Deity of the Day for August 7th: Airmed (Celtic)

Deity of the Day

Airmed

(Celtic)

Airmid, also known as Airmed or Airmeith, is the Celtic Goddess of the Healing Arts. She was also a member of the Tuatha De Danaan, the most ancient race of deities in Ireland and just as they did, she had great magickal powers. When the Goddess Danu first created the Tuatha De Danaan, she made sure that its members were very powerful gods, filled with great wisdom and skilled in every possible area of expertise.

Some people believe that the Tuatha De Danaan was comprised of Druids, who were extremely knowledgeable in both prophecy and magick. When the members of the Tuatha De Danaan decided to study something, not only did they simply learn about it, they actually went much farther, by deeply immersing themselves in that particular field to the point where they became the greatest experts in the world. They believed strongly in the three components of life: the Earth, the Mysteries, and the Spirit realm and that they were all of equal importance.

Airmid was the daughter of Diancecht, the God of Medicine, and the Chief Physician and Magician of the Tuatha De Danaan. She also had four brothers: Miach, Cian, Cethe, and Cu, and they all followed closely in their father’s footsteps. Airmid also had a sister named Etan, who was a poet who was also married to Oghma. Coming from that kind of a heritage, there can be little doubt that Airmid and her brothers excelled in the healing arts.

When the Fir Bolgs first arrived in Ireland, the Tuatha De Danaan fought against them in a great war, protecting its people and land from invasion. During the first battle, the Tuatha defeated the Fir Bolgs and killed their king, Eocchid MacEric. Nuada, the King of the Tuatha De Danaan was also seriously injured in that battle when his arm became severed from his body.

Since Diancecht was the Chief Physician of the Tuatha De Danaan, he was immediately called upon to attend to Nuada’s wounds, and he brought Airmid and Miach with him to assist. While Diancecht was working upon Nuada, it became increasingly clear that Airmid’s and Miach’s skills as healers were much greater then those of their father.

While Diancecht had decided to replace Nuada’s severed arm with one that he had constructed from silver, Airmid was actually able to regenerate the King’s own arm to perfect working order. Then Miach, using his amazing surgical skills, took the regenerated arm and re-attached it to the King’s body. These actions were extremely important to the Tuatha De Danaan and especially to Nauda, because according to its laws, no one could ever be its king, whose body was not completely whole. If Nuada’s arm had not been re-attached to his body, through Airmid and Miach’s amazing skills, then his reign as King would have ended.

Airmid, Miach and Diancecht built the Well of Slaine in Ireland, which was also known as the Well of Health. They then caste spells over it, so that the well’s magickal waters could not only restore life to those warriors who had been killed in battle; it could actually return them all to perfect health. When a wounded warrior was brought to the well his body was immediately immersed in its waters, which not only brought him back to life, but also made him well enough to return to the battle.

However, during the second Battle of Moytura, things did not go well for the Tuatha De Danaan because their enemies had filled the Well of Slaine with stones. That made it impossible for them to bring their warriors bodies back to life, and the well soon became known as the “Heapstown Cairn.”

Airmid’s brother Miach was an extremely talented healer, and when Diancecht realized that his son’s abilities were so greatly superior to his own he became extremely jealous. Soon, that jealousy began to turn into rage, and that rage became so great that he drew his sword and slashed Miach quite badly. Miach, however, using his superior medical knowledge and magickal skills, immediately healed the wound.

That just made Diancecht’s anger grow even greater, and for a second time he drew his sword, this time cutting Miach through to the bone. Just as quickly, however, Miach was able to heal himself once more.

It was at that point that Diancecht finally lost what little control he had left over his rage and, once again taking his sword in his hand, he sliced directly into his son’s brain tissue. What happened then was truly miraculous. Miach showed himself to be the outstanding physician that he was, and he actually was able to heal himself one more time.

Finally, it became extremely clear that Diancecht’s hatred of his son had reached the point of no return. Slowly, Diancecht drew his sword and then, for the final time, he struck his son in the head, this time severing Miach’s brain completely from his skull. It was then that Diancecht just walked away, leaving his wounded son who was no longer able to heal himself lying there on the ground to die. Legend has it, that when Diancecht looked down upon his dying son, he never once exhibited even the slightest bit of remorse.

