Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bast


The Egyptian goddess Bast, sometimes spelled Bastet, is best known in Her role as the Cat Goddess. There was a good reason for the Egyptians to revere cats, because they kept down vermin during times of famine, but Bast was not always a domesticated goddess.  When a cat curls up with its head touching its tail, it forms a circle...the symbol of eternity... the symbol of the goddess in whatever form she has chosen.  Bast began Her life as a
protector goddess of Lower Egypt. She was as a fierce lioness; Her name is given to mean  devourer. She is usually shown in art as a cat-headed woman  carrying a basket or as a whole cat. Quite often though, they are kittens at her feet in the pictures. A woman who wanted  children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.

Bast is the protector of cats, women and children.  There are many legends connected Her as an ancient sun and War Goddess... one saying that She accompanied the sun god, Ra's, boat of a million years on its daily journey through the sky, and at night, She fought his with enemy, the serpent Apep. As a protector, She was seen as a defender of the Pharaoh.  

Her name translates as female of the ointment jar; hence She would gradually become the Goddess of Perfumes and Oils. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife.

Bast was a happy and benign deity who brought good fortune, music, dance and joy to all. Statues of cats are commonly passed off as facsimiles of Bast, but this is incorrect. The cat was indeed Her sacred animal and the people of the time tended to see the Goddess in every cat that walked past, but Her original depiction was as a royal lady or a priestess with a cat's head. The ancient Egyptians celebrated her feast day on October 31st with lots of merry making, music, dancing in the streets and drinking with friends. Sadly, in modern times, Bast and Her feast day are overlooked, but you could perhaps say that Halloween was originally celebrated as the Feast of Bast.

She also has the gift, like all cats, of looking deep into your soul.
Take a moment today to honor this ancient Egyptian goddess. Light a green candle, Her sacred color, and be affectionate to a cat, Her cherished animal. When you address a cat, remember you are speaking to a little divinity, and a creature beloved of Bast.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hel


Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead and the underworld. She is the youngest child of the trickster, Loki, and the giantess, Angrboda. She controls the souls of the wicked and those who die of sickness or old age.  She is usually described as a horrible hag, who walks the line between life and death. Her face and body are those of a living woman, but her thighs and legs are those of a corpse, mottled and moldering. 

The gods had abducted Hel and her brothers from Angrboda's hall and cast Her in the underworld.  Odin, the king of the Gods, appointed Her to the position of queen of the underworld.  Her job is to not only to rule the underworld, but also to judge the souls that come to her. She  rules over large mansions and over the many servants in Her realm which is also called Hel.  The gates of Hel are massive, and they open and close as the dead approach...shutting behind those who pass it and those who will not open to let them out again. 

As the Goddess of Death and Queen of the Underworld, She is a constant force in our lives, life-changing and never-ending.  Hel is the leaves that fall from the trees in autumn.... the grandmother who goes to sleep and never wakes up.  She opens Her arms to us at the most crucial time in our lives...She, the force behind the life alterations that shift our worldview.  Hel allows us to move forward in our lives, leaving old, outworn ideas and customs behind.  She is the impetus and the reason for transformation. It is Hel who thins the veil between the worlds.

Hel is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted Goddess aspects in history. She has been greatly perverted through the years by patriarchal domination and ultimately used by the early Christian church as a scare tactic to frighten the masses into righteous acts. To get the real story, we have to go back to the early Nordic people and look this death Goddess in the face.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cerridwen


Cerridwen is the one of the old Celtic Goddesses who has contributed to the 'old witch' stereotype. She comes at Samhain when the veil is thin. She is the Goddess of transformation, death, magic, regeneration, the Welsh Goddess of the Sacred Cauldron of inspiration, awen, a powerful symbol of transforming magic for it is said to contain all of the knowledge of the world.  She is the guardian of spiritual transformation.  She is also named White Lady of Inspiration and Death, a shapeshifter who can take on animal forms as quick as a blink, and She CAN be ruthless. Cerridwen is the inspiration for the Samhain or Halloween witch stirring a Cauldron comes from, and although She can be very frightening, Her cauldron is a source of wisdom, inspiration, and creativity.

