Tag Archive: tradition


Goddess Hertha

"Incense Fire" by *Zingaia

“Incense Fire” by *Zingaia, based on Jean Delville’s drawing, “Parsifal”.

“Hertha’s themes are rebirth, kinship, health, longevity and tradition. Her symbols are dormant trees and snow. In ancient times, on this day people venerated Hertha, the Teutonic Goddess of fertility, domesticated animals, magic and nature. In Germanic tradition, Hertha descended through the smoke of any fire today and brought gifts, much like an early Santa Claus figure (giving Her solar associations too). Her connection to nature has survived in the name for our planet: Earth.

Yule takes its designation from a Old English word meaning ‘wheel’, representing the turning of time’s wheel back toward the sun. In early times, this festival included parties for various sun Gods and Goddesses; it eventually was translated into the celebration of Christ’s birth. Any light source or burning incense can symbolize Hertha’s presence today.

Besides this, look to the world’s traditions for magical ways of making your celebration special. For example, Swedes eat a rice pudding with one lucky almond; whoever gets the nut receives good fortune. Russians toss grain into people’s homes for providence as they carol. Armenians make a wish on the Yule log when ignited and sometimes make divinations by the cider patterns made afterward. Bohemians cut apples in half. If there’s a perfect star in the center and it has plump seeds, it portends joy and good health. Finally, kiss someone under the mistletoe for a long, happy relationship.”

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

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

“Nerthus” by Lisa Hunt

According to Wikipedia, Hertha is another name for the ancient Germanic earth Goddess, Nerthus (click on Her name to be taken to that entry).  In addition to that information presented in Nerthus’ entry, Patricia Monaghan wrote that “no legends survive of the Germanic Goddess from whom we get our word for earth.  It is known, however, that She was worshiped into historic times, when plows were carried in Christian Shrovetide processions in honor of the earth’s fertility.   Hertha was also frequently invoked by medieval witches as their special patron” (p. 152).

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Asatru Religion, “Goddess Nerthus Or Eartha Or Jordh“.

Encyclopedia Mythica, “Nerthus“.

GardenStone. Goddess Holle: In Search of a Germanic Goddess.

Krasskova, Galina . Northern Tradition Paganism, “Who is Nerthus?

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Nerthus” at p. 488.

Mystic Wicks, “Nerthus {Goddess of the Week}“.

PaganNews.com, “Nerthus“.

Reaves, William P. Boudicca’s Bard, “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Twilightmists.tripod.com. “Hertha, Ertha, Nerthus“.

Wikipedia, “Nerthus“.

Williamson, George S. The Longing for Myth in Germany: Religion and Aesthetic Culture from Romanticism to Nietzsche.

Rainbow Serpent

“Rainbow Serpent Dreaming” by Lorraine Williams

“Rainbow Serpent’s themes are beauty, life, joy, fertility, tradition, children and health. Her symbols are flowers, rainbows, rainwater and pearls. The Aborigine Goddess, also sometimes called Julunggul, represents the fertile rains and the waters in the seas. According to tradition, She flows into people’s lives, bringing children, joy, the knowledge of magical healing arts, and protection for sacred traditions.

The city of Queensland, Australia, blossoms around this time of year in a colorful array of flowers. This carnival honors the joy of living, something the Rainbow Serpent embodies.

If you have floral prints, definitely wear them today to inspire the Rainbow Serpent’s ability to flow and adapt, using beauty and happiness as a powerful coping mechanism.

If it rains today, it is a sign of this Goddess’s blessing. Release your inner child and dance in the downpour. Jump in puddles and let Her fertile, productive energy splash freely all over your life and everything around you.

 

To internalize a little of the Rainbow Serpent’s attributes, collect rainwater in a clean pan on or around this date, then steep some edible flower petals (like roses) in the water. Drink or cook with this today so Her power can blossom in your heart.”

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

The Australian Rainbow Serpent” by Susanne Iles

“In the Australian Aboriginal mythology of Arnhem Land, Julunggul is a rainbow snake Goddess, who oversaw the maturing and initiation of boys into manhood. She was a fertility Goddess, associated with rebirth and the weather.

She is also known as Kalseru.

Another name for this deity, Yurlunggur, is also the name of an extinct genus of madtsoiid snakes (Yurlunngur), specifically named after the Aboriginal myth.” [1]  Some believe that belief in the Rainbow Serpent is closely linked to the Wonambi naracoortensis which is an extinct ancient snake of gigantic proportions.” [2]

Patricia Monaghan says that “the rainbow snake Goddess of Australia was able to be male, to be neuter, or to be androgynous.  She was said to be embodied in the ocean and waterfalls, in pearls and crystals, and in the deep pools in which She lived.  A Goddess of initiations, Julunggul was approached in Arnhem Land by boys who, symbolically swallowed and regurgitated by the mother snake, were vomited out again as men” (p. 173).

“The Snake Painting” by Peter Eglington

“The stories associated with the different types of Rainbow Serpents across Australia depend on the tribe and what part of Australia they come from. Those tribes that experience monsoons depict the Rainbow Serpent as interacting with the sun and the wind to create them in their Dreamtime stories. Those tribes that are more central in Australia and do not experience such turbulent weather tell their tales of a Rainbow Serpent that reflect their own environmental condition.” [2]

Susan Iles explains: “There are as many legends of the Rainbow Serpent as there are tribes of people, but the common elements can be found as follows.

