Tag Archive: yellow colored items


Malkuth

This is my Birthday Goddess 🙂

“Sophia” by Pamela Matthews

“Malkuth’s themes are forgiveness, cleansing, health, peace, Earth and balance. Her symbols are yellow-colored items, quartz, cereals and grains and the number 10. Malkuth is the Goddess of the tenth sephira in the Cabalistic Tree of Life. Here She reminds us of the need for positive actions on the physical plane, not simply good thoughts or lofty words, to bring about change. Malkuth also counsels us to always balance our Goddess spirituality with real life and to keep peace with the earth, which She personifies.

This is the Jewish new year [Rosh Hashanah] and typically a time for prayer, introspection, and healing the emotional wounds that keep people apart. Take ten minutes out of your morning routine and pray to the Goddess or meditate on recent months. This will give you time to begin integrating all the lessons and changes that have occurred.

Jumping into or over water today liberates you from sin and negativity, as does naming a handful of grain after your problems and tossing it in water. Eating a round loaf of bread dipped in honey brings longevity, and eating apples dipped in honey brings the sweetness of Malkuth’s health.

To encourage Malkuth’s balance and harmony throughout your day, wear something yellow or carry a yellow-colored stone or a piece of quartz with you. The quartz in particular engenders better communication skills and an improved connection with the earth/physical plane.”

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

“Malkuth” by Patricia Waldygo

According to Wikipedia, “Malkuth (pronounced marl-KOOT], or Shekhinah, is the tenth of the sephirot in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. It sits at the bottom of the Tree, below Yesod. This sephirah has as a symbol the Bride which relates to the sphere of Tipheret, symbolized by the Bridegroom.

Unlike the other nine sephirot, it is an attribute of God which does not emanate from God directly. Rather it emanates from God’s creation—when that creation reflects and evinces God’s glory from within itself.

Malkuth means Kingdom. It is associated with the realm of matter/earth and relates to the physical world, the planets and the solar system. It is important not to think of this sephirah as merely ‘unspiritual’, for even though it is the emanation furthest from the divine source, it is still on the Tree of Life. As the receiving sphere of all the other sephirot above it, Malkuth gives tangible form to the other emanations. It is like the negative node of an electrical circuit. The divine energy comes down and finds its expression in this plane, and our purpose as human beings is to bring that energy back around the circuit again and up the Tree.

Some occultists have also likened Malkuth to a cosmic filter, which lies above the world of the Qliphoth, or the Tree of Death, the world of chaos which is constructed from the imbalance of the original sephirot in the Tree of Life. For this reason it is associated with the feet and anus of the human body, the feet connecting the body to Earth, and the anus being the body’s ‘filter’ through which waste is excreted, just as Malkuth excretes unbalanced energy into the Qliphoth. Another way to understand this is that when one is sitting, as in a meditative state, it is the anus that makes physical contact with the Earth, whereas when one is standing or walking, it is the feet that come in contact with the Earth, or Malkuth.

Malkuth is also associated with the world of Assiah, the material plane, and the lowest of the Four Worlds of Kabbalah. Because of this relation to Assiah, it is also related to the Suit of Pentacles or Coins in the Tarot. In the modern card set, this relates to the Suit of Diamonds and symbolizes material wealth, or the treasures found in the physical world. Through Assiah, Malkuth is also related to the four Page cards in the Tarot as well. These are seen as the Jacks of the modern deck. Because it is directly associated with Assiah, Malkuth also represents the second He (ה) in the tetragrammaton (יהוה‎). There is also a connection to the tenth card of each suit in Tarot. The element of Malkuth is Earth.

“Malkuthael” by Harry Wendrich

The name of God is Adonai Melekh or Adon ha-Arets. These exist in the highest world, Atziluth. In the world of Briah, where the archangels reside, the archangel of this sphere is Sandalphon. In the world of Yetzirah, the Ishim (souls of fire) is the Angelic order. In Assiah, the plantary or astrological correspodence with Malkuth is the Earth. In the outer shell of its Sephiroth in Assiah, the Qliphah of Malkuth is Lilith.

“Mother of the World” by Nicholas Roerich

Symbols associated with this sphere are a Bride (a young woman on a throne with a veil over her face) and a double cubed altar. Where Binah is known as the Superior Mother, this sphere is referred to as the Inferior Mother. It is also referred to as the bride of Microprosopos, where Macroprosops is Kether.

