The Goddesses

Offerings to the Gods: What’s an Acceptable Gift?

Offerings to the Gods

What’s an Acceptable Gift?

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In many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it’s not uncommon to make some sort of offering or sacrifice to the gods. Bear in mind that despite the reciprocal nature of our relationship with the divine, it’s not a matter of “I’m offering you this stuff so you’ll grant my wish.” It’s more along the lines of “I honor you and respect you, so I’m giving you this stuff to show you how much I appreciate your intervention on my behalf.”

So the question arises, then, of what to offer them? Different types of deities seem to respond best to different kinds of offerings. For example, you wouldn’t offer flowers to a war god, would you? When making an offering, it’s important to think about what the god represents. The Roman Cato described an offering for agricultural prosperity: Make offerings to keep your oxen in good health. Make the following sacrifices to Mars… three pounds of wheat, four-and-a-half of lard, four-and-a-half of meat and three pints of wine. While it’s probably not necessary to go that far and offer up enough food to feed a small army to your god, the passage does illustrate the fact that our ancestors thought enough of their gods to take their offerings very seriously.

In general, bread, milk and wine are nearly always appropriate for any deity. Here are some ideas for specific offerings you can make to deities, based upon the types of gods they are:

Hearth and Home Gods:

  • Food: Bread and grains, cooking oil, salt
  • Drink: Milk, wine, cider
  • Herbs: Rosemary, thyme

Gods of Love and Passion:

  • Food: Eggs, honey, apples
  • Drink: Wine, fruit juice
  • Herbs: Lavender, sandalwood

Garden/Nature Deities:

  • Food: Bread, cornmeal, fruit
  • Drink: Milk, water
  • Herbs: Bay

Gods of Prosperity and Abundance:

  • Food: Grains, dairy products like cheese or eggs
  • Drink: Milk, beer
  • Herbs: Mint, pennyroyal, catnip

Ancestor Spirits:

  • Food: Any meal from your family’s table
  • Drink: Drinks from the family table
  • Herbs: Sage, sweetgrass

Childbirth or Fertility Godesss:

  • Food: Eggs, baked sweets like cookies
  • Drink: Milk (including breast milk)
  • Herbs: Rose, sandalwood, apple blossoms

 

Source:
About.com

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Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

Appropriate Worship – Honoring the Gods the Right Way

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One issue that comes up often for people learning about modern Pagan spirituality is the concept of appropriate worship. There tends to be some question about what, exactly, is the right offering to make to the gods or goddesses of one’s tradition — and how we should honor them when making those offerings.

Let’s imagine that you have two friends. First, we have Jill. She likes French cuisine, Meg Ryan movies, soft music and expensive wine. She’s someone who lets you cry on her shoulder when you’re feeling blue, and she offers some wise and thoughtful insight when you can’t solve a problem on your own. One of her best qualities is her ability to listen.

You also have a friend named Steve. He’s a lot of fun, and sometimes shows up at your house at midnight toting a six-pack. Steve likes watching movies with lots of explosions, took you to your first Metallica concert, and can rebuild a Harley with his eyes closed. He eats mostly bratwurst and Funyuns, enjoys picking up strippers at bars, and is the guy you call when you want to have a good time.

When Jill comes over, are you going to have a nice quiet dinner with a glass of wine and Josh Groban playing in the background, or are you going to hand her a cheeseburger and a beer, pull out the Wii for a round of God of War, and stay up until 3 am seeing who can burp and fart the loudest?

Likewise, if Steve shows up, are you going to do things that he enjoys, or are you going to say, “Hey, Steve, let’s watch Steel Magnolias and talk about our feelings?

Much like our friends Jill and Steve, the gods have certain things they like and value, and certain things they don’t. To offer one of them something better suited to another is not only disrespectful, it shows that you really don’t know them at all and worse yet, haven’t even taken the time to learn about them. What do you think Steve is going to say when you offer him a vegetarian soup and turn on some chick flick? He’s going to bail, that’s what he’s going to do. Because not only did you present him with something he dislikes, but you’re showing a fundamental lack of knowledge of someone you claim is your friend.

Sure, you love Jill and Steve equally, but they’re not the same person, and they don’t have the same likes and dislikes. The gods are the same way — you may honor both Aphrodite and Mars, but that doesn’t mean Mars wants to you to leave him a bouquet of flowers and a glass of milk while you sing him Kumbaya. You can also be sure that Aphrodite probably isn’t interested in offerings of blood and raw meat, or warrior chants.

