Thursday, April 28, 2016

Airmid, Celtic Goddess of Healing, Plants and Herbs

Since the Spring season is upon us and the snow is melting away (for some) I wanted to write about a Goddess associated with plants and herbs.  

Just in time for your Spring/Summer gardening! Airmid was a Celtic Goddess of the healing arts especially dealing with herbs and plants. She was the daughter of Dian Cecht who was the God of Medicine and chief physician to the Tuatha de Danann, the Gods of Ireland. Airmid had four brothers Miach, Cian, Cu and Cethe who also followed the path of healing and medicine.

The Tuatha de Danann went to war with the Fir Bolgs when they invaded Ireland. 

The king of the Tuatha de Danann, Nuada, was injured in battle and his arm had been severed. According to the laws it was said that no man could be king whose body was not whole, so Nuada immediately called on his physician, Dian Cecht. The physician brought his daughter Airmid and his son Miach with him since they were both skilled healers.

Dian Cecht had planned to reconstruct a new arm for Nuada made of silver but since Airmid was known for her regenerative skills she was able to create an arm made of human flesh.

Miach was known for his surgical skills and he was able to attach the new arm to Nuadas body so that it looked like he had never lost an arm in the first place. So great was Miachs surgical skills that his father became jealous and in a fit of envious rage he grabbed a sword and cut off Miachs head.

Airmid was beside herself with grief after losing her brother. 

She buried him and made a cairn of stones over his grave. She visited his grave to mourn his loss everyday for a year. Than one day when she went to sit at his grave she came upon 365 different herbs growing on top and all around his burial site. She laid out her cloak to gather all the herbs and as she gently plucked them from the fertile earth they whispered their unique healing properties to her. There was an herb for each joint, organ and bone in the body.

Her father Dian Cecht, still jealous of his sons vast knowledge, found Airmid and overturned her cloak scattering the herbs to the wind so that no one but she would know of the healing herbs secrets. 

Thankfully, Airmid had already committed everything to memory and could regrow all the herbs to continue her and her brothers healing work. Airmid was called upon when men and women were hurt during battle. She was also said to be a healer for the fairies and other magical creatures of the forests and mountains of Ireland. 

Airmid can be called upon today for any healing work you are doing. 

Or any herbal medicine preparations. She can also be called on while you're gardening and planting as she will watch over the plants and lend them her healing powers and magic.

So, have you ever worked with Airmid? 

Beautiful art courtesy of Cheryl Yambrach

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goddess of the Mountains

There are many deities associated with mountains all over the world. 

From Europe, Tibet and the America's, mountain deities have their place in mythology. Mountains are very ancient and primal earth structures. They're beautiful and awe-inspiring and at the same time they can also be terrifying especially for those who are afraid of heights. They were considered to be sacred by many different ancient (and modern) cultures.

In Tibet the goddess Miyolangsangma was a Goddess of mountains. 

She lived at the top of Mount Everest and gave protection to those who climbed her mountain. She had five sisters and each of them had a mountain. She is often depicted riding a tiger and holding a sacred flower. Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt, was also associated with mountains. She was a protector of nature and a huntress and would run through the forests of the mountains hunting game.

Aitna, daughter of Gaia and Uranus, was also a Greek Goddess of mountains. 

She was the Goddess of the volcanic Mt. Etna in Sicily. Pachamama, Incan Goddess of the earth, was a Goddess of mountains. She was said to live in the Andes mountains in the form of a dragon. When she moved she is reported to have caused earthquakes. The Cailleach, Celtic Crone Goddess of Winter, was known as the Mother of Mountains. She had white hair the color of a snow covered mountain.

Skadi, a Norse Goddess, is said to live in the highest regions of the mountains where the snow never melts. 

She is often depicted with her snow shoes, skis and bow and arrow. She was known as a giantess and huntress Goddess. Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest believed that evil spirits inhabited the mountains. They believed that the mountains were Gods but before they were Gods they believed they were people.

Mount Rainier in modern day Washington state was said to be a large woman at one point who lived west of Puget Sound in the Olympic Mountains. 

She lived there with her husband who had two wives. They fought with each other constantly so the woman left the Olympic Mountains with her son and went to the open plains out east. There they settled and she became Mount Rainier and her son became Little Tahoma Peak.

There is much myth and magic surrounding mountains. 

Some natural settings and events stop me in my tracks because of their sheer beauty. Mountains are one of these structures.

So, what's your favorite natural setting?