From a Christian viewpoint this sphere is important since Jesus preached that people should ‘seek first the Kingdom of God‘.

In some systems, it is equated with Da’at, knowledge, the invisible sephirah.

In comparing with Eastern systems, Malkuth is a very similar archetypal idea to that of the Muladhara chakra. In this manner, Malkuth is again associated with the anus, although technically the Muladhara is located in the sacram bone. In Shakta tantra, which is also associated with the Earth, the plane in which karma is expressed.

Although Malkuth is seen as the lowest Sefirah on the tree of life, it also contains within it the potential to reach the highest. This is exemplified in the Hermetic maxim ‘As above so below’. [1]

“As Above, So Below” by Tania Marie

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Malkuth“.

 

Suggested Links:

Amaluxherbal.com, “The Kabbalah made Practical“.

Corax.com, “The Tree of Life“.

d’Este, Sorita. Themagicalbuffet.com, “The Goddess, Wicca & the Qabalah“.

Ghostwoods. Ghostwoods.com, “Malkuth: The Kingdom“.

Hermetic.com, “Malkuth“.

Themystica.org, “Malkuth“.

Penczak, Christopher. The Temple of High Witchcraft: Ceremonies, Spheres and the Witches’ Qabalah, “Entities of Malkuth“.

Spirit-alembic.com, “Malkuth: The Kingdom of Matter“.

Stone, Philo. Zero-point.tripod.com, “Book I: Sphere 10: MALKUTH, the Earth“.

Wisdomsdoor.com, “Malkuth – The Tree of Life“.

Zero-point.tripod.com, “The Holistic Qabala“.

Goddess Durga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Many Forms of Durga

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

Durga’s Many Arms

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

Durga’s Three Eyes

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

Durga’s Vehicle – the Lion

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

 

Durga’s Many Weapons

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

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

 

 

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

Sources:

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

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

 

 

Suggested Links:

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

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

Koausa.org, “Goddess Durga“.

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

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

Wikipedia, “Durga“.

Goddess Saules Mate

“Saule” by Lisa Hunt

“Saules Mate’s themes are the sun, prayer and protection. Her symbols are the sun, fire, yellow/gold items, horses and birch.  Saules Mate comes to us from Indo-European tradition, Her name meaning ‘sun’. Indeed, with the sun reaching its highest point today, She becomes the center of our festivities. Saules Mate crosses the sky during the day in a carriage drawn by yellow horses, then travels the waters by night in a golden birch boat, hanging a red scarf in the wind to give the sky its lovely color.

In magical traditions, we stop for a moment on this day to mark the sun’s halfway point through its annual journey. Traditionally, this is a time to harvest magical herbs, but do so before Saules Mate gets too bright in the sky; Her heat diminishes the natural oils in the herbs. Remember to leave an offering for the Goddess so She will empower these herbs – perhaps some ground birch wood that acts as plant mulch!

Purify yourself by jumping the ritual fire (or a candle) today, then burn a wish in Saules Mate’s fires to release it into Her care. And use this invocation to Saules Mate for part of personal magic today (for the southern quarter of the magic circle):

‘Powers of fire, reach ever higher. Saules Mate, bring your light; the power to ignite. Salamanders prance in the magical dance, by your power and my will, this sacred space fill!'”

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

“Saule” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Saule (pronounced SEW-lay) means ‘the sun’ and is the most powerful of Latvian heavenly Goddesses. She is the Goddess of the sun and of fertility, the patroness of all unfortunate people, especially orphans (as the only one to substitute the mother, to warm the child; mother is compared to Saule speaking of kindness, and bride as speaking of beauty). She is the mother of Saules meitas or meita (plural or singular). She is said to live on the top of the heavenly mountain (some model of world), where She rides during the day in Her chariot. At night She sails with Her boat on the world sea. The motif of permanent motion is apparent in this image, as well as the idea of the sun shining somewhere else during the night. Of course, the diachronic aspect is to be taken into account. In several cases She appears as the ruler in heaven, especially in relations with Meness.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Saule ruled all parts of life, from birth into Her light to death when She welcomed souls into Her apple tree in the west. Even the name of the ocean on which the Balts lived was Hers, named for Balta Saulite (‘darling little white sun’). She was worshiped in songs and rituals that celebrated Her nurturance of earth’s life, for She was Our Mother, called various names like Saulite Mat (‘little sun-mother’) and Saulite Sudrabota (‘little silver sun’).