The idea of right or appropriate worship is not about someone telling you what’s “right or wrong.” It is simply the concept that one should take the time to do things – including worship and offerings – in a way that is conducive to the demands and needs of the god or goddess in question.

When you honor the gods, take the time to put some thought into it. Ask yourself what it is you hope to obtain by making the offering — are you trying to gain something, or merely show your appreciation and gratitude to the Divine? Learn about the types of deities you’re about to honor, and study the specific gods and goddesses of your tradition, so that when you do make an offering or present a ritual in their name, you can do so in a way that truly does them honor.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

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Question: Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

I’m interested in Wicca, but my mom says Wiccans and Pagans don’t believe in God. I feel weird not believing in a universal force of some sort. What’s the deal here?

Answer: The deal is that most Wiccans and Pagans see “god” as more of a job title than a proper name. They don’t worship the Christian god, but that doesn’t mean they don’t accept the existence of deity. Various Wiccan and Pagan traditions honor different gods. Some see all deities as one, and may refer to The God or The Goddess. Others may worship specific gods or goddesses – Cernunnos, Brighid, Isis, Apollo, etc. – from their own tradition. Because there are so many different forms of Pagan belief, there are nearly as many gods and goddesses to believe in.

Many Pagans, including but not limited to Wiccans, are willing to accept the presence of the Divine in all things. Because Wicca and Paganism place a good deal of emphasis on the idea that experiencing the divine is something for everyone, not just select members of the clergy, it’s possible for a Wiccan or Pagan to find something sacred within the mundane. For example, the whisper of wind through the trees or the roar of the ocean can both be considered divine. Not only that, many Pagans feel that the divine lives within each of us. It’s rare to find a Pagan or Wiccan who sees the gods as judgmental or punishing. Instead, most view the gods as beings that are meant to be walked beside, hand in hand, and honored.

Another aspect of this that’s important to keep in mind is that not everyone who is a Pagan happens to be Wiccan. There are many other paths of Paganism, many of which are polytheistic. Some Pagan paths are based on a concept that all gods are one. There are also some Pagans who follow an earth- or nature-based belief system outside of the concept of deity completely.

 

Source:

About.com

 

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Aradia (A Deity of the Witches)

Aradia

A corruption of Herodias, Aradia was identified with Diana.  Herodias was
directly responsible for the death of John the Baptist.  According to C. G.
Leland, Aradia was worshipped by Italian witches.  Aradia is still worshipped
today by some neopagans.

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Abonde (A Deity of the Witches)

Abonde

Intrinsically linked with the classical goddess Diana, Abonde also went by the names Abundia, Perchta, and Satia.  Abonde led nocturnal hordes of witches through homes and cellars, eating and drinking all they could find.  If food and drink were left as offerings, Abonde would bestow prosperity upon the occupants of the home.  If nothing was left out for her and her followers, she would deny the denizens of her blessings and protection.

The Thesaurus pauperum of 1468 condemned “the idolatrous superstition of those who left food and drink at night in open view for Abundia and Satia, or, as the people said, Fraw Percht and her retinue, hoping thereby to gain abundance and riches.”  The same practice of offering drink, salt, and food to Perchta, “alias domine Habundie,” on certain days had been taken note of and subsequently condemned in 1439 by Thomas Ebendorfer von Haselbach in De decem praeceptis.

According to Roman de la Rose, written at the end of the thirteenth century,
third born children were obligated to travel with Abonde three times a week to the homes of neighbors.  Nothing could stop these people, as they became
incorporeal in the company of Abonde.  Only their souls would travel as their
bodies remained behind immobile.  There was a downside to this astral
projection:  if the body was turned over while the soul was elsewhere, the soul would never return.

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The Goddess Eostre

Eostre

Eostre is the Germanic Goddess of Spring. Also called Ostara or Eastre, She gave Her name to the Christian festival of Easter (which is an older Pagan festival appropriated by the Church), whose timing is still dictated by the Moon. Modern pagans celebrate Her festival on the Vernal Equinox, usually around March 21, the first day of Spring.

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The Witches’ Goddess (An Abbreviated List of World Goddesses)

The Witches’ Goddess

(An Abbreviated List of World Goddesses)

From
The Witches’ Goddess

By Janet and Stewart Farrar *
Aditi: (‘Limitless’)  Hindu Mother Goddess, self-formed, the Cosmic Matrix. Mother of the Sun God Mitra and the Moon God Varuna.

Ambika:  Hindu, ‘the generatrix,’ wife of Shiva or of Rudra.

Annapurna:  Hindu.  Goddess who provides food; she lives on top of Mount Annapurna.

