Tag Archive: underworld


“I am currently accepting all submissions for the Hekatean prayer book. I am looking for original Prayers, rituals, and devotional artwork…Please send all submissions to Skyllaros@gmail.com

Again the deadline is November 3oth, 2013. I will be the final judge on all submissions. You must also be willing to sign an agreement to have your work included, which will be sent to you by email.” – Skyllaros

Feral Druidry: The Crossroads Companion

Since doing Hoofprints in the Wildwood, I’ve been wanting to do a devotional for Hekate. However, there are so many Devotionals out there for her already most notably by Avalonia and B.A. So I’ve decided not to do a devotional proper, but rather a Hekatean Prayer and Ritual book, which I think there is much need for. This will be a book of prayers and rituals only, with images for meditational use. The idea being something you can take with you, read some prayers out of in either ritual or just thumb through reading prayers and looking at artwork on the fly for inspiration. The focus of this book is really prayer and ritual, so there will be no essays or poetry or the normal fare you would see in a standard devotional. I personally think something like this would be a boon to the community, not only to help new…

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Goddess Hecate

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“Hecate” by *mari-na

“Hecate’s themes are the moon, beginnings and magic. Her symbols are serpents, horses or dogs (Her sacred animals), light (especially a torch), myrrh, silver and moonstone. This Greco-Roman Goddess rules the moon and opportunities. Tonight She opens the path through which the old year departs and the new enters. People customarily worship Hecate at crossroads, where worlds meet, which may be why She became a witch’s Goddess. On this, Hecate’s Day, She bears a torch, lighting the way to the future.

At the eve of a New Year, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a full of Goddess-centered thinking and action. Note your achievements, and thank Hecate for helping you find the way when your vision seemed clouded. An additional benefit here is that speaking this Goddess’s name today banishes unwanted ghosts, including those figurative ghosts of past negative experiences. Let Hecate take those burdens so your new year will begin without anything holding you back.

To accept this Goddess’s powers in your life throughout your celebrations today, wear white or silver items, and light a white candle in Her honor. For a token that will emphasize Hecate’s magic and lunar energies whenever you need them, bless a moonstone, saying something like:

‘Hecate, fill this silver stone
keep your magic with me where ever I roam.’

Carry this, keeping the Goddess close to your heart and spirit.”

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

"Hecate" by Hrana Janto

“Hecate” by Hrana Janto

“At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this Goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally She stopped to gather offerings left by Her devotees where three roads crossed, for this threefold Goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it was even said that Hecate could look three ways because She had three heads: a serpent, a horse, and a dog.

"Hecate redux" by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

“Hecate redux” by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

While Hecate walked outdoors, Her worshipers gathered inside to eat Hecate suppers in Her honor, gatherings at which magical knowledge was shared and the secrets of sorcery whispered and dogs, honey and black female lambs sacrificed. The bitch-Goddess, the snake-Goddess, ruled these powers and She bestowed them on those who worshiped Her honorably. When supper was over, the leftovers were placed outdoors as offerings to Hecate and Her hounds. And if the poor of Greece gathered at the doorsteps of wealthier households to snatch the offerings, what matter?

"Hecate" by Katlyn Breene

“Hecate” by Katlyn Breene

Some scholars say that Hecate was not originally Greek, Her worship having traveled south from Her original Thracian homeland. Others contend that She was a form of the earth mother Demeter, yet another of whose forms was the maiden Persephone. Legends, they claim, of Persephone’s abduction and later residence in Hades give clear prominence to Hecate, who therefore must represent the old wise woman, the crone, the final stage of woman’s growth-the aged Demeter Herself, just as Demeter is the mature Persephone.

In either case, the antiquity of Hecate’s worship was recognized by the Greeks, who called Her a Titan, one of those pre-Olympian divinities whom Zeus and his cohort had ousted. The newcomers also bowed to Her antiquity by granting to Hecate alone a power shared with Zeus, that of granting or withholding from humanity anything She wished. Hecate’s worship continued into classical times, both in the private form of Hecate suppers and in public sacrifices, celebrated by ‘great ones’ or Caberioi, of honey, black female lambs, and dogs, and sometimes black human slaves.

