Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winner of Winter Solstice Greeting Cards!

Thank you to everyone who entered. And the winner is............Carmen! Congratulations Carmen I hope you enjoy your Winter Solstice cards as well as your friends and family. Thank you to Montserrat for her generous donation. Thank you all for playing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giveaway, Winter Solstice Greeting Cards!

This months giveaway comes to us from Montserrat at The Sacred Feminine. She has generously donated six of her Winter Solstice greeting cards made with her beautiful art! These are great to send to family or friends at Yule. I've featured Montserrat and her sacred art and candles here before and I love her work. Here's a little background on Montserrat and her divine creations:

My name is Montserrat and I was born in Barcelona. I have lived in many places and countries, and now I am in the United States.
I have always been interested in art, but it was after a series of spiritual experiences that I started to paint with oils.
My first paintings were of Cosmic Devas and Angels, but later on the Divine Feminine was awaken within me, and I began painting the female manifestation of Divinity.
Although I practice the middle path of the Buddha, I don't associate with any specific religion, having found that all religions hold beautiful teachings.
You will probably notice that some of my paintings have a religious air to them, while others are more symbolic.
I strive to find and paint the Divine, whatever shape or form it might take. 

The cards being given away celebrate the Mother in her most divine form. As the earth and the universe, as all. The cards are blank inside so you can write any Winter Solstice greeting you like. To enter the giveaway, visit Montserrat's shop and comment about some of the products you like. Also be sure to check out her Facebook Page! The giveaway will last for one week at which time the winner will be announced. Please be sure to leave your contact information in case you win! Thank you to Montserrat for donating her wonderful greeting cards! Good luck to everyone who enters!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Circe, Ancient Greek Sorceress

Circe was said by Homer to have been a Goddess. Other sources say she was a minor Goddess, closer to a nymph or a witch. Daughter to Helios, the Sun God and Perseis, a water nymph. Her brother was Aeetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece. Some accounts make her the daughter of Hekate and sister to Medea. Others think she may have been just a priestess of Hekate.

Being known as a powerful sorceress and enchantress, her most well known myth is in the Odyssey. She is said to have invited the crew of Odysseus into her abode for a feast after their travels. Unbeknownst to the crew, Circe mixed one of her magical potions in the food, and after they ate she used her wand to turn them all into pigs. After turning Odysseus men into pigs, Circe tried to keep Odysseus for herself by tricking him into sleeping with her. She bore him three sons, Argios, Latinos and Telegonos. Odysseus stayed on the island with Circe drinking wine and indulging. This was the promise he made so that his men could be freed.

Circe lived on the mythical island of Aiaia where she resided with nymphs who were her attendants. She was quite skilled in the power of illusion, creating magical brews and was also experienced in the art of necromancy. She was said to be quite beautiful with dark braided hair. In a Homeric hymn, she is invoked almost as though she is a daimon, or spirit:

"Daughter of Helios, Kirke the witch,
Come cast cruel spells; 
Hurt both these men and their handiwork."

Circe's sacred herbs are said to be Enchanted Nightshade which is in the Circaea genus, so befittingly named. As well as Mandrake and Primrose. She is skilled in the art of illusion, metamorphosis, and mind altering. Circe is a powerful sorceress gifted with many cunning arts and prowess. Some of her sacred stones are said to be green jade and peridot, which is the color of her eyes. Her symbols are the wand and the cauldron. When creating a magical brew, call on Circe, when looking to create a metamorphosis in your own life, call on Circe. She can give much power to any magical working.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Circe, minor Goddess of ancient Greece!

Photo courtesy of JWWaterhouse.com

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hathor, Egyptian Cow Goddess of Love

Hathor is the Egyptian Goddess of love, childbirth, joy, music and motherhood. She was a cow Goddess and often depicted as either a woman with the head of a cow, or a woman with the ears of a cow and the horned uraeus crown on her head. Hathor is said to be a much older Goddess, her worship dates back to the Pre-dynastic period. She was a midwife Goddess and attended to all women's needs, as well a protectress to women who were pregnant. At her sacred festivals, and in her rituals of worship, dancing and music was always a big part of the celebration. Dancing was a primary component to her worship, as was music. Women would dance freely shaking their sistrums, a type of rattle, in honor of the Goddess of love and joy.

Her primary cult was located in Dendera, where there is a temple dedicated to the ancient cow Goddess. This temple has large columns that have the face of Hathor with her cow ears at the top of each one. In Hathors myth, there are many different scenarios. Some say that she is the daughter of Ra, the Sun God, and some say that she is the mother of Ra. Others say that she is the mother of Horus, which connected her with the Goddess Isis. She is also connected to the Goddess Sekhmet, as she was also seen as the The Eye of Ra. This connects her to the story of Ra sending Sekhmet to destroy mankind.

Hathor should be called upon on matters of childbirth, women's needs, love, and happiness. She can be called upon by pregnant women for protection, and she can be called on for matters of learning to love yourself and those around you. Or to help bring more happiness and joy into your life. In any ritual you decide to do for Hathor, dancing and music should be a part of it, since this was such an essential part of worship in her ancient cults. Just flow freely with your body wherever it takes you to the sounds of Egyptian music. Connection to deity through dance and song is an ancient act, and really helps you to feel the energy of that deity.

On your altar to Hathor, have colors of yellow and white, a picture or statue of Hathor, representation of a cow or a cat, a mirror, sistrum or rattle, stones of lapis lazuli or turquoise, incense made with myrrh, frankincense, rose and sandalwood and offerings of wine or perfume.

Enjoy honoring this ancient Goddess of love and joy!

Photo courtesy of Floating World

Friday, August 24, 2012

Winner of Mabon Incense from Old World Witchery!

