Tag Archive: spring


A fabulous breathing and meditation exercise to celebrate the Goddess within us and the Spring energies that are all around right now.
“Spring is here. Your body is the body of the goddess. If desired, please say the following aloud or silently, participate in the suggested breathing exercise and allow yourself to sink deeply into the body that is yours and is part of the season– the awakening of spring.” ~ Marie Cartier

My body is the body of the goddess—witches and shamans and other magical beings (including humans) chant this in spring ritual …and other times of the year as well.

But as we prepare for spring equinox, I thought I would use my blog this March to give the Feminism and Religion community a chakra mediation for spring ritual and renewal. Spring is here. Your body is the body of the goddess. If desired, please say the following aloud or silently, participate in the suggested breathing exercise and allow yourself to sink deeply into the body that is yours and is part of the season– the awakening of spring.

Breathe deeply: in and out; in and out; and in and out.

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Goddess Mama Kilya

“Mama Quilla” by Lisa Hunt

“Mama Kilya’s themes are fire, the sun, cycles, spring, time, divination, health and prosperity. Her symbols are fire and golden/yellow items. In Incan tradition, Mama Kilya regulates the festival calendar and all matters of time. She is also a prophetic Goddess, often warning of impending danger through eclipses. When these occur, one should make as much noise a possible to frighten away evil influences.

Because they live south of the equator, Incans consider today, which for them is the spring equinox, the sun’s birthday.  Follow with tradition and rise early today to catch the first rays of the sun as they come over the horizon. These rays hold the Goddess’s blessing for health, prosperity, and timeliness.

Another customary practice today was that of sun and fire divinations. If the sun in shining, sit beneath a tree and watch the patterns it creates in the shadows and light. Keep a question in mind as you watch, and see what images Mama Kilya creates in response. Make note of these and look them up in dream symbol books or any guide to imagery for potential interpretive values.

Should the weather be poor, place any yellow-colored herbs on a fire source and watch what happens. Popping and flying indicates lots of energy and a positive response. Smouldering indicates anger and an iffy response. Finally, flames dying out completely is a negative-definitely don’t move forward on this one.”

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

“Goddess: Mama Quilla” by Dylan Meconis

“Mama Quilla (QuechuaMama Killa or Mama Kilya), in Inca mythology and religion, was the third power and Goddess of the moon. She was the sister and wife of Inti, daughter of Viracocha and mother of Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, mythical founders of the Inca empire and culture. She was the Goddess of marriage and the menstrual cycle, and considered a defender of women. She was also important for the Inca calendar.

Myths surrounding Mama Quilla include that She cried tears of silver and that lunar eclipses were caused when She was being attacked by an animal. She was envisaged in the form of a beautiful woman and Her temples were served by dedicated priestesses.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan writes: “In ancient Peru, [Mama Quilla] was the name of the moon Goddess, imagined as a silver disk with a woman’s face.  ‘Mother Moon’ was honored at regular calendar-fixed rituals, especially held during eclipses, when a supernatural jaguar attempted to devour Her” (p. 206).

“Mama Quilla” by Ramona Frederickson

“[Another] myth surrounding the moon was to account for the ‘dark spots‘; it was believed that a fox fell in love with Mama Quilla because of Her beauty, but when he rose into the sky, She squeezed him against Her, producing the patches.  The Incas would fear lunar eclipses as they believed that during the eclipse, an animal (possibly a mountain lion, serpent or puma) was attacking Mama Quilla. Consequently, people would attempt to scare away the animal by throwing weapons, gesturing and making as much noise as possible. They believed that if the animal achieved its aim, then the world would be left in darkness. This tradition continued after the Incas had been converted to Catholicism by the Conquistadors, which the Spanish used to their advantage. The natives showed the Spanish great respect when they found that they were able to predict when the eclipses would take place.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Mama Quilla“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Mama Quilla {Goddess of the Week}“.

Bingham, Ann & Jeremy Roberts. South and Meso-American Mythology A to Z, “Mama Quilla“.

Browne, Sylvia. Mother God: The Feminine Principle to Our Creator.

Conway, Deanna J. Moon Magick: Myth & Magic, Crafts & Recipes, Rituals & Spells.

Friedman, Amy. Uexpress.com, “Tell Me a Story: The People of the Sun (an Incan Myth)“.

Hunt, Lisa. Celestial Goddesses: An Illustrated Meditation Guide, “Mama Quilla“.

Shewhodreams.weebly.com, “Mama Quilla“.

Waldherr, Kris. Goddess Inspiration Oracle, “Mama Quilla“.

Goddess Anahita

(This is another of the several Goddesses that Patricia Telesco makes a second entry on in her book.  You can view my previous entry on Anahita here.)

“Inanna” by Lisa Hunt

“Anahita’s themes are honor, love, fertility, pleasure and cleansing. Her symbols are water, lunar objects and colors and green branches.  Anahita is the Zoroastrian moon Goddess who shines upon the darkness in our lives, replacing loneliness with true love, barrenness with fertility and impotence with pleasurable unions. She is the Lady of Heaven, the flowing force of the cosmos, whose name means ‘Pure’. A traditional offering for Anahita is green branches, which represent Her life-giving power.