Cerridwen lived on an island in the middle of Lake Tegid where She gave birth to two children...a beautiful daughter and a very ugly son.  She brewed a magical spell in Her cauldron to make Her son very smart; the brew was known as Greal and it sits for a year and a day, and when She had to go out, She left it in the care of a young mortal called Gwion...leaving him strict instructions not to touch its contents.  But, boys will be boys, and he ends up ingesting three drops of the potion, thus taking its magic into himself.  Immediately he was able to understand everything around him...the past, the future and the dangers that were about to befall him when Cerridwen returns.   

He immediately flees.  Cerridwen, flying into a rage, chases after him, and he quickly uses his new powers to change himself into a hare.. Cerridwen took the form of a greyhound and followed in swift pursuit. But just as She was about to catch him, he changed into a fish and slipped into a river. Cerridwen quickly became an otter and continued after Gwion. About to be caught again, he once more changed his form, this time into a bird and flew off into the sky, only discovering the Cerridwen was close behind, having taken the shape of a hawk. Fearing for his life, Gwion noticed a pile of wheat on the land below and changing himself into the tiniest of grains, dropped into the pile. Cerridwen's sharp eyes saw what he had done and taking the form of a black crested hen, She pecked at the grain until She found and ate the seed that had been Gwion. 

But the tiny seed took root within her womb and began to grow. For nine months, Cerridwen proclaimed that on the day that Gwion would be reborn She would destroy him, but when that day arrived She relented. She placed him in a leather sack and threw him into the raging waters of the river, this just two days before the first of May.The child, of course, becomes known as Taliesan, the greatest bard in Celtic myth.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Itzpapalotl


Itzpapalotl is the Aztec Goddess of seasons.  She was also known as Obsidian Knife Butterfly.  She is the Dark Mother of creation and change who controls the rhythms of the seasons of the year and agriculture as well as the patroness of the warriors.  Her fierce nature manifests itself in droughts, storms, and death.  She is a very beautiful Goddess with death
death symbols scrawled on her face. She ruled fate, stars, and agriculture. She was worshiped even before Tenochtitlan and was considered as a prominent Aztec deity of war.

She is usually depicted as a dragon with butterfly wings to indicate Her shamanic and transformational powers as well as symbolic of the human fear of death, yet providing hope for a gentle sleep, transformation, and rebirth. The  butterfly represents the human soul and its journey to the heavens. Her hands and feet are depicted alternately as jaguar or eagle claws, as She grips the corners of the sky with her hands. Her fierce countenance expresses the darker aspects of nature found in drought, floods, storms, disease or death. Another face of Itzpapalotl is one of great beauty showing her gift of kindness through release of suffering, transformation of the soul and the fostering of new growth in spring.


She presides over the tzitinime (female demons) was feared by men for they were said to attack young men at crossroads on certain days of the year.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quan Yin


Quan Yin's name means "she who hears the cries of the world." She personifies compassion for all who call out to Her in need of Her assistance to eradicate the misery they may be experiencing in their life. She is venerated by most Asian religions as a savior and the Goddess of Mercy.  She embodies the female principle and is usually represented as a young female deity who has the power to assume any form necessary to carry out her vow...which is to lead all beings out of a life of suffering and into their spiritual realization.

Worshipped primarily by women, Quan Yin comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost, the senile and the unfortunate. Her popularity has grown throughout the centuries to the extent that she is now regarded as the protector of sailors, farmers and travelers. Quan Yin is said to hear all prayers and has compassion and empathy for humankind.  She also cares for the souls in the underworld and is invoked during post-burial rituals to free the soul of its physical from and the torments of purgatory.

The following old Chinese fairytale depicts how She came to be and how she earned her thousand arms and eyes:  

In China during the 7th century a king had three daughters, and the greatest desire of his third and youngest daughter was to be a nun, but the king wanted her to marry. When she protested, the king became angry and flew into a rage, ordering her to serve the family by doing the most menial of tasks, such as scrubbing chamberpots and growing vegetables in barren rocky ground. He was sure that such tasks would humble her and make her change her mind and follow his wishes. But it was not to be.
 
In fact, she was able to grow beautiful vegetables in the garden. When the king saw that his plan was foiled, he grew very angry and ordered her execution. Fortunately, the executioner was a kind-hearted man who devised a way to make the sword break into a thousand pieces, thus leaving the girl unharmed, but the king saw that the execution was not successful, and took matters into his own hands, slaying his own daughter.


