Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tlazolteotl, Aztec Goddess of Filth

Tlazolteotl by Veronica Perez

Tlazolteotl (pronounced tla sol TE otl) is the Aztec goddess of filth, decomposition, fertility, the earth and the moon. 

She is known as the eater of sin and the eater of filth as she is said to absorb the sins of her followers into herself. She is also seen as a goddess of purification since she devours your misdeeds, you are therefore purified. Tlazolteotl is also strongly associated with sexuality and sexual misdeeds such as adultery.

She is often depicted with black around her mouth, in a squatting position giving birth or wearing a conical hat and riding a broom much like the traditional version of the witch. 

The black around her mouth symbolizes the filth or dirt she eats. She is thought to have originated with the Huastec people in the Gulf of Mexico. This was a very fertile area and the earth there was said to be filled with rich, dark black soil. Cotton was grown in these regions and as such Tlazolteotl also became associated with cotton weaving. 

Tlazolteotl was also said to pardon those who have committed sins such as adultery. 

People would come to her to confess their wrong-doings and she would purify them by ingesting their misdeeds. A confession to Tlazolteotl was said to happen only once throughout a person's lifetime. It has also been said that Tlazolteotl would inflict disease in those who partook in forbidden love. If someone was accused of sexual misconduct they would be considered "unclean". This term was used to represent the moral and physical aspects of being dirty. They could be cured by a steam-bath and a rite of purification. 

Tlazolteotl is a goddess of regeneration since she is associated with the rich, fertile and decomposing earth.  

She recycles the decaying earth and brings forth new life. This is symbolic for when we turn something dark and dreary in our lives into something new, bright and full of life. When we are submerged in our darkest moments we think there is no end in site. We think the agony of despair will last forever. But nothing ever stays the same. Everything always changes and life keeps us balanced. Remember the next time you are in a dark moment in your life that after the darkness will always come light, and after the light will always come the dark. It is the cycle and that which keeps our lives balanced with both lessons and achievements. 

Call on Tlazolteotl during these times to help you to be purified of the filth and prepared to allow the new, bright and clean to enter you life. 

Image courtesy of the beautiful art of Veronica Perez

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Honoring Brigid the Creative Way

In honor of Imbolc I wanted to color in the Brigid goddess mandala and give you inspiration to do the same. 

When I think of Imbolc I envision new shoots of green grass, melting snow and budding yellow flowers. Imbolc marks the beginning of the coming of Spring so I imagine soft pastels and bright greens would be a good representation of this time. Although sometimes the snow stays until past Imbolc, it's still a symbolic time that Spring is right around the corner. 

If you haven't already downloaded the Brigid goddess mandala you may do so at my etsy shop here.  

After you've gotten the mandala, grab some colored pencils or markers and some tea and get comfy in your favorite spot. If you plan to frame the mandala after you've colored it, think about what room you will be hanging it in. And think about the colors in that room. You want to make sure that the colors in the mandala will match with the colors of the room. Use complementary colors for this. For example red complements green, yellow complements purple and blue complements orange. And variations of each color as well like pink with green. 

I chose to use three main colors with different shades of each one for my mandala

The colors I used are violet, light violet, canary yellow, Spanish orange, apple green, grass green and hints of sienna brown. Use your lighter colors in the places you want to stand out more. Using a darker color behind a light color will make that light color pop. Especially if they complement each other. I usually like to start in the middle of the mandala and work my way out. I color in the goddess herself last. I do this so that I can see what color suits her best and which one will make her stand out the most. 

Purple is one of my favorite colors so I'm thrilled with the way this came out!  

So, what colors will you be using for the Brigid mandala?

Please feel free to post pictures of your goddess mandalas once they're colored in! I would love to see them and share them in the Facebook page for inspiration!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why it's Important to find your Creative Purpose

Saraswati, Goddess of the Arts and Creativity

We are all creative in some form or another. Some forms of creativity are not as obvious as others but it's still creativity. When we are in touch with our creative selves we are also inadvertently in touch with our feminine selves. As women we are the great creators of life (whether we have actually created life or not). We have the creative power within us. And birthing something new and creative can also be a painful and drawn out process.