Today marks the birthday of Zoroaster, the founder of a religious sect that influenced the Magi of the Bible. Amidst Zoroaster’s pantheon we find this Goddess, radiating with the beautiful things of life, but only after a good ‘house cleansing’. Honor Her by washing your floors with pine-scented cleanser (i.e. green branches so her energies can purify the sacred space of home.) Afterward, light a white candle to represent Anahita’s presence therein. Add a simple invocation like this one:

‘Lady of Purity, Lady of Light, be welcome in my home and my heart.’

Purify yourself, too, so that Anahita’s passion can flow unhindered. Take a ritual bath, adding any woodsy aromatic to the water. As you wash up, say,

‘Anahita, carry the darkness away,
so my body and spirit may revel in your pleasures,
giving and receiving them equally.’

Then spend time with your loved one, letting nature take its course.”

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

“Morning Star” by Mahmoud Farshchian

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Anahita was called the “‘Immaculate one’, also called Ardvi Sura Anahita (‘humid, strong, immaculate one’), She was one of the ruling deities of the Persian Empire. Anahita embodied the physical and metaphoric qualities of water, the fertilizing force that flowed from Her supernatural fountain in the stars.  By extension She ruled semen – which flows forth and fertilizes  – and thus human generation as well as all other forms of earthly propagation.

A 4th century BCE depiction of Anahita, radiant and mounted on a lion, being worshipped by Artaxerxes II.

She originated in Babylonia, whence She traveled to Egypt to appear as an armed and mounted Goddess.  Her worship spread east as well; She became the most popular Persian deity, worshiped, it is said, even by the great god Ahura Mazda himself.  Nevertheless, Zoroaster did his best to ignore Anahita, although later writings reveal that the sage was specifically commanded by his male god to honor Her.

“Persian Pride” by Hojatollah Shakiba

In this tall and powerful maiden, Her people saw the image of both the mother and the warrior; She was a protective mother to Her people, generously nurturing them while fiercely defending them from enemies.  In statuary, Anahita was the ‘golden mother’, arrayed in golden kerchief, square gold earrings, and a jeweled diadem, wrapped in a gold embroidered cloak adorned with thirty otter skins. She was also described as driving through our world in a chariot drawn by four white horses that signify wind, rain, clouds, and hail.

‘Great Lady Anahita, glory and life-giver of our nation, mother of sobriety and benefactor of mankind,’ the Armenians called out to their beloved Goddess.  They honored Her with offerings of green branches and white heifers brought to Her sanctuaries.  They may have offered themselves as well; the traveler Strabo said that sacramental promiscuity was part of the honor due this rule of reproduction who ‘purifies the seed of males and the womb and milk of females.’

 

Healer, mother, and protector of Her people, She was worshipped throughout the Persian Empire for many centuries.  To the west She was said to be identical to Anat; the Greeks contended She was Aphrodite, when they did not claim She was Athena” (p. 45).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Avesta — Zoroastrian Archives, “Angels in Zoroastrianism“.

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

Iranpoliticsclub.net, “Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses“.

Langdon, S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, January 1924, Vol. 56, Issue 01, “The Babylonian and Persian Sacaea1

Lindemans, Micha F. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Anahita“.

Milo. TeenWitch.com, “Anaitis Anahita“.

Nabarz, Payam. Iranian.com, “Anahita – Lady of Persia“.

Skakti156. Shaktiwomyn.com, “52 Goddesses – Week 1 – The Goddess Anahita“.

Wikipedia, “Anahita“.

Goddess Sisina

“Flora Study II” by Jia Lu

“Sisina’s themes are offering, prayer, love, devotion, home and relationships. Her symbols are Spring and May-blossoming flowers. This Filipino Goddess oversees the realms of orderliness, beauty and love. Traditionally, She protects marriages against discord, but She may also be called upon to settle inner turmoil within you soul and restore self-love.

Today concludes Flores de Mayo in which people in the Philippines say good-bye to May with bouquets, flower offerings and an array of sweet foods to honor the month’s sweetness and beauty. Sometimes they ask Sisina to joint the festivities by setting a place for Her at the table.

This particular custom appears in several other cultures and it is a simple lovely way of honoring the Goddess. Just leave a plate with a a fresh flower on your dinner table. This draws Sisina’s presence, love and peaceful nature to your home and family relationships. If you wish also leave an offering of sweet bread or fruity wine in a special spot to thank Her.

As you go about your normal routine today, take time to enjoy any flowers you see and be very considerate of the special people in your life. Sisina will see the effort and continue blessing those realtinships with harmony.”

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

“spring shower 1of 4 seasons pressed flower art” by Shelley Xie

I could find no specific mention of a Goddess called “Sisina” for today’s entry.  While browsing through a list of Gods, Goddesses and Deities of the Philippines, I did find 2 Goddesses of love.  The first Goddess I found was Dian Masalanta, “the Goddess of love, pregnancy, child birth, and peace among the ancient Tagalogs. Ever since the arrival of the Spaniards, She has been known by the name, Maria Makiling, after Her mountain, Mount Makiling.” [1]

The second Goddess I found was Sehana, the Goddess of love who had the power to bestow love on any mortal or immortal being. [2]  I could find no other information on Sehana other the meaning of Sehana as a Filipino name for girls.

