Deity of the Day for October 31st is Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron

Deity of the Day

Cerridwen

Keeper of the Cauldron

 

Crone of Wisdom

In Welsh legend, Cerridwen represents the crone, which is the darker aspect of the goddess. She has powers of prophecy, and is the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge and inspiration in the Underworld. As typical of Celtic goddesses, she has two children: daughter Crearwy is fair and light, but son Afagddu (also called Morfran) is dark, ugly and malevolent.

The Legend of Gwion

In one part of the Mabinogion, which is the cycle of myths found in Welsh legend, Cerridwen brews up a potion in her magical cauldron to give to her son Afagddu (Morfran). She puts young Gwion in charge of guarding the cauldron, but three drops of the brew fall upon his finger, blessing him with the knowledge held within. Cerridwen pursues Gwion through a cycle of seasons until, in the form of a hen, she swallows Gwion, disguised as an ear of corn. Nine months later, she gives birth to Taliesen, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.

The Symbols of Cerridwen

The legend of Cerridwen is heavy with instances of transformation: when she is chasing Gwion, the two of them change into any number of animal and plant shapes.

Following the birth of Taliesen, Cerridwen contemplates killing the infant but changes her mind; instead she throws him into the sea, where he is rescued by a Celtic prince, Elffin. Because of these stories, change and rebirth and transformation are all under the control of this powerful Celtic goddess.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

Cerridwen’s magical cauldron held a potion that granted knowledge and inspiration — however, it had to be brewed for a year and a day to reach its potency. Because of her wisdom, Cerridwen is often granted the status of Crone, which in turn equates her with the darker aspect of the Triple Goddess.

As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both the Mother and the Crone; many modern Pagans honor Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.

Cerridwen and the Arthur Legend

The stories of Cerridwen found within the Mabinogion are actually the basis for the cycle of Arthurian legend. Her son Taliesin became a bard in the court of Elffin, the Celtic prince who rescued him from the sea. Later on, when Elffin is captured by the Welsh king Maelgwn, Taliesen challenges Maelgwn’s bards to a contest of words. It is Taliesen’s eloquence that ultimately frees Elffin from his chains. Through a mysterious power, he renders Maelgwn’s bards incapable of speech, and frees Elphin from his chains. Taliesen becomes associated with Merlin the magician in the Arthurian cycle.

In the Celtic legend of Bran the Blessed, the cauldron appears as a vessel of wisdom and rebirth. Bran, mighty warrior-god, obtains a magical cauldron from Cerridwen (in disguise as a giantess) who had been expelled from a lake in Ireland, which represents the Otherworld of Celtic lore. The cauldron can resurrect the corpse of dead warriors placed inside it (this scene is believed to be depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron). Bran gives his sister Branwen and her new husband Math — the King of Ireland — the cauldron as a wedding gift, but when war breaks out Bran sets out to take the valuable gift back. He is accompanied by a band of a loyal knights with him, but only seven return home.

Bran himself is wounded in the foot by a poisoned spear, another theme that recurs in the Arthur legend — found in the guardian of the Holy Grail, the Fisher King. In fact, in some Welsh stories, Bran marries Anna, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea. Also like Arthur, only seven of Bran’s men return home. Bran travels after his death to the otherworld, and Arthur makes his way to Avalon. There are theories among some scholars that Cerridwen’s cauldron — the cauldron of knowledge and rebirth — in in fact the Holy Grail for which Arthur spent his life searching.

 

 

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About the Goddess of the Month, Hathor

Autumn

About the Goddess of the Month, Hathor

Hathor The Egyptian Goddess

Areas of Influence: Hathor the Egyptian Goddess was a solar Deity who was linked to music, dance, joy, fertility and birth.

She was the personification of the Milky way which was viewed as the celestial waterway upon which both the Sun God Ra and the King sailed. This association also linked her to the flooding of the Nile and the breaking of the waters before birth.

