Saturday, September 27, 2014

Navaratri, Nine Nights of Durga

During this time of year the festival Navaratri is celebrated in honor of the Hindu Goddess Durga. The festival begins at the new moon near the equinox which was September 25 and it will last until October 3. Since the dates for this festival are according to the lunar calendar they are slightly different each year. The celebration lasts for nine nights and each day a different form of Durga is honored. The word "nava" means nine so "Navadurga" means "Nine Durga's" and Navaratri means "nine nights".

Navaratri is celebrated differently in different areas around India. In some parts people fast for nine days while in other areas people dress in the colors associated with each day and dance. In West Bengal, life-sized clay dolls or idols of the goddess Durga are made and then worshiped in the temples. 

Below is a list of the nine manifestations of Durga with the corresponding day for the festival.

Shailaputri - The first form of Durga honored on the first night of Navaratri. Daughter of the mountains and was born in the Himalayas. Also known as Sati Bhavani or Parvati. Shailaputri is the first form of Durga. She rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her hands. 

Brahmacharini - The second form of Durga and honored on the second night of Navaratri. She is known as "One who observes penance" and practices celibacy. She holds a pot of water in one hand and a rosary in the other. This form of Devi stands for love, loyalty and enlightenment.

Chandraghanta - Third form of Durga and honored on the third night of Navaratri. This form of Devi has a moon (Chandra) on her forehead and carries a bell (ghanta) to scare off demons. She rides a lion and stands for power and bravery.

Kushmanda - Fourth form of Durga honored on the fourth night of Navaratri. She is considered the creator of the universe and shines brightly like the light of the sun. She rides a lion and has eight hands in which she holds various weapons as well as a rosary.

Skanda Mata - Fifth form of Durga honored on the fifth night of Navaratri. She is mother of Lord Skanda who was in charge of the army for the Gods in their war against demons. She has four arms and three eyes and is often depicted sitting on a lotus flower.

Katyayani - Sixth form of Durga honored on the sixth night of Navaratri. She was daughter to the great sage Kata. It is said that Kata wished for a daughter in the form of a goddess. He underwent penance and long austerities to receive the grace of the Mother Goddess. Durga granted the sage his wish in the form of Katyayani.

Kalaratri - Seventh form of Durga and honored on the seventh day of Navaratri. She has a dark complexion and a fearless posture. She has three eyes, a necklace of lightning and she rides a donkey. Flames come from her breath and she holds a sword in her right hand.  Kalaratri represents protection.

Maha Gauri - Eighth form of Durga honored on the eighth night of Navaratri. It is said that Maha Gauri spent a long time in the forest of the Himalayas in devotion to the goddess and her complexion became dark. When Lord Shiva cleaned her with water from the Ganges she regained her original beauty and shine and her skin was pure white. She has four arms, rides a bull and wears white clothes. She represents peace, purification and intelligence.

Siddhidatri - Ninth form of Durga honored on the ninth night of Navaratri. She is known for her supernatural healing powers and blesses all Gods, saints, yogi's and other devotees of the Mother. She is depicted with four arms and riding a lion. She is seen as being blissful and happy.

Navaratri blessings!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pachamama, Inca Goddess of the Earth

Pachamama was honored as an Earth Mother Goddess by the Inca people. She was worshiped in the Andes Mountains in an area that stretched from Colombia to Argentina which also includes Peru, Bolivia and Chile. She was seen as a dragon woman who lived in the mountains and when she moved she created earthquakes. She was also viewed as the universe itself and the Great Creatrix. Her name translates to mean "World Mother".

Pachamama is also honored as a goddess of planting and harvesting and as such was honored at harvest festivals. Often referred to as the "Good Mother", Pachamama is said to be the mother of the sun and moon. Her consort in myth is Pacha Camac although some sources say that it is Inti, the sun god. Pachamama and Inti were both worshiped as benevolent deities and were both seen as extremely important deities in the Inca pantheon.

The month of August was especially sacred to Pachamama as this was the coldest month of the winter for the Inca people. Illness was more prevalent during this time so families performed cleansing rituals in their homes in order to scare off evil entities. On the eve of August 1, families would cook a lavish meal in honor of Pachamama. Before anyone was allowed to eat they first had to give a plate of food to Pachamama. Holes were dug in the ground and if the soil was in good condition it signified a bountiful year. If not it was a bad omen for the coming year.

Pachamama was also honored throughout the year in many other festivities. Before every festivity people would make a toast in her honor by spilling some chicha, a fermented drink, on the floor and then drinking the rest. This toast is known as challa and it's said to be made almost everyday. Also sacred to Pachamama is "Challa's Tuesday" where people would bury food and burn incense in her honor. During these festivals people would sacrifice llama's to the goddess for good luck. The most important ritual in honor of Pachamama was said to be the Challaco. During this ritual families were said to cook a special food and take it to a nearby pond to give to Pachamama as on offering. They would then give a series of different offerings to Pachamama that consisted of drink, food, coca leaves and cigars.

Pachamama's sacred animals are the puma and the snake. The dragon is also sacred to her as she herself is viewed as a dragoness. The puma was also seen as a sacred animal to the Inca people in general.  Pachamama represents the fertile earth and the mountains as well as the sun, moon and stars. She is the Great Creatrix of the universe and she is the universe itself. Pachamama teaches us to care for her fertile world and if we do she will be bountiful. 

Picture courtesy of Hrana Janto

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Winner of Goddess Altar Tile!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments and ideas. The winner of the giveaway is.......Innocence and Magic! Congratulations! Enjoy your pink goddess tile. Stay tuned for the next giveaway.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Giveaway! Colorful Goddess Altar Tile!