I did find mention of a Goddess called Bighari, who was the Goddess of flowers and daughter of Bathala (the supreme god of the ancient Tagalogs) who plays a role in the Filipino legend of the first rainbow.  Legend says that “one day Bathala planned a journey to Earth to visit his faithful people. He called his children to bid them farewell. All of them came but Bighari, the Goddess of Flowers.  Bathala, who valued promptness, became angry because this was not the first time that Bighari missed their gathering. Thus, he banished Her from their heavenly kingdom.  Bighari, at that time, was at Her garden on Earth. She wept bitterly when She was told of Her banishment. But She sought to cope with Her sorrow by causing Her garden to bloom profusely.

Goddess of Rainbows by JinxFlux

The legend of the rainbow says that the people that used to live around Her garden grew to love Her more and more for bringing beauty to their lives. They resolved, after a time, to build Her a bower so that they could see Her garden even from a long distance.

And so they built it, and decked it all over with colorful blooms. Thereafter, whenever Bighari would travel, people would see Her colorful bower against the sky.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Mysterio delas Filipinas, “The Eternal Beings“.

Read-legends-and-myths.com, “The Rainbow Legend from the Philippines“.

WikiPilipinas, “Dian Masalanta“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Nosfecatu Publishing, “Taste Test: Dian Masalanta“.

Wikipedia, “Deities of Philippine Mythology“.

Goddess Gefn

“Freyja” by paintedflowers

“Gefn’s themes are sun, winter, spring, protection, health, love, divination, magic, fertility, foresight, and growth.  Her symbols are all green or growing things.  A Goddess whose name means simply ‘giver’, Gefn was regarded by the Norse-Germanic people as a frolicsome, fertile figure and seeress who embodied the earth’s greenery. Gefn brings this abundance to us today: abundant well-being, abundant companionship, and abundant Goddess-centered magic!

Walpurgisnacht with a German saint (Saint Walburga), who had curative powers and taught people how to banish curses. For our purpose, Gefn stands in, offering to heal the curse of a broken heart by filling our lives with love and hope-filled foresight. If someone has completely overlooked or trashed your feelings recently, ask Gefn for help in words that you find comfortable. She’s waiting and willing to apply a spiritual salve to that wound.

Also try the German custom of ringing bells and banging pots to frighten away any malicious or prankish magic (or people who make it) before your spring activities really start to rock ‘n’ roll. Make this as playful as possible to encourage Gefn’s participation. Burning rosemary and juniper likewise cleanses the area, and if you can get either of these fresh, Gefn’s presence lies within. The burning releases Her energy.”

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

“In Norse mythology, Gefjon (pronounced GEF-yon) or Gefjun (with the alternate spelling Gefion) is a Goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr, foreknowledge, and virginity. Gefjon is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the works of skalds; and appears as a gloss for various Greco-Roman Goddesses in some Old Norse translations of Latin works.

Gefjon ploughs the earth in Sweden by Lorenz Frølich

The Prose Edda and Heimskringla both report that Gefjon plowed away what is now lake Mälaren, Sweden, and with this land formed the island of Zealand, Denmark. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin Herself, but that all who die a virgin become Her attendants. Heimskringla records that Gefjon married the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and that the two dwelled in Lejre, Denmark.

Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the Goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to Her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the Goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, and potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel’s Mother and/or the Goddesses Freyja and Frigg.” [1]

The Gefion Fountain, located on the harbour front in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Oliver J. Schirmer

“The predominant myth about Gefjon is from a ninth century poem by Bragi the Old and was retold by Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century. He relates how Odin had sent Gefjon out to look for more land, and She came to the court of King Gylfi of Sweden. She entertained the king, and in return he gave Her a grant of as much land as four oxen could plough in one day and one night. Gefjon went to the land of the giants where She had four sons with a giant. She turned the four sons into oxen and brought them back to King Gylfi. They dug up so much earth that they created a lake, Lake Mälaren, and the earth that they had dug they dumped into the sea where it formed an island, Zealand, which is now part of Denmark. Gefjon then moved to the island and married Odin’s son Skjöld, and their children became the royal family of Denmark.

Elsewhere in his works, Snorri Sturluson refers to Gefjon as a virgin Goddess, although the trickster God Loki claims that this is not true. Gefjon is one of Frigg’s handmaidens, and She in turn is served by women who died as virgins.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Also Called: The Giver; Mistress of Magick

Colors: Green, gold

Symbols: Plow, wheat, corn

Stones/Metals: Amber, malachite, copper

Plants: Hawthorn, alder, wheat, corn, elder, thyme, yarrow

Day: Friday

Runes: Gebo, Fehu, Jera       [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Pagan Rights Coalition, “Gefjon“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Gefjon“.

Wikipedia, “Gefjon“.

 

Suggested Links:

Odin’s Volk, “Gefjon“.

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org, “Beloved“.

Quarrie, Deanne. Global Goddess, “Gefjon the Giver“.

