Tag Archive: stars


Goddess Amaltheia

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“Amaltheia’s themes are success, humor, reason, devotion and providence. Her symbols are goat, cornucopia and stars.  In Greek mythology, this she-goat Goddess nourished Zeus as an infant. In later years, Zeus broke off one of Her horns, which became the cornucopia, providing sustenance for all earth’s creatures. For Her diligence and service, Amaltheia was transformed into the constellation Capricorn, where She remains.

This astrological sign begins on the first day of winter with the power of logic and reason to guide action, balanced by a keen sense of humor when the going gets tough. Those born under this sign strive tenaciously for success, like the stubborn goat they are.

To improve your personal tenacity, make a paper horn filled with fruit. From now until the end of the year, eat a piece of fruit each day named after the area of your life in which you need Amaltheia’s diligence. Take that energy with you each day so that by the end of the year you will achieve success.

Other ways of emphasizing Amaltheia’s power include keeping the image of a goat (perhaps cut out of a magazine, or one made of stone on your altar or in another place of honor today, carrying fortitude-inspiring herbs like gingerroot and carnation, or tucking in your pocket for the day stones that inspire victory (like marble).”

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

amaltheia

“The Childhood of Zeus” by Jakob Jordaens

Patricia Monaghan wrote: “Whatever the name of Zeus‘ Cretan nurse (see Adamanthea), She fed the infant god on the milk of this magical nanny goat.  When he grew up, Zeus broke off one of Amalthea’s horns and gave it to his nurse; it then turned into the magical ‘cornucopia’.  Just as the magic goat could produce milk rich and copious enough for a god, so part of Her could provide sufficient nourishment for the children of earth.  After thus providing for humankind, the one-horned nanny disappeared into heaven, where She was transformed into the constellation Capricorn” (p. 41).

“In some traditions, the goat’s skin became the Aegis, the legendary shield of Athena.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

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

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

 

Suggested Links:

Theoi.com, “Amaltheia“.

Wikipedia, “Adamanthea“.

Wikipedia, “Amalthea“.

Goddess Matariki

“Matariki’s themes are stars, harvest and peace. Her symbols are stars and the number 7. In Polynesian tradition, this Goddess and Her six children became the Pleiades, and they continue to help humans by showing us when to begin harvesting the labors of hand or heart.

From mid- to late November the people of Hawaii take part in special rituals to celebrate the appearance of the Pleiades in the skies, which is the beginning of harvest season. In reverence for this occasion, all war is forbidden. It makes one wish that Matariki and her children appeared around the world all the time!

To encourage similar peacefulness in your own life, and harmony with those around you, carry seven stars in your pocket, wallet, or purse today. You can draw these on paper, use seven typed asterisks, get the marshmallow kind out of a cereal box, or collect seven noodles from a chicken ‘n’ stars can. If you use edible items, eat them at the end of the day to bring serenity to your spirit.

If there’s something you’ve been working on that seems to be taking forever, look to Matariki to show you how to begin effectively manifesting your efforts. Pray, meditate, and watch for unique openings throughout the day, especially after the stars appear in the sky, representing her power.”

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

“The Pleiades” by Corina Chirila

The only other real mention that I found defining Matariki as a Goddess comes from the Goddess A Day site that states, “To the Maori, the Pleiades are Matariki and her six daughters: Tupu-a-Nuku, Tupu-a-Rangi, Wai-Tii, Wai-Ta, Wai-puna-Rangi, and Uru-Rangi.” [1]

However, the rest of my research found that Matariki wasn’t a Goddess, but is actually the Maori name for the Pleiades.  My research also found that Matariki is the traditional Maori New Year that is celebrated anywhere from late May to early June.  

“Matariki is the Māori name for the seven-star constellation that rises in the north-east before dawn in late May/early June. In Western astronomy it is known the Pleiades, and it forms the shoulder of Taurus the Bull.  Matariki marks the start of a new phase of life. It is a time of festivity for Māori, the tangata whenua, or first people of New Zealand.  Matariki is an important time in the Māori calendar and is associated with the start of the cold season when the pātaka kai (food storehouses) are full and the land is at its most unproductive.” [1]

“The Matariki star constellation marked a time for starting all things new, this was a particularly important period for new crops to be planted and the preserving of old crops to be finished. When Matariki was sighted ceremonial offerings of food were planted for the gods Uenuku and Whiro to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Even the stars themselves were looked upon for guidance as to how successful the coming season would be; the brighter the star constellation the warmer the year was destined and the better the harvest was thought to be.

