Tag Archive: virgin mary


This was eye opening for me in terms of how crucial the role of women played in the development of early Christianity and Islam – names of women I had never heard of before (Empress Theodora, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Aisha bint Abu Bakr).  I truly wish their stories and accounts were taught along side that of their male counterparts – that their names were as well known and considered “common knowledge”; but those in power tried to slander, bury and stamp them out for a reason…to demote their significance and thus the social status of women.  “Forget or ignore them, and we impoverish history and ourselves.”

“Programme Three explores a missed ‘golden age’ for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man’s world – notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.”

 

Goddess Boldogasszony

“Boldogasszony’s themes are winter, love, romance, relationships, devotion, purity and fertility. Her symbol is milk.  This Hungarian mother and guardian Goddess watches diligently over Her children, wanting only the best for them, as any mother would. Her sacred beverage, milk, is also considered a suitable libation when asking for this Goddess’s blessing.

Hungarian wedding festivals often take place in winter, after the harvest season and meat preparation. The traditions here are laden with magic we can ‘borrow’ for building strong personal relationships, asking for Boldogasszony’s blessing by having a cup of milk present at any activity. For example, cutting a rope that is attached to your home symbolizes your release from the old ways and freedom to enter into commitment. Stepping across birch wood purifies intentions and ensures a fertile, happy union.

Lighting a torch (or candle) represent vigilant devotion in a relationship. Do this at the time of your engagement, as you recite vows, or as you both enter a new residence for the first time so that commitment will stay with you. Wherever you are, eating off each other’s plates and drinking from one cup deepens harmony (include a milk product like cheese). Finally, dancing with kitchen utensils ensures that the home fire will always stay warm.”

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

According to the Wikipedia, Boldogasszony was a mother Goddess.  “Her name means ‘Blessed Lady’ or ‘Bountiful Queen’. She was the Goddess of motherhood and helped women in childbirth. After Hungarians were Christianized with the help of St. Gerard of Csanad, Her figure fell out of favor for that of the Virgin Mary. She is also considered the ‘Queen (Regina) of Hungary'”. [1]

I pretty much found the same information on Britannica.com: “Boldogasszony, also called Nagyboldogasszony,  the Hungarian equivalent of the Beata Virgo (Latin: ‘Blessed Virgin’), referring to the Virgin Mary as the patron saint of the Hungarian nation. Originally, Boldogasszony was probably one of the main deities of pagan Magyar mythology. The name was transferred to the Virgin Mary on the advice of St. Gerard of Csanad (Gerard Sagredo), one of the chief Christian evangelizers of Hungary.

Stephen I, the first Hungarian king (997–1038), offered his country to Mary as the patroness of the Hungarians (Magyarok Nagyasszonya) at the end of his reign. As a consequence, the country was often referred to as Mary’s realm, the Regnum Marianum. On the occasion of the country’s millennial celebrations (1896), Pope Leo XIII sent an encyclical letter to the Hungarian nation, granting permission for Hungarian Catholics to celebrate the feast of the patroness Boldogasszony.” [2]

According to the Encyclopedia of Spirits: “Boldog Asszony literally means ‘Happy Woman.’  Asszony, translated as ‘woman,’ possesses an extra nuance: Asszony indicates a relationship so close and intimate that, though not a physical blood relative, it is impossible to conceive of having a wedding or funeral without Her.  That’s the gist of Boldog Asszony, presiding spirit of life cycles, especially births and weddings.

Boldog Asszony grants fertility, oversees pregnancy, and supervises birth.  It is traditional to honor Her immediately after birth.  An offering table is laid to Her, and She must be formally thanked.  She is, as Her title indicates, a generally benevolent, patient Goddess not given to the temper tantrums displayed by some Birth Fairies.  If a family fails to honor Her, it may take years for Her displeasure to manifest: fail to thank Boldog Asszony at the birth of a baby, and that baby may never have a happy marriage.  (The opportunity exists in the years in between to apologize and make amends.)

Art by Réka Somogyi

Boldog Asszony is a title, not a name, and it is now generally applied to the Virgin Mary, but the original Boldog Asszony was a Goddess with dominion over joy, fertility, and abundance, among the primary deities of the Hungarian pantheon.  Saint Gellert, who converted the Hungarians to Christianity in the eleventh century, wrote that the Church was associating Boldog Asszony with Mary and calling Her the Queen of Hungary.

Boldog Asszony has seven daughters who bring good fortune.  To differentiate Her from Her daughters, She is called Nagy Boldogaszony (‘Big or Great Boldog Asszony’) while Her daughters are Kis Boldogaszony (‘Little Boldog Asszony’).  She is intensely identified with Mary.  Alternatively, She is identified with Saint Anne, while Little Boldog Asszony, reduced to one daughter, is identified with Anne’s daughter, Mary.

Day: Tuesday. (Do not do laundry or anything that pollutes or dirties water on Her day).

Sacred day: She is now associated with Christmas and with various harvest festivals throughout the year.

Offerings: Water, wine, pastries, dried and fresh fruit, Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy).

See also: Atete; Black Madonna; Fairy, Birth; Szépasszony” (Illes, p. 292 – 293).

 

 

In this video, Zsuzsanna Budapest tells her story with her experience with Boldogasszy during WWII and the Hungarian Revolution.

 

 

 

Sources:

Britannica.com, “Boldogasszony“.

Illes, Juika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Boldog Asszony“.

Wikipedia, “Magyar mythology“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Content.yudu.com (Goddess Magazine – August 2009), “Boldogasszony – Glad Woman” (p. 14- 17).

Goddesses-and-gods.blogspot.com, “Goddess Boldogasszony“.

Hamori, Fred. Users.cwnet.com, “The Sumerian and Hungarian Fertility Goddess“.

Holland, Ellen. Holland’s Grimoire of Magickal Correspondences: A Ritual Handbook.

Infinite8design.com, “Goddesses of Hungary“.

Zbudapest.com, The Goddess/Wiccan Movement: Interview with Z Budapest“.

“Nossa Senhora Dos Milagres’ themes are miracles, wishes and meditation. Her symbol is milk.  ‘Our Lady of Miracles’ is likely a Christianized revamping of an earlier mother Goddess, as implied by Her sacred beverage, milk. Nossa Senhora dos Milagres grants the heartfelt wishes of those who give Her small offerings (often coins). This particular Goddess also mediates on our behalf with the gods.

Today’s catchphrase ‘got milk?’ takes on whole new meaning. It is customary to enjoy a banquet of milk and milk-based foods today to honor the Goddess and accept Her miracles into our lives [during Festa da Serreta].

Get creative as you want with this idea. For example, people having trouble with conception might request the miracle of fertility through an early morning eggnog. Those wishing love can eat cheese. Those needing to get the budget under control might make a rice pudding! Someone suffering from illness can eat ice cream with a blackberry garnish. All of these foods combine milk into a symbolic substance that releases the Goddess into the area of your life where She’s most needed.