Airmid also had great magickal powers and herb craft was her specialty. Miach had taught her well, and she knew the different uses of each and every plant. When Airmid buried her brother it was with great sorrow. She missed him dearly, since they had always been so very close, and she frequently would go to visit his grave. One day, when she arrived at Miach’s grave, she was amazed to find 365 healing herbs growing on and around his grave, with one herb for every joint and organ of his body.

Methodically, Airmid began to gather up the herbs. Then, quite amazingly, the herbs began to speak to her, telling her of the full range of their healing powers. Airmid then took the herbs and separated each from the other. Then she arranged them systematically upon her cloak, each according to its own particular use or special properties. With the knowledge she had gained from the herbs, she then proceeded to use it to heal people who needed medical attention.

Amazingly, Diancecht’s obsessive hatred for his son did not end with Miach’s death. Still consumed by his enormous rage, Diancecht went over to Airmid’s cloak and overturned it, scattering all the herbs into the wind; thereby making certain that no one except Airmid would ever know the use of the herbs’ healing properties or the secret of how to achieve immortality which was made possible through the herbs proper use.

Even though Diancecht was her father, Airmid found herself unable to have any feelings for him, and refused to have anything to do with him. In fact, she found it so impossible to even go anywhere near him, that she travelled far away to a place where she would never have to see him again.

It is believed that Airmid still works as a Physician, high in the mountains of Ireland, spending much of her time healing Faeries, Elves and humans; bringing them all back to good health through her practical knowledge and amazing magickal skills.

Hathor

White Wolf Lady
Hathor

House of the Face or House of Horus

Hathor is the Egyptian sky Goddess, daughter of Ra by Nut and sometimes the wife and/or mother of Horus the Elder. Hathor was Egypt’s Goddess of love, music, pleasure, and dancing. As the embodiment of the ultimate female, Hathor was the protector of all women and supervised women’s toilet (makeup). Her symbols are the bronze mirror, girdle, lamp, ad all seductive scents including rose, myrtle, and benzoin. The lynx, cow, and sparrow are under her protection.

Deity of the Day for July 26th is Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War

Deity of the Day

Bellona

the Roman Goddess of War

Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Bellona, the Roman goddess of war and the war-cry. She was believed to have inspired a warlike frenzy, in which Roman legionnaires would fight in a nearly uncontrollable, rage and fury. Dies Sanguinis (Day of Blood) was a festival held in Ancient Rome on the 24th March, called Bellona’s Day, when devout adherents and priests of the cult of Bellona cut themselves and drank the sacrificial blood to propitiate the goddess. Her name is derived from the Latin word ‘bellum’ meaning war. The Greek counterparts of Bellona were Enyo and Eris.
Bellona, the Roman goddess of war
Bellona, the Roman goddess of war was believed to have been introduced to Roman soldiers during campaigns in Asia Minor under General Pompey and Sulla during the last century of the Roman Republic. Her cult also introduced the ferocious, masochistic and orgiastic rites (similar to those of the goddess Cybele) performed by Asian priests. Bellona is often depicted wearing a plumed helmet and armed with a spear and a torch. In the picture by Rubens of Bellona she carries a shield, called the Aegis, displaying the head of Medusa, the gorgon an attribute that is usually associated with Minerva
Temple of Bellona
The first temple to Bellona was built in the year 296 by the consul Appius Claudius and it was erected by the Circus Flaminius, located in the southern end of the Campus Martius. Campus Martius was located outside the city walls of Rome and was dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war, with an ancient altar and became closely linked to soldiers and the army. Events, rituals and festivals associated with underworld deities were held in the Campus Martius. The festival in honor of Bellona was celebrated on June 3. Bellona also had had several shrines in Rome and another temple was dedicated to her in Ostia Antica, the harbour city of ancient Rome. Priests of Bellona would perform furious dances using weapons and armor in honor of the goddess of war and were known to wound and gash themselves in a frightful manner.
Priests of Bellona – the Bellonarii and Belladonna
The priests of Bellona were called the Bellonarii who practised a variety of masochistic rituals. These rites took place on the 24 March and on the day that was called the dies sanguinis meaning the “day of blood”. On the dies sanguinis, the “day of blood” the Bellonarii mutilated their own arms and legs with sharp knives, collecting the blood to either drink or offer to Bellona to invoke the war fury. The bellonaria plant (solanum) was used by priests at this festival. Its seeds were eaten by priests to induce hallucinogenic, prophetic and oracular states. The name Belladonna, deadly nightshade, is a corruption of the word bellonaria. Another festival called Megalesia was celebrated between April 4 – 10 in honor of Cybele, the fertility goddess. Her eunuch priests, called the Galli, also practised mutilation leading to incorrect historical connections between the worship of two goddesses and their festivals.
The Worship of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war
The Romans were highly practical and believed that their gods and goddesses controlled everything in their lives and therefore every occupation and task had its presiding Roman goddess or god. Bellona the Roman goddess of war was worshipped in the same way as any other Roman divinity with prayers and making vows, dedicating altars, sacrificing blood, animals, birds and offerings of milk, honey, grain, fruit, cakes, flowers, perfumes and wine. Black victims to the deities of the Underworld. The sex of a sacrificial animal had to correspond to the sex of the goddess to whom it was offered. The blood sacrifices made to Bellona, the goddess of war, would therefore have been a black ewe, cow or heifer, sow, hen or other female birds and conducted outside a temple. An even darker side to Bellona is revealed in relation to blood offerings as the earliest sacrifices are said to have been human.