The timing of Matariki fell at the end of a harvest and food stores were full. Meat, fruits, herbs and vegetables had been gathered and preserved and the migration of certain fish ensured a great period of feasts. Matariki was seen as a time to share with each other, for family and friends to come together and share in the gifts that the land and sea had provided for them.” [2]

Similar to Samhain, “traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.” [3]

Matariki Across the World

“Sprinling Stars – Matariki” by Ira Mitchell

“Matariki’s seven stars can be viewed from anywhere in the world and the constellation is globally recognised as a key navigational aid for sailors. It features in many cultures and acts as an important signal for seasonal celebrations around the world.

Europe: Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, is described as seven sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone. In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England.

Māori and Pacific cultures: In Māori and Pacific stories, Matariki is described as a mother surrounded by Her six daughters.

Japan: In Japan, Matariki is known as Subaru.

Other: The Matariki cluster of stars has also been celebrated by Africans, American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Chinese and Vikings.

Unity, harvesting and planting, paying tributes to ancestors and looking ahead to the future are all themes of these celebrations.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Matariki“.

Taitokerau.co.nz, “Matariki“.

Teara.govt.nz, “Story – Matariki – Māori New Year“.

Wellington.govt.nz, “Matariki – Overview“.

 

Suggested Links:

Matarikievents.co.nz, “Matariki – Home“.

Ngawhetu.com, “Māori New Year“.

Tetaurawhiri.govt.nz, “Matariki“.

Wikipedia, “Matariki“.

 

Goddess Dou Mou

“Dou Mou’s themes are death, ghosts, divination and health. Her symbols are the sun, moon and stars. Dou Mou is the Chinese Goddess of the North Star. To this day, people invoke Dou Mou to protect spirits of departed loved ones and to safeguard the living from sickness. From Her heavenly domain between the sun and the moon, Dou Mou records each birth and death, and she is the patroness of fortune-tellers.

In mid-November, the Chinese celebrate the last of three festivals for the dead. Today they burn clothing for departed loved ones to keep them from death’s chill, along with money and other gifts that the smoke delivers.

If there’s someone you’d like to send a message to on the other side, burn it. Dou Mou will transport it to their attention.

Because of today’s focus on death and divination, you might wish to go to a medium today or try a fortune-telling method that uses spirits guides (like the Ouija).

***The only caution here is to invoke Dou Mou before you proceed, so only spirits that have your best interest at heart will respond!!!
Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door open to strangers, let the Goddess stand firmly between you and the spirit realm.

To generate Dou Mou’s protection for your health, wear silver and gold or white and yellow items today (representing the sun and the moon). Or dab yourself with lemon and lime juice for a similar effect.”

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

This is another name for the Goddess Tou Mou, whom I did an entry on back on April 13.  You can click here to read my entry on Her.

 

 

Suggested Links:

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tou Mu“.

Taoist Resources, “Constellation Mother“.

Taoistsecret.com, “Goddess of the Northern Star“.

Vabien. Vabien’s Deities Site, “The Mother of Taoism – Dou Mu Yuan Jun“.

Werner, E.T.C. Myths & Legends of China, ”Goddeses of the North Star“.

 

Goddess Ishara

“Selket” by =DanielPriego

“Ishara’s themes are creativity, sexuality, passion, instinct, fire and energy. Her symbols are the scorpion (or any stinging, hot items). An ancient Mesopotamian Goddess, Ishara is known for her fiery nature. The Syrians specifically worshiped Her in the form of a scorpion when they wished to improve sexual prowess or passion. In other traditions, Ishara judges human affairs fairly bur firmly, and all oaths made in Her name are sacred.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Scorpio are said to be creative, tenacious, sturdy and sensuous, often internalizing Ishara’s fire in their sign for personal energy.

To do likewise, enjoy any hot beverages (such as coffee with a touch of cinnamon for vitality) first thing in the morning. This will give you some of Ishara’s fire to help you face your day, both mentally and physically.

For those wishing to improve interest or performance in the bedroom, today is a good time to focus on foods for passion and fecundity. Look to bananas or avocados in the morning, olives, dill pickles, radishes, or liquorice sticks as a snack, beans as a dinner side dish, and shellfish as a main platter.

Remember to invoke Ishara’s blessing before you eat. And, if you can find one, put the image of a scorpion under your bed so that Ishara’s lusty nature will abide in the region and you can tap into it during lovemaking.”

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

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

Patricia Monaghan says that Ishara was a “Semitic Goddess of promiscuity, originally distinct from Ishtar, but later merged with Her” (p. 164).

“Ishara is the Hittite word for ‘treaty, binding promise’, also personified as a Goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love Goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and by the end of the 3rd millennium, She had temples in NippurSipparKishHarbidumLarsa, and Urum.