“Kandimalal and the Rainbow Serpent” by Boxer Milner, Billiluna

The All-Mighty Creator formed the Earth and the heavens. However, at the time of creation the Earth in the Dreamtime was flat, colourless and desolate. The Rainbow Serpent descended from the sky and moved over the face of the Earth creating deep valleys and rivers, nourishing the planet and giving it form. Some legends tell the story of the Rainbow Serpent populating the world with plants, humans and animals. Other versions tell of the great serpent calling out to all the living creatures of the planet to come out of hiding and enjoy the land. The wise serpent taught them the laws of community, structure, ethics and respect.

By embracing our mythical past and remembering the wisdom of our ancestors we can re-create the sacred trust between Heaven and Earth to ensure a future for humankind.” [3]

Hhmm…there’s that whole Ancestors theme popping up again… 😉

On the Australia.gov.au website, it explains that “in most stories of the Dreaming, the Ancestor Spirits came to the earth in human form and as they moved through the land, they created the animals, plants, rocks and other forms of the land that we know today. They also created the relationships between groups and individuals to the land, the animals and other people.

Once the ancestor spirits had created the world, they changed into trees, the stars, rocks, watering holes or other objects. These are the sacred places of Aboriginal culture and have special properties. Because the ancestors did not disappear at the end of the Dreaming, but remained in these sacred sites, the Dreaming is never-ending, linking the past and the present, the people and the land.

Our story is in the land … it is written in those sacred places … My children will look after those places, That’s the law.
Bill Neidjie , Kakadu elder.

The Creation or Dreaming stories, which describe the travels of the spiritual ancestors, are integral to Aboriginal spirituality. In many areas there are separate spheres of men’s and women’s stories. Knowledge of the law and of the Dreaming stories is acquired progressively as people proceed through life. Ceremonies, such as initiation ceremonies, are avenues for the passing on of knowledge.

Photo of Uluru/Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia by Lil [Kristen Elsby]

Traditional knowledge, law and religion relies heavily on the Dreaming stories with its rich explanations of land formations, animal behaviour and plant remedies.” [4]

 

And now for your viewing pleasure, a video about the Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories – story by Dick Roughsey and narrrated by David Gulpilil.

 

 

 

Sources:

Australia.gov.au, “The Dreaming“.

Iles, Susan. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

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

Mythicalcreatureslist.com, “Kalseru“.

Wikipedia, “Julunggul“.

 

Suggested Links:

Aboriginalartonline.com, “The Rainbow Serpent“.

Adelaideartscult.weebly.com, “Origins Of The Rainbow Serpent Myth“.

Didjshop.com, “The Rainbow Serpent“.

Expedition360.com, “Dreamtime Stories“. (Includes some suggested critical thinking and writing activities).

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “The Rainbow & Various Myths Surrounding It“.

Muenster.org, “Rainbow Serpent“.

 

Goddess Haumea

“Haumea” by isa Marie

“Haumea’s themes are history, tradition, energy and restoration. Her symbols are leis, fresh flowers and Polynesian foodstuffs.  Hawaiian stories tell us that Haumea is the mother of Hawaii, having created it, the Hawaiian people, and all edible vegetation on these islands. Today She offers us renewed energy with which to restore or protect our traditions and rejoice in their beauty.

In Hawaii this marks the beginning of the Aloha Festival, a weeklong celebration of local custom and history complete with dances, parades, and sports competitions. For us this translates to reveling in our own local cultures, including foods, crafts, and the like. Hawumea lives in those customs and revels in your enjoyment of them.

If any historical site or tradition is slowly fading out due to ‘progress’, today also provides and excellent opportunity to try to draw some attention to that situation. Ask Haumea for Her help, then write letters to local officials, contact preservation or historical groups in that region, and see what you can do to keep that treasure alive.

For personal restoration or improved energy, I suggest eating some traditional Hawaiian foods today, as they are part of Haumea’s bounty and blessings. Have pineapple at breakfast, some macadamia nuts for a snack, and Kona coffee at work, and maybe even create a luau-style dinner for the family and friends to bless them too.”

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

“Haumea” by Kris Waldherr

“Originally, Hawaiian myth tells us, human women could not give birth.  They swelled with pregnancy and, when it was time for delivery, they were cut open – a dangerous procedure.  But the Goddess Haumea came to their rescue, teaching women how to push the child out between their legs.

Haumea was not so much ageless as ever-renewing.  Frequenctly She grew old, but as often She transformed Herself into a a young woman [much like Changing Woman/White Painted Woman or Estsanatlehi].  Generations went by and still She lived among humans, sleeping with the handsome young men even when they were Her grandchildren and dsitant descendants.  One of Her favored mates was named Wakea.  Once it was said, the people intended to sacrifice him.  Taking him to the forest, which was Her domain, Humea ran directly through the tree trunks, leaving shreds of Her shirts blooming as morning glory vines, and carried Her lover to safety.

Because She owned all the wild plants, Haumea could withdraw Her energy, leaving people to starve.  This She did when angry, but most often Haumea was a kindly Goddess.  Some say She is part of a trinity whose other aspects are the creator Hina and the fiery Pele” (Monaghan, p. 146).

“According to most accounts, She mated with the god Kane Milohai and gave birth to many children, including Hawaii’s most famous Goddess, Pele.  Thus, She is often referred to as the mother of the Hawaiian people as well as the Great Earth Mother.