I decided to have a giveaway for one of my colorful hand-painted goddess altar tiles. The colors I have available are pink, green and red. In your comments please specify which color you would like. Also if you don't know about my etsy shop Sage Art please check it out. I do custom orders as well so if there is something you want painted and don't see please let me know and I'll try my best to accommodate you.

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment about which color tile you would like and how you plan on displaying your tile. On an altar or just to match the decor in a room I'd love to hear your ideas! Also be sure to leave your email address so that I may contact you if you win. I will choose the winner randomly using and will announce the winner on Saturday. Have fun! Thank you for looking! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sacred Dance in the Ancient World

Sacred dance in ancient Egypt

Sacred dance was prevalent all over the ancient world and it is a very ancient form of worship. Evidence of sacred dance has been found painted on cave walls dating back to about 10,000 + years ago. Dance can transport the soul to another dimension and guide the dancer into a trance. It's no wonder that sacred dance was a part of so many cultures around the world. Sacred dance was performed in the ancient world during temple ceremonies, rites of passage, funerary ceremonies and marriage among many other events. It was used as a way to connect with the deities through movement and trance. Sacred dance was also seen as an emotional release for the body.

Dance in ancient Egypt was very popular and the first evidence of it dates back to about 4000 BCE. Paintings on pottery and temple walls show scenes from different ceremonies with women, men and gods dancing. The Goddess Hathor was known as the Mistress of Dance and her priestesses would perform sacred temple dances in her honor. Ancient Egyptian dance was performed for magical purposes, to induce trance and to honor the gods among many other things. Egyptian dancers used musical instruments such as rattles or sistra, tambourines, drums, bells, flutes and a variety of other instruments to enhance their dance. Some dancers were said to be nude while others were said to have worn loincloths, transparent robes, jewelry, headdresses and makeup.

Sacred dance in India was based on stories of Indian mythology and was seen as the dance form of the stories. It was also seen as a way to communicate with the gods. Sacred dance in India is called Indian Classical Dance and there are eight different forms. These are  Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Sattriya, Odissi, Manipuri, Kathakali and Kathak. Sacred dance was performed by temple dancers who were women that dedicated their lives to dance and were known as Devadasies. During the dances the women would do different postures and poses as well as hand poses called mudras. The dancers would wear intricate and beautiful outfits that consisted of silks, bright jewels, a jasmine garland in their hair and little bells on their feet.

In ancient Greece there were many forms of dance. Two of these forms of dance were known as Apollonian and Dionysian. The Apollonian dance style was said to be slow and thoughtful and was performed during religious ceremonies, marriages and funerary rites. The Dionysian dance style was ecstatic, passionate and filled with desire. It seems that in Ancient Greece dance was part of the education of all people. In Ancient Rome dance was typically practiced during religious rites.

Dance can be incorporated into any of your own personal rituals in any fashion. Adding ecstatic dance to a ritual will greatly help with achieving a trance-like state. There is no right or wrong way to dance. Just slowly allow your body to move with the rhythm of the music. Trust your body. Once you get a good rhythm going allow your intuition to guide you into the type of dance you need.  You will feel the energy rising. When you are finished with your ritual dance you will feel it in your body too. You have expended the energy for your rituals intent.

Personally for me incorporating dance into my rituals has brought me closer to my goddess and given me a deeper spiritual practice. If you have never danced in ritual you must try it! Such a freeing feeling!

Picture courtesy of Tour Egypt

Monday, July 14, 2014

Magic Monday, Herbal Magic

Summer and Spring are the best times to plant herbs and can also be a great time for herbal magic. There are many different types of herbs one can grow during the summer such as yarrow, lavender, basil, St. John's wort, mugwort and sage among many others. If you have a green thumb you may wish to grow your herbs from seed or you can buy already grown herbs at your local nursery. Growing from seed can sometimes be challenging but also very rewarding!

You may also wish to add some herbs/flowers to your garden that attract faeries or are good for faery magic. Herbs such as thyme, foxglove, rosemary and a rose bush are all associated with faeries and faery magic. Once you have your garden plants sorted out, call on the elemental's or the faeries to bless your garden space. Plant your magical garden and nourish your plants as they grow. Remember to leave offerings to the faeries or elemental's every so often.

Once your herbs/flowers have grown you can make magical herb sachets with them. If you are not able to have an herb garden, you may purchase dried herbs from any reputable source. If you choose to do the latter, make sure to bless your herbs before you do any magical workings with them. This will cleanse them of any energies other than your own.

Magical Herb Sachet

What you will need:

One small sachet of any color (lavender for peace, green for money, pink for love, white for protection or any color you have on hand)

Herbs you can use:

Lavender - peace and calmness. Induces sleep and peaceful dreams. Can also be used in a tea with chamomile for a feeling of tranquility. Lavender is also good for purification and love.

Yarrow - used for divination, prophetic dreams, love and psychic abilities. Yarrow can be added to a dream pillow along with lavender and mugwort for dream divination.

Basil - used for good fortune and money magic. Place a basil leaf in your wallet to attract money to you. Basil is also used in love spells.

Mugwort - used for protection, divination and dreams. Mugwort can be used with sage to make smudge sticks for cleansing a sacred space. Mugwort is also associated with travel and can be placed in your car for protection.

Thyme - enables one to see faeries. Sprinkling thyme in front of your doorstep will invite faeries into your home. Thyme can be used to cleanse a sacred space. It's also good for increasing ones courage and can be used in a dream pillow to prevent nightmares.

