Tag Archive: witch


Goddess Hecate

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“Hecate” by *mari-na

“Hecate’s themes are the moon, beginnings and magic. Her symbols are serpents, horses or dogs (Her sacred animals), light (especially a torch), myrrh, silver and moonstone. This Greco-Roman Goddess rules the moon and opportunities. Tonight She opens the path through which the old year departs and the new enters. People customarily worship Hecate at crossroads, where worlds meet, which may be why She became a witch’s Goddess. On this, Hecate’s Day, She bears a torch, lighting the way to the future.

At the eve of a New Year, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a full of Goddess-centered thinking and action. Note your achievements, and thank Hecate for helping you find the way when your vision seemed clouded. An additional benefit here is that speaking this Goddess’s name today banishes unwanted ghosts, including those figurative ghosts of past negative experiences. Let Hecate take those burdens so your new year will begin without anything holding you back.

To accept this Goddess’s powers in your life throughout your celebrations today, wear white or silver items, and light a white candle in Her honor. For a token that will emphasize Hecate’s magic and lunar energies whenever you need them, bless a moonstone, saying something like:

‘Hecate, fill this silver stone
keep your magic with me where ever I roam.’

Carry this, keeping the Goddess close to your heart and spirit.”

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

"Hecate" by Hrana Janto

“Hecate” by Hrana Janto

“At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this Goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally She stopped to gather offerings left by Her devotees where three roads crossed, for this threefold Goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it was even said that Hecate could look three ways because She had three heads: a serpent, a horse, and a dog.

"Hecate redux" by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

“Hecate redux” by ~ArtemisiaSynchroma

While Hecate walked outdoors, Her worshipers gathered inside to eat Hecate suppers in Her honor, gatherings at which magical knowledge was shared and the secrets of sorcery whispered and dogs, honey and black female lambs sacrificed. The bitch-Goddess, the snake-Goddess, ruled these powers and She bestowed them on those who worshiped Her honorably. When supper was over, the leftovers were placed outdoors as offerings to Hecate and Her hounds. And if the poor of Greece gathered at the doorsteps of wealthier households to snatch the offerings, what matter?

"Hecate" by Katlyn Breene

“Hecate” by Katlyn Breene

Some scholars say that Hecate was not originally Greek, Her worship having traveled south from Her original Thracian homeland. Others contend that She was a form of the earth mother Demeter, yet another of whose forms was the maiden Persephone. Legends, they claim, of Persephone’s abduction and later residence in Hades give clear prominence to Hecate, who therefore must represent the old wise woman, the crone, the final stage of woman’s growth-the aged Demeter Herself, just as Demeter is the mature Persephone.

In either case, the antiquity of Hecate’s worship was recognized by the Greeks, who called Her a Titan, one of those pre-Olympian divinities whom Zeus and his cohort had ousted. The newcomers also bowed to Her antiquity by granting to Hecate alone a power shared with Zeus, that of granting or withholding from humanity anything She wished. Hecate’s worship continued into classical times, both in the private form of Hecate suppers and in public sacrifices, celebrated by ‘great ones’ or Caberioi, of honey, black female lambs, and dogs, and sometimes black human slaves.

"Hecate" by *Hrefngast

“Hecate” by *Hrefngast

As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said to be the moon-Goddess in Her dark form, as Artemis was the waxing moon and Selene the full moon. But She may as readily have been the earth Goddess, for She ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death She ruled the magical powers of regeneration; in addition, She could hold back Her spectral hordes from the living if She chose. And so Greek women evoked Hecate for protection from Her hosts whenever they left the house, and they erected Her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions” (Monaghan, p. 146 – 148).

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“Hekate’s Advance” by ~Hellfurian-Guard

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Torch, dark moon, raisin & currant cakes, crossroads, three-headed animals or statues, the number 3, masks, and candles.

Animals: Dogs, horses, sheep (especially black female lambs), owls, bats, snakes, and boars.

Plants: Willows, dark yew, blackthorn, groves of trees, saffron, raisins & currants, and gourds (especially pumpkins).

Perfumes/Scents: Queen of the Night (a light flowery fragrance), cinnamon, myrrh, mugwort, honey, lime, and lemon verbena.

Gems and Metals: Sapphire, silver, gold, moonstone, black tourmalin, black onyx, hematite, smoky quartz, and any stone that is dark or luminous.

Colors: Black, orange, yellow-orange, and red-orange.  [1]

 

Some educational and informational videos

 

 

And I just thought this song was kind of catchy 🙂

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Hecate”.

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Hekate“.

D’Este, Sorita & David Rankine. Hekate Liminal Rites.

Ford, Michael W. Book of the Witch Moon: Chaos, Vampiric & Luciferian Sorcery, “Hecate”. (p. 99 – 107). (For those with a taste for a “darker” flavor 😉 )

Goddessgift.com, “Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Grimassi, Raven. The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation.

Hecatescauldron.org, “Hecate’s Cauldron“.

Hekate Symposium 2013, “Hekate: Bright Goddess of the Mysteries by Sorita d’Este“.

James-Henderson, Yvonne. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Hecate“.

Kirkpatrick, Carrie. Goddess Enchantment, Magic and Spells Vol 2, “Goddess of Transformation Hecate“.

Littleton, C. Scott. Gods, Goddesses and Mythology, “Hecate” (p. 617 – 620).

MacLeod NicMhacha, Sharynne. Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess, “The Double Life of Hecate” (p. 59 -63).

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Hecate – Crossroads“.

Reichard, Joy. Celebrate the Divine Feminine, “13. Hecate” (p. 167 – 182).

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Hecate: intuitive wise woman“.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

The-goddess-hecate.blogspot.com, “The Goddess Hecate“.

Theoi.com, “Hecate“.

Took, Thalia. Thaliatook.com, “Hekate“.

Wikipedia, “Hecate“.

Hexe

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“Winter Goddess” by Lisa Hunt

“Hexe’s themes are health, banishing and magic. Her symbols are healing, herbs and charms.  This ancient Germanic witch’s Goddess rules over health, banishing curses, and teaching people the effective use of spells, charms, and other mystical procedures for improving well-being. Thus we come by the old phrase ‘hex doctor’.

Living in the 1100s, Saint Hildegard was a renowned Benedictine nun living in Bingen and ministering to people with herbal preparations received in visions. Many of these had magical overtones, perhaps by Hexe’s influence. In any case today’s theme is learning the art of weaving ‘Hexes’ for physical, mental and spiritual health.

