Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yule, Winter Celebration of the Sun


Yule, or the Winter Solstice, is the shortest day of the year. From here on out the days will grow longer, and the nights shorter. This ancient seasonal festival represents the return of the sun. Many cultures celebrated the Winter Solstice, such as the Celts, the Germanic tribes, the Greeks, Egyptians, Norse and more. In the middle of the cold of winter, people would pray for the return of the sun to bring life back to the land once more.

Some cultures, such as the Celtic, Germanic and Norse, started a tradition of throwing a large log onto the hearth fire to symbolize the sun. This became known as the Yule log and became a yearly representation of the suns return. Each year people would throw the yule log on the fire, and keep a piece of it for the next year. So when the next Winter Solstice came, they would light the fire with the piece of the log from last year. This was a way to symbolize the old being reborn into the new. Representing the rebirth of the sun.

Goddesses honored at this time of year are The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of Sovereignty and Battle, Isis Egyptian Mother Goddess of the Universe, Freyja Norse Goddess of Beauty and War and The Cailleach, Celtic Crone Goddess of Winter.

I have a great recipe for Yule Wassail, which is a winter drink that you can make with or without wine/alcohol. It has lovely spices and it's very seasonal so I decided to share it here. I make the kind with alcohol, so if you would rather go alcohol free, substitute the wine for apple cider, and don't add the brandy :) The origins of the drink "Wassail" comes from an ancient celebration of sorts where wassailers went from door to door, singing and drinking to the health of their neighbors. They would pour wine and cider on the ground to encourage fertility in the crops. Some say that over time wassailing turned into the modern Christmas caroling. For more on the ancient act of wassailing, check out About.com. Enjoy!



Yule Wassail


  • One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 sliced apple

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind) and enjoy!


I hope you enjoy the Wassail! Wishing you all many Yule Blessings!




Picture courtesy of Josephine WallLink

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Pythia, Ancient Priestess of Delphi


The Pythia was the name of the Oracular Priestess at Delphi in the Temple of Apollo. The Pythia was widely respected for her prophecies. She was said to be the most prestigious oracle in the ancient Greek world. The Oracle at Delphi was thought to begin around 800 BCE, and officially ended around 393 CE. When the oracle would perform her prophetic rituals, she would enter the inner chamber of the temple, known as adyton, and sit on a tripod like chair, while holding laurel leaves. Nearby her was the opening in the earth or omphalos which translates to mean navel in Greek. This is where the sacred vapors came from that put the Priestess into a trance like state.

When a person came for a prophecy, they would make a sacrifice, and present a question to a male Priest. The Priest would then go and consult the Oracle. After she gave her prophecy, the Priest would interpret it for the person who was seeking it. It is said that the life of a Pythia was exhaustive and that many died young. The cause of this was most likely the fact that they were inhaling poisonous vapors.

To become the Priestess of Delphi, there were certain things required of the woman chosen. She would have had to have led a life of purity, and been a person of good character. If you were chosen to be the Pythia, you had to sever all ties with your family, friends etc. The Pythia could have been from an aristocratic family, or she could have been a peasant. According to archaeologist John Hale, The Priestesses of Delphi were chosen based more on their ability than their social stature. Being the Pythia also meant that you were privy to many liberties. Like free housing and freedom from taxation, also a salary and an ability to own land. They were highly regarded in Greek society.

The Pythia only gave prophecies during the nine warmest months of the year. During the winter months Apollo was said to leave his temple and return in the Spring. A month after he returned, the Priestess of Delphi would undergo purification rites which included fasting, ritual bathing and drinking holy water from nearby springs. This was all done to prepare the Oracle for communication with the Divine.

Being the Oracle at Delphi was a highly honored position. She played a very important role in Greek society, so much so that virtually no major decision was made without consulting the Pythia first.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the ancient Priestess of Delphi!





Photo courtesy of John Collier

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hel, Norse Queen of the Underworld


Hel was the Goddess of death and the Underworld in Norse mythology. She is often a misunderstood Goddess as many Goddesses of the Underworld are. She is said to be the daughter of Loki, a trickster God of the Norse, and a Giantess. Her body was seen as half dead and half alive. Some say that part of of her body was beautiful while the other was horrid like death. To me this symbolizes the light and dark aspects within all of us.

Her namesake comes from the realm she ruled which was Helheim, one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. It was thought that those who died of disease or old age, went to Helheim and those who died victoriously in battle went to Valhalla. Hel is also the judge of souls to determine where in Helheim they will go. Those who were evil in life go to a realm of icy cold death, this part of Helheim is where the Christian "Hell" comes from. Where souls would be damned for an eternity. The others entering her realm who died of natural causes, disease, etc., were watched over by Hel and given a chance for rebirth. The world of Hel, it is sometimes called, is similar to that of the Greek Underworld, where there were also different realms within it. Like Tartarus was the place were the evil dead would go, and The Elysian fields were a beautiful place where to good would go, and these souls also had a chance for rebirth.

One of the myths involving Hel is the story of the death of Baldr. Tricked by Loki, Baldr died in a contest that took place in Asgard, which is known as the capitol of the Gods. Upon his death he was sent to the realm of Hel where he was welcomed with a feast. Though back in his world, Baldr was deeply mourned, and his brother decided to ride the eight legged horse Sleipnir into Helheim to try and retrieve his brother. When he arrives, he begs Hel to return his beloved brother, saying that all in his realm have wept for him. Hel says, "If all things in the world, alive or dead, weep for him, then he will be allowed to return to the Aesir. If anyone speaks against him or refuses to cry, then he will remain with Hel." - quoted from the Prose Edda.

Hel represents endings and beginnings, and also the darker aspects of life and of ourselves. She teaches us that after death is the opportunity for rebirth, in anything in our lives. The ending of one thing becomes the beginning of another. In magic, in Norse religion, through the practice of Seidr, a Norse form of prophetic and shamanistic witchcraft, practitioners would call on Hel for astral travel, to travel to the world of the spirits and communicate with them. You can call of her Linktoday for such magical acts as well as divination. She is usually honored at Samhain and Yule, and on the dark/waning moon.

On your altar for Hel, have colors of black and white, crystals of moonstone, black onyx and hematite, white flowers, representation of a raven and a picture of her in her half dead, half live form to represent the duality in nature and in ourselves.

For more on this Great Goddess, check out Order of the White Moon

Enjoy working with this ancient Goddess of death and rebirth!




Picture courtesy of: Norsemen

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winner of Yule Ornament from the Whimsical Pixie!

Thank you to everyone who entered! And the winner is.........Calling Vesta! Congratulations! I hope everyone had fun playing. Thank you to Paula at The Whimsical Pixie for her lovely donation! Enjoy your new beautiful ornament Calling Vesta!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giveaway from The Whimsical Pixie!


This month's giveaway comes to us from The Whimsical Pixie. The owner Paula, has donated a gorgeous Pagan ornament for your Yule/Christmas tree! Her ornaments are some of the most beautiful I've seen! I've already purchased one for myself as well. I had the chance to speak with Paula, here's what she had to say:

1. How long have you been crafting magical products?
Its been a little over 3 years since I've started creating magickal ritual items to sell. It all started because I wanted to make my sister a set of runes; did a Google search for tutorials and found a great one using polymer clay. One link led to another revealing the versatility of the clay and this Pixie took flight!