To present a wish to this Goddess, just put a coin under your milk container in the refrigerator today and recite your desire. At the end of the day, give the coin to a young child or person in need so that the magic of happiness and kindness energizes your wish and the Goddess’s answer.”

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

According to Wikipedia, Nossa Senhora (Portuguese for Our Lady), is a reference to the Virgin Mary.” [1]

Specifically relating to today’s entry and event, the Festa de Serreta: “The Festa da Serreta has been held annually since 1932 in Gustine, California, is based on a similar festival held on the island of Terceira in the Azores, from which many of Gustine‘s residents emigrated. It is held in honor of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres, ‘Our Lady of Miracles,’ for whom a 16th-century priest built a small chapel in the Azorean village of Serreta.


The week-long festival attracts thousands of visitors. Highlights include the Bodo do Leite (‘Banquet of Milk’) fresh-drawn from the cows as is the practice in the Azores. There are also cantorías ao desafio (extemporaneous song contests), which draw contestants from all over California and even some Azoreans.

The image of Nossa Senhora is carried in a procession from the church to a portable chapel, or capela, that is brought out specifically for use on this occasion. A group of women sit in the chapel and watch over the donations of money that are left there. Another festival event is the traditional bullfight, which takes place in a rectangular arena. The bull is held by a long rope, his horns are padded, and the men do not so much fight him as play with him.” [2]

 

Sources:

Answers.com, “Festa de Serreta“.

Wikipedia, “Nossa Senhora“.

 

Suggested Links:

Kathrynmaffei.tripod.com, “The Legend of Our Lady of Miracles“.

Ourladyofmiracles.com

 

 

Saint Anne

St. Anne with her child, Mary

“Saint Anne’s themes are miracles, wishes, kindness and health. Her symbols are freshwater and household items.  Saint Anne is a freshwater Goddess who helps us learn the value of abounding selflessness and how to better tend our household matters when the chaos of summer seems to have our attention elsewhere. In Canada she is also credited with miraculous healing.

Traditionally, supplicants come to Saint Anne wearing outfits from their cultures, kneeling and speaking their requests. This is a little awkward in our workaday world. So, instead, quaff a full glass of spring-water first thing in the morning so Saint Anne will stay with you all day, protecting your from the sniffles and encouraging a little domesticity.

If you house is cluttered, you can invoke Saint Anne and welcome her energy into your home simply by straightening up and using a little magical elbow grease as you go! Visualize white light filling your home, sing magical songs, burn some incense and use plain water to wash the floors so Saint Anne’s power can be absorbed into every nook and cranny. If you know of a person who’s been laid up and unable to do such things for themselves, I also suggest offering a a helping hand. This will draw Saint Anne’s well-being to that individual and fill his or her living space with healthful energy. The act of kindness will also draw Saint Anne’s blessings to you.”

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

“The Virgin and Child with St. Anne” by Leonardo da Vinci

“Saint Anne (also Ann or Anna, from Hebrew Hannah meaning “favor” or “grace”) of David‘s house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah. Mary’s mother is not named in the canonical gospels or the Qur’an, and her name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James, written perhaps around 150, seems to be the earliest that mentions them.

Eastern Orthodox icon of St. Anna

The story bears a similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah had also been childless. Although Hanna receives little attention in the Western church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Hanna in the Eastern church occur as early as the 6th century.  In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, she is revered as Hanna. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hanna, is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both the Birth of Mary and the Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Great Feasts. The Dormition of Hanna is also a minor feast in the Eastern Church. In Protestant tradition it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as a monk after receiving heavenly aid from St. Anne.

Anne is also a revered woman in Islam and is recognized as a highly spiritual woman as well as the mother of Mary. The daughter of Faqud, Hannah was childless until her old age. She saw a bird feeding its young while sitting in the shade of a tree, which awakened her desire to have children of her own. She prayed for a child and eventually conceived. Her husband, known as Imran in the Qur’an, died before the child was born. Expecting the child to be male, Hannah vowed to dedicate him to isolation and the service in the Temple.  However, Hannah bore a daughter instead, and she named her Mary. Her words after the birth of Mary reflect her status as a great mystic. Hannah wanted a son, but she realized that the daughter was God’s gift to her.

Varying theologians have believed either that Joachim was Anne’s only husband or that she was married thrice. Ancient belief, attested to by a sermon of St John Damascene, was that Anne married once. In late medieval times, legend held that Anne was married three times, first to Joachim, then to Clopas and finally to a man named Solomas and that each marriage produced one daughter: Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Salomae, respectively.  The sister of Saint Hanna was Sobe who was the mother of Saint Elizabeth.

St Anne Conceiving the Virgin Mary by Jean Bellegambe

Similarly, in the 4th century and then much later in the 15th century, a belief arose that Mary was born of Anne by virgin birth.  Those believers included the 16th century Lutheran mystic Valentine Weigel who claimed Anne conceived Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. This belief was condemned as an error by the Catholic Church in 1677. Instead, the Church teaches that Mary was conceived in the normal fashion, but that she was miraculously preserved from original sin in order to make her fit to bear Christ. The conception of Mary free from original sin is termed the Immaculate Conception—which is frequently confused with the Virgin Birth or Incarnation of Christ.

In the fifteenth century, the Catholic cleric Johann Eck related in a sermon that St Anne’s parents were named Stollanus and Emerentia. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1907) regards this genealogy as spurious.” [1]

I thought this was pretty powerful when I came across this piece written by Peregrinus in regards to “What is the real significance we can take from this icon?”  He writes, “And this matters, because it means that Mary did not spring into existence, fully formed, a vessel to carry the Incarnate Son of God. She was human, with a human story, rooted in humanity, with a mother who conceived, bore, nourished and raised here. She was connected intimately with her mother and, through her mother, with the rest of humanity. Anne’s importance is that she anchors Mary, and therefore Christ, in humanity. And I think it’s significant that, while Rome was prepared to tolerate every kind of nonsense being written and believed about Anne, it was not prepared to tolerate the idea that she bore Mary in a virgin birth of her own.

“The Family of St Anne” by Marten De Vos

Even the spurious traditions about Anne reflect this, for example by giving her, and therefore Jesus, a large extended family, a kinship network. And it’s a humanly imperfect family, as well, because Judas is part of it. And, as a long-lived, wealthy matriarch with three husbands and an extended family, she offers an attractive alternative to a stereotypical model of female holiness – virginity, persecution and early death. She became the patron of the primal female business of childbirth, and the almost equally primally male business of mining.

The facts of Anne’s life, and our ignorance of them, are in the end unimportant. We know she existed; we know that she played her part in the progress of human history towards the Incarnation, even though she almost certainly never knew that. She stands for the connections we all have to one another, even when we don’t know about them, and for the significance and the holiness of the things that we things we do in life that are ordinary and unremarkable, even to us. She stands for countless other men and women, whose names and whose live are equally unknown, who have played their part, and still play their part, in writing the stories that we are living.” [2]  Christian or not, I think that’s pretty moving, reminding us all of the strength of the matriarch and the interconnectedness we all share with each other.