"Hecate" by *Hrefngast

“Hecate” by *Hrefngast

As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said to be the moon-Goddess in Her dark form, as Artemis was the waxing moon and Selene the full moon. But She may as readily have been the earth Goddess, for She ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death She ruled the magical powers of regeneration; in addition, She could hold back Her spectral hordes from the living if She chose. And so Greek women evoked Hecate for protection from Her hosts whenever they left the house, and they erected Her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions” (Monaghan, p. 146 – 148).

hekate__s_advance_by_hellfurian_guard-d38okib

“Hekate’s Advance” by ~Hellfurian-Guard

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Torch, dark moon, raisin & currant cakes, crossroads, three-headed animals or statues, the number 3, masks, and candles.

Animals: Dogs, horses, sheep (especially black female lambs), owls, bats, snakes, and boars.

Plants: Willows, dark yew, blackthorn, groves of trees, saffron, raisins & currants, and gourds (especially pumpkins).

Perfumes/Scents: Queen of the Night (a light flowery fragrance), cinnamon, myrrh, mugwort, honey, lime, and lemon verbena.

Gems and Metals: Sapphire, silver, gold, moonstone, black tourmalin, black onyx, hematite, smoky quartz, and any stone that is dark or luminous.

Colors: Black, orange, yellow-orange, and red-orange.  [1]

 

Some educational and informational videos

 

 

And I just thought this song was kind of catchy 🙂

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Hecate”.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Hekate“.

D’Este, Sorita & David Rankine. Hekate Liminal Rites.

Ford, Michael W. Book of the Witch Moon: Chaos, Vampiric & Luciferian Sorcery, “Hecate”. (p. 99 – 107). (For those with a taste for a “darker” flavor 😉 )

Goddessgift.com, “Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Grimassi, Raven. The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation.

Hecatescauldron.org, “Hecate’s Cauldron“.

Hekate Symposium 2013, “Hekate: Bright Goddess of the Mysteries by Sorita d’Este“.

James-Henderson, Yvonne. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Hecate“.

Kirkpatrick, Carrie. Goddess Enchantment, Magic and Spells Vol 2, “Goddess of Transformation Hecate“.

Littleton, C. Scott. Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, “Hecate” (p. 617 – 620).

MacLeod NicMhacha, Sharynne. Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess, “The Double Life of Hecate” (p. 59 -63).

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Hecate – Crossroads“.

Reichard, Joy. Celebrate the Divine Feminine, “13. Hecate” (p. 167 – 182).

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Hecate: intuitive wise woman“.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

The-goddess-hecate.blogspot.com, “The Goddess Hecate“.

Theoi.com, “Hecate“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Hekate“.

Wikipedia, “Hecate“.

Goddess Iris

"Iris" by Howard David Johnson

“Iris” by Howard David Johnson

“Iris’ themes are winter, peace, protection, air, meditation, promises and beginnings. Her symbols are rainbows and water. This Greek messenger to the gods traverses between the Earth and heavens, appearing as a winged maiden on a shining, hopeful rainbow. In this form She represents the calm after the storm – the end of the year’s activities and the advent of a new beginning. Traditional offerings to Her include figs, cakes, wheat and honey. In some stories it was Iris’ job to gather water from the Underworld for use in taking sacred oaths.

The phrase Halcyon Days comes from the ancient belief that fourteen days of calm weather were to be expected around the winter solstice—usually 21st or 22nd of December in the Northern Hemisphere, as that was when the halcyon calmed the surface of the sea in order to brood her eggs on a floating nest. The Halcyon days are generally regarded as beginning on the 14th or 15th of December. Thus, the week before and after the winter solstice are said to bear both the halcyon’s and Iris’s calm ambiance and hopeful demeanor.

To inspire an improved outlook, find a rainbow sun catcher and put it in a window today so that Iris’s radiance can fill your home. Get an extra one for your car (or maybe a rainbow-colored air freshener), so you can keep that energy with you throughout the day.

For another aromatic approach, open a window briefly today and let Iris fly in on wings of change and refreshment. Burn some violet or lavender incense as you do. These two aromatics accentuate this Goddess’s vibrations.”

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

"Iris" by Josephine Wall

“Iris” by Josephine Wall

Patricia Monaghan wrote that “the rainbow Goddess Iris was Hera‘s messenger, a winged maiden who – when not delivering messages for Her mistress – slept under Hera’s bed.  It was Iris who, when Her mistress slept with Zeus, prepared their bed with sanctified hands.  She was one of the few Olympians who could journey at will to the underworld, where She fetched water for solemn oaths; for this reason, She was sometimes called a form of the witch Goddess Hecate” (p. 164).