On the physical level, take a natural object like a cut potato and rub it against an inflicted area. Bury the potato to ‘bury’ the malady and decompose it. Or carry a jet stone to absorb the problem, then cleanse the rock in saltwater to wash the bad energy away.

For mental well-being, enjoy a soothing cup of mint tea stirred counter clockwise so tensions and negativity will wane. Or, carry a fluorite stone with you throughout the day to strengthen your mental powers.

For spiritual health, sprinkle nutmeg-laden water clockwise throughout your aura to empower your psychic self. Or, carry a lapis or amethyst stone to draw Goddess-centered thinking and action into your day.”

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

I couldn’t find anything specifically on a Goddesses named “Hexe”.  According to Kerr Cuhulain, “The English word ‘hex’ actually comes from the Greek ‘hexe’ (a female sorcerer) or ‘hexer’ (a male sorcerer). This in turn is the source of similar words with the same meaning such as the Anglo Saxon word ‘haegtesse’ and the modern German word for a witch, ‘hexe.'” [1]

“Die Hexe von Endor” (The Witch of Endor) by Kunz Meyer-Waldeck

“Die Hexe von Endor” (The Witch of Endor) by Kunz Meyer-Waldeck

The word hexe is also related or similar to the word hag.  Wikipedia states, “A hag is a wizened old woman, or a kind of fairy or Goddess having the appearance of such a woman, often found in folklore and children’s tales such as Hansel and Gretel. Hags are often seen as malevolent, but may also be one of the chosen forms of shapeshifting deities, such as the Morrígan or Badb, who are seen as neither wholly beneficent nor malevolent.  The term appears in Middle English, and was a shortening of hægtesse, an Old English term for witch, similarly the Dutch heks and German hexe are also shortenings, of the Middle Dutch haghetisse and Old High German hagzusa respectively. All these words derive from the Proto-Germanic *hagatusjon which is of unknown origin, however the first element may be related to the word “hedge”.  As a stock character in fairy or folk tale, the hag shares characteristics with the crone, and the two words are sometimes used as if interchangeable.” [2] (Though we know better, don’t we?)

"Old-Hag Witch" by Fer Gregory

“Old-Hag Witch” by Fer Gregory

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Cuhulain, Kerr. Witchvox.com, “Texe Marrs [2]“.

Wikipedia, “Hag“.

Goddess Arianrhod

“Arianrhod” by Emily Brunner

“Arianrhod’s themes are the arts, magic, manifestation and rebirth. Her symbol is a silver wheel (spinning tools i.e. shuttle, yarn).  In Welsh tradition, this is the Goddess of the ‘silver wheel’ upon which magic is braided and bound together into a tapestry of manifestation. Stories tell us that Arianrhod abides in a star where souls wait for rebirth (the wheel here becomes the wheel of life, death, and rebirth).

Known as Catherine of the Wheel, Saint Catherine of Alexandria oversees spinsters (literally and figuratively). Like Arianrhod, she is a patroness for lace makers and seamstresses.  In keeping with this theme, today is an excellent time to try your hand at making a special pouch for housing some of your magical tools or trinkets. Begin with two rectangles of natural-fiber cloth one inch larger than the item you wish to house within. Put the right sides together and stitch three edges, leaving a three-quarters of an inch opening at the top for a drawstring or finished edge. Turn the pouch right side out. Repeat the Goddess’s name to bind Arianrhod’s power in each stitch. Fold over the top hem twice so it won’t unravel, and stitch that with silver thread for the Goddess’s protection.

If time doesn’t allow for this, a favored beverage to inspire this Goddess’s blessings is ale or cider with an apple slice or caraway bread and tea. Pour a little of this out as a libation, then drink it fully to awaken and energize Arianrhod’s magical potential within you.”

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

“Arianrhod” by ~lucreziac

Arianrhod (ah-ree-AHN-rhohd) is “the Goddess of the ‘silver wheel’ [and] was a Welsh sorceress, who, surrounded by women attendants, lived on the isolated coastal island of Caer Arianrhod.  Beautiful and pale of complexion, Arianrhod was the most powerful of the mythic children of the mother Goddess Dôn.

It was said that She lived a wanton life, mating with mermen on the beach near Her castle and casting Her magic inside its walls.  She tried to pretend virginity, but a trial by the magician Math revealed that She had conceived two children whom She had not carried to term: in leaping over a wizard’s staff, Arianrhod magically gave birth to the twins Dylan-son-of-Wave and Llew Llaw Gyffes.  Dylan slithered away and disappeared.  Arianrhod’s bother, the poet Gwydion, recognized the fetus as his own child, born of his unexpressed love for his sister.

Gwydion took the fetus and hid it in a magical chest until it was ready to breathe.  Arianrhod, furious at this invasion of Her privacy, denied the child a name or the right to bear arms – two prerogatives of a Welsh mother – but Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into granting them.  Eventually the Goddess overreached Herself, creating more magic than She could contain; Her island split apart, and She and Her maidservants drowned.

“Is she real?” by BlondieMel

Some scholars read the legend as the record of a change from mother right to father rule, claiming that the heavenly Arianrhod was a matriarchal moon Goddess whose particular place in heaven was in the constellation called Corona Borealis.  The argument has much in its favor, particularly the archetypal relation of Arianrhod to Her sister moon Goddesses on the continent, who like Artemis lived in orgiastic maidenhood surrounded entirely by women.  Other scholars, unconvinced that the Celts were matriarchal at any time, see Arianrhod simply as an epic heroine” (Monaghan, p. 53).

Upon reading Her story, my initial reaction was “Damn…that’s pretty cruel and spiteful.”  But as Claire Hamilton in her piece entitled “Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?” points out, “If Arianrhod really is the great mother of the Sacred King child, then why does She seem so vindictive? What are these so-called curses about? Why does She seem to be denying Her son his rights?  And why is She so powerful that Gwydion has to work so hard to outwit Her?  In addressing these questions, we should first bear in mind the strong possibility that by the time Her tale was written down by the Welsh monks, they had spotted Her pagan power and decided to deliberately slander Her name.”

