deity

The Bad Witch’s Guide

February, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Pagan Prayer

(Photo by A L L E F . V I N I C I U S ? on Unsplash)

A lot of people assume I don’t pray. This is wrong. I have a daily practice and that means I connect in some degree to what is sacred to me and within me, usually daily.

My prayers can look like regular praying, or dancing, or cooking or nothing at all. Let us talk about what I mean when I say prayer.

To me a prayer is the mental and spiritual and sometimes physical seeking of connection to the Divine within and outside of the self. I have prayers I have written as well as some from the Feri tradition on my bedroom walls. I may repeat those silently or aloud as written as as my heart directs in the moment. The words are important but it is the sensation of connection, or depth, of Anwen that lets me know I am not just reciting. I am deliberately altering my consciousness, with a mind to connection.

While I also meditate often, meditation differs from prayer. In prayer I am expressing something to myself and the Gods. In meditation I am listening. I surrender to that connection. Sometimes I listen more than I speak, sometimes I speak more than I listen. At the root of prayer is hope, at the root of meditation is trust, faith. That is why meditation is difficult for a lot of people. Not just because it takes practice but because to surrender your thoughts, to really listen within and without is an act of surrender. You have to let go. Scary stuff for a lot of people.

Prayer is different. It is an expression of seeking and of holding on, maybe even building something. Even if there were no Gods prayer would be important as an expression of our hopes, our strength and desire for life and connection. An affirmation of awakened selves.

Sometimes I call on specific Deities though more often I call on the Lord and Lady, God and Goddess, or even simply Ancient Ones. I usually call Herself first and then Himself. It was the Feri way I learned early on and one I still use. I find myself “speaking” more to Herself and “listening” more to Himself.

I like the Charges a lot too. Though I don’t use them directly often save in ritual circle.

Praying can be dancing, my unspoken hopes and desires moving my body and radiating that into the world. It can be in song, pagan in origin or otherwise. It can be in my hands as I touch someone (I like “may what is sacred to you heal you”). There are prayers in my teacup, in the glass I use to take my medicines (I am getting better everyday), in the spoons I use to stir my cooking food. Even if it is only the words “thank you”.

I was lucky enough to trade and receive a book of translated prayer/poetry of Inanna. It is fascinating, ancient and beautiful. It is rather sexy in places too! As a prayer it is a love poem. “She who adores, adore me!” It was eye opening because prayer for many people is a saintly bland affair. This was funny, entertaining, erotic and tragic. It was eye opening.

Prayer is more than a wishlist of wants like a child’s list of presents to Santa. Prayer is speaking in heart, body and mind to what is sacred. There are wonderful prayers out there but crafting your own is both more personal and more relevant. You have the option to be as specific as you like. Writing is often a prayer too. Whether it is poetry in my many notebooks, on twitter or articles like these, I have to connect to write. I have to reach into the light within me and the light without to find the words, though sometimes I can not. Sometimes there are no words only sounds or sensations.

One of the other techniques some Feri traditions teach is to simply speak to your Gods. No thee, thy, thou. Just you talking. Though I do this least I do find it helps keep me sincere. It is a helpful expression of where you are. Part confession, part shooting the breeze, this kind of prayer is both cathartic and humbling. As someone whom has been and felt I had to be superwoman this gave me a space where I didn’t have to be perfect, all-knowing or strong. I could rest my head on my Mother’s breast and cry, rest and just be.

My personal shrines within my bedroom are where I come to pray most often. I find cleaning them and it’s objects a prayer in itself. While I do give offerings to the Gods this is usually part of rites and ritual rather than daily prayer. I don’t like having food in my bedroom, so if I do give offerings it is usually flowers, crystals and objects like feathers I find that have meaning to me. Much like my own daughter as a small child would bring me flowers and pretty things.

If praying is something new for you start small. Something short you can remember easily or write in a journal. Taking a few moments to say something from the heart is a beautiful way to start or finish your day. It can be specific or open as you like.

Goddess you are the sweet sacred earth

I am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess you are the sacred waters of life

I am of your body and I am blessed.

Goddess your breath is the sacred air we breathe

I am of your breath and I am blessed.

Goddess you are the candle and the star

I am of your radient light and I am blessed.

Goddess your way is that of gratitude

Your way is of peace.

Your way is of joy.

Your way is that of love.

Your love willed me into creation.

I honour you and I am honoured by you.

So mote it be.

You could easily add a named Deity of your choice, replace blessed with anything else, like strong, wise, or holy. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like, it is the reaching with your heart and mind for that sincere connection that matters. So mote it be means “as I have spoken it will be so”. I prefer it to Christianized Amen. Blessed be is always a good ending too. Different paths may have different wordings. If you do something while you do this prayer, like light a candle or such after a time the act itself becomes connected to your prayer.