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Iris”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Iris The Greek Goddess of the Rainbow“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Iris” (p. 512 – 513).

Lady Zephyr. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Iris“.

Mythagora.com, “Iris“.

Theoi.com, “Iris“.

Hildreth, S.Y. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Iris“.

Wikipedia, “Iris (mythology)“.

Goddess Larunda

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“Larunda’s themes are earth, home and ghosts. Her symbols are stoves or ovens, soil or clay. Lara is one of the Roman Goddesses of earth and the home. She is also the mother and guardian to ghosts, or lares, who reside in the hearth and protect the family. Traditionally, today is a festival day, Larentalia.

In Rome, this day was a time to say prayers for the dead and the nation, as well as to bring joy to one’s home. In keeping with this tradition, convey like these to Larunda:

‘Larunda, hear my words
Bless the spirits of those who have gone on before me
and grant them serenity
Bless also my nation
that it may know peace and prosperity
this year and always
Finally, bless my home with your happiness,
prosperity and love
Let all who visit or dwell within
feel your presence and protection surrounding them
Thank you for these blessings
Amen.’

To invoke both Larunda’s and the lares blessing on your residence, leave a small jar of soil somewhere near your oven, microwave, toaster or heater, and say:

‘Larunda, lares, this house bless, with your warmth and gentleness.’

Whenever tensions in the house reach a boiling point, take a pinch of the soil outside and dispose of it. This releases the magic and symbolically gets rid of the problems. Don’t look back.”

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

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This Goddess was already covered on February 18 – as Lara (click on Her name to be directed to that entry).  To add to that information that was presented in that entry: “Roman sources mention this Goddess passingly as ‘mother of the dead,’ an underworld Goddess who may have been the same one who granted prosperity as Acca Larentia.  She was sometimes called Tacita or Muta (‘deadly silent one’); She was invoked by that name in magical attempts to stop the mouths of detractors, in which women would tie the mouths of dead fish so that gossips would suffer the same fate” (Monaghan, p. 191).

 

 

Sources:

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

 

Suggested Links:

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Acca Larentia“.

Wikipedia, “Larunda“.

Wikipedia, “Mother of the Lares“.

 

Goddess Takánakapsâluk

“Sedna” by Susan Seddon Boulet

“Takánakapsâluk’s themes are providence, purification, strength, thankfulness, luck and health. Her symbols are saltwater and Arctic animals.  This Arctic sea Goddess rules over the successful catching of game and over personal health. Takánakapsâluk lives far beneath the cold waters, where She also receives the spirits of the dead and cares for them.

Among [Yup’ik] hunters, this was the time of year when special rituals propitiate the spirits of Takánakapsâluk’s animals, who gave themselves for the tribe’s food. Specifically, all the bladders of seals, whales and polar bears(?) were returned to Her icy waters in thankfulness. In a similar spirit, go to any open body of water and toss a small biodegradable offering to the Goddess in thanks for your food. Consider abstaining from meat today, or from some other beloved food, as a way of showing appreciation for the Goddess’s bounty.

The [Bladder Festival] traditionally included ritual fire jumping and sweat baths for purification. Try this yourself by jumping a small candle (carefully, please!) or taking a steamy shower (the Goddess is part of that water). Additionally, any show of physical prowess today brings continued strength. So, add a little exercise to your day. Take a brisk walk, do some jumping jacks. As you do, think of Takánakapsâluk filling you with revitalizing health.”

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

OK, I just have to vent a bit here.  Throughout this journey so far with this book, I’ve come across some really bad information (gods being portrayed as Goddesses – my main pet peeve).  For today, Telesco calls today’s holiday/celebration “Kashim”.  Now, kashim is NOT an Inuit or Yup’ik celebration; it’s “a building used by Eskimos as a community gathering place or as a place where men congregate and socialize.” [1].  Also, she writes about this celebration as if it is still practiced today.  While there is a “Bladder Festival” that is still celebrated today, it’s not celebrated in the above fashion as she would have you think as it was originally written in her book; “it was last celebrated in the early part of the twentieth century.” [2]  Also, I didn’t see mention of polar bear bladders being offered – only seal, whale and walrus bladders.  What kills me is that when I Google “Takanakapsaluk”, I obviously come across other sites that have done or are doing something similar to what I’m doing with this blog – and they’ve just retyped word for word what is in the book without doing the time to actually sit and do the research as to whether or not the information is accurate or correct; it’s just bad information being passed along as if it’s fact when in fact, it’s very inaccurate and misleading.  OK – thanks for “listening” – end of rant.