She was married in the springtime of creation to the moon man Menesis. Their first child was the earth; after that, countless children became the stars of heaven. Saule was a hardworking mother, leaving the house at dawn each day and driving Her chariot across the sky until dusk. Menesis, however, was fickle and carefree, staying home all day and only sometimes driving his moon-chariot. The light of Saule’s life was Her daughter (variously named Austrine, Valkyrine, and Barbelina, but most generally called Saules Meita, the sun’s daughter), the beloved lady of the Morning Star (or Venus).

Each evening, after She had bathed Her weary horses in the Nemunas River, Saule looked for the child. But one evening She could not find Her – for in Her absence, Saule’s beautiful long-haired daughter had been raped by Menesis.

Art by Marilyn Todd-Daniels

Furious beyond words, Saule took a sword and slashed the moon’s face, leaving the marks we see today. Then She banished him forever from Her presence; thus, they are no longer seen together in the sky – the end of the happy paradise before the evil came into our world.

Saule was worshiped every day when Her people would bow to the east to greet Mother Sun. But she was especially honored on summer solstice, Ligo, when She rose crowned with a braid of red fern blossoms to dance on the hilltops in Her silver shoes. At that moment, people dived into east-flowing streams to bathe themselves in Her light. All the women donned similar braided wreaths and walked through the fields, singing Goddess songs, or daina. Finally, they gathered around bonfires and sang the night away.

“Sophia of the Heights” by Freydoon Rassouli

Because LIthuanian is the oldest extant Indo-European language, it is thought that the Baltic mythologies hold clues to the original beliefs of the people.  But scholarly convention has it that the Indo-Europeans worshiped a sky father embodied in the sun.  Whence, then, this powerful sun mother? Marija Gimbutas, herself Lithuanian, believed Saule to be an Old European Goddess of that woman honoring culture that preceded the Indo-European invasions; Saule was to give way to a male solar divinity. But sun Goddesses in other Indo-European areas show there is room for study” (p. 274). (See my entry on Sól)

 

 

The most Latvian of holiday, “Ligo!”  Below, a video featuring an in-depth explanation of the traditional Ligo! festivities, by Latvia tourism.

Sources:

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

Putelis, Aldis. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Saule“.

Suggested Links:

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

The Blue Roebuck,Saule“.

Dunduliene, Prane. The Sage Grove, “Forgotten Goddesses – Saule“,

Monaghan, Patricia. The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations & Rituals.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology“.

Wikipedia, “Saulė“.

Goddess Sól

* For today’s entry, Patricia Telesco names “Dag” as today’s Goddess. However, Dag (or Dagr) is NOT a Goddess and never was a Goddess.  Dag is a god in Norse mythology – ‘day’ personified. This personification appears in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.  So, instead, as the purpose of this page is dedicated to rediscovering and exploring the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises, I will be researching the Goddess Sól/Sunna, the ‘sun’ personified in Germanic mythology. 

 

Sól’s themes are the sun, blessings, cycles, healing, movement, and travel.  Her symbols are gold or yellow colored items, [chariots] and horses.  “Sól (Old Norse ‘Sun’) or Sunna (Old High German, and existing as an Old Norse and Icelandic synonym: see Wiktionary sunna, ‘Sun’) is the Sun personified in Germanic mythology.” [1] As the northern hemisphere approaches late spring, Sól’s inspiring light and warmth are welcome and notable. “Sól drives the chariot of the Sun across the sky every day pulled by the horses Alsviðr (‘Very Fast’) and Arvakr (‘Early Rising’)” [2], giving Her additional connections with movement and safe travel.

“This date marks the return of the Midnight Sun, a ‘day’ for Norwegians that will actually last for ten weeks, emphasizing Sól’s power. Correspondingly, people’s activity level increases around the clock, as they sleep less to adjust to the change in earth’s cycle. So, when your inner resources lag or you’re out of kilter with natural or biological clocks, turn to Sól for assistance.

Wear gold or yellow items to tune into Her vibrations, and get out in Sól’s sunlight today (if the weather cooperates). It’s very healthy and naturally generates more of Sól’s positive energy for anything you undertake.