 

Reference:

Tales Beyond Belief

Deity of the Day for July 14th is Pele, Hawaiian Goddess

Deity of the Day

Pele

Hawaiian Goddess

In the Hawaiian religion, Pele (pronounced /ˈpl/ pay-lay or [ˈpɛlɛ] pel-lə), the Fire Goddess, is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands. Often referred to as “Madame Pele” or “Tūtū Pele” as a sign of respect, she is a well-known deity within Hawaiian mythology, and is notable for her contemporary presence and cultural influence as an enduring figure from ancient Hawaii. Epithets of the goddess include Pele-honua-mea (“Pele of the sacred land”) and Ka wahine ʻai honua (“The earth-eating woman”).

Legends

There are several traditional legends associated with Pele in Hawaiian mythology. In addition to being recognized as the goddess of volcanoes, Pele is also known for her power, passion, jealousy, and capriciousness. She has numerous siblings, including Kāne Milohai, Kamohoaliʻi, Nāmaka and numerous sisters named Hiʻiaka, the most famous being Hiʻiakaikapoliopele (Hiʻiaka in the bosom of Pele). They are usually considered to be the offspring of Haumea. Pele’s siblings include deities of various types of wind, rain, fire, ocean wave forms, and cloud forms. Her home is believed to be the fire pit called Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at the summit caldera of Kīlauea, one of the Earth’s most active volcanoes; but her domain encompasses all volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

Pele shares features similar to other malignant deities inhabiting volcanoes, as in the case of the devil  as responsible for the eruptions of the volcano.

Expulsion version

In one version of the story, Pele is the daughter of Kanehoalani and Haumea in the mystical land of Kuaihelani, a floating free land like Fata Morgana. Kuaihelani was in the region of Kahiki (Kukulu o Kahiki). She stays so close to her mother’s fireplace with the fire-keeper Lono-makua. Her older sister Nā-maka-o-Kahaʻi, a sea goddess, fears that Pele’s ambition would smother the home-land and drives Pele away. Kamohoali’i drives Pele south in a canoe called Honua-i-a-kea with her younger sister Hiʻiaka and with her brothers Kamohoaliʻi, Kanemilohai, Kaneapua, and arrives at the islets above Hawaii. There Kane-milo-hai is left on Mokupapapa, just a reef, to build it up in fitness for human residence. On Nihoa, 800 feet above the ocean she leaves Kane-apua after her visit to Lehua and crowning a wreath of kau-no’a. Pele feels sorry for her younger brother and picks him up again. Pele used the divining rod, Pa‘oa to pick a new home. A group of chants tells of a pursuit by Namakaokaha’i and Pele is torn apart. Her bones, KaiwioPele form a hill on Kahikinui, while her spirit escaped to the island of Hawaiʻi.:157 (Pele & Hi’iaka A myth from Hawaii by Nathaniel B. Emerson)

Flood version

In another version, Pele comes from a land said to be “close to the clouds,” with parents Kane-hoa-lani and Ka-hina-liʻi, and brothers Ka-moho-aliʻi and Kahuila-o-ka-lani. From her husband Wahieloa (also called Wahialoa) she has a daughter Laka and a son Menehune. Pele-kumu-honua entices her husband and Pele travels in search of him. The sea pours from her head over the land of Kanaloa (perhaps the island now known as Kahoʻolawe) and her brothers say:

O the sea, the great sea!
Forth bursts the sea:
Behold, it bursts on Kanaloa!