Upon the her arrival in the underworld, the fires of hell were put out. Now, the king of the underworld did not like the changes that she brought into his kingdom, so he returned her to the land of the living, riding in the heart of a lotus bloom. When she arrived in the land of the living, she made her home on the top of Putuo, an island in the sea. She lived here for many years healing the sick and saving mariners from shipwreck.

Eventually, her father became ill, and he was told that the only thing that could heal him was the eyes and arms of a compassionate soul. Upon hearing this, Quan Yin  willingly gave her arms and eyes so that he might be healed. Not knowing who she was, he approached her to give his thanks. As he recognized her as his daughter, and understood her sacrifice, a cloud descended upon her. When the cloud went away the holes that were once her eyes and arms had been replaced by a thousand eyes and arms.
 
There are temples throughout the world dedicated to this Her, and women in every country pay homage to Her and send Her their pleas for assistance or gratitude for coming to their aid. Often we find Her depicted holding a vase containing the waters of compassion, the lotus flower of enlightenment or the jewel of the three treasures  She is also shown with dragons, which are known as the protectors of faith, keeping watch over temples and Heaven itself.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hathor

 
The cow-headed Goddess, Hathor, is one of the most recognized deities of the Egyptian pantheon.  She was the daughter of the sun god, Ra and worshipped as the Goddess of of joy, abundance and pleasure as well as being the protector of mothers and children and the guardian spirit of female animals.   In addition, She was Goddess of the Underworld where She assisted the dead to be reborn and ruler of the sky and the mediating figure between the worlds. She was also believed to be the one who carried the dead to the Underworld where She would then serve them food and drink. She was depicted in several different guises including a lioness and a cow, sometimes as a tree, and sometimes as a woman.   

According to a story that has been found on the walls of a shrine in King Tutankhamen's tomb, Ra, had become very fearful of his enemies and asked Hathor to help him but he had never expected Her reaction. She took on the job with a vengeance and turned into Sekhmet, the lioness goddess, and seemed to enjoy the killing. Ra, now becoming concerned that She was about to  wipe out the entire human race, had a red dye mixed in ale and spread across the land. Hathor, thinking it was blood, drank it and became so intoxicated that She forgot all about Her assignment, and humankind was saved. Pacified by the beer, She resumed her persona as the beautiful Hathor and returned to Ra.

Hathor's name means 'domain of Horus' which may make Her the original mother of the celestial falcon. She was essentially the body in which the soul resides; hence, She was patron of bodily pleasures...sound, sight, art, cosmetics, dance, music, and love.  In fact, the worship of Hathor was so popular that a lot of festivals were dedicated to Her honor...more than any other Egyptian deity.  Even Her priesthood was unusual in that both women and men became Her priests, and as one of the world's greatest Goddesses, She was worshipped for more than 3,000 years. Her festivals were carnivals of intoxication, whereupon revelers broke out and throbbed through the streets. She was a most beloved goddess to Her people, and they held fast to Her pleasurable rites long into historical times.


In the Book of the Dead, the papyrus of Ani, we find the following prayer to Hathor:

Hathor,
Lady of Amentet,
the Dweller in the Great Land,
the Lady of Ta-Tchesert,
the Eye of Ra,
the Dweller in his breast,
the Beautiful Face in the Boat of Millions of Years,
 the Seat of Peace of the doer of truth,
Dweller in the Boat of the favoured ones.....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hsi Wang Mu


Hsi Wang Mu is the the Chinese Goddess of immortality and eternal life; She is the personification of the female energy of yin. Many refer to Her as the 'Royal Mother of the West', She rules over the western paradise of the immortals. She is the daughter of the god, Yu-huang, and her husband is Mu Kung. She was once a terrifying monster Goddess with the face of a woman, the teeth of a tiger, and the tail of a leopard, but according to tradition, She was transformed into a beautiful woman once She came under the influence of Taoism. Hence, we find Her most often portrayed as a young beautiful woman wearing a gown of royal fabric. Her long black hair is generally held with  with ornaments of pearls or jade. She is sometimes pictured riding a peacock or with  white cranes beside Her; all of which were believed to be Her constant companions.

Her incredible nine story jade palace lies in the mythical Land of Immortals in the Mountains of Kunlun. It is said to be a place of great beauty with marble buildings, sparkling brooks, and magnificent gardens. It is surrounded by a wall of over a thousand miles long and of pure gold. The male immortals are said to reside in the right wing while the female immortals reside in the left wing of this palace. It is in Her garden that she cultivates the Peach of Immortality, a giant cosmic peach tree which forms only one peach every three thousand years. When the peach is harvested, Hsi Wang Mu invites the immortals to a feast to celebrate Her birthday and to partake in a celestial wine, an elixir of immortality and wisdom which She miraculous peach which bestows another lease of immortality. 