Her role as a fertility Goddess is also high lighted by one of her titles “the gentle cow of Heaven” referring to her plentiful supply of milk which was used to nurse the Pharaoh, making him a Divine being.

After birth mothers were visited by the seven Hathors which determined the fate of their child.

In later times Hathor the Egyptian Goddess became identified with another cow Goddess Bata who in turn was connected to Ba, an aspect of the soul. This is how she came to be associated with the afterlife where she greeted the dead as they began their journey.

It was through the assimilation of Bata and her Sistrum rattle that this Goddess’s link to music and joy became enhanced. In fact there were more festivals dedicated to this Goddess than any other. Her temples were unusually served by Priests of both sexes, musicians and performers. They also housed midwives and dream interpreters.

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess also had a darker side, as the Eye of Ra, she took on the persona of the Goddess Sekhmet. In one myth at the request of her father, she turns into Sekhmet so she can to punish humans for transgressing against him. When she nearly wipes out all of humanity, Ra tries to stop her and eventually succeeds by getting her drunk. She instantly forgets about her task and goes back to being Hathor.

Origins and Genealogy: Daughter of Nut and Ra. In the early myths she is said to be the mother of Horus but this role is later usurped by Isis and she was reduced to being his protector.

Strengths: Joyful and fun loving.

Weaknesses: She does not know when to stop.

Hathor’s Symbolism

The sistrum rattle, the horns and sundisk headdress, the menat a ritual musical necklace and mirrors were all associated with this Goddess.

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess was a depicted as the winged cow of creation who gave birth to the universe. While there are some depictions of Hathor as a woman with a cow’s head, this is mainly found only in the later periods. She was also shown as a woman, falcon, hippopotamus, cobra, and a lioness.

Sacred Animals: Cow, hippopotamus, cobra and lioness.

Sacred Bird: Falcon.

Sacred Plants: Myrtle and sycamore trees.

Greek Equivalent: The Greeks identified her with Aphrodite.

 

 

Source

Goddess-Guide.com

 

Deity of the Day for August 29th is Selene the Moon Goddess

Deity of the Day

Selene

The Moon Goddess

Areas of Influence: Selene was moon Goddess of the ancient Greeks and influenced the lunar cycles. She was traditionally worshipped on the full and new moon.

She was the Titan personification of the moon itself unlike the later moon Goddesses Hekate and Artemis.

Origins and Genealogy: She was daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion and had two siblings Helios (the sun God) and Eos (the goddess of the dawn). She had a number of lovers, most famously falling for the mortal Endymion. In this affair she is unable to come to terms with the fact that he would age and die.

A spell was cast on Endymion to grant him everlasting youth by placing him into a deep sleep. This did not prevent the Goddess from visiting him and having fifty of his children (This number represents the number of lunar months between each Olympiad).

This Goddess also had a daughter Pandeia after an affair with Zeus.

This serial seductress is also linked to Pan who gave her the Oxent that drove her chariot.

Strengths: The personification of the moon, passionate.

Weaknesses: Fears abandonment and is unable to be faithful to either men or Gods.

 Symbolism

In art this Goddess is shown with a very white face with a crescent moon crown or cloak.

She rides a silver chariot pulled by winged white horses or oxen.

The Full moon.

Sacred Plant: Selentrope.

Roman Equivalent: Lunar.

Selene’s Archetype

The Lover 

Represents passion and selfless devotion to another person. It also extends to the things that make our hearts sing, like music art or nature.

The shadow aspect is obsessive passion that completely takes over and negatively impacts on your health and self esteem.

Selene is a seductress and has numerous lovers. Her obsessive love for Endymion’s beauty leads her to place him into a deep sleep to preserve his youthfulness.

 

How To Work With This Archetype

The Lover

You may be drawn to this stereotype if you are looking to attract a new lover or to re-ignite the fire in an existing relationship.

The Lover can also be a useful tool to discover what you are passionate about in life.