“Ishtar” by *Scebiqu

As a Goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites (see Hittite military oath). In this context, She came to be seen as a ‘Goddess of medicine’ whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- ‘to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara’.

Ishara was also worshipped within the Hurrian pantheon. She was associated with the underworld.

Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and She is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars) (Seux, 343). Ishara was well known in Syria from the third millennium B.C.E. She became a great Goddess of the Hurrian population. She was worshipped with Teshub and Shimegi at Alakh, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar. While She was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, She was invoked to heal the sick (Lebrun).

The Hurrian cult of Ishara as a love Goddess also spread to Syria. ‘Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a Goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations (Biggs). During the Ur III period She had a temple in Drehem and from the Old Babylonian time onwards, there were sanctuaries in Sippar, Larsa, and Harbidum. In Mari She seems to have been very popular and many women were called after Her, but She is well attested in personal names in Babylonia generally up to the late Kassite period. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet II, col. v.28) it says: ‘For Ishara the bed is made’ and in Atra-hasis (I 301-304) She is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.'” [1]

Also seen as Isara and Ishkhara; “the Hittites called ‘queen of the mountains'”. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

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

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

 

 

Wikipedia, “Ishara“.

Suggested Links:

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia.

Jordan, Michael. Encyclopedia of Gods, “Isara“.

Mark, Joshua J. Ancient.eu.com, “The Mesopotamian Pantheon“.

McMahon, Gregory; Gary M. Beckman; & Richard Henry Beal. Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

Murat, Leyla. Turkleronline.net, “Goddess Ishara“.

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

Wikipedia, “Hittite laws“.

Wikipedia, “Hittite mythology“.

Goddess Nótt

“Nott” by Giovanni Caselli

“Nótt’s themes are learning, knowledge and communication. Her symbols are books, writing utensils and stars. A Teutonic Goddess of the night sky, Nótt generates artistic inspiration and knowledge. She refreshes those suffering from creative blockages and arouses new visions for any endeavor, especially when fall’s declining energies get the best of us. Myths portray Nótt as bearing the silver-studded night sky like a blanket across the dusk. Her chariot bears a frost mare, alluding to the moon.

Buchmesse is the world’s largest book fair for the publishing industry, featuring exhibitors from over ninety countries and attended by over two hundred thousand people. In this region of the world, book fairs have been around for over eight hundred years, making Germany one of the centers of world literacy.

For writers, today is the perfect time to ask for Nótt’s blessing on your efforts. Submit a poem, article, or manuscript to potential publishers. Write in your journal. Draft a meaningful ritual for improved creativity, and let Nótt’s energy guide your hand.

Alternatively, read a favorite poem or book – Nótt’s power is beneath those words – or make a book donation to the local library to honor this Goddess’s contribution to human civilization.

Finally, gather all your pens and pencils in a basket and empower them for all your writings by saying:

‘Nótt, inspire creativity
when taken to hand
then magic is free!'”

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

“Nótt” by Peter Nicolai Arbo.

“In Norse mythology, Nótt is night personified, grandmother of Thor. In both the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Nótt is listed as the daughter of a figure by the name of Nörvi (with variant spellings) and is associated with the horse Hrímfaxi, while the Prose Edda features information about Nótt’s ancestry, including Her three marriages. Nótt’s third marriage was to the god Dellingr and this resulted in their son Dagr, the personified day (although some manuscript variations list Jörð as Dellingr’s wife and Dagr’s mother instead). As a proper noun, the word nótt appears throughout Old Norse literature.” [1]

Timelessmyths.com tells us that “Nott was the daughter of a giant named Norfi or Narfi, but two Eddaic poems called Nott’s father, Norr (not to be confused with Nór), primarily for reasons of alliteration.

Nott had three husbands, and had a child with each of Her husband. Her first husband was a giant, called Naglfari, and they had a son named Aud.

Her second husband was named Annar (Onar), who was probably also a giant, and they had a daughter, named Jörd (Earth), the mother of Thor.

Her last husband belonged to the Aesir and he was named Delling. Their son was named Day (Dag), god of day.

“Dagr” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

When the Aesir created the world, Odin gave a chariot to Her and another chariot to Her son Day. They travelled the sky, following one another, as day follow night. Her horse was called Hrimfaxi, ‘Frost-mane’, which caused dew from the horse’s bit. While Her son’s horse was called Skinfaxi, which means ‘Shining-mane’, because the mane was so radiant that it brought light to the world.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Timelessmyths.com, “Nott“.

Wikipedia, “Nótt“.

 

Suggested Links:

Krasskova, Galina. Northernpaganism.org, “The Northern Sky: Praising Nott“.