2. Do you have a favorite product that you make?

In as much as I love creating everything in my Etsy shop, I enjoy the Custom Altars the most. Creating these allows me to get to know the buyer in a more intimate manner. They are by far the most personalized item I create as the person selects the ritual tools, color combination and pyrographed designs. They also allow me to utilize different art mediums which gets the creative juices flowing.

3. Please explain the item you are giving away.
The Triple Moon Goddess and Pentagram Ornament was created using millefiori technique, a very old art form also used for glasswork. Translated millefiori literally means a thousand flowers. Polymer clay is used to fabricate “canes” of different designs; the cane can be reduced in size yet the design of the cane remains the same throughout. Thin slices are then taken from the cane and laid individually on an object to create something truly unique and beautiful. All polymer clay canes are made by me. The cap can be removed to allow you to fill the ornaments with herbs, oils or crystal to your specific intent.



Ok so now to enter, go to The Whimsical Pixie, find a product or two that you like, come back here and comment on them. Also be sure to check out The Whimsical Pixie's Facebook Page! The winner will be picked using random.org, and will be announced in one week. Have fun playing and good luck! Thanks to Paula for donating her beautiful ornament!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Goddess and the Bee


The bee has been associated with the Goddess and Priestesses of the Goddess for thousands of years. The most famous culture that worshiped the bee was the Minoan culture on the island of Crete. As a symbol of The Mother Goddess, bees represented fertility and healing. Since honey has antibacterial properties, it was used in many healing remedies, this made honey sacred. It was also used during ritual by the Bee Priestesses who were called melissae which means "bees". There was a golden seal found buried in Crete, that shows Priestesses dressed as bees dancing together. The photo pictured above is the famous Minoan Bee Pendant, showing two bees carrying nectar back to there hives, and is dated 2000 BCE.


In the book The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image, by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, write that "Bees have an ancient reputation as the bringers of order, and their hives served as models for organizing temples in many Mediterranean cultures." The tombs at Mycenea were shaped like beehives, as well as the omphalos at Delphi where the famous Oracle at Delphi recited her prophecies.


In Knossos, jars were found which contained honey, and were said to be used during summer festivals. Honey was known as “the nectar of the Gods” in the ancient world and was seen as sacred all the way back to Neolithic times. The Bee was said to be viewed as a Mother Goddess and creator of life. Since bees gather nectar from flowers, and then create this wonderfully healing, sweet and sacred substance, they were highly revered. In the Homeric hymn to the God Apollo, it is said that his gift of prophecy came to him from three bee maidens. The Bee was also revered in other cultures such as in ancient Egypt. The Bee was associated with Kingship in ancient Egypt, it is said that there was even a bee King. In the ancient Mayan world, bee motifs were found, as honey was seen as food of the Gods.


Goddesses associated with the bee are Persephone, Demeter, Artemis, Aphrodite, Rhea, Cybele and Potnia Theron, which is the Cretan “Mistress of Animals”. In Ephesus where the remains of the Temple of Artemis was found along with the great statue, Artemis of Ephesus, there were bee motifs found on the statues legs and waist. Statues of the Anatolian Goddess, some believe Cybele originated in Anatolia, were shown with the Goddess wearing what looks like a beehive on her head. Possibly as some kind of crown, as some ancient Priestesses were sometimes called “The Queen Bee”


As you can see the bee was a sacred and highly revered animal in the ancient world, along with their highly prized honey. We should honor the bees as well today as givers of life as they pollinate our crops and give us food. Is it said to me to hear of all the bee deaths over the recent years. As followers of the Goddess and worshipers of nature, we need to be honoring animals in the same way the ancient priestesses before us did.


To attract bees to your garden plant things such as daisies, marigold, bee balm, echinacea, foxglove, goldenrod and lavender. I hope you enjoyed learning about the ancient reverence of bees and their sacred nectar! Link





Photo courtesy of TheBeeGoddess.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night of Hekate


Today at sunset starts a celebration called The Night of Hekate, where Hekate Trivia (of the three ways) is honored. This is when ancient people would hold what's known as Hekate Suppers which were held at a crossroads, and usually under the dark moon. They would leave meals for her which usually consisted of fish, eggs, cheese, garlic, and sacrificial cakes like the amphiphon, which was like a small cheesecake, surrounded by torches. Hekate Supper's were a very important ritual practice for her followers, and according to Sorita d'Este, author of Hekate Liminal Rites, this practice was extremely hard for the Christian church to get rid of.

Most of the food left for Hekate, was said to be eaten by the poor, some argue that this is how Hekate took her offerings, by letting the less fortunate have a good meal. To me this shows a compassionate side to this misunderstood Goddess.

I wrote a small poem to honor her with for tonight, and I thought I would share:

Hekate, Hekate, my Dark Mother Queen,
Goddess of Crossroads and things unseen,
On this night of the waning moon,

I create this sacred meal in honor of you.

Sorceress of night,

Lady of earth, sea, and sky,

Keyholder to the sacred mysteries,
Mistress of All,

I honor you tonight, Hekate Trivia.


Ancient Mother, please hear my prayer,
I leave this offering to you in which tonight I will share,


Hail Hekate!


I hope those of you who honor Hekate have a wonderful night!




Photo courtesy of my personal photos from Rome.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Making a Magickal Staff


I just finished reading the book Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess, Invoking The Morrigan by Stephanie Woodfield, and she had a great section on making your own magickal staff. The book itself, by the way, is amazing and anyone who has any interest in The Morrigan should definitely check it out. I loved every second of it!

According to Woodfield, the Celt's viewed trees as "living beings, and their wood being endowed with magickal powers". They also viewed them as "doorways to the Otherworld". So any magical item made from part of a sacred tree was even that much more powerful. The staff symbolizes a connection to the earth and is a great tool to use during earth energy rituals. I made a staff, (pictured to the right) from a branch I found that must have fallen from the big tree that stands right out front of our house. I actually found it right before reading that particular chapter in the book, and something told me to keep it. So once I read the Earth Mother chapter in this book, I knew what I needed it for.

Your staff doesnt have to be real big either. And you can decorate it with feathers, crystals, leather or suede strapping, etc. I decorated mine with black feathers, a jet crystal on top, and little black, red and white stick on crystals around the staff. Along with black suede wrapped around the top and the bottom. You can see in the close up picture of the top of the staff, the decorations I chose a little more clearly. Once you have your staff and it's decorated. Stephanie Woodfield gives you a staff blessings ritual to do with The Morrigan.

What you will need:


*Staff
*Smudge stick
*Dragons blood oil

Ritual:


Find a place outside (if you can) where you feel connected to the earths energies. Burn the sage and pass the staff through the smoke saying:

I banish all negative energies from this staff,
that it may be a tool of positive magick


Now take your staff in your power hand, and raise it up toward the sky to honor the realm of the Gods, then hold it at chest level to honor the Middleworld, then tap the staff on the ground to honor the Underworld. Visualize the bottom of the staff sprouting roots that dig deep into the earth, then from the top of the staff, visualize branches reaching towards the sky. See a golden light spiraling up from the ground and filling the staff to where your hand is holding it. Now visualize a spiral of light flowing down from the sky into the top of the staff and meets where your hand holds it. Recite:

I bless this staff in the name of The Morrigan,
Symbol of my connection to the wisdom
and strength of the earth, and the three worlds.