Rose - a rose plant will attract faeries to your garden. Roses are good for love, happiness and protection for the evil eye.

St. John's Wort - a summer herb used at the summer solstice. Used for divination, love, healing and invincibility. St. John's wort is also used for protection against faery magic. This ancient herb has been used for centuries for healing and is also said to be associated with women's mysteries.

You may choose to use some or all of these herbs in your magical sachet. Grind your herbs down and mix them together, then place them in your sachet. Bless your magical sachet in your garden or at your altar. Ask your deity or the faeries to bless your herb sachet with whatever magical purpose you are using it for. Place your sachet in your purse, car, altar, garden, hanging over your door or over your bed. You may also wish to substitute essential oils for any herbs you might not have and you can also add crystals to your sachet for extra power.

Have fun making your Summer magic herb sachets with the faeries!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kupala, Slavic Goddess of Water and Summer

Kupala is the Slavic goddess of water and is associated with springs and rivers. Her name translates to mean "to bathe" as her worshipers would honor her by bathing in rivers. Kupala was also associated with herbs, fertility and sorcery. Her sacred trees and flowers were ferns, birch wood and wildflowers.

Kupala was honored during the Summer Solstice where her worshipers would throw flowers in the rivers in her honor. They would then bathe in the rivers as a ritual of purification. Fire was also honored at this time as the two elements, fire and water, were both seen as purifying. Big bonfires were constructed in honor of Kupala and people would jump over them or dance around them in her celebration. Also at the Summer Solstice and effigy of the goddess was made from straw and was either burned in the fires or thrown in the rivers until next summer.

On the day of midsummer people would go out in the morning and walk amongst the morning dew in the grass while gathering herbs. Or it is said that they would leave a rag outside the night before to collect the morning dew and then would bathe in it. Women would gather wildflowers, herbs and ferns to make wreaths which they wore in their hair.  Herbs in honor of Kupala were also used to help with magical visions on the night of the summer solstice.

The male aspect of Kupala is known as Kupalo and he was also honored around the Summer Solstice in the Christianized festival of St. John the Baptiste. This festival, known as Ivana Kupala, is still celebrated to this day in Russia. This modern celebration is still honored as it was in ancient times. Bonfires, song and dance, ritual to the deities of summer and and effigy of the goddess is constructed, burned and then buried. Garlands made from Kupala's sacred herbs are made, candles are put in the center and then they are put in the rivers to float downstream.

To honor this ancient goddess of purification, throw some flowers into a river or spring. Or throw some in your bathtub at home and then bathe in it to purify yourself in Kupala's magic. You may also put a rag outside at night and collect it in the early hours of the morning and bathe in the dew of Kupala. Fertility rites and summer magic can also be held in her honor. Gather wildflowers, ferns and herbs to make a wreath to wear in your hair.

Picture courtesy of Ivana Kupala Day

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Durga, Divine Mother of India

Durga is one of the incarnations of Devi or the original Mother Goddess in Hinduism. She represents the power of the Supreme Being and stands for righteousness. She protects mankind from evil by destroying evil forces such as jealousy, hate, greed, anger and arrogance. She is depicted as a warrior woman with eight arms and rides a tiger or lion. In each hand she carries different symbols such as a conch, sword, lotus flower, bow, and a trident among other things.

The lion she rides symbolizes uncontrolled animal-like tendencies such as anger, selfishness, jealousy and hate. By her sitting on top of the lion she represents the ability to tame and control those tendencies that all beings have. Durga represents pure positive energy or divine light and is the embodiment of divine feminine energy. She is seen as the Divine Shakti or powerful female force and is the primary deity in Shaktism.

The story of Durga says that she was born fully grown and created from the flames which came from the mouth of  the Gods in heaven. She was created so that she could destroy a buffalo-demon named Mahisasura. This fierce demon was said to be terrorizing the Gods in heaven and the men on earth. Durga was given an army of Gods to fight with her and a lion upon which to ride and was sent to kill Mahisasura.

Her festival, Navrati, or Nine Divine Nights, is celebrated for nine days and takes place around October during the harvest. During this festival the nine aspects of Durga or Navadurga are meditated upon one by one. Another celebration that is honored is Durga puja which takes place for five days annually. During this festival the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasura is celebrated which represents the victory of good over evil.

To pray to Durga here are some mantras in her honor:  Om Sri Durgaya Namah
It is said that by chanting this mantra daily the Mother Durga will remove all obstacles from our lives. Another mantra is Om Hreeng Dung Durgaayai Namah. It is said that chanting this mantra will bring you success in all areas of life.

Jai Maa Durga! (Victory to the Mother!)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Medusa, Ancient Snake Goddess

Medusa is said to be an ancient deity and was originally known as a snake goddess. She was worshiped as a dark goddess in ancient Libya and was seen as a three-fold snake deity. She is known to be a gorgon who were said to be scaled and winged female monsters. In Greek myth she was the only mortal of three sisters and daughter to Phorcys and Ceto, who were chthonic monsters from an archaic world. Medusa was mother to the winged-horse Pegasus and the giant Khrysaor.

In classical Greek myth Medusa was a mortal priestess of the goddess Athena. She was said to be beautiful with long blonde, luscious locks of hair. As a priestess of Athena, Medusa had to pledge her celibacy and herself solely to the honor of the goddess. Although the god of the sea, Poseidon, took a strong liking to Medusa and ravaged her in Athena's temple thereby taking her sacred vows away from her. The goddess Athena upon hearing this became enraged with Medusa so she turned her into a terrible monster with snakes to replace her beautiful tresses.