“Arianrhod” by Alois Noette

Hamilton sums up her entry by stating, “I believe that Arianrhod can be seen not as a furious and vindictive woman, but as a powerful and wise matriarch.  A mother who truly understood the needs of her son, and the sacred requirements of Her maternal role, and who was not afraid to use Her Crone power to secure them. And for these reasons, I believe that the wonderful Goddess Arianrhod, the beautiful woman whose feet rest on the crescent moon, and whose head is ringed with stars, is a hugely important figure in Welsh myth, and a deeply inspirational model for all mothers today.”

“Arianrhod is said to be able to shapeshift into a large Owl, and through the great Owl-eyes, sees even into the darkness of the human subconscious and soul. The Owl symbolizes death and renewal, wisdom, moon magick, and initiations. She is said to move with strength and purpose through the night, Her wings of comfort and healing spread to give solace to those who seek Her.” [1]

Below is a list of associations that I put together from a few different sources that I could find:

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic (Welsh)
Elements: Water, air
Associated Planet: Moon
Colors: Blue, purple, grey, silver, white
Symbols: Triple Goddess, wheels, spinning tools, the silver wheel, the zodiac, nets, the full moon, Corona Borealis, Oar Wheel (a special boat that carries dead warriors to Emania, or the Moon Land)
Areas of Influence: Reincarnation, fertility, female power, sovereignty, fate, beauty, past life memories, difficulties
Sacred Animals: Owls, wolves
Suitable Offerings: Silver coins, wheat, candles (green and white).
Gems/Metals: Silver
Sacred Tree: Birch

[2] [3] [4] [5]

HOLY DAYS:

January 12: Day of Arianrhod: Welsh Celtic holy day. Day of Arianrhod (Welsh) Goddess of reincarnation, the Wheel of the Year, the full moon, fertility, and female power. Often portrayed as a weaver [of spells], She is linked to lost creation myths. — Celtic information provided by Shelley M. Greer ©1997.

February 14: Arianrhod steps over the magical wand of Math: Celtic holy day. Arianrhod steps over the magical wand of Math, which manifests truth, to prove her virginity. The wand causes the seed of her lover, which is in her womb, to ripen, grow and give forth in an instant, giving birth to Dylan Ail Ton, whose name means “Sea, son of Wave”. Dylan makes straight for the sea, and is accidentally slain by his uncle Gofannon. Her brother, Gwyddion, snatches up the after-birth to incubate Llew Llaw Gyffes, the great archer. — Celtic information provided by Shelley M. Greer ©1997.

 December 2: Festival of Arianrhod: Welsh holy day. The Goddess descends on a silver chariot to watch the tides.   [6]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Community-2.webtv.net, “Arianrhod“.

Hamilton, Claire. Goddess Alive!, “Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?

Inanna.virtualave.net, “Arianrhod

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

Rainbowpagan. Youtube.com, Goddess Arianrhod“.

Teenwitch.com, “Arrianrhod“.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, “Arianrhod – Goddess of the Silver Wheel“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bianca. Orderwhitemoon.org, “Arianrhod, Goddess of the Milky Way“.

Celtnet.org.uk, “ArianrhodA Cymric goddess: Silver Wheel, Silver Orbit“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Arianrhod“.

Journal of a Poet, “Arianrhod, Moon Goddess of the Silver Wheel“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Sacredmistsblog.com, “Goddess of the Week: Arianrhod“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminismandreligion.com, “Arianrhod, Celtic Star Goddess“.

Sisterhoodofavalon.org, “The Goddesses“.

Skye, Michelle. Goddess Afoot!: Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, “Meeting Arianrhod, Welsh Goddess of the Stars” (p. 23 – 31).

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

Wikipedia, “Arianrhod“.

Goddess Nicneven

“The Faery Godmother” by Brian Froud

“Nicneven’s themes are protection, ghosts, divination, peace and winter. Her symbols are pumpkins, gourds and traditional Halloween fare. In Scotland, Nicneven is the crone Goddess of Samhain, which is the predecessor of modern Halloween festivals. Nicneven governs the realms of magic and witchcraft and also represents the imminent onset of winter.

In magic and Celtic traditions, this is the new year – a time when the veil between worlds grow thin and spirits can communicate with the living.  Follow the usual customs of carving a pumpkin or turnip for protection and to illuminate the way to family spirits to join you in today’s celebrations.

In Druidical tradition, Samhain was a time to rectify any matters causing dissent. Nicneven provides the magical glue for this purpose. Take a white piece of paper on which you’ve written the reason for anger in a relationship, then burn it in any hallowed fire source (the pumpkin candle, or ritual fires). As you do, ask Nicneven to empower the spell and destroy the negativity completely.

To inspire Nicneven’s wisdom or magical aptitude within, enjoy traditional Halloween fare – apple pie, for example, brings sagacity. Sparkling apple cider tickles magical energy. And root crops provide solid foundations and protection while magical creatures are afoot!

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

“Queen of the Bad Fairies” by Brian Froud

Nicneven or Nicnevin or Nicnevan (whose name is from a Scottish Gaelic surname, Neachneohain meaning ‘daughter(s) of the divine’ and/or daughter(s) of Scathach‘ NicNaoimhein meaning ‘daughter of the little saint’) is a Queen of the Fairies in Scottish folklore. The use of the name for this meaning was first found in Montgomerie’s Flyting (c.1585) and was seemingly taken from a woman in Scotland condemned to death for witchcraft before being burnt at the stake as a witch. In the Borders the name for this archetype was Gyre-Carling whose name had variants such as Gyre-Carlin, Gy-Carling, Gay-Carlin amongst others. Gyre is possibly a cognate of the Norse word geri and thus having the meaning of ‘greedy’ or it may be from the Norse gýgr meaning ‘ogress’; carling or carline is a Scots and Northern English word meaning ‘old woman’ which is from, or related to, the Norse word kerling (of the same meaning).

She was sometimes thought of as the mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy mythology.  This guise is frankly diabolical.  Sir Walter Scott calls Her:

a gigantic and malignant female, the Hecate of this mythology, who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under Her grim banner. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies, namely), sorceresses and elves, indifferently, upon the ghostly eve of All-Hallow Mass. In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in Her triple character of Hecate, doubtless) and Herodias, who were the joint leaders of their choir, But we return to the more simple fairy belief, as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons.

