Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sopdet, Egyptian Goddess of the New Year

With the new calendar year fast approaching, now is the time that many of us start to contemplate a fresh start and new beginnings.  To the ancient Egyptians, the Goddess who marked the coming of the new year was Sopdet ("skilled woman"), or Sothis, who is more commonly personified as the "dog star" Sirius, a star that held great importance to the ancient Egyptians.

When the heliacal rising occurred (when Sirius became visible above the eastern horizon prior to sunrise), this marked the time when the Nile River, the life blood of the country, started to flood*.  It was the silt that came from this flooding that enabled the farmers to grow their crops, and thus the flooding was associated with bringing fertility to the land.   

Friday, December 24, 2010

Many Concepts of "Goddess"

The Goddess? I hear you say … who or what is that?  What and who do we mean by the “Divine Feminine”?  Even today, these are terms that are not always familiar to everyone.  They are also terms that be misinterpreted.  When people are talking about the Goddess, they may be talking about:

·   An being Deity that has been worshipped since Palaeolithic times and who is still worshipped and honoured today in various parts of the world.  Hindu, for example, is one religion that contains numerous Goddesses.
·    An archetype based on various worldly mythologies from which we can identify our own strengths and weaknesses with, whereby in learning lessons portrayed in the myths, we can improve our life and understanding.
·    A term to describe the loving, nurturing aspect, ie “Goddess” energy.
·    A term to empower women where to the focus is more on improving the self-esteem and body image of women ie “We are all Goddesses”.

Monday, December 20, 2010

One door closes as another opens

After a rather trying, not to mention emotionally draining and frustrating three months, a decision was made last week to cut ties from an organisation that I felt was not accurately representing the ideals and ethics I held, nor were the current objectives resonating those of what the organisation were supposed to be about and which I had supported. This was not an easy decision to make as I had been involved with  this organisation since the mid 1990s, even having spent some six years actively on its committee.  However, the severing I believed is necessary, if only for my own piece of mind.

Then two days later I received an unexpected email from Gaia's Garden with respect of the opening of a Goddess exhibition that is to be held at the Queen Victoria Women's Centre in Melbourne from 29 April to 1 May - entitled "She of 10,000 Faces: Images of the Goddess".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Many Goddesses of India

India is a land of many Deities and where, even in the 21st century the Goddess is still worshipped.  The following is a list of some of these Goddesses and India as well as surrounding lands:
  • Aditi: Hindu Great Goddess, as the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Sun Goddess, Mother of all the Lights of Heaven. She gave birth to the twelve zodiacal spirits.
  • Ananta: Indian Serpent Queen. aka Sarparajni. She enveloped all Gods during their death, sleeping between incarnations.
  • Banka-Mundi: Hunting Goddess of the Khoud. Merely uttering Her name made one fearless against jungle beasts.
  • Bardaichila: Assamese Storm Goddess.
  • Bentakumari: Assamese Water Goddess. First fish of the season was given to Her.
  • Bhasundara: Tibetan Goddess of Prosperity
  • Bhavani: Common name for Mother Goddess of India. Bestower of Existence. Evoked by women in labour, who burned perfume to honour Her.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vandals destroy Sacred Thorn Tree at Glastonbury

Although the following article by Emma Hallett which appeared in the British online newspaper, The Independent, tends to focus on the Holy Thorn tree at Glastonbury being a symbol of Christianity, it has also been a representation of the Great Goddess.

Emma Hallett's article, the appeared in The Independent on 8 December 2010, follows: 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ma'at, the Mistress of Truth

Ma’at is the Goddess responsible for Egyptian Law, Order, Truth, Justice, Immortality and Primordial Being.  She was not just Order, but Space as well.  She was the one who gave the breath of Life to the Gods.  She is said to be the wife to Thoth and bore unto Him eight children.  The most important of these children was Amon.  These eight were the chief Gods of Hermopolis and (according to the priests there) they created the Earth and all that is in it.