Sedna from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck

So, back to Takánakapsâluk.  This Goddess is actually Sedna‘s Iglulik Inuit equivilant (who actually live very far from Alaska – north of Hudson Bay in the Canadian Northwest Territories actually).  “Like Sedna, [Takánakapsâluk] receives the dead and causes misfortune, but is known also as a healer who helps hunters.” [3]  Now, about Sedna in a nutshell: “Sedna is an important figure in Inuit mythology, but is often the case with myths and legends; there is much controversy over who She was and how She came to be. The one thing that all of the stories have in common is the fact that Sedna did not begin life as a Goddess, but at a mortal woman.

By all cases, Sedna was believed beautiful and highly desired by all the men of her village. In some accounts, She was also labeled as vain and selfish and did not feel that any of the men were good enough for Her. In other accounts, She simply found no man that suited Her wants and needs. In either case, She flatly refused to marry.

“Sedna” by Hrana Janto

Frustrated with his daughter, some claim that Her father eventually threw Her into the sea off the side of his boat, but the girl hung tightly to the side. Fearing she would tip it over and kill them both, Her father cut off Her fingers, one by one. As they fell into the water, they turned into sea life like the seal, walrus, and fish. The creatures thankful for their birth, turned Sedna into a Goddess and gave Her dominion over them.” [3]

You can click here to read June 26’s entry on Sedna for more detailed information and other “Suggested Links” to go through for your own research purposes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Voices.yahoo.com, “Understanding the Moral Behind the Inuit Goddess Sedna“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Sedna“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cate. Hooperbaytundra.blogspot.com, “The Bladder Festival“.

Spiritandhistory.tumblr.com, “Today In Spirit, Fes & History: 10 December – Native American/First Nations: Inuit/Eskimo Bladder Festival/Feast of Sedna/Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales“.

Stern, Pamela R. Salempress.com, “American Indian Culture: Bladder Festival“.

Tedlock, Dennis & Barbara Tedlock. Teachings from the American Earth: Indian Religion and Philosophy, “A Shaman’s Journey to the Sea Spirit Takánakapsâluk” (p. 13 – 19).

Vitebsky, Piers. Shamanism, “A summer of shamanic procedure: Combing the Hair of the Woman at the Bottom of the Sea” (p. 125).

Walsh, Roger. The World of Shamanism.

Wikipedia, “Sedna (mythology)“.

Goddess Spes

“Gathering Flowers” by Albert Lynch

“Spes’ themes are thankfulness, hope, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are a bouquet of flowers. In Roman tradition, this Goddess’s name means ‘hope’. She joins us today to celebrate the successful harvest and keep our hearts hopeful as the earth’s plenty wanes. In art, Spes often appears as a simple bundle of flowers whose beauty inspires the most distraught of spirits.

Follow pilgrim tradition and set aside time today to thank the Goddess for Her blessings in any way that seems suited to your path and vision. For example, give Spes an offering of the first slice of holiday bread, share food with those in need, or perhaps treat the birds and squirrels in your neighborhood to some bread and nuts.

Locally we invite any friends who have no family nearby to join with us in a delightful symbolic meal. Serve round rye bread and dill dip for unity and kinship, sweet potatoes for life’s sweetness and Spes’s harvest energies, cranberries mixed with oranges to keep our energy and health intact, vegetables for firm foundations, and pumpkin pie with magical sigils carved in the crust for the Goddess’s protective spark. If you look at your own traditional menu, I’ll bet you will find many other foods and beverages that have similar symbolism to bring meaning and Spes’s magic to your table for this holiday. As you eat, remember to pass all the food and beverages clockwise to invoke Spes’s ongoing providence.”

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

“Pandora” by Marta Dahlig

Patricia Monaghan told us that Spes was “an early Cretan Goddess called Elphis in Greece. She was the one force left in the box of Pandora after evil had escaped into the world.  Spes was ruler of the Underworld and of death’s cousin, sleep; Her plant was the poppy, but otherwise nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.  In Greece and Rome, Spes became the personification of hope, worshiped in temples dedicated to Her as early as the fourth century B.C.E.” ( p. 285).