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described Her as:

Nicnevin with Her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

“The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Even so, the elder Nicnevin or Gyre-Carling retained the habit of night riding with an ‘elrich‘ entourage mounted on unlikely and supernatural steeds. Another, satirical popular depiction made Her leave Scotland after a love-quarrel with Her neighbour, to become wife of ‘Mahomyte‘ and queen of the ‘Jowis‘. She was an enemy of Christian people, and ‘levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche’; still, Her absence caused dogs to stop barking and hens to stop laying. But in Fife, the Gyre-Carling was associated with spinning and knitting, like Habetrot; here it was believed to be unlucky to leave a piece of knitting unfinished at the New Year, lest the Gyre-Carling should steal it.” [1]

“Nicnevin” by Xavier Collette

For a fantastic and in-depth piece written on this Goddess, I highly recommend reading “Nicnevin” by Sarah Lawless over at Witchofforestgrove.com.  In her piece, she explains “Nicnevin is the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the fairies, spirits, and strange creatures, queen of the Unseelie Court of Alba.  She reigns with a male consort at Her side, but his name is never given, it is my guess he changes with Her moods.  She is the Gyre Carline and appears sometimes in the Scottish tales as Habetrot, a crone-like spirit known for Her magical powers of spinning, weaving and clothmaking. It is said She wears a long grey mantle and carries a white wand and can appear as an old crone or a beautiful young woman. White geese are sacred to Her and their cackling may herald Her arrival. In this we see She is linked with the Germanic Goddess HoldaHel, queen of the Underworld, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Norse legend.”

In the Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes, she writes: “Nicnevin, Scottish witch Goddess, can transform water into rocks and sea into dry land.  Her name is derived from Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, ‘Daughter of Frenzy.’ Nicnevin flies through the night.  Although usually invisible, Her presence is announced by the cacophony of geese.  The Romans identified Her with Diana.

Following Scotland’s official conversion to Christianity and brutal witch trials, Nicnevin, a former Goddess, was reclassified as both a Fairy and a demon. (Scotland suffered particularly virulent witch hunts, second in scope only to the German lands in terms of prosecutions and executions.)  She is considered Queen of the Fairies of Fife, Scotland and is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt.

Sea hag from the hit TV show “Charmed”

Manifestation: Nicnevin manifests as a beautiful woman and a dried out old hag.  She wears a long gray mantle.

Attribute: Magic wand

Element: Water

Birds: Geese

Day: Samhain (Halloween) is Nicnevin’s sacred night when She grants wishes and answers petitions.  She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting.  On Samhain, Nicnevin makes Herself visible as She flies through the air accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese.  Rituals are also held in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1″ (p. 760).

 

 

 

Sources:

Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits, “Nicnevin: The Bone Mother“.

Lawless, Sarah. Witchofforestgrove.com, “NICNEVIN“.

Wikipedia, “Nicnevin“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Ancientsites.com, “The Celtic Huntress“.

Andarta, Boudicca. Paganpages.org, “Let’s Spell it Out“.

Dalyell, John Graham. The Darker Superstitions of Scotland.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Tregenda of the Old Goddess, Witches, and Spirits“.

Electricscotland.com, “The Goddess in the Landscape“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddess“.

Illes, Judika. Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz, “Nicnevin“.

Rankine, David R. Sacredfires.co.uk, “Hekate Wears Tartan“.

Wikipedia, “Queen of Elphame“.

Wikipedia, “Wild Hunt“.

Goddess Holde

“The Goddess Holda” by Carrie Kirkpatrick

“Holda’s themes are longevity, wisdom, kinship, magic, destiny and karma. Her symbols are white items and aged items. Among the Teutons, Holda is known as the White Lady, an appellation that alludes to the color of Her hair. This Goddess is the wise, ancient crone, who has learned the lessons of destiny and karma from a long, well-lived life and who bears the knowledge of magic’s deeper mysteries to us with patience and time.

In Massachusetts, the first Sunday in October is set aside to honor grandparents and their vital role in families. Customarily, grandparents (or ‘adopted’ ones) are invited for dinner and showered with attention. I think this is a lovely tradition as it stands, honoring Holda’s wisdom through the elders in our community. Go to a nearby nursing home and spend half an hour or more cheering up someone. Listen to people’s stories of days gone by, and let their insights inspire you.

To improve your own awareness of karmic law, or to increase your magical insights, wear Holda’s white (a scarf on your head would be good) or carry a white stone with you to represent Her (coral is ideal, being a stone of wisdom). Alternatively, eat some aged cheese or drink aged wine to remind yourself that ‘old’ doesn’t mean outmoded. People can become better with time and with Holda’s guidance, if we remember to appreciate the years and the people who have gone before us on this path.”

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

“Holda” by Neil Geddes-Ward

There was a ton of information on Holda to go through!  She turns out to be a very interesting and complex and all encompassing Goddess; seen as the maiden in summer sitting by a lake combing Her beautiful white hair; as mother who made the fields, animals and women fertile and protected women and children, as well as accompanying those infants who had died before they’d been named to the Other World;  and as wizened crone in the winter who was stern and despised laziness.  She also had connections with many different Goddesses, both within the Germanic and Norse pantheons and even outside: Goddesses to include Freya due to Her association with cats (appaerntly the name of the cave She lived in, Kitzkammer means ‘Cat Chamber’) and Frigga for Her associations with the household, women, spinning and children; Perchte and Berchta (which appears to be debatable to some as to whether they were the same Goddess or entirely different Beings with similar attributes); and later in post-Christian times, even Diana and Habondia as She was demonized and said to lead “a wild hunt in which She led the souls of infants who died unbaptized, witches, and heathens in general.” [1]

“Åsgårdsreien” by Peter Nicolai Arbo

In a paper written by SummerGaile, she explains that: “In Jacob Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, Holda is spoken of as host to the Wild Hunt or ‘Wilde Heer’.  In this account She is the consort of Woden, supreme god of the Germanic tribes occupying central Europe in ancient times.   There are many variations of this story, but the themes that are most prominent are the ones that illustrate Holda leading a Wild Hunt to gather those souls that may still be lingering earth bound; and it is She who gathers them during this ride to usher them into the Other World.  Another variation of this record is that She gathers un-baptized children, or more accurately, she gathers those born and who died without having been given a birth name, and takes them safely to the Other World.” [2]  Due to Her connections with death, magic and witches, She is also sometimes associated with Hecate and Hel.