If Medusa was looked upon by anyone, her gaze would turn them into stone. Athena instructs the hero Perseus to kill Medusa so he finds Medusa and decapitates her. When she is beheaded, her children Pegasus and
Khrysaor spring forth from her blood. Although Medusa has been killed, her head still has the power to turn men into stone even in death. Perseus uses it as a weapon to turn some of his enemies into stone, then gives it to Athena who puts it onto her shield. It is said that blood dripped from Medusa's head in the Libyan desert in which created many venomous snakes. This is said to be the cause of the many venomous snakes in Africa.

It is said that the reason that Athena punished Medusa so severely is because she and Poseidon were long time rivals. Some think that Medusa represents the destructive aspect of Athena. Other sources say that Medusa won a beauty contest over Athena which made Athena jealous. It seems to me that these myths are highly in favor of the male forces at play. Women turning against one another and a woman being punished for being raped. Sounds a little too patriarchal for my taste.

There are many messages within this myth. Some say that Medusa became more powerful in death than in life as her head still held it's power to turn man into stone and the ability to create life with her blood.  Some feminist groups today say that Medusa's head is a symbol of feminine rage. And that her head turning man into stone represents her warning to stay away since she was raped.  In classical antiquity the image of Medusa's head was used as an evil-averting, protection symbol.

Picture courtesy of Gaks Designs

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Experience at the Ashram

Entrance to the Ashram

Some of you may know that this past weekend I stayed at the Yoga Shakti ashram in Palm Bay, Florida for about three days. My experience can be described as spiritual, eye-opening and unforgettable. Although even those words will not do it justice. Sometimes it's hard to put a spiritual type of experience into words because you are dealing with feelings, energy and higher levels of living. What I can say though that as soon as I left to come back home my energy levels immediately dropped very low and I honestly didn't realize how high my energy level was while there.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and was greeted by the lovely family that runs the ashram. The ashram is seated in the middle of a forest on about 20 acres of land. There were different cottage-like houses on the property along with the screened pavilion where yoga was done any many of us slept. It was not glamorous living by any stretch of the imagination and even though I love that, it's not for everybody. I slept on my yoga mat on the floor of the pavilion with a lite blanket. Showers in the morning had to be quick as we were all sharing and we only had about 45 minutes to get ready in the morning. No shaving my legs or styling my hair and of course no makeup! :) The days were hot and the only place that had A/C was the temple which thankfully we were in much of the time. Surprisingly the nights cooled up quite a bit and I was grateful for that since I was sleeping in the screened pavilion. 

Statue of Ganesha in the Pavilion

Each morning we were woken up at 5:00am for morning meditation and prayer. The first morning we were awoken by someone playing a flute and the second morning the guru walked around the ashram reciting a chant that we had all learned the previous night. If any of you know the morning and evening Hindu prayers, they are very long and they're in Sanskrit so it was hard to follow along in the beginning. After that we had an hour yoga class taught by the guru. Throughout the day the guru taught us some of the Upanishads which are a collection of Vedic texts. Basically Hindu philosophy.

The philosophy behind what Hindus believe and practice rings the most true for me. Even though I do consider myself to be Pagan, Hindu philosophy is the most correct in my opinion. They believe that God (or Goddess for some of us) lives inside you and we all have the ability to connect with our higher selves through meditation and basic self awareness. To
understand and fully accept who you really are and to love yourself. I have always been of this mindset but didn't truly understand it until now. Many of us (myself included) search for external sources to satisfy us like material things or new careers or even love. What we need to understand is that what will fulfill us the most is looking on the inside to satisfy our needs. If you feel full and happy on the inside you will no longer need to keep searching for all the many external factors to satisfy yourself.
Statue of Krishna and Radha in the Temple

After lunch sometimes we had free time for a bit so I either walked the property or wrote in my journal. In the evening we had another session of the Upanishads and we learned some chanting as well as other meditation type exercises. We were sent to bed at 9:30 and lights were out. On my second night there after our nightly lecture from the guru, we were all given an exercise in silence and from 9:30 that night until we arrived for morning meditation the next day we were not supposed to talk at all. Even though I'm naturally a quite person, this was a little harder than I expected!

Statue of the Goddess Durga in the Temple
The family and others cooked every meal for us which was amazing. They grew much of their own own vegetables and herbs on the property so everything was organic and very pure. Every meal was vegan and incredibly delicious and satisfying. I'm vegan normally as well but I still noticed a difference in the food because it was so incredibly pure. While I was there I felt so lite like if I jumped too high I might float up into the clouds. You can feel the energy just buzzing around that place. It's palpable and I instantly felt a big shift in my energy the moment I drove off the property. I wanted to go back! I will go back at another time for sure.

I had never encountered a guru in my life so this was quite a different experience for me. They are strict so as to teach you discipline but you have to understand that it's nothing personal. I had a hard time with this at first but I understood why and now I totally respect it.  They are there to teach you and they are highly respected, revered and even worshiped people. Guru's are filled with knowledge and experience and they can literally see right thru you with no problem. They can be seen as being psychic even but I think it's just an extreme awareness to be able to see people for who they really are, and they will not hesitate to call you out on it.