Thanks to everyone who entered! and the winner is......Arlene Fritz! Congratulations! Thank you to Melissa for donating her magical incense. Enjoy your Mabon incense Arlene!  I hope everyone had fun playing. Check back for the next giveaway!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giveaway! Mabon Incense from Old World Witchery

This months giveaway comes to us from Melissa at Old World Witchery. She has graciously donated her Mabon incense in honor of the upcoming Sabbat. I had the chance to speak with Melissa, here's what she had to say:

1. Please tell us a little about your magical business. 
One of my favorite things to do is blending incense from fresh herbs,resins, and essential oils. It is such a magickal and spiritual act for me, and I decided to open an Etsy shop devoted to just that - handblended ritual incense and oils created with intent and only using certified organic ingredients. Most of my blends are created during corresponding lunar phases, depending on the purpose of the blend. Any blend for a specific deity is done in ritual, especially if it is a blend for Hekate.

Every ingredient I use is carefully selected due to it's magickal and/or healing qualities and planetary correspondences, again depending on the purpose of the blend. I don't always select ingredients that "smell pretty"; ritual incense, in my opinion, is used to lend power to your rites and using appropriate ingredients is very important to me.

All work is done in a section of my kitchen reserved just for this ~ the kitchen truly is the heart of the home, and it such a magickal place in my own home because of the time spent in there not only cooking, but working magick. We tend to move every few years due to my husband's job, and the kitchen is always the first room in the new house that is purified and blessed (and, of course, Hekate takes Her place at the threshold, as well!).
 2. Do you have a favorite product or products that you make?It's hard to pick one favorite product as I love them all, but I think my "Purification" incense blend is my most favorite to blend and burn. It has so much positive energies imbued in it, and I love the aroma.

3. Please explain the item you are giving away.
The Harvest Resins were created with natural tree resins and blended with a touch of honey and pumpkin pie scent, and colored in autumn colors using natural ingredients. Autumn is my most favorite time of the year; I love the golden colors of the trees and leaves and the scents of pumpkins and spice is very comforting to me. So much so that my home is scented like that pretty much year round! I enjoy making seasonal resins in this manner; it's fun to do and my younger children enjoy helping, too!

Now for the rules to enter. Go to Melissa's shop, find a few products that you like, and come back here to comment on them. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner. The giveaway will last for one week, at which time I will announce the winner. Also, for extra credit, check out Melissa's Facebook Fan Page and become a fan! Good luck to everyone who enters! Thank you to Melissa for donating her lovely Mabon incense!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Waning Moon, Dark Goddess Incense

Now is the time of the waning moon, a time of letting go and banishing negativity from your life and yourself. A time to shed your old skin, and prepare for the new. A time to forgive lost expectations and to let go the negative people and things in your life. One of my favorite quotes, from William Shakespeare, reads "Expectation, is the root of all heartache." When we expect things, and certain actions from people, we become hurt when those expectations are not met. This a time for forgiveness to the people who have caused you pain, and to forgive yourself. A time to move on and a chance to start fresh again. The phases of the moon are similar to that of the sun. The sun rises each day with the promise of rebirth. As the waning and dark moon prepare you for renewal, at the new, waxing and full moon.

 As much as I love all of the moons phases, the waning and dark moon deeply resonate with me. Usually dark Goddesses are prayed to on these moon phases. Goddesses such as Hekate and The Morrigan. Each of these Goddesses can be called upon for matters of letting go, banishing and learning to fight our inner battles. I always like to make a special incense for the particular Goddess I'm working with when doing any kind of spellwork or specific rituals. It helps you to connect with the energies you want to incorporate into your ritual, as well as to connect more with the energy of your particular Goddess.

Here are two of my favorite waning moon incense recipes for the Goddesses I have listed above:

Myrrh resin, Black Nightshade, Rue, Bay leaf, one drop Cypress essential oil.

The Morrigan: 
Dragons blood, Angelica root, Basil leaf, Juniper berries, one drop Patchouli essential oil

Ground up the resins and the herbs as much as you can, mix in a bowl, then add the drop of essential oil, mix again thoroughly, now your incense is ready to burn. Use a charcoal block to burn your incense, and if you have some left put it in a bottle or bag and label it for next time. If you don't have all of the herbs listed, you can always use substitutes.

Wishing you all a blessed waning and dark moon!

Photo courtesy of Goddessschool.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Goddess and the Butterfly

The Butterfly has been associated with the Goddess for thousands of years, and was honored in cultures like ancient Crete as well as in Native American traditions. In ancient Crete the butterfly was seen as a symbol of regeneration and fertility. The Labrys, which is a type of axe in the shape of a butterfly, is said to be a symbol of the Goddess in Crete. It was used during ceremonial events, by Minoan Priestesses. It is said that no male hands ever touched the labrys, it was strictly seen as a feminine symbol and tool, which suggests that it was associated with their Goddesses. There have been labrys's found in all sizes, some so big that it suggests they were used for sacrifice. An unfortunate but very real part of the ancient world, was animal sacrifice during worship. The labrys was also seen in depictions at Delphi, Thrace and other areas of ancient Greece. It is thought to represent feminine power and possibly related to matriarchy.

There are also Butterfly Goddesses, such as the Butterfly Maiden in the Native American Hopi tradition.She is a Kachina, which were seen as types of spiritual beings. They could be anything from animals to insects, divine beings and ancestors to name a few. The Butterfly Maiden is a Kachina but was also seen as a fertility Goddess, she is honored at Spring as she represents renewal and change, as well as rebirth and regeneration. She was portrayed as a young woman with beautiful wings, and surround by butterflies. She can help with any creative endeavors we are taking on, or for renewal and rebirth in your own life. Butterfly Maiden helps to reassure us that change is natural, just like the cycles of life, and to move on, spread your wings and begin a new life.

It is no wonder why the butterfly was and is still seen as a sacred symbol of the Goddess and life in general. The process of the development of the butterfly is known as a Metamorphosis. There are four stages to the life of a butterfly. First as an egg, then once the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges. The caterpillar then eats and grows bigger, once its big enough, it turns into a pupa, which is the cocoon in which the butterfly will grow. It can take weeks, months or longer for the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon. The final stage of the development is seen as the adult stage, and this is the stage of the butterfly. It is said that a butterfly may only live for a few weeks, but some species are said to be able to live for a few months.

The butterfly gives promise of rebirth, to spread your beautiful wings and fly amongst the air, to feel true freedom. As she waits in her cocoon of darkness, growing stronger, her wings begin to grow, and one day she opens herself from the darkness and is immersed in light. She represents that life will always begin anew, and the feeling of freedom will once again grace your existence.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the ancient worship of the sacred butterfly!

