Tag Archive: victory


Sephira

"Lady of Peace" by ~InfiniteFiend

“Lady of Peace” by ~InfiniteFiend

“Sephira’s themes are miracles, victory, success and overcoming. Her symbol is light.  This ancient Cabalistic Goddess embodies divine light-the active, energetic power that flows through the Universe in all directions. Thus, it is no coincidence that the ten spheres on the Tree of Life are called Sephirah, for this Goddess guides our way and path with Her radiance.

Chanukah (Hannukah) commemorates the rebellion of the Jews against the Syrians, in which a miracle took place. A small bottle of oil stayed lit for eight days, keeping the temple consecrated until more oil could be brought.

Since Sephira is the light of miracles, today’s a good time to focus on seemingly impossible goals or situations that you may have set aside or left behind in discouragement. Revisit those dreams; reconsider the logistics of those circumstances. If there is a better way to approach things, Sephira will illuminate that path or options for you in your meditations.

Make sure to turn on light sources today, and open curtains to let natural light into your home. Symbolically, this welcomes Sephira’s active power into your spiritual life and quest. Also consider following with Jewish tradition and giving coins to friends or family. These tokens draw financial security. Or, eat potato pancakes for providence.”

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

Again today, my research found nothing a specific Goddess named Sephira.  I found that “in kabbalistic thought, a Sephira is a channel for the Divine energy we know as the life-force. The Kabbalah describes an intermediate stage that came about as an emanation of God’s infinite light and which was created during the process of Creation. This intermediate stage consists of ten channels and is experienced by human beings as finite reality. These channels are known as the Ten Sephirot.

The Sephirot interact through a series of interconnecting channels or ‘Tzinorot.’ These channels illustrate the way in which Divine energy imbues all of Creation. The connections show how the Sephirot can interconnect to create subgroups. All the subgroups containing a given Sephira will reflect a common theme.

tree-of-life-diagram

The Kabbalah Diagram from the Tree of Life Teachings

The Sephirot are divided into three groupings of three. Each group of three consists of three levels: right, center, left. The first group of three concerns the powers of the mind and includes Da’at or Keter, Chochmah (Wisdom), and Binah (Intuition). The second group of three consists of the heart’s emotions as they exist prior to any action. This grouping consists of Chessed (Loving kindness), Gevurah (Courage), and Tiferet (Glory). The third group of three is concerned with behavior and actions and consists of Netzach (Eternity), Hod (Majesty), Yesod (Basis). This last grouping also concerns the emotions, but only as they become manifest through behavior.

The endpoint is Malchut (Kingdom) and is sometimes seen as an extension of the third group of three and sometimes as an independent state of being that takes in the energies of the other Sephirot and is what emerges as a result of all the soul has experienced.” [1]

 

 

Sources:

Safed.co.il, “Divine Energy“.

 

Suggested Links:

Afilalo, Raphael. 160 Questions on the Kabbalah.

Amaluxherbal.com, “The Kabbalah made Practical“.

Corax.com, “The Tree of Life“.

d’Este, Sorita. Themagicalbuffet.com, “The Goddess, Wicca & the Qabalah“.

Harrison, Jeff & Karen Charboneau-Harrison. Isisbooks.com, “QABALISTIC MAGIC ARTICLE LESSON 3: History And Differences Between Orthodox Hebrew Qabalah And Western Esoteric Qabalah“.

Inner.org, “The Ten Sefirot: Introduction“.

Treeoflifeteachings.com, “What is the Kabbalah?

Wikipedia, “Sephirot“.

Wikipedia, “Tree of Life (Kabbalah)“.

Goddess Bamya

“Bamya’s themes are victory, banishing, protection and overcoming. Her symbols are light and fire.  In Zoroastrian tradition, this Goddess guides the sun god Mithra’s vehicle through the sky. More important, as the Goddess of twilight, Her presence signals the beginning of today’s festival, Sada.

As the sun sets in Iran today, a huge bonfire will be ignited near a water source to symbolize the power of light to overcome darkness and the power of good over evil. For us this means accepting our power and potential to overcome and obstacles that life may bring in any season.

Too often our lives seem overwhelmed with obligations, and we find ourselves feeling lost in the seething sea of humanity. Bamya’s counsel today is to learn how to swim in that sea by recognizing the ability of one person to truly make a difference – be it within yourself, in the life of another, in a specific situation, or in the world.

At sunset today, light an orange candle (or another one the color of twilight) and greet Bamya with a prayer like this:

“Lady of the gentle twilight, I welcome you
As the sun sets on this day
let things from the past
that I no longer need
also fade away
Teach me to leave them behind
as easily as you leave behind the daylight
As darkness falls
grant rest to my unsettled spirit
so that I can rise tomorrow
renewed and whole
Bamya be with me.
Amen.”

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

The few sites that I found that mentioned Bamya pretty much stated the same thing: “In Zoroastrian tradition, this Goddess guides the sun god Mithra’s vehicle through the sky. Also the Goddess of twilight.” [1]

In the The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, it states “Bāmyā: (Av) 1. shining; radiant; repsplendent. 3. deity of dawn who guides the vehicle of Mithra; epithet of the Fravashis.” [2]  Also in this book, under Hvare, it states: Hvare: (Av) 1. sun. 3. deity of the sun who is considered fairest of Mazda‘s creations and is considered to purify the earth and all things therein.  He is distinguished for powers of observation.  His chariot is drawn by Bamya.” [3]  Neither one of these entries mention whether this deity is male or female.

