believed that they should make love as equals (the beast with two backs). Adam was adamantly against this, wanting his wife to be submissive, and Lilith left the Garden of Eden.

God then supposedly gave Adam Eve, a docile woman of the flesh.

Eventually, Lilith was portrayed as the foe of Eve. It was Lilith in serpent form who seduced Eve to eat the fruit of knowledge. No doubt the first wife wanted the second wife to see what a jerk Adam was and that Lilith also wanted Eve to open her eyes and come into the fulness of herself, her womanhood.

When both Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam endured a period of celibacy as penance. During this time, Lilith was said to have caused nocturnal emissions from Adam (night hag). She collected his semen and impregnated Herself with it, giving birth to demons.  These children of Lilith were called Lilin or Lilim, ‘night-demons.’

The Goddess who once protected mothers and infants was now portrayed as a demoness who caused abortions and murdered infants in their sleep. The Jewish people believed that when a baby laughed or smiled in its sleep, it was being entertained by Lilith, and the parents would quickly bop the infant on the nose to distract the infant from the Goddess. It was also believed that She came to children in the form of an owl and drank their blood.

Despite the Jewish attempts to erradicate this ancient Goddess, She can still be found in Her truer, albeit symbolic, form in their literature:

‘During a protracted and dangerous confinement take earth from the crossroads, write upon it the five first verses of this Psalm, and lay it upon the abdomen of the parturient; allow it to remain until the birth is accomplished, but no longer. . .’ (The Complete Edition of the 6th and 7th Books of Moses: or Moses’ Magical Spirit Art).

Lilith and Sexuality

“Lilith’s Lair” by LourdesLaVeau

Lilith, as ‘hand of Inanna,’ would gather men from the streets and lead them to the temples of the sacred prostitutes. Later, as the first wife of Adam, She refused to lie beneath Adam and be his submissive. Instead She chose to have sex with “evil” spirits and beget more demons. (Who could blame Her?)

Lilith was comfortable with Her sexuality, something that frightened the Jewish patriarch who believed that merely having sex for pleasure was a form of abortion. In recent times, Lilith has morphed into the succubus and incubus or the night hag who sits on the chests of men and causes them to have perverse dreams so that they will ejaculate. She could take the form of either a man or a woman:

‘. . .who appear to mankind, to men in the likeness of women, and to women in the likeness of men, and with men they lie by night and by day.’

Men fear Lilith because She knows the power of Her sexuality and She knows that Her sexuality has power over men. Like Circe, She turns men into beasts or pigs by opening the doorways to their deep and primal sexual desires. Such desires are forbidden by the Jewish and Christian cults.

Women, who are like the submissive Eve, also fear Lilith because of the power She holds. But, as has been shown in the myth of the garden of Eden, Lilith is not an enemy of womankind. She holds the ancient fruit of knowledge, the secrets of our deepest sexual nature, and She is willing to offer this fruit to us.

Lilith as Vampire

“Bewitched” by Picked-Jester

As the mother of all demons, Lilith has recently been linked to either giving birth to the first vampires or being the first vampire.

This fallacy is linked to past Jewish superstitions in that Lilith drank the blood of children while in the form of an owl.

In a Rabbinical frenzy to drive Lilith’s worshippers away from the Goddess, they made up lies such as this which contradicted Her earlier functions as a protectress and helper of birthing mothers and infants.” [1]

“Lilith” by Valerhon

For your listening enjoyment, I had to add this song into this entry that I came across a few days ago.  This song is amazing, written by a talented artist named Zefora, and dedicated to Lilith.

Sources:

Yetter, Eliza. Sacred Spiral, “Lilith As Goddess”  (When you click on the link, it will bring you to her page where she has posted her citations/selected bibliography.)

Suggested Links:

All Things yOni, “Lilith

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Jewish and Christian Literature, “Lilith

Kocharyan, Lilith. Lilith’s World, “Goddess Lilith

Leitch, Aaron. Aaron Leitch Homepage, “Lilith

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Lilith: The Primordial Female“. (55 – 67).

Saradwyn. Order of the White Moon, “Lilith“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Lilith

Wikipedia, “Lilith

crdmwritingroad

Coralie Raia's Writing Road Blog

Moody Moons

A Celebration of the Seasons & the Spirit

Award-Winning Author Nicole Evelina

Stories of Strong Women from History and Today

Eternal Haunted Summer

pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern Viking Blog written by an ancient soul

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman Polytheism

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Her Breath

Fused with the Fire of Inspiration

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

The art of living with a broken heart.

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.