Tag Archive: well-being


Goddess Lucina

"Lucina" by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Lucina themes are banishing, kindness, charity, health and protection. Her symbols are candles (light sources).  Lucina means light, and judging by Her description and attributes, it is very likely that this Swedish Goddess was the prototype for Saint Lucy. Lucina is a mother and guardian, offering fertility, protection, and well-being. In worship, Lucina is often represented by a simple, lit candle.

To chase away winter’s oppression and darkness, Saint Lucy’s festival is one of lights and charitable acts. Saint Lucy is the patroness who protects against winter throat infections, and commemorating her (or Lucina) today keeps one healthy.

Begin the day in Swedish tradition by lighting a candle to represent the Goddess’s presence. After this a breakfast of coffee, saffron buns, and ginger cookies is traditional fare. Coffee provides energy to give of yourself, saffron is often used is healing spells, and ginger promotes success in all your endeavours today.

To manifest Lucina’s energy and keep the Goddess close by today, carry luminescent stones like moonstone or cat’s eye with you, then visit hospitals or elder homes in the spirit of giving of yourself. Lucina will bless those you visit, and you, with well-being, productivity and safety.”

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

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

“St. Lucia” by Joanna Powell Colbert

According to Patricia Monaghan, “The little red ladybug was the emblem of this Roman Goddess, later merged with Juno and Diana, and even later converted to Christianity as St. Lucy.  The early Italic Lucina was a Goddess of light and therefore – because birth is the first time we see Her – of labor and childbed as well.  She was variously honored in September and in December – still the times for festivals of Lucina as the candle-bearing saint; Her holidays were enforced by the superstition that any work done on those days would be undone by the morrow” (p. 199).

"Juno" by Moreau

“Juno” by Gustave Moreau

Thalia Took writes: “Lucina is a Roman Goddess of Light, a Moon-Goddess who is especially a Birth-Goddess, for when a baby is born it is brought into the light of the world for the first time. As such, this epithet was applied to both Juno and Diana in their capacity as Childbirth-Goddesses, and together these Goddesses were sometimes called the Lucinae. It could also be used as an epithet of Hecate as Moon-Goddess. The name is probably from the Latin lux, ‘light’ or ‘daylight’, from which we get words like lucidluminous, and that’s right, the name Lucifer, ‘Bringer of Light’ used of the planet Venus as the morning star. (It was also, incidentally, the name of a 4th century bishop who founded his own sect, the Luciferians. Just imagine—’Bishop Lucifer’!) As the Goddess of Childbirth, Lucina protected pregnant women and the newborn child, and She was invoked by women who were having difficulty conceiving and who wanted children.

An ancient bronze mask of Juno Lucina shows Her with Her hair in tight stylized braids; a tiny crescent moon is engraved on Her forehead, as if it is an ornament dangling from Her parted hair. A different image of Her shows Her with a child on Her lap, with two more at Her feet, and holding a flower as a reminder of how She alone conceived Her son Mars, with the help of a magical flower given to Her by Flora.

Juno Lucina had been worshipped from an early age at a grove on the Cispian Hill, one of the heights of the larger Esquiline Hill in Rome. Her worship was said to have been instituted by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines who had ruled jointly with Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, making it very old indeed and possibly pointing to an origin for Lucina in a Sabine Moon-Goddess. The slightly later (and still mostly legendary) King Servius Tullius of the 6th century BCE was said to have begun the custom of offering a coin (I’d guess that it was traditionally a silver one, as the shiny disk of the coin could then be symbolic of the Moon) to Juno Lucina on the birth of a child, which would indicate some sort of shrine there at the time. Her main temple was built on the same site in 375 BCE, and dedicated on March 1st. In later times a large wall was added enclosing both the temple and the grove that grew on the slope of the hill. This grove was evidentally an important part of Her worship; some authorities believe that Lucina was originally derived from lucus, grove, and this grove had an ancient and celebrated tree on which offerings of locks of hair were made by the Vestal Virgins, perhaps as acknowledgement that as avowed virgins they had chosen not to be mothers.

