Thursday, February 23, 2012
This wonderful giveaway comes to us from The Whimsical Pixie, who has generously donated her Five Elements Millefiori Ostara Egg Set! I have to say that I already ordered some of these for myself, and I absolutely love them! So well crafted and beautiful colors. Here's what the owner Paula had to say about her business, and her Ostara elemental eggs.
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. Please explain the item you are giving away.
The egg is not only a symbol of fertility but of the universe itself; the shell represents earth; membrane: air; the yolk: fire and the white: water. The eggs of this set has been done to correspond with the colors of the Elements and form a "pentagram" when their wide ends are placed together; a pretty decoration for your Spring Equinox altar
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.
Each egg was wet sanded after baking and coated with a high gloss polycrylic for shine. Eggs measure approximately 2".
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 elemental eggs!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
The word Matriarchy conjures up images of a culture where women have total control of men and total control of the society and everything that goes on within it. Which is not true. Matriarchy is not the exact opposite of Patriarchy. In a Patriarchal society, women are repressed and are not allowed simple freedoms that we take for granted today. Men actually do have power over everything and even a woman's word is deemed foolish and unimportant. In a Matriarchal society, women have power, but so do men, there is no repressing of the other therefore making it an egalitarian, or equal, society. There are many authors, archaeologists and anthropologists alike who say that a matriarchal society never existed. I think this is a little closed minded, as there have been hundreds and hundreds of cultures before us that lived for thousands of years. Is it really impossible to think that maybe some of those cultures could have been matriarchal?
Along with the term Matriarchy, we have Matrilineal, where the lineage goes through the woman instead of the man, and Matrilocal, which means that when a man and a woman get married, they live with the bride's family instead of the grooms family. Even though some scholars dont want to believe in Matriarchal societies, it has been proven that there were some in history. For example the Iroquois Indians were said to live in a matriarchal society. Where women and mothers had political influence, could fight in battle, grow crops, among many other liberties. Author Doug George-Kanentiio in his book "Women are the Center of Iroquois Life", writes that "Nature, we believe, has given women the ability to create; therefore it is only natural that women be in positions of power to protect this function."
There has been evidence to suggest that in parts of India, Asia, Celtic societies and indigenous tribes had matriarchal societies. It is very well known that ancient Celtic women had equal power and influence to men. They fought in war, made important decisions and had property ownership. Celtic women were known to be fierce warriors fighting right beside their men in battle, the most famous of these warrior women is Queen Boudicca of the Iceni. The Picts of Scotland were said to be a Matriarchal or Matrilineal society as well. Although not much is known about these great and fierce people, this little fact was said to be recorded by Roman historians.
There are also some animals that operate in matriarchal societies, like lions. It is a proven fact that lions live in a Matriarchal society. The Lionesses do the hunting, general protection of the tribe, taking care of the cubs and many other duties. The male lions have their place though, as they are used to take down big game, and for protection of the tribe from another male lion trying to take over. The Lionesses also outnumber the male Lions by alot. Therefore allowing the male to breed many times to create a larger tribe.
Author Heide Goettner-Abendroth, is known for her extensive research into matriarchal societies. She goes on to say in one of her published papers, "Matriarchies are all egalitarian at least in terms of gender—they have no gender hierarchy, that, for many matriarchal societies, the social order is completely egalitarian at both local and regional levels". This theory that a Matriarchal society is in all actuality, an egalitarian society, has been proven many times over. So it could never be the opposite of Patriarchy.
Some other cultures, which were Goddess based, like ancient Crete were said to live in an egalitarian society as well, where the divine feminine was revered. Men and women each had their duties and they lived in a happy and peaceful society. The Goddess in Crete was personified in the land and her sacred creatures. For example, mountains and caves were seen as some of Her sacred places, and bees, serpents and bulls were seen as some of Her sacred animals.
For more info on Matriarchal cultures check out the book "Societies of Peace" by Heide Goettner-Abendroth.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little something about Matriarchy!
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Hypatia lived in Roman Egypt around 370 CE to about 415 CE, and was a noted mathematician and philosopher. She was daughter to the mathematician Theon Alexandricus, who was also a librarian at the library of Alexandria. Hypatia was educated in Athens and Italy, and was a Neoplatonist. Which means that she took her teachings from the mystical philosophy of Plato, she was also schooled by Plotinus who was a Neoplatonist philosopher as well. In around 400 CE, she became head of the Platonist school of Alexandria, where she taught philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and the philosophy of Neoplatonism.
Many people of her time said that she was charismatic and a great teacher. That she would stand next to men and be admired by her great knowledge. At a time in history, when Christianity was slowly taking over, a powerful, and smart woman, was not seen by all as a beneficial thing to their Christian society. Although her students were a very mixed bunch ranging from Pagans, Christians and foreigners who would travel far for her famous teachings. One in particular, Synesius of Cyrene, who later became the Bishop of Ptolemais, is said to have written letters to Hypatia, in which showed great admiration and reverence for her knowledge and her teachings.