On theodora.com, it states that “Spes, in Roman mythology, the personification of Hope. Originally a nature Goddess (like Venus the garden Goddess, with whom She was sometimes identified *), She represented at first the hope of fruitful gardens and fields, then of abundant offspring, and lastly of prosperity to come and good fortune in general, being hence invoked on birthdays and at weddings. Of Her numerous temples at Rome, the most ancient was appropriately in the forum olitorium (vegetable market), built during the first Punic War, and since that time twice burnt down and restored.

The day of its dedication (August 1) corresponded with the birthday of Claudius, which explains the frequent occurrence of Spes on the coins of that emperor. Spes is represented as a beautiful maiden in a long light robe, lifting up Her skirt with Her left hand, and carrying in Her right a bud already closed or about to open. Sometimes She wears a garland of flowers on Her head, ears of corn and poppy-heads in Her hand, symbolical of a prosperous harvest.

Like Fortuna, with whom She is often coupled in inscriptions on Roman tombstones, She was also represented with the cornu copiae (horn of plenty).

* “See G. Wissowa, Religion and Kultus der Romer (1902), according to whom Spes was originally not a garden Goddess, but simply the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfilment of one’s desires.” [2]  In my opinion, that would seem to support Monaghan’s statement that “nothing is known of Her legends and meaning.”  My interpretation is that She was just that – Hope – a personification of hope and “the divinity to whom one prayed for the fulfillment of desires.”

“Angel” by Dawn Wilson-Enoch

 

 

Sources:

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

Theodora.com,  “Spes“.

 

Suggested Links:

Forumancientcoins.com, “Spes – the Personification of Hope“.

Theoi.com, “Elpis“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Fortuna of Good Hope“.

Wikipedia, “Spes“.

Goddess Tonacacihuatl

“Mictecacihuatl” by *RadiusZero

“Tonacacihuatl’s themes are ghosts, death and hope. Her symbols are flowers and all symbols of death.  In Mexico this Goddess’s name means ‘Our Lady of Flesh’. Tonacacihuatl is a creatrix who gives life to all things and to whom the spirits of children return at death.

Part of a weeklong festival for the dead, Angelitos Day is specifically focused on departed children. If there is a child who had passed over and who was special to you somehow, make cakes or foods that feature symbols of death and leave them in a special spot. This invites Tonacacihuatl to release that child’s spirit for the day and welcomes the souls of the departed to the festival.

Put out the child’s picture in a place of honor with a candle nearby to help light their way. Cook and eat the young one’s favorite foods, leave a lamp lit near your threshold, and strew flowers (especially marigolds or dandelions) on the walkway to guide the child’s spirit back home.

According to tradition, eating hen or chicken today ensures a visitation by ghosts, because then the bird can’t crow loudly and frighten away the spirits! In all due caution, however, you might want to keep a little salt, violet petals, sage, or ginseng handy to banish any unwanted ghostly guests.”

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

“Tonacacihuatl” by Tlisza Jaurique

Tonacacihuatl (pronounced toe-na-ka-SEE-wah-tl) is primaeval female principle, or Goddess of creation in Aztec mythology.  By some accounts, She was the mother of CamaxtliHuitzilopochtliQuetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.  She combined with Her husband, Tonacatecuhtli, created life on earth and, in some accounts, is identified with Omecihuatl. This Goddess lived in the highest of the thirteen Aztec heavens.

She and Her husband have the task of transferring the souls of infants from Heaven to the womb of the mother.

 

* The first picture is actually of another Aztec Goddess, Mictecacihuatl, but I really wanted to use it as I believe She is an appropriate Goddess for this time of year.  “In Aztec mythology, Mictecacihuatl (pronounced ‘Meek-teka-see-wahdl’ or ‘Meek-teka-kee-wadl’) is Queen of Mictlan, the underworld, ruling over the afterlife with Mictlantecuhtli, another deity who is designated as Her husband.