"Ushas" by Lisa Hunt

“Ushas” by Lisa Hunt

From the book Spiritual Body, Celestial Earth from Mazdean Iran to Shi’ite Iran, I found this entry: Siroza…Here we might mention other figures of ‘feminine Angels,’ in connection with Daena and Ashi Vanuhi;…Bamya (beaming, radiant), who drives the chariot of Mithra and the third night after death appears to the sacred soul when Mithra climbs the mountain; in Manicheism, She becomes the ‘Friend of Light’, Ushah, who bears the very name dawn; Ushahina, the special Angel of the hours between midnight and the moment the stars become visible” (Corbin, p. 280).

Sources:

Corbin, Henry. Spiritual Body, Celestial Earth from Mazdean Iran to Shi’ite Iran.

Gandhi, Maneka & Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, “Bāmyā“.

Gandhi, Maneka & Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names, “Hvare“.

Levigilant.com, Gods List B., “Bamya“.

Suggested Links:

Bharucha, Ervad Sheriarji Dadabhai. A Brief Sketch of the Zoroastrian religion & customs, (p.xxxvii).

Hurst, George Leopold. Sacred Literature, (p. 85).

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

West, M.L. Indo-European Poetry and Myth, (p. 129).

The Chiu-range Mat

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Chiu-Rang-Guru” as today’s Goddess. However, my research revealed that Chiu-range guru is a river demon.  “This demon is a male, and his wife’s name is Chiu-range mat”. [1]  So, today’s Goddess entry, I will be focusing on Chiu-range mat.

“Water Goddess” by New World Creations

“[Chiu-range mat’s] themes are water, beauty, overcoming and victory. Her symbols are rough water and light.  This Goddess dwells in rapids, rough water, or waterfalls, and She can guide us through any rough waters that our lives face. Her name literally means [‘the descending current’]. Thanks to water spirits like Her, Niagara Falls has become a favorite tourist attraction, especially during this festival, The Festival of Lights.

This breathtaking festival takes place nearly in my backyard.  At this time of the year, Niagara Falls is bedecked with hundreds of lights, including colored floodlights that adorn the falls in potent beauty, accented by the Goddess’ vibrant power.

If you find yourself facing difficult times right now, know that [Chiu-range mat] can ease the flow of problems. One way to magically mimic this is by using a freestanding Jacuzzi in the tub turned on high. Immerse yourself in this torrent, then speak the Goddess’ name and turn it down slowly.  When you’ve reached the last setting, turn off the machine and pull the plug in the tub, letting those problems literally flow down the drain.  The effect of this activity can be accentuated by using a black light in the bathroom, glitter in the water, and candles. This turns your tub into a light show in which you can wrap yourself in [Chiu-range mat’s] spirit and be renewed.”

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

“Lure of the Yokai” by ~thatstranger95

I could not find much on either Chiu-range mat or Her husband, Chiu-range guru.  From what little information I could find during my research revealed that they come from Ainu folk-lore and belong to a class of river demons.  In the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 1, it states: “The river demons are also very numerous, and their names indicate their work.  They are: Konupki-ot-guru, or ‘dwellers in muddy places.’  They are said to reside specifically near the river banks.  Chiuka-pinne Kamui rametok (‘the brave and divine male current’) comes next.  Then ther are Chiu-range guru and his wife (‘they who send the current’), and Kochiu-tunash guru with his wife, i.e. ‘persons of swift current,’ and others too numerous to mention.  The river deities are called Wakka-ush-Kamui (‘water gods’).  All rivulets and tributaries are said to be their offspring.  They are named Kamui poteke, i.e. ‘the little hands of the deities,’ and Kamui matnepo, i.e. ‘daughters of God.’  Then there is Petru-ush-mat (‘the female of the waterways’), together with Pet-etok-mat (‘the female source of rivers’).  Mermaids are called Pe-boso-ko-shinpuk, i.e. ‘mermaids who pass through the water.’

They are also called Mimtuchi and tumunchi, i.e. ‘fat’ and ‘fleshy devils.'” [2]

Among the Ainu, besides the gods is “another category of deities…evils spirits or demons, who are more powerful than humans and cause illness and tragedies.  They can be overcome by divination and rituals performed through a shaman.” [3]

Coming back now to Chiu-range guru and Chiu-range amat, they are said to “reside among the stones where river currents fall over somewhat rapidly.  Saké is never drunk to them, and they are never prayed to, though small inao are sometimes offered to them” (Batchelor, p. 544.)

 

 

Sources:

Batchelor, John. The Ainu and Their Folk-lore, “River Demons” (p. 544).

Selbie, John Alexander, James Hastings & Louis Herbert Gray. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 1, “AINUS; 21. Gods and demons of the sea and rivers” (p. 244).

Suite101.com, “Religion Among the Ainu People of Hokkaido Japan“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ainu-museum.or.jp, “Ainu History and Culture“.

Everyculture.com, “Ainu“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Specimens of Ainu Folklore by John Batchelor“.

Wikipedia, “Ainu people“.

Goddess Axtis

art by Hojatollah Shakiba ?

“Axtis’ themes are peace, justice and victory. Her symbols are white items, peace signs, charms and tokens. This Iranian Goddess’s name means ‘victorious peace’ – peace with ourselves, each other, and the world. The victory here comes from finding the right opportunity to create symmetry where only discord once dwelled.

Celebrated by Church Women United, World Community Day encourages world peace and justice through proactive community service. Axtis’s spirit permeates this festival and provides heartfelt comfort before winter moves into full swing.

To honor this idea and Axtis, do something in your area to likewise engender harmony. Help two warring neighbors take the first step toward understanding. Get involved in a community campaign to improve local laws so they’re equitable. Make a donation to any organization dedicated to fostering international peace.  Meditate to find Axtis’s peace within yourself; then extend that power outward to transform everything and everyone you touch.

Wear white today (the color of truce) and carry an amethyst, carnelian, or sodalite stone with you to generate harmony wherever you go. Keep your words serene today (try to keep your cool no matter what). This extends Axtis’s gentle nature to others. You’ll be surprised at how potent quiet discourse can be.”

