Tag Archive: wheat


Beautifully written! Whenever I think of Lughnasadh, I not only think of Lugh, but of the Goddess Tailtiu and Her great sacrifice. It was on Her deathbed that Queen Tailtiu asked that funeral games be held annually on the ground that She cleared that ultimately caused Her demise.

“Tailtiu was the last queen of Her kind, a feminine energy that felt the longing of humanity. When the time is right, She gives birth, delivers the sheaves of wheat, then She dies, a need fulfilled….but soon She will rise again.” ~ MXTODIS123

Deanne QuarrieWe are approaching the season of Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas.  This is the first of three harvest festivals.  This one focuses on what we call the “first fruits”, those fruits, vegetables and grains ripening early in the season. The other two are Mabon and Samhain, one celebrating the harvest of the last crops and the next that of the herd animals sacrificed to feed the tribes.

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Goddess Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” by ~sgorbissa

“Baba Yaga’s themes are the harvest, rest, providence, thankfulness and cycles. Her symbols are corn sheafs, wreaths of wheat, corn, rye and wild flowers.  This Lithuanian/Russian Goddess of regeneration, Baba Yaga is typically represented as the last sheaf of corn in today’s festivities – Obzinky. As both young and old, She reawakens in us an awareness of time’s ever-moving wheel, the seasons and the significance of both to our Goddess-centered magic.

Follow with the tradition and make or buy a wreath or bundle of corn shucks or other harvest items. Keep this in your home to inspire Baba Yaga’s providence and prosperity for everyone who lives there.

For breakfast, consume a multigrain cereal, rye bagels or wheat toast. Keep a few pieces of dried grains or toasted breads with you. This way you’ll internalize Baba Yaga’s timeliness for coping with your day more effectively and efficiently, and you’ll carry Her providence with you no matter the circumstances.

Feast on newly harvested foods, thanking Baba Yaga as the maker of your meal. Make sure you put away one piece of corn that will not be consumed today, however. Dry it and hang it up to ensure a good harvest the next year, for your garden, pocketbook or heart.

Finally, decorate your home or office with a handful of wild flowers (even dandelions qualify). Baba Yaga’s energy will follow them and you to where it’s most needed.”

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

“Baba Yaga” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that “the ‘old woman’ of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for Her oar, sweeping the traces of Her flight from the air with a broom.

A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured Her victims, which is why Her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death Goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring” (p. 65).

“Baba” by Karlen Tam

As explained by Freya: “Usually, Baba Yaga is a frightening Witch who lives in the middle of a very deep forest, in a place which is often difficult to find unless a magic clue (a ball of yarn or thread) or a magic feather shows the way. The old hag lives in a wooden hut on two chicken legs (sometimes three or four legs are described). Usually the hut is turned with its back towards a traveler, and only magical words can make it turn around on its chicken legs to face the newcomer. Very often, the hut revolves with loud noises and painful screams that make a visitor cringe. This serves to frighten the reader, showing the hut’s old age, and to show that Baba Yaga does not care about her hut’s well being. It is also fascinating that some fairy tales describe the hut as being a unique evil entity: firstly, it has the ability to move on its chicken legs. Secondly, it understands human language and is able to decide whether and when to let a visitor enter its premises. Finally, the hut is often depicted as being able ‘to see’ with its eyes (its windows) and ‘to speak’ with its mouth (its doorway). I also cannot help feeling that the hut is able ‘to think’, and one can observe these thoughts as wild powerful clouds of steam emerging from the hut’s chimney. What powerful imagery!

Baba Yaga’s hut is often surrounded by fence made of human bones and topped with human skulls with eyes. Instead of wooden poles onto which the gates are hung, human legs are used; instead of bolts, human hands are put in; instead of the keyhole, a mouth with sharp teeth is mounted. Very often Baba Yaga has her hut is protected by hungry dogs or is being watched over by evil geese-swans or is being guarded by a black cat. The gates of Baba Yaga’s villa are also often found to be guardians of Yaga’s hut as they either lock out or lock in the Witch’s prey.” [1]  (You can click on the [1] to finish reading the imagery).