Now anoint the top, middle and bottom of your staff with dragons blood oil. Leave a small offering outside of milk.

Now of course if you don't honor The Morrigan, you can just replace the word "The Morrigan" in your blessing to the Goddess of your choosing, and then you would change your offering as well.

I hope you all enjoy making your very own magickal staff! And if you get the chance, check out Stephanie's book, its truly a masterpiece!



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lilith, Mesopotamian Bird Goddess of Fertility


Lilith is known to be the Sumerian/Babylonian Dark Goddess, and Demon Goddess. She was portrayed with dark wings and sometimes with clawed feet. It seems as though she might have originally been seen as a Bird Goddess from ancient cultures. She also has strong associations with serpents, and in some of her depictions in earlier myths, she is portrayed as having half of her body in the form of a serpent, and the other half with breasts and that of a woman. Some dispute her origins saying that she was much older than the Sumerian/Babylonian culture. Her most famous depiction and myths comes to us from Hebrew texts in the Story of Adam.

Her original myth from Sumerian culture speaks of her being the "hand of Inanna". She was said to find men in the streets and lead them to the temples of the sacred prostitutes. She was also known to assist in childbirth and infant care. Lilith lived inside the huluppu tree which grew in Inanna's garden. After a few years, Inanna came out to harvest the tree for a throne she wanted to build, only to find a serpent living at it's base, a Zu bird with a nest in the branches and the Goddess Lilith living in it's trunk. Gilgamesh, who was known to be a demigod and a king in Sumerian mythology, helped Inanna remove the snake, and the bird, then he forces out the Goddess Lilith who fly's away into the dark sky.

Her most well known myth comes from the Hebrew stories of her being the first wife of Adam. Since Lilith was a powerfully independent, sexual Goddess, she was not used to being submissive to men. That was not how her culture worked. Sexuality was not seen as something bad or evil in the ancient world. Only when the patriarchal cultures such as Judaism and Christianity took over did sexuality become seen as an evil sin. So Lilith refused to lie on her back while Adam took the dominant sexual position. She believed that love making should be equal. Adam did not agree with this and demanded that she be submissive to him. So Lilith left the garden of Eden. Later in Hebrew myth, she became demonized as an evil sexual demon who preyed on men at night. Better known as the Succubus, she would sneak into men's bedrooms at night and give them wet dreams.

It seems that Lilith, like many other Goddesses, was demonized by Patriarchy, in an attempt to stop her worship. Today Lilith represents a strong woman confident in her sexual powers. She teaches us to not be afraid or ashamed of being sexual, and to be comfortable in our sexuality. To be strong and never be submissive to anyone. To stand up for ourselves and be strong confident women. Call on Lilith when you need to feel more power to handle a difficult situation, or to feel more confident in your sexuality as a woman.

Lilith, in my opinion, is really a Goddess for women. Everything she represents is women's power and strength, and her sexual side represents that women too are sexual beings. And that's not something to be demonized as it has been for many years. Many times in our society, if you are a woman who is comfortable in her sexuality, you may be seen as being "promiscuous". It is not as acceptable for a woman to be sexual than it is for a man. It was not this way in the ancient world. Sexuality was seen as totally equal for both men and women, and had no relation to anything evil, sinful or dirty.

On your altar for Lilith, have a picture or statue of the Goddess, colors of black, red, white and blue, have dark feathers and a representation of a snake. Have crystals of turquoise, moonstone, black obsidian, herbs of mugwort, vervain and mandrake. Her moon phases are dark and new.

I hope you enjoy exploring this ancient Goddess of Power and Sexuality!


For more info on Lilith, check out this article: Lilith: from Demoness to Dark Goddess





Image courtesy of Gaia Moon Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain, Celebrate the Goddess of Death


Samhain is a time to honor the dead, its the last of the three harvest festivals before Winter. It's a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with spirits and otherworldly beings is possible. It is also a time when we honor those who have gone before us like our ancestors, pets and friends. Samhain is a reminder that we are all connected with the cycles of life, that we too like the earth, will one day die.

This festival of the dead stems from an ancient Celtic holiday known as The Celtic New Year. Just like today, it is referred to as The Witches New Year. The ancient Celts would light bonfires and have feasts. It was also said that they would leave candles lit in their windows, to guide the souls of the dead. Samhain was also known to be a time to see and connect with the Faeries. The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility, was also known as a Faery Queen. In Celtic Ireland, she was said to lead her Faery court across the land on the night of Samhain.

On Samhain we honor the dark Goddesses such as Hekate, Greek Goddess of Crossroads, Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron and The Morrigan, Celtic Goddess of sovereignty and fertility. We also honor our ancestors and the Faeries. Make a small Faery altar outside with natural items such as rocks, twigs, leaves, shells, flowers and acorns, or any other natural materials you have around where you live. Leave a small offering of milk and honey or butter outside on Samhain night to honor the Faeries.

On your altar, have fall colors such as orange, red, and yellow, have pictures or statues of the dark Goddess, pumpkins and/or apples, skulls, or other natural items such as acorns feathers and crystals. You can also have a small ancestor shrine. Samhain is also a great time for magic and divination. So have out your runes, scrying mirror or tarot cards for Samhain night.

I found a great recipe for Mulled Wine for Samhain, it's called "The Banshee" (which is a type of Celtic Faery) and I thought I thought I would share it here. I'm going to be making some myself over the Samhain weekend!

The Banshee Mulled Wine

Ingredients:

  • One bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot or a Spanish red)
  • One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • One peeled and sliced lemon (keep peel to add zest to taste in cooking pot)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or honey can be substituted)
  • 2/3 cup brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup water

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in either a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm the ingredients on low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that the honey or sugar has completely dissolved. When the wine is steaming and the ingredients have blended well it is ready to serve. Ladle into mugs (leaving seasonings behind) and enjoy! Link


I hope you enjoy the wine! I know I will :) Wishing everyone a magical and festive Samhain!



Recipe taken from About.com





Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews


Friday, October 21, 2011

Samhain Crafts and Magic!

There are many different types of crafts you can do in preparation for Samhain. Since this is the last of the three harvest festivals, you can make fall related items, such as a fall wreath or pumpkin candles. You can use those very small pumpkins or maybe even a medium sized one. Cut off the top and clean out the inside as much as you can. Place a tea light in it, and viola! Pumpkin candles! (See an example picture below) They look so cute in a small formation next to your front door. Also, when carving your Jack O Lanterns to put out on Samhain night, keep the seeds to roast and make a nutritious and delicious snack. Here is a link on how to roast pumpkin seeds from about.com: Toasted pumpkin seeds.


Samhain is also a time to remember and honor our ancestors. On your Samhain altar, or a separate altar if you like, create an ancestor shrine with pictures, and objects from your passed loved ones.
It can be pets that have passed or family members, and even dear friends. Place these things on a nice cloth and have a lit candle. You can also add symbols of your own belief like a pentagram or a Goddess. Meditate a little while on these people or pets that have passed, to honor their memory.