Marks, Dominic. Lowchensaustralia.com, “Norse Goddess Names: Nott“.

Goddess Hine-turama

“Hina” by Joanna Carolan

“Hine-turama’s themes are unity, cooperation, universal law and the sky.  Her symbols are stars and spaceships (or artistic depictions of space).  The Maori of New Zealand believed that this Goddess created the stars that fill our night skies with such beauty. Today we look to Her to expand our awareness of the universe and its wonders and possibilities.

For UFO enthusiasts, Interplanetary Confederation Day is for looking outward with hope and appreciation. Within Hine-turama’s Milky Way alone, the earth shares space with numerous other planets with the potential for life.  So, celebrate the potentials in the universe! Read a book by Carl Sagan or watch Star Trek or another science-fiction program or movie tonight, then go outside and look up!  Count Hine-turama’s stars; each one represents an aspect of human potential. Reach outward and upward, letting Her silvery light fill you with hopefulness. Make a wish on the first star you see for improved awareness and unity among people no matter their place of origin.

During the day, wear silver- or white-toned clothing and jewellery to strengthen your connection to this sky Goddess. If you hold a ritual today, consider covering a black robe with glow-in-the-dark stars (you can buy these at nature shops inexpensively) – it makes a really neat effect when you dance in a circle. You than become the center of swirling stars and Hine-turama’s energy!”

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

I had a little bit of difficulty on finding information on today’s Goddess.  According to Elsden Best in an article for The Journal of the Polynesian Society, “Uru and Hine-turama produce the stars. Lady Turama is not identified, but apparently represents some form of light, being the daughter of TaneRama signifies a torch; tirama, to light with a torch; turama, to give light to, also illuminated. Tirama-roa is the name of some luminous phenomenon, possibly a comet.” [1]

As to be expected, versions vary from place to place. “Another version, Uru-te-ngangana with two wives, Hine-te-ahuru and Hine-turama, the former being the mother of the sun and moon, and the latter the origin of stars. This Uru-te-ngangana (Uru the Red, or Gleaming One) was one of the offspring of the primal parents Heaven and Earth, and seems to personify some form of light. Hine-turama may be rendered as the ‘Light-giving Maid.'” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Best, Elsdon. Jps.auckland.ac.nz, “MAORI PERSONIFICATIONS“.

Nzetc.victoria.ac.nz, “Origin of the Heavenly Bodies“.

Goddess Astraea

Art by Lisa Iris

“Astraea’s themes are excellence, learning, purity, justice, knowledge, reason and innocence. Her symbols are stars.  This Greek Goddess motivates fairness and virtue within us. She empowers our ability to ‘fight the good fight’ in both word and deed, especially when we feel inadequate to the task. According to lore, She left earth during the Iron Age because of man’s inhumanity to man. She became the constellation Virgo.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Virgo, like Astraea, strive endlessly for perfection within and without, sometimes naively overlooking the big picture because of their focus on detail. Astraea reestablished that necessary perspective by showing us how to think more globally. To encourage this ability, draw a star on a piece of paper and put it in your shoe so that your quest for excellence is always balanced with moderation and sound pacing.

To meditate on this Goddess’s virtues and begin releasing them within, try using a bowl (or bath) full of soapsuds sprinkled with glitter (this looks like floating stars) as a focus. Light a candle nearby and watch the small points of light as they dance; each one represents a bit of magical energy and an aspect of Astraea. Tell the Goddess your needs and your dreams, then float in Her starry waters until you feel renewed and cleansed.”

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

Art by Kagaya

Astraea (“the star maiden”) was a daughter of Themis and Zeus, “She lived on earth in the Golden Age when all lived in peace together.  But as humankind grew more and more violent, the gods abandoned this world and retreated to the heavens.  Patient and hopeful, Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave, but finally even She was forced to abandon the earth” (Monaghan, p. 57).

“Fleeing from the new wickedness of humanity, She ascended to heaven to become the constellation Virgo the scales of justice She carried became the nearby constellation Libra, reflected in Her symbolic association with Justitia in Latin culture. In the Tarot, the 8th card, Justice, with a figure of Justitia, can thus be considered related to the figure of Astraea on historical iconographic grounds.

According to legend, Astraea will one day come back to Earth, bringing with Her the return of the utopian Golden Age of which She was the ambassador.

Astraea is always associated with the Greek Goddess of justice, Dike, who used to live on Earth but left, sickened by human greed. Astraea is sometimes confused with Asteria, the Goddess of the stars and the daughter of Koios and Phoebe.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Astraea“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Gods-and-monsters.com, “Astraea of Greek Mythology“.