Picture courtesy of Josephine Wall

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sekhmet, Lioness Goddess of Egypt

Sekhmet is the lion headed, Egyptian Goddess of war and healing. Her name is said to mean "The Powerful One". She is also a solar Goddess and wears a sun disc crown upon her head. Daughter to Ra, the Sun God, Sekhmet was said to be a fierce Goddess. She is a misunderstood Goddess quite frequently. She represents the lioness, and they are fierce creatures, especially when it comes to the protection of their cubs. Sekhmet also is the fierce mother, and has the wildness of a lion.

In her myth, the sun God Ra, is said to be the creator of all things, including mankind. He started to hear, that mankind was making fun of him and saying bad things of him. This enraged Ra, so he decided to set out Sekhmet to dispel all the bad humans, who were speaking evil things against him. So Sekhmet started on her rampage of slaughtering humans and drinking their blood, so much so, that Ra feared there would be no more humans left. So he devised a plan to trick Sekhmet. He ordered his men to make seven thousand jugs of beer, containing blood and mind altering herbs. They brought the red beer out to the slaughtering fields and poured it everywhere. Sekhmet, thinking it was blood, drank it all up and became so intoxicated she fell asleep and the massacre was over.

There was a festival held every year in honor of this story. It is said that her priestesses drank red wine laced with mind altering herbs, like Sekhmet did, to appease her wildness. This would be a great festival and thousands were said to have attended. They would all drink and become intoxicated to mimic Sekhmet in the myth, and then dance, sing and make love to soothe the Goddesses fierce nature. As a result of this, Sekhmet is also a Goddess associated with sexuality. She was also associated with the Goddesses Hathor and Bast.

Sekhmet represents letting go of anger, and letting go of the things that hold you back from starting a new life or enjoying the one you have. She teaches us to move past old hurts and to forgiveness. She is also known for her healing qualities and can be called on for these matters as well. Being that she is a lioness, she can also be seen as a Mother Goddess, possibly a dark Mother Goddess. You may also call on her for matters of becoming a stronger person, and also for sexuality.

On your altar to Sekhmet, have colors of red, orange and yellow, crystals of citrine, tigers eye, ruby or garnet, herbs of myrrh and catnip, a picture or statue of Sekhmet, representation of a lioness or a snake, and red wine.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the fierce Lioness Goddess of Ancient Egypt!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Littlejohn

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time for the Summer Solstice!

 Today is the Summer Solstice also known as Litha or Midsummer. It is the longest day of the year, and from here on out, the days become shorter. It is a time to honor the sun and faeries as well. Goddesses that are known to be honored at this time of year are Isis, Amaterasu and Vesta. I found a lovely poem about the Summer Solstice, written by Laurie Corzett, that I thought I would share. Enjoy!

The Longest Day

Earth of sea and land and air
Lit into opportunistic life
by her mother star
Energy for you and me to
burst into bloom
flit fly in
busy devious thievery
cacophonous rambling

Surging through veils,
storms breathing ice, sand,
the fire of prophecy
the flood of melting,
glacial migration
bequeaths rage, rampage,
rapacious gratuities
boiling beneath.
It’s not winter here, nuclear quiet,
all’s right for the longest of nights.
Not yet.

The eternal balance
rocks, stars, dark
inconsistencies with
metaphors of the righteous
long ceased bowing to scriptures.
Tomorrow, the Sun will rise.
The Earth will revolve.
Life will adjust, compromise.
After the workday, we celebrate
potent evening light.

Wishing everyone abundant Midsummer blessings!

Poem found on Belief.net

Photo courtesy of Sue Miller

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Women of History, Sappho, Ancient Greek Poetess

Sappho and Alcaeus - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema 1880

Sappho was born on the island of Lesbos sometime between 630 - 600 BCE. Not much is known about her life, but some of her poetry and great notoriety has survived. Sappho was a lyric poet, which means her poems were sung, usually accompanied by a lyre, which was a type of musical instrument. She was included in the list of the Nine Lyric poets, which were seen as highly esteemed poets to the scholars Hellenistic Alexandria. It is widely thought that Sappho was born to an Aristocratic family, her father is said to have been Scamandronymus, and her mother Cleis, which Sappho is said to have named her daughter after. Her poetry was mostly about the love and passion of women, and men as well, though known of her poems contained explicit "lesbian" sexual content. It is also said that she wrote about Goddesses such as Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love. She was said, as read in some of her poems, to be a Priestess of Aphrodite, which, if this was the case, she would have been a sacred prostitute. Although this is not known for sure because unfortunately not much of her story has survived. 

Sappho lived around the time of some other Lesbian poets, such as Alcaeus and Terpander, both men. The word Lesbian, as it is used today in its sexual connotation, did not appear until the nineteenth century. It is said that Alcaeus was Sappho's lover at one point as well as Anaktoria, a woman, who was mentioned in  one of her poems as being her lover. Sappho's poems were said to be collected three hundred years after her death, and complied in Alexandria into nine books. When the library of Alexandria was burned down by the Christians, so were Sappho's books. Only few scraps and fragments survive.

Around 600 BCE or so, Sappho was exiled to Sicily after political turmoil and the rise of Pittacus, Mytilenaean general, in Lesbos. Cicero, Roman statesman and philosopher, writes that there was a statue of her put in the town-hall of Syracuse. She is said to have gone back to Lesbos at some point after her exile, and spent most of her life there.    