Thomas, Dawn “Belladonna”. Global Goddess, “Goddess Gefjon and a Sample Ritual“.

VAIDILUTE, “Asgard and the Gods – Part 4

Wikipedia, “List of names of Freyja“.


Goddess Flora

"Flora" by Evelyn de Morgan

“Flora’s themes are beauty, sexuality, love, spring, and fertility.  Her symbols are all flowers.  Roman prostitutes considered Flora their own Goddess, protecting all acts of beauty, especially heartfelt lovemaking. She is also a spring Goddess from whom we get the word flora, meaning ‘blossom’ or ‘plants’. Symbolically, this flowering pertains to the human spirit too, one that can appreciate beauty in the body without necessarily making it into a sex object.

Wearing bright colors on this day is customary, as is decorating everything with a plethora of flowers, each of which has Flora’s presence within. If flowers prove difficult to obtain or too costly, think floral aromas instead. Pull out a blossoming air freshener, light floral incense, or wear a floral perfume. Flora is as much a part of the scent as She is the petals, conveying love and passion on each breeze!

Another traditional activity for this day is erotic dancing. If you have someone special in your life, tantalize them with a bit with slow, sexy movements. Let Flora’s passion fill both of you to overflowing, then let nature take Her course.

Finally, make yourself a Flora charm that incites the interest of those from whom you seek it. Take three flower petals and tuck them in your clothing, keeping an image of your partner in mind, and say:

 ‘One for interest
Two for Flora’s desire
Three to light passion’s fire.'”

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

“Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowering plants, especially those that bear fruit. Spring, of course, is Her season, and She has elements of a Love-Goddess, with its attendant attributes of fertility, sex, and blossoming. She is quite ancient; the Sabines are said to have named a month for Her (which corresponds to our and the Roman April), and She was known among the Samnites as well as the Oscans, where She was called Flusia. She was originally the Goddess specifically of the flowering crops, such as the grain or fruit-trees, and Her function was to make the grain, vegetables and trees bloom so that autumn’s harvest would be good. She was invoked to avert rust, a nasty fungal disease of plants that causes orange growths the exact color of rusting iron, and which was (is) an especial problem affecting wheat. Hers is the beginning of the process that finds its completion with Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and the Harvest; and like Pomona, Flora had Her own flamen, one of a small number of priests each in service to a specific Deity. The flamens were said to have been instituted by Numa, the legendary second King of Rome who succeeded Romulus; and whether Numa really existed or not, the flamens were undoubtedly of ancient origin, as were the Deities they served.

"Flora" by InertiaK

In later times Flora became the Goddess of all flowering plants, including the ornamental varieties. Her name is related to Latin floris, meaning naturally enough ‘a flower’, with the additional meaning of ‘[something] in its prime’; other related words have meanings like ‘prospering’, ‘flourishing’, ‘abounding’, and ‘fresh or blooming’. In one story, Flora was said to have provided Juno with a magic flower that would allow Her to conceive with no help from a man; from this virgin-birth Mars was born. A late tale calls Flora a courtesan and gives Her a story similar to Acca Larentia: Flora was said to have made a fortune as a courtesan, which She bequeathed to Rome upon Her death, and for which She was honored with the festival of the Floralia. As Flora was originally a Sabine Goddess, and as the Sabines were a neighboring tribe whom the Romans conquered and assimilated into Rome, perhaps this is an acknowledgement of the land so acquired, put into legendary terms.

"Flora" by Louise Abbéma

Flora had two temples in Rome, one near the Circus Maximus, the great “stadium” of Rome where chariot races were held, and another on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill. The temple on the Quirinal was most likely built on the site of an earlier altar to Her said to have been dedicated by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines, who ruled alongside Romulus for a time in the very early (hence legendary) days of Rome. Her other temple was built quite near to the Circus Maximus, though its exact site has not been found, and was associated with a neighboring temple dedicated to the triad of Ceres (the Grain Goddess) and Liber and Libera (God and Goddess of the Vine). These Deities and Flora were all concerned with the fertility and health of the crops. Flora’s temple by the Circus was dedicated on the 28th of April in 241 (or 248) BCE in response to a great drought at the command of the Sybilline books, and this day became the starting date of Her great festival, the Floralia. In Imperial times (1st century CE) this temple was rededicated (I assume after some restorations were made) on the 13th of August, and this date was given to a second festival of Flora, coinciding with the ripening of the grain, whose flowers She had set forth.

Proper Piatti (and workshop): Floralia, 1899

The Floralia of April was originally a moveable feast to coincide with the blossoming of the plants, later becoming fixed with the dedication of Her temple on the 28th (or 27th, before the calendar was reformed–I mention this because holidays were almost always held on odd-numbered days as it was considered unlucky to start a festival on an even-numbered day), though ludi or “games”–horse-races or athletic contests–were not held every year. By the Empire the festival had grown (or should I say, blossomed) to seven days, and included chariot-races and theatrical performances, some of which were notoriously bawdy. It was given over to merriment and celebrations of an amorous nature, much like that northern flower-and-sex festival Beltaine whose date neatly coincides. Prostitutes considered it their own special time, and the Floralia gained a reputation as being more licentious and abandoned than the Saturnalia of December, whose name is legendary even now.

