Deities

Deity of the Day for July 28th is Nephthys

Deity of the Day

Nephthys

Nephthys /ˈnɛpθɨs/ (Greek: Νέφθυς) or Nebthet /ˈnɛbˌθɛt/ (Arabic: نيفتيس Nyftys) is a member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis in Egyptian mythology, a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set.

Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet (transliterated as Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, from Egyptian hieroglyphs).The origin of the goddess Nephthys is unclear but the literal translation of her name is usually given as “Lady of the House,” which has caused some to mistakenly identify her with the notion of a “housewife,” or as the primary lady who ruled a domestic household. This is a pervasive error repeated in many commentaries concerning this deity. Her name means quite specifically, “Lady of the [Temple] Enclosure” which associates her with the role of priestess.

This title, which may be more of an epithet describing her function than a given name, probably indicates the association of Nephthys with one particular temple or some specific aspect of the Egyptian temple ritual. Along with her sister Isis, Nephthys represented the temple pylon or trapezoidal tower gateway entrance to the temple which also displayed the flagstaff. This entrance way symbolised the horizon or akhet.

At the time of the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Nephthys appears as a goddess of the Heliopolitan Ennead. She is the sister of Isis and companion of the war-like deity, Set. As sister of Isis and especially Osiris, Nephthys is a protective goddess who symbolizes the death experience, just as Isis represented the (re)birth experience.

Nephthys was known in some ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the “Useful Goddess” or the “Excellent Goddess”. These late Ancient Egyptian temple texts describe a goddess who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship.

Nephthys is regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis (Inpu) in some myths. Alternatively Anubis appears as the son of Bastet or Isis.

As the primary “nursing mother” of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Horus, Nephthys also was considered to be the nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself. Though other goddesses could assume this role, Nephthys was most usually portrayed in this function. In contrast Nephthys is sometimes featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath.

New Kingdom Ramesside Pharaohs, in particular, were enamored of Mother Nephthys, as is attested in various stelae and a wealth of inscriptions at Karnak and Luxor, where Nephthys was a member of that great city’s Ennead and her altars were present in the massive complex.
Triad of Isis, Nephthys, and Harpocrates. Early Greco-Roman. Walters Museum

Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Seth.

Less well understood than her sister Isis, Nephthys was no less important in Egyptian Religion as confirmed by the work of E. Hornung, along with the work of several noted scholars.

“Ascend and descend; descend with Nephthys, sink into darkness with the Night-bark. Ascend and descend; ascend with Isis, rise with the Day-bark.”

Pyramid Text Utterance 222 line 210.

In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a kite, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection. Nephthys’s association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk (and its piercing, mournful cries) evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations usually offered for the dead by wailing women. In this capacity, it is easy to see how Nephthys could be associated with death and putrefaction in the Pyramid Texts. She was, almost without fail, depicted as crowned by the hieroglyphics signifying her name, which were a combination of signs for the sacred temple enclosure (hwt), along with the sign for neb, or mistress (Lady), on top of the enclosure sign.

Nephthys was clearly viewed as a morbid-but-crucial force of heavenly transition, i.e., the Pharaoh becomes strong for his journey to the afterlife through the intervention of Isis and Nephthys. The same divine power could be applied later to all of the dead, who were advised to consider Nephthys a necessary companion. According to the Pyramid Texts, Nephthys, along with Isis, was a force before whom demons trembled in fear, and whose magical spells were necessary for navigating the various levels of Duat, as the region of the afterlife was termed.

It should here be noted that Nephthys was not necessarily viewed as the polar opposite of Isis, but rather as a different reflection of the same reality: eternal life in transition. Thus, Nephthys was also seen in the Pyramid Texts as a supportive cosmic force occupying the night-bark on the journey of Ra, the majestic sun god, particularly when he entered Duat at the transitional time of dusk, or twilight. Isis was Ra’s companion at the coming of dawn.

Nephthys plays an important role in the Osirian myth-cycle.

It is Nephthys who assists Isis in gathering and mourning the dismembered portions of the body of Osiris, after his murder by the envious Set. Nephthys also serves as the nursemaid and watchful guardian of the infant Horus. The Pyramid Texts refer to Isis as the “birth-mother” and to Nephthys as the “nursing-mother” of Horus. Nephthys was attested as one of the four “Great Chiefs” ruling in the Osirian cult-center of Busiris, in the Delta and she appears to have occupied an honorary position at the holy city of Abydos. No cult is attested for her there, though she certainly figured as a goddess of great importance in the annual rites conducted, wherein two chosen females or priestesses played the roles of Isis and Nephthys and performed the elaborate ‘Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys’. There, at Abydos, Nephthys joined Isis as a mourner in the shrine known as the Osireion. These “Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys” were ritual elements of many such Osirian rites in major ancient Egyptian cult-centers.