It’s an excellent day to take a short trip anywhere. If you enjoy horseback riding and have a stable nearby, take a jaunt and ride with Sól and the wind at your back. Alternatively, use ‘horse power’ and take a short drive in your car!”

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

Interestingly enough, in Norse mythology, the Sun is female while the Moon is male. When the world was created from the body of the dead giant Ymir by the triad of OdinVili and Ve, the Sun, Moon and Stars were made from the gathered sparks that shot forth from Muspellsheim, the Land of Fire.

“Silmarillion: Arien” by ~LadyElleth

Sunna is the Norse Goddess of the Sun, also known as Sól – though some hold that Sól is the mother and Sunna Her daughter.  As Sunna, She is a healer as seen in one of the two Merseburg Incantations (the “horse cure”) written in the 9th or 10th century CE, which attests that Sunna is the sister of Sinthgunt. In Norse mythology, Sól is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.  In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda She is described as the sister of the personified moon, Máni, is the daughter of Mundilfæri, and is at times referred to as Álfröðull. [3] [4]

“Sunna -‘Mistress of the Sun,’ the ancient Scandinavians used to sing, ‘sits on a bare stone and spins on Her golden distaff for the hour before the sun rises.’  To the people of the north, as to many others, the bright day-bringing star was feminine, the Goddess Sunna – still honored whenever we point to the sun.

“Surrendering” by Frey­doon Ras­souli

Her people said that Sunna lived at first on earth; She was such a beautiful child that Her father, Mundilfæri, named Her after the most brilliant star.  But such presumption annoyed the gods of Asgard.  They took Sunna from earth to Her namesake, where She forever after rode the chariot of day.  Pulling Her were divine horses…under their harnesses were bags of wind that cooled them and the earth as they traveled with their mistress through the sky.  Likewise Sunna carried the shield Svalin (‘cool’), which protected the earth from too intense contact with Her rays.

Sunna was not really immortal, for like other Scandinavian gods, She was doomed to die at Ragnarök, the end of the universe.  She was said to be constantly chased through the sky by the Fenris-wolf Sköll, offspring of a female giant (it is said that sometimes he comes so close that he is able to take a bite out of the Sun, causing an eclipse. [5]); on the last day he would catch Her and devour Her.  But say the eddas, ‘one beaming daughter the bright Sunna bears before She is swallowed,’ and this new sun daughter would take Her mother’s place in the new sky following the destruction of Sunna’s realm.  (When the world is destroyed, a new world shall be born, a world of peace and love, and the Sun’s bright daughter shall outshine Her mother. [6])

The ‘bright bride of heaven’ had, in addition to the familiar powers we grant the sun, a special function in Norse mythology.  She was the ‘elf beam’ or ‘deceiver of dwarves’, for those creatures were petrified by Her glance. Stone was important to Her in another way, for Her worshipers carved deep stone circles across the Scandinavian landscape as part of Her sacred rites.” (Monaghan, 1997, p. 287).

Alternate names: Sól, Sun, Sunna, Sunnu, Gull (“Gold”).

 

 

Sources:

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

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sunna, Norse Goddess of the Sun“.

Wikipedia, “Sól“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mystic Wicks, “Sól/Sunna {Goddess of the Week}“.

Crowfuzz & Tyrsson. Beliefnet, “Midsummer: A Celebration of the Goddess Sunna“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Sun Goddesses“.

Northernpaganism.org, “The Northern Sky: Praising Sunna“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sol“.

Goddess Amaterasu

“Amaterasu” by Hrana Janto

“Amaterasu’s themes are the sun, tradition, unity, blessings, community, and kinship.  Her symbols are a mirror, gold or yellow items.  Amaterasu is unique among Goddesses, being one of the few women to personify the sun. In Japan She rules over cultural unity, kinship and the blessings that someone with the name ‘Illuminating Heaving’ might be expected to bestow. It is Amaterasu’s sun that nudges the greenery to reach toward Her light, just as Her gentle energy prods us toward re-establishing harmony in all our relationships.

 The first week of May in Japan is called Golden Week, and it’s a time when Amaterasu’s solar beauty really shines. The Hakata festival is a national holiday that includes celebrations for children and a special parade depicting Japan’s legendary deities. Take a moment to join the festivities long-distance. Remember Amaterasu by wearing gold-colored items today and opening as many curtains as possible to let in Her glorious light.