Hag by Angie (aka DeadSpider)

And of course, in the post-Christian times as we see with many independent mother Goddesses, She is transformed from Mother Holda, or “Gracious One” who helped and protected women and children into the “Goddess of the Witches” – an old ugly hag who rode a broom across the night sky; as well as many of Her symbols taking on new evil attributes: “No where is this demonization more clear than in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ where the spinning wheel and spindle are turned into symbols of evil. Many of Her other attributes were turned around as well. Her protection of the dead soul of infants was turned around to Her creeping in and stealing children from their cradles. Her image as wise old woman, instilling moral values turned to the foolish old Mother Goose who spreads wives tales.” [3]

“Alma Parens” by William Bouguereau

“Throughout German, Austrian and Swiss folktales we find this former Goddess demoted, together with Her twin Perchta, to a witch.  Frau Holle was the more pleasant of the two: sunshine streamed from Her hair when She combed it, snow covered the earth when She shook a feather comforter, and rain fell when She threw away laundry water.   She was a splendid white lady who appeared each noon to bathe in the fountain, from which children were said to be born.  She lived in a cave in the mountain or in a well, and people could visit Her by diving into it.

She rode on the wind in a wagon.  Once She had to have a broken lynchpin repaired, and the man who helped Her later found that savings of wood from the project had fumed to gold.  In addition to gold, She rewarded good people with useful gifts, such as the invention of flax and spinning.

Her feast day was celebrated on winter solstice, when She checked the quality of each spinner’s work.  A good spinner would wake to find Frau Holle had left her a single golden thread, but sloppy ones found their work tangled, their spinning wheels shattered or burnt.

The period between December 25 and January 6 – the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ – were sacred to Frau Holle during that time She traveled the world in Her wagon.  No rotary actions were allowed; sleighs were used instead of wagons, and all meal-grinding had to cease.  Her twin Perchta was, if not welcomed, at least acknowledged at the same season” (Monaghan, p. 127).

“Frigga, Goddess of Women & Wisdom” by Thorskegga

 

Correspondences
Other Names: Frau Holda, Frau Holle, Winter Goddess, White Lady, Mother Yule, Hulde
Attributes: Virtue, Motherhood, Wisdom
Season: Winter, Yule
Symbols: Spindle, Spinning Wheel, Flax, Geese, Apples, Milk, Elder Tree, Elderberry Tea
Colors: White, Ice Blue
Symbols: Snow, Snowflakes, Well      [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Eaves, Susan “Ratatask”. Eplagarthrkindred.org, “HoldaArticle“.

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

Paxson, Diana L. Hrafnar.org,”Holda“.

SummerGaile. Order of the White Moon, “The Sacred Journey and Migration of Frau Holda Into our Modern Reality“.

Zmaj, Majka. Order of the White Moon, “Holda: White Lady of Winter“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

AOR, Thorsigurd. Odinic-rite.org, “Holda“.

Finnegan, Margaret. Margaretfinnegan.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: Holda“.

Fox, Selena. Beliefnet.com, “Riding with Holda“.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Old Goddess“.

GardenStone. Goddess Holle: In Search of a Germanic Goddess.

Glaux. Afwcraft.blogspot.com, “Faces of the Golden Queen“.

Graves, Shannon. Northernpaganism.org, Who is Holda?

Motherholda.blog.com, “Holda

Linda-heathenycatmusings.blogspot.com, “H is for the goddess HOLDA – Ancient Lady of the Sacred Land, Queen of the ‘other folk’“.

Marks, Dominic. Lowchensaustralia.com, “Norse Goddess Names“.

Motz, Lotte. Winterscapes.com, “The Winter Goddess: Percht, Holda, and Related Figures“.

Theoddgods.com, “Perchta/Berchta“.

Seigfried, Karl E. H. Norsemyth.org, “THE GODS & GODDESSES, Part Two“.

Swampy. Dutchie.org, “Goddess Berchta“.

Wikipedia, “Holda“.

The Weisse Frauen

“Healer – Priestess-Elf serie” by `Eireen

“The Weisse Frauen’s themes are banishing, blessing, joy, protection, fertility and divination. Their symbols are any sacred symbol, forest items and the color white. Known as the ‘White Women’ of the German forests, these Goddesses are said to have been worshipped by ancient pagans and witches where they live – in the woods. In later times, people looked to them to predict the future, help with matters of fertility, and protect the land.

The unique festival of Kermesse dates back to pagan worship of the grove Goddess (and pagan gatherings in the woodlands). Traditionally, some type of sacred symbol is dug up and carried around town to renew blessings and happiness in all who see it. The ritual also banishes evil influences.

To follow this custom, plant a white stone or token in a flowerpot, garden, or lawn this year and next year dig it up temporarily to release White Women’s power. At the end of the day, return the token to the earth so they can protect your home or land and fill every corner of it with magic. Repeat this annually to continue the cycle!

Wear something white today to invite the Weisse Frauen’s protection on the figurative land of your spirit, and spend some time in the company of trees at some point. Meditate on the pagans, who weaved magic in such places, and on these Goddesses, who empowered the spells. As you do, listen closely to the voices of the trees and see if they have a message for you.”

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

“In German folklore, theWeiße Frauen, or Weisse Frauen (meaning White Women) are elven-like spirits that may have derived from Germanic paganism in the form of legends of light elves (Old Norse: Ljósálfar). They are described as beautiful and enchanted creatures who appear at noon and can be seen sitting in the sunshine brushing their hair or bathing in a brook. They may be guarding treasure or haunting castles. They entreat mortals to break their spell, but this is always unsuccessful. The mythology dates back at least to the Middle Ages and was known in the present-day area of Germany.

The association with the color white and their appearance in sunlight is thought by Jacob Grimm to stem from the original Old Norse and Teutonic mythology of alven (elves), specifically the bright Ljósálfar. These ‘light elves’ lived in Álfheim (part of heaven) under the fertility god Freyr.   As mythology evolved, elves no longer lived in Álfheim (part of heaven) but lived on earth in nature. The White Women also may represent ancient beliefs in ancestral spirits or older native Goddesses and nature spirits. Jacob Grimm noted in particular they might come from Holda, ‘Berhta, white by her very name’ and Ostara. According to Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology and to the Mythology of All Races Series, the enchantment under which they suffer ‘may be a symbol of the ban laid by Christianity on the divinities of the older faith.’  Similar in name to the Witte Wieven of Dutch mythology, the Weisse Frauen may have come from the Germanic belief in disen or land wights and alven.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan writes: “The ‘white women’ of Germany and other northern European locations were said to be Goddess-worshipping witches who disappeared ages ago into the woods.  They lived deep in the forests where they helped lost travelers, foretold the future and helped the earth produce its fruit by their ritual dances.  Some say they were the ghosts of old Goddesses, enchanted by Christianity, seeking magic to release them into fuller life again” (p. 315).