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

I could find nothing on this Goddess under this name; so, I wondered if She was a Zoroastrian deity, Amesha Spenta or angel under a different variant or spelling.  I checked a list of Yazatas and found one possible match: “Akhshti [pronounced Ak-hesh-tee]: Yazad personifying peace”. [1]  In a book entitled Zoroastrian Theology: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day, it states that Akhshti was the angel of peace.  “This female divinity is peace personified, but even though perfectly clearly recognizable as such, She is very obscurely outlined as to traits.  She is invoked in company with Vohu Manah, or Good Mind, for nothing can break the inner peace in which the spirit of a man of good thoughts reposes.  Akhshti is usually called victorious [Bam!  There it is – “victorious peace”].

The term ākhshti occurs also as a common noun.  This peace as well as war lies in the power of Mithra to bring upon the country.  The rules invoke Chisti to procure peace for their countries, and the faithful pray that peace and concord may drive out discord and strife from their abodes” (Dhalla, p. 115).

 

 

Sources:

Avesta.org, “Angels in Zoroastrianism – List of Yazatas: Akhshti”.

Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji. Zoroastrian Theology: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day, “Akhshti“.

 

Suggested Links:

Apranik. Apranik.blogspot.com, “Women of Persia: Zoroastrianism“.

Bashiri, Iraj. From the Hymns of Zarathustra to the Songs of Borbad (p.11). (PDF file )

Jackson, A. V. Williams. Zoroastrian Studies: The Iranian Religion and Various Monographs, “The Host of Heaven” (p. 63).

Logicalzoroastrianism.blogspot.com, “What’s in a Word?

Nabarz, Payam. Iranian.com, “Persian Angels and Demons“.

Wikipedia, “Yazata“.

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“.

Goddess Athena

“Athena” by InertiaK

“Athena’s themes are protection, victory, courage and leadership. Her symbols are new clothing, olives, owls and the oak.  Among the Greeks, especially those dwelling in Athens, Athena was the great protectress, standing for personal discipline and prowess, especially in battles. When you find your self-control lacking or you need the courage to withstand a storm, Athena stands ready to come to the rescue. Grecian art shows Athena bearing a spear, wearing a breastplate and accompanied by an owl. She is also the patroness of spinners and many other forms of craftspeople who work with their hands.

The Greeks celebrated this Goddess by giving Her a new wardrobe today, making offerings and taking Her images out for cleansing. So, if you have any likeness of the Goddess, dust them off and adorn them in some way, perhaps using an oak leaf for a dress to honor Athena.

Wearing a new piece of splendid clothing or adding olives to your diet today draws Athena’s attributes into your life. Or, use pitted olives as a spell component. On a small piece of paper, write the word that best describes what you need from Athena. Stuff this into the olive and bury it. By the time the olive decomposes, your desire should be showing signs of manifestation.

Finally, place a small piece of oak leaf in your shoe today so Athena’s leadership and bravery will walk with you, helping you to face whatever awaits with a strong heart.”

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

“Athena” by Howard David Johnson

Patricia Monaghan provides us with some very interesting information (some of which is new to me).  She says, “[Athena] was not always accepted as patron of the famous city that bears Her name.  Greek legend says that the sea god, Posidon, disputed with the Goddess for rulership of the city.  It came to a vote of the people of the town in question.  The citizens, men and women alike, gathered and cast their ballots.  Naturally, the men voted for the god, the women for the Goddess.  As it happened, there was one more voter on the women’s side, and so Athena won the day.  (An alternate version says that the Olympian deities judged the contest.  They ruled that because Athena had planted the first olive tree, whereas all Poseidon could offer was the changeful sea, the Goddess would be a better city ruler than the god).

"Athena & Poseidon" by Rachael McCampbel

“Athena & Poseidon” by Rachael McCampbell

The men of Athens bitterly agreed to accept the Goddess as their patron.  But being poor losers, they levied three heavy requirements on the women: that they should forgo being called citizens, that they should no longer vote, and that their children should be called by their fathers’ rather than their mothers’ names.

They then prepared a new identity for the city’s Goddess.  They claimed that She was a virginal Goddess without sexuality, a motherless Goddess who sprang full-grown from the head of Zeus, who had swallowed Her mother, Metis.  This Athena was ‘all for the father’ (as Aeschylus had Her say), who voted on the side of the new patriarchal order against the earlier system of mother right.  But hidden in the legend of the Athenian vote are clues to Athena’s original identity.  If children did not bear their mothers’ names, if women were not full citizens, if women did not vote, why bother to legislate against it? [Makes you think about what’s going on in today’s political arena here in the US, doesn’t it?]

“Athena” by Hrana Janto

There was yet another version of the birth of Athena [which is completely new to me], one that is far less flattering to male divinity.  This story says that She  was the daughter of Pallas, a winged giant.  He tried to rape his virginal daughter, so She killed him.  She tanned his skin to make a shield and cut off his wings to fasten to Her feet.  Another myth in which virginity is threatened says that Hephaestus, the smith god, attempted to rape Her, but only managed to ejaculate on Her leg.  The Goddess wiped it off in disgust.  But the semen touched all-fertile Gaia, whereupon a half-serpent boy named Erichthonius was born.  Athena accepted the boy as Her offspring and gave him to the Augralids to guard.

A curious part of this relatively obscure story is the shaky nature of the boy. As Hephaestus had no known reptile ancestors, it must be that Athena provided the serpent blood. Her intimate connection with Medusa, whose snake-haired visage Athena wears on Her goat-skin cloak called the aegis, is also relevant. Similarly, the massive snake that reared beside Her statue in the Parthenon, Her major temple on the Athenian Acropolis, suggests that the snake was one of the primary symbols of the virgin Goddess.