The power of Her peach trees is so remarkable that Chinese wizards used their branches for magic wands.  Eating the fruit insures 3,000 years of good health and happiness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Metis



Metis was Greek Goddess of Wisdom; She was the wisest of all of the gods and mortals alike. She was a second generation Titan, born to Oceanus and Tethys in. When Zeus decided that he needed aqueen, he chose Metis. At first she tried in vain to escape his advances, but in the end succumbed to his endeavor and became first wife of Zeus, before Hera,...but this was a dangerous union because Metis was fated to bear two exceptional children to him, the first, a daughter Athena, who was to be as wise and strong as Her father followed by a son who would eventually displace him as ruler of Gods and mortals. To avoid this, Zeus swallowed the pregnant Metis to prevent Her from giving birth to a son while She was pregnant with Athena. So Athena was born fully grown from his head, and the threatening son was never conceived.  

It is said that Metis remains in Zeus's belly, supplying him with inner wisdom and advice, while Athena was to become Her father's most trusted ally and advisor. Metis is the personification of feminine intuition.  She is also seen as an oracle, and the patroness of counselors and therapists.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Valkyries


The Valkyries ("Choosers of the Slain") are a group of beautiful ,young  fierce battle-oriented goddesses who  mounted upon winged horses and armed with helmets and spears.  They are normal viewed as the maidens of Odin. The Valkyries scout the battlefields to choose the bravest of those who have been slain and escort these heroes to Valhalla, Odin's Hall where they serve food and drink to both the god and his guests....those brave warriors killed in battle...
  
...and when they aren't waiting on these blessed men, they can found overseeing all battles that are waging on the world.  They not only visit every battle, but they choose who will win the conflict and who will perish. Their purpose is to bring about the death of any warrior chosen by Odin to become a new member in his force.  When a Valkyrie chooses a favorite mortal, She will teach this person special skills of magic and protect Her chosen by warning of upcoming danger and conflict.  She will remain this person's guardian spirit throughout his or her lifetime.The Valkyrie has the gift of prophecy, and will sometimes even take the form of a mortal woman in order to marry the hero of Her heart.  

The Valkyries are also Odin's messengers, and when they ride forth on their errands, their armor causes a strange flickering light. We call it the "Aurora Borealis" or Northern Lights. The Valkyrie is related to the Celtic warrior-goddess, the Morrigan, who likewise may assume the form of the raven.

Song of Darraoar

from the Icelandic Njal´s Saga. A man called Darraoar has a vision that twelve Valkyries are weaving the fate of an on-going battle on a grisly loom...

Blood rains from the cloudy web
On the broad loom of slaughter.
The web of man grey as armor
Is now being woven; the Valkyries
Will cross it with a crimson weft.

The warp is made of human entrails;
Human heads are used as heddle-weights;
The heddle rods are blood-wet spears;
The shafts are iron-bound and arrows are the shuttles.
With swords we will weave this web of battle.

The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords,
Hildr and Hjörþrimul, Sangríðr and Svipul.
Spears will shatter shields will splinter,
Swords will gnaw like wolves through armor.

Let us now wind the web of war
Which the young king once waged.
Let us advance and wade through the ranks,
Where friends of ours are exchanging blows.

Let us now wind the web of war
And then follow the king to battle
Gunnr and Göndul can see there
The blood-spattered shields that guarded the king.

Let us now wind the web of war
Where the sacred banner is forging forward
Let his life not be taken;
Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.

Lands will be ruled by new peoples
Who once inhabited outlying headlands.
We pronounce a great king destined to die;
Now an earl is felled by spears.

The men of Ireland will suffer a grief
That will never grow old in the minds of men.
The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened;
The news of disaster will spread through lands.

It is horrible now to look around
As a blood-red cloud darkens the sky.
The heavens are stained with the blood of men,
As the Valkyries sing their song.

We sang well victory songs
For the young king; hail to our singing!
Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song
Learn it well and tell it to others.

Let us ride our horses hard on bare backs,
With swords unsheathed away from here!