This festival of celebrating the dead is also a great time for certain types of magical workings. Divination of any kind, communing with the dead and Faery magic to name a few. You can make your own divination device if you like, like a scrying mirror. Just take a clear glass plate, spray paint it with black matte paint, and once it dries, you can either decorate it around the edges or just leave it plain. Now you can use your homemade scrying mirror for divination on Samhain. You can also use any other divination tools you feel comfortable with such as runes, the pendulum, tarot cards, etc.

Since at Samhain the veils between worlds is this, communication with passed loved ones and Faeries is possible. Try contacting any of your passed loved ones through meditation, and write down any messages that come through. To attract the Faeries to your Samhain celebration, have out offerings of honey, butter or milk. Leave them in little sea shells or any other natural item, they are more attracted to a natural offering dish that a man made one, and make sure to leave them in your garden.

I hope you enjoying making your Samhain crafts in preparation for the biggest Pagan festival of the year!





Photos courtesy of Celtic Lady and Rebecca Calagna

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Energy of the Fae

All of my life, I've had a profound interest and love for Faeries. Since I was a girl, to a teen, to an adult, Faeries have always been a part of my life. When I was younger, I read every book I could get my hands on. Irish Faery tales, books about Faery energy and magic, anything by Brian Froud, really anything I could find to continue my quest for knowledge about Faeries. Most "Faery tales" come from Ireland and the surrounding area. Although they were most prevalent in Ireland, many cultures from around the world have tales of creatures that are very similar or exactly like, the Irish Faery.

When I was younger, I could communicate with and sense their energy fairly easily. Although as I became an adult, and the reality of the mundane world set in such as working, paying bills etc., my ability to sense them and communicate with them left me. Of course I was still Pagan and still practice
my Pagan beliefs, and worship the Goddess (of course), the Faery energy I loved so much was no longer something I could tap into.

Since Im Irish and so is my family, it has been a dream of mine to one day go to Ireland. And that dream came true last year! So as soon as I knew we were going, I promised myself to ask an Irish person about the Faery folk. Even if they looked at me like I was crazy! In many rural parts of Ireland, people still believe in the ancient tales of the Fae, along with other creatures. So one day my husband and I were going to be taking a tour of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. We had a private tour so it was just us and our driver taking us around all day. Our driver, Jimmy, was so nice and filled with stories of Ireland's sometimes violent and brutal history. I was astonished at how much information he knew and fascinated by his stories. So I thought to myself, this is the man Im going to ask about the fae! After Newgrange, on our way to the Hill of Tara, which was kind of a long drive, I took the opportunity to ask him about Faeries in Ireland. He started off by saying that most people don't really follow those beliefs anymore, but then he went on to tell me how his Mother heard the cry of the Banshee, and that his childhood was filled with tales of all kinds of Faery folk. So, I basically got my answer :)

As some of you may know, not all faeries are sweet and nice fluttering around with sparkly wings. Some are malevolent creatures who lure unsuspecting people into their world never to return again. So as we continue on our trip, going to Kilkenny, and Cashel, we decided to stay the night in a very small town called Adare. This town was very quaint with little cottages and a beautiful old church. We stayed at a beautiful B&B owned by literally the nicest people I've ever met in my life. Although everything on the outside seemed normal, I sensed an energy to the place that I couldn't figure out. It was an energy I had never felt before, and it wasnt necessarily a good energy, but I wouldn't say it was an evil energy either. We had kind of a strange night. My husband ended up getting sick, which never happens, usually I'm the one with the upset stomach. And we ended up going back to the B&B early since he wasn't feeling well. In Ireland, there is no air condition, so the windows are always open to let the cool breeze in. Outside our window, I could sense something, and my attention was constantly drawn to it. The energy I felt is hard to describe. I guess I could say it felt mischievous, in a meddling sort of way, and possibly slightly malevolent. It did not frighten me, I just wasn't familiar with this new energy I was feeling.

That night, I had a terrifying dream that I will never forget. And I kept waking up in the middle of the night through my restless sleep, and being drawn to the open window. The next day we left rather quickly to get to our next destination. It wasnt until after we got home, and a few days or weeks passed, that I realized what I had felt. What I experienced in the town of Adare was most certainly Faery energy. I know this from stories I've read about Faeries, and experiences I had when I was younger. I never felt that energy again in Ireland, nor have I felt it since. But the memory of it will always be with me.

Samhain, the upcoming sabbat, is a time when the veil between worlds is thin, and communication with Faeries and other spirits is much easier. It is said in Celtic Ireland that Faeries would roam the land on the night of Samhain, along with lost souls. People would leave a lit candle in their window to lead the souls home. So Samhain is a great time to tap into the energy of the Fae, just be careful, because as you know, not all Faeries are pretty little creatures. Leave out offerings such as milk and honey in little shells in your garden, they also like butter, this should attract the Fae to you and your garden.

I hope you enjoyed my story of my experience with the Fae! Feel free to share your own experiences as well.





Pictures courtesy of Brian Froud

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Morrigan, Irish Goddess of Battle and Fertility


The Morrigan is an Irish Goddess of battle, fertility and the cycle of life. Her names translates to mean Phantom Queen or Great Queen. She was seen as a triple Goddess, forming a trinity with the Goddesses Badb and Macha. She was known to sometimes take the form of a crow and fly above warriors during battle. She is a dark Goddess, who is also associated with death and shape shifting. Although she is seen as triple formed, It would be most wise to honor her on the dark or waning moon.

The Morrigan is an ancient Goddess, and many are unsure of her exact origins. Some myths say that she was one of the Tuatha De Danann and one of the daughters of Ernmas, who was an Irish Mother Goddess. Whatever her exact origins are, we do know that she was a fierce and powerful warrior Goddess.

The most well known of her myths are those with the hero Cu Chulainn. The Morrigan appeared to Cu Chulainn one day and offered him her love. When he did not recognize her and rejected her, she became enraged and insulted him. Before he could do anything, she turned into a crow and landed on a nearby tree. Realizing now who she was, Cu Chulainn told the Morrigan that had he known who she was before, he wouldn't have acted as he did. But it was too late, The Morrigan then gave him a series of bad prophecies, one of those being that he would die in battle. She declared to him that she would guard his death.

In another myth, while the Cu Chulainn was one his way to battle, he encountered the Morrigan in the form of a hag washing his bloody armor in a ford. This was seen as a bad omen. "The Washer at the Ford" is a legend of a woman who washes the bloody clothes of those who are about to die. She essentially chooses who is going to die in battle. In the final scene of the myth of Cu Chulainn and The Morrigan, when the hero is now mortally wounded, he is said to tie himself to a standing stone, and a crow lands on his shoulder. It is then his enemies know, he is dead.

Although she is known by most as a battle Goddess, there is more to The Morrigan than that. She was also seen as a fertility and earth Goddess because of her association with cattle. In Ireland in County Meath, there are two hills known as "The Two breasts of Morrigan" suggesting that she was also seen as a protector and guardian. Máire Herbert, who wrote about the Morrigan in the book The Concept of the Goddess, suggests that she was not so much a war Goddess, but more like a protector during war. Making her seem more like a Goddess of Sovereignty.

However complex this mystical Goddess may be, she teaches us to act as the Queen in the battles of our own lives. To take control of our lives and reinvent ourselves to be able to deal with any situation life throws at us. This comes from her shape shifting abilities. To be able to change at will, to easily adapt to any environment. This is something we all have to deal with in life, change. Call on The Morrigan to help protect you during a hard time in your life. Or to help you change yourself to deal with and adapt to your environment better. Also, she helps to show us the darker side of ourselves, and learn how to come to terms with it. The Morrigan has much wisdom to offer, she may be vengeful at times, but she is also the guardian who protects those who call on her aid.