“Snake Goddess” by Pamela Matthews

It is now well established that Athena–Her name is so ancient that it has never been translated–was originally a Minoan or Mycdenaean household Goddess–possibly related to the bare-breasted Cretan figures seen embracing snakes or holding them overhead. This original Athena was the essence of the family bond, symbolized by the home and its hearth–and by the mild serpent, who– like the household cat, lived in the storehouse and protected the family’s food supplies against destructive rodents. As household Goddess, Athena ruled the implements of domestic crafts: the spindle, the pot, and the loom. By extrapolation, She was the guardian of the ruler’s home, the Goddess of the palace; by further extrapolation, She was the symbol of the community itself, the larger social unit based on countless homes [much like Minerva‘s origins if you recall].

Although Minoan civilization declined, Athena was not lost. A maiden Goddess, apparently called Pallas, arrived with the Greeks; She was a warrior, a kind of Valkyrie, a protector of the tribe. This figure was bonded to that of the indigenous tribal symbol to form Pallas Athena, and Her legend was re-created to suit the new social order. But Athena’s ritual reflected Her origins. Each year midsummer Her splendid image was taken from her temple on the Acropolis and borne ceremoniously down to the sea. There Athena was carefully washed and, renewed in strength and purity, was decked in a newly made robe woven by the city’s best craftswomen. It was the same ritual that honored Hera and showed Athena as a woman’s deity–the mistress of household industry and family unity” (p. 59 – 60).

Pallas Athene, 1898, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Vienna

Thalia Took explains that “Athene was probably originally a Goddess of lightning and storms, hence the spear (representing the lightning) and Her famous brilliant eyes, which earned Her the epithet Oxyderkes, the Bright-Eyed. Birds as creatures of the air are Hers as well, especially the owl, with its bright eyes and reputation for wisdom [see Athena Glaukopis].

Athena can be summed up in one word: ability. That ability encompasses just about everything: wisdom, war, weaving, shipbuilding, dance, athletics, music, invention, crafts, and technology in general. Athene brings strength and wisdom, and aid in determining the best course–consult Her in a situation when you are not sure whether to use diplomacy or if the time has come to fight.

“Athena” by Green–Cat

Some of Her epithets include: Polias (‘of the City’), Parthenos (‘Virgin’), Promachos (‘Champion’), Ergane (‘Worker’), and Nike (‘Victory’).

Athena has many, many epithets and aspects. Articles marked with an * have illustrations, by me (and you can reasonably expect some more, since, as I’ve said, I’m on a wicked Athena kick lately). Here we go:

Aeantis, Aethyia, Ageleia, Agoraea, Agripha, Akraia, Akria, Alalkomeneis, Alea, Alkimakhe, Amboulias, Anemotis, Apatouria, Areia, Asia, Axiopoinos, Boarmia, Boulaia, Contriver, Damasippos, Dea Soteira, Ergane, Erysiptolis, Glaukopis*, Gorgopis, Hephaistia, Hippia, Hippolaitis, Hygieia, Itonia, Keleuthea, Khalinitis, Khalkeia, Kissaea, Kledoukhos, Koria, Koryphasia, Kranaia, Kydonian, Kyparissa, Laossoos, Laphria, Larisaea, Leitis, Lemnia, Mekhanitis, Metros, Narkaea, Nike, Nikephoros, Onga, Ophthalmitis, Optiletis, Oxyderkes, Paeonia, Pallas, Panakhaia, Pania, Pareia, Parthenos, Phratria, Polias, Poliatas, Polyboulos, Polymetis, Poliykhos, Promakhorma, Promakhos, Pronaia, Pronoia, Pylaitis, Saitis, Salpinx, Skira, Sthenias, Soteira, Souniados, Taurobolos, Telkhinia, Tithrones, Tritogeneia, Xenia, Zosteria

Note on the spelling: I have kicked all the C’s (a Latin convention) out of the spelling, since they didn’t exist in Greek, even to replacing ‘ch’ with ‘kh’.” [1] [2]

“Athena” by louelio

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Sun, golden shield and helmet, spear, spindle, bowl, intertwined snakes, the Parthenon, the seven auras, and the number 7.

Animals: Owl (wisdom), dove (victory), ram, eagle, tiger, leopard, and other cats.

Plants: Geranium, tiger lily, oak, cypress, olive tree, Hellebore (Christmas and Lenten roses), and citrus trees.

Perfumes/Scents: Patchouli, dragon’s blood, musk, indigo, orange blossom, cinnamon, and cedarwood.

Gems and Metals: Onyx, ruby, star sapphire, turquoise, gold, lapis lazuli, and ivory.

Colors: Gold, orange, yellow, emerald green, and royal blue. [3]

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Athena“.

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

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aethyia. Order of the White Moon, “Athena“.

ancientgreece.com, “Athena – Ancient Greek Goddess“.

The Shrine of the Goddess Athena.

Goddessgift.com, “Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Athena: firm but fair – goddess of war and diplomacy“.

Stebbins, Elinor. Sweet Briar College {History of Art Program}, “Athena, Goddess of Wisdom“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Athena Glaukopis“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “Athene“.

Wikipedia, “Athena“.

Ratna Dakinis

“Ratna Dakini” by Phyllis Glanville

“The Ratna Dakinis’ themes are banishing, victory, kindness and Karma. Their symbols are the color yellow.  In Tibet, these Goddesses rule over all gestures of goodness and compassion, which naturally help improve Karma. Collectively, their name means ‘inestimable,’ showing us the true power and value in acts of kindness that are driven by a pure heart.