~ Beautiful artwork courtesy of Frances Green

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honoring the Goddess the Creative Way

The Goddess Mandala Coloring Book is finished and available for purchase!  

This project was definitely a labor of love and a beautiful journey. It's been so great to be able to connect with each Goddess through each mandala that was created. Many of the Goddess mandalas were inspired by the Goddesses you asked for, so I also feel connected to all of you throughout this journey as well. Thank you for your continued support along the way!

I wanted to color in one of the mandalas from the book to give you some inspiration. 

To follow along head over to Amazon to get your copy of the coloring book. The Goddess I chose to color is the Sumerian Goddess Inanna. The colors I chose for this mandala are shades of blue, green, purple, yellow and hints of red. I wanted to use rich gemstone colors to represent Inanna because to me those colors signify her deep beauty. Some of the shades of blue and yellow I chose are also the same colors of blue and yellow that can be found on Ishtar's Gate. This was once the eighth gate to the inner city of ancient Babylon. 

I started with the wings and I used three shades of blue.  

Starting with a dark violet blue on top, cerulean blue in the middle and a light aqua on the bottom. I chose yellow for her crown and for the stars and decided to use a violet color to go around her. This makes the yellows and light blues really pop! The seven pointed stars that surround her are known as Inanna's Star or the Evening Star which symbolizes the planet Venus. For these I chose to color the same shades of blue that are in her wings.

For the next color around her I chose the bright, light aqua and to go around that color I chose the violet again to help make the aqua pop.

I try to stay with the same color themes throughout. It's best to use complementary colors (or shades of complementary colors) to go around each other. These make the individual colors pop. For example the violet and light aqua can be seen as complementary because they are both variations from the green and red family which are complementary colors. For the Sumerian style owls and lions I chose yellows, browns and blues. The owls wings are the exact same colors as Inanna's wings.

To finish off the outside part of the mandala I chose yellow which is a complementary color of purple. 

I really wanted the Goddess figure in the middle to pop so I chose that brilliant, light aqua again. And a crimson red to color the border around her. Staying with the complementary color families of green and red. I also used hints of grass green to color the outside border of her as well as the snakes.

For the mandalas in this book I recommend using colored pencils.  

You may use marker but make sure to put something thick like a piece of cardboard between each page so the marker doesn't bleed through. There are 28 mandalas total in this book with several Goddesses from around the globe. Many of the mandalas in this book can be found in my etsy shop but not all of them. Some of them are made specially for this book like this Inanna mandala. 

So, what colors would you choose for this mandala? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Women of History, Artemisia of Caria

Statue of Artemisia in Turkey

Today is the last day of Women's History month and to honor that I wanted to write a post about a powerful female figure from history, Queen Artemisia of Caria.

Artemisia was Queen of Halicarnassus and was a known warrior and ally to King Xerxes of Persia. Born sometime around the 5th century BCE, Artemisia was daughter to Lygdamis, King of Halicarnassus and her mother is unknown but said to have been of Cretan descent.

Artemisia commanded her own naval fleet at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. 

It is said that Xerxes asked all of his naval commanders if he should attack the Greeks in a naval war. All but Artemisia agreed that he should attack. Artemisia did not agree and advised Xerxes not to attack the Greeks. According to Herodotus, Xerxes appreciated her advice and admired her for her opinion although he decided against it and attacked the Greeks anyway.

Xerxes was defeated at the Battle of Salamis and feeling disheartened at his loss he once again seeks the advice of Artemisia.  

Which of course if he had taken her advice initially things might have turned out differently. She advises him to return home and abandon his campaign. This time he relents, takes her advice and returns home.

Artemisia was renowned for her cunning tactics and craftiness on the battlefield. 

She was known to fly the enemy's flag on her ship to confuse them into thinking that her ship was on their side. Most of Artemisia's story comes to us from Herodotus although still not much is known about her life. We do know that she did not die in battle, although there are a few different stories about her death. One in particular say that she flung herself off a cliff into the sea because of a broken heart. This seems unlikely for a conquering warrior woman but alas this is one of the stories.

Artemisia was known as a warrior, conqueror and commander. 

One of the many inspiring warrior women from history.

Do you have a warrior woman from history that inspires you?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Honoring the Goddess as Mother

The Goddess can act as a mother to those of us priestesses who crave a mother figure in our lives.  

