Tag Archive: warrior


Goddess Skaði

“The Winter Queen” by ~Jolien-Rosanne

“Skaði’s themes are protection, banishing, communications, insight and winter. Her symbols are white crystals or clothing. In Northern tradition, Skaði is the spirit of the north wind, who is blowing powerfully over the Earth now. She is the Goddess of winter and wears white fur, crystal armor, and a bow and arrow for hunting. Hers is the power of communication – of announcing new insights and perceptions as they awaken within.

In the festival of Blowing of the Midwinter Horn, which dates back two thousand years, farmers around the country take out Birchwood horns today and blow them to scare away evil influences and announce Skaði’s presence.

To encourage Her communicative powers in your own life, stand outside and breathe deeply a cool, northerly wind today, letting the air empower your speech. Or carry a pumice stone wrapped in white cloth with you throughout the day (if you can’t find one, cut out a white paper snowflake instead and write Skaði’s name on it). This keeps the Goddess with you in all your discourse.
At home, find a horn (perhaps a kazoo or noise maker). Follow the Dutch custom of blowing this once in all four cardinal directions to send protection throughout your living space. Afterward, put your four white decorations (candles, stones) close to the directional points. This welcomes Skaði’s insight and open discussions therein.”

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

“Winter Goddess of the North” by ~IndigoDesigns

Patricia Monaghan tells us that Skaði (pronounced “SKAHD-ee”) was “the Goddess for whom Scandinavia was named [who] dwelled high in the snow-covered mountains; Her favorite occupations were skiing and snowshoeing through Her domain.  But when the gods caused the death of Her father, Thjassi, Skaði armed Herself and traveled to their home at Asgard, intent on vengeance.  Even alone, She was more than a match for the gods, and they were forced to make peace with Her.

Skaði demanded two things: that they make Her laugh and that She be allowed to choose a mate from among them.  The first condition was accomplished by the trickster Loki, who tied his testicles to the beard of a billy goat.  It was a contest of screeching, until the rope snapped and Loki landed, screaming in pain, on Skaði’s knee.  She laughed.

Next, all the gods lined up, and Skaði’s eyes were masked.  She intended to select Her mate simply by examine his legs from the knees down.  When She’d found the strongest – thinking them to be the beautiful Balder’s legs  – She flung off Her mask and found She’d picked the sea god Njörðr.  So She went off to live in the god’s ocean home.

“Skadi” by ~Tygerson

She was miserable there.  ‘I couldn’t sleep a wink,’ Skaði said in a famous eddic poem, ‘on the bed of the sea, for the calling of gulls and mews.’  The couple moved to Thrymheim, Skaði’s mountain palace, but the water god was as unhappy there as Skaði had been in the water.  Thereupon they agreed on an equitable dissolution, and Skaði took a new mate, more suitable to Her lifestyle: Ullr, the god of skis” (Monaghan, p. 283); though Galina Krasskova states that there’s nothing to support Skaði and Ullr coming together as a Divine couple in lore (p. 87).

“Her name is either identical with the Old Norse common noun skaði, ‘harm,’ or comes from another Germanic root preserved in the Gothic word skadus and the Old English sceadu, both of which mean ‘shadow.’” [1]  She is associated with the rune Isa.

Isa – Ice, cold, freezing. Lack of change. Stagnation. Lack of emotion. Storing binding. Bridge across danger.

Skaði is my favorite winter Goddess to work with.  Last year, I put this video together as an offering in Her honor.  It is set to the song “Wake Skadi” by Hagalaz Runedance (I LOVE the drumming!)  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Skaði (Sceadu)” (p. 86 -87).

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

Runevisionreadingbycassandraisa.blogspot.com, “Isa – The Goddess Skadi“.

Turville-Petre. Myth and Religion of the North: the Religion of Ancient Scandinavia.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Skadi {Goddess of the Week}“.

Andrews, Tamra. Dictionary of Nature Myths, “Njord“.

Baird, Anne. Paganpages.org, “Skadi, Goddess of Winter“.

Frostdottir, Isa. The Huntress Within: Finding Skadi.

Goddesscards.com, “Skadi – The Goddess of Winter“.

Kaldera, Raven. Northernpaganism.org, “Snow Queen: A Song for Skadi“.

Kaldera, Raven. Northernpaganism.org, “Who is Ullr?

Lindow, John. Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs.

People.tribe.net, “Skadi – Goddess of Winter“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Goddess in the Wheel of the Year“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic With Celtic and Norse Goddesses.

Swampy. Dutchie.org, “Goddess Skadi“.

Wikipedia, “Skaði“.

Goddess Durga

“Durga’s themes are power over evil and negativity, knowledge and sustenance. Her symbols are fire, yellow-colored items, lions, rice bowls and spoons.  The Hindu warrior Goddess Durga is typically depicted as a beautiful woman with ten arms that bear divine weapons to protect all that is sacred – including you. Her role in Indian mythology is so powerful that the national anthem sings Her praises as a guardian. According to the stories, Durga overpowered the great demon who threatened to destroy not only the earth but the gods themselves.