Aphrodite: (‘Foam-Born’)  Greek Goddess of sexual love.  She was born of the bloody foam of the sea where Cronus threw the genitals of his father Uranus after castrating him.  Married, on Zeus’s orders, to the lame Smith God Hephaestus, and unfaithful to him with the war God Ares.  She was in fact an ancient East Mediterranean Goddess and can be equated with Astarte.

Arachne:  Greek Spider Goddess.  A Lydian girl skilled in weaving, she dared to challenge Athene to compete with her.  The contest was held, and Arachne’s work was faultless:  impudently, it portrayed some of the Gods’ less reputable deeds, including Athene’s father Zeus abducting Europa.  Furious, Athene turned her into a spider, doomed eternally to spin thread drawn from her own body. But the Spider Goddess is more archetypal than this story suggests:  spinning and weaving the pattern of destiny like the Moerae or the Norns, and enthroned in the middle of her spiral-pathed stronghold like Arianrhod.  Athene here represents Athenian patriarchal thinking, trying to discipline earlier Goddess-concepts.

Aradia:  Italian (Tuscany) Witch Goddess,  surviving there into this century. Daughter of Diana and Diana’s brother Lucifer (i.e. of the Moon and Sun), she came to Earth to teach the witches her mother’s magic.

Ariadne:  Cretan and Greek.  The daughter of King Minos of Crete, who with her cunning thread helped Theseus find his way into the labyrinth to kill the Minotaur, and out again.  She eloped with him, but he abandoned her on the island of Naxos.  She was consoled by Dionysus, who in her Naxos cult was regarded as her consort.

Arianrhod:  (‘Silver Wheel’)  Major Welsh Goddess.  Mother of Llew Llau Gyffes by her brother Gwydion.  Her consort Nwyvre (‘Sky, Space, Firmament’) has survived in name only.  Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw between incarnations; she is thus a Goddess of reincarnation. Honoured at the Full Moon.

Artemis:  Greek Nature and Moon Goddess.  Daughter of Zeus and Leto, and twin sister of Apollo (though a day older).  She probably absorbed a pre-Indo-European Sun Goddess, and her twinning in classical legend with the Sun God Apollo may stem from this.  The Greeks assimilated her to a pre-Greek mistress of wild beasts.  Bears were sacred to her, and she was associated with the constellation Ursa Major.

Astarte:  Canaanite version of Ishtar; fertility goddess.  Chief goddess of Tyre and Sidon.  Astarte was also the Greek form of the name Ashtart.  Tends to merge with Asherat and Anat, and with the Egyptian Hathor.  She came to Egypt; Rameses II built a temple honoring her, and she and Isis were said to be firm friends.

Athena:  Greek, a Warrior Goddess, yet also one of intelligence and the arts of peace.  Protector of towns, above all of Athens.

Banshee:  (Bean Sidhe , ‘Woman Fairy’) Irish.  Attached to old Irish families (‘the O’s and the Mac’s’), she can be heard keening sorrowfully near the house when a member of the family is about to die.  Still very much believed in, and heard.

Bast:  Egytian Cat Goddess of Bubastis in the Delta.  Originally lion-headed, she represented the beneficient power of the Sun, in contrast to Sekhmet who personified its destructive power.

Bean-Nighe:  (‘Washing Woman’)  Scottish and Irish.  Haunts lonely streams washing the bloodstained garments of those about to die.

Befana:  (‘Epiphany’)  Italian Witch Fairy who flies her broomstick on Twelfth Night to come down chimneys and bring presents to children.

Binah:  (‘Understanding’)  Hebrew.  The Supernal Mother, third Sephirah of the Cabalistic Tree of Life.  She takes the raw directionless energy of Chokmah, the Supernal Father (the second Sephira), and gives it form and manifestation; she is thus both the Bright Mother, Aima (nourishing) and the Dark Mother, Ama (constricting).

Bona Dea: (‘Good Goddess’)  Roman Earth Goddess of Fertility, worshipped only by women; even statues of men were covered where her rites took place.

Brighid, Brigid, Brigit, Brid:  Irish Goddess of Fertility and Inspiration, daughter of the Dagda; called ‘the poetess.’  Often triple (‘The Three Brigids’).  Her characteristics, legends and holy places were taken over by the historical St Bridget.

Cailleach Beine Brick:  A Scottish legendary witch probably recalling an earlier local goddess.