Out of the fragments of poetry that has survived of Sappho, is that of her Hymn to Aphrodite:

"Immortal Aphrodite of the shimmering thone, daughter of Zeus, weaver of wiles, I pray thee crush not my spirit with anguish and distress, O Queen. But come hither if ever before thou didst hear my voice afar, and hearken, and leaving the golden house of thy father, camest with chariot yoked, and swift birds drew thee, their swift pinions fluttering over the dark earth, from heaven through mid-space. Quickly they arrived; and thou blessed one with immortal countenance smiling didst ask: What now is befallen me and why now I call and what I in my heart's madness, most desire. What fair one now wouldst thou draw to love thee? Who wrongs thee Sappho? For even if she flies she shall soon follow and if she rejects gifts, shall soon offer them and if she loves not shall soon love, however reluctant. Come I pray thee now and release me from cruel cares, and let my heart accomplish all that it desires, and be thou my ally." - Sappho

Her poetry was described by Posidippus, a Greek poet, as "divine songs". Plato is said to have called Sappho wise, and Horace, a Roman lyric poet, referred to her poetry as being "worthy of sacred admiration". Sappho and her beautiful poetry were honored and respected up until the time that Christianity took over. Her poems were made by the Christian church to look as erotic transgendered love stories. Though in the ancient world, the act of homosexuality was not seen as taboo or evil. And her works are said to be not "erotic" in the least as the Christian church liked to make everyone believe. 

Sappho was a woman ahead of her time, and loved by many. It is said that she lived on Lesbos until the time she died which is though to have been around 570 BCE. There is a myth about her death that was formed sometime in the Renaissance period, that she flung herself off a cliff for her love of man named Phaon. Though this could never be proven, and is thought by most scholars to have been a romanticized myth concocted by other poets during the Renaissance. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about the powerful and wise poetess, Sappho.

Photo courtesy of  Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema - Sappho and Alcaeus

Friday, June 8, 2012

Winner of Summer Solstice Candle!

Thank you to everyone who entered, and thank you to Monterrsat for donating her lovely Summer Solstice candle. And the winner is......Nicolette Vallejo! Congratulations! I hope you all enjoyed playing. Stay tuned next month for our next giveaway. Enjoy your new candle Nicolette!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Giveaway! Summer Solstice candle from Montserrat!

This months giveaway comes to us from Montserrat at The Sacred Feminine. She has donated her Spirit of Summer candle in honor of the upcoming Summer Solstice. I've featured Montserrat's work here before and am a big fan of her lovely products! 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 Spirit of Summer candle represents prosperity, abundance and fertility, and its made with natural essential oils of Lavender, Rosemary and a touch of Jasmine.

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!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Witch's Garden

Since its Spring/Summer, its time for many witch's to start their magical garden. There are some basic herbs to keep in your garden like mugwort, yarrow, lemon balm, and sage. All of which are helpful to the witch. Its also good to grow your own herbs, and empower them with your own energy, although some herbs can be tricky to grow from seed. You can plant your herbs in pots or if you have a yard, you can of course plant them in the ground, just make a protective barrier around your herb garden.

Mugwort: Easy to grow from seed and is a classic herb in any witch's garden. Mugwort is associated with the moon as it is known to give prophetic dreams. You can put some dried mugwort in a dream pillow, or drink mugwort tea before bed. It is also an herb associated with the Goddess Artemis as well as divination. To plant the seeds, gently press them into the soil a little, and then put a little more soil on top to cover them, then give them plenty of water, but don't drench them as the seeds can rot. Mugwort needs sun to grow so make sure you have a sunny area to plant them.

Yarrow: This herb is associated with the planet Venus and is used for divination, love magic and protection. It is also said to heal skin wounds, use it in an ointment or oil. Yarrow is associated with the Goddess Hestia and is a great addition to any witch's garden. When planting yarrow seeds, put them in the ground or a pot, then put a little soil on top and give it some water, this plant requires full sun to grow. Make sure to water your new seeds frequently if you see the soil is too dry.

Lemon balm: Known to be loved by bees, and part of the mint family, is fairly easy to grow from seed. Requiring the same planting and caring as the above herbs. Plenty of sun and water. Lemon balm is associated with the planet Venus and can be used for love magic. It can also be drunk as a tea to help with a cold, indigestion and stress. It is also said to help with depression. Mix lemon balm in some wine or mead for a sweet drink, or put some in your bath to relieve stress. This herb was sacred to the Goddess Diana, and was used in her temples.

Sage: This herb is essential in any witch's/Pagans practice. It is associated with the planet Jupiter and it used for purification, divination and protection. Sage was a sacred herb to the Native Americans and it was used by the Romans in a tea to help with digestion. This herb is usually rolled in a bundle and burned to purify an area. It can be mixed with Mugwort as well in a smudge stick. Cut the plants when they are tall enough, and wrap them together in a bundle when they are fresh, wrap them very tight and then hang them to dry. Sage likes sun and some sand in the soil. Water it but not too much, this plant doesn't like over flooding.

When creating and caring for your magical garden, make sure to give it love and empower them with your energies. Some plants are easier to grow than others and you will learn as you go what your plants like and don't like. You can choose to do magical work in your garden as well, and bless your plants with your energy. I hope you enjoy creating your witch'ss garden!

Photo courtesy of Metrolic.com

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spider Woman, Native American Mother of All

The Spider Woman, sometimes referred to as The Spider Grandmother, is portrayed in Native American myth as the Mother who created all life. The woman who sits in the middle of the universe spinning her web connecting all living life to each other. She was honored in tribes such as the Navajo and the Hopi Indians. According to Hopi myth, in the beginning of time, The Spider Woman ruled the underworld, and the Sun God, Tawa, ruled the sky. Together they created the Earth between them, and Spider Woman is said to have molded all the animals and people out of clay. Using her magical thread, she connected all human, plant and animal life together, so that everything in the universe would be spun together in the intricate web of life.

Spider Woman was said to teach people how to weave and plant, she is a Goddess filled with knowledge of the universe and life, so she would also teach people life skills. Some Native American legends represent her as a Mother Goddess of the Earth. She shows us that we are connected to all living things, and we need to respect nature in all her forms. There was also a Spider Woman among the Teotihuacan civilization in Mesoamerica. It is said that she was depicted as a woman with spider like features, such as fangs, and webs, along with spiders surrounding her. She was thought by the people to be a Goddess of the underworld, darkness, the earth and creation. She was said to also be associated with caves, as many Mother Goddesses are, because that is where you would find spiders.