You do not of course have to pray. Yet if you are seeking I think it is a worthy endeavour. It is in the seeking that it matters. For if you do not find it within you will never find it without.

The one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity.”


? Alan Moore

MagickalArts

January, 2019

The Wiccan Path

Happy New Year Everyone! This year, 2019 is a number “3” year (add 2+0+1+9=12/ 1+2 =3); a year of change and creation. Three is the number of trinity’s harmony. From the relationship and collaboration of two a third is created; the totality of its sum of parts. This may take the form of fulfilling and creating what you desire most, creating a new passion fueled by a latent wish, putting into action what you’ve been yearning to do as you create the product of those efforts.

In keeping with this creative approach I am revisiting and sharing the online course I wrote in 2014, to serve as the stimulus for those interested in Wicca and earth-centered practices and creating a path of their own. Please enjoy this excerpt and many blessings for a fabulous New “creational” Year!!

Excerpted from “A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path”…..

The Wiccan Path is one of initiatory experience. Each step taken upon this path leads towards greater understanding of your own Divine nature, which in turn brings a greater understanding of the natural world and the Divinity that exists around you. By definition, initiation is an act that sets in motion some course of events. In the case of a spiritual pursuit, initiation opens the seeker to embracing their spiritual nature as a support and foundation to their mundane nature. The spiritual path of a Wiccan (Witch) is one filled with the beauty of the natural world and the mystery of the world within each of us. The path leads to the subtle realms of the astral – the far reaches of the cosmos – and the shadows that lay hidden and buried within each of us. We practice the Craft of the Wise, which in ancient times was the gifts of the healers and the seers whose ability to see far and wide and enter so completely into alliance with the physical natural world was depended upon to ensure viable crops, healthy livestock, fertility and a sustainable life for those in whom the wise lived. In ancient times the knowledge was carefully passed in the style of oral tradition, the mysteries given ear to ear hand to hand. Although many of those traditions, rituals and wise ways are lost to the modern practitioner of Wicca, many of the core principles remain, having evolved just as we as a people have evolved, become modernized and have at our fingertips ways of communicating large volumes of information. The information provided in this course of study barely scratches the surface of what is a uniquely complex and diverse spiritual path and that to a large degree can only superficially claim its heritage in the ancient practices of which we truly know so little. Wicca is rooted in the experiential, and is a way of life that is not limited by lack of sacred space, tools or financial resources. From the Wiccan perspective, all of the natural world is sacred space and the greatest tool of working is our physical nature holding the pure essence of each individual’s Divine spirit that is priceless in

Ritual and Celebration

Wiccans use ancient and modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices to attune themselves to the natural rhythms of nature, the world, and the universe as a way to commune with this divine force. In particular, the lives and daily activities of the ancient peoples were very much dependent upon and intertwined with the position of the sun and the agricultural cycles that were dependent upon movement throughout the year. The Witch’s Wheel of the Year is a reflection of those needs. The calling forth of the Light of the newly birthed Sun at the time of the Winter Solstice ensured that there would be a new cycle of planting, sowing and reaping the much needed harvest for continued life.

The Sabbats (Solar Celebrations) of the Wiccan year are eight in number. Four correspond to the astronomical transitions of the equinoxes and the solstices. These are the Vernal (Ostara) and Autumnal Equinoxes (Mabon) and the Winter (Yule) and Summer (Litha) Solstices. The other Four, or cross quarter days are those that mark the time between the equinoxes and solstices. These were the dates of celebration of the progression through the changing of the seasons and the preparations for the times of transit from one season to the next. These are Samhain (the Witch’s New Year) – Imbolc (February 1) – Beltaine (May 1st) and Lammas (August 1st).

There are many overlays that are associated with these Sabbats, the most prominent being the cycle of the God and Goddess as they move through the stages of birth- fertility- harvest and death. In this way, the physical world and the Divine world were mirror reflections and the offering of devotion and celebration of one ensured the continuation of the other.

Deity

The God, Lugh and The Goddess, Brighid

Depending upon one’s point of view, Wicca can be considered a monotheistic, duotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic religion.

Wicca is monotheistic (belief in a single deity): Some Wiccans recognize a single supreme being, sometimes called “The All” or “The One.” The Goddess and God are viewed as the female and male aspects of this single deity.
• Wicca is duotheistic (belief in two deities; a.k.a. rarely as bitheistic): Wiccans often worship a female Goddess and a male God, often called the Lady and Lord.
• Wicca is polytheistic (belief in many deities): Many Wiccans recognize the existence of many ancient Gods and Goddesses, including but certainly not limited to: Aphrodite, emis, Briget, Diana, Dionysius, Fergus, Hecate, Isis, Pan, Thor, etc.
• Wicca is henotheistic (belief in a single main deity among many): Many Wiccans view the many ancient deities as being aspects of the Lady and Lord, and view the latter as the male and female aspects of “The One.”