Haumea was reported to be extremely skilled in childbirth. Because of that, children weren’t born of Her from mere traditional methods. Instead, they sprang from different parts of Her body. One Hawaiian legend claims that Pele was born from Her mother’s armpit, while another states that She came from a flame out of the Goddess’s mouth. Obviously, the second version makes more sense in light of Pele’s role as Goddess of the volcano.” [2]

Haumea’s other children included Kanemilohai, Kā-moho-aliʻi, Nāmakaokaha’i, Kapo and Hiʻiaka and was eventually killed by Kaulu.

Art by Susan Seddon Boulet

On 17 September 2008 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced it named the fifth known dwarf planet in the Solar System ‘Haumea‘ after the Hawaiian Goddess. The planet’s two moons were named after Haumea’s daughters: Hiʻiaka, after the Hawaiian Goddess said to have been born from the mouth of Haumea, and Namaka, after the water spirit said to have been born from Haumea’s body.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “Discovering the Polynesian Goddess Haumea“.

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

Wikipedia, “Haumea (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Powersthatbe.com, “ANCIENT HAWAIIN GODDESS HAUMEA“.

Sacred-texts.com, “XIX Haume“.

Vatiaz

“Woman warrior” by bitrix-studio

“Vatiaz’s themes are sports, tradition, strength, excellence & recreation. Her symbols are charms for strength or physical well-being.  Vatiaz is the Mongolian Goddess of physical prowess. Her name even means ‘woman of great strength’. Now that summer is fully underway, we could use some of Vatiaz’s strength just to keep up!

The Naadam festival began in the thirteenth century with Marco Polo, who reported a gathering of ten thousand white horses with Mongolian leaders participating in numerous game of skill ranging from archery to wrestling. Today the tradition continues with sports, focused on exhibiting excellence and skill, followed by a community party to celebrate and revel in local customs. If there’s a sports exhibition or game that you enjoy, try to get out to the proverbial ‘ball-park’ to honor Vatiaz and enjoy Her excellence as exhibited through professional athletes.

For those who are not sports fans, making a Vatiaz charm for strength and vitality is just as welcome by the Goddess and invokes Her ongoing participation in your life. You’ll need a bay leaf, a pinch of tea and a pinch of marjoram (one herb each for body, mind & spirit). Wrap these in a small swatch of cotton, saying,

‘Health, strength & vitality, Vatiaz, bring them to me!’

Put the swatch in the bottom of your daily vitamin jar to empower the vitamins with Vatiaz’s well-being.”

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

 

Archery Contest, Naadam Festival. Photo by Bruno Morandi

So the only information I could find on today’s entry comes from Patricia Monaghan: “Among the Mongolian Buryat, this heroine was said to have traveled to heaven after her brother’s murder in order to compete for the hands of three daughters of the chief god. There were many games of physical skill, all of which she won.  Even though shamans warned the gods that she was a woman, they  could not deny her strength and skill.  So she was allowed to take the sisters back to earth, where she had them revive her brother” (p. 309).

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Scathach

“Scathach” by watergal28

“Scathach’s themes are sports, strength, excellence, kinship, art, tradition, magic, protection and victory. Her symbols are Tartans (plaids) and Celtic music.  This Celtic mother figure endows strength, endurance and the ability to ‘go the distance’ no matter our situation. In Scotland She is also a warrior Goddess who protects the land using magic as a weapon, as implied by the translation of Her name, ‘she who strikes fear.’ Warriors from around Scotland were said to have studied under Scathach to learn battle cries and jumping techniques (possibly a type of martial art).

In Scotland, the second weekend in July marks the gathering of Scottish clans to revel in their heritage through numerous games of skill, strength and artistry (including bagpipe competitions). If you have any Scottish or Celtic music, play it while you get ready to energize your whole day with Scathach’s perseverance. If you don’t have the music, for a similar effect find something to wear with a Scottish motif, like heather perfume, a plaid tie, things bearing the image of a thistle or sheep or anything woolen.

 

To make a Scathach amulet to protect your home, car or any personal possessions, begin with a piece of plaid cloth and put some dried heather in it (alternatively, put in several strands of woolen yarn). Tie this up an keep it where you believe her powers are most needed.”

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

“Scáthach (pronounced scou’-ha, or skah’-thakh) is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.  She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith (Fort of Shadows) stands.” [1]  Other sources say she lived in the Alps.

Scathach is said to be the daughter of Ard-Greimne and Lethra. [2] “Aoife, another fierce warrior queen, is reputed to be her sister, while Uathach, her daughter, is a fellow teacher at her school. She also has two sons named Cet and Cuar from an unnamed man and trains them within a secret yew tree. Another source tells that she is mother to three maidens named Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran, the father being a man named Douglas.” [3]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Scathach, “the ‘shadowy one’, lived on an island near Scotland and was the greatest female warrior of her time.  Heroes from all the Celtic nations would travel to study with her, for she alone knew the magical battle skills that made them unconquerable: great leaps and fierce yells, which seem in ancient legend like puzzled accounts of Oriental martial arts.

“The Seduction of Aoife” by Howard David Johnson

“Scathach initiated young men into the arts of war, as well as giving them the ‘friendship of her thighs’, that is to say, initiating them sexually.” [4]

One of her most famous students was the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn.  When the princess Emer sized him up as a possible husband, she thought him too unskilled in his profession; therefore, she suggested he study with Scathach, the foremost warrior of her day.  While Cú Chulainn was away, he learned more than martial arts, for through an affair with Scathach’s enemy, Aífe, the warrior produced a son [Connla] whom he late unwittingly killed” (p. 275).