Durga’s festival (Durga puja or Durgotsava) comes during the early fall, when the skies are growing darker. As this happens, she offers to zealously defend goodness against any malevolence that dwells in those figurative shadows.  If there is a special person or project that you want protected, pray for Durga’s aid today. Light a yellow candle (or any candle) and say:

‘Durga, protectress and guardian
Watch over (person, situation or project)
with all due diligence
Take the sword of truth
the power of justice
and the light of decency
to stand guard against any storms that come
So be it.’

Blow out the candle and relight it anytime you need safety.

To encourage Durga’s providence, set a bowl of rice on your altar with a spoon today. This is the symbol of Annapoorna, an aspect of Durga who supplies daily food.”

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

“All Goddesses in Hindu belief are ultimately the same Goddess, often called simply ‘the Goddess’ or ‘Devi.’ But She appears in different forms with different names. One of the fiercest of Devi’s forms is Durga. She was also the eldest: during the primordial war between gods and antigods, Durga was the first manifestation of Goddess-energy. The war was a standoff; neither side was winning, and the battles dragged on without victory. Almost hopeless, the gods gathered and concentrated their energies. Flames sprang from their mouths and formed Durga, the first female divinity in the universe. Although produced by the gods, the Goddess was stronger than any of them, or all of them together, and She was fiercely eager to fight.

Recognizing Her power, the gods handed their weapons to Durga. She mounted a lion to ride toward the antigods’ chief, the demon Mahisa. That magical being, terrified of this new apparition, used his powers to assume one fearsome form after another. Still the Goddess advanced, until finally, as the demon assumed the form of a buffalo, Durga slaughtered him. The demon nonetheless tried to escape through the dying beast’s mouth, but Durga caught him by the hair and butchered him, thereby freeing the earth for the gods to inhabit.

The Goddess in this form not only symbolizes the fierce power of the combat against evil but also the rule of the intellectual sphere, for Durga (‘unapproachable’) represents the end of all things; to seek to understand Her is to engage in the most powerful intellectual exploration possible” (Monaghan, p. 106 – 107).

Shri Gyan Rajhans explains the Mother Goddess Durga and Her symbolism: “The word ‘Durga’ in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of ‘Durga’ is ‘Durgatinashini,’ which literally translates into ‘the one who eliminates sufferings.’ Thus, Hindus believe that Goddess Durga protects Her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.

 The Many Forms of Durga

There are many incarnations of Durga: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, Rajeswari, et al. Durga incarnated as the united power of all divine beings, who offered Her the required physical attributes and weapons to kill the demon ‘Mahishasur‘. Her nine appellations are Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri.

Durga’s Many Arms

Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that She protects the devotees from all directions.

Durga’s Three Eyes

Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as ‘Triyambake’ meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).

Durga’s Vehicle – the Lion

The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolizes Her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.

 

Durga’s Many Weapons

  • The conch shell in Durga’s hand symbolizes the ‘Pranava’ or the mystic word ‘Om’, which indicates Her holding on to God in the form of sound.
  • The bow and arrows represent energy. By holding both the bow and arrows in one hand ‘Mother Durga’ is indicating Her control over both aspects of energy – potential and kinetic.
  • The thunderbolt signifies firmness. The devotee of Durga must be firm like thunderbolt in one’s convictions. Like the thunderbolt that can break anything against which it strikes, without being affected itself, the devotee needs to attack a challenge without losing his confidence.
  • The lotus in Durga’s hand is not in fully bloomed, It symbolizing certainty of success but not finality. The lotus in Sanskrit is called ‘pankaja’ which means born of mud. Thus, lotus stands for the continuous evolution of the spiritual quality of devotees amidst the worldly mud of lust and greed.
  • The ‘Sudarshan-Chakra’ or beautiful discus, which spins around the index finger of the Goddess, while not touching it, signifies that the entire world is subservient to the will of Durga and is at Her command. She uses this unfailing weapon to destroy evil and produce an environment conducive to the growth of righteousness.
  • The sword that Durga holds in one of Her hands symbolizes knowledge, which has the sharpness of a sword. Knowledge which is free from all doubts, is symbolized by the shine of the sword.
  • Durga’s trident or ‘trishul’ is a symbol of three qualities – Satwa (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity) – and she is remover of all the three types of miseries – physical, mental and spiritual.

Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of ‘Abhay Mudra’, signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all Her devotees: ‘Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears’. [1]

 

 

Here is a beautiful rendition of the Shree Durga Chalisa for your listening and viewing pleasure

Sources:

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

Rajhans, Shri Gyan. About.com – Hinduism, “The Goddess Durga“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Dollsofindia.com,Goddess Durga: the Female Form as the Supreme Being“.

Jade. Order of the White Moon, “Durga“.

Koausa.org, “Goddess Durga“.

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Goddess Durga – Narrative Art of Warrior Goddess – Exotic India Art“.

Laka. Order of the White Moon, “Durga“.

Wikipedia, “Durga“.

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“.

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