(excerpted from: http://www.religioustolerance.org)

There is no right or wrong to any of the beliefs above. The underlying principle is that of polarity and the belief that there is both the masculine and feminine Divine principle within all living beings. This approach to deity supports the belief in the immanence of the Divine. That the qualities of Deity exist within all of life, and that through acknowledgement and embracing of this inherent birthright, that Divinity may become transcendent in nature.

The Natural World

WICCA is considered a nature-based religion. The environment and those things that comprise the manifest world including animals, plants, minerals are considered sacred and part of the Divine web of interconnectedness. Many Wiccans are involved in environmental activities and feel it a natural part of their spiritual practice to recycle and live lightly on Mother Earth. The use and knowledge of herbs and their medicinal properties is often undertaken gladly as a study of practice and it is not unusual to find many Wiccans attracted to professions where healing modalities can be performed. Animals are considered companions and treated with the same care, love and respect

that would be afforded another human. Human and animal rights, environmental issues and preservation of our natural resources are all a focus of those following a Wiccan Path of spirituality.

The Cosmos

The ancients were limited to what could be seen with the naked eye or what mystical inferences could be gathered from what was overtly presented and the myths that were created as result. Structures were built in accord with the movement of the sun (Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid) that aligned with specific seasonal events and astrology had its beginnings in predicting certain outcomes and points of focus based on what could be observed in the heavens.

The scientific breakthroughs showing the similarities in or own physical constitution and that of the geology of our planet, as well as the stars and planets links us to our own stellar nature and the desire for access to weaving that universal magick of that starseed into all of our endeavors. According to scientist, Carl Sagan, the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.

One of the things that has not changed is that of the celebration and worship of the Moon and her energies and attributions within a Wiccan practice. The lunar tides are seen as the domain of the Goddess and the feminine energies. The planets and the magick woven with their energies extend the reach of practical magick into the realms of space and time continuum. And, the increasing awareness of our place within the vastness of the Cosmos provides a richly layered perspective for those of the Craft.

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

GoodGod!

August, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dionysos

Merry meet.

This month we get to know Dionysos, the Olympian god of the grape harvest, wine and wine making as well as the god of ritual madness, wild frenzy, festivity and pleasure. He is also called Bacchus.

He was usually accompanied by Satyrs (lustful, drunken woodland deities who were part human and part horse or goat) and Mainades (frenzied female devotees).

The thyrsos (a staff topped with a pinecone), a crown of ivy, fruiting grapevines, a drinking cup and a panther are all associated with him. Frequently represented in ancient art, he was first shown as a mature, bearded adult wearing an ivy wreath and a long robe that was sometimes draped with the skin of a fawn or a feline. In later times, he was depicted as youthful and beardless, effeminate, and partially or entirely nude.As such he is among the most versatile and elusive Greek gods.

According to mythagora.com, Dionysos’ life began with intrigue and disaster. “Zeus was attracted to the lovely princess of Thebes but his appreciation of Thyone did not escape the notice of his sister/wife, Hera. The vengeful goddess dared not interfere overtly with Zeus’s affairs but she was a master of subtlety. When it became obvious that Thyone was pregnant, Hera enchanted Thyone and induced her ask Zeus to come to her in his radiant splendor. Zeus was flattered and revealed himself to Thyone in all his flaming glory … she was utterly consumed by the flames.

Zeus’s son Hermes rescued Thyone’s premature child from the conflagration that consumed Thyone’s mortal body and gave the babe to a woman named Makris, daughter of Aristaios, on the island of Euboia. Makris did what she could to sooth the child but Hera was quick to realize what had happened … she drove Makris from her home. Zeus took the infant from Makris and sewed it into his thigh so that it might have his protection.”

Dionysos later journeys to the underworld, gets his mother and takes “her to Olympus where Zeus transformed into the goddess Thyone,” according to the Theo Greek Mythology website.

When Dionysos and his companions as were traveling through the Land of Thrakian, the king drove them into the sea. “As punishment,” the website states, “the god inflicted him with madness causing him to murder his wife and son and mutilate himself with an axe.

When King Pentheus of Thebes refused to accept Dionysos’ divinity, Dionysos retaliated by driving the king’s daughters into a crazed frenzy and they tore him apart limb from limb, Theo Greek Mythology states.

Another myth shared on the website tells of Dionysos traveling through the Aegean Sea when he was captured by a band of Tyrrhenian pirates who planned to sell him into slavery. “The god infested their ship with phantoms of creeping vines and wild beasts, and in terror the men leapt overboard and were transformed into dolphins.”

