The Gods

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.

 

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Author:aganism/Wicca Expert

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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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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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Let’s Talk Witch – Honoring and Invoking Deities

Witchy CommentsHonoring and Invoking Deities

Many witches believe that divine assistance is always available to you and that Gods and Goddesses gladly offer their guidance, help, and energy to humans to use for positive purposes. Some view divine beings as higher aspects of human consciousness, which can be accessed and activated through magickal means.

Ask First!

If you want to connect with a particular entity, first ask that god or goddess to listen to your request and come to your aid. One theory states that deities will not interfere with your own free will— you must ask them sincerely for help.

If you aren’t used to considering a divine being as a partner in your spiritual and practical pursuits, you may wonder how to go about petitioning your favorite god or goddess for assistance. Here are a few suggestions:

Make an offering of some sort to the deity. Burning incense is a popular offering, although you may wish to choose an offering that more specifically corresponds to the nature of the deity whose help you seek.

Place a figurine of the chosen deity on your altar and focus your attention on it.

Use an oracle, such as tarot cards or runes, to access divine wisdom and open your mind to messages from the deities.

Pray.

Meditate.

Light a candle in honor of the deity you wish to petition.

Design and perform a ritual to the deity.

Write your request on a slip of paper, then burn it.

Choose a crystal or gemstone that relates to the deity. Carry the stone in your pocket and touch it periodically.

Plant herbs or flowers in honor of the god or goddess. Choose plants that correspond to the deity’s nature and your intent, such as roses for love or mint for prosperity.

 
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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Deity of the Day for June 30 is Helios

Deity of the Day

Helios

 

Helios (/ˈhiːli.ɒs/; Ancient Greek: Ἥλιος Hēlios; Latinized as Helius; Ἠέλιος in Homeric Greek) was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. He is the son of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia (Hesiod) (also known as Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn 31)) and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn.

Helios was described as a handsome titan crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. In the Homeric hymn to Helios, Helios is said to drive a golden chariot drawn by steeds (HH 31.14–15); and Pindar speaks of Helios’s “fire-darting steeds” (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.

As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However, in spite of their syncretism, they were also often viewed as two distinct gods/titan (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus.

The best known story involving Helios is that of his son Phaëton, who attempted to drive his father’s chariot but lost control and set the earth on fire.

Helios was sometimes characterized with the epithet Panoptes (“the all-seeing”). In the story told in the hall of Alcinous in the Odyssey (viii.300ff.), Aphrodite, the consort of Hephaestus, secretly beds Ares, but all-seeing Helios spies on them and tells Hephaestus, who ensnares the two lovers in nets invisibly fine, to punish them.

In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his surviving crew land on Thrinacia, an island sacred to the sun god, whom Circe names Hyperion rather than Helios. There, the sacred red[citation needed] cattle of the Sun were kept:

You will now come to the Thrinacian island, and here you will see many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep belonging to the sun-god. There will be seven herds of cattle and seven flocks of sheep, with fifty heads in each flock. They do not breed, nor do they become fewer in number, and they are tended by the goddesses Phaethusa and Lampetia, who are children of the sun-god Hyperion by Neaera. Their mother when she had borne them and had done suckling them sent them to the Thrinacian island, which was a long way off, to live there and look after their father’s flocks and herds.

Though Odysseus warns his men, when supplies run short they impiously kill and eat some of the cattle of the Sun. The guardians of the island, Helios’ daughters, tell their father about this. Helios appeals to Zeus telling them to dispose of Odysseus’ men or he will take the Sun and shine it in the Underworld. Zeus destroys the ship with his lightning bolt, killing all the men except for Odysseus.
Solar Apollo with the radiant halo of Helios in a Roman floor mosaic, El Djem, Tunisia, late 2nd century

In one Greek vase painting, Helios appears riding across the sea in the cup of the Delphic tripod which appears to be a solar reference. Athenaeus in Deipnosophistae relates that, at the hour of sunset, Helios climbed into a great golden cup in which he passes from the Hesperides in the farthest west to the land of the Ethiops, with whom he passes the dark hours. While Heracles traveled to Erytheia to retrieve the cattle of Geryon, he crossed the Libyan desert and was so frustrated at the heat that he shot an arrow at Helios, the Sun. Almost immediately, Heracles realized his mistake and apologized profusely, in turn and equally courteous, Helios granted Heracles the golden cup which he used to sail across the sea every night, from the west to the east because he found Heracles’ actions immensely bold. Heracles used this golden cup to reach Erytheia.

By the Oceanid Perse, Helios became the father of Aeëtes, Circe and Pasiphaë. His other children are Phaethusa (“radiant”) and Lampetia (“shining”).

Helios is sometimes identified with Apollo: “Different names may refer to the same being,” Walter Burkert observes, “or else they may be consciously equated, as in the case of Apollo and Helios.”