Click here to view additional information on her including patronages and her prayers.

 

 

 

Sources:

Peregrinus. Catholica.com.au, “St Anne – the Mother of the Mother of God“.

Wikipedia, “Saint Anne“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Catholic-forum.com, “Patron Saints for Girls: Saint Anne“.

Catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com, “St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.

Ewtn.com, “SAINT ANNE – Mother of the Blessed Virgin“.

Moytura.com, “Journeys to Canada: St. Anne de Beaupré“.

Newadvent.org, “St. Anne“.

Reams, Sherry L. University of Rochester, “Legends of St. Anne, Mother of the Virgin Mary: Introduction“.

Saints.sqpn.com, “Saint Anne“.

Hawthorn Moon is a time to concentrate on your lover and on renewing the intimacy and understanding between you.

The Celtic Moon month of Hawthorn is the time for lovers to attend to matters of the heart, as the Celtic fire festival of Beltane heralds the start of summer.  Celebrated on the first full Moon after the May tree (hawthorn) has bloomed, cattle were driven between two fires to purify them before moving to the summer pastures.  Young people were adorned with blossom, and lovers lay in fields to empower their relationship and the crops with fertility and prosperity.

The Month of Fertility

Maypoles are an enduring symbol of the union of male and female energies; binding the ribbons signifies marriage and this is an auspicious time for a wedding.  Spells cast during this time aid intimacy and passion in an existing relationship.  Partnerships formed now will be lasting, and if your lover gives you May flowers it is said that he will always be true.

 

THREE FACES OF THE GODDESS

“Triple Goddess” by Briar

Adorned with flowers in spring, berries in fall and bare thorns in winter, the appearance of appearance of hawthorn has led to its association with the three faces of the Great Goddess: Maiden, (virginal white flowers of spring); Mother (rich, fertile red berries of autumn); and Crone (the cruel thorns of winter).

Bewitching

The hawthorn is closely linked to witches due to an ancient belief that it was created from witches who had been transformed into trees.  Magic performed beside the hawthorn during its month is though to be twice as powerful.  Hawthorn wood was traditionally used in amulets and charms.  The wood grows into many twisted patterns, thought to be the origin of the love knot charm.  As an amulet, the flowers were thought to ward off depression.  The Romans placed such amulets in cradles to protect babies from curses.

“Hawthorn” by Margaret Walty

HAWTHORN MOON MAGIC

Harness the power of hawthorn to find your soulmate or repair a relationship, or to spice up your life and reenergize your Heart Chakra.

Soul Mate Spell

Finding the right person to form a relationship with is not an easy task.  Fortunately, you can harness the magical forces of the Hawthorn Moon to help you find that special someone.

  • Beside a hawthorn tree place a red candle in the earth and light it saying, “Trust by flowers white, passion by berries red and protection of thorn.  May we grow together.”  Next, describe your ideal partner on a red piece of paper. Bury it, leaving the candle to burn (DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED!).  Decorate your door with May blossom and you will find true love in the next summer.

Healing Fire Spell

A time for lovers, Hawthorn Moon is a perfect time to heal a wounded relationship.  To mend quarrels, follow this ritual with your partner.

1. Both of you should have a paper bag into which you should blow.

2. Close your bags and face each other.

3. Kiss three times, then burn the bags, along with anything else you can find that symbolizes the rift between you, in a fireproof dish on the floor.

4. Hold hands and jump over the flames.  As you enter your new life together, know that there will be no looking back.

5. Feast together on red foods, for example fresh strawberries, in order to seal your pact.

Spice Up Your Life

Take advantage of the fertile, prosperous energies of the month of the Hawthorn Moon to help you spice up your life.

  • Wear fiery red underwear and place a sprig of May blossom in your hair to help you impress on that special date.
  • Young hawthorn leaves are tasty in salads and have detoxifying qualities to help you get into shape for the bikini season.
  • Wash in the morning dew after the new Moon to enhance your powers of attraction.
  • Decorate the dinner table with hawthorn flowers and bright red candles to create the setting for a magical meal for two.

 

Heart Meditation

This meditation will energize your Heart Chakra and help you open up to receive love during the auspicious month of Hawthorn.

1. Place a pink candle within a circle of May blossom and make sure that you are feeling totally comfortable.  To create the right atmosphere for your magic, you could dim the lights or play some soothing, ambient music.

2. Light the pink candle; focus your attention on the flame.

3. As you breathe in, imagine your heart being filled with soft pink light – one of the colors linked with the Heart Chakra.

4. Keep breathing in the pink light until it begins to fade, then slowly come back into the your awareness of the room.

 

 

Focus on keeping a barrier between yourself and things you don’t want.  Aim to push away old problems or lingering irritations.

Source:

“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  10.

 

Suggested Links:

The Goddess Tree, “Hawthorn“.

“Mary’s themes are miracles and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun (or yellow/gold items) and rosary beads.  It is no coincidence that many of the world’s Goddesses have ‘ma’ as part of their name, being mothers of humankind. The virgin Mary became the maiden, virginal Goddess archetype in Christianity, faithfully interceding for people with the gods and attending to our needs.

If you feel like you need a miracle, be sure to wear yellow- or gold-colored items today. As you don each one, say:

 ‘Mary hear me
Mary see me
Mary free me’

This date commemorates the appearance of Mary in Fatima, where children praying for peace began a cycle of visitors all looking for this Goddess to appear again. According to the story, when seventy thousand people were gathered there on this day, the rain stopped and the sun began to dance for joy as if guided by Mary’s hand. Whenever the sun shines again today, it is a sign of Her blessing.

To make your own prayer beads (to beseech Mary or any Goddess), cook rose petals in a little water in an iron pot until nearly black and pasty. Add a little orris powder and rose-scented oil, and shape the beads to two times the size you want them to be when dry. Pierce them with a needle and string tem, turning them regularly until they’re dry. Bless them in a manner suited to your path, then use the beads to energize your prayers by holding them as you entreat the Goddess.”

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

 Judaeo-Christian theology attempted to bury Our Mother God, but She reappears as the Blessed Virgin Mary, capturing the hearts of Her Children.

“It is well known that the earliest human civilizations known to archaeology are dominated by the iconography of the Supreme Mother God [see The Feminine Heritage].  Gradually, as the feminine-centered civilization weakened, She was depicted with decidedly inferior male consorts (often lunar or earthly in symbolism contrasting with the Solar and Heavenly iconography of the Supreme Mother).

Then, as true patriarchy takes hold, the male consort is promoted above God the Mother in an attempt to justify male domination on earth with a newly patriarchal ‘heaven’. The Solar and Heavenly symbolism is transferred to the former consort, while the Our Mother is given the Earth and Moon iconography which had been given to the masculine god in the days of his subordinate status; but which had originally belonged to the Daughter.

Eventually, the pantheons of the world were dominated by male gods with Our Mother God and Her various Aspects and Angelic Emanations being represented by subsidiary figures or “Goddesses”, often married, and subordinate, to “Gods”.