I enjoyed my time at the ashram immensely and I can honestly say that this experience has changed my life in ways I still don't understand. All I know for sure is that this is something I will be experiencing more as it's left it's mark on my soul.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Nine Muses, Goddesses of Inspiration

The Muses in Greek mythology consisted of nine goddesses that were known to give inspiration to those partaking in creative endeavors. They were known to rule over music, dance, poetry, artistry, science, mathematics, astronomy and drama. The Muses are daughters of Zeus, Father of the Gods, and Mnemosyne, Goddess of memory. In Greek myth it is said that Zeus laid with Mnemosyne for nine nights and a year later she gave birth to nine daughters who were known for their creative talents and gift of song.

In myth the Muses were sometimes referred to as water nymphs as they were associated with four sacred springs. The Muses were said not to care about human affairs but were immersed in all ways of creativity. Their main cult center was located at Mount Helicon in Boeotia, Greece. A festival was celebrated in their honor every four years at Thespiae (near Helicon) in which much singing and dancing took place. 

The Muses gave inspiration to many poets and philosophers. They were said to usually be invoked prior to any kind of creative activity. It is said that the Muses inspired Hesiod to write his epic poem the Theogony.

Below is a list of each of the Muses along with their correspondences.

Kleio - Muse of history. Her name in Greek means "to celebrate" or "famous". She is often depicted carrying a scroll or sitting next to a chest of books

Kalliope - Muse of epic poetry. Her name in Greek means "beautiful-voiced". She was said to also be a Goddess of eloquence and wisdom. Kalliope was depicted carrying a writing tablet or a book.

Erato - Muse of lyric poetry especially known for her love and erotic poetry. Her name means "lovely" or "beloved". She is depicted wearing a wreath made from myrtle and roses and holding a lyre.

Euterpe - Muse of music. She was the Goddess that performed for the Gods on Mount Olympus. Her name means "the giver of much delight" and she is depicted playing or often holding a flute.

Melpomene - Muse of tragedy or drama. Her name means "to celebrate with dance and song". She is depicted wearing a tragic mask and wearing the boots that those types of actors wore.

Polyhymnia - Muse of sacred poetry and sacred hymn. Her name can mean "praise" or "hymn". She is depicted as being in very serious thought while holding a finger to her mouth.

Terpsikhore - Muse of dance. Her name means "delight in dancing". She is depicted sitting or standing while holding a lyre.

Thalia - Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. Her name means "rich festivity" or "blooming". She is depicted wearing a crown of ivy and wearing a comic mask.

Urania - Muse of astronomy. Her name means "heavenly" or "of heaven". Urania can tell the future by the arrangement of the stars. She is depicted wearing a cloak embroidered with the stars while pointing to a celestial globe.

Artist ~ Andrea Mantegna - Parnassus

Monday, May 5, 2014

Magic Monday, Oneiromancy

Oneiromancy is the art of dream-work or dream divination. It is an ancient practice dating back many thousands of years and was used by the Egyptians, Greeks, Maltese and other ancient cultures. In ancient Malta people would visit the Hypogeum which was an underground chamber where they would sleep in the presence of the goddess in order to receive divine answers through dreams.  This is known as dream incubation and was also practiced in Ancient Greece at the Oracle of Delphi. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were said to have scribes interpret their dreams for prophecies.

To practice the art of dream divination all one needs is sleep, a dream journal and a comfortable bed. Although adding other items can also help make your dreams a little more magical. If you do not already do so, get in the habit of keeping a dream journal. This can be any kind of journal, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just something to write your dreams down in daily. This should be done soon after you wake up so you do not forget important details. Keeping a dream journal will also help you to notice any patterns within your dreams and will therefore help your divination.

You can choose to invoke or not invoke your deity of choice for your dream divination as well. Setting up a shrine and doing some meditation before bed may also be an option. A nice hot, aromatic bath is also a nice way to relax your body and mind before bed. You may also choose to pull a card from a tarot deck and place the card under your pillow. Make sure to closely study your card right before you close your eyes so as to get a lasting image of the card in your mind.

Once you have completed any activities beforehand like setting up a shrine or taking a bath, make sure your bed is set up as you normally would. Your dream journal should be next to your bed with a pen so it will be ready for the you in the morning. Now cleanse your area with a smudge stick or incense or you may even wish to chant something. Get into bed and make yourself comfortable. Now is the time to invoke a deity of your choice or focus on a tarot card that you pulled. Now fall asleep as you normally would.

When you awake in the morning write down your dream as much as you can remember and if you had multiple dreams. Sometimes things may come to you throughout the day as well, write those down too. Try to think about the meaning of your dream as it relates to the particular answer you are seeking. Sometimes if we do not get the answer right away come back to the dream in your journal a day later and see it something clicks. You can also perform the divination again.

Wishing everyone magical dreams!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Magic Monday, Spring Cleaning

Spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings. It's a time to get rid of the old so that we may be able to welcome the new. Spring is also the perfect time to cleanse your house and yourself of any negative energies or clutter. Cleaning your home of its physical clutter goes hand in hand with clearing it of any energy clutter. The book Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst has some wonderful home cleansings so I decided to share one here.

A Thorough Space Clearing


  • White tea light candle for every room
  • Small plate for every room
  • Sea salt
  • Bundle of sage
  • Optional: bell or chime

Once you've cleaned your home of any physical clutter, gather your supplies and say a quick prayer over them to empower them with your intention. Then place your candles on the small plates and place one in each room. Around each candle make a ring of salt on the plate, and light the candle. Go back to your first room and begin to clap loudly around the perimeter of the space, paying special attention to corners and dark spots.

Open the windows in the first room of your house. Then light your sage bundle and shake it until the flame goes out and it's smoking. Walk around the perimeter of the room with the smoke which will dissolve negative energy and lift vibrations. Do this for each room in your home and then extinguish the sage and close your windows. You may also wish to ring a bell in each room as well which will also clear the space and raise the vibrations.