Theoi Greek Mythology,Astraea“.

Goddess Zhinu

“Daughters Of Aine- Zhinu” by thecrunchyblueberry

“Zhinu’s themes are love, relationships, unity, devotion and divination. Her symbols are stars and silver items.  Zhinu is a stellar Goddess in China, residing in the constellation of Lyra, a home from which She tends to harmony within relationships. According to legend, Zhinu came to earth to bathe with six friends, but a herdsman stole Her dress. She could not return to the heavens this way, so She married him. Later, however, the gods called Her back to the stars and the herdsman followed Her. On the seventh day of the seventh moon, the two are allowed to meet as husband and wife.

A similar celebration to the Seven Sisters Festival is the Weaving Festival in Japan (see July 7 entry), which commemorates the love between two stellar deities who meet in the silver river of the Milky Way one day out of the year.

Follow with custom and cover you altar with rice and melons, both of which can become offerings. Eat these as part of a meal later to internalize Zhinu’s love and devotion. If you’re single, offer Her combs, mirrors and paper flowers to draw a partner into your life.

Burning incense and reading one’s future is also common today. Watch the smoke from the incense while thinking about a specific relationship. See if any shapes form in the clouds. A heart, for example, indicates adoration. A scale reveals a relationship with a healthy balance and two interconnected rings indicate unity in mind and soul.”

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

Painting in the Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

Zhinu (also known as Chih Nu, or Kamauhata hime in Japan) was the daughter of Yu-huang, the Jade Emperor, She spends all Her time spinning beautiful silk robes and lacey garments for the Heavenly Host. She also makes the finest gossamer clouds and Her tapestry of the constellations is a work of art.

Her father was so pleased with Zhi-Nu‘s diligent work that He married her to the Heavenly Official In Charge Of Cowsheds. (That may not sound like much of a reward, but then you haven’t met him.)

The two of them fell headlong in love and pretty soon She was getting behind in Her spinning duties. So they were whisked off into the sky and separated by the Milky Way. You can still see them there; She is Vega in the constellation Lyra and he is Altair in the constellation Aquila.

Now they are only allowed to meet once a year, when a flock of magpies swarm into the sky and create a bridge for them to cross. For the rest of the year they live apart and She is the Heavenly Spinster in more ways than one. This is what comes of a marriage made in Heaven.

Now some versions of this tale assert that Zhi-Nu actually came down to Earth and had Her clothes stolen while She bathed in a river.

 

The culprit was Niu-Lang, a humble cowherd who was amazed at Her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without Her clothes She could not return to Heaven — at least, not without some very awkward questions being asked. So She decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal and had two children with him.  Seven years later She found Her clothes. Some say that She returned to Heaven on Her own accord, others say Heaven found out eventually, and whisked them off to the stars as before.

It doesn’t really matter which version is true. The end of this story is far more important than the beginning, as all Chinese lovers will testify. The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is when Zhi-Nu and Niu-Lang cross the magpie bridge and their happy tears often cause rain on earth. In some parts of China an annual festival allows lovers to meet in honor of these astral deities. Their stars burn brightly in the Heavens, lovers hold hands and gaze into the night sky, and Chinese Valentine’s Day begins…” [1] [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Godchecker.com, “Zhi-Nu“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Chih Nu“.

Suggested Links:

MTXODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Chih Nu“.

Tara the Antisocial Social Worker. Dailykos.com, “How a Woman Becomes a Goddess: Chih Nu“.

Waldherr, Kris. Goddess Inspiration Oracle, “Zhinu“.

Goddess Sopdet

“Sopdet” by BlueSilver

“Sopdet’s themes are fertility, destiny and time. Her symbols are stars and dogs.  The reigning Egyptian Queen of the Constellations, Sopdet lives in Sirius, guiding the heavens and thereby human destiny. Sopdet is the foundation around which the Egyptian calendar system revolved, Her star’s appearance heralding the beginning of the fertile season. Some scholars believe that the Star card of the Tarot is fashioned after this Goddess and Her attributes.

The long, hot days of summer are known as the ‘Dog Days‘ because they coincide with the rising of the dog star, Sirius. In ancient Egypt this was a welcome time as the Nile rose, bringing enriching water to the land. So, go outside tonight and see if you can find Sirius. When you spy it, whisper a wish to Sopdet suited to Her attributes and your needs. For example, if you need to be more timely or meet a deadline, she’s the perfect Goddess to keep things on track.