"And then they tore the woven cloth from the loom and ripped it to pieces, each keeping the shred she held in her hands... The women mounted their horses and rode away, six to the south and six to the north."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hymn to Inanna

The name Enheduana is actually a title that means “high priestess of Nanna” (or more accurately “High Priestess, Ornament of the God of the Sky”). Nanna was an Akkadian god, and even though Enheduana was a priestess in his service, most of her known writings are dedicated to Inanna, a Sumerian goddess of love, sex, and fertility. Interesting how that happened!
The name Enheduana is actually a title that means “high priestess of Nanna” (or more accurately “High Priestess, Ornament of the God of the Sky”). Nanna was an Akkadian god, and even though Enheduana was a priestess in his service, most of her known writings are dedicated to Inanna, a Sumerian goddess of love, sex, and fertility. Interesting how that happened!
The name Enheduana is actually a title that means “high priestess of Nanna” (or more accurately “High Priestess, Ornament of the God of the Sky”). Nanna was an Akkadian god, and even though Enheduana was a priestess in his service, most of her known writings are dedicated to Inanna, a Sumerian goddess of love, sex, and fertility. Interesting how that happened!

he Exaltation of Inanna is a prime example of early religious writing. It was written by a high priestess named Enheduana, whose works, according to some scholars, are the first known written literature. Her works are definitely the first literature with an identifiable author, and the first known to include first-person narrative.
The Hymn to Inanna is an example of early religious writing.  It was written by a High Priestess, Enheduanna, who lived more than 4,200 years ago.  Her works are believed to be the first known in written literature.  Her name is actually a title which means 'High Priestess of Nanna".  Her father was Sargon the Great and it was he who appointed Her as the High Priestess of Ur, and most of Her writings were dedicated to Inanna. I find Enheduanna a fascinating woman in her own right.  You can find more about her here  Enheduanna

he Exaltation of Inanna is a prime example of early religious writing. It was written by a high priestess named Enheduana, whose works, according to some scholars, are the first known written literature. Her works are definitely the first literature with an identifiable author, and the first known to include first-person narrative.
The name Enheduana is actually a title that means “high priestess of Nanna” (or more accurately “High Priestess, Ornament of the God of the Sky”). Nanna was an Akkadian god, and even though Enheduana was a priestess in his service, most of her known writings are dedicated to Inanna, a Sumerian goddess of love, sex, and fertility. Interesting how that happened!
 O Queen of the Seven Gods, O radiant splendor
of light, fountain of life, darling of Heaven
and Earth, priest, daughter and servant of Heaven!

 Jewelled and crowned with life, born to be Lord,
in your hand are the guardian spirits of the Seven Gods,
and you yourself guard and protect the guardian spirits,
you have taken them up and tied them to your hands,
have gathered them in and pressed them to your breast.
You can fill the land with poison like a snake,
plants vanish from the earth when you thunder like Anu,
at your command the floods come down from the mountain.
 Supreme in power, Inanna of Heaven and Earth,
whose mouth rains sparkles of lightning over the land,
mistress of beasts, given the gods’ life-spirits
by An, by An given the unfailing Word
to speak at his fateful command: who can fathom your glory?
...O wild and rampant, eldest daughter of the Moon,
Queen greater than An, who can pay you sufficient homage?
 Queen of Queens, who in accordance with the spirits
were greater than your mother the moment you were born,
wise and knowing queen of all the lands,
mother of men and animals, I sing your praise...
I have entered before you in my holy garments,
I the princess imperial, Enheduanna,
singing as I carried your ritual baskets,
 High Priestess of the Moon. But now no longer
can I serve the goodly temple that I established,
for the day that dawns in Ur scorches my skin
and the sand of the Southwind overwhelms me at nightfall,
My honey sweet voice is hoarse and strident
and all that gave me pleasure has fallen to dust.
 I, what am I among living creatures!
An, An, give to punishment the rebels
that hate Inanna, and split their cities’ walls!