When we are creating something we are essentially reaching into the depths of our souls to bring about something inside of us. We must get it out into the world and out of ourselves. When we are in the process of creating we are in a trance-like state and laser focused on what we are birthing. We can include creativity into our spirituality by calling on our deities to assist us or guide us in our creative endeavors. We can ask our goddess for help if the creation process becomes to much for us to handle.

Creativity comes in many forms. The obvious ones would be artistry of any kind, writing, painting, drawing, crafting, sewing, music, cooking, acting. But if we think about it there is creativity in many things. Cleaning, organizing, planning and finding creative ways to work and live. Over the years, since I am a very creative person myself, I've had various people say things to me like "I don't have a creative or artistic bone in my body." And I guess that depends on what you personally consider to be creative or artistic. But if we really think about it, almost everything we do can be construed as being creative.

To be in touch with our creative side is to be connected to our soul. We all have this thing inside of us that needs to get out. We all have our own special creative juices flowing inside of us. If you are not sure what your special blend of creativity is then I suggest asking your deity to show it to you. Sit down in front of your altar, light some candles and incense and meditate for a few minutes. Then call on your goddess and ask her to show you what your creative purpose is. Thank her, leave a small offering and move on with your day.

You can also grab a notebook and a pen and think about the things you've experienced and accomplished so far in your life. Write them all down and then go back over then and try to find the creativity behind each event. Maybe your creativity came about after something tragic happened like losing your job. Maybe you had to scramble to come up with a way to find work. And maybe you did find a new job or other way to make ends meet. Try to think about how you made that happen. What happens in your mind or in your body that helped you to get through it?

Sometimes our creativity comes out during certain circumstances in our lives and that's when it works best for us. For example, if you did have to come up with a new way to make money quickly and you accomplished that then maybe it means your creativity comes out when you are under pressure. Or maybe you've noticed that when you're stressed out your creativity is blocked. Although after you meditate and take a day off you feel more creative then ever. We are all different and our minds and bodies all work differently so we need to find out how these things uniquely work for us. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are not creative if you are not an artist or a poet, it means that you have a different creative purpose and a different way of bringing that to fruition.

So, do you know what your creative purpose is?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nimue, Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake by Emily Balivet

Nimue, better known as the Lady of the Lake, is the High Priestess of Avalon in the Arthurian tales. Nimue (pronounced NIM-OO-WAY) has also been called Vivienne in certain myths. She ruled over Avalon which was called Ynes Affalon or Land of Apples and as such Nimue is associated with apples, especially the golden apple. She was known as a Faery Queen who gave birth to Lancelot, the famous knight of Camelot, and conjured Excalibur, the magical sword, for King Arthur. Morgan le Fay, who was also a priestess of Avalon and half sister to King Arthur, tutored under Nimue at Avalon.

There are many different versions of the myths surrounding Avalon and King Arthur. Nimue was a pupil of Merlin, Arthur's powerful wizard, and he taught her all of his magickal knowledge. Some say that Nimue seduced Merlin in order to learn all of his magickal tricks. Clearly this is a patriarchal view point of this story. Others describe Nimue as a healer and compassionate goddess. Nimue gifted Excalibur to King Arthur which she conjured from the depths of the lake in Avalon. It is said that Excalibur was so powerful that Arthur's sister Morgan le Fay wanted it for herself. She stole the sword from him, took it back to the lake and threw it in with the hope that Arthur would be killed. Of course in other stories Morgan le Fay is also said to be a kind and caring sorceress who loves her brother Arthur.