The sea floods the land, then recedes; this flooding is called Kai a Kahhinalii (“The sea of Ka-hina-liʻi”), as Pele’s connection to the sea was passed down from her mother Kahinalii.:158

Pele and Poliʻahu

Pele was considered to be a rival of the Hawaiian goddess of snow, Poliʻahu, and her sisters Lilinoe (a goddess of fine rain), Waiau (goddess of Lake Waiau), and Kahoupokane (a kapa maker whose kapa making activities create thunder, rain, and lightning). All except Kahoupokane reside on Mauna Kea. The kapa maker lives on Hualalai.

One myth tells that Poliʻahu had come from Mauna Kea with her friends to attend sled races down the grassy hills south of Hamakua. Pele came disguised as a beautiful stranger and was greeted by Poliʻahu. However, Pele became jealously enraged at the goddess of Mauna Kea. She opened the subterranean caverns of Mauna Kea and threw fire from them towards Poliʻahu, with the snow goddess fleeing towards the summit. Poliʻahu was finally able to grab her now-burning snow mantle and throw it over the mountain. Earthquakes shook the island as the snow mantle unfolded until it reached the fire fountains, chilling and hardening the lava. The rivers of lava were driven back to Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Later battles also led to the defeat of Pele and confirmed the supremacy of the snow goddesses in the northern portion of the island and of Pele in the southern portion.

Historical times[edit]

Pele belief continued after the old religion was officially abolished in 1819. In the summer of 1823 English missionary William Ellis toured the island to determine locations for mission stations.:236 After a long journey to the volcano Kīlauea with little food, Ellis eagerly ate the wild berries he found growing there.:128 The berries of the ʻōhelo (Vaccinium reticulatum) plant were considered sacred to Pele. Traditionally prayers and offerings to Pele were always made before eating the berries. The volcano crater was an active lava lake, which the natives feared was a sign that Pele was not pleased with the violation.:143 Although wood carvings and thatched temples were easily destroyed, the volcano was a natural monument to the goddess.

In December 1824 the High Chiefess Kapiʻolani descended into the Halemaʻumaʻu crater after reciting a Christian prayer instead of the traditional one to Pele. She was not killed as predicted, and this story was often told by missionaries to show the superiority of their faith.[10] Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) wrote a poem about the incident in 1892.

When businessman George Lycurgus ran a hotel at the rim of Kīlauea, called the Volcano House, he would often “pray” to Pele for the sake of the tourists. Park officials took a dim view of his habit of tossing items such as gin bottles (after drinking their contents) into the crater.

Plantation owner William Hyde Rice published a version of the story in his collection of legends.In 2003 the Volcano Art Center had a special competition for Pele paintings to replace one done in the early 20th century by D. Howard Hitchcock displayed in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park visitors center. Some criticized what looked like a blond caucasian as the Hawaiian goddess. Over 140 paintings were submitted, and finalists were displayed at sites within the park. The winner of the contest was Pahoa, Hawaii artist Arthur Johnsen. This version shows the goddess in shades of red, with a digging stick in her left hand (theʻōʻō, for which the currently erupting vent was named), and an embryonic form of Hiʻiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele in her right hand. The painting is now on display at the Kīlauea Visitor Center on the edge of the Kīlauea crater.

 

Reference

Wikipedia

Deity of the Day for June 21 is the Goddess Arachne

Deity of the Day

Arachne

The Greek Goddess Who Became The First Spider.

Arachne was a young woman from Lydia, sometimes said to be a princess, who offended Athena, and suffered the consequences. Her story helped serve as a warning to all to take care to not offend the gods.

Arachne was gifted in the art of weaving. Not only were her finished products beautiful to look at, but the very act of her weaving was a sight to behold. Nymphs were said to abandon their frolicking to come observe Arachne practice her magic. So remarkable were her works that observers often commented that she must have been trained by the very patron goddess of weaving, Athena herself. Arachne scoffed at this. She was disgusted at being placed in an inferior place to the goddess and proclaimed that Athena herself could not do better than her.

Athena was quite perturbed at Arachne’s bold claim, but she decided to give the young woman a chance to redeem herself. She came to Arachne disguised as an old woman and warned her to be careful not to offend the gods, lest she incur their wrath. But Arachne told the old woman to save her breath. She welcomed a contest with Athena, and, if she lost, would suffer whatever punishment the goddess deemed necessary.