Many cultures around the world have Goddesses that represent the intricate web of life. They represent the web of life we weave for ourselves. We have the power to choose where our next thread will connect too, and create our lives the way we want them to be. Spider Woman also reminds us that all life is connected, and to honor nature and each other. Call on Spider Woman when you need help creating and weaving the web of your own life. When your not sure where to connect your next thread so to speak, call on her for guidance.

Photo courtesy of Susan Seddon-Boulet

Monday, April 30, 2012

Beltane, the Great Marriage

Beltane stems from an ancient Celtic fertility festival. Its name translates to mean "brilliant fires" as people would build great bonfires in honor of this celebration of new life. It is said that some people would jump over the fires, or pass their cattle through two fires for good luck. Traditionally, the festival would begin on the night of April 30, and last through the night of May 1st. It was also a time for marriages and handfastings, as it is a season of love.

Beltane is a time when the earth is in a process of rebirth, the Goddess is reaching her fullness, and this is the time for the Great Marriage. The Goddess, or the May Queen and the God, or the Oak King, would hold a sacred sexual union, of earth and the universe. This sacred union would create the new life that springs forth during Spring and Summer. This sacred encounter was known as Hieros Gamos in the Greek world. This ritual would involve a man and woman acting out the part of the Goddess and the God in a sexual union. Many cultures performed rituals like these around this time of year.  In the Sumerian culture, a High Priestess of Inanna, Goddess of love, fertility and war, would enact a form of the Sacred Marriage with the King of the city state. There is also Walpurgisnacht, this Germanic festival was named for Walpurga, who was a Christian saint. This celebration eventually blended with Norse festivals of Spring and became what is today known as Walpurgisnacht. It is celebrated in parts of Northern Europe and although it is named after a Christian saint, it is honored in the ancient Pagan ways. With great bonfires, dancing, singing, among many other festivities. It too is held on the night of April 30, and lasts through May 1st.

On Beltane, just like at Samhain, the veil between worlds is thin and communication with the Fae and spirits is said to be possible. Goddesses to honor for Beltane are Persephone, Artemis, Aphrodite, Flora and also the May Queen as well as Faeries. This time marks the beginning of new life, of rebirth and love. It is a season of flowers, sunny days and the promise that life always regenerates itself. Even after the death of the earth at autumn and winter, the earth will always rebirth itself anew, just like in our own lives. Life always starts over, in many different aspects.

Wishing you all many abundant Beltane blessings!

Photo courtesy of Emily Balivet

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dark Goddess, Dark Moon

For about three days in the moons cycle, she is hidden from our view in the night sky, this phase is known as the dark moon. It is a time of letting go, honoring dark Goddesses, and preparing for rebirth at the time of the new moon. A time of cleansing the self of negativities, letting go of things that hinder you, and recognizing the darker sides of our own lives. In the ancient world, the calendar revolved around the lunar cycle. The dark moon was the end of the month, and the new moon was the beginning of the new month.

The Greek calendar was one of this kind. The Goddess Hekate, was worshiped on the dark moon, this ritual was known as deipnon. They prayed to her for cleansing themselves of any darkness, they cleaned their homes and made food offerings to her at a crossroads which were known as Hekate Suppers. Offerings consisted of fish, garlic, cheesecake, eggs among many other things. She is a great Goddess to honor on the dark moon.

The Norse Goddess Hel is also a dark Goddess, called upon on the dark moon. She represents death as she is Queen of Underworld in Norse mythology. Her body was said to be half dead and half alive representing the balance in life. Of light and dark, those sides of ourselves, and our lives. Hel's role in the Underworld is to decide the fate of the souls entering her realm. She can grant rebirth, but can also damn you to the depths of Helheim, her Kingdom. She can help you to shed the old, and prepare for rebirth, if you are ready for it.

Kali, the Hindu Goddess of time and change, can also be called upon on the dark moon. She represents the death of the ego, and through that, spiritual enlightenment. She also symbolizes and helps to initiate change. Whether your going through a life change, or about to, she can help you to experience this with her guidance.

The dark moon embodies a chance to star over. To cleanse oneself, and be reborn in a sense at the new moon. Our lives flow in unison with the cycles of the moon. It can be bight and full, and then become dark and unseen. Just like the balance of light and dark in our own lives, and in nature. There cannot be light without the dark.

Wishing you all a blessed dark moon or deipnon if you honor Hekate!

Photo courtesy of sodahead.com

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Persephone, Greek Queen of the Underworld

Persephone, Greek Goddess of the Underworld, represents death, rebirth, the harvest and Spring. Every Fall, when the earth is starting to decay, Persephone is guided to the Underworld by the Goddess Hekate. She holds the torch to lead Persephone to rule as Queen alongside her husband Hades. This represents Persephones descent into the darkest, depths of her soul, where death rules. This can embody the death of the self, or a part of the self. A releasing of the old, letting go of the ego, and allowing the old self to die.

When Spring begins, and all the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the birds singing, Persephone returns to back to the land of the Gods to be with her mother, Demeter. She is essentially reborn, fresh and renewed. The sun will always shine once again, and cleanses the skin of the old self, for the new. Life is abundant and happiness abound in the sunny and fertile months of Spring and Summer. With the return of Persephone, so is the return of life. In this way she also symbolizes the balance of dark and light in life, there must be balance in order to keep the natural cycle of life going, and the same is true for our own individual lives.

The myth of Persephone begins with her abduction into the Underworld by the God Hades, Lord of the Underworld. It is said that once he got her there, he tricked her into eating some pomegranate seeds. Not realizing she was being deceived, Persephone ate the seeds, now binding her to the Underworld forever. This enraged her mother, the Goddess Demeter, Goddess of the harvest, and she proclaimed that all the plants and fruits from the harvest would die if she did not get her daughter back. The other Gods were not happy about this, so Demeter and Hades made an agreement, that since Persephone ate the Pomegranate seeds, part of her was bound the the Underworld, she would have to stay there half the year, and spend the other half with her mother.

So every fall when Persephone is lead back to the Underworld, Demeter mourns her loss, therefore leaving the earth to rot and decay. Though when Persephone returns, all the plants and animals come back to life as now Demeter is happy once more. The myth of Persephone and Demeter are very much entwined with each other. They are very connected, and were honored during the Eleusinian Mysteries, these were said to have been held in high esteem and with the utmost importance.