As a mortuary goddess (along with Isis, Neith, and Serqet), Nephthys was one of the protectresses of the Canopic jars of the Hapi. Hapi, one of the Sons of Horus, guarded the embalmed lungs. Thus we find Nephthys endowed with the epithet, “Nephthys of the Bed of Life,” in direct reference to her regenerative priorities on the embalming table. In the city of Memphis, Nephthys was duly honored with the title “Queen of the Embalmer’s Shop,” and there associated with the jackal-headed god Anubis as patron.

Nephthys was also considered a festive deity whose rites could mandate the liberal consumption of beer. In various reliefs at Edfu, Dendera, and Behbeit, Nephthys is depicted receiving lavish beer-offerings from the Pharaoh, which she would “return”, using her power as a beer-goddess “that [the pharaoh] may have joy with no hangover.” Elsewhere at Edfu, for example, Nephthys is a goddess who gives the Pharaoh power to see “that which is hidden by moonlight.” This fits well with more general textual themes that consider Nephthys to be a goddess whose unique domain was darkness, or the perilous edges of the desert.

Nephthys could also appear as one of the goddesses who assists at childbirth. One ancient Egyptian myth preserved in the Papyrus Westcar recounts the story of Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet, and Heqet as traveling dancers in disguise, assisting the wife of a priest of Amun-Re as she prepares to bring forth sons who are destined for fame and fortune.

Nephthys’s healing skills and status as direct counterpart of Isis, steeped, as her sister in “words of power,” are evidenced by the abundance of faience amulets carved in her likeness, and by her presence in a variety of magical papyri that sought to summon her famously altruistic qualities to the aid of mortals.

The Ramesside Pharaohs were particularly devoted to Set’s prerogatives and, in the 19th Dynasty, a temple of Nephthys called the “House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun” was built or refurbished in the town of Sepermeru, midway between Oxyrhynchos and Herakleopolis, on the outskirts of the Fayyum and quite near to the modern site of Deshasheh. Here, as Papyrus Wilbour notes in its wealth of taxation records and land assessments, the temple of Nephthys was a specific foundation by Ramesses II, located in close proximity to (or within) the precinct of the enclosure of Set. To be certain, the House of Nephthys was one of fifty individual, land-owning temples delineated for this portion of the Middle Egyptian district in Papyrus Wilbour. The fields and other holdings belonging to Nephthys’s temple were under the authority of two Nephthys-prophets (named Penpmer and Merybarse) and one (mentioned) wa’ab priest of the goddess.

While certainly affiliated with the “House of Set,” the Nephthys temple at Sepermeru and its apportioned lands (several acres) clearly were under administration distinct from the Set institution. The Nephthys temple was a unique establishment in its own right, an independent entity. According to Papyrus Wilbour, another “House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun” seems to have existed to the north, in the town of Su, closer to the Fayyum region.

Another temple of Nephthys seems to have existed in the town of Punodjem. The Papyrus Bologna records a complaint lodged by a prophet of the temple of Set in that town regarding undue taxation in his regard. After making an introductory appeal to “Re-Horakhte, Set, and Nephthys” for the ultimate resolution of this issue by the royal Vizier, the prophet (named Pra’emhab) laments his workload. He notes his obvious administration of the “House of Set” and adds: “I am also responsible for the ship, and I am responsible likewise for the House of Nephthys, along with a heap of other temples.”

As “Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun,” the goddess and her shrines were under the particular endorsement of Ramesses II. The foundations of the Set and Nephthys temples at Sepermeru finally were discovered and identified in the 1980s, and the Nephthys temple was a self-sustaining temple complex within the Set enclosure.

There can be little doubt that a cult of Nephthys existed in the temple and great town of Herakleopolis, north of Sepermeru. A near life-sized statue of Nephthys (currently housed in the Louvre) boasts a curiously altered inscription. The basalt image originally was stationed at Medinet-Habu, as part of the cultic celebration of the Pharaonic “Sed-Festival,” but was transferred at some point to Herakleopolis and the temple of Herishef. The cult-image’s inscription originally pertained to “Nephthys, Foremost of the Sed [Festival] in the Booth of Annals” (at Medinet-Habu), but was re-inscribed or re-dedicated to “Nephthys, Foremost of the [Booths of] Herakleopolis.” A “prophet of Nephthys” is indeed attested for the town of Herakleopolis in the 30th Dynasty.