Enlil, curse them, and let their children perish
with no mother there to soothe them!
 ...The queen of queens, the prop of all the nations,
accepted Enheduanna’s prayers. Her heart
was again as of old, the day became propitious,
Inanna showered her beauty and allure
and joy like silver moonlight over our land!
Ancient Nanu in wonder and awe, and Ningal
her mother, worshiped her at the templ’s doorstep.
 Priestess, queen, noble commander of gods,
destroyer of barbarians, whom An made protector of spirits,
Queen, clothed in allure and attraction, Inanna: Praise!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Indrani


Indrani is the Hindu goddess of insight; She is a Goddess of great beauty and is the wife and consort of the King of Heaven, Indra. She was the queen of Gods. She is depicted as a fierce Goddess with one thousand eyes and holding a thunderbolt in one hand and a child in the other. Her complexion is red, and She wears a crown and beautiful ornaments. She is often flanked by an elephant. Goddess Indrani is one of the Sapta Matrikas...the seven divine mothers in the Hindu religion.  The divine vehicle for the Goddess was either a lion or an elephant. She is all-seeing, and capable of perceiving the secrets of the material and the spiritual worlds.

In the earlier Vedic accounts, Indrani was depicted as a female shadow of Indra. She was, for a short while, considered to be an evil spirit. She was said to be the daughter of a demon; thus, She is sometimes referred to as the Goddess of wrath.  Then, in  later Hindu interpretations,  She began personifying jealousy and evil intent, but after a few years, She became an important and highly worshiped Astral Spirit in Southern India and is worshiped there until this day...  

...and, according to the Rig Veda, Indrani is considered a most fortunate female for Indra granted Her immortality.  It is said that he chose Her over all of the other Goddesses because of Her magnetic attractions.  Though, She has never been held in very high esteem as a Goddess, a puja dedicated to Her is performed during the Ashada Navrat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Wave Maidens



In Norse mythology, the Wave Maidens are the nine daughters of the Ran and Aegir, the god and goddess of the sea. Their names are poetic terms for the many different characteristics of the ocean waves:

  • Drofn  ( foam fleck)
  • Blódughadda  (the one with blood-red hair – the color of the waves after a naval battle)
  • Bylgja  (to billow, or big wave)
  • Dufa  (the pitching wave)
  • Hefring  (the surging wave)
  • Himinglaeva  (the wave that reflects the light of the sky, transparency of water)
  • Hronn (the welling wave)
  • Kolga  (the cool wave)
  • Unn  (the frothing, wave)
The sailors are all eager to establish a good rapport with these beautiful maidens of the oceans because, it is said that if they succeed, they can be assured a safe and uneventful voyage with these powerful goddesses protecting and guiding them.  On the other hand, if the sailors fail to gain their approval, they can expect gale winds and a raging tempest that will most likely cause their death at sea. And while it is true that these lovely goddesses prefer fun and positive workings, be assured that they will not hesitate to set upon their enemies with all the fury the seas can possess.  

The Wave Maidens are the mothers of the god, Heimdall, and the lovers of Odin. According to the tale, in the course of a walk along the shoreline, Odin beheld the nine beautiful wave maidens as the slept on the white sand. and he married all nine of them at once.  In time, they simultaneously gave birth to Heimdall, the White God who stood guard over the entrance of the  fortress of the gods.

Nine Wave Maidens Lyrics
 
Nine wave maidens
Giant beauties
Soundly asleep on Midgard sands

Someone is walking
Hungry eyes gazing
The guard of the sky beholding their pride

Calling the waves
Playing in the shallows
What will they want
A seafarer's heart
Come rain, come shine
The patience never breaking
Oh how they blind a traveler's heart

Atla, Sindur, Egia, Ulfrun
Never profound
Never alone

Heimdall born was he of mother's nine
Heimdall son is he of sisters nine

Calling the waves

Playing in the shallows
What will they want
A seafarer's heart
Come rain, come shine
The patience unbreakable
Oh how they blind a traveler's eye

Calling nine waves
Singing in the shadows
What else do they haunt than a lonely man's heart


.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Zaramama


In Incan mythology, Zaramama or Mama Zara was the Goddess of Grain. Her name means "grain mother".  She was associated with maize and was occasionally incarnated in Her own fields in the form of strangely shaped ears of corn or ears that joined in multiple growths. In fact, when the maize develops in multiple growths that look like the head and limbs of people, they are dressed in find clothing and treated as the manifestation of the living energy of this Goddess.  