Over time, Hypatia's teachings became associated with what the Christians considered to be Pagan. In about 415 CE, while Hypatia was traveling home on her chariot, she was ambushed by a mob of Christians. They continued to attack her, strip her naked as a form of humiliation, and drag her body through the streets to a Christianized temple where they killed her. The reports suggest that the mob of Christians skinned her body with shards of pottery, and then burned her remains. It is obvious that the Christians killed her because they felt threatened by her depth of knowledge and philosophical concepts. Women, to the Christians, were not supposed to be educated and smart, this was seen as a Pagan tradition.
It is said that after this brutal and horrifying event, is essentially when the fall of Alexandria began. Many scholars left after the murder of Hypatia. Maybe for fear of their own lives, or for disgust and sadness at the brutally violent display the Christians performed in order to squash out philosophical ancient knowledge, so they could come into power.
Hypatia was a very notable, smart and powerful woman in her day. A Warrior Woman of her time, and she died for her knowledge because a powerful woman was seen as a threat to the Christians.
Here are some notable quotes by Hypatia:
"Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all"
"All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final."
I hope you enjoyed learning about one of the many powerful women in history!
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, artist: Charles William Mitchell
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Eileithyia was originally a Cretan Goddess, adopted later by the Greeks, of childbirth and labour pains. She was seen as a Goddess of midwifery. Called upon to ease the pain of labour and help with the birth of children. According to author R.F Willets, she is closely identified with a Minoan Goddess, and an even earlier representation of a Neolithic Goddess. Willets goes on to say "The explanation is as simple as it is important. The continuity of her cult depends upon the unchanging concept of her function. Eileithyia was the goddess of childbirth; and the divine helper of women in labour has an obvious origin in the human midwife".
There is a cave on the island of Crete known as the Cave of Eileithyia, which is a Neolithic and Minoan sacred cave dedicate to Eileithyia, and in this cave is said to be where she was born. This shows the her roots are far more ancient than the Greeks, even the ancient Cretans. Caves were sacred to her, again connecting her to womb of a woman and giving birth. In Greek myth, she is said to be the daughter of Hera and Zeus, and is often depicted carrying a flaming torch to represent the burning pains of labour. An early Greek poet, describes her in a hymn as "the clever spinner" which would connect her with The Moirai, or The Three Fates. This would make her older than the God Cronus, the youngest son of Gaia.
Her worship was pretty widespread. Her most well known cult was in Amnisos, which is on the northern part of Crete, were her sacred cave is located. She was also said to have cults in Arkadia, in Southern Greece, Olympia and parts of central Italy.
It makes sense, to me, that Neolithic people would honor a deity for childbirth and the pain that comes with it. Along with the very real possibility of death. Obviously in Neolithic times, there were no pain meds, except for maybe some type of pain reducing herb like opium. Women felt the full force of giving birth and so of course they would call on a Goddess to help through their pains of labour. Many women didnt live through childbirth back then. So to me it seems the Goddess Eileithyia originated from a very ancient form of a deity, who was modernized along with the societies in which she was worshiped.
Today, call on Eileithyia for her blessings during childbirth and to help you deal with any pain that comes along with it. There isn't that much information on this Goddess that I found. But you can check out these links for more info:
Theoi.com, along with Wikipedia
The image featured is that of a Greek painting of the birth of Athena, springing from Zeus's head, and Eileithyia is standing on the right.
I hope you enjoyed learning about this ancient Cretan Goddess!
Image courtesy of Theoi.com
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Imbolc or as it's known in Gaelic, Oimelc, which translates to mean "ewe's milk", is a festival of fire that honors the coming of Spring. At this point Spring is quickly approaching , and farmers would be preparing for the planting season. For Celtic traditions, this day is known to be a day for the Goddess Brigid, who is traditionally honored on Imbolc.
In Kildare, Ireland, there is essentially a church who's patroness saint, is St. Bridget, which is the Christianized version of the Goddess Brigid. Although this Parish is Christianized, there is legend of an ancient group of Priestesses who tended the sacred flame of Brigid on this site. The flame was tended by the priestesses who eventually became nuns, for 19 days, and on the 20th day Brigid tended the flame herself . Later, the church decided that this ritual was too Pagan and had the fire extinguished. It wasn't until the 1990's that the flame was re-lit and is still tended by the nuns today. Many Pagan women have made pilgrimages there for Imbolc to honor Brigid on her sacred site and light a candle for this ancient Goddess.
On the website for the Saint Brigid of Kildare Parish, they have information and prayers for their "Patroness", who of course is Brigid. I think it's so wonderful for a church in Ireland to have a Patroness instead of a Patron! It's refreshing and inspiring. They have a beautiful prayer to Brigid on their site, and I decided to share it here. This prayer is used when hanging Brigid crosses, or as a blessing for the parish (it could also be used as a blessing for your home).
May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell
Bless every fireside, every wall and floor;
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof;
And every tongue and mind for evermore;
Bless every hand that toils to bring joy
And every foot that walks its portals through.
This is my wish today, my constant prayer
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you
Wishing you all a blessed Imbolc!
Photo courtesy of Wendy Andrew