Once the curtains are opened, take a hand mirror and reflect the light into every corner of your home. This draws Amaterasu’s unifying energy into your living space and guards against discord among all who dwell therein. Also, to ensure that no malevolence enters from outside the home, put a mirror facing outwards in an eastern window (where Amaterasu rises). This is a Buddhist custom for turning away negativity and evil influences.”

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

“Amaterasu (pronounced AH-mah-tay-RAH-soo) is the Japanese sun Goddess and supreme deity of the Shinto faith. Through Her descendent Ninigi, who married Konohana, or Sengen, She is the ancestress of the Imperial family. Her name means ‘Great Shining Goddess of Heaven’, and She is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi, the divine couple who created the lands. Her double shrine at Ise is rebuilt every twenty years, using one of the two identical buildings as a model. Thus the form of Her temple has remained consistent for two thousand years.

“Amaterasu” by mirana

Like other solar deities such as Apollo, Amaterasu is an archer, Her quiver holding one thousand arrows. She is also a weaver who makes the garments of the gods.

Amaterasu’s impetuous, loud, and altogether boorish younger brother Susano-o made it a habit to undo all Her good deeds, and in frustration and fear, She shut Herself inside a cave and refused to come out. The other Gods could not bear to be without Her light, and finally enticed Her out by holding a raucous party outside the cave entrance, the highlight of which was the Goddess Uzume performing a divine striptease. Her curiosity piqued by the gods’ roaring laughter, Amaterasu looked out and saw Her own reflection in an octagonal mirror placed there [made by the Goddess Ishikore-dome]. Fascinated by Her own nearly forgotten beauty, She came out of the cave a little, which was shut fast behind Her.

Art by Dawn Mostow

Amaterasu is associated with royal power, and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after winter.

Alternate names: Ama-terasu-o-mi-kami” [1]

According to Patricia Monaghan, “Of all the religions currently practiced by significant numbers of people, the only one whose chief divinity is female is Japanese Shinto, based on the worship of the sun Goddess Amaterasu (‘great shining heaven’).

“Amaterasu” by Cyril Helnwein

In Her simple shrines-notable for their architectural purity and unpretentiousness and for the central mirror that represents the Goddess-Amaterasu is honored as the ruler of all deities, as the guardian of Japan’s people, and as the symbol of Japanese cultural unity. Her emblem, the rising sun, still flies on Japan’s flag. Even the inroads of patriarchal Buddhism have not destroyed the worship of the bejeweled ancestor of all humanity.

There is one central myth of Amaterasu. She quarreled with the storm god Susano-o and brought winter to the world. Two reasons are given for her annoyance with him: one, because of his murder of Amaterasu’s sister, the food-giving Goddess Uke-Mochi; the other, because of his deliberately provocative acts against Amaterasu Herself [and savaged the earth].

The latter version has it that Amaterasu did not trust Her brother Susano-o because of his excesses and his constant shouting. One day he came to heaven to see Her, claiming that he meant no harm. She was wary, but he promised that he would undergo a ritual test to prove his goodwill. He said he would give birth, and that if his intentions were peaceful, the children would all be boys.

“Amaterasu” by Sandra M. Stanton

Amaterasu grabbed Susano-o’s sword and broke it with Her teeth, spitting out three pieces which, striking the ground, became Goddesses. Susano-o asked Amaterasu for some of Her jewels: She gave him five; he cracked them open and made them into gods. But then Susano-o grew wild with excitement at his creative feat and tore through the world destroying everything in his path: he even piled feces under Amaterasu’s throne. As though that were not enough, he stole into Her quarters and threw a flayed horse’s corpse through the roof of Her weaving room, so startling one of Amaterasu’s companions [Wakahirume] that She pricked Herself and died.

This was too much for the sun Goddess. She left this mad world and shut Herself up in a comfortable cave. Without the sun, the entire world was blanketed with unending blackness. The eight million gods and goddesses, desperate for their queen’s light, gathered to call out pleas that She return. But in Her cave the Goddess stayed.

The shaman Uzume, Goddess of merriment, finally took matters into Her hands. She turned over a washtub, climbed on top, and began dancing and singing and screaming bawdy remarks.