Sometimes these goddess images were made even more like Zaramama by being dressed as human women in a robe and shawl with a silver clasp. Sometimes, Zaramama came to earth in cornstalks which were hung by her worshippers on willow trees; festive dances were held around the willows, then the cornstalks were burned, assuring a plentiful supply of corn.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Renenutet


As the Egyptian goddess of the harvest, Renenutet  (She Who Rears) was a deity particularly important to grape growers. This made Her a Goddess of Wine and led to many people sacrificing to Her during times of harvest...hoping that their sacrifices would lead to fertility and growth. She was sometimes viewed as the wife of Sobek, who was often credited with annually flooding the Nile and allowing harvesting to take place. Coincidentally, this allowed him to also be viewed as a wine god, leaving me to believe that Renenutet and Sobek's wedding must have been open bar.

In Her role of fertility goddess, Renenutet was known as the "Lady of Fertile Fields" and "Lady of Granaries". An annual festival was dedicated to Her honor and she was offered the best yields of the crops. There was also often a shrine dedicated to her near a wine press or vat, so she could receive the offerings of the wine makers.

Renenutet was a goddess of great power who was portrayed with the head of a snake. Her gaze, it was said, could wither her enemies, but it could also grant great abundance to crops and livestock. She was also the caretaker of children to whom She gave nourishment and a destiny, and it was said that newborns had Her on their shoulder from their first day of life.

The Hymn of Renenutet says:
I will make the Nile swell for you,
without there being a year of lack and exhaustion in the whole land,
so the plants will flourish, bending under their fruit.
The land of Egypt is beginning to stir again,
the shores are shining wonderfully,
and wealth and well-being dwell with them,
as it had been before.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Aphrodite


NOT unremembering we pass our exile from the starry ways: 
One timeless hour in time we caught from the long night of endless days. 
With solemn gaiety the stars danced far withdrawn on elfin heights: 
The lilac breathed amid the shade of green and blue and citron lights. 
But yet the close enfolding night seemed on the phantom verge of things, 
For our adoring hearts had turned within from all their wanderings: 
For beauty called to beauty, and there thronged at the enchanter’s will 
The vanished hours of love that burn within the Ever-living still. 
And sweet eternal faces put the shadows of the earth to rout, 
And faint and fragile as a moth your white hand fluttered and went out. 
 
Oh, who am I who tower beside this goddess of the twilight air? The burning doves fly from my heart, and melt within her bosom there. 
I know the sacrifice of old they offered to the mighty queen, 
And this adoring love has brought us back the beauty that has been. 
As to her worshippers she came descending from her glowing skies, So Aphrodite I have seen with shining eyes look through your eyes: 
One gleam of the ancestral face which lighted up the dawn for me: One fiery visitation of the love the gods desire in thee!
--George Russell--

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lajja Gauri, The Nude Goddess


Lajja Gauri is the Hindu Goddess of the sky. She is also known as Aditi.  Her name means "free", "unbound", or "limitless".  She is depicted as a lotus-headed goddess, naked and adorned with jewels, Her legs raised in a birthing or sexual position, exposing Her vulva.  Some say the Goddess is indecent and sexually suggestive and refer to Her as the shameless woman.  She is the Infinite Mother who rules over our conscious and unconscious minds...the past and the future...the universe.  She is one of the few goddesses who are mentioned in the Vedas.

Aditi is the sky
Aditi is the air
Aditi is all gods ...
Aditi is the Mother, the Father, and Son
Aditi is whatever shall be born.
Rig Veda, I.89.10

She  is the guardian of all life and the supporter of all creatures. She is also the keeper of light that illuminates all life and ensures consciousness.
On the human level, Her image appears as the female giving birth, the embodiment of the idea of fertility.  On the divine level, She is the embodiment of regeneration, of life.  And on the cosmic level, Her images suggests the universal laws and the process of generation of life. 


She is invoked for abundant crops as well as for good progeny, and as the ultimate protector, She provides Her children with safety, spiritual enlightenment, and material wealth.  She is honored with a crystal is this reminiscent of the unlimited sky: the blue topaz. A crystal of dark blue topaz and a candle of similar color make an excellent mini altar that can bring her power to removing limits and boundaries in your life that are causing pain.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dark Moon


In days of old, the people worshipped the Moon as a goddess, and each of Her lunar phases corresponded to the three phases of a woman’s life:(new) maiden, (full) mother, and (dark) crone. The dark moon appears in the sky during the last three days of every lunar cycle, and during this time, the night is without moonlight, but the Dark Moon is there; it is the Dark Moon that presides over the sky until the new 28-day cycle begins, and a New Moon is ready to appear. Sometimes referred to as the “Dead Moon,” the Dark Moon doesn’t necessarily represent death. It is, however, a most powerful time.  It seems to lure us toward the deepest self, the longings of our soul.

