Deities

Deity of the Day for January 23rd is Calliope, Greek Muse

Deity of the Day

Calliope

Greek Muse

The Greek muse Calliope was, along with her other eight sisters, the muses, the daughter of Zeus and of the Titaness Mnemosyne.

She was the oldest and the wisest of the muses. She was considered the muse of epic poetry and of eloquence and was often depicted as holding a writing tablet and a stylus or a scroll and with a golden crown on her head.

Calliope was thought to be the muse who had inspired Homer to write the Illiad and the Odyssey. Some even think that she was Homer’s real mother.

Her most famous son is Orpheus, whose father was the king Oeagrus of Thrace. Orpheus lived with his mother on mount Parnassus. God Apollo taught him to play the lyre and his mother taught him to make the verses (but some consider Apollo as his father).

Some say that Zeus appointed Calliope as a judge in the dispute between Persephone and Aphrodite over the handsome Adonis. Calliope decided that Adonis should spend half of the year with Aphrodite and the other half with Persephone. But the goddess of love was not satisfied with this arrangement, so she made the Thracian women kill Calliope’s son, Orpheus.

Calliope is also considered the mother of Linus, another famous singer in Greek mithology.

It is also said that the muse of heroic poetry had children – the Corybantes – with her own father, Zeus, but in other versions the Corybantes took care of baby Zeus, so they can’t possibly be his children.

 

Source:

Greek Gods and Goddesses

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Deity of the Day for January 21st is Mimir, Norse God of Wisdom

Deity of the Day

 

Mimir

Norse God of Wisdom

 

Mimir is the Norse god of wisdom, and while many of the deities are known for their great degree of wise intellect, Mimir was the greatest of them all in this capacity, the Norse counterpart of Athena from the Greek pantheon and Thoth from the Egyptian pantheon. His council was greatly favored by even All-Father Odin, along with the rest of the Aesir tribe of deities.  Tragedy would soon strike the wise deity soon after the Aesir picked a fight with another tribe of deities, the Vanir, who dwelt in the nearby dimensional realm of Vanaheim. The fight ended in a stalemate, and to facilitate the truce intended to lead into the merging of the two tribes, both sides agreed to an exchange of hostages.  The Vanir gave the great deities Freya and Frey to the Aesir, and in return the latter gave Mimir and the warrior deity Hoenir to the Vanir. Though the Vanir were impressed by Mimir, they disliked the fact that Hoenir rarely had anything to say at all, so feeling they were partially double-crossed by the Aesir, they took out their frustration on Mimir by killing him and sending his remains back to Odin. Determined to preserve the invaluable council that Mimir provided, the All-Father used a combination of his vast power with some magickal herbs to preserve Mimir’s severed head, so the deceased god could once again speak to him and have full access to his vast repository of memories and knowledge. The head of Mimir was then kept in a special chamber of Odin’s palace where the king of the gods alone retained access to his great wisdom. Somehow the Well of Mimir, said to be located in some unknown section of Midgard (the Earth realm), was infused with the sum total of Mimir’s great knowledge in a manner that was never fully explained in the surviving myths; Odin sacrificed one of his eyes to this sentient well in order to receive all the knowledge in the universe.

 

   

While the current status of Mimir in the cosmos is unknown, it is entirely possible for mortal followers of the Nordic path to call upon his indispensable wisdom when in need (where they will receive it largely whilst in the dream state or while in various altered states of consciousness entered into via meditation).  It is not known if this wise advice is acquired from the metaphysical “remains” of Mimir or from the Well of Mimir, but ultimately it doesn’t matter which since the wisdom of the universe–which Mimir personifies–is there to aid any follower of the Norse path who may wish to access it.

 

Source:
Shrine to the Gods of Asgard

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Deities of the Day for January 20th is The Norns

Deities of the Day

The Norns

 

