Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sacred Symbols of the Goddess - the Labrys

The Labyrs, Sagarus, Halbryce, and Labyris are all names for symmetrical double-headed axe that was known to the Classical Greeks as “pelekus”, and whilst a version is still used in woodcutting and forestry today, the symbolism of the labyrs axe dates back to the early Goddess civilizations found around the Mediterranean. 

In ancient Minoan, Thracian and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age (3,000 to 600 BCE) onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire, the labyrs can be found, as well as in specific African religions, such as Shango, where it also contains an element of religious symbolism.

The term, and the symbol, is most closely associated in historical records with the Minoan civilization, which reached its peak in the 2nd millennium BCE, and specifically with the worship of a Goddess.  Some Minoan labrys have been found which are taller than a human, over six metres tall, and have been thought to may have been used during sacrifices, that of bulls which were also considered to be sacred the Goddess.

The labrys symbol has been found widely in the Bronze Age aarchaeological recovery at the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete.  According to archaeological finds oh the island, this double-axe was used specifically by Minoan priestesses for ceremonial uses. Of all the Minoan religious symbols, the axe was the holiest. To find such an axe in the hands of a Minoan woman would suggest strongly that she held a powerful position within the Minoan culture.

The labyrs was the sacred axe of the ancient Minoan Goddess, a symbol of authority, as well as that of sacred transformation with the double axe head being thought to represent a butterfly.

Women today, especially those who are not afraid of expressin their own opinion regardless of whether it coincides with the whims of others are often been referred to rudely, as "old battle-axes".  When the above information about the sacred labrys is taken in to consideration, this alleged "insult" actually could imply something completely different - an aspect of "cultural memory" as Abby Willowroot points out.

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May I shed the past like the Snake
Revealing a sacred transformation

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May the life force of the Bull
Give me strength and courage

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May the spirit of your sacred Dove
Sharpen my insight and vision

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May I live in harmony your Earth
Remembering to honour all life

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May I be strong as the Amazons
Pure in purpose, vision and loyalty

Oh Great Goddess, Mother of All
May I be wise as your Priestesses
Honouring each cycle of the Moon.


(by Abby Willowroot)

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"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 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.