Just like in our own lives, sometimes we go through dark and life changing experiences. When we go through painful or difficult struggles, we grow and become stronger within ourselves. We shed the old life we once knew, and prepare for the one we will now be living. Though just like when Persephone descends into the Underworld, it can be a dark and scary place. Although after the darkness fades, the sun will always shine again. Life will always renew itself in nature, as it will in our own lives, metaphorically speaking.

Persephone may be the Queen of the Underworld and death, but she also symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Though she is considered to be a maiden Goddess, she is wise in her experience, as she knows the mysteries of life and death. Her story can inspire strength to get through tough struggles, and to be reborn a new and stronger person.

On your altar for Persephone, have representations of Spring, flowers, herbs of dittany of Crete, frankincense and willow. Colors of green, black, blue and yellow. A pomegranate and crystals of jet, azurite and turquoise.

Enjoy your path to renewal with this courageous Goddess of the Underworld!

Photo courtesy of Forest of the Fae

Friday, April 6, 2012

Winner of Flora print from The House of Eleggua!

Thanks to everyone who entered, I hope you all had fun playing. And the winner is.......Sara Shantii! Congratulations! Thank you to Carolina for donating her beautiful print. Check back for the next giveaway! Enjoy your new Flora print Sara!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giveaway from The House Of Eleggua

This giveaway comes to us from Carolina Gonzalez, owner of The House Of Eleggua, artist and creator of magical and mystical products. In honor of Spring, she has graciously donated a print of her drawing of the Goddess Flora. Many of you, I'm sure, already know of her work, we had actually did a giveaway together some months back for a beautiful print of the Goddess Hekate! Here's what Carolina had to say about herself and the gorgeous print she's giving away:

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 2150 sales and 282.000 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.

3. Please explain the item you are giving away.
House Of Eleggua is giving away a 4x6 inches print of Flora, a drawing made by House Of Eleggua's owner, Carolina Gonzalez. The original drawing was made in ink and colour pencils on fine arts paper, and was the cover of January 2012's issue of The Essential Herbal magazine. The print has been professionally made in high quality, acid-free photographic paper.

Flora, Goddess of Spring, enjoys the scent of a rose while standing on a heart-shaped wreath of flowers and herbs. The rose is the holiest flower for many spiritual paths, and a symbol of divinity and sensuality. A little bit of the abundance and beauty of Spring, to be enjoyed on every season, as Flora is an archetype of rebirth, renewal and inner growth.

Now to enter the giveaway, go to Carolina's shop, find a product or two that you like and come back here to comment on them. Please make sure to leave your contact info in case you win! I choose the winner randomly at random.org, and the winner will be announced in one week. Thank you to Carolina for donating her beautiful print for this giveaway! Happy entering and good luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Zenobia, Warrior Queen of Palmyra

Zenobia was born Around 240 CE in the Palmyrene Empire, which was known as Roman Syria. She was thought to be of Arab descent and claimed to be related to Queen Cleopatra and Queen Dido of Carthage. She became wife to Septimius, the King of Palmyra, in 258 CE. Septimius had a son from his first wife when he married Zenobia, and then he and her had a son of their own, Vaballathus. This name is said to have come from an Aramaic term meaning "The Gift of the Goddess". The city of Palmyra was built around an oasis in the desert situated in the middle of the Roman and Persian Empires. It was a city filled with trade and culture from the Greeks, Romans, and Mesopotamians.

Septimius, Zenobias husband, and his son end up being mysteriously murdered and Zenobia assumes the throne, with an infant son. It is said that she gave herself the title Augusta and her son the title Augutus. Zenobia was known to be a real Warrior Queen to her people. She would ride out to battle, in the lead, and fight alongside her fellow warriors. Around 270 C.E. Zenobia conquered Egypt which at the time was under Roman rule. When her forces approached Egypt, the Roman Perfect, Probus, and his men tried to fight off the army of Zenobia. Until some of her men captured Probus, and beheaded them. She then claimed Egypt for her own, and Alexandria as being "her ancestral city", encouraging her Egyptian descent.

She then went on with her army, conquering other lands such as, areas of Anatolia, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. She was creating her own empire, sick of being ruled by the Roman Empire for so long, she took it upon herself to create a domain of her own. And very successfully so. It is said that she then declared her empire independent to that of Rome. Queen Zenobia's strength and warrior power, reminds me of someone like Queen Boudicca. Ready to fight with her army, and ready to revolt against those who restrained her and her culture. It takes true courage and total confidence to try and take over those who currently rule your country. Zenobia was also known to be very beautiful, she was said to have long dark black hair and beautiful dark eyes. As well perfect skin and a "harmonious" voice. Much like her claimed ancestress, Cleopatra.

It was around 273 C.E that the Roman Emperor Aurelian, after fighting the Gauls, decided that it was time to take back his empire from Zenobia. He and his large army met Zenobia with her warriors at Antioch, an area of modern day Turkey, to fight. Zenobia was there with her army, proud and confident and ready for war. Unfortunately, the Romans end up defeating the Palmyrenes, and Zenobia with the rest of her remaining warriors fled to Emesa. Aurelian and his army flee after them, finally catch up with them, and hold the soldiers by force. It is said that Zenobia fled from her army back to Palmyra, where Aurelian eventually caught, and captured her. She and her son Vaballathus were then taken as hostages of Rome. It is said that on the journey back to Rome, Zenobia's son died, the cause seems to be somewhat unknown. It could have been something as simple as heat exhaustion or lack of water. When they finally reach Rome, they flaunted their captor, Zenobia, shackled with golden chains for the military victory parade through the streets of Rome.

After this, her life becomes somewhat of a mystery. There are several stories about what happened to Zenobia. Some say she committed suicide, to emulate her favorite declared ancestress, Cleopatra. Others say, that she was married off to a Roman Senator, lived with him in Tivoli, and even had children. It is said that evidence of this story can be confirmed by an inscription found in Rome, naming a descendant of hers.