The goddess accepted the challenge and revealed her true form. The nymphs who had come to watch Arachne’s weaving shrunk back in fear, but Arachne stood her shaky ground. She had made a claim, and she was sticking to it. So the contest began, the mortal at her loom, the goddess at hers. Athena began to weave the scene of her contest with Poseidon for the city of Athens. A beautiful scene developed from the threads, showing Poseidon and the salt water spring, and Athena with an olive tree, gifts to the people who would name Athena as their patron, and their city after her. The bystanders marveled at the goddess’ work.

Arachne, for her part, created a tapestry showcasing scenes of Zeus’ various infidelities: Leda with the Swan, Europa with the bull, Dana and the golden rain shower. So exquisite was the mortal’s work that the bull seemed lifelike, swimming across the tapestry with a real girl on his shoulders. Even Athena herself was forced to admit that Arachne’s work was flawless. (Whether or not Arachne was actually better than Athena is still a mystery.)

Angered at Arachne’s challenge, as well as the presumptuousness of her choice of subjects, Athena tore the tapestry to pieces and destroyed the loom. Then she touched Arachne’s forehead, making sure that she felt full guilt for her actions. Arachne was ashamed, but the guilt was far too deep for her poor, mortal mind. Depressed, she hanged herself.

Athena took pity on Arachne. She most likely did not expect that Arachne would commit suicide. She brought her back to life, but not as a human. By sprinkling her with the juices of aconite, Athena transformed the woman into a spider, her and her descendants to forever hang from threads and to be great weavers.

 

Source

Author: Melissa Lee

Website: Encyclopedia Mythica

Deities of Litha

Deities of Litha

Gods and Goddesses of the Summer Solstice

The summer solstice has long been a time when cultures celebrated the lengthening year. It is on this day, sometimes called Litha, that there is more daylight than any other time; a direct counterpoint to the darkness of Yule. No matter where you live, or what you call it, chances are you can connect to a culture that honored a sun deity around this time of year. Here are just a few of the gods and goddesses from around the world that are connected with the summer solstice.

  • Amaterasu (Shinto): This solar goddess is the sister of the moon deity and the storm god of Japan, and is known as the goddess “from which all light comes”. She is much loved by her worshippers, and treats them with warmth and compassion. Every year in July, she is celebrated in the streets of Japan.
  • Aten (Egypt): This god was at one point an aspect of Ra, but rather than being depicted as an anthropomorphic being (like most of the other ancient Egyptian gods), Aten was represented by the disc of the sun, with rays of light emanating outward
  • Apollo (Greek): The son of Zeus by Leto, Apollo was a multi-faceted god. In addition to being the god of the sun, he also presided over music, medicine and healing. He was at one point identified with Helios. As worship of him spread throughout the Roman empire into the British Isles, he took on many of the aspects of the Celtic deities, and was seen as a god of the sun and of healing.
  • Hestia (Greek): This goddess watched over domesticity and the family. She was given the first offering at any sacrifice made in the home. On a public level, the local town hall served as a shrine for her — any time a new settlement was formed, a flame from the public hearth was taken to the new village from the old one.
  • Horus (Egyptian): Horus was one of the solar deities of the ancient Egyptians. He rose and set every day, and is often associated with Nut, the sky god. Horus later became connected with another sun god, Ra.
  • Huitzilopochtli (Aztec): This warrior god of the ancient Aztecs was a sun god and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He battled with Nanahuatzin, an earlier solar god. Huitzilopochtli fought against darkness, and required his worshipers to make regular sacrifices to ensure the sun’s survival over the next fifty-two years, which is a significant number in Mesoamerican myths.
  • Juno (Roman): She is also called Juno Luna and blesses women with the privilege of menstruation. The month of June was named for her, and because Juno was the patroness of marriage, her month remains an ever-popular time for weddings and handfasting.
  • Lugh (Celtic): Similar to the Roman god Mercury, Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is sometimes associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.
  • Sulis Minerva (Celtic, Roman): When the Romans occupied the British Isles, they took the aspects of the Celtic sun goddess, Sulis, and blended her with their own goddess of wisdom, Minerva. The resulting combination was Sulis Minerva, who watched over the hot springs and sacred waters in the town of Bath.
  • Sunna or Sol (Germanic): Little is known about this Norse goddess of the sun, but she appears in the poetic eddas as the sister of the moon god.

 

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