On the shadow side you need to ask, whether the amount of energy and time you are putting into relationships, or enthusiasm for projects is excessive? If this continues for too long you are likely to suffer from stress and physical ill health.

 

Source

Goddess-Guide.com

Let’s Talk Witch – The Deities of Witchcraft & Wicca

Goddess of the Universe
The Deities of Witchcraft & Wicca

Wiccans and Witches believe in an all powerful force of life that manifests itself around two deities. The religion consists of a divine masculine god and a divine feminine goddess. Regardless of our gender each and every one of us has masculinity and feminism within us and this is represented by the duality of the Wiccan Gods. In order to communicate with these Gods, Wiccans practice magic, cast spells and hold rituals.

The masculine God comes in two forms. He is either the ‘Holy God’ or the ‘Oak God’. The Oak God rules during mid summer and the Holy God is most powerful in mid-winter. It is said that there is an ongoing power struggle between these two Gods.

The Goddess is a little bit more complex as she is present in three forms; The Maiden, The Mother, and The Crone. The moon is the reflection of this feminine deity and this is due to the phases of the moon and the three stages that it goes through. It is long known that women’s bodies correspond to the 28-day cycle of the moon which is another reason that the Goddess is reflected in it.

The Maiden is the youngest of all the goddesses and is present during spring, signifying new beginnings, growth and warmth. It is a time to start over and bring new positive energies into your life and the lives of others. The spring is the optimum time to bring love, happiness or money into your life so if this is what you are seeking try and cast spells based on this energy between the months of February and April.

There is a beautiful celebration called Imbolc to honour this new season and to welcome the goddess which begins with standing in a circle with your ‘sisters’ and holding an unlit candle in one hand. There is a lit candle in the middle and each Wiccan takes their turn to go to the centre of the circle and light their candle.

The next phase of the goddess takes place over the summer and is when the “Mother” rules. This can be deemed the most important phase and focuses on growth, fertility, and fulfilment. The mother is the life giver and is represented by the full moon.

The final goddess is The Crone who is in power during the winter. This is the perfect time to rid yourself of illness, bad relationships, debt or even a job you dislike. The Crone is a wise woman who teaches forgiveness and banishes negative energy. She represents endings and unfavorably also represents death. This is a reflection of how plants, trees and other matters within nature will die at this time of year. Wiccans see life as a constantly flowing circle and an important part of the circle is to accept death and view it as a transition into another state or passage into another form.

Source

WICCA: Your Path to Becoming Wiccan & Using Magick to Manifest Your Desires (Spells, Traditions, Solitary Practitioners, Book of Shadows, Rituals, Witchcraft)
Dharma Grace

Deity of the Day for August 23rd – Eos The Dawn Goddess

Deity of the Day

Eos

The Dawn Goddess

Areas of Influence: Eos, Goddess of the dawn in ancient Greece was one of the Titans.

Every morning she awoke and used her rosy fingers to open the gates of heaven. This enabled her brother Helios (the sun God) to ride his chariot across the sky. She also brought forth the hope of a new day.

The dew was said to be her tears.

This female deity is most noted for her insatiable appetite for young men. Her desire is said to have been the result of a curse, placed upon her by Aphrodite, when she discovered her affair with Ares. She also kidnapped four lovers: Cephalus, Clitus, Ganymede and Tithonus. The later was a Trojan prince whom she begged Zeus to grant immortality. What she forgot to ask for was eternal youth. Eventually he shrivelled up with old age and she turned him into a grasshopper.

Her love for Orion was unrequited.

Origins and Genealogy: She was daughter of the Titans Theia and Hyperion. She had two close siblings Helios (the sun) and Selene (the moon).

With Aeolus the keeper of the winds, she bore four sons these became the winds of the cardinal directions.

Strengths: Passion.

Weaknesses: Insatiable desire.

Roman Equivalent: Aurora.