The Matronalia, or the Festival of Mothers, was held at this temple on the anniversary of its founding. Some said it was instituted in honor of the Sabine women who were instrumental in brokering peace between the warring Sabines and early Romans. On the day of the festival, the matrons (married women) of Rome processed to the temple, where offerings and prayers were made to Juno Lucina and Her son Mars: at home, it was the custom for the women to receive gifts from their husbands, and a feast was held in which the matron waited on the slave women.

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Juno Lucina was invoked during childbirth for an easy delivery and healthy child; when worshippers called on Lucina, they let their hair loose and untied any knots in their clothing as an act of sympathetic magic, to symbolically loosen any hindrances to childbirth and allow the energy to flow. When the child was born an altar was set up to Her in the atrium of the house, and a lectisternium, (or probably more properly, asellisternium, which was for Goddesses) or banquet was given to Her.

She was equated with the Greek Eileithyia. In ancient Egypt was a city by the name of Nekheb, of whom the patron Goddess was Nekhbet, the Egyptian Childbirth-Goddess; when the Greeks took over in Ptolemaic times, they renamed the city Eileithyia after their Birth-Goddess; and when the Romans annexed Egypt, they called it Lucina.

Sources:

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

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Lucina“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Benko, Stephen. The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. The Goddess Pages: A Divine Guide to Finding Love and Happiness, “Saint Lucy (Lucina)” (p. 183 – 189).

Colbert, Joanna. Gaiantarot.typepad.com, “Why We Honor St. Lucia” and “More about Saint Lucia“.

Fitzgerald, Waverly. Schooloftheseasons.com,St. Lucy’s Day“.

Lanzillotta, Peter E. Interfaithservicesofthelowcountry.com, “Santa Lucia: The Saint for the Season of Light“.

Loar, Julie. Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine, “Juno Lucina“.

Lundy, John Patterson. Monumental Christianity, or, the Art and Symbolism of the Primitive Church.

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. Pagan Pregnancy: A Spiritual Journey from Maiden to Mother, “Lucina“.

Theoi.com, “Eileithyia“.

Wikipedia, “Lucina (goddess)“.

Goddess Strenia

“Strenia’s themes are children and protection. Her symbols are bay, palm and fig leaves, honey and youthful images. While this Goddess’s traditional festival date in Italy was January 1, She joins in our holiday observances, Rights of the Child Day, today to extend Her protective care to children. Among the Sabines and Romans, Strenia safeguarded the youth by providing health and strength. Traditional offerings for this Goddess include burning leaves and leaving out sweet breads mixed with dates of figs.

On this day in 1959, Strenia was likely standing by and applauding as the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to encourage proper treatment of our youth and inspire their future.

So, take time with the children in your life today. Teach them in the ‘way they should grow’ and revel in their innocent trust and love. Invoke Strenia’s blessings and health for that young one by sharing fig cookies (heck, eat a few yourself for strength!).

 

Or, make the child a small power pouch that includes a bay leaf and a dried crumb of sweet bread. This way they can carry the Goddess with them even when you’re not around.

For those without children, try volunteering at a youth shelter or orphanage today. Take one of those kids out for lunch or to the zoo. Through your efforts, Strenia can gather that child in arms of warmth and comfort.”

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

“Sabine” by `Foxfires

“In ancient Roman religion, Strenua or Strenia was a Goddess of the new year, purification, and wellbeing.  She had a shrine (sacellum) and grove (lucus) at the top of the Via Sacra.  Varro said She was a Sabine Goddess. W.H. Roscher includes Her among the indigitamenta, the lists of Roman deities maintained by priests to assure that the correct divinity was invoked in public rituals.  The procession of the Argei began at Her shrine.