I love learning about stories of warrior women and warrior Queens in history. Women certainly had their place in history, and its nice to learn their stories and gain some encouragement and confidence from them. A woman like Zenobia was not afraid to fight for what she believed in, and she did so victoriously.

I hope you liked learning about another famous Warrior Queen in history!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia: Herbert Schmalz

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hera, Greek Queen of the Gods

Hera is the Greek Goddess of marriage, childbirth, women and Queen of the Greek Gods. Wife to Zeus and daughter to Rhea and Cronos, she was often depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and holding a staff. She was one of the twelve Olympians and was the eldest of her siblings, she was said to be one of the most beautiful Goddesses, and her brother Zeus chased after her for sometime.

In the myth of how Zeus tricks and seduces Hera into becoming his wife, Zeus decides to disguise himself as a cuckoo to win Hera's affection. He appears on Hera's staff one day, and she decides to make him her pet. He was then able to change back to his natural form, seduce Hera and make her his bride. They had many children, some of which are Ares, God of War, Eileithyia, Goddess of Childbirth, and Eris, Goddess of discord. Zeus was known to be quite an unfaithful husband, having well known affairs was such Goddesses as Metis, Themis and Alcmene to name a few. This enraged Hera and made her very jealous. Many of her myths involve her torturing and persecuting many of the woman Zeus seduced, as well their children.

For example in the myth of Herakles, which is the son of Zeus and Alcmene, after Herakles is born, Hera sends two serpents to his bed at night. Alcmene is terrified and cried out, but Herakles woke up and strangled both serpents to death. Another myth is one that accounts for the creation of the Milky Way. It is said that Zeus tricked Hera into nursing the infant Herakles, and when she realized who he was, she quickly withdrew Herakles from her breast, and sprayed her breast milk across the sky. Which became the Milky Way. As Herakles grew older, Hera's jealousy, and her continuous acts of trying to be rid of him didn't end, and they had a very adversarial relationship.

When Herakles had to fight the many headed serpent water beast known as Lernaean Hydra, Hera sent crabs to bite him in order to distract him. In another myth, when Herakles was returning from retrieving the bull of Geryon, Hera sent the cattle a type of fly to give him a disease, and Herakles shot Hera in the breast with an arrow. Eventually Hera and Herakles patched up their differences, when Herakles saved Hera from the rape of the giant Porphyrion.

Zeus's affairs never seemed to end. One in particular involving Semele, the mortal daughter to the King of Thebes. Zeus fell in love with her the moment he saw her, and he impregnated her. When Hera found out, she disguised herself as the Semele's nurse and convinced her to have Zeus show himself to her in his true form. So when Zeus showed up with his loud thunder and bright lightning, he ended up killing her by the power of those forces. He was able to save her aborted baby, their son, Dionysus. Hera also had one other of Zeus's many lovers, Lamia Queen of Lybia, turned into a monster and murdered her children.

Hera's jealousy and wrath was well known. One can imagine the pain and suffering she went through at her husbands endless selfish affairs. Embarrassing and humiliating the Queen of the Gods, Hera was not going to stand for that. So one day, with the help of some of the other Gods such as Poseidon an Athena, she planned out a way to trick Zeus. She secretly drugged his drink one night and then bound him while he slept. When he awoke we was filled with anger, but could do nothing. Until the many handed giant Hekatonkheires came to his rescue and untied all the knots, setting him free. Zeus was so angry with Hera, that he took one of his thunderbolts and hung her in the sky with golden chains. It is said she wept until Zeus finally freed her.

To me Hera is a powerful and vengeful Goddess who is not afraid to fight for what is right, even if it means she could be putting her own life in danger. She embodies the strength of the Matriarch and courageous feminine energy. Hera was a very loved and respected Goddess, and she had many temples through the Greek world.

Her sacred animals are the peacock and the cow. The apple, pomegranate and poppy are also sacred to her. Lapis lazuli would be a good stone for Hera, and her colors are blue, white and black. Call on Hera when you need the powerful force of the Queen of the Gods, to fight for what is right in your own life.

Photo courtesy of wiccanbeauty.com

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Boudicca, Celtic Warrior Queen of the Iceni

Boudicca was the famous Queen of the Iceni tribe in Britain who led the uprising against the Romans. It was thought by some Roman historians that she came from royal decent. She was wife to Prasutagus, who was leader of the tribe, and still held some of his influence as a Celtic King after Rome invaded Britain. The Romans invaded Britain in about 43 C.E., although they still allowed some Celtic Kings a little power. When Prasutagus died, he left is kingdom to his wife and daughters in his will, and upon his death, his will was ignored by the Romans. They came to Boudicca, flogged her and raped her daughters, and took total control over the Iceni land. It was after this that she raised an army and led a revolt against the Romans.

Her army was said to be quite large, about 100,000 or so. They attacked Camulodunum, which is now known as Colchester, first and drove out and slaughtered the Romans. They then went on the Londinium, modern day London, where the Romans fled and abandoned the city for fear of their lives. Boudicca and her army consequently burned down the entire city. Her army was claiming victory for a while, slaughtering the Romans and defeating they're armies one by one. So much so, that the emperor Nero was planning to withdraw his troops from Britain. Until, at the hands of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, a Roman general, her army was defeated. Boudicca's death is still somewhat of a mystery. Tacitus, a Roman historian, claims that she poisoned herself. Although Cassius Dio, another Roman historian, mentions nothing of suicide, and claims that she fell ill, died and was given a lavish ceremony.

Her name is also a mystery, as it translates to mean victory or victorious. Some scholars and historians have suggested, that she could have also been seen, as a divine personification of a Warrior Goddess herself. She was said to call upon the Warrior Goddesses Andrasta, Badb and The Morrigan. Boudicca was said to invoke the Goddess Andrasta while fighting against the Roman invasion of Britain. According to Dio Cassius, these were her words:

"I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman... those over whom I rule are Britons, men that know not how to till the soil or ply a trade, but are thoroughly versed in the art of war and hold all things in common, even children and wives, so that the latter possess the same valour as the men. As the queen, then, of such men and of such women, I supplicate and pray thee for victory, preservation of life, and liberty against men insolent, unjust, insatiable, impious." - Dio Cassius

Boudicca, the strong and courageous warrior queen, is a legend and a hero. An ambitious woman to be admired. A woman who was not about to allow a foreign culture to humiliate her and take over her land. She and her army actually came remarkably close to defeating the Romans. History would have been much different. She is an inspiration to women and men alike. To stand up and fight for what you believe in, and for your freedom, is a very brave and bold act.