Her role is to keep watch over the bones of the dead. She presided over the ancient festivals of the dead, which evolved from Aztec traditions into the modern Day of the Dead after synthesis with Spanish cultural traditions. She is said now to preside over the contemporary festival as well. Mictecacihuatl is known as the Lady of the Dead, since it is believed that She was born, then sacrificed as an infant. Mictecacihuatl was represented with a defleshed body and with jaw agape to swallow the stars during the day.” [1]

 

Sources:

Mythologydictionary.com, “Tonacacihuatl“.

Wikipedia, “Mictecacihuatl

 

Suggested Links:

Holmer, Rick. The Aztec Book of Destiny.

Quipoloa, J. Amoxtli.org, “The Aztec Universe“.

Ruiz de Alarcón, Hernando. Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions that Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain.

Wikipedia, “Santa Muerte“.

Goddess Tellus Mater

“Mother Earth” by *MD-Arts

“Tellus Mater’s themes are earth, ecology, promises, abundance, prosperity and fertility. Her symbols are the globe, soil and grain.  The Roman Earth Mother celebrates today’s festivities, the Earth’s Birthday, by sharing of Her abundance, being a Goddess of vegetation, reproduction, and increase. In regional stories, Tellus Mater gave birth to humans, which is why bodies are returned to the soil at death – so they can be reborn from Her womb anew.

According to James Ussher, a seventeenth-century Anglican archbishop, God created the earth on October 26, 4004 B.C.E. While this date is uncertain at best, it gives us a good excuse to honor Tellus Mater and hold a birthday party on Her behalf.

Make a special cake for the Earth Mother out of natural fertilizers. Take this to a natural setting (don’t forget the candle). Light the candle and wish for the earth’s renewal, then blow it out, remove the candle, and bury your gift to Tellus Mater in the soil, where it can begin manifesting your good wishes!

While you’re outside, pick up a pinch of soil, a stone, or any natural object that strikes your eye and keep it close. This is a part of Tellus Mater, and it will maintain her power for abundance wherever you go today. It will also help you stay close to the Earth Mother and honor the living spirit of earth in word and deed.”

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

“In ancient Roman religion and myth, Tellus or Terra Mater (‘Mother Earth’) is a Goddess of the earth. Although Tellus and Terra are hardly distinguishable during the Imperial eraTellus was the name of the original earth Goddess in the religious practices of the Republic or earlier.  The scholar Varro (1st century BCE) lists Tellus as one of the di selecti, the twenty principal gods of Rome, and one of the twelve agricultural deities.  She is regularly associated with Ceres in rituals pertaining to the earth and agricultural fertility.

Tellus/Pax panel of Ara Pacis

The attributes of Tellus were the cornucopia, or bunches of flowers or fruit. She was typically depicted reclining.  Her male complement was a sky god such as Caelus (Uranus) or a form of Jupiter. A male counterpart Tellumo or Tellurus is mentioned, though rarely. Her Greek counterpart is Gaia (Gē Mâtēr), and among the Etruscans She was Cel. Michael Lipka has argued that the Terra Mater who appears during the reign of Augustus is a direct transferral of the Greek Ge Mater into Roman religious practice, while Tellus, whose temple was within Rome’s sacred boundary (pomerium), represents the original earth Goddess cultivated by the state priests.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us: “The Roman ‘Mother Earth’ was honored each April 15 [Fordicidia], when a pregnant cow was sacrificed and its unborn calf burned.  The Romans tried to offer appropriate tribute to each divinity and they felt that the earth – pregnant in spring with sprouting plants – would especially appreciate such a sacrifice.

“Ceres” by ~rebenke

Tellus’ constant companion was Ceres, the grain Goddess, and the two of them interested themselves not only in vegetative reproduction but in humanity’s increase as well.  Therefore, they were invoked at every marriage that they might bless it with offspring.  Tellus too was considered the most worthy Goddess on whom to swear oaths, for the earth, witnessing all doings on Her surface, would see that an oath taker kept his promise.  Finally, Tellus, to whom the bodies of the dead were returned as to a womb, was the motherly death Goddess, for unlike Her Greek counterpart Gaia, Tellus was associated with the underworld as well as the earth’s surface” (p. 293 – 294).

“Nerthus” by MarisVision

On a side note, “the identity of the Goddess Nerthus, called Terra Mater, Mother Earth by Tacitus in Germania, has been a topic of much scholarly debate.”  Click here to read a fantastic article by William Reaves entitled “Nerthus: Toward an Identification”.

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Reaves, William P. “Nerthus: Toward an Identification“.