The Norns are amongst the most powerful and mysterious beings known in the cosmos, and in fact they are not even unique to the Norse pantheon, as an identical triad of sisters are extant in the Greek pantheon, where they are known as the Fates. The Norns and the Fates may very well be the same beings, with power that extends over all pantheons and all sentient beings anywhere in the universe. Though the Norns are described in the myths as the three goddesses of destiny, it’s quite clear they are not so much deities as personifications of the universal force of Fate, Destiny, or Kismet (take your pick of terminology), with each of the sisters representing a different aspect of time as mortals experience it in seemingly linear fashion–Urd represents the past, Verdnadi represents the present along with destiny in general, and Skuld represents the future. They are visualized by both the Norse and the Greeks in the form of three enigmatic sisters of variant ages (sometimes, but not always, as elderly) who are garbed in hooded robes.  They are said to weave the tapestry of destiny for all sentient beings in the cosmos, including the deities themselves, which is why even the most powerful of the Asgardians respects their power and scope of influence. Though predestination is unknown to the Norse, and free will is believed to predominate our sphere of existence, certain events can be foredestined, but the individual decisions made by various beings during the course of their lives will determine to what degree–if any–these events will be actualized on any given timeline. Despite the existence of free will, the Norns nevertheless possess the power to greatly influence the course of events and to insure a beneficial outcome for the universe in general in most cases. They are said to often congregate before the Well of Urd (I am not sure why this celestial well was named after this particular sister), located in some far distant reaches of Asgard, but more likely in some realm that is accessible from but not actually within any of the Nine Worlds of Norse cosmology, since these beings could interact with deities of other pantheons who resided in otherworldly realms that were entirely outside of the Nine Worlds (such as Olympus, where the Greek deities live). It would appear that wells were for some reason archetypal symbols of areas where great knowledge or forces of various sorts could be accessed (note the Well of Mimir, also).  This is possibly related to the fact that wells played such an important role in the material realm of humanity in ages past, since they provided life-sustaining water to those who lived in these agrarian societies of previous eras.

 

Forces of the universe have always been a major part of the mythos of various faith systems, and polytheistic faiths have often perceived them as able to manifest as sentient beings who are interpreted by mortals to be particularly powerful and mysterious deities.  Even the proper deities give reverence to these great forces, because though some of the gods and goddesses are able to tap into and control these forces to a great extent, they nevertheless remain subject to their universal influence just as their mere mortal followers are. This is implicit in the story of Ragnarok, as Odin went to great lengths to try and prevent this destined cataclysm that would destroy all the Nine Worlds of Norse cosmology, but according to the myths he was ultimately helpless to prevent it. This would appear to make it clear that even the most powerful of the deities must to some degree bow to the great Universal Forces (which includes Fate/Destiny/Kismet, Death, Eternity, Order, Chaos), or at the very least being required to work with these forces rather than rising above them entirely.  For this reason, I fear the Norns and the force of the universe they represent more than any single deity (including Odin, Loki, and Hela), and I often feel helpless beneath their irresistible metaphorical heel. However, I am also well aware that free will is another powerful force in the universe to be reckoned with, and I realize that I can affect the world I live in by the wisest possible decisions that I make, as well as by calling upon various of the deities, along with the Norns themselves, to do my best to control my destiny and forge it into something positive for both myself and for the greater good.

 

Source:

Shrine To The Gods of Asgard

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Deity of the Day for January 15th – Banba, Irish Goddess

Deity of the Day

Banba

 

In Irish mythology, Banba (modern spelling: Banbha, pronounced [ˈbˠanˠəvˠə]), daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, is the patron goddess of Ireland.

She was part of an important triumvirate of goddesses. According to Seathrún Céitinn she worshipped Macha, who is also sometimes named as a daughter of Ernmas. The two goddesses may therefore be seen as equivalent. Céitinn also refers to a tradition that Banbha was the first person to set foot in Ireland before the flood, in a variation of the legend of Cessair.

In the ‘Tochomlad mac Miledh a hEspain i nErind: no Cath Tailten’, it is related that as the Milesians were journeying through Ireland, ‘they met victorious Banba among her troop of faery magic hosts’ on Senna Mountain, the stony mountain of Mes. A footnote identifies this site as Slieve Mish in Chorca Dhuibne, County Kerry. The soil of this region is a non-leptic podzol. If the character of Banbha originated in an earth-goddess, non-leptic podzol may have been the particular earth-type of which she was the deification.

The LÉ Banba (CM11), a ship in the Irish Naval Service (now decommissioned), was named after her.

Initially, she could have been a goddess of war as well as a fertility goddess.

 

Source:
Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for January 13th is Horus, Egyptian God

Deity of the Day

Horus

Alternate titles: Har; Her; Heru; Hor
Horus, Egyptian Hor, Har, Her, or Heru,  in ancient Egyptian religion, a god in the form of a falcon whose right eye was the sun or morning star, representing power and quintessence, and whose left eye was the moon or evening star, representing healing. Falcon cults, which were in evidence from late predynastic times, were widespread in Egypt.