Another account states that “As part of his training Cú Chulainn helped Scáthach overcome a neighbouring female chieftain, Aífe or Aoife (who by some accounts was also Scáthach’s sister), and forced her to make peace, in the process fathering a son by Aífe. Cú Chulainn also ended up sleeping with Scáthach’s daughter Uathach, whose husband Cochar Croibhe he then killed in a duel. On completion of his training, Scáthach also slept with Cú Chulainn.

By some accounts Scáthach was also a formidable magician with the gift of prophecy. She also, again by some accounts, became the Celtic Goddess of the dead, ensuring the passage of those killed in battle to Tír na nÓg, the Land of Eternal Youth and the most popular of the Otherworlds in Celtic mythology.” [5]

“Scathach” by Jan Hess

 

 

Sources:

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, “Scáthach“.

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

Undiscoveredscotland.co.uk, “Scáthach“.

Wikipedia, “Scáthach“.

Wille, Almut. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Scathach“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bedford, Tony. Préachán Fuilteach, Cú Chulainn“.

Blueroebuck.com, “Scathach“.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. Celtic Myths and Legends, “The Shadowy One” (p. 235 – 243).

The Order of Scáthach.

Parke, Cate & Lisa Campbell. Celtic Queens, “Scáthach and the Defeat of Aoife“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Scathach“.

White Painted Woman

“White Painted Woman’s themes are maturity, cycles, femininity and tradition. Her symbols are white colored items.  White Painted Woman taught Her people sacred rituals and She can change Her appearance at will to that of a young girl or an old woman, representing the full cycle of life and all that awaits us in between. When White Painted Woman was a girl, She went away to the mountains, where the sun taught Her how to conduct puberty rites, which is Her function in today’s Apache Puberty Ceremony.

About this time of year, Apache girls participate in a special coming-of-age ritual that takes place over four nights. Part of the ritual commemorates White Painted Woman’s adventure in the mountains and in another part the young women take on Her role so they can prepare for adulthood. In modern times, rites of passage have been somewhat overlooked, but today is definitely a time to consider reinstating them to honor White Painted Woman and draw Her blessings into someone’s life. If you know a child who has reached an important juncture (going to school, getting their driver’s license, graduating) find a way to commemorate that step in their personal growth.

For school, bless a special lunch box or book bag with rosemary oil for mental keenness. For a license, make them a protective automobile amulet (perhaps something to hang off the rearview mirror). Whatever you do, fill this person’s life with magic!”

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

For today’s entry, I’d like to share an article with you by Charlotte Kuchinsky entitled, “The Navajo Myth of the Changing Woman”.  It explains both Changing Woman, White Painted, their similarities and their differences.

“The Changing Woman, is a powerful deity among the tribes of the Navajo and Apache (where she is also called the White Painted Woman). She is considered a benevolent goddess that represents both creation and protection. As such, she is recognized as the goddess of fertility and reproduction.

“Changing Woman” by dreamagic

The Changing Woman got Her name from Her ability to change along with the seasons. In the spring and summer, She appears as a young maiden full of life, vitality and, of course, fertility. In the fall and winter she transforms Herself into an old woman, representing the desolateness of age, infertility, and eventual death.

According to Navajo legend, First Man is responsible for discovering the Goddess at the summit of a mountain where She was born. As the story goes, the sun fed Her with pollen to sustain Her while the rain helped Her grow into a full size woman within a mere eighteen days. But still, She was nothing more than a lifeless figure until the great wind gave Her the breath of life.

The sun immediately fell in love with his creation and took Her for his wife. She bore him a son, which was named Monster Slayer. He was to become the salvation of his people by ridding the world of all monsters.

Eventually, the sun built a very special house for his wife; hidden deep within the western woods surrounded by four mountains to the east, west, north, and south. It is said that when the sun sets in the west because he is going home to his beloved.

“The Dancing Princess” by Lee Bogle

So pleased was Changing Woman with Her home, that She danced gleefully upon each of the four mountaintops. As She did so, She bestowed great gifts upon mankind.

Her dancing created rain clouds from the eastern mountain, bringing the soft rain that would sustain all life. Her dance on the southern mountain brought forth beautiful woven fabrics and jewels. Her dance upon the western mountain caused plant life to spring forth in great abundance. Finally, Her dance on the northern mountain created all of the animals that would help sustain the earth.

After Her dance was finished, Changing Woman sat down to rest. As She sat there, She rubbed off the outer layer of Her skin from various parts of Her body. The flakes hit the fertile earth and immediately spring forth new human beings. These became the various clans of the Navajo.

Changing Woman taught humankind how to appreciate earth’s many gifts as well as how to control the elements of nature. She also bestowed gifts upon them through various rituals referred to as Blessingways.

Each Blessingway served a particular purpose such as blessing a wedding, childbirth, or other happy occasions among the Navajo. It took several days to complete each Blessingway ritual, which contained songs, prayers, and ceremonial baths in the milk of cacti.

One such important Blessingway was called the Kinaalda. It recognized a girl’s growth from childhood to maturity. Much of the honoree’s time during the early stages of that ritual was spent grinding in excess of 100 pounds of corn and wheat.

These, along with prepared cornhusks, were used to form a giant cornmeal cake, which was cooked underground during the Kinaalda.