Nephthys was considered the unique protectress of the Sacred Phoenix, or the Bennu Bird. This role may have stemmed from an early association in her native Heliopolis, which was renowned for its “House of the Bennu” temple. In this role, Nephthys was given the name “Nephthys-Kheresket,” and a wealth of temple texts from Edfu, Dendera, Philae, Kom Ombo, El Qa’la, Esna, and others corroborate the late identification of Nephthys as the supreme goddess of Upper Egyptian Nome VII, where another shrine existed in honor of the Bennu. Nephthys also was the goddess of the “Mansion of the Sistrum” in Hwt-Sekhem (Gr. Diospolis Parva), the chief city of Nome VII. There, Nephthys was the primary protectress of the resident Osirian relic, of the Bennu Bird, and of the local Horus/Osiris manifestation, the god Neferhotep.

Nephthys was most widely and usually worshipped in ancient Egypt as part of a consortium of temple deities. Therefore, it should not surprise us that her cult images could likely be found as part of the divine entourage in temples at Kharga, Kellis, Deir el-Hagar, Koptos, Dendera, Philae, Sebennytos, Busiris, Shenhur, El Qa’la, Letopolis, Heliopolis, Abydos, Thebes, Dakleh Oasis, and indeed throughout Egypt. In most cases, Nephthys found her typical place as part of a triad alongside Osiris and Isis, or Isis and Horus, or Isis and Min, or as part of a quartet of deities. It is perhaps in this way that Nephthys best fulfilled her role as an important national deity whose ideal function was to provide powerful assistance to her associates in a great variety of temple cults—a truly “Useful” and “Excellent” goddess, as her primary epithets reflect.

Source:
Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for July 21 is Ceres, Goddess of the Grain Fields

Deity of the Day


Ceres

Goddess of the Grain Fields

 

During the classical age of the Roman Empire, the main industry was farming. A reliable and huge food supply was necessary as the population of the ever-expanding Roman Empire grew. Roman society was divided into several groups – there were the patricians, who were typically the landowners, and involved in policy and decision-making. There were also plebeians, who were average people who worked in shops and as craftsmen or laborers.

Finally, there were slaves, and the slaves were the backbone of the Roman farming industry.

Vast numbers of slaves were required to maintain the millions of acres of crops that were grown to feed the Roman people – remember, the Roman Empire at one point boasted almost seventy million people. That was about a fifth of the world’s population at the time. Because grain was a high-yield crop, well-organized agriculture could keep the populace from starving.

Ceres was the goddess of grain, specifically maize, and of the harvest season. According to Roman legend, she was the one who taught mankind how to farm. She is associated with agricultural fertility and a bountiful harvest.

Offerings and sacrifices were made to Ceres by landowners, and she was called upon during the summer months to watch over the crops and protect them from drought, insects, and flooding.

Ceres’ story parallels that of the Greek goddess Demeter. In the Roman telling of the tale, Ceres had a daughter named Proserpine, who was taken away by Pluto to the underground.

Ceres searched everywhere but was unable to find her beautiful daughter, and as she grieved for her missing child, she was so upset that all of the crops stopped growing. As a great famine struck, Ceres discovered that Proserpine was in fact with Pluto. He agreed that Proserpine could spend six months of the year with her mother, and six with him in the underworld. Each year when Proserpine returns to Pluto’s realm, the land grows cold and the crops wither and die. In the spring, she returns, and Ceres brings life to the land once more.

Today, we still use Ceres’ name as part of our regular vocabulary – crunched up gain is called cereal in her honor.

 

Source:
Author: Paganism/Wicca Expert

Website: Article found on & owned by About.com

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The Goddess Creed

The Goddess Creed

 

I believe in Goddess the Mother All Mighty
Creatrix of the heavens and earth
And in all women
Who were conceived of Her love
Born of our sacred mothers
Suffered under patriarchy
Were crucified, died, and were buried
We descended into the underworld
The third day we arose again
We integrated with our new selves
And we now sit with Goddess our Mother
And we judge no one
I believe in the Holy Mother
The maiden, mother, crone
Forgiveness toward others
The celebration of the body
And everlasting renewal of life
So Mote It Be
(c) 2008 Danu Gray Wolf
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Deity of the Day for July 13 is Baldur, Norse God of Light

Deity of the Day

Baldur, Norse God of Light

 

Baldur was the son of Frigga and Odin, and the twin brother of Hod, or Hodur. Baldur’s name sometimes appears as Balder, or alternately Baldr. Baldur was beautiful and radiant, and was beloved by all the gods. Hodur, on the other hand, was dark and moody, spent a lot of time in darkness because of his blindness, and was generally unpopular with everyone he met.