Horus appeared as a local god in many places and under different names and epithets—for instance, as Harmakhis (Har-em-akhet, “Horus in the Horizon”), Harpocrates (Har-pe-khrad, “Horus the Child”), Harsiesis (Har-si-Ese, “Horus, Son of Isis”), Harakhte (“Horus of the Horizon,” closely associated with the sun god Re), and, at Kawm Umbū (Kom Ombo), as Haroeris (Harwer, “Horus the Elder”).

At Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis), however, the conception arose that the reigning king was a manifestation of Horus, and, after Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt had been united by the kings from Nekhen, this notion became a generally accepted dogma. The most important of an Egyptian king’s names (the number of which grew from three in early dynastic times to five later) was his Horus name—i.e., the name that identified him with Horus. This name appeared on monuments and tombs in a rectangular frame called a serekh.

In addition to being characterized by a Horus name, the king was typically depicted with a hovering form of Horus above his head. Sometimes Horus is shown as a winged sun disk, representing the Horus of Behdet, a town in the Nile River delta where the falcon-god enjoyed a cult.

From the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–2775 bce) onward, Horus and the god Seth were presented as perpetual antagonists who were reconciled in the harmony of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the myth of Osiris, who became prominent about 2350 bce, Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis and was the nephew of Seth, Osiris’s brother. When Seth murdered Osiris and contested Horus’s heritage (the royal throne of Egypt), Horus became Seth’s enemy. Horus eventually defeated Seth, thus avenging his father and assuming the rule. In the fight, Horus’s left eye (i.e., the moon) was damaged—this being a mythical explanation of the moon’s phases—and was healed by the god Thoth. The figure of the restored eye (the wedjat eye) became a powerful amulet. Horus is also associated (sometimes as son, sometimes as partner) with the ancient cow-goddess Hathor, who is often depicted with cow’s horns, sometimes with cow’s ears.

In the Ptolemaic period the vanquishing of Seth became a symbol of Egypt triumphing over its occupiers. At Idfū, where rebellions frequently interrupted work on the temple, a ritual drama depicting Horus as pharaoh spearing Seth in the guise of a hippopotamus was periodically enacted.

Horus was later identified by the Greeks with Apollo, and the town of Idfū was called Apollinopolis (“Apollo’s Town”) during the Greco-Roman period.

 

Source:
Encyclopedia Britannica

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Deity of the Day for January 10th is Forseti, God of justice and reconciliation

Deity of the Day

Forseti

God of justice and reconciliation

Forseti (Old Norse “the presiding one,” actually “president” in Modern Icelandic and Faroese) is an Æsir god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology. He is generally identified with Fosite, a god of the Frisians. Jacob Grimm noted that if, as Adam of Bremen states, Fosite’s sacred island was Heligoland, that would make him an ideal candidate for a deity known to both Frisians and Scandinavians, but that it is surprising he is never mentioned by Saxo Grammaticus.

Grimm took Forseti, “praeses“, to be the older form of the name, first postulating an unattested Old High German equivalent *forasizo (cf. modern German Vorsitzender “one who presides”). but later preferring a derivation from fors, a “whirling stream” or “cataract”, connected to the spring and the god’s veneration by seagoing peoples. However, in other Old Norse words, for example forboð, “forbidding, ban”, the prefix for- has a pejorative sense. So it is more plausible that Fosite is the older name and Forseti a folk etymology.

Norse Forseti

According to Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda, Forseti is the son of Baldr and Nanna. His home is Glitnir, its name, meaning “shining,” referring to its silver ceiling and golden pillars, which radiated light that could be seen from a great distance. His is the best of courts; all those who come before him leave reconciled. This suggests skill in mediation and is in contrast to his fellow god Týr, who “is not called a reconciler of men.” However, as de Vries points out, the only basis for associating Forseti with justice seems to have been his name; there is no corroborating evidence in Norse mythology.’ Puts to sleep all suits’ or ‘stills all strifes’ may have been a late addition to the strophe Snorri cites, from which he derives the information.

The first element in the name Forsetlund (Old Norse Forsetalundr), a farm in the parish of Onsøy (‘Odins island’), in eastern Norway, seems to be the genitive case of Forseti, offering evidence he was worshipped there.

Frisian Fosite

According to Alcuin’s Life of St. Willebrord, the saint visited an island between Frisia and Denmark that was sacred to Fosite and was called Fositesland after the god worshipped there. There was a sacred spring from which water had to be drawn in silence, it was so holy. Willebrord defiled the spring by baptizing people in it and killing a cow there. Altfrid tells the same story of St. Liudger. Adam of Bremen retells the story and adds that the island was Heiligland, i.e., Heligoland.