Finally, with the Abrahamic religions, we have a return to the pure monotheism of the earliest times, only this time it is as purely masculine as the original Faith of humanity was purely feminine.

Such, at any rate, was the intention. In reality, at every stage, wherever the patriarchy was not strong enough to suppress it – whenever there was even a momentary break in the patriarchal lockdown – the original faith blossomed again and Her children turned back to Our Mother.

As the Prophet Jeremiah angrily records:

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.” – Jeremiah 7:18

 The women are by no means ashamed of this, but proclaim:

“We will do everything we said we would do. We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour out wine offerings to Her.” – Jeremiah 44:17

The Queen of Heaven! Let us note how gloriously Our Mother returns! From the rigid exclusion of Her attempted by the patriarchy, the people do not move shamefacedly back to depicting Her in Her intermediate status as a subordinate Earth Goddess. No, She is the Queen of Heaven, as She was in the beginning.

“The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity” by Diego Velázquez

The very words ‘Queen of Heaven’ are an abomination to the prophet. Who, then, would have imagined that a thousand years later, followers of the most widespread branch of the Abrahamic faith would return officially to the worship of the Queen of Heaven? Yet this is the very title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” [1]

 

Mary Protectress, Mother, Goddess & Saint

“Mary is celebrated around the world as the Divine Feminine by millions of people, many of them Catholics. Those who are devoted to Mary, honor Her as the mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin Mary is known as the dispenser of mercy, the ever patient mother, and protectress of humanity, and special protectress of women and children.

Many believe that with the rise of Christianity and papal power, the Goddess slowly disappeared from western culture and faded into the Mists of Avalon . . . So great was devotion to the Goddess that She was resurrected in the hearts of the people by a new Goddess, Mary, Mother of Jesus, the Christian version of the Green Man.

Officially, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary was mortal and is not a Goddess, but despite this official position, many Catholics honor Mary as a Goddess. Other Catholics revere Mary as Mother of Jesus, but not as divine.

Visions of the Virgin Mary have appeared to thousands of people around the world. Her sacred shrines are at Lourdes in France and Guadalupe in Mexico, as well as many other places. Her apparitions are often to children.

 

Artemis Diana of Ephesus

 

 

Reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis

Mary was declared to be the ‘Mother of God’ by the Christian church in the 7th century at Ephesus, Turkey. Ephesus was the home of a magnificent temple to the Goddess, Artemis Diana, one of whose sacred titles was ‘Queen of Heaven’.  Mary is a more recent and much loved incarnation of the Great Goddess of the ancient Middle-eastern cultures. Mary shares many standard Goddess attributes and symbols.

The Christian church also conferred the Goddess’s title on the Mother of Jesus. They called Her, ‘Mary, Queen of Heaven‘ and ‘Mary, Queen of the Angels’ both are very ancient titles of the widely worshipped Great Goddesses on the Middle-east.

Isis suckling Horus

The Madonna and child have been revered since the earliest times. Isis and Her son Horus, Mary and Her son Jesus, Demeter and Her daughter Kore, all have attracted a devout following. Long before Isis, and long before Mary or Demeter, the human psyche fashioned Madonna and child icons and placed them in sacred shrines. In ritual caves and worshipped the icons as sacred representation  in sacred groves, to honor the Mother & Child. Mary is always shown wearing a head covering like Muslim women today, a head covering was required for women throughout Christian history. In 1983 the rule requiring woman to cover their hair in Church was omitted from the updated official revised Catholic Canon pertaining to such matters.

Through time, the names and sometimes the images of the Madonna and child have changed, but the location of these shrines and the wide devotion to them has remained constant. in many cultures.  Image of the Madonna & Child are central to Catholicism, as they were often central to the Pagan worship of the Goddess Isis and other Goddesses in the ancient world. Below are Demeter and her daughter Kore.

 Demeter and Persephone / Kore

 


One of the most beloved images in all Christianity is The Black Madonna. Devotion to the Black Virgin has never been stronger; Her shrines attract thousands of worshippers each year. The Black Madonna is revered throughout the world, particularly in France, Poland, Italy, and Spain. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Crusades and holy pilgrimages. There are thousands of these beautiful sacred Madonna Icons.

The Black Madonna is honored as a true Goddess figure, and has been since Christianity entered Europe. She is honored by many as Isis, Gaia, Kali, Mary, “the Other Mary” (Mary Magdalene), Diana, Sheela Na Gig, and the Ancient Primal Earth-Mother Goddess.  All are beloved all are revered; each region has their own traditions.

For many European Christians, the blending of their ancient Goddesses with the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a well-accepted fact of their faith for centuries, there is no conflict. The holy Black Madonna, be She called Isis, or Mary, or Kali, or Diana, embodies all the aspects of Female Divinity for many millions of people. Mary’s blessings and intervention are still sought daily by millions who pray to the Mother.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is believed by many to have been the wife of Jesus, or his most favoured Apostle, though most Catholics today vigorously reject this idea. At the very least, Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ chief Apostle and a Priestess of early Christianity in her own right. Church fathers have tried for two thousand years to erase Mary Magdalene as a woman of importance, spirituality and power. They have failed, Mary Magdalene remains a figure of  importance for women. The Apostle Mary Magdalene is not a fallen woman, she is a free woman, and one of the “Three Marys” of the New Testament who shared the life and labors of Jesus.  Fragments have survived of ‘The Gospel of Mary‘ written in the first century or two of Christianity.  We will probably never recover a copy of the complete Mary Gospel, but what has been found  profoundly alters our perceptions of the role of women in early Christianity.  Women were church leaders and teachers in the early years after the death of Jesus; Mary Magdalene and Phoebe were among them.


Pope John Paul II was deeply devoted to the Blessed Mother and did much to bring honor and vitality to Her worship. Many millions of Catholics around the world share his deep devotion to Mary. It is because of the love for Mary that the Church considered elevating the Blessed Virgin Mary to the role of Co-Redeemer with her son Jesus Christ. This is a controversial issue in the church.” [2]

“In Christianity, you see, the patriarchal doctrine is carefully sealed. There was and is no room doctrinally for a Co-Redeemer, let alone a Creatrix and officially, the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary is simply that She was the physical vehicle of Christ’s incarnation.

However, both Her titles and Her iconography tell a different story. Despite the official theology, the image of the Supreme Mother is returning to the West.

She was called Mother of God – an extraordinary title which logically implies that She is antecedent to, and the Cause of, any other Divinity.

 

The ancient titles of the Supreme Creatrix were bestowed on Her – Queen of Heaven; Star of the Sea; Rose of the World. She was pictured ‘clothed in the Sun’ like the Solar Mother, with the moon at Her feet. She was depicted crushing the head of the serpent just like Eurynome, the Mother-Creatrix of ancient European religion.

Even theologically, the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was hard to suppress. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means that She was conceived without sin. Now, according to Christian doctrine, all humans are conceived in original sin, and only Christ can redeem that sin. But the Blessed Virgin Mary, before the incarnation of Christ, was sinless, unlike any human being, and made the redemption possible.