Callisto:  (‘Most Beautiful’)  Greek Moon Goddess, to whom the she-bear was sacred in Arcadia.  Envisaged as the axle on which everything turns, and thus connected with the Ursa Major constellation.  Linked with Artemis, often called Artemis Callisto.

Carman:  Irish.  Wexford Goddess, whence Gaelic name of Wexford, Loch Garman (Loch gCarman).

Cerridwen:  Welsh Mother, Moon and Grain Goddess, wife of Tegid and mother of Creirwy (the most beautiful girl in the world) and Avagdu (the ugliest boy). Owner of an inexhaustible cauldron called Amen, in which she made a magic draught called ‘greal’ (‘Grail?’) from six plants, which gave inspiration and knowledge.  Mother of Taliesen, greatest of all Welsh bards.  Most of her legends emphasize the terrifying aspect of the Dark Mother; yet her cauldron is the source of wisdom and inspiration.

Cliona of the Fair Hair:  Irish.  South Munster Goddess of great beauty, daughter of Gebann the Druid, of the Tuatha De Danaan.  Connected with the O’Keefe family.

Clota:  Scottish.  Goddess of the River Clyde.

Cybele:  Greek.  Originally Phrygian, finally merged with Rhea.  Goddess of Caverns, of the Earth in its primitive state; worshipped on mountain tops. Ruled over wild beasts.  Also a Bee Goddess.

Dakini:  Hindu.  One of the Six Goddess Governing the Six Bodily Substances; the others being Hakini, Kakini, Lakini, Rakini and Sakini.

Dana, Danu:  The major Irish Mother Goddess, who gave her name to the Tuatha De Danann (‘Peoples of the Goddess Dana’), the last but one occupiers of Ireland in the mytholigical cycle.

Demeter: (‘Earth-Goddess-Mother’) Greek goddess of the fruitful Earth, especially of barley.  Daughter of Cronus and Rhea.  Her brother Zeus, tricking her in the form of a bull, made her the mother of Persephone.

Diana:  Roman equivalent of the Greek Moon and Nature Goddess Artemis, and rapidly acquired all her characteristics.  Like Artemis, classically regarded as virgin but originally a Sacrificial-Mating Goddess.

Dione:  Phoenician/Greek.  Also known as Baltis.  A Nature or Earth Goddess, overlapping with Diana and Danae.  Daughter of Uranus and Gaia.  Married her brother Cronus, who gave her the city of Byblos.

Discordia:  Roman Goddess of Discord and Strife, who preceeded the chariot of Mars.  Greek equivalent Eris.

Ereshkigal:  (‘Queen of the Great Below’)  Assyro-Babylonian Goddess of the Underworld, sister of Ishtar (Inanna).  Known as ‘Star of Lamentation,’ or sometimes simply as Allatu (‘The Goddess’).

Eris:  Greek goddess of Discord.

Erin:  Irish.  One of the Three Queens of the Tuatha De Danann,  daughters of the Dagda, who asked that Ireland be named after them.

Frigg, Freya:  (‘Well-Beloved, Spouse, Lady’) Most revered of the Teutonic Goddesses.  Wife and sister of Odin.

Gaia:  (‘Earth’) The ‘deep-breasted,’ the primordial Greek Earth Mother, the first being to emerge from Chaos.  She was regarded as creating the universe, the first race of gods, and humankind.

Glaisrig, Glaistig:  A Scottish Undine, beautiul and seductive, but a goat from the waist down (which she hides under a long green dress).   She lures men to dance with her and then sucks their blood.  Yet she can be benign, looking after children or old people or herding cattle for farmers.

Gorgons, The:  Greek.  Three daughters of Phorcys and his sister Ceto.  Winged monsters with hair of serpents, they turned men to stone by their gaze.  They were Euryale and Stheno, who were immortal, and Medusa who was mortal and killed by Perseus.

Grian:  (‘Sun’) Irish.  A Fairy Queen with a court on Pallas Green Hill, Co. Tipperary.  Also a general Goddess symbol.

Gruagach, The:  (‘The Long-Haired One’) Scottish.  Female fairy to whom the dairymaids used to pour libations of milk into a hollow stone.

Gwenhwyfar, Guinevere, Gueneva:  Arthur’s queen.  Traces of Triple Goddess.

Hathor:  Egyptian.  An ancient Sky Goddess; Ra’s daughter by Nut, or his wife; sometimes the wife or mother of Horus the Elder, Goddess of pleasure, joy, love, music and dancing.  Protectress of women and embodiment of the finest female qualities.

Hecate:  Greek, originally Thracian and pre-Olympian; at the same time a Moon Goddess, and Underworld Goddess and a Goddess of magic.