When Arthur was mortally wounded in battle, Nimue is said to have helped him get to Avalon to be healed. Nimue stands in her magical boat which sails the waters of Avalon and grants passage to her enchanted world. She parts the mists, or the veils between worlds, to allow others to enter. She breaks down the barriers of illusion allowing you to actually see reality. Nimue can be called on for emotional healing. She helps us get to the depths of our wounds and helps us to heal. She can also be called on for matters involving your intuition. She helps us to trust our gut and harness our own inner magical power.

Picture courtesy of Emily Balivet

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Highly Sensitive Priestess

The Oracle at Delphi ~ Heinrich Leutemann  

A highly sensitive person or HSP is defined as someone who has an innate, sensitive processing system who is aware of subtle changes in their environment. This person can also become easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. Being highly sensitive does not just refer to ones emotional sensitivity but literally a sensitivity to everything. We feel things deeper and sometimes before they come. We notice subtle changes in behavior and mood. Usually an HSP is also an empath and intuitive and we can use these things to our advantage during our work as priestesses.

The ability to notice and feel slight changes of energy can be something for us to tap into while we are in ritual or trance. Since we are naturally more in tune to the energies around us this is a great tool to use during meditations or spell work. We should theoretically be able to pick up on energies of things before they happen so therefore this is a great tool for divination. This, I believe, is the empathetic part of being highly sensitive. We get a feeling that something is about to happen but we don't know what. We do know that we've just experienced a shift in energy, we're just not sure how to use this information.

When we experience this the best thing to do is sit with this energy in meditation. Allow your body to feel it fully. Let your sensitive mind work out the energies to try and decipher what this new energy means. Many times if we listen to our intuitive mind it will tell us what is about to happen. We just have to trust it. Our sensitivity is like a built in warning system. For example, let's say that you've recently noticed a shift of energy at your job. You feel like something big is about to happen, you just can't figure out what. When you have time sit with this energy in a meditation and try to determine if this is a positive shift or a negative shift.

This could mean preparing yourself to find new work or maybe preparing yourself for a big promotion at your current job. Allow your intuitive mind to naturally come to a conclusion. Being a sensitive empath can be a beautiful thing during ritual. We tend to connect more easily and sometimes more quickly with the energy of our deities. We can also become deeply infused in trance work. I've always thought that the sensitives of the ancient world would have been the oracles of classical culture or the volva of the Norse culture. They acted as connectors of the spiritual and mundane worlds. They could sense things before they happened and they could reach high levels in trance. This is most likely why they were oracles.

While I believe that sensitivity is a gift, it also comes with its own set of special problems. When we are overwhelmed or over-stimulated we can get worn out rather quickly. And we need time to recover from that. Sometimes because we are usually also empathetic we can unintentionally take on the energy of those around us. Especially because we are naturally good at listening to others and helping them. We are in a sense natural born healers and other people can sense this on a subconscious level. So sometimes people will bring us their problems because they feel that we are easy to talk to. Have you ever noticed that complete strangers will come up to you and tell you their whole life story? It's because of your empathetic and sensitive nature.

So it's important to have boundaries in place so that you are not drained by the energy of others. I'm not suggesting that you shrug people off when they try to talk to you about their problems. But if you notice a sudden drop in your energy, it's because you are giving it away too freely.  The best thing to do is to find a polite way of excusing yourself from the conversation. A great way to recharge your batteries is to spend some time in nature preferably alone. Being in nature is incredibly soothing for a sensitive. Because we feel everything more deeply. A birds call is music to our ears. Watching a family of deer is calming to our soul. Listening to the waves crash against the shore, feeling the wind blow through our bodies or feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin can all be very cleansing and renewing.

One of my favorite things about being a sensitive empath is feeling the shift of energy with the seasons. I can sense when the energy of a particular season has shifted not by the date on the calendar but by the change of the energy in the world around me. Even days of the week have certain energies to them. Moon and star gazing are also intensified when you're sensitive. In order to truly love our gift of sensitivity we need to accept it into our lives and learn to work with it properly. It also helps to become a little educated on the subject. To help you with this you may want to have a "sensitivity journal" where you jot down things that trigger your sensitivity. You might not notice all your triggers right away but slowly you will start to pick up on it.