Within the strict patriarchal economy of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary cannot be recognized as God; but in Her iconography, Her titles and Her devotional cultus (none of which have a great deal to do with the biblical and historical Mary), She is clearly God the Mother.

Western devotees of Our Mother God look upon the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary with love and devotion: easily and naturally recognising Her as Our Lady. The question that then arises is: ‘Can we, and should we, take these beautiful images back? Or, since they are made within a patriarchal tradition that denies Her Divinity, would that be wrong?’

This is a question that each must consider for herself.” [3]

 

 

 

* A note on the term “virgin” – “The Virgin Mary was also said to have been a temple priestess. In the time, there were hierodules in the Temple of Jerusalem.  Mother Mary is said to have been dedicated to Temple work, she lived there, wove tapestries, altar cloths, and prayed for the betterment of the people. She is repeatedly called a ‘Temple Virgin’. The term ‘virgin’ doesn’t have a connection to her actual physical state. The term ‘almah’ can be translated to mean ‘virgin’ or ‘maiden’ all of which would be used to identify an unmarried girl. In Goddess worship, the term ‘virgin’ means simply that she is beholden to no man, free to love as she chooses; ‘one in herself, to be true to her own nature and instinct. Unexploited, not in man’s control.’  It is interesting how a minor change in translation can change the entire meaning of who Mary, the Virgin Mother was. The connection between the Goddess creation myths and the stories of Mary’s virgin birth are strikingly clear. As Elinor Gadon writes, ‘There is no more matriarchal image than the Christian mother of God who bore a child without male assistance.'” [4]

Sources:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Blessed Virgin Mary – Our Mother God Cannot be Banished“.

Moonwise, Lotus. Order of the White Moon, “Mary: Virgin & Magdalene“.

Willowroot, Abby. Spiralgoddess.com, “Mary“.

Suggested Links:

Acharya S/D.M. Murdock. Truth Be Known, “Who is the Virgin Mary?

Brother Markus. Woman Thou Art God, “The Tradition of Mary, the Great Goddess“.

Burns, Anita. The Messenger, “The Great Goddess – MARY“.

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “The Goddess Mother Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Books About Mary“.

Esoteric Theological Seminary, “Mary as Goddess: Virgin, Mother, Queen“.

Hayhouse.com, “Mary Queen of Angels by Doreen Virtue“.

Goddess Erzulie

"Erzulie Mansur-Loa of Love" by NMEZero

“Erzulie’s themes are prosperity, abundance, and love.  Her symbol is the color blue. This Haitian love Goddess extends Her beneficent spring like energy whenever we need it, especially when our pockets or hearts are empty. When life gets out of kilter, petitioning Erzulie sets everything back on track, slowly but surely. Blue is Erzulie’s sacred color, and She is sometimes called ‘the loving one’.

Use peppercorns somehow, of course! The Peppercorn Ceremony began in 1816 when the mayor of Bermuda was given use of the state house for the annual rent of one peppercorn. This rent must be delivered annually, and with all due pageantry, to preserve the island’s prosperity beneath Erzulie’s watchful graze. For us this might translate into eating a peppercorn dressing on a green salad (lettuce represents money) to internalize financial abundance, or keeping a peppercorn in your wallet to safeguard your money and its flow.

Definitely wear blue today to catch Erzulie’s attention, and add  blue foods to your diet – blueberries, blue juice drink, or even blue colored water.

You can also encourage Erzulie’s blessing through selfless actions. Give a friend a hug, pamper your pets, take the kids out for some quality time, and remember to kiss your partner goodbye in the morning. You’ll feel better and find your heart naturally filling with Erzulie’s love.”

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

"Erzulie" by Stephen Hamilton

Erzulie, or Ezili, is the Vodou Lwa (spirit or Goddess) of love and women. She has many forms, from coquette to fierce warrior mother to red-eyed weeping crone, and can be counted among either the Rada or Petwo lwa (spirits or gods). The Petwo rites arose in the New World during slavery, and Petwo lwa are characteristically dark and powerful, and called bitter (anme). Erzulie is a love Goddess who developed during a time when slave owners broke up families and separated husbands and wives at will, and considered raping female slaves a pleasant way to produce more slaves.

Erzulie manifests deep, deep passion, and Her moods can range from the height of joy to the depths of misery–when She mounts (spiritually possesses) a follower she or he goes from coquettish and seductive to crying her or himself to sleep, weeping for the limitations of love. There are numerous sister forms of Erzulie, and She is sometimes considered a triple Goddess. As such She has three husbands–Damballah (the sky god), Agwe (the sea god), and Ogoun (a god of fire and iron), and She wears three wedding bands. Offerings to Erzulie are all the sweet things She loves–perfume, sweet food, and desserts such as bananas fried in sugar.” [1]

According to the Mystic Voodoo website, “In the Voodoo Pantheon, there is an important group of female loa (Goddesses) whose first name is Erzulie. While all of them share in their role as Goddess of love, art, and sex, each has additional areas of life which is theirs to defend and assist. Erzulie is three in aspect:  She can be Erzulie Freda, a virgin Goddess likened to the Virgin Mary; Erzulie Dantor,  loa of jealousy and passion; or La Siren, a personification of the sea and Goddess of motherhood.  Her color is pink, Her animal a white dove. She is associated with the Lukumi Orisha Oshun, and sometimes Chango (as Erzulie Dantor).

Erzulie Dantor

"Erzulie Dantor" by Christy Freeman

Erzulie Dantor is the Voodoo Goddess of love, romance, art, jealousy, passion, & sex. Erzulie Dantor is the patron loa of lesbian women, fierce protector of women experiencing domestic violence and patron loa of New Orleans. Beauty, love, and sensuality are Her Creations. Emotions are what link Her to the endless reservoir of universal creativity. Erzulie Dantor offers to you protection and possibilities beyond the imagination.  Erzulie Dantor is a mulatto woman who is often portrayed as the Black Madonna, or the Roman Catholic “Saint Barbara Africana”. She has tribal scars on Her cheek, and is considered heterosexual because She has children, but She is also the patron loa of lesbian women. Thus, She loves women fiercely, and will defend them to the death. She loves knives and is considered the protector of newly consecrated Voodoo priests and priestesses, as well as of women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and women who have been betrayed by a lover.