"Flora" by Neonescence

At the chariot-races and circus games of the Floralia it was traditional to let goats and hares loose, and lupines, bean-flowers and vetch (all of which have similarly-shaped blossoms and are a sort of showier version of wheat in bloom) were scattered, symbolic of fertility. Brightly colored clothes were a must, as were wreaths of flowers, especially roses; and the celebrations drew great crowds. Of the two nationalized chariot-teams who shared a deep rivalry, the Greens and the Blues, the Greens (of course) were Hers, and She had been invoked at chariot-races from ancient times. The last day of the festival, May 3rd, was called Florae; it may be a special name for the closing day of the Floralia, or it may refer to a seperate ceremony conducted in Her temple on the Quirinal.

Ancient Roman Fresco - Flora (Khloris), the Goddess of flowers, fills Her basket with freshly picked blooms.

Flora was depicted by the Romans wearing light spring clothing, holding small bouquets of flowers, sometimes crowned with blossoms. Honey, made from flowers, is one of Her gifts, and Her name is said to be one of the secret (holy) names of Rome. She is sometimes called the handmaiden of Ceres. Ovid identifies Her with the Greek flower-nymph Chloris, whose name means ‘yellow or pale green’, the color of Spring. The word flora is still used as a general name for the plants of a region.

Alternate names/epithets: Flora Rustica, ‘Flora the Countrywoman’ or ‘Flora of the Countryside’, and Flora Mater, or ‘Flora the Mother’, in respect to Her ancient origins. Among the Oscans She was known as Flusia.” [1]

Here is a little visual tribute to the Goddess Flora set to Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “La primavera” (Spring) by Antonio Vivaldi for your viewing and listening pleasure

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Flora“.

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Flora {Goddess of the Week}“. 

Carnaval.com, “May Day“.

Gill, N.S. About.com, “Floralia“.

MoonBird, Maeve Cliodhna. The Goddess Within, “Beltane-Celebrating the Goddess Flora of Springtime and the May Queen“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Khloris“.

Wikipedia, “Flora (mythology)“.

Goddess Lada

“Goddess Lada” by Lady-Ghost

“Lada’s themes are spring, protection, overcoming, kinship, energy, and joy.  Her symbols are birch and bells.  Lada bursts forth from Her winter hiding place today in full Slavic costume and dances with joy, grateful for spring’s arrival. As Lada moves, Her skirts sweep away sickness and usher in the earth’s blossoming beauty. She bears a birch tree and flowers to honor the earth’s fertility and to begin planting anew.

Sechseläuten, a traditional Swiss spring holiday, is overflowing with Lada’s vibrancy and begins with the demolition of a snowman, symbolic of winter’s complete overthrow. If you don’t live in a region where there’s snow, take out an ice cube and put a flowering seed atop it. Let is melt, then plant the seed with ‘winter’s’ water to welcome Lada back to the earth.

Bells ring throughout this day in Switzerland to proclaim spring and ring out any remaining winter maladies and shadows. Adapt this by taking a handheld bell (you can get small ones at craft stores) and ringing it in every room of the house, intoning Lada’s revitalizing energy. Or, just ring your doorbell, open the door, and bring in some flowers as a way of offering Lada’s spirit hospitality.

Finally, wear something with a floral print today or enjoy a glass of birch beer. Better still, make a birch beer float so the ice cream (snow) melts amid Lada’s warmth, bringing that transformative power into you as you sip.”

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

“Lada is the Slavic Goddess of spring, love, and beauty. She was worshipped throughout Russia, Poland, and other areas of Eastern Europe. She is usually depicted as a young woman with long blonde hair. She carries wild roses, and is also known as the ‘Lady of the Flowers’. As Goddess of spring, Lada is associated with love and fertility in both humans and animals. She is said to return from the underworld every year at the Vernal Equinox, bringing the spring with Her.” [1]

“The Slavic Goddess of love and beauty, who appears as Freya, Isis, or Aphrodite with other peoples. She is, of course, linked to the planetary power of Venus who is, besides love and beauty, associated with fertility. Lada is represented as a girl with long golden hair sometimes with a wreath of ears of grain braided into Her hair, which symbolizes Her function of fertility deity thus making Her an aspect of Mother of Wet Land. A symbol of Sun, a mark of lifegiving power was sometimes on her breasts. As a fertility Goddess, Lada has Her annual cycles, which can be shown by the belief that She resides in the dwelling place of the dead until the vernal equinox comes. This world of the dead is called Irij, and here, besides Lada, dwells Veles, the horned god of cattle. [Does this story ring a bell?  A connection between Persephone/Kore in Greek mythology or Oniata in the Americas?]