Boudicca gives us the courage to call on the Warrior Goddesses when we fight the battle of our own lives. Just like she did.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Winner of Ostara Eggs from The Whimsical Pixie!

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giveaway from The Whimsical Pixie!

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

Ancient Matriarchy

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

Women of History, Hypatia of Alexandria

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!

For more info on Hypatia, check out Biography of Hypatia and also Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, artist: Charles William Mitchell

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Eileithyia, Cretan Goddess of Childbirth

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:

, 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

Brigids Sacred Day of Fire, Imbolc

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crafts for Imbolc

I love crafting and creating different things for each Sabbat. I feel it connects me to the energy of that particular Sabbats meaning, and that time of year. Of course at Imbolc the Goddess Brigid is honored, and there are many things you can create in her honor.

The Brigid's cross is well known and one of her sacred symbols. You can make these easily with pipe cleaners. Or, if you want to be more authentic, you can make them out of reeds which is the traditional material used. Making a Brigid's cross with reeds is a little more difficult, but the results are worth it, and I always think its a good idea to be authentic as often as possible. Here you can find instructions on how to make a Brigid's cross using either material : How to make a Brigids cross.

The symbolism of the cross comes from a tale of St Brigid or "Mary of the Gael"who was born in the 5th century CE. She was the daughter of Dubhtach, a Leinster Pagan chieftain. When her father was dying, she sat in prayer beside him, and passed the time by weaving the first St. Brigid's Cross from the rushes strewn about the floor. Her father seeing the cross asked her to explain its meaning and was so overwhelmed that he became a Christian before his death.For centuries, it has been customary on the eve of her sacred festival for the Irish to make a Brigid's Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house, or over the door. They saw this symbol as protection for their home and loved ones.

There is also food and drinks you can make to represent the sacred day of Brigid. I always like to make different drinks, so I decided to post one here.

Love Potion Mead

* 1 bottle of honey mead

* 3.5 oz Green Tea

* 1 oz dried Juniper Berries, crushed

* 1 oz Mugwort,
* 1 oz dried Orange Peel, chopped

* 1/2 oz dried Damiana leaf,

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker. Cook on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. Strain and let sit to cool, then place it in the fridge to get cold. Serve cold and enjoy! This mead is said to be an aphrodisiac!

Find this recipe and many others including Imbolc deserts, breads and dinners at Imbolc Recipes

I hope you enjoy making crafts to honor Brigid and her sacred day of fire!

Photo courtesy of my personal altars and my handmade Brigid's cross

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Medea, Ancient Sorceress, Priestess of Hekate

Medea is one of the most well known ancient sorceresses there was. She was said to be a Priestess of the Goddess Hekate and had many different magical powers. She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, granddaughter to Helios, the Sun God, and niece to Circe who was a well known sorceress herself. The most famous myth involving Medea, is that of Jason and the Argonauts.

In the myth, Jason, who is seen as a heroic figure, comes to Colchis to claim his inheritance to the throne, and to claim the Golden Fleece. King Aeetes agreed to give him the fleece on the condition that he perform a few tasks first. When Medea saw Jason she immediately fell in love with him. She offered to help him with her magic to complete the impossible tasks her father laid out, only if he married her. Jason agreed and his first task began. He had to plow a field with fire breathing oxen, and Medea gave him an unguent in which he anointed himself with, so as to protect his body from any harm of the fire. He completed that task, but he still had two more to go, and Medea used her magical powers to help him each time. So when all was said and done, Jason kept his promise to Medea, took his golden fleece and fled Colchis with Medea. They married and lived happily in Corinth with their two children for a while.

Until one day, King Creon offered Jason his daughters hand in marriage. Eager to please the King, Jason accepted his offer and left Medea to marry Glauce, the Kings daughter. This enraged Medea and to seek revenge, she sent Glauce a beautiful bridal gown, covered in poison. The Kings daughter died and Medea then is said to kill her two children from Jason, and fled Corinth in a chariot led by dragons sent to her by her grandfather, Helios.

Later in the myth, she is said to have married Aegeus, an old king of Athens, and bore him a son Medus, who was in line to inherit the throne. Although Aegeus didnt realize that he had another son that he never knew of named, Theseus. Medea tried to poison Theseus when he came to fight for the throne, and when Aegeus realized he stopped it immediately. Medea then fled with her son Medus to a country in which Medus eventually became king, and that country was later called Media.

I believe that in this myth, Medea becomes the victim of unfortunate circumstance. Having fell deeply in love with Jason, and willingly sacrificed everything, including her entire family, to help him so he could complete the arduous tasks her father set out for him. Then fleeing her homeland to marry the man she loved and have children together, just to be betrayed and abandoned by him at the first mention of another woman. And as you can see from her actions earlier in the myth, Medea is no stranger to getting revenge and using her skills as a great sorceress and witch, even if it is for evil purposes. This shows her strong feminine and rebellious power.

Also something I find interesting, seeing that she is granddaughter to the Sun God Helios, and niece to Circe, a minor Goddess of magic, it would seem that maybe Medea would have some of that divine power within herself as well. Myth says that she practiced her magic under the guidance of the Goddess Hekate, some even speculate that she was the daughter of Hekate. But there really isn't any mythological evidence that this is true.

This is a quote from the myth in which Medea calls on Hekate for help in her magic, "By the goddess I worship most of all, my chosen helper Hecate, who dwells in the inner chamber of my house, none of them shall pain my heart and smile at it! Bitter will I make their marriage, bitter Creon's marriage-alliance, and bitter my banishment from the land!" (Euripides, Medea 400).

I hope you enjoyed learning the myth of Medea, Priestess of Hekate!

Photo courtesy of : Jason and Medea, John William Waterhouse
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...