The ritual also involved the honoree running from west to east while singing and continuing her prayers. She would then take part in a ritual ‘molding’ which is similar in nature to the Apache Sunrise Ceremony. One major difference between the ceremonies, was that in the Kinaalda the girl had to remain awake both the dayand night of her initial ceremony. She was to spend that time in contemplation and prayer.

The last day of the ceremony, the girl ran toward the sunrise one final time and then blessed the cake that she had prepared. The first piece was offered to the sun, while the remainder was used to feed her people.

While many of the Apache and Navajo beliefs and rituals in this respect are the same, there are some differences as well. According to Apache legend, White Painted Woman (another name for Changing Woman) survived the flood in an abalone shell. She was then impregnated twice; first by the sun for whom She bore a son named Killer of Enemies. Later, She was also impregnated by the rain for whom She bore a son named Son of Water.

White Painted Woman also had the ability to change form. When She became old, She would walk east until She met Her younger self and merged to become young once again.

White Painted Woman also taught Her people in a ceremonial ritual. One of the most important was for young girls who had just reached puberty. It represented the rights of womanhood. The ceremony always took place at sunrise and, therefore, became known as The Sunrise Ritual.  Photos of such an ceremony can be seen here and here.

The first part of the ceremony always re-enacted the creation myth. It was meant to help the young girl get in touch with the spiritual side of her people. It also emphasized her strength and ability to overcome the dark side of her nature by tapping into her own inner spirituality.

Next, she was taught what it meant to become a woman, with emphasis on menstruation and sexuality. But it was also an exercise in physical strength and endurance as the girl took part in a four-day ritual involving both dance and running. The sacred ordeal was meant to strengthen the girl physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Finally, the girl experienced the reality of womanhood and all that it entailed; hard work, the numerous cultural demands of the tribe, as well as her commitment to all of humankind. During this time, the girl was expected to give gifts of herself to her people. These might include food, clothing, assistance with daily chores, personal prayers and much more. In return, her people responded with wishes for her prosperity and long-life.

However, the ceremony wasn’t just for the girl. It also brought the community together to recognize binding ties and to form new bonds of family and friendship.

The songs and prayers of both tribes, with regard to their spiritual rituals, are both moving and insightful. The spirituality with which these Native Americans approached life is awe inspiring indeed. It is a shame that the whiteman’s greed and selfishness managed to rob us of such rich history. Without it, we are all greatly diminished.” [1]

Also see my entry on the Goddess Estsanatlehi and White Shell Woman.

 

 

Here is a preview of a documentary entitled “The Sunrise Dance”, showing the ancient, sacred Apache ritual that has never before been filmed.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “The Navajo Myth of Changing Woman“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

American Studies at the University of Virginia, “Changing Woman: Myth, Metaphor, and Pragmatics“.

Cosmic Dust. Earth-Age, “Sunrise Dance“.

Daughters of the Earth, “The Feminine Divine“.

Eller, Jack David. Womennewsnetwork.net, “Documentary: The Sunrise Dance“.

Sharp, Jay W. Desertusa.com, “Profile of an Apache Woman“.

Yupanqui, Tika (Tracy Marks). Web Winds, “Becoming Woman: Apache Female Puberty Sunrise“.

“Hotogov Mailgan’s themes are the sky, tradition and the arts. Her symbol is pale light.  In Siberia, Hotogov Mailgan illuminates the night sky with Her heavenly sparkle. She is the Queen of the Sky, a creative force for personal empowerment and the manifester of the life energies in and around us.

Between June 21 and June 29 the skies in Russia always appear light gray at night because of the northern location. The effect throughout St. Petersburg is very magical, casting unique shadows on the lavender, pink and yellow pastel-colored buildings. To celebrate this beauty, the citizens enjoy traditional Russian ballets, theatrical performances and music. So, get out the theme music from Dr. Zhivago, rent a ballet featuring Baryshnikov, or cook yourself up some Russian dumplings (vareniki) and invite the Goddess to join you.

If you perform any magic today, try putting up some pastel-colored curtains around the space to filter the outside light so it suits Hotogov Mailgan. Or darken the room and use glow-in-the-dark stars to mark the magical circle so you’re literally surrounded by Her power.

Try taking a bubble bath and dotting the surface of the water with glitter to look like Hotogov Mailgan’s night sky. Then, sit, relax and meditate, absorbing the hopeful, dreamy energy that her stars inspire in people everywhere.”

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

“The Star Goddess” by Katherine Skaggs

All I could find on the Goddess Hotogov Mailgan was that She was a Goddess worshiped by the Buriat people of Siberia.  She was called “Crooked Back” and was the Goddess of the night heavens and creator of people. [1]

 

 

Sources:

Curtin, Jeremiah. A Journey in Southern Siberia: The Mongols, Their Religion and Their Myths, “Tuget” (p. 65).

 

Suggested Links:

Encyclopedia.com, “Mongols“.

Ethnic Russia, “Buryatia“.

Hays, Jeffrey. Factsanddetails.com, “Shamanism in Russia and Mongolia“.


Goddess Pele

“Sacred Fire of Pele” by Olga Shevchenko

“Pele’s themes are unity, tradition, protection, creativity and change. Her symbols are fire and red colored items.  In Hawaii, Pele’s fires develop and redevelop the islands through volcanic activity. It is this creative force that comes into our lives today, cleansing, transforming and rebuilding, augmented by summer’s fiery energy.  According to local legend, it is unwise to take any souvenir from Pele’s mountain without asking or leaving a gift, lest bad luck follow you everywhere. She is zealously protective of Her lands and Her children. Traditional offerings include coins, strawberries, hair, sugarcane, flowers, tobacco, brandy and silk.