“Baba Yaga” by ~lpeters

She quite reminds me of another well known Goddess, Kali.  Freya goes onto explain: “Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, the Dancer on Gravestones. Although, more often than not, we consider Baba Yaga as a symbol of death, She is a representation of the Crone in the Triple Goddess symbolism. She is the Death that leads to Rebirth. It is curious that some Slavic fairy tales show Baba Yaga living in Her hut with Her two other sisters, also Baba Yagas. In this sense, Baba Yaga becomes full Triple Goddess, representing Virgin, Mother, and the Crone. Baba Yaga is also sometimes described as a guardian of the Water of Life and Death. When one is killed by sword or by fire, when sprinkled with the Water of Death, all wounds heal, and after that, when the corpse is sprinkled with the Water of Life, it is reborn. The symbolism of oven in the Baba Yaga fairy tales is very powerful since from primordial times the oven has been a representation of womb and of baked bread. The womb, of course, is a symbol of life and birth, and the baked bread is a very powerful the image of earth, a place where one’s body is buried to be reborn again. It is interesting that Baba Yaga invites Her guests to clean up and eat before eating them, as though preparing them for their final journey, for entering the death, which will result in a new clean rebirth. Baba Yaga also gives Her prey a choice when She asks them to sit on Her spatula to be placed inside the oven: if one is strong or witty, he or she escapes the fires of the oven, for weak or dim-witted ones, the road to death becomes clear.” [2]

As Fiana Sidhe explains: “Baba Yaga is a very misunderstood Goddess. She is not just the stereotypical wicked witch. She often appears as a frightening old hag, but can also appear as a beautiful woman who bestows gifts.

She is wild and untamed but also can be kind and generous. Even in Her haggard form, Baba Yaga has many gifts to share.

Baba Yaga is the old crone who guards The Waters of Life and Death. She is the White Lady of Death and Rebirth, and is also known as The Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. The old bones are symbolic of the things we cling to, but must finally let lie. When we experience a death, darkness, depression, or spiritual emptiness in our lives, we journey to Baba Yaga’s hut, where She washes new life into us. She collects our bones and pours the waters on them, while She sings and chants and causes us to be reborn. She destroys and then She resurrects. Baba Yaga symbolizes the death of ignorance. She forces us to see our true, darkest selves, then She grants us a deep wisdom that we can attain by accepting the dark shadows within ourselves. We can only receive help from Baba Yaga by learning humility. Her gifts can destroy or enlighten us.” [3]

I absolutely love this explanation of Baby Yaga as the Wild Woman written by Sr. Dea Phoebe: “So, while She is certainly a dark Goddess, a death Goddess, and may even seem ‘wicked’ in ways, Baba Yaga is hardly the villain of Her stories. But also, Baba Yaga is not a nice, clean, civilized Goddess. In the story of Valalisa the Wise, triple Goddess imagery repeats throughout – in Valalisa and her doll’s white, red, and black clothing, (colors traditionally associated with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,) in the repetition of threes throughout the story (three colors, three enemies in the stepfamily, three riders, three tasks, three questions, three pairs of hands) and in Valalisa, (the maiden beginning her journey), her mother (who has given Valalisa gifts to guide her), and of course, in Baba Yaga as the crone. As a denizen of the deep forest, Baba Yaga is the wild aspect of the psyche, what Estés calls [in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves] the Wild Hag or the Wild Woman —not the gentle grandmother that bakes you cookies and tells you stories, but the stern grandmother that might just smack your rear with a spoon and tell you to smarten up! She is not pretty to look at, and she represents the deepest mysteries of death. No wonder she has a reputation of a scary old witch!