Hel, Hela:  Teutonic Goddess of the kingdom of the dead, not considered as a place of punishment.  Daughter of Loki and Angurboda, and sister of the Midgard serpent of the ocean encircling the Earth, and of the devouring Fenris-wolf. Half her face was totally black.

Hestia:  (‘Hearth’) Greek.  First daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and oldest of the Olympians.  Goddess of domestic fire and of the home in general.  Poseidon and Apollo both wanted to marry her but she placed herself under Zeus’protection as eternally virgin.  She received the first morsel of every sacrifice.  Roman equivalent Vesta.

Inanna:  (‘Lady of Heaven’) Sumerian Queen of Heaven, Mother Goddess to whom the Semitic Ishtar was assimilated.

Isis:  Egyptian.  The most complete flowering of the Goddess concept in human history.  Daughter of Earth God Geb and Sky Goddess Nut.

Kali:  Hindu, Tibetan, Nepalese.  Often called Kali Ma (‘the Black Mother’).  A terrible but necessary destroyer, particularly of demons, but also a powerful creative force, much misunderstood in the West.

Kundalini:  (‘Coiled’)  Hindu.  The feminine Serpent Force, especially in its relation to organic and inorganic matter; the universal life-force of which electricity and magnetism are mere manifestations.  Envisaged as moving in a left-handed spiral, when aroused in the human body, from the base of the spine up to the brain.

Lady of the Lake:  Arthurian.  In some legends Vivienne (or Viviane); in others, Vivienne was the daughter of the Lady of the Lake by Dylan, son of Arianrhod and Gwydion.  In Thomas Mallory, the Lady of the Lake is called Nimue.

Lakshmi:  Hindu Goddess of good fortune and plenty, and the personification of beauty.

Leannan Sidhe:  Irish fairy lover, succubus.  In the Isle of Man she is malevolent and vampiric.

Lilith:  In Hebrew legend, she was Adam’s first wife, who would not subordinate herself to him and was turned into a demoness.
Lorelei:  German.  A beautiful siren who sat on a cliff above the Rhine, luring boatmen to their death with her songs.

Luna:  The Roman Moon Goddess, identified with Diana and the Greek Selene.

Malkuth:  (‘The Kingdom’) Hebrew.  Personification of Earth, of the Earth-soul; the goddess in actual manifestation.

Mary Magdalene:  Hebrew.  Held in Christian tradition to have been a reformed prostitute; but there are no biblical grounds for this whatsoever.

Maya:  Hindu.  The Goddess of Nature, the universal creatress.

Medusa:  Greek.  The only mortal member of the three Gorgons.  Her hair was turned to serpents by Athene because she dared to claim equal beauty with hers. Her gaze turned men to stone.

Minerva:  Roman.  Wife of Jupiter, forming a triad with his other wife, Juno.

Morgan: (‘Of the Sea’)  Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fay; but would seem to be a much older Goddess, possibly the Glastonbury Tor one, for her island is Avalon.

Neith:  Egyptian.  A very ancient Delta Goddess, protectress of Sais; her emblem was the crossed arrows of a predynastic clan.

Nemesis:  Greek. Daughter of Erebus and Nyx.  Goddess of divine anger, against mortals who offended the moral law, broke taboos or achieved too much happiness or wealth.

Nicneven:  Scottish Samhain Witch Goddess.  Tradition places her night according to the old (Julian) calendar, on 10 November.

Nimue:  Arthurian.  Thomas Mallory’s name for the Lady of the Lake.

Nostiluca:  Gaulish Witch Goddess.

Oshun and Oya:  Nigerian, Yoruba tribe and Brizilian Voodoo.  Sisters, daughters of Yemaja, and wives of the Thunder God Shango.  Oshun was beautiful and Oya plain, and there was jealousy between them.  Goddesses respectively of the rivers Oshun and Niger.

Pandora:  (‘Gift of All’)  The Greek Eve,  fashioned in clay by Hephaestus on Zeus’ orders to punish Prometheus for having stolen fire from heaven.  Her name means that each God or Goddess gave her an appropriate gift.  Zeus gave her a box which she must not open.  She did open it, and all the evils that plague humankind came out of it.  All that was left at the bottom was Hope.

Persephone:  Greek and Phoenician.  Originally a purely Underworld Goddess, became a corn-seed Goddess, daughter of Demeter.

Pythia:  (‘Pythoness’) Greek.  Serpent Goddess, daughter of Gaia.

Rhiannon:  (‘Great, or Divine, Queen’). Welsh fertility and Otherworld Goddess.

