Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Giveaway! Maria Lionza Print from Carolina Gonzalez

This months giveaway comes to us from Carolina Gonzalez, owner of Camino De Yara. She has generously donated her print of the Goddess Maria Lionza, a Venezuelan Mother Goddess. Here's what Carolina had to say about her company and this lovely Goddess:

Camino De Yara is a website+blog+shop combination, dedicated entirely to the cult of Maria Lionza, which is a form of Spiritism born in Venezuela. We are located in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), which is a place strongly related to Venezuela, since the immigration and emigration between the country and the islands has been going on for five hundred years. My own grandparents and their children lived many years in Caracas.

I met Maria Lionza's cult when I was in my early twenties, through a friend who was a follower of the cult. That makes it almost two decades ago! After many years following an eclectic path, but always keeping Maria Lionza very close, my husband and I decided to take the vows as their son and daughter last year.

Since then, the interest of our customers and blog readers has gone beyond all our expectations, and since legit information in English about the topic was completely nonexistent, we decided to focus our work online to the divulgation of the religion, starting a new website and blog and focusing our shop on the creation of items specifically made for those who want to follow the path of Maria Lionza. Camino De Yara stands for Yara's Path or Yara's Way - Yara is another of the names Maria Lionza has.

Maria Lionza is the Highest Spirit of the religion and the Chief of the Three Venezuelan Powers or Tres Potencias. Embodiment of Nature, source of unconditional love and compassion, loving mother of all followers, protector of women and bringer of fertility and new life. I could go on and on sharing Her virtues for a thousand lines!

To celebrate the opening of our new site, we are giving away one 4x6 inches print of our Goddess, depicting a digital collage created by me, using a bust that I also painted myself. I represented her surrounded by orchids, as it is one of her favourite flowers, and also the national flower of Venezuela.

To enter the giveaway, please visit Carolina's shop or the Camino De Yara website, and comment on a product or some of their magical services that you liked. Also be sure to check out her blog at Camino De Yara. Please be sure to include your contact info in your comment. The giveaway will last for one week. Thanks to Carolina for sharing her beautiful work and spirit with us! Good luck to all who enter!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hatshepsut, Great Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt

Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty. Born in 1508 BCE, she was daughter to Thutmose I, and wife to Thutmose II. It is said by Egyptologists that her reign was longer than any other woman in Egypt, lasting for twenty two years, and that she was quite successful. She was said to have been favored over her two brothers, and when they both died, it became possible for her to ascend the throne upon the death of her father. Although Thutmose I already had his stepson, Thutmose II in line to marry Hatshepsut and become Pharaoh. Hatshepsut became Queen alongside her Pharaoh husband/stepbrother, but it is widely thought amongst scholars that she ruled things behind the scenes.

After her husbands death, she became the king, the Pharaoh. Her title was no more the "Kings Wife" but "Gods Wife of Amun". She was depicted as a pharaoh with the false beard and Pharaohs crown It is said that she portrayed herself as a man to be viewed and respected as king, knowing her stepson, and successor, Thutmose III would eventually become king himself. Even in stone carvings, she is depicted as king.

Although a woman ruling as Pharaoh wasn't that common, there are women Pharaohs who preceded Hatshepsut. Such as Merneith who reigned in the first dynasty, Queen Sobekneferu of the twelfth dynasty and Ahhotep I who is said to have been a warrior queen, among many others. Although Hatshepsut had not been the only woman Pharaoh, it is said that she was more prosperous in her reign and created a very peaceful era. She brought great wealth to Egypt by regaining trade relationships with other countries, which enabled her to start great building projects of temples and palaces.

She made preparations for sailing to the Land of Punt, which is thought to be an area of present day Somalia, to trade goods. Her crew came back with many goods, most notably myrrh resin and actual myrrh trees. It is said that her foreign policies were mainly peaceful and that she was a great politician, but it is also said that she led military campaigns in Syria and Nubia successfully so, early in her reign.