King Kamehameha united the Hawaiian people, protecting commoners from the brutality of overlords, much as Pele unites them through Her creative, protective power. Kamehameha Day commemorates him and the traditions of Hawaii through arts and crafts, parades, hula dancing and luaus. At home, tis might translate into having some tropical foods served steaming hot (the heat represents Pele’s activating energy). For example, eat pineapple fried in brown sugar for sweet harmony. Or, consume fresh strawberries soaked in brandy to ignite your inner fires with Pele’s inspiration. Finally, wear something red today to energize Pele’s attributes in your efforts all day long.”

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

“Pele” by Hrana Janto

“Pele is the great Hawai’ian Volcano-Goddess, who is said to live within the crater of the volcano Kilauea, located on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Kilauea (whose name means “spreading”), has had 61 eruptions in historical times, including the one that began in 1983 and is still ongoing. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, perhaps THE most active. The area of Kilauea makes for more than 13% of the area of the island of Hawai’i, and the volcano has added more than 70 acres of new land since the current eruption began.

Pele is said to have originally come from Tahiti, fleeing the wrath of Her older sister Na-maka-o-kaha’i, whose husband Pele had seduced. When She arrived at the Hawai’ian archipelago She searched for a new home, but pursued by Her sister She was driven south and eastwards–which is also the order in which the islands were created, geologically, as the earth’s crust crept slowly over a fixed ‘hotspot’ in the earth’s interior. Na-maka-o-kaha’i, as Goddess of the sea and waters continually flooded Pele’s efforts to establish Her home, until finally the mountain of Mauna Loa on Hawai’i proved too large to be flooded, and Pele was able to make Her home there.

“Pele and Hi’iaka” by Linda Rowell Stevens

Pele has many brothers and sisters, but Her favorite is Her younger sister Hi’iaka (conceived in Tahiti, but was carried in the form of an egg to Hawaiʻi by Pele who kept the egg with Her at all times to incubate it), patroness of the hula, though they too quarrelled over a man. Pele is well-known for Her fiery temper and Her many lovers and rivals, quite a few of whom met unlucky and incandescent ends. She is still (not surprisingly) given much respect on the islands of Hawai’i, and traditionally She may be appeased by offerings of ‘Ōhelo berries or gin.

Pele is said to appear in many forms–as a beautiful young woman, an athlete who competes against mortal chieftains, or a fiery-eyed old woman dressed in white. In this form, She has even acquired somewhat of an urban legend: the tale goes that drivers on the road that cuts through Kilauea National Park will sometimes come upon an old lady all in white. She bums a ride and a cigarette, but later, when the driver turns to speak to Her, She has vanished.

“Pele” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Also called: Madame Pele, Pele-honua-mea ‘Woman of the Sacred Land’, Pele-ai-honua ‘Eater of the Land’, Hina-hanaia’i-ka-malama ‘The Woman Who Worked in the Moon’, who is Pele in Her human form.” [1]

 

 

I included two videos for your listening and viewing pleasure today because I couldn’t choose between the two of them which I like more.  This first one is set to a chant or prayer to Pele

 

 

 

And this video, “Keiki Hula Aia La `O Pele I Hawai`i” was just too cute not to post 🙂

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. CelestialJourneyTherapy.com, “Who Is Goddess Pele…“.

Fullard-Leo, Betty. coffeetimes.com, “Pele – Goddess of Fire“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Pele“.

Goddessgift.com, “Pele: Goddess of the Volcano (Hawaii)“.

Gwenhwyfar. Order of the White Moon, “Pele, Goddess of Fire“.

King, Serge. Serge’s Cybership, “The Story of Pele“.

Lotus, Silver. Order of the White Moon, “Pele“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Pele“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Pele“.

Wahine. Order of the White Moon, “Pele of the Sacred Earth“.

Wikipedia, “Pele (deity)“.

Goddess Awehai

This entry is near and dear to me as the Essence or Spirit of this Goddess lives here in my neck of the woods in Upstate New York.

“Sky Woman” by Marcine Quenzer

“Awehai’s themes are harvest, tradition, growth, longevity and community. Her symbols are turtles and seeds.  In Iroquois tradition, this Goddess reigns in the sky and the heavens, watching diligently over family life and the community.  Mythology tells us that Awehai grabbed seeds and animals as She fell from heaven, landing on the back of a great turtle. From here, Awehai scattered the seeds and freed the animals, resulting in a growing, fertile earth filled with beauty.

The Strawberry Festival was instituted by the Iroquois Indians in Tonawanda, New York. Here, people come to the longhouse to enjoy ritual dancing, chanting and the sounding of turtle-shell rattles, a symbol of Awehai. So, if you know any type of traditional ritual dances or chants consider enacting them outside as you scatter greass seed to the wind. This will nanifest Awehai’s productiviity in your life and in the earth.

Another custom is simpler and a lot of fun: consuming starwberries in as many forms as possible. In Iroquois tradition, these pave the road to heaven and eating them ensures you a long life and Awehai’s fertility. Share strawberries witha loved on to inspire Awehai’s community-oriented energy in your home and consume fresh strawberries to harvest Her powers for personal growth.”