At the moment when Lada is supposed to come out into the world and bring spring, Gerovit opens the door of Irij letting the fertility Goddess bless the earth. At the end of summer, Lada returns to Irij (there is a similar myth in German mythology in which Freya spends a part of the year underground among the elves, whereas Greek Persefona dwells in Hades during the winter period). Although Her reign begins on the 21st of March, Lada is primarily the Goddess of summer. She follows Vesna, the Slavic spring Goddess. However, both of these Goddesses are associated with fertility so sometimes it can sometimes be difficult to separate their functions. As we can see, Lada’s reign begins in spring, the proof of which is ladenjanother name for April, given after this Goddess. Apart from the Sun, Lada is also associated with rain and hot summer nights, the ideal time for paying respect to the love Goddess.

Lada’s animals are a cock, a deer, an ant and an eagle, whereas Her plants are a cherry, a dandelion, a linden and a peony. Besides Venus, Lada is connected with the constilation of Taurus, which Aleksandar Asov wrote about in The Slavic Astrology. Here, we can once again Her function of fertility Goddess, whose reign begins in spring, mix with the function of the Goddess Vesna. A myth says that Lada is married to Svarog who is only with Her help able to create the world. According to another one, She is a companion of Jarilo, thus associated with Aphrodite, whose lover is Ares. Rituals performed in Lada’s honor are most often linked with contracting marriages, or choosing a spouse. One of the known rites is ladarice, also performed under the name of kraljice in Serbia. Vuk Karadžić described the basic characteristics of this ritual. On Holy Trinity Day, a group of about ten young girls gathers, one of them is dressed like a queen, another one like a king, and another one like a color-bearer. The queen is sitting on a chair, while the other girls are dancing around Her, and the king and the color-bearer are dancing on their own. In this way the queens go from house to house looking for girls of marriageable age. Jumping over the fire is another characteristic of rituals performed in Lada’s honor. This custom existed in all parts of Europe and its purpose was to ensure fertility as well as to protect people and cattle from evil forces.” [2]  This very similar to the customs of Beltane; celebrating the May Queen and jumping the balefire for purification purposes and to ensure fertility.

“Lady Galadriel” by Josephine Wall

“Lada’s name means peace, union, and harmony.  Lada creates harmony within the household and in marriages;  She blesses unions of love with peace and goodwill.  In Russia, when a couple is happily married it is said that they ‘live in Lada.’  Rituals performed in Her honor are most often linked with contracting marriages and and choosing a spouse.” [3] 

 

 

Sources:

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

Kakaševski, Vesna (translated by Jelena Salipurović). Starisloveni.com, “Lada“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Lada“.

Goddess Rindr

“The Snow Queen” by ArwensGrace

“Rindr’s themes are spring, overcoming, protection, fire, spirituality and change.  Her symbols are fir, solar images, gold and yellow.  In Scandinavia, Rindr represents winter struggling to retain control, even as people sometimes fight positive change because they find the process uncomfortable. Eventually, Rindr succumbs to Odin’s advances, which warm and fertilize Her, bringing spring. Rinda teaches us to likewise accept personal transformations gracefully.

Sometimes around the fourth Sunday after lent, many German villages stage a battle between the forces of winter and spring (of course, spring always wins). This might equate to a ritual tug-of-war game in which the winter puts up a good battle, but loses. Have people focus on something they similarly want to lose in their lives (like a negative characteristic).

To clear away the old and old ways, follow the German custom of creating an effigy of winter out of straw and burning it in the fire of spring. Just gather a few strands of straw from the kitchen broom. Tie them together with a white string (for protection), visualizing whatever situation you want ‘warmed up’ or habits/ideas you want ‘burned away’. Ignite this in a fire-safe container, saying:

‘As Rindr accepts Odin, I now accept change.’

 Let the straw burn to ash, then scatter it to disperse the energy.”

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

“Rindr (Old Norse) or Rinda (Latin) (sometimes Anglicized Rind) is described as a giantess, a primal Goddess of the frozen earth.  She is alternatively described as a human princess from the east (somewhere in present-day Russia). She was impregnated by Odin and gave birth to Váli.

“Ice Queen” by StinaBG

The main account of Rindr is book III of the Gesta Danorum, written by Saxo Grammaticus around the early thirteenth century. There She is called Rinda and is the daughter of the King of the Ruthenians. After Balderus‘ death Odin consulted seers on how to get revenge. On their advice Odin went to the Ruthenians disguised as a warrior called Roster. There he was twice turned down by Rinda. He then disguised himself as a medicine woman called Wecha. When Rinda later fell ill, the disguised Odin said he had medicine with which to cure Her but it would cause a violent reaction. On advice from Odin the king tied Rinda to Her bed. Odin then proceeded to rape Her”. [1]

“Seeing his own child being raped, didn’t stop the king also violating his own daughter. When Rinda became pregnant, the king assumed that the child was his, but in reality it belonged to Odin.  Due to the rape of Rinda, Odin lost his throne as king of Asgard (which Saxo called Byzantium), and replaced by Oller (Wulder). Odin was forced into exile, but returned 10 years later to oust Oller. In Saxo’s account, Vali’s name is Boe, and Odin urged Boe to avenge his brother’s death. Boe did so, killing Hother (Hod).” [2]

“Óðinn’s seduction of Rindr is described once outside the Gesta Danorum, in a line of stanza 3 of Sigurðarkviða, a poem by Kormákr Ögmundarson praising Sigurðr Hlaðajarl, who ruled around Trondheim in the mid-tenth century. Like other such praise-poems, it is generally assumed to be genuine rather than a later pseudo-historical composition. Kormákr’s verse mentions that ‘Óðinn seið til Rindar’ (‘Óðinn ‘enchanted Rindr’), denoting Óðinn’s magical seduction of Rindr with the verb síða. This suggests that Kormakr thought the magic known as seiðr was integral to Óðinn’s wooing of Rindr, and is important evidence for Óðinn’s association with this kind of magic.” [3]

Isa – Ice, cold, freezing. Lack of change. Stagnation. Lack of emotion. Storing binding. Bridge across danger.