Hatshepsut is well known for her magnificent building projects throughout Upper and Lower Egypt. She had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak, she restored the precinct of Mut, an ancient Egyptian Mother Goddess, within the temple complex at Karnak, and she is also said to have had twin obelisks erected at the temple that were reputably the tallest obelisks known at that time. There was also the Red Chapel which was originally a shrine that had carvings and depictions in stone of Hatshepsut's life. She is also said to have commissioned many statues of herself and her lineage. It seems as though Hatshepsut wanted to be remembered in history for her great accomplishments, and to this day, she is.

Hatshepsut held great sovereignty over her land and people, and she used her royal lineage and favor of her father to her advantage. She also claimed to have divine lineage from the God Amun. The myth is that Amun appeared to Hatshepsut's mother, Aahames, in the form of her husband Thutmose I. He made love to her in God like splendor, and there the story of the divine and powerful Hatshepsut began.

Eventually, Thutmose III was coming of age to take the throne and was angered by his stepmothers power and the love her people had for her, the first Queen turned King Pharaoh. Hatshepsut died nine months into her twenty second year of reign as Pharaoh in the year 1458 BCE, she was fifty at the time of her death. Her cause of death is somewhat unknown but it is speculated that she may have had bone cancer. After her death she was thought to have been buried in a tomb she created for her father. Although Thutmose III built another tomb and had Thumose I removed from his original place of burial into a new tomb. Hatshepsut's body was also moved but the location is somewhat unknown. In her original tomb evidence of her and her reign have been found such as a canopic jar filled with her liver, a lioness throne and a signet ring inscribed with her name.

After her death, Thutmose III had monuments and inscriptions of Hatshepsut's reign destroyed. All the great splendor she had created was demolished as well as any mention of her name or that she was considered a King. It seems Thutmose III wanted to erase the memory of this great Pharaoh, although her legend has never died.

I hope you all enjoyed learning about the Queen who became King Pharaoh, Hatshepsut!

Photo courtesy of Annoyz View

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Cailleach, Winter Goddess of the Celts

The Cailleach was honored throughout the ancient British Isles as a Winter and crone or hag Goddess. She is the bringer of the long cold nights of winter, she is the mountains covered in snow, she is the bringer of death, the deciding factor of Spring and a very ancient Goddess. She has many faces as a Goddess. She is known in Scotland as Cailleach Bheur, or divine hag, who is said to be blue faced with long silver hair and grey clothing. She is said to be fierce and have a chilling appearance.

In Ireland she was known as the Cailleach Beara and was seen as a hag Goddess associated with weather and the mountains. There is a tale of the Cailleach Beara, similar to that of the Morrigan's, in Celtic legend, where an old hag near a river asks a hero of battle to make love to her, and if he does, she turns into a beautiful woman and the hero is handsomely rewarded. She is named for the cliffs and mountains in Ireland, like "The Hag's Head" on the Cliffs of Moher. She was seen as the land and the bringer of winter, an ancient Goddess or creatrix.

The Cailleach is the one who decides the fate of Spring to come. On the eve of Brigid's day, February 1st, the Cailleach hides in her snow covered mountains, and it is up to her whether or not Spring shall come, or if winter will last a little longer. She is said to gather firewood, and on February 1st if the sun is shining, it means that the Cailleach has fooled the desire of spring. If the weather is foul then it means that the Cailleach is sleeping and will soon need more wood for her fire, so winter will be over quickly.

This ancient Goddess or creatrix has many guises and is associated with many other Celtic Goddesses. This seems to be a theme in Celtic mythology. All of the Celtic Goddesses have different faces of one another, seeming to connect them all into one universal Great Mother deity.

The Cailleach is honored at winter and spring festivals and is even associated with Beltane and Samhain. She is associated with mountains and the landscape, winter, storms and the crone.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this ancient Goddess of Winter!

Photo courtesy of Michael Hickey
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