Sarasvati:  Hindu.  Wife of Brahma, born of his body.  Goddess of speech, music, wisdom, knowledge and the arts.

Sekhmet:  (‘The Powerful’) Egyptian Lioness-Goddess, Eye of Ra who was her father.  Wife of Ptah as Goddess of the Memphite triad, and mother of Nefertum, God of the setting Sun (later replaced by Imhotep).

Selene:  Greek Moon Goddess, daughter of Hyperion and Theia, and sister of Helios (the Sun) and Eos (Dawn); though sometimes said to be the daughter of Zeus or of Helios.

Sophia:  (‘Wisdom’)  A Gnostic Aeon; but Wisdom personified as female was earlier also characteristic of Hebrew and Greek-Hebrew thinking.

Tailtiu:  Irish.  Foster-mother of Lugh,  who instituted the Tailtean Games, central event of the Festival of Lughnasadh (1 August), in her memory.

Tara:  (‘Radiating’) Hindu Star Goddess, wife of Brihaspati (identified with the planet Jupiter), teacher of the Gods.

Tenemit:  Egyptian Underworld Goddess, who gave ale to the deceased.

Tiamat:  Assyro-Babylonian Primordial Sea Mother Goddess, the mass of salt waters, who with her mate Apsu (the sweet waters) begat the original chaotic world and who also symbolized it and ruled it.

Ulupi:  Hindu.  A Serpent Goddess, one of the Nagis, dwelling in Patala, the lowest level of the Underworld.

Valkyries, The:  Teutonic.  In late Scandinavian myth, they brought the souls of those slain in battle to Odin.

Venus:  Roman.  Originally a Goddess of Spring and protectress of vegetation and gardens, was a minor deity till she became assimilated to the Greek Aphrodite in the second century BC.

Vesta:  (‘Torch, Candle’) Roman Goddess of fire, both domestic and ritual. Daughter of Saturn and Ops.  Domestically she presided over the hearth and the preparation of meals.

Virgin Mary, The:  Mother of Jesus.

Vivienne, Viviane:  Arthurian.  Sometimes referred to as the Lady of the Lake, sometimes as the Lady’s daughter.

Yesod:  (‘Foundation’) Hebrew.  Ninth Sephira of the Cabalistic Tree of Life, sphere of the Moon and of the astral plane.

Zobiana:  A medieval Witch Goddess name.

* Reprinted with permission from the authors.

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BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

Christianity teaches that God is transcendent, is separate from nature, and is represented to humankind through masculine imagery. Witchcraft holds a
pantheistic view of God. God is nature, therefore God is in all things and all things are a part of God. However, this God is in actuality a goddess.

A fundamental belief in Goddess Worship is the idea that the goddess predates
the male God. The goddess is the giver of all life and is found in all of
creation. The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy,and our anger as purifying. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength,enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.

The modern Goddess movement is an attempt to integrate the feminine back into
the world as we know it. This means bringing the Goddess out of the shadows and back into the limelight where she belongs. Part of most modern Goddess
traditions is the idea that Goddess exists within and around everything in
creation. Therefore, if Goddess is sacred, then so is the Earth, so our bodies, etc. Moreover, the relationship between all of these things is equally sacred. Therefore, not only do we need to revere the creations of the Goddess, we must revere the relationship and the systems that Goddess has created, for they each have their purpose. The problem is that we don’t always know what the true system is anymore because our society is so corrupted by the patriarchy. For example, if we only examine the system as it exists today, we might come to the conclusion that women’s place within the system is necessarily subservient to the men in the system. Naturally, eco-feminists would laugh at this idea. First of all, eco-feminism maintains that the natural order of things is not linked by hierarchical value, so the very notion of men governing women is absurd. The nature of things would require reciprocal communication and integral networking.

In light of this, then, Goddess religion asserts that Goddess and God cannot be viewed separately, but rather as a network of energies that work together to better the entire network.

Goddess Archetypes:

THE MAIDEN
The Maiden is the first aspect of the Goddess, presented to us as a young woman,blossoming into womanhood, exploring her sexuality and learning of her beauty.She is most often depicted as a teenaged girl or a woman in her very early twenties.

Unlike the images of young women in many patrifocal religions, the Maiden is not necessarily depicted as a virgin in most Goddess traditions. In Catholicism,Mary is depicted not only as a virgin maiden, but continues to be a virgin throughout the duration of her lifetime, regardless of the fact that she was married and gave birth to a child. This has more to do with the taint patrifocal religions assign female sexuality than anything else. But because women’s sexuality is not denigrated in Goddess traditions, there is no need to associate virginity with the Maiden Goddess.