The best way to know yourself is to know how to use your gifts. To find out what works and what doesn't. This way you can tailor your life to work with you instead of against you. And don't just write down the things that negatively affect your sensitivity. Also write down the positive like being able to connect with nature more deeply or whatever your special set of rewards is.

So, what is your favorite thing about being sensitive?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year Blessings and Free Monthly Ritual Print-out Sheets

The New Year is upon us yet again. Usually many of us take this time to reflect on the things that happened (or didn't happen) over the past year and prepare ourselves for a fresh start and new beginning in the new year. Many of us will also have resolutions of all kinds. I have created something that can help you with any spiritual resolutions that you may have.  

In order to truly connect with our deities and spiritual selves we need to achieve consistency in our ritual practices. So I created these pretty monthly ritual sheets to help you organize your spiritual rites each month. Let's begin by clicking this link to download and print out your monthly ritual sheet. Now grab a cup of coffee, some pretty pens and get comfy. First take a look at a calendar and find the dates for the full moon, new moon and dark moon of the coming up month. Fill those out in the sections on the sheet. Then jot down the seasonal sabbats (if any) of that month. Also if you know of any other religious festivals that were honored that month such as the Vestalia or Thesmophoria, jot those down as well. A quick google search can give you that info.

Now go down to the section where it lists the moon phases and what you would like to achieve for each one. Take some time with this one. Think about what it is that you want to let go of during the waning moon. Imagine what new thing you would like to begin at the new moon and what you would like to come to completion at the full moon. If you feel the need, meditate on each question until you get an answer that speaks to you. The last section is titled "Spiritual goal for the month". This can be anything from vowing to meditate more often, creating a daily prayer ritual or anything else you'd like to accomplish. Take some time with this one as well and try to be realistic with yourself. If you'd like to meditate daily but don't really think you'll be able to achieve that yet, then be honest about that. Try to pick something you know you can accomplish.

Feel free to print these out at the start of each month and use them as a way to plan and reflect over the coming month. We are more likely to stick to a plan or goal if we organize ourselves in a way which makes that possible. Feel free to comment and share with me your spiritual goals for the month! I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ixchel, Mayan Goddess of the Moon

Ixchel (pronounced ee-shell) is Mayan goddess of the moon, water and the earth. Her name is said to translate to mean "Lady Rainbow". She is a Mother Goddess associated with fertility and procreation and was one of the most important deities on the Mayan pantheon.  Ixchel is the consort of Itzamna who is the sky God and together they had thirteen boys.

Ixchel has been portrayed in two different aspects, one of an aged woman and one as a young girl. In her aged aspect as a midwife she is called "Red Rainbow". This refers to a time when she brought about a great flood to bring in the New Year. Ixchel carried a jug of water and poured it over the earth which caused it to rain. This spurred a great flood which caused much destuction. This flood brought in a new age. In this aspect she is shown as an elderly woman with the headdress of a snake and the claws of a jaguar. 

Ixchel is also a goddess of the moon and was called "She of the Pale Face" relating it to the pale color of the moon. In this aspect she is shown seated with a rabbit. When the Mayans gazed upon the moon they saw the shape of a rabbit. They viewed rabbits as good luck and connected to fertility. So naturally they also connected them to Ixchel their moon goddess. Historians still aren't sure if these two goddesses were in fact separate from each other or aspects of Ixhel.

Ixchel had a sanctuary at Cozumel and in the 16th century women were said to visit her there to pray for a fulfilling marriage. Evidence of  her worship was also found on Isla Mujeres or "The Island of Women". As well as on the province of Acalan where Ixchel was venerated as the main deity. 

Painting courtesy of David Nathan Allen 
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