Interesting little fact, “The rune associated with Rinda is Isa, the ice rune, itself hard and cold yet concentrating and protective.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Timeless Myths, “Aesir, Rind“.

Uldis. White Dragon, “The Faery Faith in the Northern Tradition“.

Wikipedia, “Rindr“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Kaldera, Raven. Northernpaganism.org, “Rind: Praising Rind“.

Lindow, John.  Handbook of Norse Mythology .
OrderInTheQuartz. Lagutyr.  “The Goddess Rindr“.

Goddess Marazanna

“Marazanna’s themes are spring, weather, protection, winter, death, rebirth, cycles, change and growth.  Her symbols are dolls (poppets) and water (including ice and snow).  The Polish Goddess for whom this holiday is named represents an odd combination of winter, death and the fruit field’s growth and fertility. As such, She oversees the transitions we wish to make in our lives.

Marzanna is a Polish spring festival which an effigy of Marzanna is tossed into a river to overcome Her wintery nature and ensure that there will be no floods that year. This tradition is likely an antecedent of ancient river sacrifices made to appease the water spirits. Following suit, resolutely throw a biodegradable image of something you wish to overcome this season into any moving water source (even your toilet!). Let Marzenna carry it away, slowly breaking down that negative energy and replacing it with personal growth. Burying an image has the same effect.

To invoke Marzenna’s protection until next winter, write your name and birth date on a piece of paper and freeze it in an ice cube.

Keep the cube in a safe place in the back of your freezer to keep yourself surrounded by Marzenna’s safe barrier. Melt the ice cube later in the year if you need a boost of spring’s revitalizing energy.”

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

“Witch .Marzanna” by smokepaint

“Marazanna is a Slavic Goddess associated with death, winter and nightmares. Some sources equate her with the Latvian Goddess Māra, who takes a person’s body after their death. Some medieval Christian sources such as the Mater Verborum also compare Her to the Greek Goddess Hecate, associating Her with sorcery. The Polish chronicler Jan Długosz (15th cent.) likened Her to Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture.” [1] “In pre-Christian times, She was also associated with the harvest.  She was worshipped as the Mother and Goddess of corn and held in very special reverence.  She appears as an old woman dressed in white who becomes a hag when winter hits and slowly dies off.  She is sometimes associated with Witchcraft and divination.” [2]

The tradition of burning or drowning an effigy of Marzanna to celebrate the end of winter is a folk custom that survives in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  This folk custom falls always around the date of 20/21 March – at the vernal equinox when the Spring begins. The female straw effigy of Marzanna can vary in size – it may be a small puppet or a life-size dummy. The doll is set on fire, drowned in a river or both. The ritual is a symbolic farewell to Winter and the dark days that it involved. It shows joy of rebirth of Spring and victory over death. It was believed that the ritual would ensure good harvest. Destroying the effigy of evil Goddess was believed also to remove all the effects brought by Her. According to the custom the straw effigy was placed on a stick and covered with linen. She was also decorated with ribbons and necklaces. Village children would march with Marzanna – and branches of juniper in their hands – around the whole village. They would drown the Marzanna doll in every river (or generally every water – let it be river, pond or puddle) on the way. In the evening Marzanna effigy would be given to the village youth that would take her out of village and (in the light of burning juniper twigs) they would set a doll on fire and drown in the river. There were of course many superstitions connected with that custom. One could not touch Marzanna after it had been drowned in the river (as he would be in danger of losing the hand), looking back on the way back could bring serious disease and stumbling or falling down could predict death within the next year.

Christianity would forbid this Slavic custom. In 1420 Polish clergy was advised not to allow the villagers to celebrate ‘drowning of Marzanna’. When that would not help, the priests would invent their own habit to replace Marzanna custom with it. On Wednesday preceding Easter holidays an effigy of Judas would be thrown down from church tower. But that would not help either to forget about ‘Drowning of Marzanna’ habit.

Nowadays the ritual is kept within schools and kindergartens. During field trips children perform with their teachers ‘Drowning of Marzanna’ to prepare warm welcome to Spring.” [3]

“‘It concerns the ‘drowning of Marzanna’, a large figure of a woman made from various rags and bits of clothing which is thrown into a river on the first day of the spring calendar. Along the way, she is dipped into every puddle and pond … Very often she is burned along with herbs before being drowned and a twin custom is to decorate a pine tree with flowers and colored baubles to be carried through the village by the girls. There are of course many superstitions associated with the ceremony: you can’t touch Marzanna once she’s in the water, you can’t look back at her, and if you fall on your way home you’re in big trouble. One, or a combination of any of these can bring the usual dose of sickness and plague.’  —Tom Galvin, “Drowning Your Sorrows in Spring”, Warsaw Voice 13.544, March 28, 1999″ [4]

Sources:

Stella. Gods and Goddesses, “Goddess Marzanna“.