Jacob Grimm notes the image of the Weisse Frauen basking in the sun and bathing ‘melts into the notion of a water-holde [i.e. Holda] and nixe‘. The Weisse Frauen also have counterparts in both name and characterization in neighboring countries: In the Netherlands known as the Witte Wieven, and in France known as the Dames blanches.

There are also many legends in German Folklore regarding ‘Weisse Frauen’, which are actually equivalent to the legends of White Ladies; ghosts of the United Kingdom.”

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Wikipedia, “Weisse Frauen“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Arrowsmith, Nancy. Field Guide to the Little People, “White Ladies” (p. 15).

Bell, William. Skaespeare’s Puck, and his folkslore, “Weisse Frauen, Belief In” (p.58).

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Baobhan Sìth“.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

Wikipedia, “Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar“.

Goddess Mari

“The Sabbath of Witches” by Francisco de Goya

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Akerbeltz” as today’s Goddess. However, my research revealed that Akerbeltz is a black he-goat known in Basque mythology to be an attribute of the Goddess Mari. [1] “From the Basque language ‘aker’ (male goat), and ‘beltz’ (black). He protects against illnesses and evil spirits and he sends beneficial force fluxes to animals placed under its protection. From his name comes the word ‘aquelarre’ that presently designs a secret meeting of evil witches adoring the Devil. But long ago, it was just an assembly of people celebrating in honour to this well-meaning being.” [2]

So, for today’s entry, I assume that Telesco’s attributes for Akerbeltz would be appropriate for the Goddess Mari, whom Akerbeltz is said to have originated from.

“Goddess Of The Rainbow” by Prairiekittin

“[Mari’s] themes are the harvest, charity, health, thankfulness, beauty and peace. Her symbols are rainbows, health and healing amulets.  This Basque Goddess attends the human body by protecting it from disease, encouraging health and offering healing when needed, especially when we overdo summer activities! Being a Goddess of earth and nature too, She sometimes appears as a rainbow, a bridge that takes us from being under the weather to overcoming circumstances.

The Tabuleiros has been celebrated for six hundred years in Portugal by honoring the harvest, giving thanks to the Goddess for Her providence and making donations to charitable organizations. The highlight of the day is a parade in which people wear huge headdresses covered with bread, flowers and doves – symbols of [Mari’s] continued sustenance, beauty and peace. These are retained by the wearer through the year to keep [Mari] close by, warding off sickness. A simpler approach for us might be to get a small rainbow refrigerator magnet or window piece that reflects this Goddess’s beauty throughout our home to keep everyone therein well and content.

Also, give a little something to someon in need today. Doing good deeds for others pleases [Mari] because it makes them healthier in spirit. She will bless you for your efforts with improved well-bing, if only that of the heart.”

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

“Mari is the Basque Goddess of the Moon.  She is the supreme Goddess of the Basque pantheon.  Mari is associated with the various forces of nature including the wind, storms, and lightning. She creates storms to chastise disobedient people.  She often travels across the sky as a fireball or as a blazing crescent going from one mountain peak to another. Sometimes Her chariot is being pulled by four white horses and other times, She is seen riding a white ram.  Mari has many homes on the high mountain summits and deep within the caves below.

Mari is a shape shifter who can appear as any animal, but sometimes will assume the shape of a white cloud or a rainbow. She is often pictured as a woman of fire or as a thunderbolt.  Legends revere Her as a prophetess and oracle; She is said to rule over sorcery and divination. She upholds the law code and is known to punish anyone who is guilty of lying and stealing. She condemns pride and boasting and ensures a high level of moral conduct. Her symbol is the sickle which is still used today to ward off evil. Mari protects the travelers and provides good council to humans.

Unfortunately, with the advent of Christianity, Mari was degraded into an evil spirit.

Mari is the daughter of the Earth Goddess, Lur, and the sister of the Sun Goddess, Ekhi.  The Thunder Spirit, Maju is Her husband, and they apparently live apart for when they do get together, there are severe storms of rain, hail, thunder and lighting. Although the Inquistion ruthlessly persecuted followers of the Goddess as ‘witches’, Mari somehow escaped destruction, and She continues to live on in some parts of Northern Europe.” [3]

In another blog entry, I read, “She is friendly and helpful, protecting travelers and herds and giving good council to those who need it. Legends connect Her to the weather. The Goddess of thunder and wind, She is the personification of the earth, similar to the Greek Gaia. Mari drives a chariot of four white horses across the sky and when She appears, She is a beautiful woman adorned with rainbows.

She does not only appear as a beautiful women but also as a flaming tree, a white cloud, a rainbow, a gust of wind, a bird, a sickle made of fire, moving from one mountain peak to another. She lives underground, normally in a cave in a high mountain(Anboto). Where she and her other half Sugaar meet every Friday in the night of the Akelarre or witch-meeting, to conceive the storms that will bring fertility to the land and the people. Mari is served by a court of sorginak (witches).” [4]

“Mari is the main character of Basque mythology, having, unlike other creatures that share the same spiritual environment, a god-like nature. Mari was regarded as the protectoress of senators and the executive branch.  Mari is often witnessed as a woman dressed in red. She is also seen as woman of fire, woman-tree and as thunderbolt. Additionally She is identified with red animals (cow, ram, horse) and with the black he-goat [Akerbeltz].

Margaret Bullen has noted ‘the myth of Mari brings together male and female attributes and qualities’, and that Mari is to be regarded as ‘a model of androgyny and a metaphor for liberation in which sexual difference should cease to be the basis for inequality’.” [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Fleurvb’s Blog, “Article 1: Isolated and earth-based mythologies“.

Gomez, Olga. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Akerbeltz“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mari, Basque Goddess of the Moon“.

Wikipedia, “Akelarre (witchcraft)“.

Wikipedia, “Mari (goddess)“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

The Apricity Forum: A European Cultural Community, “Basque Gods and Creatures“.

Arcadia93.org, “Basque Paganism“.

Burns, Phyllis Doyle. BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, “Mari, Supreme Goddess of Basque Mythology“.