On your altar to The Morrigan, have colors of black, red and white, a crow feather, a picture or statue of her, an athame, triple Goddess symbol, and Celtic spiral symbols.

Enjoy working with this ancient and powerful Irish Goddess!




Photo courtesy of Goddess Guru

Friday, October 7, 2011

Winner of Candle from The Sacred Feminine

Thanks to everyone who entered, I hope you had fun playing! And the winner is......Jodine Turner!
Congratulations!! I would like to thank Montserrat for donating her lovely candle for this giveaway. Also, because she is so generous, Montserrat is offering 10% off your order from The Sacred Feminine, as an extra thank you for taking the time to check out her shop and enter this giveaway! Just be sure to mention this giveaway from Love of the Goddess when your ordering, and you'll get 10% off. Thanks again to everyone. I hope you enjoy your candle Jodine!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giveaway for Samhain from The Sacred Feminine!


I decided to start this giveaway early, so the winner has enough time to enjoy their new and adorable Witch candle from The Sacred Feminine! Owner Montserrat has generously donated her witchy and lovely scented candle for the Samhain giveaway. Some of you may know, I've done giveaways and an art feature for her before. Her artwork is inspiring, and I'm incredibly addicted to her lovely smelling candles. Her and her wonderful business is such an inspiration and Im so happy to be featuring one of her Samhain candles here!

Here's a little background on Montserrat and her business:

Hi my name is Montserrat. I started my candle company in 1996, Candles by Montserrat, wanting to create spiritual and holistic candles to aid us with our prayers and rituals. My candles are made with natural essential oils, and cotton wicks. They are made for you, at the time you order them, so that the oils are fresh. All my themes are spiritual and the candles are designed by me, including the labels, that depict my original images. I find that most of the candles sold these days are made by people who don't really care about the candles. It is just a job for them. It is easy to see why you should clear a store bought candle before you use it. All my candles are a conscious creation into which only high and inspiring thoughts and intentions are projected. You will feel the difference.

The Witch candle being given away is scented with a blend of cinnamon and orange leaving a lovely Autumn scent. Enjoy!

Now for the rules to enter, go to Montserrat's shop: The Sacred Feminine and come back here to comment on any items you like. For extra credit, Check out her facebook fan page and become a fan. The giveaway will last for one week, at which time I will choose the winner using random.org. Make sure I have a way to contact you in case you win! Have fun playing and Good luck!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mabon, Welcoming the Dark Mother


Today is the Autumnal equinox, also known as Mabon or the first day of Fall. It's the second of three harvest festivals before winter. The start of Fall symbolizes the dieing of the earth and her plants. In the ancient world people, usually the women, would be busy baking lots of breads and harvesting grain, and vegetables, preparing meats, as much as they could before all the crops died. It was a matter of survival back then. Every family had to make sure they had enough food to last them through until Spring. If they ran out in say February, it wouldn't be a good thing. So this was a very important time for the ancient people who lived before us.

Today, just like with the Spring equinox, night and day are of equal length. From now on the nights will grow long, and the days short. It is the time where the bountiful Mother of Summer begins to take her rest, and the Dark Mother begins her cycle. Just like in our lives we experience birth, death and rebirth. The seasons of the earth experience the same, again linking us, and all creatures, to our beautiful Mother Earth.

There are many myths surrounding the first day of Fall. Of course the story of Persephone and her journey back to the underworld. Now her Mother Demeter will mourn her loss until she returns to her at Spring when the earth becomes alive once again. Or the story of Inanna and her descent into the underworld where her sister Ereshkigal ruled. Upon her descent, Inanna was tricked and killed by her sister. While Inanna was stuck in the underworld, the earth ceased to grow. When a magical ritual was held, which brought Inanna back to life, the earth was restored and all the plants started to grow again.

Mabon is a great time for magic concerning prosperity, protection, and harmony. It is a time of balance and a time to give thanks for what we are blessed with in our own lives.

On your Mabon altar, have Fall colors of orange, yellow and red. Vegetables like gourds, squash and pumpkins, also grain and apples. Slice an apple down the center to see the symbol of the pentagram and place it on your altar. Incense with cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, and pine. Fall leaves, images of the Fall Goddesses; Demeter, Persephone, and Inanna. Also a pomegranate is a symbol of Persephone and her time in the underworld.

Wishing you all an abundant and harmonious Mabon! Happy Fall!




Image courtesy of Wendy Andrews

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Winner of Pendant by Mickie Mueller

Thanks to everyone who entered! I hope you had fun playing. And the winner is.....Dana owner of By Land, Sea & Sky blog! Congratulations! Thanks to Mickie Mueller for donating her beautifuk pendant! Check back later this month to see her artwork for the Fall features coming up this weekend! I hope you enjoy your new pendant Dana! Thanks for playing!
Link

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Giveaway from Mickie Mueller!



This months giveaway comes to us from the lovely Mickie Mueller! Im sure some of you already know her beautiful artwork. She also makes jewelry and other nice accessories, and she has graciously donated one of her gorgeous pendants for this giveaway!
I had the chance to speak with Mickie, here's what she had to say:

1. Please tell us a little about your business.
My name is Mickie Mueller and I've been creating art ever since I can remember. I grew up beneath the great mountains and the desert sky of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They aptly call it "The Land of Enchantment." Both of my parents were prominent artists and craftspeople in the area, and I was influenced by many of the great artists of the Southwest, all friends of the family. In my late teens, I moved with my family to the green rolling hills of Missouri were I now live and makes my home and studio. I began working as a freelance artist in 1983 right out of high school, showing my award winning art in local galleries, and my work appearing in newspaper ads, and CD/cassette covers for local rock bands. I even worked for awhile as a computer colorist for comic book companies like Marvel, D.C. and Dark Horse to name a few. By the mid 1990’s, I was moving away from creating other peoples visions and began nurturing my own signature fantasy art style as I began creating images from my heart and imagination. I began delving into the magical world that I saw in all places of nature, finding fairies, nature spirits, and Goddesses living in the trees and forests. I developed special techniques like adding magical herbs to my paint to further make my art spiritual and magical. I now consider myself a Professional Bohemian, creating art, writing, crafting, and teaching classes and workshops for a living. I've created three oracle decks that are published with Llewellyn, The Well Worn Path, The Hidden Path and The Voice of the Trees, A Celtic Divination Oracle that just came out this year. My husband and I run an Etsy shop selling prints and gifts with my artwork on them most of which we create using dye sublimation equipment right in my studio. My new project I'm working on now is a Tarot Deck called The Mystical Cats Tarot for Llewellyn that I'm working on with Lunaea Weatherstone, that will be out in 2014.

2. Do you have a favorite piece of artwork that you create?

I think my favorite piece of art is usually the last one I created. I really love the process of creating, bringing a vision into reality. That being said, I do have some long standing favorites Blessings of the Triple Goddess being one of them. I think this is one of my favorites because of many reasons, one of them being the many forms that she has manifested in. Seeing that piece having been made into jewelry, statuary, and even selected for a Norwegian school textbook about religions and ethics has been very exciting and keeps that image growing and changing through the years. Another favorite of mine is Drawing Down the Moon, the scenery was inspired by a very relaxing week spent with my husband Dan at Lake of the Ozarks. Many of the reference photos were taken while the two of us explored the lake on wave runners. I can't look at that piece without remembering that week.