The The Hemis Festival includes a ritual playing which all manner of mythic creatures are poised against the Tibetan lamas, symbolizing the battle between good and evil.  Bells, censers, cymbals and drums draw in positive magic, banish evil and win the fight for Ratna Dakinis’ goodness. In keeping with this idea, string together some yellow-colored brass bells for a Ratna Dakinis house amulet. Hold these in your hand and empower them by saying,

‘Let you goodness ring, let purity sing, with each wind Ratna Dakinis’ blessing bring!’

Hang these where they will catch the wind regularly, releasing the magic.

Wear something yellow today to keep Ratna Dakinis in mind so that your actions will be gentle and filled with kindness. Do something nice for someon who’s been feeling blue lately, ‘just beause.’ Give them some yellow flowers, offer a hug, or maybe make an extra bell amulet for them too! This boosts good Karma, makes both of you feel good and invoks Ratna Dakinis’ blessings through thoughtfulness.”

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

“Golden Dakini” by A. Andrew Gonzalez

“The term Dakini is Sanskrit. It’s Tibetan equivalent is Khadrokha meaning ‘sky’ and dro meaning to ‘go’. Taking it together, Khadro means one who can move through the sky.  It’s very important we think about this literal meaning in trying to understand Dakinis. Now, all dakinis are portrayed in female form — there male counterpart being called dakas. There are enlightened dakinis and unenlightened dakinis.

The unenlightened dakinis are termed worldly dakinis because they are still caught in the cyclic world of samsara. Worldly dakinis are found in human form as well as in astral (lunar) form and could have a form of a beautiful fairy-like being or a demonic flesh-eating being. An example of a worldly dakini are the Five evil Tseringma sisters Padma Sambhava tamed (control) into protectors. Another example of a worldly dakini is a celestial messenger falling into the category of a protector bodhisattva performing beneficial actions. Another example might be a great human practitioner that has accomplished some insight but who is not yet released from suffering.

The enlightened dakinis are the Wisdom Dakinis. They have passed beyond samsara into liberation and an example of an enlightened dakini would be any one of the female yidam or one of the female consorts to the Five Dhyana Buddhas.

Art by Penny Slinger

There are five families of Worldly and Wisdom Dakinis: Vajra Dakinis, Ratna Dakinis, Padma Dakinis, Karma Dakinis, and Buddha Dakinis. And both the worldly dakinis and wisdom dakinis can have supernatural powers. You may recall the story of Tilopa where he encountered a number of various dakinis. The worldly dakinis who had control over sight and sound bombarded him with mirages after which he met the dakinis embodying the five activities and finally he met with the wisdom dakini in the heart of the mandala.

The dakinis are born in three manners: 1) Spontaneously enlightened ones arise from Sabogakaya‘s unfoldment from Dharmakaya. Example of these Dakinis being Tara and Vajrayogini. 2)Those born in heavenly realms. Those who are born from within the heavenly realms and those who reach the heavenly realms though their own attainment. 3)Finally, those born by realization of mantra. These are humans who have reached various levels of inner realization.

So, as you can see, there are many different types and levels of dakinis. Dakinis in general can be a guiding light along the path removing physical and spiritual hindrances. They can play a great part in an individual’s attainment of enlightenment. They are the forces that awaken dormant qualities of spiritual impulses hidden in the subconscious. It is the dakini’s inspirational influence that can open one and remove obstacles. But, it is the Wisdom Dakinis that we should be interested in learning about and who we can rely on to truly release us from samsara.” [1]

Ratna Dakini

“The Ratna (Precious) Dakinis represent South, grandness and compassion.” [2] The family is Ratna Family, or the jeweled family, have the following associations:

  • The color is golden yellow.
  • The element is earth.
  • The symbol is the jewell.
  • The afflicted pattern is arrogance, pride; which covered feeling of inadequacy, not being good enough, creating greed, consuming hunger, consuming of all kinds.
  • The wisdom is of fundamental reality, the reality of equality, which is the same energy when the struggle is released.  Release of all self-advancements, self-importance and over barring attitudes to a relaxed state of equanimity and generosity, like the earth.
  • The Ratna Dakini has full body, has good sense of humour, and likes bright colours. Her knife is ornamented with the jewell. In Her left hand She holds the scull cup, with nectar of knowledge brimming out of it. In the crook of her left arm is the Katvanga staff – the inner consort. She is golden. Wisdom flames of equanimity and unchanging stillness emanate from Her body.
  • The seed syllable is – “RI”      [3]

 

 

Sources:

A Buddhist Library, “The Dakini Principle“.

Bundyuk, Maryna Brij. Creative Seedlings.com, “Meditation in the Mandala of the 5 Dakinis, the Enlightened Feminine“.

Chinaroad Löwchen. Tibetan Goddess Names, “Dakinis,the“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Buddha Nature.com, “The Vajra Dakini“.

Dakini Yogini Central, “Five Wisdom Dakini“.

Labdron, Machik. Machik’s Complete Explanation: Clarifying the Meaning of Chod (Tsadra Foundation).

Shaw, Miranda. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Shaw, Miranda. Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Trantric Buddhism.

Simmer-Brown, Judith. “Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism“.

Vajranatha.com, “Wisdom Dakinis, Passionate and Wrathful“.

Wikipedia, “Dakini“.

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“.

Goddess Bellona

“Bellona – Goddess of War” by ~Anaxi

“Bellona’s themes are protection, victory, communication and strength. Her symbols are swords (or athame) and spears.  She who kindles the fire of the sun and the fire in the bellies of warriors, Bellona is both a mother and a battle Goddess, being the female equivalent of Mars with a distinct diplomatic twist. Those who call upon Bellona receive strategy, tactfulness and a keen sense of how to handle explosive situations effectively.

In ancient Rome, today was known as Tubilustrium in which Romans spent the day ritually cleansing their trumpets for battle and honoring the people who make the trumpets. In this part of the world, a horn not only signaled a charge but invoked the Goddess’s attention. So, for what personal battle(s) do you need to sound Bellona’s horn today? Find a horn with which to do just that (perhaps a kazoo or a piece of construction paper rolled to look like a megaphone). Shout your battle plans to Bellona so She can respond with all Her resources to help you.