In one famous story, after Baldur reveals that he’s been having foreboding dreams, Frigga asked all of nature to promise not to cause any harm to her beloved son.
From Sæmund’s Edda:
“On a course they resolved,
that they would send
to every being,
assurance to solicit,
Balder not to harm.
All species swore
oaths to spare him;
Frigg received all
their vows and compacts.”

Unfortunately, in her haste, Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant, so Loki – the resident trickster – took advantage of the opportunity and fooled Hod into killing his twin brother with a spear made of mistletoe. Baldur was later restored to life.

Because of the story of his life, death and resurrection, Baldur features prominently in Norse mythology. An important festival was held in honor of Baldur the Good at midsummer, because it was known to be the anniversary of his death and descent into the underworld. Celebrations were held involving big bonfires and outdoor festivities, much of which involved watching the sun rise and set. Bear in mind that in the extreme Northern latitudes inhabited by the Norse peoples, the sun never really sets at midsummer; instead, it touches the horizon and then rises again to begin a new day.

When Christianity moved into the Norse countries, Baldur’s celebration became the festival of St. John instead.

 

Source:
Author:aganism/Wicca Expert

Website: Article Found On & Owned By About.com

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Deity of the Day for July 8th is Ares, Roman God of War

Deity of the Day

 

Ares
Greek God of War

Ares, the Greek Warrior God:

Ares was a Greek god of war, and son of Zeus by his wife Hera. He was known not only for his own exploits in battle, but also for getting involved in disputes between others. Furthermore, he often served as an agent of justice.

The Rape of Alkippe:

A Greek legend tells the tale of Ares slaying of one of Poseidon’s sons. Ares had a daughter, Alkippe, and Poseidon’s son Halirrhothios attempted to rape her.

Ares interrupted before the act was completed, and promptly killed Halirrhothios. Poseidon, livid at the murder of one of his own children, put Ares on trial before the twelve gods of Olympus. Ares was acquitted, as his violent actions were justified.

Worship of Ares:

As a warrior god, Ares wasn’t quite as popular with the Greeks as his counterpart, Mars, was among the Romans. This may have been due to his unreliability and unpredictable violence – something which would have been completely contrary to the Greek sense of order. He doesn’t seem to have been very popular among the Greeks, who appear to have been mostly just indifferent to him.

In fact, many of the legends surrounding Ares culminate in his own defeat and humiliation. In Homer’s Odyssey, Zeus himself insults Ares after his return from the battlefields of Troy – where Ares was defeated by the armies of Athena. Zeus says:
Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

His worship was centered in small cults, rather than amongst the general populace of Greece. Specifically, more warlike areas like Macedonia, Thrace, and Sparta paid homage to Ares.

There are numerous accounts of a Spartan man, Menoikeus, offering himself as sacrifice to Ares, in order to secure the gates of Thebes. Gaius Julius Hyginus, a Greek historian, wrote in Fabulae, “When the Thebans consulted Teiresias, he told them that they would win the battle if Kreon’s son Menoikeus [one of the Spartoi] were to offer himself as a victim to Ares. When he heard this, Menoikeus took his life in front of the gates.”

Although little is known of the cults of Ares and how they specifically paid tribute, most sources do refer to sacrifices being made prior to battle. Herodotus refers to the offerings made by the Scythians, in which one of every one hundred prisoners taken in battle is sacrificed to Ares. He also describes, in his Histories, a festival which took place in Papremis, part of Egypt. The celebration re-enacts the meeting of Ares with his mother, Hera, and involves beating priests with clubs – a ritual which often turned violent and bloody.

The Warrior Oath

Aeschylus’ epic narrative, Seven Against Thebes, includes a warrior’s oath and sacrifice to Ares:
Seven warriors yonder, doughty chiefs of might,
Into the crimsoned concave of a shield
Have shed a bull’s blood, and, with hands immersed
Into the gore of sacrifice, have sworn
By Ares, lord of fight, and by thy name,
Blood-lapping Terror, Let our oath be heard-
Either to raze the walls, make void the hold
Of Cadmus – strive his children as they may –
Or, dying here, to make the foemen’s land
With blood impasted.