3. Please explain the item you are giving away.

Autumn Masque Glass Crystal Art Necklace The art on this classy sparkling pendant is mounted on the back, the beveled edges are faceted adding a bit of sparkle, and the art looks brilliant shining out from behind the 1/4 inch thick pendant. We print the artwork right in our studio, then we heat press it and the special dye transfers to the treated back of the crystal. If you hold it up to the light, it shines through. The size is just perfect, 1 inch wide x 1 1/2 inch tall, with a beautiful silver tone bail. This pendant comes on a sepia colored satin 18 inch cord and has a chain to make it adjustable up to 20 inches. They are packaged in a little craft jewelry box with white padded insert as shown, tied with a silver cord. These are securely shipped in an additional box to arrive safely to you.


Ok so now for the rules to entering. Go to Mickie's Shop, and come back here and comment on some of your favorite items. For extra credit, follow Mickie on her blog. The giveaway will last for one week, at which time I will choose the winner using random.org. Make sure I have easy access to your contact info! Thanks to Mickie for donating her beautiful pendant! I hope everyone has fun playing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dream Incubation


Dream incubation is a technique used in order for a specific dream to occur. Basically it's "planting a seed" in your mind before sleep, focusing totally on your issue, so your answer will come out in your dreams. Dream incubation is an ancient practice that was used in many different cultures such as Malta, Egypt and Greece.

It is said that people would commune with their Gods before sleeping, asking them to reveal their answers in their dreams. In Greece, people would prepare for their dream incubation's by fasting, purification and prayer for three days before entering the Dream Temple at the Oracle at Delphi.

In ancient Malta, dream incubation was said to have taken place in the underground labyrinth like structure called the Hypogeum. This is where the famous figurine known as "The Sleeping Goddess of Malta" (pictured above) was found. It seems as though the Hypogeum might have been looked at as the womb of the Goddess, where you came for comfort, healing and divine guidance through dreams.

The people of ancient Egypt held dreams in very high esteem. They believed that one could communicate with the Gods during dream time. As well as heal sicknesses , practice magic and travel to the underworld. It is said that the dreamer would recite a prayer to their God before sleeping, and then record their dream upon waking.

In the ancient world, dreams were taken more seriously and many were seen as divine visions and messages. Even Native American cultures took dream and vision quests to seek divine guidance. So it seems the practice of using dreams to receive divine messages or visions is a very ancient and widespread technique that many people used.

You can try your own version of dream incubation today as well. Before bed, take a cleansing bath or shower, light some incense and keep it near you when you go to sleep. Call on your Goddess and ask for her divine guidance in a problem your facing. Write down your problem, and think about it before going to sleep. Make sure to have a journal or a piece of paper and pen next to your bed so you can record your dreams in the morning. Thank your Goddess for her guidance and leave a small offering if you like.

For more info on dream incubation check out Wikipedia

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War


Athena was the state patroness Goddess of Athens in ancient Greece. The famous temple The Parthenon on the Acropolis was made in her honor and was said to house an enormous statue of Athena inside. She was seen as a Goddess of wisdom, courage, strength and war. The myth of her birth is quite interesting. Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. Once Zeus found out Metis was pregnant with a girl, when if she had been pregnant with a boy, the child would have been more powerful, he was raged. So he tricked Metis and ended up swallowing her. Soon after, Zeus became plagued with horrendous headaches, so he ran to Hephaestus, the Smith God, and asked him to open his head. So he opened Zeus's head and out popped Athena fully grown and ready for battle.

To quote J. E. Harrison, a British classical scholar and feminist, Athena's birth "is a desperate theological expedient to rid her of matriarchal conditions". This was a time when the male power was taking over, and this myth shows their force of dominance. This would give the males more authority and power since the act of giving birth is only part of the feminine make up. All the same, she was still a very powerful and loved Goddess in ancient Greece.

Often depicted with a bronze helmet and a spear, Athena was talented in many different areas including crafts. She was said to have invented the trumpet, was a master weaver and maker of metal work weapons. She was said to lead battles and help many heroes such as Odysseus and Heracles. She was also a virgin Goddess. Her sacred animal is the owl and her beloved Ericthonius, her serpent. Athena became foster mother to this snake when Hephaestus tried to rape her, but she got away, and his semen fell to the earth and impregnated Gaia, who then gave birth to Ericthonius. Some of her statues often depict her with this serpent along with her spear and helmet. I actually saw two of these statues in the Vatican museum when we were in Italy this past Spring.

Call on Athena when you need wisdom in your own life. Or the strength and courage to overcome any battles, inner our outer. She can teach us to be strong and confident in ourselves in the face of adversity. To learn how to form our inner strength and make us wiser in the end. Also call on her when making crafts.

Her sacred tree in the Olive tree, sacred animals are the owl and the serpent. On your altar to LinkAthena, have colors of silver red and white, crystals of azurite and lapis lazuli, A picture or statue of the Goddess, some olive oil, representation of an owl or serpent, and/or an athame.

Enjoy gaining some of your strength and wisdom from this powerful Greek Goddess!


For more on this great Goddess check out Paleothea.com and Theoi.com



Photo courtesy of HranaJanto.com

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: Ode to Minoa


The book Ode to Minoa by Theresa C. Dintino, is a fascinating story of a snake priestess living in ancient Crete. The time when the Cretans were a Goddess worshiping people. I don't usually review fiction works on my blog, but this story was so wonderful that I just had to get the word out there! Theresa Dintino must have done her research because she portrays the lives of the Cretans as though she were there herself. In the book, everyone at some point in their life is chosen for a certain path, a path the goddess has chosen for them. The main character Aurellia, learns that she is chosen to become a snake priestess. There are also women who were chosen to be priestesses of the butterfly or the bee.

The story takes you on the life of this snake priestess. The process and the trials and tribulations she encounters on the way. The job of the snake priestess was to dance with the serpent and then be bitten. Immediately some of the venom is squeezed out, and then the priestess gives a prophecy. So basically, it seems the venom was a source for prophetic messages. There are many different Goddess like stories entwined with Aurellia. The cave where the child bearing women go. The cave where the menstruating women go to meditate. The entire community of ancient Crete in this story was involved with the Goddess in one way or another.

The people of this ancient land also swam with dolphins and revered them as wise creatures. There is so much great information in this story, that it makes you think. How great would life have been back in the days of ancient Crete, when everyone worshiped and respected the Goddess, and women. Theresa Dintino does an amazing job of bringing the story of ancient Crete to life in this fabulous book! It's a quick read (and very hard to put down) and you can even buy it used from amazon. Check out this wonderful story I highly recommend it. Please let me know what you think if you do end up reading it. Thank you Theresa Dintino for such an eye opening story of a once vibrant land!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Winner of Hekate print by Carolina Gonzalez!