If you use a sword, athame (sacred knife) or wand in magic, today is an excellent time to take out that tool and invoke Bellona’s blessing upon it. Oil and sharpen the blade, polish the wood, then hold it in your hand as if it were a weapon, say,

‘Bellona, see this implement of magic, which as any, has two edges – for boon and bane. May only goodness flow through this tool, and may I ever remain aware of the responsibility for its use. So be it.'”

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

Painting by Howard David Johnson

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Often described as a feminine shadow of the god Mars, Bellona was actually much more, for Her domain included the entire arena of conflict, diplomatic as well as military.  Ever Her name shows Her importance, for the Latin word for war, bellum, derives from Her name.

In the temple of this serpent-haired Goddess who bore a bloody lash, the Romans began and ended their military campaigns.  Before Bellona’s temple, Her priests began war by raising a ceremonial spear and hurling it into a section of ground that symbolized enemy territory.  When the war was finished, it was in Bellona’s temple that the Senate determined the best reward for the victorious generals.  And during peacetime, the Senate used Bellona’s temple to receive the ambassadors of countries in conflict with Rome.

When Roman divinities began to be identified with those of the countries Rome conquered, Bellona found Herself assimilating the Cappadocian Goddess Mah, a late form of the Sumerian Mami.  Both symbolized territorial sovereignty and both represented the armed conflict necessary to defend claims to rulership.  The Roman Goddess was called Mah-Bellona in the later days of the Roman Empire.  She was associated as well with Erinys (Furies) and with Discordia.” (p. 68)

Digital artwork by *Alayna

Thalia Took has this to say about Bellona: “Bellona is the Roman Goddess of War, closely associated with Mars, the Roman War-God. She is invariably His companion, although She can be called His wife, daughter, sister, or charioteer. Her origins are probably Sabine (an ancient tribe from the lands north-east of Rome), and the Claudii, a Sabine family, are credited with instituting Her worship. Her temple was built in the Campus Martius, the low-lying field by the Tiber consecrated to Mars, located outside of the city walls. The area around Her temple was considered to symbolize foreign soil, and there the Senate met with ambassadors, received victorious generals, and there war was officially declared. Besides Her temple was the columna bellica, or war column, representing the boundary of Rome. To declare war a javelin was thrown over the column by one of the fetialis, a type of priest involved in diplomacy, and this act symbolized the attack on a foreign land.

Bellona was believed to inspire a warlike frenzy and enthusiasm (much like that of the Norse berserkers), and Her earliest sacrifices are said to have been human. The worship of the Anatolian Goddess Ma, who is of a similarly martial nature, was brought to Rome by Sulla where She was assimilated to Bellona, and called Ma-Bellona. Her priests were called the Bellonarii, and during the rites to Ma-Bellona they mutilated their own arms and legs, collecting the blood to either drink or offer to the Goddess to invoke the war fury. In later times this act was toned down to become merely symbolic. These rites took place on the 24th of March and so accordingly that day was called the dies sanguinis (“day of blood”).

Bellona had several shrines and temples in Rome, though most are known only from inscriptions referencing them, as well as a temple in Ostia, the port city of Rome. In 48 BCE, a shrine to Ma-Bellona was accidentally destroyed when the demolition of the temples of Isis and Serapis in Rome was undertaken; within the ruins of the shrine were found jars containing human flesh, said to be evidence of the orgiastic nature of Ma-Bellona’s worship and to link it with the Egyptian religions, though how I’m not sure, unless perhaps the jars were functioning as the so-called canopic jars that housed the internal organs of the dead in Egyptian funerary practice.

Bellona is usually shown in a plumed helmet and armor, armed with sword and spear and carrying a shield; sometimes She carries a torch with a blood-red flame. She is described as loud and active, barking orders or war-cries, Her weapons clanging as She runs. She is credited with inspiring violence, starting wars, and goading soldiers into battle; Virgil described Her as carrying a bloodstained scourge or whip. She was believed to make wars and battles go well for those who invoked Her. Her name comes from the Latin for war, bellum, and Her original feast day was June the 3rd.

She is identified with Nerio and Vacum (both Goddesses of Sabine origin, like Bellona). Ma, or Ma-Bellona is a Goddess of Cappadocian origin (a region in Anatolia, modern Turkey) who was identified with the Italian Bellona, and for whom a separate temple was built in Rome.

“Bellona” by ~jeffsimpsonkh

Also called: Bellola, Duellona (from an earlier Latin word for war, duellum); Bellona Pulvinensis; Bellona Insulensis, from a shrine on the Tiber island. She is described as ‘dark Bellona, with bloody hand’, by Publius Statius (court poet to the Emperor Diocletian). Dollars to donuts She is the namesake of the ever-grouchy and rather hostile B’Elanna Torres from (Star Trek) Voyager.” [1]

Sources:

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

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

Suggested Links:

Bar, Tala. Bewildering Stories, “Goddesses of War“.

Gangale, Thomas. The Temple of Bellona, “Bellona“.

Roman Myth Index, “Bellona“.

Theoi Greek Mythology, “ENYO: Greek Goddess of War“.

Wikipedia, “Bellona (goddess)

Wikipedia, “Temple of Bellona (Rome)“.

Goddess Macha

“Macha’s themes are victory, success, protection, fertility and fire. Her symbols are red items, the acorn and the crow.  Macha means ‘mighty one.’ Macha used Her potency to clear the land for wheat, giving Her associations with fertility. She also used Her might to protect the Celts’ lands agains invaders, thereby becoming a war Goddess and guardian. Art shows Her dressed in red (color abhorrent to evil) and with blazing red hair, forever chasing off any malevolence that threatens Her children’s success.