Soon the dance became a striptease. When She had shed all Her clothes, Uzume began dancing so wildly and obscenely that the eight million gods and goddesses started to shout with delight.

Inside Her cave, Amaterasu heard the noise. As it grew to a commotion, She called to ask what was going on. Someone paused to answer that they had found a better Goddess than the sun.

Provoked-and curious-Amaterasu opened the door of Her cave just a crack.

The gods and goddesses had, with great foresight, installed a mirror directly outside of the cave. Amaterasu, who had never seen Her own beauty before, was dazzled.

“Amaterasu” by *tattereddreams

While She stood there dazed, the other divinities grabbed the door and pulled it open. Thus the sun returned to warm the winter-weary earth. Mounted again on her heavenly throne, Amaterasu punished Susano-o by having his fingernails and toenails pulled out and by throwing him out of her heaven.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, “Amaterasu”.

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

Suggested Links:

A Chapel of Our Mother God, “Amaterasu: The Universal Sun Goddess“.

Etan. Order of the White Moon, “Amaterasu“. (This link includes a guided meditation and rituals to Amaterasu)

Goddessgift.com, “Amaterasu and Uzume, Goddesses of Japan“.

Kazuo, MATSUMURA.  “Alone Among Women: A Comparitive Mythic Analysis of the Development of Amaterasu Theology“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Amaterasu: laughter over lamentation“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Amaterasu“.

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddess in World Mythology, “Amaterasu Omikami“.

Wikipedia, “Amaterasu“.

Goddess Ganga

"The Descent of Ganga" by Om Prakash Saini

“Ganga’s themes are cleansing, health and mercy. Her symbols are water and yellow colored items.
As the Hindu Goddess of the river Ganges, Ganga represents purification, wellness and benevolence in the new year. Legend has it Ganga came to earth upon hearing the cries of people who were dying from drought. Shiva divided Ganga into seven streams so she would flood the earth upon her arrival. Part of this stream remained in the heavens as the Milky Way, and the rest flows through India as the river Ganges, where the Goddess lives. Art depicts Ganga as beautiful, controlling the makara (a sea monster on which she stands), with water flowing all around her.

In India, people gather on the river Ganges on this day and bathe in the waters for health, protection and forgiveness from ten sins. They welcome spring’s approach during this festival by wearing yellow clothing and colored food, like rice with saffron.

To adapt this tradition and prompt Ganga’s blessings, wear any yellow-toned stone (like citrine), and/or eat rice as part of any meal. Adapt your shower, tap, bath or lawn sprinkler to substitute for the river Ganges. As you stand beneath the water, visualize any figurative dirt being washed down the drain.”

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

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. The documentary, “Mother Ganga: A journey along the sacred Ganges River” portrays a pilgrimage, starting at the Bay of Bengal where the Ganges enters the sea (Ganga Sagar), to Gangotri and Gomukh in the Himalayan Mountains where the Ganges appears.   This film can be purchased by going to www.gangamovie.com


So central is the Ganga to the Hindu imagination that all sects have an origin story for Her that reflects well on their chosen god. The Great Trinity of Hinduism is intimately associated with Ganga. She is described as the daughter of Brahma, the wife of Shiva, and the actual melted body of Vishnu. This multiplicity of roles happens because no worshipper wanted to feel left out from the saving grace of Ganga. For Ganga’s supreme virtue is that She can save you from sin. One drop of Her sacred waters is enough to wipe out all the sins accumulated over many lifetimes. One single drop of Ganga water on the cremated remains of a sinner is enough to wipe out all his sins and gain him heaven as one popular story goes. There is nobody who is so sinful that he or she cannot be saved by the waters of the Ganga. The Ganga is thus the ultimate in merciful mother Goddesses.

Goddess Ganga is represented as a fair-complexioned woman, wearing a white crown and sitting on a crocodile and is the only living Goddess in the Hindu pantheon. She holds a water lily in Her right hand and a lute in Her left. When shown with four hands she carries a water-pot, a lily, a rosary and has one hand in a protective mode.

Ganga represents the innermost pristine coolness, piety and purity. River Ganga continues to enriches the spiritual lives of millions and millions of Indians for whom the river is divine. The river Ganga itself embodies all the characteristics India is known for: mythical, serene, all pervading and assimilative.

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