Dametzdesign.com, “Mari a Basque Goddess“.

Dashu, Max. Suppressedhistories.net, “The Old Goddess (Excerpt from the SECRET HISTORY OF THE WITCHES)“.

Gimbutas, Marija and Miriam Robbins Dexter. The Living Goddesses, “The Basque Religion” (p. 172 – 175).

Spencer, Krishanna J. Witchvox Article, “Subterranean Goddess: Mari of the Basques“.

Wikipedia, “Basque Mythology“.

Williams, M.A. Annette Lyn, M.A. Karen Nelson Villanueva and Ph.D. Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum. She Is Everywhere! Vol. 2: An anthology of writings in womanist/feminist spirituality, “Mari: God the Mother of the Basque” (p. 223 – 236).

Goddess Habonde

“Habonde’s themes are abundance, joy, health, fertility, luck, magic and cleansing. Her symbols are ale and fire.  In Celtic tradition, Habonde is a witchy Goddess who represents abundance: an abundance of joy, health, fertility and luck. Customarily, people honored Her by dancing around magical ritual fires who smoke was said to purity both body and soul.

On the first Monday in July, people in Wales prepare for a lunch of ale brewed eight months ago. This is taken joyfully around town and shared to bring joy, prosperity and longevity to everyone, courtesy of the Goddess and the local brewers’ guild. If you’re a home brewer, this is an excellent day to make ritual beer or wine, both of which have to boil on the hearth, a symbol of Habonde. As you work, stir clockwise to draw positive energy your way. When your schedule’s too hectic for this, pour yourself a smal glass of beer (you can use the nonalcoholic kind), and lift it to the sky saying,

‘Habonde, bring abundance.  Habonde, health and luck bring.
When through my lips this liquid passes, let my soul sing!’

Drink expectantly.

Lighting any fire source honors Habonde and draw Her attention to areas where you feel Her energies are needed. Light a candle at home (or light the stove for a moment or the fireplace). And at the office? Just light a match (make sure it’s allowed by company rules or go to the smoking lounge!)”

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

“Habondia” by Amanda Clark (available for purchase on etsy.com)

Habondia (pronounced Hahb-OEN-dee’uh) also Abondia, Abunciada, and Habonde, was a Goddess of abundance and prosperity, demoted to a ‘mere witch’ in medieval English lore in order to strip Her of Her great power in the minds of the rural folk who depended upon Her benevolence for their crops and herds.” [1]

According to Patricia Monaghan, the Goddess Habondia is the “Goddess of abundance [that] was celebrated, particularly in medieval European times, as the special divinity of the witches.  Apparently, She was, or was descended from, an ancient Germanic or Celtic earth Goddess” (p. 143).

According to Myth Woodling, “Like Diana and Herodias (Erodiade), Habondia was one of the names of the medieval Queen of the Witches who led the ‘night flight.’ Her name, quite likely, derived from the Roman Abundantia, a minor Goddess who personified abundance. She was also a nocturnal spirit, as She was credited with entering the households of Her followers at night to bring prosperity. See Abundantia and Abundia.” [2]

I also found that “She was at one time bonded with Cernunnos [though this seems to be debatable]. Her followers were gradually absorbed into the folds of Brigid worship and She has been much forgotten, although at one time She was thought sacred to every Celtic home [which also seems to up for some debate]. The Feast of Habondia itself is a celebration of summer ripeness and potency and was said to be observed with sexual expression evident of the headiness of the season invoking continued blessings for the fertile crop. Yet as well, it was thought a family festival observed with reunions, gatherings and bondings of the clans. At this feast of the summer harvest, Habondia’s blessings were called upon for the ripe summer fruit and first harvest grains of the season.” [3]

 

 

 

Sources:

Celt Eros, “Feast of Habondia“.

Joelle’s Sacred Grove, “Celtic Gods and Goddesses“.

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

Woodling, Myth. The Goddess Aradia and Other Subjects, “What is the Amalthean Horn – Habondia“.


Suggested Links:

The Cauldron, “Habondia“.

Felene. Habondia. The Rune, “Goddess of the Summer Harvest“.

Leland, Charles Godfrey. Aradia: Or the Gospel of the Witches.

MysticWicks, “Habondia“.

Witchcraftassociation.org, “About Habonde, my Patron Goddess“.

Goddess Cerridwen

“Cerridwen’s themes are fertility, creativity, harvest, inspiration, knowledge and luck. Her symbols are the cauldron, pigs and grain. The Welsh mother Goddess, Cerridwin also embodies all lunar attributes and the energy of the harvest, specifically grains. In Celtic mythology, Cerriwin owned a cauldron of inexhaustible elixir that endowed creativity and knowledge. At the halfway point of the year, Her inspiration comes along as motivation to ‘keep on keepin’ on.’ Her symbol is a pig, an animal that often represents good fortune and riches, including spiritual enrichment.

Since most folks don’t have a cauldron sitting around, get creative! Use a special cup, bowl or vase set in a special spot to represent Cerridwin’s creativity being welcome in your home. Fill the receptacle with any grain-based product (like breakfast cereal) as an offering. Whisper your desire to the grain each time you see it or walk by. At the end of the day, pour the entire bowl outside for the animals. They will bear your wishes back to the Goddess.

For meat eaters, today is definitely a time to consider having bacon for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch or pork roast for dinner to internalize Cerridwin’s positive aspects. Vegetarians? Fill up your piggy bank with odd change you find around your house and apply the funds to something productive to inspire Cerridwin’s blessing.”

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

Thalia Took tells us that “Cerridwen [pronounced (KARE-id-ooín or KARE-id-win)](‘White Sow’, or ‘White Crafty One’) is the Welsh grain and sow-Goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and Goddess of transformation. Her son Afagddu was so horribly ugly She set to making a brew of wisdom for him, to give him a quality that could perhaps overcome his ugliness. Every day for a year and a day She added herbs at the precise astrological times, but on the day it was ready the three magical drops fell instead on the servant boy, Gwion Bach, who was set to watch the fire. Instantly becoming a great magician, the boy fled from Her wrath, and as She pursued him they each changed shape–a hound following a rabbit, an otter chasing a salmon, a hawk flying after a sparrow–until finally the boy changed to a kernel of wheat, settling into a pile of grain on a threshing-floor. Cerridwen, becoming a black hen, found him out and swallowed him down.