She is highly respected and much feared due to Her Woman Power. Most Haitian women serve Dantor, and She is also the patron loa of New Orleans and so She is served by many there as well. She also supports independent business women and is the patron of women’s finances. Many women invoked Erzulie Dantor against their partners (male or female) should they become violent. And enlightened men also serve Dantor, especially men who honor, love and respect women.” [2]

“A common syncretic depiction of Erzulie Dantor is St. Jeanne D’Arc, who is displayed carrying or supporting a sword. Another is as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, as She is represented as being dark-skinned. Her colors are red, gold and navy blue. Her symbols are a pierced heart and knives or swords. Her favorite sacrifices include black pigs, griot (seasoned fried pork), and rum.” [3]

Erzulie Fréda

"Erzulie Freda" by Shelley Hakonson

“Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the spirit of love, beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury, and flowers. She wears three wedding rings, one for each husband – Damballa, Agwe and Ogoun. Her symbol is a heart, Her colors are pink, blue, white and gold, and Her favorite sacrifices include jewelry, perfume, sweet cakes and liqueurs. Coquettish and very fond of beauty and finery, Erzulie Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet She also has a darker side; She is seen as jealous and spoiled and within some vodoun circles is considered to be lazy. When She mounts a serviteur She flirts with all the men, and treats all the women as rivals.

In Christian iconography She is often identified with the Mater Dolorosa. She is conceived of as never able to attain Her heart’s most fervent desire. For this reason She always leaves a service in tears. Her syncretic iconographical depiction is usually based on that of the Virgin and Child, because She is the mother of Ti. Common syncretizations include Our Lady of Lourdes because She is usually depicted as light-skinned.” [4]

Erzulie Freda Altar Poster

According to the Sosyete du Marche, Inc. (an American Vodou House in Pennsylvania), “Erzulie Freda is the sister of Ezili Dantor, and Her opposite in every way.  Where Dantor is a hard working single mother, Freda is a glamor girl.  The mistress of three powerful spirits – Ogoun, Agwe and Danbala – She  is said to be the most powerful sorceress in the pantheon. So pure and  so good is Freda, that nothing malefic may happen in Her presence. She  is purity – Her horses must be clean, dressed immaculately and scented  with Her favorite Pompie lotion, before She will manifest in service.

Syncretized with Our Lady of Calvary, Freda is seen to  have the wealth of the world at Her finger tips and yet, She weeps  uncontrollably in service. There is never enough champagne (pink) or  cakes (white with white frosting) or candies or clothing or jewelry to  satisfy Her. Her desires must be met or She turns in upon herself and  becomes Je Rouge (Red Eyed), the most fearsome of the Ezili group. Sister to Dantor, LaSiren and Clermizine, Freda is the  most audacious, both in dress and behavior. She will typically greet the women with just Her pinkies, but will lavish hugs and kisses to the men present. She loves the colors pink and pale blue, Pompiea lotion, pink champagne and roses, frosted cakes, jewelry, makeup and gifts. Keep Her  things clean or she will not arrive in the temple.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

The Mystic Voodoo, “Erzulie, Voodoo Goddess of Love“.

Sosyete du Marche, Inc., “Erzulie Freda“.

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

Wikipedia, “Erzulie“.

Goddess Kwan Yin

Painting by Zeng Hao

“Kwan Yin’s themes are children, kindness, magic, health and fertility.  Her symbols are a lotus, black tea, rice and rainbows.  Kwan Yin is the most beloved of all Eastern Goddess figures, giving freely Her unending sympathy, fertility, health and magical insight to all who ask. It is Her sacred duty to relieve suffering and encourage enlightenment among humans. In Eastern mythology, a rainbow bore Kwan Yin to heaven in human form. Her name means ‘regarder of sounds’, meaning She hears the cries and prayers of the world.

If you hope to have children or wish to invoke Kwan Yin’s blessing and protection on the young ones in your life, you can follow Eastern custom and leave an offering for Kwan Yin of sweet cakes, lotus incense, fresh fruit and/or flowers. If you can’t find lotus incense, look for lotus-shaped soaps at novelty or import shops.

For literal or figurative fertility, try making this Kwan Yin talisman: During a waxing-to-full moon, take a pinch of black tea and a pinch of rice and put them in a yellow cloth, saying:

 ‘As a little tea makes a full cup
so may my life be full
As the rice expands in warm water
so may my heart expand with love and warmth
The fertility of Kwan Yin, wrapped neatly within.’

Tie this up and keep it in a spot that corresponds to the type of fertility you want (such as the bedroom for physical fertility).”

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

Padmapani Avalokiteshvara

“The Goddess Kwan Yin is known as the Goddess of Mercy and Her specialty is compassion, for She knew all about suffering.  In Her first life in India She was born as a male named Avalokitesvara, who sought to help poor lost souls be reborn to a better life on their journey to enlightenment. But he was overwhelmed and anguished when more lost souls kept coming in what seemed an endless cycle. In his despair he shattered into a thousand pieces.

From his remains they shaped him as a woman, a Goddess — more suitable for bringing compassion and mercy into the world, they thought.

Painting in Dunhuang Series by Zeng Hao

They gave Her a thousand arms and eyes in the palms of each of Her hands so that  She would always see the people’s distress and be able to reach out to encircle them.

Then they sent Her back to earth to do Her work. So successful was She at comforting the people, that word of Her began to spread to other lands and other religions. ‘We need Her here,’ the people cried.

And so She went, reincarnating Herself wherever She was needed. Known by many names and stories in many places, She was revered as a Buddhist deity and then a Taoist one.” [1]

In Chinese tradition, “Kwan Yin (‘She Who Hears the Prayers of the World’) was originally the mother Goddess of China, who proved so popular She was adopted into the Buddhist pantheon as a bodhisattva (much like the Goddess Bride was made a saint). A bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment but chooses to forgo Nirvana and remain in the world to help others attain enlightenment.” [2]

Before She became a bodhisattva, Kwan Yin was a princess named Miao Shan. “At the time of Miao shan’s conception the queen, Pao-ying, dreamed that she swallowed the moon. When the time came for the child to be born, the whole earth quaked, and wonderful fragrance and heavenly flowers were spread near and far. The people of that country were astounded. At birth She was clean and fresh without being washed. Her holy marks were noble and majestic, Her body was covered over with many-colored clouds. The people said that these were signs of the incarnation of a holy person. Although the parents thought this extraordinary, their hearts were corrupt, and so they detested Her.” [3]  As Miao Shan, She was rejected at birth and abused by a father who had wanted a son.  He sought to marry Her off, but She refused, only wanting to become a nun.  She endured many trials, but eventually Her father relented and She was allowed to pursue her dream of religious life and dedicated Her life to Buddhism.

But Her suffering did not end there. Her vengeful father even hired a man to kill Her, but She forgave him. In the end, Her great love and mercy saved his life and reconciled Her parent’s to Her divinity. [4] [5]

“As the still-popular mother Goddess of China, Kwan Yin is known as a great healer who can cure all ills. She is also a Goddess of fertility, and is often shown holding a child. In this aspect She is known as Sung-tzu niang-niang, “The Lady Who Brings Children”. She is shown holding a crystal vase, pouring out the waters of creation. Simply calling Her name in time of crisis is believed to grant deliverance.” [6]

"Kwan Yin" by Pamela Matthews

“Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.” [7]

“She is known as the Goddess Tara in the Himalayas and Mazu in Her incarnation as the Goddess of the Southern Seas, but She is best known by Her Chinese name, Kwan Yin (also spelled Kuan Yin), the Goddess of Compassion.