Thanks to everyone who entered and a special thanks to Carolina Gonzalez for donating her beautiful print. And the winner is........Witch of Stitches! Congratulations! I hope everyone had fun playing and exploring Carolinas beautiful shop. Enjoy your new gorgeous print of Hekate Witch of Stitches! Thanks for playing and stay tuned for our next giveaway!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giveaway from The Hoodoo Shop!


This months giveaway comes to us from Carolina Gonzalez over at the Hoodoo Shop. She has generously donated one of her prints of the Goddess Hekate! This is my absolute favorite picture of Hekate and I already own a print myself. It's 4 x 6 and perfect to put in a frame to adorn your altar. If you love Hekate, you'll love this print! I had the chance to speak with Carolina, here's what she had to say:


1. Please tell us a little about your magical business.

I have been a self-employed Witch and Artisan since my early twenties, attending local customers; on February 2009, my husband was made unemployed suddenly, and we decided to open The Hoodoo Shop at Etsy, a business devoted to offer our spiritual and creative services worldwide. We are focused on African-origin religions like Santeria, Hoodoo, Voodoo, Umbanda and Candomble, but we serve Pagans of all paths, as many of our customers have mixed pantheons as we do ourselves.


Our work covers three main areas; Tarot and Spell work services, devotional artwork and spiritual supplies. We are highly focused on offering a completely handmade, unique range of items - and we are very proud to say that the response of Etsy's customers has been beyond all our expectations! We have recently passed 1700 sales and 210.000 visits on our blog – we are truly thankful that our view of spirituality is shared with so many awesome people around the world.


We have recently opened our own website, which unites all our services into one address, making it much easier for our customers and readers to access our products. Also, we have created the House Of Eleggua Temple, which is focused on offering free healing services for those less fortunate on our community, and free educational services to our readers worldwide, sharing our knowledge of African religions in a loving, open way, far from fear and prejudices.


2. Do you have a favorite product or products that you make?

Choosing one product or service would be like choosing one of your own children above others – you just can't! I think that the fact that I can go from painting, to oil making, to making a reading and giving someone peace of mind is exactly what makes our work so satisfying. Crafting is a very important part of our lives, but interacting with customers and experiencing the real life of Witches is something that we wouldn't change either. The balance between creative work and counselling is indeed exhausting and hard to accomplish, but we are both constantly learning and giving, and that's what matters at the end of the day.


3. Please explain the item you are giving away.

We are giving away a 4x6, professionally made print of our Hecate painting. The original painting painting was made in 2010 by me in acrylic paints, and depicts Goddess Hekate holding a torch on each hand, adorned by tattoos and wearing a beautiful purple tunic. Her triple aspect is represented behind her, and a decorative frame surrounds her, depicting some of her sacred symbols: the crow, the dog, the key, and three of her sacred herbs: digital, willow and jimsomweed. Check out our website:http://houseofeleggua.com/ and also check out our Facebook fan page

Ok so now for the rules to entering. Check out Carolina's shop and come back here to comment on a product or a few products that you like. Please make sure your contact info is easily accessible for me, so that I can contact you if you win. I will choose the winner randomly with random.org. The winner will be announced Friday August 26th. Good luck and have fun playing!



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Festival To Hekate, Lady of Storms


August 13th marks an ancient festival to Hekate. She was honored on this day as Lady of the Storms. In hopes that she would protect growing crops from being destroyed by fierce storms this time of year. People would leave offerings at crossroads for her on this day. Some researchers think this festival to Hekate actually stems from the ancient Roman festival, Nemoralia. Also known as the "Festival of Torches", this celebration was held on August 13 in honor of the Goddess Diana.

This year, her sacred day happens to fall on the full moon. For me it will be a day of honoring Hekate! First I will be assembling my altar until its to perfection, then my own personal ritual, and when the moon rises, I will go to beach to worship her under the light of the full moon. My husband will be also coming to watch the moonrise with me, although he will be there more so as my "bodyguard" rather than praying to my matron Goddess. Im so happy to have her great presence fill my whole day!

Here is my prayer I wrote in her honor for her sacred day:

Hekate, mistress of earth, sea and sky,
I pray to you on your sacred night,
Torches in your hands, flames burning bright.


Oh mighty crossroads Queen,

Reveal the great mysteries you've seen.

You who dwells in the shadow realms

Liminal lady, enchant us with your ancient spells.


Triple formed woman of the underworld,

Ancient mystic and guide,

Dogs bark and snakes slither devotingly at your side.


Great Enchantress of old,

I honor you on this full moon.


Enjoy honoring our Lady of the Storms and full moon blessings to everyone!



Photo courtesy : My personal altar

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yemaya, Mother Goddess of the Ocean


Yemaya also spelled Yemanya, is known as the Mother of the oceans. Originating in Africa, her worship spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. She was first known to be a river Goddess worshiped for the rivers of West Africa. She was seen as the source of all water. All waters come from her and all fish were her children. Since life is thought to have originated in the ocean she was also seen as the Great Mother of All.

She was known to cure infertility and help women with childbirth. She was also seen as being very motherly and protective. In Africa she was known as an orisha, a very powerful nature spirit. In her myth, it is said that she was brutally raped by her son. After this she fled to a mountaintop and cursed her son until he died. In her sorrows she decided to take her own life. As she died she gave birth to fourteen powerful orisha, when her water broke it created a great flood which made the seven seas.

Since her worship spread from Africa, she took on different forms in other areas. In Voodoo she is seen as a moon Goddess. In Brazil she is honored at the Summer Solstice as Mother of the Ocean, white and blue flowers are left as her offering. And in the Caribbean she is viewed as the Great Mother of the Oceans.

Yemaya represents the ebb and flow of life much like the flow of the ocean. Yemaya can bring forth life, but just like the ocean she can also cause great destruction, and change. She teaches us to move freely through the waves of change and cycles of life. Yemaya may also be called on during childbirth or fertility issues.

Her symbols are shells, especially cowrie shells. She is often depicted as a mermaid as well so this too is a symbol of her. Her sacred colors are blue, turquoise and white. Her sacred number is seven representing the seven seas.

On your altar to Yemaya, have water, salt water if you have access to it. Shells, representations of sea life, crystals of turquoise and white quartz, colors of the ocean, a mermaid and a picture or statue of the Goddess.

Enjoy honoring this ancient Goddess of water and creation!





Photo courtesy of Sandra M Stanton

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lughnasadh, Harvest Festival of the Grain Goddess


Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, comes from the ancient Irish celebration held on August 1st. This Celtic festival was held in honor of the Sun God Lugh, and it was the first of three harvest festivals until winter. This was the time when people would start harvesting their crops and baking breads in preparation for the coming months of winter. It is traditional to bake bread at Lughnasadh. Some people would throw bread into their bonfires in sacrifice. Others would bake bread in the shapes of grain deities for offerings.

The Goddesses we honor at the first harvest are Demeter, Ceres and Ker, all of which are grain and harvest Goddesses. Ker was prayed to while ancient women would bake bread on the day of Lammas. They would ask for her to bless their grain so that it would last through the coming months of winter. Demeter, the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, and Ceres, Roman Goddess of Grain, were prayed to in much the same way. In hopes that the abundance of the Harvest would last them throughout the dark and cold months of winter.