Swiech, Barbara. BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, “Slavic goddess and Spring“.

Wikipedia, “Marazanna“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Rolek, Barbara. About.com, “The Drowning of Marzanna or Frost Maiden – Topienie Marzanny“.

Svätoslava. Slavorum: Perserving Slavic Heritage,Burning Morena“. (Fabulous background information, photos and videos about Burning of Morena).

Butterfly Maiden

"Butterfly Maiden" by Kristi Davis

“Butterfly Maiden’s themes are rebirth, beauty, fertility, balance, freedom, and nature.  Her symbols are  butterflies, seedlings, rainwater, and spring flowers.  In Hopi tradition, the Butterfly Maiden is a kachina (spirit) who rules the springtime and the earth’s fertility. Butterfly Maiden flutters into our lives today to reconnect us with nature and to help us rediscover that graceful butterfly within each of us – the one that effortlessly rises above problems, making the world its flower.

In magical traditions, the equinox celebrates the sun’s journey back to predominance in the sky and the return of fertility to the earth. It is a joyous fire festival when the elements are in balance, giving us the opportunity to likewise balance our lives. If anything has held you back from real spiritual growth, now is the time to banish it and move on. Visualize yourself as the caterpillar who becomes a becomes a butterfly, then let the Butterfly Maiden give you wings with which to overcome anything!

To inspire Butterfly Maiden’s beauty within and without, wash your face and chakras (near pulse points as well as at the top of the head, in the middle of the forehead, over the heart, near the groin, behind the knees and at the bottom of the feet) with rainwater first thing in the morning (dawn is best). Go outside afterward and toss some flower petals into a spring breeze, saying:

‘Butterfly Maiden, liberate me
Let me mind and spirit ever be free!’

The winds will carry your wish to heaven/the Goddess.”

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

“The Butterfly Maiden, is a Hopi Kachina that governs the Spring.  Kachinas’ are supernatural beings who control nature and have the spirits of living things such as animals and plants within them.  Some Kachinas also hold the spirits of the non-living as well–wind, rain, thunder, lightning, clouds, etc.

            

Examples of Native made Butterfly Maiden kachina dolls.  Click on each picture to be taken to the artist’s site.  

Although most Kachinas’ are not considered to be gods, Butterfly Maiden is believed to be a fertility Goddes who brings about transformation, new beginnings, and fresh starts in life.  She is often pictured as a young Native American woman dressed in and surrounded by butterflies.   She lives within the plants, animals, and female ancestors who  link the human with the Divine.  It is said that She pollinated the world with our nighttime dreams, carrying the life force from Dreamtime into reality; in essence, She makes our dreams come true.  She is a creative force and a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

"Butterfly Maiden" by Sharon George

In the Native American world, we find that each animal, plant, and insect is said to have energy and spirit.  Their healing qualities are referred to as medicine.   Because butterflies are deeply symbolic of our own unique struggle to grow, butterfly medicine represents transformation and our personal power to heal and transform ourselves.  The butterfly begins its life as an unappealing larva which one day goes into seclusion and emerges  as a beautiful winged creature  which spreads the rest of its life spreading beauty and joy as it flits from one flower to the next.  And as we move through our daily lives which are filled with chaos and challenge, it would do well for us to remember that each of us has one of these beautiful winged creatures inside of us…just waiting to emerge from the darkness.  And, like the butterfly, we need only to enter the stillness and solitude, to look within ourselves.  There we will find this wise inner self waiting to transform us.” [1]

“Butterflies have a complex social meaning to the Hopi people.  They are a symbol of renewal and spring.  Butterflies adorn Hopi basketry,  textiles, pottery and jewelry.  Butterflies are associated with much needed rain for growing corn and other crops.  The butterfly dance, a social dance that occurs at the end of every summer, has spiritual significance.  The dance is a prayer to bring rains and also is a community celebration in the gathering of dancers, singers, and families.” [2]

Sources:

An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Butterfly Maiden“.

Cantley, Janet. It’s a Bug’s World…Insect Motifs in American Indian Art,  Heard Museum West in the Heard Museum Journal

Suggested Links:

Anderson-Childers, Molly J. Creativity Portal, “Soaring with the Hopi Butterfly Maiden“.

Fewkes, J. Walter. American Anthropologist, “The Butterfly in Hopi Myth and Ritual“.

Lavanee. Goddess School, “Butterfly Maiden“.

Martise, Cloe. “The Nine Native Holy Women”.

Sacred Space Sister Goddess Circle Blog, “Butterfly Maiden: Transformation“.

Taphorn, Sharon. Lightworkers.org, “Butterfly Maiden ~ Working with Butterfly Medicine“.

Venefica, Avia. What’s-Your-Sign.com, “Butterfly Animal Symbolism“.

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