If you’re curious about your destiny, watch that region of the sky and see if any shooting stars appear. If so, this is a message from Sopdet. A star moving on your right side is a positive omen; better days are ahead. Those on the left indicate the need for caution, and those straight ahead mean things will continue on an even keel for now. Nonetheless, seeing any shooting star means Sopdet has received your wish.”

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

“Sopdet – Cosmic Auset” by TRSkye (available for purchase on Etsy.com).

“Sopdet (‘skilled woman’, also known as Sothis) represented Sirius, the Dog-Star. Sirius was the most important star to ancient Egyptian astronomers because it signalled the approach of the inundation and the beginning of a new year. New year was celebrated with a festival known as ‘The Coming of Sopdet’.

In fact, the ‘Sothic Rising’ only coincided with the solar year once every 1460 years. The Roman emperor Antoninus Pius had a commemorative coin made to mark their coincidence in CE 139. The Sothic Cycle (the periods between the rising of the star) have been used by archaeologists trying to construct a chronology of Ancient Egypt.

Sopdet was the wife of Sahu (‘the hidden one’), the constellation Orion, and the mother of Sopdu (‘skilled man’), a falcon god who represented the planet Venus. This triad echoed the trio of Osiris, Isis and Horus, but the connections were not always simple. Sopdet became increasingly associated with Isis, who asserts that She is Sopdet (in ‘the lamentations of Isis and Nephthys‘ c 400 BCE) and will follow Osiris, the manifestation of Sahu. However, as well as being considered to be the spouse of Orion (Osiris), She is described by the pyramid texts as the daughter of Osiris.

 

Although Sopdet started out as an agricultural deity, closely associated with the Nile, by the Middle Kingdom She was also considered to be a mother Goddess. This probably related to Her growing connection with the Goddess Isis. This connection was further strengthened by Sopdet’s role in assisting the Pharaoh find his way to the imperishable stars. It may be no coincidence that Sirius disappeared for seventy days every year, and mummification took seventy days.

         

In the first Dynasty ivory tablets Sopdet was depicted as a reclining cow with a unidentified plant-like emblem (possibly signifying representing the new year) between Her horns. However, She was most often depicted as a woman wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt topped by a star or a headdress with two plumes.

Less often, She is portrayed as a large dog, and by the Roman period the hybrid Goddess Isis-Sopdet was depicted as a woman riding side-saddle on a large dog.

Sopdet was occasionally shown as a male deity. During the Middle Kingdom the male Sopdet was in associated with Horus as one of the gods who held up the four corners of the earth and held Nut (the sky) in place. During the Greek period She was linked to Anubis as Sopdet-Anubis, possibly because of Her canine associations.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Sopdet“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Sopdet/Sothis {Goddess of the Week}“.

Cowofgold.wikispaces.com, “Sopdet“.

Crystalinks.com, “Sirius“.

Egyptianmyths.net, “Sopdet“.

Thegoddesshouse.blogspot.com, Sopdet – The Goddess of the New Year“.

Herebedragons.weebly.com, Ancestral Memories,”Get Sirius“.

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

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sopdet“.

Schwader, Ann K. Goddessschool.com, “Sothis/Sopdet: Star of the Eastern Horizon“.

Seawright, Caroline. Articles by Caroline Seawright, “Sopdet, Goddess of Sirius, New Year and Inundation…“.

Tribe.net, “Sopdet“.

Wikipedia, “Sopdet“.

Writing, Jimmy Dunn. Touregypt.net, “Sah and Sopdet (Sothis), the Egyptian Astral God and Goddess“.

Goddess Ashtart

“Ashtart’s themes are love, prophecy (especially by stars), hope, protection, victory and romance. Her symbols are the star, fire, red and white items and the lion. A Lebanese Goddess for the lovelorn, Ashtart fell from the heavens as a star and landed in Byblos. She became the city’s patroness, renowned for Her prophetic insight, assistance in relationships and protectiveness, especially when one faces a difficult battle. This tremendous power explains the artistic depictions of Ashtart riding a lion (a solar/fire symbol) or having the head of a lion.

International music festivals have been held in Byblos since the late 1960’s to celebrate it as one of the oldest towns in the world with ongoing inhabitants (and an ever-present Goddess!). It was here that a forerunner of the alphabet developed, inspired by the papyrus export trade. With this in mind, take a piece of onionskin paper and describe your emotional needs on it with red ink or crayons. Burning this releases the wish to Ashtart and begins manifesting the magic.

Honor Ashtart and gain Her insight by star-gazing tonight. If you see a falling star and can repeat your wish for love three times before it disappears, folklore says it will be granted. If you see a meteor shower, count the sparks you see while thinking of a suitable binary question for this Goddess. An ever-numbered answer means ‘yes’, an odd-numbered answer means ‘no’.”