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

 

“Sky Woman” by Mark Kawesoton Light

Today’s information comes from Patricia Monaghan on the Iroquois Goddess Ataensic (Sky-Woman).  She writes, “once, said the Iroquois and their neighbors, there was no land, just a vast blue lake upon which water birds floated with otters, turtles, and other seadwelling creatures.  High above in a heavenly land was the celestial society into which Ataensic was born.

Her father died before Her birth – the first death in the universe.  He was placed on a burial scaffold where the Girl used to go to converse with his spirit.  He instructed Her, when She was grown, to travel a long distance through heaven to Earth-Holding Chief, Her intended mate.

Through tempests and danger She traveled; the chief tested Her with torture, but She endured and returned to Her own village, pregnant by him.  Her daughter, Gusts-of-Wind, was born, but Her people threw Ataensic down to the earth-lake.  (Or was it an accident? – the myths differ.)  She fell and fell through the blue air, Her daughter returning to Ataensic’s womb.

Below, a loon looking into the water saw a figure rising from the depths.  He mentioned this curiosity to the bittern.  The puzzled birds slowly realized that Ataensic was falling, not rising from the lake.  They had never known that their lake had a bottom, which thus had formed a mirror.  The knowledge came just in time, for to save the falling woman, the birds and animals had to build land from the lake mud.  Otter and turtle tried, and muskrat and finally Ketq Skwayne (‘Grandmother Toad’) dove deep and returned exhausted, spitting up some of the magical earth just before she died.

“Sky Woman” by Bruce King (Oneida)

The earth landed on the turtle’s back and instantly began to grow.  By the time Ataensic reached the water – Her fall broken by the water birds’ wings – there was enough land for Her to rest on as Gusts-of-Wind was reborn (Some stories say that She fell onto what is now a mountain near Oswego River Falls in New York).

Gusts-of-Wind became pregnant and died giving birth to twins; from Her body Ataensic fashioned the sun and the moon, and that is the way the earth and its luminaries came into being” (p. 57 – 58).

In another version I read, Her husband, Sky Chief, had a dream, and according to this, he took a young wife.  It is said that in time this young wife was soon to become a mother from inhaling the breath of her husband, but this was unknown to him.  That from this, he doubted her honesty to him, so much that it caused him so much distress in his mind, that he became ill from his jealousy.  He had another dream which called for the Tree of Light to be uprooted creating a great hole in sky world. Into this hole he could push his young and unsuspecting wife.

In olden times, dreams were held in high regard in everyday life, so much that destiny was controlled by dreams to a great degree. So, accordingly, in the morning he called his Wife to him. He had Her get Her burden basket and he began to fill it with nut tree roots and berry bushed and many other things. Then he had this Tree of Light  uprooted.  The opening made by uprooting the Tree allowed light to shine through the opening.  Thus, today, comes the light of the Sun.

“Sky Woman’s Story Painting” by Owisokon Lahache

This chief managed to deceive his unsuspecting Wife to look down through the new opening. In so doing, while She was looking down, he pushed Her down into the opening.  It is said that in his anger, he also cast down through the opening all man-beings, such as the Deer, the Wolf, the Bear, the Beaver, and all animals and growing things such as the sunflower and red willow. He transformed them into their forms and size as they now appear.  And when his anger had cooled down, he had the Tree of Light replaced.

The rest of the story is similar to Patricia Monaghan’s version except that it was muskrat who succeeded in retrieving the earth needed to grow land on turtle’s back before dying of exhaustion.

At once, the Sky-Woman began to walk about this tiny earth, which by Her action began to grow in size.  She even took handfuls of earth and cast it in all directions, which also caused it to continue to grow, until She could not see the boundary.

Thus, this is how North America became to be known as Turtle Island.” [2]

 

 

I included this video called The Iroquois, Pt. 1 – The Confederacy.  In this video, Marion Miller of the Seneca Nation, who has continued the oral tradition as a story teller, tells the Iroquois creation story.

Sources:

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

Red Jacket. marcinequenzer.com, “Creation Story“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Crystalinks.com, “Iroquois Nation“.

Crystalinks.com, “Native American Myths of Creation Woman“.

Her Cyclopedia, “Awehai“.

Old and Sold, “Iroquoian Cosmogony“.

Shenandoah, Johanne & Douglas M. George. Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois.

Yupanqui, Tika. Tika Yupanqui’s Machu Picchu site, Iroquois Myths and Legends“.

Goddess Amaterasu

“Amaterasu” by Hrana Janto

“Amaterasu’s themes are the sun, tradition, unity, blessings, community, and kinship.  Her symbols are a mirror, gold or yellow items.  Amaterasu is unique among Goddesses, being one of the few women to personify the sun. In Japan She rules over cultural unity, kinship and the blessings that someone with the name ‘Illuminating Heaving’ might be expected to bestow. It is Amaterasu’s sun that nudges the greenery to reach toward Her light, just as Her gentle energy prods us toward re-establishing harmony in all our relationships.

 The first week of May in Japan is called Golden Week, and it’s a time when Amaterasu’s solar beauty really shines. The Hakata festival is a national holiday that includes celebrations for children and a special parade depicting Japan’s legendary deities. Take a moment to join the festivities long-distance. Remember Amaterasu by wearing gold-colored items today and opening as many curtains as possible to let in Her glorious light.