“Baba Yaga” by *MarkTarrisse

When we work with Baba Yaga, when we take that path into the deep forest to face the mysteries of death and emerge with the light of wisdom, we also face the wild aspects of ourselves. They may not be pretty, they may have long stringy hair and iron teeth and a wild cackle, but they also hold mysteries our more civilized day-to-day selves never think upon. Baba Yaga is not tied by social norms and mores. She flies about in yet another symbol of transformation; She wipes away the signs of Her passing so you’re never sure if She’s really been there. She’s rude, She’s crude, and She lives in a hut that doesn’t have the manners to sit down and stay like we expect a house should—and you can bet She enjoys all of this. She is less concerned about what is civilized and polite than what is true.

When you find yourself in need of true wisdom, when you find yourself being too nice, too polite in the face of ongoing boundary violations, when you find yourself stagnated by the expectations of others, it might just be time to retrieve your Wild Woman (or Man.) It might be time to brave the forest and meet Baba Yaga.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Colors: White, red, and black

Gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz

Goddesses: Hecate, Hel, Kali

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Festival Date: January 20

Herbs/Flowers: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Moon Phase: Waning/Dark

Other Names: Baba, Boba, Baba Den, Jezi Baba

Sacred Animals: Snake, cat

Season: Autumn

Symbols: Mortar and pestle, broom

Tree: Birch                                   [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Baba Yaga“.

Freya. Realmagick.com, “Baba Yaga: A Demon or A Goddess?

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

Phoebe, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Baba Yaga – Wicked Witches and Wild Women“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga, The Bone Mother“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddesses“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Baba Yaga – Wild Woman“.

Oldrussia.net, “Baba Yaga“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baba Yaga: cross the shadow side – then come out!

Russianclub.com.ua, “Baba-Yaga“.

Russiapedia.rt.com, “Of Russina origin: Baba Yaga“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Baba Yaga“.

Weed, Susun. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga Stories“.

Wikipedia, “Baba Yaga“.

Goddess Sif

“Sif” by helgath

“Sif’s themes are summer, kinship, arts, passion, and the sun.  Her symbols are the sun, gold and hair.  This Scandinavian earth Goddess has long golden hair that shines even more brightly now that the sun is reclaiming its dominance in the sky. On warm nights, especially in summer, She enjoys making love beneath an open sky in the fields, symbolically giving life and adoration to the earth.

People greet the traditional first day of summer exuberantly in Iceland today, as winter has been very long and often very difficult. They exchange gifts wrapped in gold to celebrate the sun’s return, gather with family and friends, and revel in regional arts, especially dramas.

A non-Icelandic version of this might be performing a ritual drama in which you slowly raise a golden sphere with trailing gold ribbons (representing the sun and Sif). Once the sphere is in full view, high in the room, say:

‘Sif, be welcome
Sif is here
She shines Her golden warmth on us and the earth
Warming both, nurturing all.’
 

Afterward, try this Sif-centered spell for unity and passion at home: Have a small, enclosed fire source burning (this represents the sun’s blessing). Each person in your household then takes one strand of hair and gives it to the flame. As this burns, add dried lemon peel and basil to emphasize harmony (and offset the scent of the hair). Sprinkle the ashes in the soil around the living space.”

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

“Sif” by InertiaK

“Sif is the Norse Goddess of the grain, who is a prophetess, and the beautiful golden-haired wife of Thor. Thor is the thunder God and frequent companion of Loki, as he makes the perfect patsy, being not too bright. Sif is of the elder race of Gods or Aesir. She is a swan-maiden, like the Valkyries, and can take that form.

By Her first marriage to the Giant Orvandil, Sif had a son named Ullr (“the Magnificent”), who is a god of winter and skiing. By Her second husband Thor, She had a daughter, Thrudr (“Might”), a Goddess of storm and clouds and one of the Valkyries, and two sons, Magni (“Might”) and Modi (“Anger” or “The Brave”), who are destined to survive Ragnarok and inherit Mjollnir from Thor (though some say the Giantess Jarnsaxa “Iron Sword” is their mother). Sif is famous for Her very long, very golden hair.