There is also a legend of the origins of the Lex Frisionum, the written Frisian law. Wishing to assemble written lawcodes for all his subject peoples, Charlemagne summoned twelve representatives of the Frisian people, the Āsegas (‘law-speakers’), and demanded they recite their people’s laws. When they could not do so after several days, he let them choose between death, slavery, or being set adrift in a rudderless boat. They chose the last and prayed for help, whereupon a thirteenth man appeared, with a golden axe on his shoulder. He steered the boat to land with the axe, then threw it ashore; a spring appeared where it landed. He taught them laws and then disappeared. The stranger and the spring are identified with Fosite and the sacred spring of Fositesland.

Fosite has been suggested to be a loan of Greek Poseidon into pre-Proto-Germanic, perhaps via Greeks purchasing amber (Pytheas is known to have visited the area of Heligoland in search of amber).

 

Source:

Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for January 9th – Eros, The Greek God

Deity of the Day

Eros

The Greek God

 

Eros, the Greek god of love and sexual desire (the word eros, which is found in the Iliad by Homer, is a common noun meaning sexual desire). He was also worshiped as a fertility god, believed to be a contemporary of the primeval Chaos, which makes Eros one of the oldest gods. In the Dionysian Mysteries Eros is referred to as “protagonus”, the first born. But there are many variations to whom the parents of Eros really where. According to Aristophanes (Birds) he was born from Erebus and Nyx (Night); in later mythology Eros is the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares. Yet in the Theogony, the epic poem written by Hesiod, it mentions a typified Eros as being an attendant of Aphrodite, but not her son. Another legend says that he was the son of Iris and Zephyrus.From the early legend of Eros it is said that he was responsible for the embraces of Uranus (Heaven or Sky) and Gaia (Earth), and from their union were born many offspring. It was also written that Eros hatched our race and made it appear first into the light (Birds, by Aristophanes). Although one of the oldest gods, he was a latecomer to Greek religion. He was worshiped in many regions of Greece, at Thespiae there was an ancient fertility cult, and in Athens he and Aphrodite had a joint cult. Also in Athens the fourth day of every month was sacred to Eros. Sometimes Eros was worshiped by the name Erotes (which is the plural of Eros); this personified all the attractions that evoked love and desire, this included heterosexual and homosexual allurements. Anteros (the Returner of Love also known as the god of Mutual Love) was the brother of Eros, which comes from the version of which Aphrodite and Ares are said to be the mother and father of Eros.

Eros is usually depicted as a young winged boy, with his bow and arrows at the ready, to either shoot into the hearts of gods or mortals which would rouse them to desire. His arrows came in two types: golden with dove feathers which aroused love, or leaden arrows which had owl feathers that caused indifference. Sappho the poet summarized Eros as being bitter sweet, and cruel to his victims, yet he was also charming and very beautiful. Being unscrupulous, and a danger to those around him, Eros would make as much mischief as he possibly could by wounding the hearts of all, but according to one legend he himself fell in love. This legend tells us that Eros was always at his mothers side assisting her in all her conniving and godly affairs. The legend goes on to say that Aphrodite became jealous of the beauty of a mortal, a beautiful young woman named Psyche. In her fit of jealousy Aphrodite asked Eros to shoot his arrow into the heart of Psyche and make her fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. He agreed to carry out his mothers wishes, but on seeing her beauty Eros fell deeply in love with Psyche himself. He would visit her every night, but he made himself invisible by telling Psyche not to light her chamber. Psyche fell in love with Eros even though she could not see him, until one night curiosity overcame her. She concealed a lamp and while Eros slept she lit the lamp, revealing the identity of Eros. But a drop of hot oil spilt from the lamp awakening the god. Angered she had seen him Eros fled and the distraught Psyche roamed the earth trying in vain to find her lover. In the end Zeus took pity and reunited them, he also gave his consent for them to marry. There are variations of this legend but most have the same outcome.

The Romans borrowed Eros from the Greeks and named him Cupid (Latin cupido meaning desire). Eros has been depicted in art in many ways. The Romans regarded him as a symbol of life after death and decorated sarcophagi with his image. The Greeks regarded him as most beautiful and handsome, the most loved and the most loving. They placed statues of him in gymnasiums (as most athletes were thought to be beautiful). He was depicted on every form of utensil, from drinking vessels to oil flasks, usually showing him ready to fire an arrow into the heart of an unsuspecting victim.

 

Source:
Author: Ron Leadbetter

Website: Encyclopedia Mythica™

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Deity of the Day for January 8th – 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:

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