In fact, the Maiden Goddess is seen as a particularly sexual being. Because she has just bloomed into her womanly form, she is particularly interested in her body and what it can do. She is interested in her beauty, and she learns to manipulate the affections of other’s based upon her feminine wiles.

Some might take offense at my use of the word manipulate in the preceding
sentence, but in fact, that is what sexuality is about, both on the part of the male and the female. Flirtation, courting and other manners of getting the
attentions of the opposite sex is certainly a form of manipulation. It is not
manipulation with malicious intent, to be sure, but when you attempt to curb the attitudes or thoughts of others through your own appearance or behavior, this is a form of manipulation, and by no means negative.

Because the Maiden is associated with the first blossoming of womanhood,
adulthood and sexuality, she is associated with the Springtime. Just as her body develops breasts and she becomes sexually capable, so too does the Earth mimic her development. Flowers bloom, the Earth awakens from the deep sleep of winter and begins to procreate again. Animals lie with one another, flowers are pollinated. Spring is a time for new beginnings. It is the counterpart to the winter of Death.

Just as Spring is the counter to Winter, so too is the Maiden the counter to the Crone. The Crone is the embodiment of death, and subsequently rebirth, and it is through the aspect of the Maiden that the Crone is able to pass from this world and be reborn. As the young Goddess delves into her sexuality, and eventually becomes pregnant, the Elder Goddess may pass away and give her life that the Maiden may become Mother, and one day, Crone. The cycle is never ending.

The Maiden takes the Green Man (Horned Lord, many other names in many other
cultures) as her consort. In some cultures, the Green Man may be her brother or even her son. At first glance, the courtship between the Maiden and the Sun God seems ripe with incest, because he is always somehow related to her. But if you read the myths associated with the Mother Goddess and how it came to pass that she became pregnant, you will usually find that she became pregnant by her husband, who has to give his life for one reason or another, and she agrees to bring him back into he world as the child in her womb. In essence, she gives birth to her husband, rather than taking her son as her lover. This is even true in the Catholic goddess vision: Jesus was the son of God, but he was also God. Because this idea is confusing and can lead to ideas of incest much like I discussed above, the Christian church left Mary a virgin, thus bypassing the whole sexual encounter, and thus the issue of incest altogether.

Maiden Goddess of Note include:
Diana, Persephone, Kore, Bleudowedd, Artemis, Ariadne, Hestia,
Athena, Aphrodite, Minerva, and Venus.

THE MOTHER
The aspect of the Mother Goddess is probably the most widely known and most
widely envisioned in most cultures. Because the Earth nourishes and replenishes us, most goddess cultures did pay reverence to the Earth as the Mother, and therefore the Goddesses that are most prominent and about whom stories are most prolific are the goddesses that are the representation of the Mother.

She is, in virtually every aspect, a divine or celestial representation of our earthly mothers. Everyone has an earthly mother, or at least did at one point, so we readily understand the relationship between mother and child. The mother is the protector, the care-giver, the kisser of wounds, and the disciplinarian.

The Divine Mother is no different.

Many of the most ancient goddess figures that archeology has uncovered are
goddesses depicted as round, pregnant women. They feature large breasts and
full, meaty hips. Some archeologists (patriarchal, close minded fellows, to be sure) have written these goddess figures off as nothing more than prehistoric “porn” figures. However, the generally accepted opinion is that these figures, found in such places as France, modern day Turkey, and Egypt, are actually representations of a mother goddess. There is some speculation that perhaps these figures are not goddesses at all, but rather figures used in fertility rites to enable women to conceive children. This too is a possibility, but when combined with other information that we have (such as other evidence of prehistoric goddess worship, and the fact that the connection between sex and pregnancy was not made until much later than the dates associated with these figures) leads most scholars to believe that these statues are indeed goddess representations.

Although the depiction of the Mother Goddess as a pregnant woman is prominent, she is certainly not always seen that way. The Mother aspect may be seen with small child in tow (most often a boy, who later becomes her consort, as is discussed in the section on the Maiden). This aspect of the Mother Goddess plays on the care-giving, sweet, loving aspect of the Goddess. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the Goddess as Mother is a pussy cat. She can also be a warrior.