Some great crafts to do for Lammas are baking bread and making smudge sticks. Baking bread from scratch can be difficult, so if your not experienced with it, then you could just buy a box mix and bake bread. You could also make shapes of grain Goddesses out of your bread to put on your altar as an offering. I'm blessed enough to have a KitchAid, so I can bake my bread in that. I plan to make a cinnamon bread on Lammas, hopefully it will come out good for the Goddess!

The other craft that I love doing at Lughnasadh, is making smudge sticks. If you have a fresh herb garden great! If not, buying fresh herbs from your local grocery store or Whole Foods Market will do the trick. Some great herbs to use for smudge sticks are sage, rosemary, mugwort and lavender. You must use fresh herbs when you make them, and then you let the rolled smudge stick dry out. All you need is some thread, any color you like, some fresh herbs, and scissors. Directions on how to roll them are here: How to make smudge sticks. My favorite combo is sage and mugwort, and I'm lucky enough to have both growing in my small herb garden! :)

On your altar for Lammas, have representations of grain, warm colors of orange, red and yellow, pictures or statues of the harvest Goddesses, apples, corn or corn dollie, bread, your own handmade smudge stick, and any other harvest symbols that speak to you.

I wish you all abundant blessings on this Lughnasadh!




Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrews

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Time for a quick break.


I will be taking some time off from the blog this month. Time for some much needed relaxation, and to put the finishing touches on my business. I plan to be back in about three weeks. I will definitely be here in time for Lughnasadh! You all know I cant stay away too long :) I plan to still check in on my bloggy friends and supporters, and I will also be updating the fan page on facebook every so often. I cant wait to return refreshed and renewed with some new great experiences and stories to share! Thank you for your support!




Picture courtesy of ShaktiSistersYoga.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winner of Tarot Reading!

Thanks to everyone who entered! And the winner is....Kim! Congratulations! I would like to give a special thanks to Threshold Witcherie for their lovely donation. I hope everyone enjoyed playing. Thanks for your continued support! Enjoy your reading Kim! Link

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Giveaway from Threshold Witcherie!


This month at Love of the Goddess, the featured giveaway comes to us from Threshold Witcherie. The owner has graciously donated a custom intuitive tarot reading! I've never featured a reading for a giveaway, so I'm really excited! I had a chat with the owner, here's what she had to say:

1.How long have you been crafting magical products?
I’ve been crafting them all my life. I was encouraged from birth; it was a natural part of the environment I grew up in. My family members were my earliest teachers. My mother is big on hands-on learning, being a very talented craftswoman herself; she can make anything. She is adamant about acknowledging and connecting to the sacred every day. My aunt Linda took me on ‘wanders’ through the woods, teaching me about animals, plants and how to walk. My grandmother taught me the rhythms of the seasons, and the best cookie recipes. And my great-aunt Teddie had her own metaphysical shop on Cape Cod for 16 years. As a crystal guru and Theosophist, any conversation with her is deeply wise; but can also require mental gymnastics. ;) I remember trying to imitate when I was quite young, stirring pebbles, sticks and leaves into a large rain barrel with my younger brother and testing out words to make it rain. I was so proud of my first ‘magicke brew’. *lol*

It’s a real blessing to be a ‘working witch’, a dream I’ve had all my life. I view it as a vocation, a practicing priestesshood. Frequently it’s a struggle to work it with the mundane practicalities, but I want to lead by example for my little daughter, as the women in my family did for me. And I’m rewarded for my stubbornness by the people the Goddess places in my path. For example, I would still be floundering around online if it weren’t for the boundless advice and support given by my teammates (Metaphysical Team on Etsy).

2.Do you have a favorite product/service that you offer?
No, each has a flavor and texture that I love; each appeals to a different sense and part of me, and each has a purpose and a joy. I really love my work. *lol* I love the warm scent of the herbs when I harvest them, hang them or mix them for incense or tea; that’s the smell of home. I love the feel of the stones, glass, wood and bone as I make jewelry and charms, and I get intense with the fascination of potion-making. I make things by custom order or in quite small batches, so I get to enjoy making one thing in the morning, then another quite different in the afternoon, or the next day. I get to explore different little areas and edges of my magicke and my creativity daily, so they all expand.

3.Please explain the item you are giving away.
This giveaway is for an e-mail tarot consultation, one of several that I offer. This particular consultation is focused, tailored to allow for an in-depth look at one specific area of your life, and questions and the revelation of obstacles and choices in that one area. You may ask as many questions about that one area as you need to; I don’t limit people by the number of questions or cards. I have 13 years of professional tarot and workshop teaching experience in a range of magickal subjects, and I think one thing that makes my readings so detailed is the way I augment my intuitive tarot work with a blend of psychology, astrology and feng-shui.


In my personal life, I also enjoy being a mum, tribal belly dancer and organic gardener, and I am honored to walk with several fur and feather people.

My sites:
www.e-Vocations.com
www.facebook.com/KindleAndCast
www.ThresholdWitcherie.etsy.com
www.BeLLesInSheLLs.etsy.com

Now check out Threshold Witcherie's shop, come back here and comment on some of your favorite products. The giveaway will last for one week, at which time I will choose the winner using random.org. Thanks to everyone who enters, and thanks to Threshold Witcherie for their lovely donation! Good luck!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Litha, Summer Celebration of the Goddess!


Litha, also known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice, is a celebration of all things Summer. When all the flowers are in bloom, and all the crops and herbs are full of life. When the days are long and hot. Litha is actually the longest day of the year. Now the days will start to decrease, while the nights will start to increase.

Many Pagan celebrations involved a fire, including Midsummer. People would get married at Midsummer, much like at Beltane, and jump over the fire for good luck. There is also some folklore surrounding this Summer festival. It is said that in England, a big bonfire would be built on Midsummer eve, to keep evil spirits at bay. Farmers would light fires on their land, and then light torches from the fire, carrying them around the town.

Midsummer is also associated with faeries. It is said that if you stay up all night on Midsummer eve sitting in the middle of a stone circle, you will see the Fae. To honor the Fae at Midsummer, leave out some milk and honey, or a little bit of wine or cheese. You can also invite the Fae into your garden to help tend to your Summer herbs. Leave the same offerings in your garden to attract them.

On the Summer Solstice we honor Isis, Egyptian Mother Goddess of the universe, and Vesta, Roman Goddess of Hearth and Home. During the Summer in Ancient Egypt, the annual flooding of the Nile was celebrated. It was known as "Night of the Teardrop" in honor of Isis and her sorrows after losing her husband. It was said that Isis cried so much, that with her tears, she flooded the Nile. Vesta was also honored during the Summer in Ancient Rome. The festival Vestalia, which started on June 7 and lasted for eight days. Priestesses of Vesta would bake sacred cakes and tend to her sacred flame during this festival.

Since Litha is a Summer festival, honoring the ocean and her creatures can also be a part of your ritual. On your altar have representations of the sun and water, shells, summer herbs and flowers, colors of yellow, orange, red and blue, statue of Isis or Vesta. You can also have a small fire if you have the ability.

For a quick Litha herb charm: Take herbs of St. John's wort, mugwort, vervain, and lemonbalm, pour all of your worries, fears and concerns into them, put them into a small sachet bag, drop the bag onto your Litha fire (or in your cauldron) and watch your worries burn away.

I hope everyone has a bright and prosperous Summer and Litha celebration!


For more info on Litha crafts and folklore, check out : About.com






Photo courtesy of The Fairy GatheringLink
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...