Today, Ares is seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to a number of pop culture references. He appears in Rick Riordan’s highly successful Percy Jackson series for young readers, as well as Suzanne Collins’ books about Gregor the Overlander. He also shows up in video games, such as God of War and was portrayed by the late actor Kevin Smith in the Xena: Warrior Princess television series.

Some Hellenic Pagans pay tribute to Ares as well, in rituals honoring his bravery and masculinity

 

Source
Author:Patti Wigington , Paganism/Wicca Expert

Website: Article found on & owned by About.com

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Goddess For Today: Thmei

4th of July Comments

Goddess For Today: Thmei
Independence Day (United States)

Themes   Freedom; Justice; Honor; Divination; Balance; Equality; Foresight; Morality
Symbols   Scales or Balanced Items:  Ostrich Feathers

About Thmei:  This Egyptian Goddess of Law and Mother of virtue watches over human conduct, looking for right action, wise decisions,
ethical dealings, and just outcomes.  On a broader scale, she also tends to matters of universal law, that we might learn its patterns, internalize
its ideals, and then use this awareness throughout the year.

In some instances, Thmei is considered a prophetic Goddess to call on in determining the outcome of any course of action, especially legal ones.
Egyptian art depicts Thmei bearing a single ostrich feather, the symbol of truth with self and others.

To Do Today:  Celebrate your personal independence, and break free from any constraints that seem unjust or
unethical, asking Thmei for the power and courage to endure. To make a Thmei charm that draws equity into all
your dealings, find a portable token that, to you, represents balance, harmony, and fairness.  Put this on your
bathroom scale, saying, Balance and harmony within this shrine, Thmei, make impartial dealings mine!
Carry this token with you, or leave it in the area where you feel inequity or discord exists.
)0(
By Patricia Telesco ~ From “365 Goddess” and GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

 

Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

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Deity of the Day for July 3rd is Khepri, The Egyptian God

Deity of the Day

Khepri

 

Khepri (also spelled Khepera, Kheper, Khepra, Chepri) is a god in the ancient Egyptian religion.

Khepri was connected with the scarab beetle (kheprer), because the scarab rolls balls of dung across the ground, an act that the Egyptians saw as a symbol of the forces that move the sun across the sky. Khepri was thus a solar deity. Young dung beetles, having been laid as eggs within the dung ball, emerge from it fully formed. Therefore, Khepri also represented creation and rebirth, and he was specifically connected with the rising sun and the mythical creation of the world. The Egyptians connected his name with the Egyptian language verb kheper, meaning “develop” or “come into being”. Kheper, (or Xeper) is a transcription of an ancient Egyptian word meaning to come into being, to change, to occur, to happen, to exist, to bring about, to create, etc. Egyptologists typically transliterate the word as ?pr. Both Kheper and Xeper possess the same phonetic value and are pronounced as “kheffer”.

There was no cult devoted to Khepri, and he was largely subordinate to the greater sun god Ra. Often, Khepri and another solar deity, Atum, were seen as aspects of Ra: Khepri was the morning sun, Ra was the midday sun, and Atum was the sun in the evening.

Khepri was principally depicted as a scarab beetle, though in some tomb paintings and funerary papyri he is represented as a human male with a scarab as a head. He is also depicted as a scarab in a solar barque held aloft by Nun. The scarab amulets that the Egyptians used as jewelry and as seals represent Khepri.

 

Source:
Wikipedia

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WOTC Extra (b) – The Divine Masculine

Witchy CommentsThe Divine Masculine

The feminine is not complete without the masculine; together, these energetic polarities form a whole. Before the re-emergence of Goddess-centered spirituality, only the male divinity’s face was present in most parts of the world. Some Wiccans and Witches concentrate on the Divine Feminine. Others, however, believe that the Divine expresses as both male and female.

Witches often depict the Divine Masculine as having three faces, which represent the stages of a man’s life: youth, maturity, and old age. However, Witches aren’t the only ones who envision a tripart God. Christians honor the male trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Hindu religion, Brahma represents the creative principle of God, Vishnu is considered the preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer. Although the cultural aspects of these deities may differ, they still recognize the tripart expression of the masculine force.
The Only Book of Wiccan Spells You’ll Ever Need (The Only Book You’ll Ever Need)
Marian Singer; Trish MacGregor

 

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