“Sif nLoki” by idahoj1

One night, Loki, who just couldn’t resist a little chaos and mischief, snuck into Her chamber and chopped it all off. A sobbing and horrified Sif went straight to Her husband, who in His rage started breaking Loki’s bones, one by one, until finally He swore to make the situation right. So Loki went to the dwarves and persuaded them to make not only a new head of magic hair for Sif from pure gold, but also a magical ship and a spear. But Loki could not resist pushing His luck, and made a wager with two other dwarves, Brokk and Sindi, daring them to make better treasures. Loki was so sure of the outcome that He had let His own head be the prize. Underestimating the dwarves’ skills (or the depth of their hatred for Him), He suddenly realized with a shock that Brokk and Sindi were winning! In desperation He changed Himself into a horsefly, biting and pestering the dwarves while they worked. In spite of this they managed to produce several treasures, the most famous of which was Mjollnir, Thor’s Hammer. The Gods were then called to arbitrate and declared Brokk and Sindi the winners. Loki promptly disappeared. When He was tracked down He was again given to the dwarf brothers, but this time Loki agreed, yes, they had a right to His head, but the wager had said nothing about His neck. Frustrated with this ‘logic’, the dwarves had to content themselves with sewing His lips shut. The new head of golden hair was given to Sif, where it magically grew from Her head just as if it were natural. Her golden hair is said to represent the wheat of summer that is shorn at harvest-time.” [1]

Sif

“If you are going through a difficult time in your life right now, remember Sif and Her story.  Sif wouldn’t let any situation in Her life disable Her, or cause Her to become un-peaceful.  She would simply wait it out, knowing that everything will be taken care of in the end.  There is always darkness before the sun.  Believing in this will all your heart, bake a home made bread with many grains, in honor of Sif and Her representation of harvest.  Make sure to throw some bread back into the earth as an offering!” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Sif: Goddess of Grain and Gold“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Sif“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Sif {Goddess of the Week}“.

Krasskova, Galina. Exploring the Northern Tradition, “Sif“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Sif“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddess, “Meeting Sif, Norse Goddess of Family and Harvest” (p. 205 – 225).

Thorshof.org, “How Sif Got Her Golden Hair“.

Valkrietower, “Sif“.

Goddess Fornax

"Goddess of Bread" by echo-x

“Fornax’s themes are home and love.  Her symbols are stoves, fire and wheat.  In Rome, Fornax guided the baking of bread, which, being the proverbial staff of life, was no small matter. Today Fornax still stands ready to watch over our hearths, as the Goddess of the oven, which is the true heart of any home. If her fires go out, folklore says, warmth among the home’s occupants dwindles soon thereafter.

Fornacalia was the Roman festival of ovens, in which Fornax was invoked by baking wheat breads and other grain-related foods. So think about dusting off your cookbooks, especially any recipes from your family, and start baking! Even people pressed for time can usually make a bath of bread from frozen dough.

 If you only own a microwave, have no fear – microwaveable soft-dough pretzels are readily available in the freezer section of your supermarket. Or, simpler still, have toast for breakfast this morning to internalize Fornax’s warm emotions. On the other hand, if you’d like to give Fornax a much needed break from her toils at your place, go out and eat! Just make sure to have some bread as part of your meal to welcome Fornax to your feast.

Finally, take any dried bread you have and crumble it up for the birds (something I do every day!). Focus  on your desire for love and closeness in your life. The birds will convey your wishes to Fornax, the heavens, and the four corners of creation.”

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

She may sound like a Goddess of Fornication but how very very wrong you would be to think that. She can make things rise — and can be held responsible for buns in ovens, because She’s the Goddess of  the hearth (the literal meaning of Her name), baking and ovens.

Her festival, the Fornacalia, was celebrated on February 17, and announced by curio maximus. She is the best thing before sliced bread — proper crusty oven baked loaves made with yeast instead of cotton wool. [1][2]

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