Once the curtains are opened, take a hand mirror and reflect the light into every corner of your home. This draws Amaterasu’s unifying energy into your living space and guards against discord among all who dwell therein. Also, to ensure that no malevolence enters from outside the home, put a mirror facing outwards in an eastern window (where Amaterasu rises). This is a Buddhist custom for turning away negativity and evil influences.”

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

“Amaterasu (pronounced AH-mah-tay-RAH-soo) is the Japanese sun Goddess and supreme deity of the Shinto faith. Through Her descendent Ninigi, who married Konohana, or Sengen, She is the ancestress of the Imperial family. Her name means ‘Great Shining Goddess of Heaven’, and She is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi, the divine couple who created the lands. Her double shrine at Ise is rebuilt every twenty years, using one of the two identical buildings as a model. Thus the form of Her temple has remained consistent for two thousand years.

“Amaterasu” by mirana

Like other solar deities such as Apollo, Amaterasu is an archer, Her quiver holding one thousand arrows. She is also a weaver who makes the garments of the gods.

Amaterasu’s impetuous, loud, and altogether boorish younger brother Susano-o made it a habit to undo all Her good deeds, and in frustration and fear, She shut Herself inside a cave and refused to come out. The other Gods could not bear to be without Her light, and finally enticed Her out by holding a raucous party outside the cave entrance, the highlight of which was the Goddess Uzume performing a divine striptease. Her curiosity piqued by the gods’ roaring laughter, Amaterasu looked out and saw Her own reflection in an octagonal mirror placed there [made by the Goddess Ishikore-dome]. Fascinated by Her own nearly forgotten beauty, She came out of the cave a little, which was shut fast behind Her.

Art by Dawn Mostow

Amaterasu is associated with royal power, and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after winter.

Alternate names: Ama-terasu-o-mi-kami” [1]

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Of all the religions currently practiced by significant numbers of people, the only one whose chief divinity is female is Japanese Shinto, based on the worship of the sun Goddess Amaterasu (‘great shining heaven’).

“Amaterasu” by Cyril Helnwein

In Her simple shrines-notable for their architectural purity and unpretentiousness and for the central mirror that represents the Goddess-Amaterasu is honored as the ruler of all deities, as the guardian of Japan’s people, and as the symbol of Japanese cultural unity. Her emblem, the rising sun, still flies on Japan’s flag. Even the inroads of patriarchal Buddhism have not destroyed the worship of the bejeweled ancestor of all humanity.

There is one central myth of Amaterasu. She quarreled with the storm god Susano-o and brought winter to the world. Two reasons are given for her annoyance with him: one, because of his murder of Amaterasu’s sister, the food-giving Goddess Uke-Mochi; the other, because of his deliberately provocative acts against Amaterasu Herself [and savaged the earth].

The latter version has it that Amaterasu did not trust Her brother Susano-o because of his excesses and his constant shouting. One day he came to heaven to see Her, claiming that he meant no harm. She was wary, but he promised that he would undergo a ritual test to prove his goodwill. He said he would give birth, and that if his intentions were peaceful, the children would all be boys.

“Amaterasu” by Sandra M. Stanton

Amaterasu grabbed Susano-o’s sword and broke it with Her teeth, spitting out three pieces which, striking the ground, became Goddesses. Susano-o asked Amaterasu for some of Her jewels: She gave him five; he cracked them open and made them into gods. But then Susano-o grew wild with excitement at his creative feat and tore through the world destroying everything in his path: he even piled feces under Amaterasu’s throne. As though that were not enough, he stole into Her quarters and threw a flayed horse’s corpse through the roof of Her weaving room, so startling one of Amaterasu’s companions [Wakahirume] that She pricked Herself and died.

This was too much for the sun Goddess. She left this mad world and shut Herself up in a comfortable cave. Without the sun, the entire world was blanketed with unending blackness. The eight million gods and goddesses, desperate for their queen’s light, gathered to call out pleas that She return. But in Her cave the Goddess stayed.

The shaman Uzume, Goddess of merriment, finally took matters into Her hands. She turned over a washtub, climbed on top, and began dancing and singing and screaming bawdy remarks.

Soon the dance became a striptease. When She had shed all Her clothes, Uzume began dancing so wildly and obscenely that the eight million gods and goddesses started to shout with delight.

Inside Her cave, Amaterasu heard the noise. As it grew to a commotion, She called to ask what was going on. Someone paused to answer that they had found a better Goddess than the sun.

Provoked-and curious-Amaterasu opened the door of Her cave just a crack.

The gods and goddesses had, with great foresight, installed a mirror directly outside of the cave. Amaterasu, who had never seen Her own beauty before, was dazzled.

“Amaterasu” by *tattereddreams

While She stood there dazed, the other divinities grabbed the door and pulled it open. Thus the sun returned to warm the winter-weary earth. Mounted again on her heavenly throne, Amaterasu punished Susano-o by having his fingernails and toenails pulled out and by throwing him out of her heaven.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, “Amaterasu”.

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

Suggested Links:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “Amaterasu: The Universal Sun Goddess“.

Etan. Order of the White Moon, “Amaterasu“. (This link includes a guided meditation and rituals to Amaterasu)

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu and Uzume, Goddesses of Japan“.

Kazuo, MATSUMURA.  “Alone Among Women: A Comparitive Mythic Analysis of the Development of Amaterasu Theology“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Amaterasu: laughter over lamentation“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Amaterasu“.

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddess in World Mythology, “Amaterasu Omikami“.

Wikipedia, “Amaterasu“.

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