 

Source

Goddess-Guide.com

Deity of the Day for August 20th – Rhiannon, Horse Goddess of Wales

Deity of the Day

Rhiannon

Horse Goddess of Wales

In Welsh mythology, Rhiannon is a horse goddess depicted in the Mabinogion. She is similar in many aspects to the Gaulish Epona, and later evolved into a goddess of sovereignty who protected the king from treachery.

Rhiannon was married to Pwyll, the Lord of Dyfed. When Pwyll first saw her, she appeared as a golden goddess upon a magnificent white horse. Rhiannon managed to outrun Pwyll for three days, and then allowed him to catch up, at which point she told him she’d be happy to marry him, because it would keep her from marrying Gwawl, who had tricked her into an engagement. Rhiannon and Pwyll conspired together to fool Gwawl in return, and thus Pwyll won her as his bride. Most of the conspiring was likely Rhiannon’s, as Pwyll didn’t appear to be the cleverest of men. In the Mabinogion, Rhiannon says of her husband, “Never was there a man who made feebler use of his wits.” After Pwyll’s death, Rhiannon married Manawyden.

The goddess’ name, Rhiannon, derives from a Proto-Celtic root which means “great queen,” and by taking a man as her spouse, she grants him sovereignty as king of the land.

In addition, Rhiannon possesses a set of magical birds, who can soothe the living into a deep slumber, or wake the dead from their eternal sleep.

Her story features prominently in the Fleetwood Mac hit Rhiannon, although songwriter Stevie Nicks says she didn’t know it at the time. Later, Nicks said she “was struck by the story’s emotional resonance with that of her song: the goddess, or possibly witch, given her ability with spells, was impossible to catch by horse and was also closely identified with birds — especially significant since the song claims she “takes to the sky like a bird in flight,” “rules her life like a fine skylark,” and is ultimately “taken by the wind.”

Primarily, though, Rhiannon is associated with the horse, which appears prominently in much of Welsh and Irish mythology. Many parts of the Celtic world — Gaul in particular — used horses in warfare, and so it is no surprise that these animals turn up in the myths and legends or Ireland and Wales. Scholars have learned that horse racing was a popular sport, especially at fairs and gatherings, and for centuries Ireland has been known as the center of horse breeding and training.

Judith Shaw, at Feminism and Religion, says, “Rhiannon, reminding us of our own divinity, helps us to identify with our sovereign wholeness. She enables us to cast out the role of victim from our lives forever. Her presence calls us to practice patience and forgiveness. She lights our way to the ability to transcend injustice and maintain compassion for our accusers.”

Symbols and items that are sacred to Rhiannon in modern Pagan practice include horses and horseshoes, the moon, birds, and the wind itself.

An Iowa Pagan named Callista says, “I raise horses, and have worked with them since I was a child. I first encountered Rhiannon when I was a teenager, and I keep an altar to her near my stables. It’s got horsey things on it, like a horseshoe, a horse figurine, and even braids from the manes of horses I’ve lost over the years. I make an offering to her before horse shows, and I invoke her when one of my mares is about to give birth. She seems to like offerings of sweetgrass and hay, milk, and even music – I sometimes sit by my altar and play my guitar, just singing a prayer to her, and the results are always good. I know she’s watching over me and my horses.”

 

Author

About Friday’s Goddess of the Day – Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty

nightmares of the past

Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty

The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, Venus was a goddess of love and beauty. Originally, she was believed to be associated with gardens and fruitfulness, but later took on all the aspects of Aphrodite from the Greek traditions. She is considered by many to be the ancestor of the Roman people, and was the lover of the god Vulcan, as well as of the warrior god Mars.

Worship and Celebration

The earliest known temple to Venus was dedicated on the Aventine hill in Rome, around 295 b.c.e. However, her cult was based in the city of Lavinium, and her temple there became the home of a festival known as the Vinalia Rustica. A later temple was dedicated after the defeat of the Roman army near Lake Trasimine during the Second Punic War.