Ma'at is depicted in the forma of a woman seated or standing.  She holds the scepter in one hand and the ankh in the other.  A symbol of Ma'at was the ostrich feather and She is always shown wearing it in Her hair.  In some pictures, She has a pair of wings attached to Her arms.  Occasionally, She is shown as a woman with an ostrich feather for a head.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bast - Egyptian Cat Goddess

From around the third millennium BCE Bast (also referred to as Baast, Ubasti and Baset) originated as a protector Goddess of Lower Egypt (the delta of the Nile River), where she was seen as the defender of the ruling pharaoh, and consequently Ra, the Solar deity.  This gained her the titles of "Lady of the Flame" and "Eye of Ra", thus symbolising the fertilising force of the Sun's rays.  By 930 BCE, the power of Bast was acknowledged by all Egyptians.

Bast's role diminished over time however as, after the unification of upper and lower Egypt, Sekhmet, a similar Lioness war deity, became more dominant.  In the first millennium BCE, as domesticated cats were becoming more and more popular as pets, Bast began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat.  In some images, she was depicted as a cat carrying the Sun.  By the Middle Kingdom, the domesticated cat had appeared as her sacred animal, and later during the New Kingdom, Bast was depicted as a woman with the head of a cat or a lioness, carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kali-Ma – the Terrible Mother

After a rather impromptu rite to Kali-Ma undertaken this week, I thought I would share part of an article that I had written about Kali-Ma for "Insight" magazine (either in 2009 or early 2010).

The Hindu religion has a myriad of Gods and Goddesses that are openly revered and worshipped, and within this religion, the Goddesses fall into not only the nurturing side of the Divine Feminine (as we are used to in the West), but also into the destroyer aspect.  The most revered Goddess is Kali.  She is usually pictured wearing a necklace of skulls and girdle of human hands, dancing on the body of her consort, Shiva. 

With her dishevelled hair and protruding tongue, Kali does not portray the demure image of the Divine Feminine that we in the West are comfortable with, such as the Virgin Mary found within Christianity. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Astarte - the Canaanite Goddess of Fertility

Astarte (also known as Astarat and Astoreth) was believed to be the chief Goddess of Tyre and Sidon, who was also adopted by the Phoenicians, the Hittites, and the Egyptians. To the Phoenicians, she became the predecessor to the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. The Sumerians knew her as Inanna and Ishtar. As "Queen of the Morning Star", she was the Goddess of War. As "Queen of the Evening Star", she was also the Goddess of Passionate Love.

This Semitic Goddess was worshipped by the Syrians, Palestinians, Phoenicians, Egyptians and other Semitic Tribes. King Solomon built a Temple to Her as Astoreth, near Jerusalem.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Goddess of Dark and Light

For the four or five years I have been running various workshops as well as presenting lectures about the Dark Goddess - and in fact this year, 2010, I have given two major presentations on what is fast becoming a favourite subject of mine.  Is it a sign of the times that people are curiously peaking into the shadows to see what lies beyond the light?  Or is it a sign of spiritual maturity, an awareness that, as the Daoist believe, the "dark" is just as necessary as the "light"?  In fact, once we ponder this statement we soon release that we cannot actually appreciate the "light" or even truly understand it, without the "darkness". 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unearthing the Great Goddess

(by Abby Willowroot)

The many images and icons of the Great Goddess that come to us from our ancient past give us glimpses into another world - a world where the mothers and elder women were held in great respect; a world that worshipped the Great Goddess in all her fullness and abundance.

Many so-called experts have discounted these goddess figures as “fertility figures” but there is evidence that refutes this assessment.  With their pendulous breasts, full bellies and buttocks these goddess figures suggest women of some age and wisdom (not fertility).  The features of these goddesses also display age and gravity, suggesting these were figures of veneration that celebrated the Mother and Crone stages of life, rather than the Maiden or young woman.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Amaterasu Omi Kami - the Goddess of the Sun

As the Sun moves towards 15 degrees in Scorpio, the sacred Sabbat of Bealtaine is honoured in the Southern Hemisphere.  Within the sacred lore of the Goddess, knowledge of many solar orientated Goddesses seem to have been forgotten, however some still remain .. and in particular Amaterasu Omi Kami, the Shinto Deity who is still honoured today throughout various parts of Japan.