In Homeric literature, Apollo is clearly identified as a different god, a plague-dealer with a silver (not golden) bow and no solar features.

The earliest certain reference to Apollo identified with Helios appears in the surviving fragments of Euripides’ play Phaethon in a speech near the end (fr 781 N²), Clymene, Phaethon’s mother, laments that Helios has destroyed her child, that Helios whom men rightly call Apollo (the name Apollo is here understood to mean Apollon “Destroyer”).

By Hellenistic times Apollo had become closely connected with the Sun in cult. His epithet Phoebus, Phoibos “shining”, drawn from Helios, was later also applied by Latin poets to the sun-god Sol.
Coin of Roman Emperor Constantine I depicting Sol Invictus/Apollo with the legend SOLI INVICTO COMITI, c. 315 AD.

The identification became a commonplace in philosophic texts and appears in the writing of Parmenides, Empedocles, Plutarch and Crates of Thebes among others, as well as appearing in some Orphic texts. Pseudo-Eratosthenes writes about Orpheus in Catasterismi, section 24:

“But having gone down into Hades because of his wife and seeing what sort of things were there, he did not continue to worship Dionysus, because of whom he was famous, but he thought Helios to be the greatest of the gods, Helios whom he also addressed as Apollo. Rousing himself each night toward dawn and climbing the mountain called Pangaion, he would await the sun’s rising, so that he might see it first. Therefore Dionysus, being angry with him, sent the Bassarides, as Aeschylus the tragedian says; they tore him apart and scattered the limbs.”

Dionysus and Asclepius are sometimes also identified with this Apollo Helios.

Classical Latin poets also used Phoebus as a byname for the sun-god, whence come common references in later European poetry to Phoebus and his car (“chariot”) as a metaphor for the sun. But in particular instances in myth, Apollo and Helios are distinct. The sun-god, the son of Hyperion, with his sun chariot, though often called Phoebus (“shining”) is not called Apollo except in purposeful non-traditional identifications.

Despite these identifications, Apollo was never actually described by the Greek poets driving the chariot of the sun, although it was common practice among Latin poets. Therefore, Helios is still known as the ‘sun god’ – the one who drives the sun chariot across the sky each day.

 

 

Source:
Wikipedia

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Deities, The Gods | 1 Comment

Deity of the Day for June 14th – Lugh (Celtic God)

Deity of the Day

Lugh

Master of Skills

 

Patron of the Arts:

Similar to the Roman god Mercury, Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. There are countless inscriptions and statues dedicated to Lugh, and Julius Caesar himself commented on this god’s importance to the Celtic people. Although he was not a war god in the same sense as the Roman Mars, Lugh was considered a warrior because to the Celts, skill on the battlefield was a highly valued ability.

In Ireland, which was never invaded by Roman troops, Lugh is called sam ildanach, meaning he was skilled in many arts simultaneously.

Lugh Enters the Hall of Tara:

In one famous legend, Lugh arrives at Tara, the hall of the high kings of Ireland. The guard at the door tells him that only one person will be admitted with a particular skill — one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one bard, etc. Lugh enumerates all the great things he can do, and each time the guard says, “Sorry, we’ve already got someone here who can do that.” Finally Lugh asks, “Ah, but do you have anyone here who can do them ALL?” At last, Lugh was allowed entrance to Tara.

The Book of Invasions:

Much of the early history of Ireland is recorded in the Book of Invasions, which recounts the many times Ireland was conquered by foreign enemies. According to this chronicle, Lugh was the grandson of one of the Fomorians, a monstrous race that were the enemy of the Tuatha De Danann. Lugh’s grandfather, Balor of the Evil Eye, had been told he would be murdered by a grandson, so he imprisoned his only daughter in a cave.

One of the Tuatha seduced her, and she gave birth to triplets. Balor drowned two of them, but Lugh survived and was raised by a smith. He later led the Tuatha in battle, and indeed killed Balor.

Roman Influence:

Julius Caesar believed that most cultures worshipped the same gods and simply called them by different names. In his Gallic War essays, he enumerates the popular deities of the Gauls and refers to them by what he saw as a corresponding Roman name. Thus, references made to Mercury actually are attributed to a god Caesar also calls Lugus — Lugh. This god’s cult was centered in Lugundum, which later became Lyon, France. His festival on August 1 was selected as the day of the Feast of Augustus, by Caesar’s successor, Octavian Augustus Caesar, and it was the most important holiday in all of Gaul.

Weapons and War:

Although not specifically a war god, Lugh was known as a skilled warrior. His weapons included a mighty magic spear, which was so bloodthirsty that it often tried to fight without its owner. According to Irish myth, in battle, the spear flashed fire and tore through the enemy ranks unchecked. In parts of Ireland, when a thunderstorm rolls in, the locals say that Lugh and Balor are sparring – thus giving Lugh one more role, as a god of storms.