On January 1, twigs from Strenua’s grove were carried in a procession to the citadel (arx) .  The rite is first noted as occurring on New Year’s Day in 153 BCE, the year when consuls first began assuming their office at the beginning of the year. It is unclear whether it had always been held on that date or had been transferred that year from another place on the calendar, perhaps the original New Year’s Day on March 1.

The name Strenia was said to be the origin of the word strenae (preserved in French étrennes), the new-year gifts Romans exchanged as good omens in an extension of the public rite:

From almost the beginning of Mars‘ city the custom of New Year’s gifts (strenae) prevailed on account of the precedent of king Tatius who was the first to reckon the holy branches (verbenae) of a fertile tree (arbor felix) in Strenia’s grove as the auspicious signs of the new year.”

During the Principate, these strenae often took the form of money.

Johannes Lydus says that strenae was a Sabine word for wellbeing or welfare (hygieia, Latin salus). The supposed Sabine etymology may or may not be factual, but expresses the Sabine ethnicity of Tatius.  St. Augustine says that Strenia was the Goddess who made a person strenuus, ‘vigorous, strong.’

According to some scholars the Befana tradition is derived by the Strenua cult.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Strenua“.

 

Suggested Links:

Labefanas.com, “History of La Befana“.

Societyofdiana.blogspot.com, “Dea Strenia

Vatiaz

“Woman warrior” by bitrix-studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Archery Contest, Naadam Festival. Photo by Bruno Morandi

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

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Saint Agatha

St. Agatha of Sicily

“Saint Agatha’s themes are health, well-being and protection.  Her symbols are any health related items.  Saint Agatha was a third-century Italian martyr who now presides over matters of health and protects homes from fire damage. Many nurses and healers turn to her for assistance in their work. While this saint was a historical persona (not simply a rewritten Goddess figure), she certainly embodies the healthy guardian energies of the Goddess.

Traditionally, candles are taken from a central location to people’s homes to bring Agatha’s blessings. So, get yourself a special Agatha candle, of any color, and light it in a safe place whenever you feel under the weather.

Take out your first-aid kit or bandages and bless it today, saying:

‘Restore vitality, well-being impart
Saint Agatha, hear the cry of my heart
On these tools of healing your blessing give
That I stay healthy as long as I live.’

When you use any item in the first-aid kit, you can activate the restorative magic by repeating the incantation.

To protect your home from fire, take a sprig of mistletoe left over from the holiday season and put it near your hearth. Invoke Saint Agatha’s protection by saying:

‘Saint Agatha, let my home be protected
Let these fires never be neglected.’

If you don’t have mistletoe, substitute any red-colored stone.”

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

“Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.

In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge – – himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: ‘Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil.’

Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel — a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured and refused her any medical care. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: “Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul.”

Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread.

Because she was asked for help during the eruption of Mount Etna she is considered a protector against the outbreak of fire. She is also considered the patroness of bellmakers for an unknown reason — though some speculate it may have something to do with the fact that bells were used as fire alarms.

Here is a prayer to her in times in need:

‘Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen'” [1]

“Saint Agatha is one of the seven women excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.  Saint Agatha is the patron saint of of Ali, Sicily; bellfounders; against breast cancer; bakers; Catania, Sicily; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Sicily; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses; and Zamarramala, Spain.

Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over different aspects of life.  Because saints were believed to have led holy lives and were close to God in heaven, people (Catholics especially) feel that their prayers are particularly effective. Often one asks particular saints to pray for them if they feel they have a particular interest in their problem [much as we, as Pagans, would commune with a specific God or Goddess].

For instance one might ask Saint Agatha, patron saint for breast cancer to pray for a friend or relative who is inflicted with this disease. The giving of a St. Agatha medal might help to comfort someone whose patron saint is St. Agatha.” [2]

An annual festival to commemorate the life of Saint Agatha takes place in Catania, Sicily, from February 3 to 5. The festival culminates in a great all-night procession through the city for which hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents turn out.

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