If you are planning to stay home after this, let your tea lights burn down as much as possible, if not extinguish them. Pour the salt down the sink and then take a shower to cleanse yourself of any negative energies.

Now you and your home are clean, fresh and new! Happy spring cleaning!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rhiannon, Welsh Goddess of Horses and Magic

Rhiannon is the Welsh Goddess of horses, creativity, inspiration, movement and sovereignty. Her name is said to be derived from the ancient Celtic Goddess Rigantona which means "Great Queen". Rhiannon is often depicted as a beautiful woman riding her otherworldly white mare with mystical birds that fly at her side. These birds sing songs of enchantment that are said to lull people into a peaceful sleep and wake the dead.

Her myth appears in the Mabinogion, which is a collection of Welsh/Celtic mythology. One such tale about Rhiannon involves her marriage to king Pwyll. One night, after a feast with his men, Pwyll decides to take a walk to the mound in the forest. Upon the mound he notices a woman in the distance riding a beautiful white mare. He sends one of his men after her so that they may speak but the man is never able to catch up to her. The next night Pwyll returns to the mound and again sees Rhiannon riding in the distance so he sends another one of his men after her and he also cannot seem to catch her. Pwyll suspects some sort of trickery or magic so the next night when he sees Rhiannon he rides after her himself. He also cannot catch her so he calls out to her to stop so that they may speak. She stops her horse and tells him he should have said that to her earlier. 

She tells Pwyll that she is here to marry him as she does not want to marry the man her father has chosen for her. After sometime the two are married and have a son named Pryderi. The couple hires women to watch over their child at night. One night the women all fall asleep and when they awake the cradle is empty and the child gone. Terrified that the king will kill them upon hearing this news the women decide to blame Rhiannon. They sneak into Rhiannon's room where she sleeps and smear blood over her face and body. They then tell Pwyll that Rhiannon murdered and ate her baby. Rhiannon is punished for this crime by having to sit by a horse mounting block and offer to carry visitors to the courts on her back. The boy was found by the stables by a man names Teyrnon and he and his wife raise him as their own. Years later when they realize that the boy belongs to the king, they return him home to Rhiannon and Pwyll.

In this myth we can see that Rhiannon has to carry the burden of blame even for something she did not actually do. Though she gets through it carrying the weight of it on her back and in the end when the truth prevails she is stronger because of it. This teaches us to always be true to ourselves and through this we achieve strength. To not be true to ourselves is a heavy and unnecessary burden to carry. Through truth we achieve freedom.

Rhiannon is a lunar Goddess and is also associated with the underworld. She rides her white mare while guiding souls back to the spirit world to ensure their safe passage. Both horses and birds are viewed as otherworldly creatures in Celtic myth.  Rhiannon is associated with the Gaulish Goddess Epona, also a horse Goddess, whom the Romans worshiped as well. She is also viewed as a faery Queen and has associations with the Lady of the Lake.

Rhiannon is a creative Goddess and can be called upon for any creative endeavors we are taking on. She can also be called on for those seeking to explore the magical realms. Let her guide you with her mystical white mare and sweet singing birds. Since she is connected with movement in general you may also call on her for any kind of travel. She can also help you on your path for self truth.

Art courtesy of Kim Dreyer

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Winner of Spring Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered! And the winner is........Candy Kelley! Congratulations! I really enjoyed hearing about everyone's plans for Ostara. I will be doing some Spring cleaning like most of you are doing as well. Thank you to everyone who entered and enjoy your altar tile Candy Kelley!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Giveaway! Triple Moon Hand Painted Altar Tile!

Spring is right around the corner so I decided to have a giveaway in it's honor. The item I'm giving away is my Triple Moon altar tile which I sell in my shop Sage Art. During spring we honor the Goddess in her maiden form as she represents the fertile earth. On this altar tile is a purple triple moon representing the maiden, mother and crone which has green vines circling around it to represent the growing and fertile earth. All of this is painted on a violet background. This altar tile would look great on an Ostara altar!

To enter simply leave a comment telling us what your plans are for the upcoming sabbat, Ostara. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner! Good luck to everyone! I will announce the winner this Saturday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Aine, Celtic Goddess of Love

Aine is the Celtic Goddess of love, the sun, fertility, water, summer and sovereignty. She is honored for her ability to grant abundance and fertility over the land. Being a Goddess of the sun Aine is said to have been given the nickname "bright". Aine is also known as a Faery Queen and was honored as such in the province of Munster, Ireland. It is said in myth that Aine made love to many humans which created a magical race of faery people. Some people today are said to be related to this race. Daughter to Egobail, a member of the Tuatha De Danann, and sister to Aillen and Fennen, Aine is also honored as a lunar deity. She is said to have been able to shape-shift into "The Red Mare", the horse who could never be outrun.

In Celctic myth Aine was almost raped by King Ailill Aulom of Munster. This ended with Aine biting off the king's ear which gave the him the name "Aulom" which means "one-eared". Because of this Aine saw the king unfit to rule and took away his sovereignty over the land. There is another tale in which Aine did not get out so lucky. While bathing, Aine was approached by Gerald, Earl of Desmond. She was not able to protect herself from being raped this time. Aine became pregnant and gave birth to a son, the second Earl of Desmond. It is said that she did indeed make Gerald pay for what he did by turning him into a goose.

ine is honored at Mid-Summer when the land and animals are at their peak of abundance and fertility. She is also celebrated at Lughnasadh. Aine is a nature Goddess and is associated with all the animals, flowers and the land. Aine was worshiped in the province of Munster and in county Limerick there is a hill that is sacred to her called Knockainey Hill. She is also associated with lakes and rivers.