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

“Ishtar” by Selina French

“Ashtart (either ‘the Star’, or ‘She of the Womb’), is better known by the name Astarte, the Greek version of Her name. Ashtart is a Semitic Goddess of Love and War and the Canaanite Great Goddess who is the cult partner of Ba’al (“the King”). Semitic describes a group of languages, and by extension, kindred cultures of the Near East and Africa which include Phoenician, Arabic, Hebrew and Assyrian. She is the Deity of the Planet Venus and a Fertility Goddess, and Her cult was known throughout the ancient world for its practice of temple prostitution. She was the main Deity of the cities Sor (more familiarly Tyre), Zidon (Sidon) and Gubla (Byblos), and is frequently shown as an archer either beside or standing on a lion, much like the Babylonian Ishtar, who is quite similar. Snakes and the cypress tree are sacred to Her; and, like the related Arabic Goddess Al-Uzza, whose name, “the Mighty One”, is an epithet of Ashtart, the acacia tree is also Hers.

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

As with many of the other Near Eastern Goddesses of the planet Venus, two of Her aspects are that of the Goddess of War and the Goddess of Love. As Venus the Morning Star, Ashtart is a Goddess of War and Hunting; and as the Evening Star, She is the Goddess of Love, Sex, Fertility and Vitality, depicted as a nude woman. In Her role as Goddess of Love She was honored with sexual rites, especially in the city of Sidon or Zidon, and some of Her priests and priestesses there were chosen from the royal family.

In the legends of Ugarit (the modern Ras Shamra on the coast of Syria) of the 14th century BCE, Ashtart is mentioned with the virgin Warrior-Goddess Anath (Anat) as restraining the young God Ba’al, who wishes to overthrow the River God, Yam. When Yam is taken captive, Ba’al kills him, and Ashtart rebukes him for the murder, cursing Him with His own name. She is sometimes called “Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al” which may refer to Her magical knowledge of His secret name in which His power resides; the idea of a secret or cult name of a Deity, known only to the initiated, was not uncommon in the area: Jehovah is supposed to possess a secret name of power, uttered by Lilith when She left the Garden; and in a legend of Isis, the great Egyptian Goddess, She brings about the downfall of the aging God Ra by speaking his hidden name.

Gold pendant, possibly Astarte. Ugarit. 1500-1200/1150 BCE. Drawing by Stéphane Beaulieu

Several gold pendants from Ugarit, dating to about 1300 BCE depict Ashtart in a highly stylized manner. From a flat gold plate, roughly teardrop-shaped, Her face and breasts emerge; and Her pubic area is depicted as a triangle with dots, I assume representing hair. There is also, however, what appears to be a stylized tree ‘growing’ from that triangle and which ends just below Her navel. This ‘tree’ is perhaps to be equated with the Near Eastern Tree of Life.

Ashtart was worshipped with the young God ‘Adon, son of Malidthu, in the town of Aphek or Aphaca in Palestine, the modern Afka. ‘Adon is a title, rather than a name (as is common among the Phoenicians) meaning ‘Lord’, and He may actually be Eshmun, the young God of Health. The site of the town Aphek was known for its stunning beauty, as it was situated high on a cliff from which a river issued to fall in a great torrent. Under the Greek name Adonis (which also means ‘Lord’), He was a young and very beautiful God with whom Aphrodite (the Greek equivalant of Ashtart) fell in love. Alas, one day while out hunting He was killed by a boar and the Goddess mourned terribly for Him. He represents the young vegetation/crops that are killed in the droughts of the dry season, and the river at Aphek was said to run red with His blood in the rainy season. He had a famous festival in midsummer celebrating His death and resurrection that eventually spread with His worship to Greece, Egypt and Rome, and which was celebrated primarily by women.” [1]

“Astarte” by Christian Brinton

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Astarte (‘womb’ or ‘she of the womb’) was the Goddess who appears in the Old Testament as Ashtorth, a non-name formed by misreading the Goddess’ name with different vowels so that the word becomes ‘shameful thing.’  What seems to have been shameful to the patriarchal Hebrews was the untrammeled sexuality of the Goddess, one of those who ‘conceived but did not bear’ offspring for Her partners.  In this, Her identity as the Canaanite version of Ishtar becomes more clear, in the ancient eastern Mediterranean the spirit of sexuality was the Goddess who ruled the planet Venus.  As the morning star Astarte was like Anat, a war Goddess robed in flames and armed with a sword and two quivers full of death-dealing arrows, flying into battle like a swallow.  But as the evening star, a Goddess of desire, Astarte descended to the Underworld to reclaim a lost lover, thereby causing all human and animal copulation to cease until She returned” (Monaghan, p. 57)