Like earthly mothers, the Goddess is fiercely protective of her children, and in order to provide that protection she will often don the face of the warrior. The Warrior Goddess most probably gained popularity among people who had begun to adopt a more patriarchal (or at least patrifocal) structure. It might be presumptuous to say that matrifocal cultures were not particularly warlike, but it is safe to say that patriarchal cultures were more so. In either case, the warrior Goddess did become popular. In this aspect she is Amazon, fierce and strong, and able to take on any man to protect what needs protection.

Just as the maiden is represented by the season of Spring, the Mother aspect is present in Summer. By summer, berries and fruits are ripe, ready for the
plucking. Vegetable gardens are mature and harvest is close at hand. The sun is high in the sky, and even though the sun is typically seen as a Male Deity, some cultures did associate the sun with the Goddess, (most notably the early Egyptian culture) and thus the high sun of summer was associated with the Mother, who was also seen as the pinnacle of the cycle of life.

In western traditions, the Goddess remains pregnant until the Winter Solstice, at which time she gives birth to a sun god of some kind. (Note the adaptation of the Christian church …Christmas, anyone?) The Catholic Goddess Mary also falls into the category of the Mother Goddess, because she does give birth to King at Solstice. (At least this is how the Christians celebrate the holiday, even though biblical scholars suggest Jesus was very likely born during a warm month)

Mary is a curiosity though, because she is a Dual Goddess, and not a Triple
Goddess as most multifaceted Goddesses are. She is a maiden because she remains a virgin (and though not all maidens are virgins, all virgin goddesses are maidens), and yet because she gives birth, she is also a Mother. However, there is no reference in the Catholic tradition of Mary as an older woman. Therefore, Mary’s development ended with her at the Mother phase.

Mother Goddesses of Note include:
Demeter, Isis, Cerridwyn, Kali, Gaia, Oceana, Brigit, Nuit, Hera,
Selene, Anu, Dana, Arianrhod, and Epona

THE CRONE
The Crone is the final aspect of the Goddess. The Crone is most often depicted as a Grandmother, a SageWoman, or a Midwife. She is the keeper of Occult Knowledge, the Mysteries and the Queen of the Underworld. It is through the Crone that knowledge of magick, the Dark, and other secrets of the ages are passed down.

The Crone is, in some ways, a Triple Goddess herself. She has lived through the tender, sensual age of Maidenhood, suffered the birth pains of Motherhood, and now carries with her the memories of these passages into her old age. But though she has experienced these events, these are not the things she represents, and therefore she is not revered for these traits. Nevertheless, having endured these experiences makes her the wise woman that she is, and enables her to guide us through the dark.

Her role as Midwife is both symbolic as well as actual. Traditionally, it is
always the older women of the tribe who facilitate the birth of children, most likely because they themselves had gone through, but also because the role of midwife was a sacred position, and thus suitable for an older tribeswoman. Certainly the Crone fulfills this aspect in that she is the midwife to the Queen of Heaven when she gives birth to the Oak King at Yule.

But symbolically she is the midwife in our lives as well, guiding us from one
phase of life to the next. If you see progression from one phase of life to the next and can see it as a rebirth process, then envision the Crone as the aspect of the goddess that guides you through that time. Transition is very difficult, and for most people it is a time of darkness. It is a time where we have to rely on our intuition, because we are unfamiliar with the territory. But according to the myths and ancient lore, we receive our intuition from the Crone. It is she who guides us, and it is she who facilitates our birth.

The Crone Goddess is often times the least seen, because she does represent
death, and with death comes fear: fear of the unknown, fear of losing our loved ones, and fear of being alone. But we must remember that with death always comes rebirth. The Crone always brings with her promises of the Maiden, and the cycle never ends.

The Mother aspect of the Goddess is discussed as being a Warrior Goddess, but
the Crone can be a Warrior Goddess as well. Where the Mother Goddess is the
blood of battle, the War Cry incarnate, the fighting Amazon, the Crone is the
Strategy, the ability to see what cannot be seen. She is the seer, the General. The Crone Goddess does not don the face of the warrior to shed blood, but she will provide the courage to walk through the dark, the ability to seek and destroy the enemy, whether the enemy is actual, or internal.

In many respects, the Crone Goddess is the aspect of the Goddess that is most
called upon to conquer inner demons. This is due to the fact that as the keeper of mysteries, the Crone is also the Keeper of the Underworld. With her help, we are able to travel into the Underworld and fight whatever demons haunt us. Likewise, once we are ready to be reborn, she again acts as the midwife and guides us once again into the light.

Crone Goddesses of Note include:
Hecate, Kali, Cerridwyn, Badb, Cailleach, Macha, and the Morrigan

written by susan lucas

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Goddesses | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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