Call on Aine to invoke your passions, manifest your dreams and follow your heart. She teaches us to take risks and to pursue our true desires. She represents the burning fire of the sun and the burning fire of our passions. Aine teaches us that life is something to be experienced and lived. She tells us to not worry about making the wrong decision, but about making no decision at all.

Art courtesy of Caroline Evans

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Fire

Today is Imbolc the Celtic holiday marking the coming of Spring in which the Goddess Brigid is honored. Brigid is a crucial deity on this sacred day as she is the representation of fire and the coming sun. She is also a Goddess of poetry, healing, smith craft and creative energy. Daughter to the Dagda, Celtic God of wisdom, Brigid is seen as a triple Goddess. Referred to as "Exalted One" Brigid is sometimes associated with the Roman Goddess Minerva. Brigid's name is often spelled in many different ways such as Brighid, Bridget, and Bride to name a few.

During Imbolc Brigid is honored as a Goddess of the sun and fire as she gives hope for the suns quick return at Spring. As a Goddess of fire she represents life and creative energy. Her role as a healing Goddess is represented all over Ireland in the form of sacred wells. One of these is located in Kildare and another is in Liscannore. People have made pilgrimages here to make offerings and ask for wishes to be granted. It is said that people wash their hands in the well and then tie a piece of cloth or ribbon to a tree. These are known as "clootie trees" or "clootie wells". I had the pleasure of visiting the sacred well in Liscannore and the picture below is of the well and its enclosure which is covered in ribbons, prayers, statuettes, coins and more.

Brigid was such an important and powerful figure to the ancient Celts and Druids that in order for Christians to attain converts they made Brigid into a saint. She is still honored today in the churches of Ireland. At her sanctuary in Kildare her fire burns year round and is tended by the nuns there. This sacred fire burned brightly until about the 16th century when it was extinguished by radical Christians. It was then re-lit in 1993 and is now housed in a protective sculpture. It is said that the nuns still tend the flame and they refer to themselves as "The Brigidine Sisters"

Brigid as a Goddess of creative energy represents igniting the creative fire within each of us. She can help to guide you along whichever creative path you choose. She is also associated with writing poetry as well as divination and prophecy. Honor Brigid on her sacred day of Imbolc or when you are working on something creative. She can also be called on for personal healing.

Wishing everyone many Imbolc blessings! 

Painting courtesy of Emily Balivet

Monday, January 27, 2014

Magic Monday, Brigid's Wheel Tarot Spread

Imbolc is only a week away so I wanted to share a tarot spread in honor of this season of new growth. Imbolc represents the coming of spring and new possibilities. At this point in the year it has been about a month since those New Year's resolutions have been made and a great time to check in and see where you're at. After a time of rest, introspection and purging of the old during the months of winter, this is a great time to ready ourselves for the creative energy and rebirth at spring.

This spread is in the shape of a circle and is referred to as "Brigid's Wheel". I like to think of it as representing the sun which will soon shine down again to create new growth in the coming months.

Representations of each card:

Card 1: This card represents strength. It shows where you are strong in life. It could also be strength acquired after going through a painful and difficult experience. In essence it represents your inner strength.

Card 2: This card represents your desires. Ask yourself what is it that you desire. What are your dreams? This could signify that it is time to live your dreams and start on making those dreams a reality.

Card 3: This card represents healing. It will help you to pinpoint an area of your life that needs healing in order for your strength to continue to grow. It can also help to give you advice about a situation you're currently dealing with.

Card 4: This card represents creative inspiration. Once we've learned what to do in order to heal ourselves, now we must get our creative juices flowing. This card will help you ignite your creative spark.

Card 5: This card represents making plans. Now that your creativity is going its time to figure out exactly how to go about making progress and continue moving forward. Look for consistencies with the cards you've pulled already as they may relate to one another.

Card 6: This card represents new growth. With spring comes new growth. Not only on the earth but also within ourselves. Now that we've started working on making our dreams a reality, we will start to experience growth in our own lives. This card will show us how that might look.

I found this spread in the book Tarot for all Seasons. You can perform this spread on the day or eve of Imbolc or any point in the year that you'd like to check on your progress.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Women of History, Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt

Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners ~ Alexandre Cabanel

I recently came to the realization that in all the years I've had my blog and written about powerful women, I've never written about my own personal idol, Queen Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra was born in Alexandria in 69 B.C.E. Daughter to Ptolemy XII, her family came from a long line of royalty stretching all the way back to Alexander the Great. The identity of her mother is somewhat unknown. Some speculate that it was Cleopatra V but others say it was an Egyptian concubine which would make Cleopatra part Egyptian. Her family was Greek in origin and came to Egypt from Macedonia many years earlier.

Cleopatra has been portrayed as a seductress and evil Queen throughout history although much of what was written about her was by the Romans who did not like her. The Egyptian people loved Cleopatra. She was the first of her royal line to learn to speak Egyptian, she is said to have spoken nine different languages. She was said to have been extremely smart and charming with a sweet voice. It is also known that Cleopatra wrote a book on cosmetics and had a cosmetics factory built near the Dead Sea. Cleopatra adopted the Egyptian religion and portrayed herself as the Goddess Isis something which also was not done in her family. She made herself Egyptian so that she could gain the love of the Egyptian people.