Nine months later She gave birth to Taliesin, who would be the greatest of all bards.

“Shapeshifter” by Lisa Hunt

Called ‘the White Lady of Inspiration and Death’, Cerridwen’s ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing seasons. Her cauldron contains awen, meaning the divine spirit, or poetic or prophetic inspiration. Her link as the Mother of Poetry is seen in Her reborn son Taliesin, and in the Welsh word that makes up part of Her name, cerdd, which also means poetry.

Cerridwen signifies inspiration from an unexpected corner. Plans may go awry; projects may change. Do not be too quick to hold a project to its course–instead let it take its shape as it will.

Variant spellings: Ceridwen, Caridwen, Kyrridwen” [1]

“Cerridwen – the Magician” by Lisa Hunt

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Magic and fertility

Preferred Colors: Green

Associated Symbol: Cauldron

Associated Animal: Crow

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Best Moon Phase: New

Strongest Around: Imbolc

Suitable Offerings: Vervain, acorns

Associated Planet: Moon   [2]

 

 

This 13 minute video does a wonderful job discussing Her story and Her aspects.

 

 

 

Sources:

PaganNews.com, “Cerridwen“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com,Goddess Cerridwyn“.

Daily Goddess, “Cerridwen: Death & Rebirth“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Ceridwen“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow.  Within the Sacred Mists, “Goddess of the Week: Cerridwen“.

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

MoonBird, Maeve.  Order of the White Moon, “Ceridwen“.

PaganPages.org, “Cerridwen“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Cerridwen: mighty and magical can-do woman!“.

The Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, The Tale of Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of Inspiration“.

Wikipedia, “Ceridwen“.

Goddess Marazanna

“Marazanna’s themes are spring, weather, protection, winter, death, rebirth, cycles, change and growth.  Her symbols are dolls (poppets) and water (including ice and snow).  The Polish Goddess for whom this holiday is named represents an odd combination of winter, death and the fruit field’s growth and fertility. As such, She oversees the transitions we wish to make in our lives.

Marzanna is a Polish spring festival which an effigy of Marzanna is tossed into a river to overcome Her wintery nature and ensure that there will be no floods that year. This tradition is likely an antecedent of ancient river sacrifices made to appease the water spirits. Following suit, resolutely throw a biodegradable image of something you wish to overcome this season into any moving water source (even your toilet!). Let Marzenna carry it away, slowly breaking down that negative energy and replacing it with personal growth. Burying an image has the same effect.

To invoke Marzenna’s protection until next winter, write your name and birth date on a piece of paper and freeze it in an ice cube.

Keep the cube in a safe place in the back of your freezer to keep yourself surrounded by Marzenna’s safe barrier. Melt the ice cube later in the year if you need a boost of spring’s revitalizing energy.”

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

“Witch .Marzanna” by smokepaint

“Marazanna is a Slavic Goddess associated with death, winter and nightmares. Some sources equate her with the Latvian Goddess Māra, who takes a person’s body after their death. Some medieval Christian sources such as the Mater Verborum also compare Her to the Greek Goddess Hecate, associating Her with sorcery. The Polish chronicler Jan Długosz (15th cent.) likened Her to Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture.” [1] “In pre-Christian times, She was also associated with the harvest.  She was worshipped as the Mother and Goddess of corn and held in very special reverence.  She appears as an old woman dressed in white who becomes a hag when winter hits and slowly dies off.  She is sometimes associated with Witchcraft and divination.” [2]

The tradition of burning or drowning an effigy of Marzanna to celebrate the end of winter is a folk custom that survives in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  This folk custom falls always around the date of 20/21 March – at the vernal equinox when the Spring begins. The female straw effigy of Marzanna can vary in size – it may be a small puppet or a life-size dummy. The doll is set on fire, drowned in a river or both. The ritual is a symbolic farewell to Winter and the dark days that it involved. It shows joy of rebirth of Spring and victory over death. It was believed that the ritual would ensure good harvest. Destroying the effigy of evil Goddess was believed also to remove all the effects brought by Her. According to the custom the straw effigy was placed on a stick and covered with linen. She was also decorated with ribbons and necklaces. Village children would march with Marzanna – and branches of juniper in their hands – around the whole village. They would drown the Marzanna doll in every river (or generally every water – let it be river, pond or puddle) on the way. In the evening Marzanna effigy would be given to the village youth that would take her out of village and (in the light of burning juniper twigs) they would set a doll on fire and drown in the river. There were of course many superstitions connected with that custom. One could not touch Marzanna after it had been drowned in the river (as he would be in danger of losing the hand), looking back on the way back could bring serious disease and stumbling or falling down could predict death within the next year.

Christianity would forbid this Slavic custom. In 1420 Polish clergy was advised not to allow the villagers to celebrate ‘drowning of Marzanna’. When that would not help, the priests would invent their own habit to replace Marzanna custom with it. On Wednesday preceding Easter holidays an effigy of Judas would be thrown down from church tower. But that would not help either to forget about ‘Drowning of Marzanna’ habit.

Nowadays the ritual is kept within schools and kindergartens. During field trips children perform with their teachers ‘Drowning of Marzanna’ to prepare warm welcome to Spring.” [3]

“‘It concerns the ‘drowning of Marzanna’, a large figure of a woman made from various rags and bits of clothing which is thrown into a river on the first day of the spring calendar. Along the way, she is dipped into every puddle and pond … Very often she is burned along with herbs before being drowned and a twin custom is to decorate a pine tree with flowers and colored baubles to be carried through the village by the girls. There are of course many superstitions associated with the ceremony: you can’t touch Marzanna once she’s in the water, you can’t look back at her, and if you fall on your way home you’re in big trouble. One, or a combination of any of these can bring the usual dose of sickness and plague.’  —Tom Galvin, “Drowning Your Sorrows in Spring”, Warsaw Voice 13.544, March 28, 1999″ [4]

Sources:

Stella. Gods and Goddesses, “Goddess Marzanna“.

Swiech, Barbara. BellaOnline: The Voice of Women, “Slavic goddess and Spring“.

Wikipedia, “Marazanna“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Rolek, Barbara. About.com, “The Drowning of Marzanna or Frost Maiden – Topienie Marzanny“.

Svätoslava. Slavorum: Perserving Slavic Heritage,Burning Morena“. (Fabulous background information, photos and videos about Burning of Morena).

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