With her name meaning "Great Shining Heaven", the shrines decided to Amaterasu are known for their architectural purity and unpretentiousness, and are centred around her sacred object, that being a mirror.  Considered to be the guardian of Japanese people and even a symbol of Japanese cultural unity, her symbol of rising sun flies on the nation's flag.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bealtaine - the Fire Festival

Bealtaine marks the start of the Summer quarter of the year and the end of the Spring quarter. This is a time when nature blossoms and felicity and fertility return to the land. In times past, the livestock stockaded at Samhain was returned to summer pastures at Bealtaine.

Bealtaine is a joyful festival of growth and fecundity that heralds the arrival of Summer. It is the festival of the 'Good Fire' or 'Bel-fire', named after the solar deity Bel. Bel was also known as Beli or Bile in Ireland, with Bile meaning 'tree', so Beltane may also mean 'Tree-fire'. Bealtaine is the counterpart of Samhain (and is sometimes referred to as Cetsamhain, the 'first Samhain'), and these two important festivals divide the year into Summer and Winter halves, just as the two equinoctial celebrations, the Spring (also referee to as Ostara) and Autumn (aka Mabon) Equinoxes, divide the year into light and dark halves.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Summer and the Mother Goddess

The Spring (Vernal) Equinox has passed and as the sacred Wheel turns, Summer is around the corner, with it the festival of Bealtaine.  It is time for the young Mother Goddess to step forward and to take the reigns.  The following is an excerpt from “The Gaia Tradition: Celebrating the Earth in Her Seasons” by Kisma Stephanich (Llewellyn Publications, 1991) that is most appropriate to share at this time of the year.

Summer is a combustion of activity.  The warmth of the Sun dances across the deserts, caresses the trees of the forests and sparkles off the movement of the waters in the oceans as it rises and splashes against the shoreline or softly gurgles and rushes on downstream.  All life is in full celebration of active energy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Embracing the Goddess

It is often interesting from what source articles about the Divine Feminine, the Goddess, can come from.  The following article is one from Daily Om

Thousands of years ago, before the dawn of written history, feminine energy was an important part of people’s lives. Clans venerated wise mother Goddesses, dark destroyer Goddesses, and cyclical fertility Goddesses, of which women were the natural embodiment. But as politics evolved, these Goddesses were forgotten or relegated to positions as wives or concubines, and their energy was last to time. But, as some people are discovering, contemporary people need the guidance of the Goddess more than ever. The Goddess movement seeks to recapture that energy and to bring civilisation back into touch with its history of feminine power.

The Divine Feminine

As I write this article for the first edition of “Dejavu” magazine (2003), the military might of the West have announced that it will only be a matter of time before war is waged against Iraq. Without getting into the political debate of this matter, I can still remember the ultimate disbelief and shock (not to mention an inner fear) I felt when the first Gulf war started in 1991. Some twelve years later, I find myself going through the same emotions, with an added sadness, for it does not seem that we, as a race, have not moved very far along our spiritual route at all.

Today, it is a rare occasion when the news reported does not include of act of war, injustice, violence, cruelty or degradation. While some spiritual traditions state that we are in an “enlightened” phase of human existence, I struggle to understand where this enlightenment is being actually being practised, for it does not seem to be influencing those we elect to represent us on a worldly scale.

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again
The second edition of "Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats" is now available through www.createspace.com or direct from the author (Australian customers only) for an autographed copy.

Great Goddess Isis

Great Goddess Isis

Exhortation of Isis

You are She in the dust of whose feet is the hosts of Heaven,
Whose body encircles the Universe,
Who turns the Earth in its orb,
Who gives light to the Sun,
Who rules the World.

You tread death underfoot.
To Thee, the stars are responsive,
To Thee the seasons turn and the Gods rejoice
And the elements are in subjugation.

You are She that is the natural Mother of all things,
Mistress and governor of all elements,
The initial progeny of worlds,
Chief of Divine powers,
Queen of Heaven,
Principle of all the Gods celestial and the light of Goddesses.

At Your will are disposed the planets of the air,
The wholesome winds of the seas
And the silences of the unseen world.