The Many Aspects of Lugh:

According to Peter Beresford Ellis, the Celts held smithcraft in high regard. War was a way of life, and smiths were considered to have magical gifts — after all, they were able to master the element of Fire, and mold the metals of the earth using their strength and skill. Yet in Caesar’s writings, there are no references to a Celtic equivalent of Vulcan, the Roman smith god.

In early Irish mythology, the smith is called Goibhniu, and is accompanied by two brothers to create a triple god-form. The three craftsmen make weaponry and carry out repairs on Lugh’s behalf as the entire host of the Tuatha De Danann prepares for war. In a later Irish tradition, the smith god is seen as a master mason or a great builder. In some legends, Goibhniu is Lugh’s uncle who saves him from Balor and the monstrous Formorians.

One God, Many Names

The Celts had many gods and goddesses, due in part to the fact that each tribe had its own patron deities, and within a region there might be gods associated with particular locations or landmarks. For example, a god who watched over a particular river or mountain might only be recognized by the tribes who lived in that area. Lugh was fairly versatile, and was honored nearly universally by the Celts. The Gaulish Lugos is connected to the Irish Lugh, who in turn is connected to the Welsh Llew Llaw Gyffes.

Celebrating the Harvest of Grain

The Book of Invasions tells us that Lugh came to be associated with grain in Celtic mythology after he held an harvest fair in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. This day became August 1, and that date ties in with the first grain harvest in agricultural societies in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, in Irish Gaelic, the word for August is lunasa. Lugh is honored with corn, grains, bread, and other symbols of the harvest. This holiday was called Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-NA-sah). Later, in Christian England the date was called Lammas, after the Saxon phrase hlaf maesse, or “loaf mass.”

An Ancient God for Modern Times

For many Pagans and Wiccans, Lugh is honored as the champion of artistry and skills. Many artisans, musicians, bards, and crafters invoke Lugh when they need assistance with creativity. Today Lugh is still honored at the time of harvest, not only as a god of grain but also as a god of late summer storms.

Even today, in Ireland many people celebrate Lughnasadh with dancing, song, and bonfires. The Catholic church also has set this date aside for a ritual blessing of farmers’ fields.

 

 

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Deity of the Day for Beltane is The Green Man, Spirit of the Forest

Deity of the Day for Beltane

The Green Man

Spirit of the Forest

For our ancient ancestors, many spirits and deities were associated with nature, wildlife, and plant growth. After all, if you had just spent the winter starving and freezing, when spring arrived it was certainly time to give thanks to whatever spirits watched over your tribe. The spring season, particularly around Beltane, is typically tied to a number of pre-Christian nature spirits. Many of these are similar in origin and characteristics, but tend to vary based on region and language.

In English folklore, few characters stand out — or are as recognizable — as the Green Man.

Strongly connected to Jack in the Green and the May King, as well as John Barleycorn during the fall harvest, the figure known as the Green Man is a god of vegetation and plant life. He symbolizes the life that is found in the natural plant world, and in the earth itself. Consider, for a moment, the forest. In the British Isles, the forests a thousand years ago were vast, spreading for miles and miles, farther than the eye could see. Because of the sheer size, the forest could be a dark and scary place.

However, it was also a place you had to enter, whether you wanted to or not, because it provided meat for hunting, plants for eating, and wood for burning and building. In the winter, the forest must have seemed quite dead and desolate… but in the spring, it returned to life. It would be logical for early peoples to have applied some sort of spiritual aspect to the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Folklorist James Frazer associates the Green Man with May Day celebrations, and with the character of Jack in the Green, who is a more modern adaptation of the Green Man. Jack is a more specifically defined version of the nature spirit than the earlier Green Man archetype. Frazer speculates that while some form of the Green Man was probably present in a variety of separate early cultures, he developed independently into a variety of newer, more modern characters. This would explain why in some areas he is Jack, while in others he is Robin of the Hood, or Herne the Hunter in different parts of England. Likewise, other, non-British cultures seem to have similar nature deities.

The Green Man is typically portrayed as a human face surrounded by dense foliage. Such images appear as far back as the eleventh century, in church carvings. As Christianity spread, the Green Man went into hiding, with stonemasons leaving secret images of his face around cathedrals and churches. He enjoyed a revival during the Victorian era, when he became popular with architects, who used his visage as a decorative aspect in buildings.

Legends connected to the archetype of the Green Man are everywhere. In the Arthurian legend, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a prime example. The Green Knight represents the pre-Christian nature religion of the British Isles. Although he originally confronts Gawain as an enemy, the two later are able to work together – perhaps a metaphor for the assimilation of British Paganism with the new Christian theology. Many scholars also suggest that the tales of Robin Hood evolved from Green Man mythology. Allusions to the Green Man can even be found in J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan – an eternally youthful boy, dressed in green and living in the forest with the wild animals. Today, some traditions of Wicca interpret the Green Man as an aspect of the Horned God, Cernunnos.

 

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