Depicted in statues and paintings, the Goddess Kwan Yin often appears as a calm, gentle woman of middle-age who radiates serenity. She is sometimes referred to as an Asian madonna.”  [8]

Guanyin (Kannon) & Child
Painting at Tzu-chi Foundation Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan.

“Some syncretic Buddhist and Christian observers have commented on the similarity between Guanyin and Mary of Christianity, the mother of Jesus Christ. This can be attributed to the representation of Guanyin holding a child in Chinese art and sculpture; it is believed that Guanyin is the patron saint of mothers and grants parents filial children. When the Tzu-Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization, noticed the similarity between this form of Guanyin and the Virgin Mary, the organization commissioned a portrait of Guanyin and a baby that resembles the typical Roman Catholic Madonna and Child painting.

Some Chinese of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines, in an act of syncretism, have identified Guanyin with the Virgin Mary.

During the Edo Period in Japan, when Christianity was banned and punishable by death, some underground Christian groups venerated the Virgin Mary disguised as a statue of Kannon; such statues are known as Maria Kannon. Many had a cross hidden in an inconspicuous location.” [9]

 

 

Kuan Yin has countless stories and countless forms. You can view a few by clicking here to visit Goddessgift.com.

 

"Kuan Yin #2" by Penny Slinger

ASSOCIATIONS:

  • the color white
  • white flowing robes
  • white lotus blossom
  • avase of dew/nectar
  • fish (carp) & oysters
  • rice-cakes
  • oranges
  • garlic
  • six arms or a thousand
  • eight heads, one sitting atop the next
  • eyes on the palms of the hands
  • peacocks
  • vase of dew
  • willow branches
  • jade and pearls
  • the number 33
  • a boat made of bark
  • blossoming flowers
  • the Hou (a mythological creature resembling the Buddhist lion)
  • a rosary in one hand or a book
  • rose quartz, pink tourmaline, emerald (pink or green stones)

NAMES OF THE GODDESS

  • Kuan Yin (Kwan Yin. Guan Yin, Guan Shih Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanin)
  • Avalokitesvara
  • Mazu, A-ma, Matsu
  • Goddess of the Southern Sea
  • Kwannon (Japan)
  • the Asian Santa Maria
  • One Who Hears the Cries of the World
  • Sung-Tzu-Niang-Niang
    (Lady Who Brings Children)
  • The Maternal Goddess
  • The Observer of All Sounds
  • Bodhisattava of Compassion
  • The Thousand-hand Kuanyin    [10]

 

Om Mani Padme Hum is the six syllabled mantra particularly associated with the four-armed Shadakshari form of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan Jainraisig, Chinese Guanyin), the bodhisattva of compassion. Mani means “the jewel” and Padma means “the lotus”.  The following Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is sung by OM Carol with Tibetan singing bowls.

I had to include the following video.  If you’ve not seen this before, be prepared to be amazed.  The performance is called “Thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy” performed by China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe.  They are all deaf and mute.  The amazing leading dancer is Tai Lihua , who is a dance teacher at a deaf-mute school in Hubei, China.  Through this amazing dance, these disabled performers demonstrated their passion, love and divine grace.

 

 

Sources:

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, “Chinese Cultural Studies: The Legend of Miao-shan“.

Goddessgift.com, “The Goddess Kwan Yin“.

Goddessgift.com, “Symbols & Names of the Goddesses Who Embody Kuan Yin“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Kwan Yin“.

Wikipedia, “Guanyin“.

 

Suggested Links:

Axinia. 1000 Petals by Axinia, “She Has Been Worshipped By More Devotees Than Any Other Goddess In History“.

Goddessgift.com, “Avalokitesvara and the Origins of the Goddess Kuan Yin“.

Lotus Moonwise. The Order of the White Moon, “Kwan Yin: Goddess of Compassion“.

My Kwan Yin, “About Kwan Yin“.

OnmarkProductions.com, “Virgin Mary & Kannon, Two Merciful Mothers“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect With Your Inner Goddess, “Kwan Yin“.

Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism: Thai Exotic Treasures – Gifts and Information, “Kuan Yin, Kwan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig“.


Goddess Nantosuelta

“Nantosuelta” by YvonneVetjens

“Nantosuelta’s themes are health, miracles, providence and abundance.  Her symbols are spring water and cornucopia.  This Gaulisch Goddess’s name literally translates as ‘of the winding stream’. We can go to Nantosuelta’s cool, clean waters when our body, mind or soul requires refreshment and healing. Additionally, artists often depict Nantosuelta carrying a cornucopia, giving her the symbolism of providence and abundance.

What do you need in your life right now? If it’s love, drink a warm glass of spring water to draw Nantosuelta’s energy and emotional warmth to you. If you need a cooler head, on the other hand, drink the water cold.

On this  day in 1858, a young girl had a vision of Mary (a Goddess type) near a grotto in Lourdes, France. According to magical tradition, this is an area where the Goddess was worshiped in ancient times. After the vision, the water became renowned for its miraculous  healing qualities, reinforcing the fact that the Goddess is alive and well.

While most of us can’t travel to Lourdes, we can enjoy a healing bath at home. Fill the tub with warm water (Nantosuelta exist in the streaming water), a few bay leaves, a handful of mint and a pinch of thyme (three healthful herbs). Soak in the water  and visualize any sickness or disease leaving your body. When you let out the water, the negative energy neatly goes down the drain!”

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

In Celtic mythology, Nantosuelta was a Goddess of nature, the earth, fire, and fertility. The Mediomatrici (AlsaceLorraine) depicted Her in art as holding a model house or dovecote, on a pole (a bee hive). Nantosuelta is attested by statues, and by inscriptions. She was sometimes paired with Sucellus. Nantosuelta was also the Goddess of Nature in Lusitanian mythology. In addition, Her symbol the raven symbolized Her connection as a Goddess of the dead and fertility – which thus linked Her with the Irish Goddess Morrígan and Her two companions.

Relief of Nantosuelta and Sucellus from Sarrebourg

In one relief, Nantosuelta holds a patera, or a broad ritual dish that was used for drinking during a ritual, and tips the contents of the patera onto an altar.  In an English relief, Nantosuelta is shown with apples instead of a patera.  Other attributes include a pot or a beehive. [1]

A depiction of Nantosuelta from Speyer, showing her distinctive sceptre and birds. The head of Sol can be seen in the tympanum.

Nantosuelta’s name was reconstructed by linguists and cannot be definitely translated, yet two accepted approximations of its meaning in Proto-Celtic are “She of the Winding River” and “She of the Sun-drenched Valley”, though Her attributes do not show Her as a water-deity (actually, the watery attributes seem more likely to describe the Goddess Icovellauna, ‘Divine Pourer of the Waters’, a Gallic Goddess who was also worshipped in Metz, France).