“For some time Ashtart under the name Ashtoreth seems to have been worshipped side by side with the Hebrew God as His consort; He was early on called Ba’al, a general title meaning ‘Lord’, used in the area to refer to each people’s particular patron God, though their real (and sometimes secret) names were different. This fell out of favor in time as the Hebrews transitioned to monotheism. Apparently they had a hard time with this, though, as Jehovah is forever chiding His people for ‘backsliding’ and returning to the worship of Ba’al and Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth in the Bible is worshipped in groves called after Her asherah and may have been honored as a pillar of wood, or as manifest in the grove itself. In one tale from the Biblical book Judges, Jehovah has Gideon destroy his own father’s shrines to Ba’al and Ashtoreth, which he does in the middle of the night under cover of darkness, as he was too scared of the repercussions to do it in broad daylight.

King Solomon, famous for his great wisdom, was said to have had 700 wives, many of whom were from neighboring Pagan tribes. To accommodate their religions, he built for them temples to their Gods, including a sanctuary to Ashtart in Jerusalem. Jehovah, known far and wide for His jealousy, couldn’t tolerate this and brought about Solomon’s death. On other occasions when the Hebrews reverted to the old religion, Jehovah in a divine fit of pique ‘gave them over into the hands of their enemies’ (also from Judges).

Ashtart also had temples in Ascalon in Philistia, about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Beth-shean, or Scythopolis, near the Sea of Galilee. She is also said to be the mother of the maiden Yabarodmay, by Ba’al.

The Goddess Athirat-of-the-Sea, who also features in the Ba’al legend, is the wife of El, the Father of the Gods; She has much in common with Ashtart and the two may be aspects of the same Goddess. Some sources make Athirat the Goddess worshipped by the Hebrews as Jehovah’s consort; the two are quite confused, both by modern scholars and the ancients.

Ashtart’s name has many variations depending on the language or city in which She was worshipped. Some examples: She is Astarte to the Greeks, Ashtoreth or Ashtaroth among the Hebrews, Attart or Athtart in the city of Ugarit, Astartu in Akkadian.

Epithets: ‘Goddess of Heaven’, ‘Ashtart-Name-of-Ba’al’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Sky-of-Ba’al’, ‘The Strong One’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Fields’, ‘Ashtart-of-the-Battle’; and Kbd, ‘Glory’.” [2]

“Inanna” by Hrana Janto

“Her colors were red and white; in Her honor the acacia tree produced flowers in these colors, so She called it Her emblem.  She also loved the cypresses of Her native country and the stallions that She rode, the first fruits of the harvest, the firstborn of the womb, and all bloodless sacrafices.  In some pictures, Astarte stands small-breasted and naked on the back of a lioness, with a lotus and a mirror in one hand and two snakes in the other.  At other times, to show Her fierce and hungry nature, She was shown with the head of lioness” (Monaghan, p. 57).

“Inanna” by Lisa Hunt

She is the western Semitic equivilant of the Eastern Semitic Inanna, of the Sumerians and Ishtar of the Babylonians; the Greeks identified Her with their Aphrodite, who may have Her origins in Ashtart anyway, as She was believed to have come from the East. Atargatis is confused or equated with Her, and may have originally been the same Goddess; Ba’alat, ‘the Lady of Gubla’ (Byblos) is likely a title for Ashtart. She was equated by the Etruscans with their Mother and Sky Goddess Uni, and is related to Tanit of Carthage.” [3]

* A note on Goddesses of the Near East – “It is often difficult to distinguish the like-named Goddesses of the ancient Near East, partially because the persecuting Hebrews blurred the distinctions between them and partly because over the ages tribes identified their native Goddesses with those of conquering or neighboring peoples.  Such is the case with Astarte, ofter fused or merged with Anat, Asherah, even Atargatis.  Whether She was origionally an independent deity whose identity grew indistinct, or whether Her name was at first a title of Asherah or another Goddess, may never be known.  But Astarte was probably the West Semitic (especially Phoenician) version of that Goddess named, in other languages, Ishtar and Aphrodite” (Monaghan, p. 56 – 57).

Sources:

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks, “Astarte“.

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

Ishtara. Order of the White Moon, “Ishtar“.

Mikha, Abbey. Assyrian Voice,One Goddess With Many Names“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ashtart“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Astarte: survive and surmount life’s battles – goddess of victory“.

Stuckey, Johanna H. MatriFocus Web Magazine for Goddess Women, “Goddess Astarte: Goddess of Fertility, Beauty, War and Love“.

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

Wikipedia, “Astarte“.

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