Venus appears to have been very popular amongst the plebian class of Roman society, as evidenced by the existence of temples in areas of the city which were traditionally plebian rather than patrician. A cult to her aspect of Venus Erycina existed near Rome’s Colline gate; in this guise, Venus was a goddess primarily of fertility.

Another cult honoring Venus Verticordia also existed between the Aventine hill and Circus Maximus.

As often found in Roman gods and goddesses, Venus existed in many different incarnations. As Venus Victrix, she took on the aspect of warrior, and as Venus Genetrix, she was known as the mother of the Roman civilization. During the reign of Julius Caesar, a number of cults were started on her behalf, since Caesar claimed that the family of the Julii were directly descended from Venus. She is also recognized as a goddess of fortune, as Venus Felix.

Brittany Garcia of Ancient History Encyclopedia says, “Venus’ month was April (the beginning of spring and fertility) when most of her festivals were held. On the first of April a festival was held in honor of Venus Verticordia called Veneralia. On the 23rd, Vinalia Urbana was held which was a wine festival belonging to both Venus (goddess of profane wine) and Jupiter. Vinalia Rusticia was held on August 10th. It was Venus’ oldest festival and associated with her form as Venus Obsequens. September 26th was the date for the festival of Venus Genetrix, the mother and protector of Rome.”

The Lovers of Venus

Similar to Aphrodite, Venus took a number of lovers, both mortal and divine. She bore children with Mars, the god of war, but doesn’t seem to have been particularly maternal in nature. In addition to Mars, Venus had children with her husband, Vulcan, and when conflated with Aphrodite, is commonly believed to be the mother of Priapus, conceived during a fling with the god Bacchus (or one of Venus’ other lovers).

Scholars have noted that Venus doesn’t have many myths of her own, and that many of her stories are borrowed from the tales of Aphrodite.

Venus in Art and Literature

Venus is nearly always portrayed as young and lovely. Throughout the Classical period, a number of statues of Venus were produced by different artists. The statue Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, depicts the goddess as classically beautiful, with womanly curves and a knowing smile. This statue is believed to have been done by Alexandros of Antioch, around 100 b.c.e.

During the European Renaissance period and beyond, it became fashionable for upper class ladies to pose as Venus for paintings or sculptures. One of the best known is that of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese, younger sister of Napoleon. Antonio Canova sculpted her as Venus Victrix, reclined on a lounge, and although Canova wanted to sculpt her in a robe, Pauline apparently insisted on being portrayed nude.

Chaucer wrote regularly of Venus, and she appears in a number of his poems, as well as in The Knight’s Tale, in which Palamon compares his lover, Emily, to the goddess. In fact, Chaucer uses the turbulent relationship between Mars and Venus to represent Palamon, the warrior, and Emily, the lovely maiden in the flower garden.

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Originally published on & owned by About.com

 

Honoring Diana Today

ᑕᙓᒪ♈ᓰᑕ ᙅᖇᗝᙡ

Honoring Diana Today

How can you honor Diana today, as a modern Pagan? There are a number of ways you can celebrate Diana in her many aspects. Try one or more of these as part of your magical practice:

Are you a Pagan who is also a hunter? Honor Diana before you set out, by making an offering to her of bread or fruit, or clay images. She seems to appreciate song as well – why not sing a song in her honor, asking for assistance with your hunt?

If your hunt is successful, make sure you thank Diana afterwards. You can do this by singing her praises as you dress your kill.

If you’re pregnant, and want her to watch over you in childbirth, create an altar to Diana. Include requests for protection on a small clay tablet tied with ribbon, or images of motherhood and children.

Write prayers to Diana on ribbons or strips of fine cloth, and tie them to trees in the forest.

Celebrate Diana at the time of the full moon with an altar full of candles designated in her name, or by calling upon her in a Drawing Down the Moon ritual.

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article originally published on About.com