“Cathedral of Illumination” by Jonathon Earl Bowser

“For a long time the name Nantosuelta was assumed to mean ‘winding river’, being derived from the reconstructed proto-Celtic from *Nanto-swelt- with the feminine ending ā which can be rendered as ‘river-turning [spirit]’. However, in common with the Brythonic languages it is possible that the Gaulish nanto could mean both river/stream and valley (the Cymric cognate being nant that is usually taken to mean ‘stream’ but which, in its older form, also meant ‘valley’. The swel component of the came could be derived from the proto-Celtic *sƒwol-/*s3li- (sun, which yields the Cymric form of haul). The final particle, ta is contained in the proto-Celtic word tတ-je/o (thaw) and bears the connotation of ‘to warm’. Thus, an alternative interpretation for Nantosuelta would be ‘She of the Sun-warmed Valley’. Potentially this could be used in the context of ‘plenty’ but it might also bear the context of the sun-drenched realms of the netherworld. Thus Nantosuelta’s association with the raven might indicate that She had a function as a psychopomp.” [2]

Chief amongst Her associations is Her little house, usually depicted on a long pole like a scepter of some kind.  Other associated objects, as previously mentioned, include a bird, a bee-hive and honeycombs.  The latter certainly have homely connotations and She therefore appears to have been a Goddess of hearth and home, well-being and prosperity.  Like Her husband, She also had nourishment and fertility aspects and sometimes carried a cornucorpia.  In Britain, She is probably to be found depicted on a small stone from East Stoke in Nottinghamshire…shown [with] bushy hair and carries a bowlful of apples.[3]  More on Nantosuelta’s epigraphy and iconography can be found here.

Variants: (Continental Celtic) Nantsovelta; (Breton Celtic) Nataseuelta

Sources:

Celtnet.org.uk, “Nantosuelta: A Gaulish Goddess (She of the Winding River; She of the Sun-warmed Valley)“.

Earlybritishkingdoms.com, “Nantosuelta, Goddess of the Home“.

Sita. Awitchylife.wordpress.com, “Weekly Deity Nantosuelta“.

Suggested Links:

http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2009.beck_n&part=159118

Goddess Yemaja

“Yemaja’s themes are providence, blessing, luck and fertility.  Her symbols are fish, the color blue and the crescent moon.  Yemaja, the Nigerian Goddess of flowering water, bears a name that literally means ‘fish mother!’ As such, Yemaja generates providence and fertility, especially on the physical plane. In legends She gave birth to eleven deities, the sun, the moon, and two streams of water that formed a lake. In art she’s often shown as a mermaid or a crescent moon, and Her favorite color is blue.

The name for the day is definitely fishy. Not surprisingly, new year festivities in Nigeria mark the beginning of the fishing season. Having a teeming net today portends prosperity for the rest of the season. So, what is it that you hope to catch today? Cast out your spiritual line to Yemaja for help in meeting or exceeding any goal.

To bite into a little luck, follow the example of Nigerian children. They make candies in fish shapes before this event, then dunk for them. The one to retrieve the most gets the most good fortune. Check out your local supermarket’s bulk candy section. Ours carries gummy fish that work very well for this activity.

Consider including some type of fish in your menu today (even canned tuna will do the trick). Eat it to internalize good luck and a little of Yemaja’s blessings.”

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

“Yemaya” by Sandra M. Stanton

Yemaya is the Yoruban Orisha, a very powerful nature spirit or Goddess of the living Ocean, considered the Mother of All. She is the source of all the waters, including the rivers of Western Africa, especially the River Ogun. Her name is a contraction of Yey Omo Eja, which means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish”. As all life is thought to have begun in the Sea, all life is held to have begun with Yemaya. She is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all Her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent Her wealth.She does not easily lose Her temper, but when angered She can be quite destructive and violent, as the Sea in a storm.

In Her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by Her son. After this She fled to a mountaintop and cursed Her son until he died. In Her sorrows She decided to take Her own life. As She died She gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when Her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.

Yemaya was brought to the New World with the African diaspora and She is now worshipped in many cultures besides Her original Africa. In Brazilian Candomblé, where She is known as Yemanja or Imanje, She is the Sea Mother who brings fish to the fishermen, and the crescent moon is Her sign. As Yemanja Afodo, also of Brazil, She protects boats travelling on the Sea and grants safe passage. In Haitian Vodou She is worshipped as a Moon-Goddess, and is believed to protect mothers and their children. She is associated with the mermaid-spirits of Lasirenn (Herself a form of Erzulie) who brings seduction and wealth, and Labalenn, Her sister the whale.

Yemaya rules over the surface of the ocean, where life is concentrated. She is associated with the Orisha Olokin (who is variously described as female, male, or hermaphrodite) who represents the depths of the Ocean and the unconscious, and together They form a balance. She is the sister and wife of Aganju, the god of the soil, and the mother of Oya, Goddess of the winds.

Our Lady of Regla in Brazil may be linked to Her, and She is equated elsewhere in the Americas with the Virgin Mary  as the Great Mother. In parts of Brazil She is honored as the Ocean Goddess at the summer solstice, while in the north east of the country Her festival is held on February 2nd (a day that is also associated with Her daughter Oya, as well as being the feast day of the Celtic Bride), with offerings of blue and white flowers cast into the Sea.

Yemaya’s colors are blue, turquoise and white, and She is said to wear a dress with seven skirts that represent the seven seas. Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. Since She is often  depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of Her. Sacred to Her are peacocks, with their beautiful blue/green iridescence, and ducks. The number seven is sacred to Her, also for the seven seas.

“Yamana” by Lisa Iris

Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life.

On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.

Alternate spellings: Yemanja, Yemojá, Yemonja, Yemalla, Yemana, Ymoja, Iamanje, Iemonja, Imanje

Epithets: Achabba, in Her strict aspect; Oqqutte in Her violent aspect: Atarmagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; Olokun or Olokum as Goddess of dreams

Also called: Mama Watta, “Mother of the Waters” [1] [2]

Symbols and Correspondences:

General: Ocean, rivers, mermaids, the Virgin Mary, New Year’s Eve, February 2, the North Star, half moon, rivers, dreams, pound cake, boats and ships, fans, sacred dance, the number 7

Animals: Fish, ducks, doves, peacocks, feathers, chickens, snakes, and all sea creatures

Plants: Oranges, tropical flowers, yams, grain, seaweed, other plants that grow in the ocean

Perfumes/scents: Scented soaps, raspberry, cinnamon, balsam

Gems and metals: Silver, pearls, mother of pearl, coral, moonstone, crystal quartz, turquoise, and any blue gem or bead

Colors: Sky blue, silver, white, green, and especially a blue dress with full skirt of 7 layers to represent ocean waves or the seven seas. [3]

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Yemaya“.

Suggested Links:

Alvarado, Denise & Doktor Snake. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, “Yemayá (Yemoja, Iemanja)“.

Goddessgift.com, “Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year“.

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits.

Luckymojo.com, “The Seven African Powers“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Book of Goddesses and Heriones, “Yemaya“.

Tzeenj, Rafh. Spiralnature.com, “Yemaya“.

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