Her father's rule is said to have been disastrous. Ptolemy XII was known to be a self indulgent man out to secure his own kingship by forming an alliance with Rome. The people of Egypt were said to rise up in a rebellion against the pharaoh which resulted in him being exiled to Rome for a period of time. Cleopatra would have been about 14 at this point. Ptolemy XII ruled until 51 B.C.E at which time Cleopatra, now 18, assumed the role of queen along side her 10 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII. Cleopatra tried to rule Egypt as a sole female leader and erased her brothers name from records and had only her face imprinted on coins. She fell greatly out of favor for this as a woman was not allowed to rule alone. She had no other choice but to flee Egypt. During the time in which she was in exile, Rome was experiencing a civil war in which Julius Caesar was involved. Caesars political enemy, Pompey, was then murdered by Cleopatra's brother to try and win favor of Caesar for Egypt. This enraged Caesar so he seized the Egyptian capital and tried to fix the rival between the Egyptian royal siblings.

This is where Cleopatra's story really comes to life. The story of Cleopatra and Caesar begins with Cleopatra being secretly delivered to Caesar in a rolled up rug. She is rolled out of the rug in Caesars presence and precedes to seduce him with her beauty and charm. So the story goes. Although this story is just that, a story. We do know that when Caesar did meet with the queen he was indeed infatuated with her beauty, charm and sweet-natured way. The two became lovers and formed an alliance. It was soon thereafter that Ptolemy XIII was murdered and Cleopatra ruled alongside her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as co-ruler. Nine months later Cleopatra gave birth to her son Caesarian who she declared to be the son of Caesar and the rightful heir to the Egyptian throne.

Soon after this Caesar was assassinated in Rome. Cleopatra was worried about her security in Egypt so she forged an alliance with general Mark Antony, her future lover. It is said that she arrived in Rome on a beautiful boat filled with the sweet smell of roses and that she herself was a thing of divine beauty. Upon meeting the two became lovers and eventually had two children together. For the first couple of years of their love affair, Antony stayed in Rome most of the time and ruled alongside Octavian, Caesars heir. Although after a period of time trouble between the two Roman rulers ensued and Antony moved permanently to Alexandria and married Cleopatra in an Egyptian rite. The couple were said to have had one more child together.

The life and reign of Cleopatra came to an end when Mark Antony was defeated by Octavian's army during the battle at Actium. There is one last love story to the life of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. When Antony was defeated, Octavian intended to take over rule of Egypt. The two lovers would not have this. Cleopatra is said to have sent a message to Antony in secret that she was dead. Upon hearing this Mark Antony, overcome by grief, takes his own life with his own sword. Cleopatra did not want to become a prisoner of Octavian so she committed suicide with the bite of a poisonous snake. There are some who speculate that she may have used poison instead of the poisonous snake.

Cleopatra was 39 when she died and was the last recorded pharaoh of Egypt. Her story will live on forever as it has for the last two thousand years.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Priestesses in Ancient Egypt

The Obsequies of an Egyptian Cat (1886) JohnWeguelin

Many scholars say that women were not allowed to participate in the most holy forms of worship in ancient Egypt, such as that of a priest. Although there is evidence that women did actually hold many prominent roles within the temples of the ancient Egyptian religion. It has been said that the role of the priestess was purely for sexual reasons such as that of a sacred prostitute with only the purpose of consorting with the sacred priests in the temple. Although in ancient Egyptian society women filled many different roles within the temples such as that of a priestess, chantress, healer and God's Wife of Amun.

Some of the most well known priestesses in ancient Egypt were those of the Goddesses Hathor, Isis and Neith. The priestesses of Hathor were given the title of Mrt and were said to play music to greet the king as well as the Goddess. They were also said to manage the fields, the estate and the financial security of the temple. The priestesses of Hathor were noted for their musical abilities and beautiful dances especially during ritual. They were said to play the sistrum, a form of a rattle, sing and dance until they reached a trance-like state which was thought to lead to prophecy. It is said that the temples of Hathor and Neith had nearly no male priests. The priestesses of Isis were said to be healers and midwives.

The chantress was a title given to women who chanted ritual for the Gods and were involved in daily ritual. They were said to sing the Gods awake in the morning and sing them back to sleep in the evening. They were also given titles such as "shemayet" meaning musician and "heset" meaning singer. The role of chantress is said to come mostly from upper class women and even queens served the sacred role such as the Gods wife of Amun. These mystical musicians accompanied their ritualistic singing with the sistrum, the sacred instrument of Hathor. The chantress was quite an honored role in ancient Egypt.

The role of "Gods Wife of Amun" was a prestigious role indeed and was held by queens and other royal women. They were seen as the highest ranking priestess in the cult of the God Amun. The Gods Wife of Amun was seen as the consort of the God and the earthly incarnation of the Goddess Mut. It was also a title given to the mother of a Pharaoh which would imply the king to be a "demigod" when he was born being that his father was perceived to be the God Amun himself. The first royal wife to hold this title was Ahmose-Nefertari wife to Ahmose I. She passed it down to her daughter Meritatem who handed it over to Hatshepsut who then passed it down to her daughter, Neferure.

The title was lost at the start of the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti but returned again under the guise of "Divine Adoratrice of Amun" in the 20th Dynasty. The last known woman to hold the role of "God's Wife of Amun" or "Divine Adoratrice of Amun" was Nitokris II but it said that she never got to fill her role due to the Persian invasion. After the invasion women were no longer allowed to fill sacred temple roles in ancient Egypt.

For more information about ancient Egyptian priestesses check out the book Women in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Watterson.
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