Bonfire Night in Scotland takes place around May 22 and is a festival that originally had strong pagan overtones, the fires being lit specifically for ritual offerings that pleased the Gods and Goddesses and invoked their blessings. Additionally, the bright, red fire looked much like Macha’s streaming red hair, and thus it banished any evil spirits from the earth. So don any red-colored clothing today, or maybe temporarily dye your hair red to commemorate this Goddess and draw Her protective energies to your side. Eating red foods (like red peppers) is another alternative for internalizing Macha’s victorious power and overcoming any obstacle standing in your way.

Or, find some acorns and keep them in a Macha fetish bag (any natural-fiber drawstring bag). Anytime you want her power to manifest, simply plant the acorn and express your wish to it. Macha’s potential is in the acorn, ready to sprout!”

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

The Morrigan

“Macha (pronounced MOCK-uh) is an Irish war Goddess, strongly linked to the land. Several Goddesses or heroines bear Her name, but She is generally thought of as one aspect of the triple death-Goddess the Mórrígan (the “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen”), consisting of Macha ‘Raven’, Badb ‘Scald Crow’ or ‘Boiling’, and Nemain ‘Battle Fury’. Macha is associated with both horses and crows.

The Mórrígan is both sex and battle Goddess, and Her personality is usually described as both war-like and alluring. She is known to be a prophetess: the Washer at the Ford is said to be one aspect of Her, who appears to those about to die. She is commonly shown washing bloody clothes at a river ford; when approached, She tells the enquirer the clothes are theirs. Like the bean sidhe (banshee), who She is believed related to, She is an omen of death.

As Goddess of the land, the Mórrígan are said to be cognate with Ana or Danu, and Macha is said to be one of the Tuatha de Danann.

Three other aspects of Macha feature in Irish folklore, which likely derive from a common Goddess, as they are all said to have a mother named Ernmas (also considered to be the mother to Ériu, Banba, and Fódla, sacred names for Ireland). One Macha, a seeress, was the wife of Nemed ‘Sacred’, who invaded Ireland and fought the Fomorians in Irish legend. Emain Macha, a bronze-age hill fort in Northern Ireland, and legendary capital of Ulster, is said to have been named for Her.

The second Macha, titled Mong Ruadh (“red-haired”), was a warrior and Queen, who overpowered Her rivals and forced them to build Emain Macha for Her.

“Curse of Macha” by Stephen Reid

The third Macha, and probably the most well-known, was said to be the wife of Crunniuc. Like many supernatural lovers, She warns him to tell no one of Her existence; but he boasts to the king of Ulster that his wife can outrun the fastest chariot. The king then seizes the very pregnant Macha and forces Her to run a race, against Her protests. In spite of this, She does win, and as She crosses the finish line She gives birth. In Her dying pain and anger She curses the men of Ulster to nine times nine generations, that in their time of worst peril they should suffer the pain of childbirth.” [1]

The Goddesses of Ireland and their “fall” as Christianity spread into Ireland

“The Goddess was a ‘dual-natured female figure, beautiful and hag-like by turns in whose gift was great power’.  The Goddesses were especially depicted in three’s, such as Eriu, Banba, and Fotla, all Goddesses of sovereignty. In the 11th century, Ireland was often called Eire (a form of Eriu) and also called ‘the island of Banba of the women’. Goddesses were often hybridized by Roman and Greek influences, but this did not seem to obscure the native elements. For example, Julius Caesar likened one Celtic Goddess to Minerva, a classical deity. In fact, some Celtic Goddesses seemed to share certain of their characteristics. However, there were no Celtic Goddesses of love. There were Goddesses more often associated with fertility and the natural cycle of life, including death. Perhaps most importantly, the Goddesses represented creativity especially as it related to giving life, in all its aspects.

The female warrior Goddesses respect for death, as a natural part of life, which seemed in translate into ‘real’ life as well. This is best seen in the symbolic marriage between the king and the Goddess of sovereignty. This union was to ‘ensure fertility for the land and for his people in the year to come.’

“Triple Goddess” by Amy Swagman

The role of the Goddess in Celtic Ireland was important in to the inter-relatedness with human woman: ‘Since the source of life was so integrally associated with women, it would seem to follow that the origins of life were female. At times of joy or moments of pain, humans would turn to the Goddess who was honored in Her many guises’ (Condren). It would not seem strange then to worship a female deity and consequently treat her female subjects with respect and honor. Descent was also often traced through the mother and a strong emphasis was placed on the mother relationship. However, conservative scholars are quick to point out that the power did not entirely rest on women, rather the focus appears to be on women. Life was of tremendous value in what appears to be the most natural, physical sense. Hence the importance of the woman, Goddess or human.

‘Women were highly honored, female symbolism formed the most sacred images in the religious cosmos, and the relationship with motherhood was the central elements of the social fabric the society was held together by common allegiance to the customs of the tribe loosely organized around the traditions of the Goddess’ (Condren).

What appears to have dismantled this society was the warrior culture and the spread of Christianity into Ireland. The story of Macha is an instructive example of the ‘fall’ of the Celtic Goddess and in some sense the fall of the Celtic woman. Macha (Ulster Epona, the horse Goddess) marries Crunnchua mac Angnoman a rich widower. The two prosper together until one day, Crunnchua wishes to go to the annual assembly of the Ulsterman. Macha pleads with him not to go, but Crunnchua insists. While at the assembly, Crunnchua witnesses a horse race. Those in attendance with him, including the king himself, declare that none can run faster than these horses. Crunnchua knows that his wife can outrun these horses with no problem and decides to challenge the declaration. The king, angered at Crunnchua’s arrogance insists that Crunnchua bring Macha to them for a match. Macha comes reluctantly, but before doing so, pleads, ‘Help me, for a mother bore each of you. Give me, oh, King, but a short delay until I am delivered.’ Macha is pregnant.