When the Dark Moon appears, it becomes easier for us to shed unnecessary emotional baggage and let go of those people and ideas that no longer serve us or add value to our life. It is a time to cleanse ourselves and create space so that what is new can enter. The dark of the Moon comes with a pull inward, and for many people, this is a time to rest, reflect, and replenish their energy. It is an excellent time for deep meditation and going within, understanding, and gaining knowledge of self. During this Moon cycle many have reported having powerful healing dreams, and it is at this time that most people feel driven to explore their intuitive abilities, retrieve past life memories, or delve more deeply into their psyche. 

This is a time to perform spells for prophecy, cursing or chaos, but of course, if one curses another, they shall reap what they have sown.  Black is the main color of Crone magic.  Black is a color of which many are fearful for it signifies the absence of color....yet, it encompasses all of the colors.  It dispels negative energy quickly and is very good for banishing spells. It is the color of Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads and Magic.  She is a dark goddess who is associated with the night. As a goddess who retains attributes of the three aspects of the Triple Goddess, Hekate is often seen in triple form. She rules not only over death and the underworld, but over birth and regeneration, combining fertility with death as a power of the earth...a feared and revered figure.

One way to harness the energy of the Dark Moon is to perform a ritual.  Begin by lighting a black candle and calling forth those different parts of your life that you feel you are ready to let go of. Through visualization, bind these parts together with light and imagine the bundle moving toward the candle. Watch as these old parts are devoured by the flames.  Finally, let the candle burn out. Trust that what you’ve released has left you. You are now ready to welcome the new into your life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Malinalxochitl

 
In Aztlan, the Aztecs had been ruled by a powerful elite group of gods called Azteca Chicomoztoca; the supreme leader was Huitzilopochtlim, but he eventually grew tired of his human subjects and told them to leave with his sister.  And so it was that when the Aztecs traveled towards the south from their homeland of Aztlan, unsure where they would build their city, a woman traveled among them called Malinalxochitl.

She was said to be very beautiful...both in form and manner but there was an evil side to Her. She could drive men mad, shake a river from its course, or strike Her enemies dead just by looking at them.  Or sometimes she would twist a someone's vision so that the person thought they were seeing a huge beast or some horrible monster. For a time She ruled them on their wanderings, her flesh and blood guidance complementing unseen Huitzilopochtli’s directions in dreams and her magic a formidable force added to His strength.

Sometimes, during the darkness, when the people were asleep, She would take a man outside of the camp and toss him in front of a poisonous snake. And because She was a witch, She could transform herself into any bird or animal she wished. With all these dangerous powers, She wanted to be treated like a goddess, and nothing less would do. The Aztecs allowed Her to live among them because She was the sister of the God of War, Huitzilopochtli, but eventually, the priests complained.  The Aztecs had grown  to resent their female ruler...

..."My sister is a grave threat to you. You should end all relationships with her and her witchcraft. Tomorrow night, when sleep first comes to her, you should move quickly and silently, leaving herbehind. My destiny is to govern not by witchcraft but by the strength of the arrow and the shield, of the chest and shoulders. 

My commands will be obeyed in all the lands and I will guard over you and protect the people so they live well, so the Mexican nation flowers its name rising to the heavens. Our conquest will bring to us jade, gold and feathers of all colors which will be used to decorate my temple. It will also bring us corn and chocolate of different types, and cotton of different colors. I will have everything."  

Huitzilopochtli ordered the people to leave, and he put his sister to sleep. According to Aztec, myth, the capital city of 
Tenochtitlan was founded on the buried heart of Copil, Malinalxochitl's son.  Copil, killed by the Mexicans on orders from Huitzilopochtli, was symbolically, if not literally, the first victim of Aztec human sacrifice; his heart was thrown into the middle of Lake Texcoco.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Orphic Hymn to Gaia


"Oh Goddess, Source of Gods and Mortals,
All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia, Mother of All, 
Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers, All variety, 
Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own, 
Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace, 
Deep bosomed Earth, 
sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains, 
Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine, 
Come, Blessed Goddess, and hear the prayers of Your children, 
And make the increase of the fruits and grains your constant care, 
With the fertile seasons Your handmaidens, 
Draw near, and bless your supplicants."