When I first came to Goddess spirituality it felt like a home coming, a long time in the making. I started working with Goddess energy and found that She would guide me in all aspects of my life. She acted as a mother would or should act as far as teaching her daughter how to deal with the world at large.

It wasn't long after I dedicated myself to my Goddess (Hekate) that I started to think and refer to Her as Mother. 

As hard as it may be to admit or for society to talk about, not every earthly mother is such a great mother figure for her children. It's taboo to talk about "bad mothers" because the typical image of a mother figure is the all nurturing, caring and compassionate woman who loves all of her children unconditionally. Although some of us were not so lucky to have had this type of stereotypical mother. For me, my Goddess is my true mother and I go to Her whenever I need any guidance or advice.

Coming to Goddess spirituality made a huge impact on my life. 

And I think for many women with emotionally absent or uncaring mothers it would do the same. Over the years I've read stories from other women who have also had less than stellar mothers and it's sad but it's also nice to have that connection. To know that you are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with you. But at the same time we need that mother connection. We crave love and acceptance and there are times when we need guidance. The Goddess has acted as Mother to me for some time now and it's helped me more than I can say.

Working with the Goddess as Mother has given me a chance to have a profound connection with Her. 

Whenever something has gone awry in my life I go to my Goddess for support. Or when I need help making a decision or just need to get something off my chest I also to go Her. As a priestess I believe that it's imperative to have a close connection to your Goddess. Honoring the Goddess as Mother can help you to get that close motherly connection we so desperately crave. 

The Goddess does not judge you or expect you to be a perfect reflection of Her. 

She wants you to be you. She accepts you for who you are and by honoring yourself as you are you are also honoring Her. If you would like to start working with your Goddess as Mother all you need to do is dedicate yourself to Her. Tell her that you feel blessed to be Her priestess and earthly daughter. For some of us this is not the first life in which we have been a priestess of our Goddess. So some of this may come naturally.

What about you? Do you view the Goddess as Mother? If not, how do you view Her?

Art courtesy of These Little Joys

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Giveaway! Ostara Goddess Coloring Page!

Since Ostara is right around the corner I decided to have a giveaway for my Spring Goddess mandala coloring page.  

This mandala is all about Spring with rabbits, decorated eggs, flowers, leaves and shining suns. Coloring is a great meditative tool to use to clear your mind and connect with your inner self. You can color this mandala and place it on your Ostara altar or you can choose to color the mandala on the day of Ostara in order to connect with the energy of Spring.

To enter the giveaway please check out my shop on etsy and come back here and comment on your favorite mandala. 

The winner will receive one pdf download of the Spring Goddess mandala which you can then print out and color. Regular computer paper works fine for these but if you'd like something a little more substantial get a thicker card-stock paper from your local office supply store. The best kind of paper that I love to use is called Vellum Bristol paper 67lb. 

Good luck and thank you to all who enter the giveaway! 

Make sure you leave your email address or some way for me to contact you if you win. The winner will be announced on Saturday.

Ostara blessings!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vesna, Slavic Goddess of Spring

Vesna is the Slavic goddess of Spring and fertility

The name Vesna in the Slovene language translates to literally mean "Spring". Vesna is known as a beautiful and youthful goddess with flowers in her hair and long flowing locks that reach down to her knees. Sometimes she is portrayed scantily covered in leaves while holding an apple in one hand and grapes in the other.

She was honored at Spring and was a Goddess much loved and respected by her people. 

She was said to be a happy and cheerful Goddess and people would name their daughters after her in the hopes that they would live a happy and cheerful life. She was also seen as a Goddess of victory as the Spring season represents a victory over the cold of winter. Because of this Vesna was a very popular Goddess with her people. She represents the coming of life after winter and the return of the light after the darkness so it's no wonder that she was adored by her people.

It is said that Vesna carries the scent of Spring flowers with her wherever she goes.

She was portrayed as always smiling and full of life. Vesna was celebrated up until very recently at the Spring equinox in March. People would carry clay figures of birds decorated with flowers out to the fields and sing and dance in her honor. Vesna was said to reside in the mountains and could only come out in the month of February which was named for her.

Since we are quickly approaching Spring (in the northern hemisphere) now is the perfect time to honor Vesna.  

Decorate your altar with flowers and sing and dance in her honor. Now is the time to be cheerful and grateful for the coming of Spring after the long winter. This is a time to celebrate life and rebirth. In doing this you will be honoring the spirit of Vesna. 

Art courtesy of JankaLart on etsy
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