“Macha” by Caroline Bradley

This request and the king’s subsequent refusal are striking reminders of the changes that took place not only in the Irish sagas such as this one, but also the changes in the societies that ‘authored’ such work that became, significantly, myth. The king’s ultimate responsibility was to allow the ‘creativity of women to prosper.’ Kings were to promise that no one would die in childbirth, food should grow plentifully, and the traditional dyeing (a woman’s art) would not fail. These promises were related to the ‘needs and concerns of women, and unless the king could be seen to take care of the cultural and fertility needs of the clan, symbolized by these women’s activities, the king would be overthrown’. The king as evidenced in this story, violated the promises he made and instead of being overthrown, is permitted to continue his reign with no apparent resistance from his constituents. This portrayal of Macha is actually the last of three major cycles. In the first She is a brilliant, strong mother-Goddess. In the second She is a helpless (but wise) wife, and the third She is relegated to an existence of shame and forced to abandon Her life-giving gifts, adapting to the new warrior ethos. This is how She had traditionally become associated with the three war-Goddess spiral, joining Badb and Morrigan. The appearance of the war-Goddess appears to develop as a result of the change in Celtic society to one of violence and paradoxically, Christianity.

“Gift of Peace to a War Goddess” by Portia St.Luke

Macha evolves into a warrior-Goddess as the simultaneously the status of women decline in societies constantly under attack, where emphasis is placed on death and bloodlust rather than on life and respect for death. With this, men began to feel threatened by women as well, by any force seen as competition. Importantly another aspect of the decline of Macha (and other Goddesses) was the Christian clerics who began to satirize the Goddesses because their patriarchal system of beliefs stood in direct contrast especially to the worship of a female deity. Goddesses were becoming as violent as the society that ‘created’ them. They were raped, murdered and often died in child birth.

Peter Berresford Ellis in his book, Celtic Women, Women in Celtic Society and Literature, concurs with Condren that Goddesses in literature were often raped, died in childbirth and their status was destroyed by the symbolism of the rape.

The Goddesses, however, gave birth to great men who would in turn become great warriors. Indeed, ‘the famous warrior society triumphed over the culture of the wise women’. Several sources consulted point to the war-Goddess as a symbolic adaptation to the culture who called on Her to wreak death and destruction. The war-Goddess is often portrayed too with a voracious sexual appetite. Ellis quotes Moyra Caldecott:

‘Her twin appetites for sexual gratification and for bringing about violent death are a travesty of the very necessary and natural forces of creation and destruction that keep the universe functioning and imbalance of which brings about disaster’. [2]

Wow…After reading this excerpt from the University of Idaho’s site, it all made so much more sense and brought it all home for me.  I had read in several books that stated that many peaceful agricultural societies worshipped a mother Goddess type deity(ies) who presided mainly over life cycles, vegetation, and agriculture; that it wasn’t until the invasions of the violent war-faring Indo-Europeans that “swept through Old Europe, the Middle East and India bring[ing] their priests, warriors and male gods of war and mountains” [3] with them that the Goddesses started becoming less important, more subservient and taking on more violent and warlike qualities.  Truly, this is not limited to the Celtic culture – look at Inanna for example; or Minerva who evolved from an Italic moon Goddess, into an Etruscan virgin Goddess of poetry, medicine, widsdom, commerce, weaving, dyeing, crafts, the arts, science and magic and later, the Romanized Goddess became associated with war.  Venus who originally was a vegetation Goddess and patroness of gardens and vineyards who had no original myths of Her own became associated with love, fertility and even war under the name Venus Victrix, the Goddess of victory in war.  And let us not forget how Goddesses like Inanna, Asherah and Lilith were demonized by the Abrahamic patriarchal religions for refusing to submit to them and their “all powerful” male deity.

“Morrigan” by Michael C. Hayes

I think it only appropriate to conclude with some words from Jani Farrell-Roberts, “Women often had to fight in the wars. They needed a Goddess of the Battlefield as did the men (thus their talk of heads being ‘the mast of Macha’) – and so grew the myth of the Morrigan into which the kinder harvest Goddess Macha was subsumed as part of a triple Goddess with Her two sisters, Badb and Morrigan. In Britain She was probably Morgan. The Morrigan however came to be hated by men who dreaded the female power She represented – so men tended to depict Her as a hag – or as three hags (perhaps as reflected in Shakespeare‘s Macbeth).

But in the old sagas Her role is much more that of the healer of the wounded and of the taker of the spirits of the dead into the next world. For example, Macha is depicted in these myths as the Sacred Cow whose milk is an antidote to the poison of weapons. She had become the Mother on the Battlefield.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Protection and sex

Preferred Colors: Red, black

Associated Symbol: Raven

Animals Associated with: Raven, crow

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Strongest Around: Lughnasadh

Suitable Offerings: Acorns

Associated Planet: Moon      [5]

 

 

And now, a tribute to the great Goddess Macha and Her stories…

 

 
Sources:

Eisler, Riane. Iowa State University, “The Chalice and Blade“.

Farrell-Roberts, Jani. The Web Inquirer, “Macha, Brighid, the Ancient Goddess of Ireland“.

PaganNews.com, “Macha“.

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

University of Idaho, “Celtic Women: Myth and Symbol“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aisling. Order of the White Moon, “Macha“.

AncientWorlds, “Epona“.

Bar, Tala. Bewildering Stories, “Goddesses of War“.

Jones, Mary. Maryjones.us, “Macha“.

Shee-Eire.com, “Macha“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Macha” (p. 166 – 181).

Wikipedia, “Macha“.

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