Wikipedia, “Terra (mythology)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Berger, Pamela C. Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint.

GardenStone. The Nerthus Claim.

Lipka, Michael. Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach.

Novaroma.org, “Fordicidia“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Cels“.

Wikipedia, “Fordicidia“.

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 Izanami-No-Kami

“Izanami” by Jay Tomioka

“Izanami-no-kami’s themes are art, creativity and excellence. Her symbol is poetry.  In Japan, this creative Goddess is considered to have made all things, and She inspires similar inventiveness within us. Traditionally, She is honored through artistic displays, including dance, song, music, and poetry reading.

Every September, poets from across Japan come to the Imperial Palace to compose verses. Upon receiving a cup of sake floated down the river, each poet must create an impromptu verse. The winner becomes the nation’s poet laureate.  In keeping with this idea, concentrate on trying your own hand at a little sacred poetry today, perhaps even a haiku. Traditional haiku contains seven syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line and seven or five in the last; each line evokes an image or feeling in the reader’s mind. Here’s one example:

Izanami-no-kami
paints the universe
radiant – eternity

If poetry isn’t your forte, engage in another art form through which Izanami-no-kami’s imaginative spirit can shine. Ask for Her assistance and inspiration before you begin, and see what wonders Her nudge can arouse in you. Or, visit an art gallery, making notes of the things that really strike a harmonious chord in your spirit.”

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

So, I’m not exactly sure where Patricia Telesco’s description of Izanami comes from, because the descriptions I found paint Her as a creatrix and Queen of the Underworld, sharing some common elements with Persephone‘s story.

Patricia Monaghan writes: “Before this world, there was only a chaos of oil and slime, which slowly congealed to produce unnamed and innumerable divinities.  [The first gods according to Wikipedia were Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi who] finally, said the Japanese, [summoned] two distinct [divine beings]: Izanami, the inviting woman, and Her consort, Izanagi, the inviting man.  Standing on the rainbow, they stirred chaos with a spear [named Ame-no-nuboko] until a bit of matter formed.  Placing this island on the oily sea, they descended to create and populate the earth.

But they did not, at first, know how.  It was only after watching two water birds mating that they understood the necessary procreative act.  So they too mated, and Izanami gave birth to the islands of Japan, to its waterfalls and mountains, and then to the animals and plants that live there.

Last to be conceived was fire, which virually exploed from Izanami’s body, leaving Her retching and bleeding.  From all Her excretions – from Her blood, Her vomit, Her urine – new creatures sprang up and established themselves on the new land.  But Izanami Herself died.

She traveled to the underworld – Yomi (‘gloomy land’).  Izanagi, however, desperate without Her, traveled to Yomi to ask Her to return.  She, however, had already established Herself in the world of death and refused [a few sources state that She had already eaten the food of the underworld and was now one with the land of the dead. She could no longer return to the living].  But She suggested that he speak to the lord of death, asking for Her release.  Izanami warned him, though, not tot enter the palace.

“Izanami” by Matthew Meyer

Heedlessly curious, Izanagi approached the dark building; then he took a broken comb and broke off its last tooth.  Lighting it, he looked inside, where the body of Izanami was decomposing.  Her spirit attacked him, humiliated at having been seen that way; She drove him from the underworld and, as they parted, claimed his actions constituted a final divorce.  Some say that Izanami rules still as queen of death from Her home in gloomy Yomi” (Monaghan, p. 168 – 169).

The actions that Monaghan writes of were Izanagi pushing a boulder in the mouth of the Yomotsuhirasaka (cavern that was the entrance of Yomi) thus creating a boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  This infuriated Izanami-no-Mikoto and She screamed from behind this impenetrable barricade that if he left Her She would destroy 1,000 residents of the living every day to which he replied he would give life to 1,500.

To purify himself after coming into contact with the dead, Izanagi bathed in the sea and as he bathed, a number of deities came into being to include the sun Goddess Amaterasu, born of a tear from his left eye.

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Izanami-no-Mikoto“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Britannica.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

Goddesses.info, “IZANAMI“.

Meyer, Matthew. Matthewmeyer.net, “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami” and “Oh My Kami: Izanagi and Izanami(part 2)“.

Mythencyclopedia.com, “Izanagi and Izanami“.

University of Georgia: Department of Geology, “The Origin of Japan and her People“.

 

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