Dionysos married princess Ariadne of Krete (Crete) whom he found abandoned by Theseus on an island.


He traveled as far as India, and upon his return to Greece, those who welcomed him adopted his rituals. His followers also wore or carried pinecone-topped staffs, ivy crowns and drinking cups. Dionysos punished those who rejected him with madness or physical afflictions, or he would turn them into animals. Over time, drinking wine became his sacrament, even to the point of drunkenness.

According to N.S. Gill’s article on Thoughtco.com, “Dionysos is a patron of the theater and an agricultural/fertility god. … Writers often contrast Dionysus with his half-brother Apollo. Where Apollo personifies the cerebral aspects of mankind, Dionysus represents the libido and gratification.”

Despite being the creator and god of wine, the ritual madness associated with Dionysus did not involve alcohol or drugs. “Their wild dancing and estate ecstatic behaviour were interpreted as ‘madness’ only by the uninitiated,” according to the Ancient World Project at the University of Michigan.

Greek theater is said to come from the worship of Dionysus in Athens. The Theater of Dionysus held 17,000. Plays were performed honoring Dionysus as god of wine. It’s said that tragedies dramatized his negative and destructive traits while comedies incorporated innocence, humor and his many festivals

When you incorporate wine into your celebrations, rituals, or for cakes and ale, honoring Dionysus can bring fertility and gratification.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

GoodGod!

June, 2018

Meet the Gods: Bes

 

 

Merry meet.

Bes was an Egyptian god who brought comfort and protection to mothers and children. The somewhat comical, somewhat sinister-looking bearded dwarf looks human but is often also portrayed as part animal – generally a lion with a mane and tail, or with wings. He has a plump body, bow legs, prominent genitals and is sticking out his tongue. He is always shown facing forwards, unlike most Egyptian Gods who are shown in profile. On occasion, Bes is wearing a plumed headdress or a crown, and carrying a rattle, drum, tambourine or knife.

 

 

Also known as Bisu and Aha, he was a deity and a demonic fighter. A god of war, “he was also a patron of childbirth and the home, and was associated with sexuality, humour, music and dancing,” according to ancientegyptonline.co.uk. “Although he began as a protector of the pharaoh, he became very popular with every day Egyptian people because he protected women and children above all others. He had no temples and there were no priests ordained in his name. However, he was one of the most popular gods of ancient Egypt and was often depicted on household items such as furniture, mirrors and cosmetics containers and applicators as well as magical wands and knives.”

Apparently, he got the name Aha, meaning fighter, because he could kill lions, bears and snakes with his hands. Although labeled a demon, there he was not considered evil, but rather, drove evil spirits away.

Laboring mothers would call on Bes for help. It is said he would stay on after birth to protect and entertain the child, and that when a baby smiled for no apparent reason, it was because Bes was making funny faces for them.

 

 

Using dance and music, he would also chase away bad spirits during sex and sleep. That’s why he could be found carved into the legs of beds – to protect people during the night when they were most vulnerable.

Egyptians would put a statue of him near the door to protect their home from evil spirits wanting to cause harm. He appeared on the walls of temples and homes, and was on thousands of amulets and charms, protecting people from the dangers of everyday life such as menacing animals and food going bad.

 

 

Bes is the first subject to be identified in early Egyptian tattoos, according to “Tattoo: Symbol and Meanings,” by Jack Watkins.

Performers often had tattoos of Bes because of his association with dancing and music. It is also thought that sacred prostitutes may have had a tattoo of Bes placed near their pubic area in order to prevent venereal diseases, but it is also possible that the tattoos related to fertility,” Watkins wrote.

Bes’ wife, Beset, was the female version of himself. Images of them naked were painted on walls.

Merry part. And merry meet again

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

Book Review: Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco

May, 2018

Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches

 

 

Author: Melusine Draco

Publisher Moon

Length:96 Pages

 

I found this book to be a fascinating read. The author opens with The Orphic Hymn to Pan. She talks about the Coven of the Scales, of which she is the Principal Tutor, they worship Aegocerus “the Goat-God” and not Cernunnos. Ms. Draco puts forth the question, “How did the pre-Olympian Deity find his way into traditional witchcraft of Britain?” No other foreign Deity has been added to Traditional British Old Craft, so why Pan?

Ms. Draco goes into some great depth on the history of Pan. She does this in a way that is very smooth and never a dry read. It is interesting to think that because in early times art was a way of teaching, the early church was able to pick Pan as a stand-in for their Devil. People didn’t know how to read, so the church used art to teach them what to fear and what to love. So, they had to change the landscape. You can’t fear a scruffy looking being playing the pipes surrounded by half-naked beauties in a lush green valley. The church changed his surroundings.

Ms. Draco writes about the resurgence of interest that lasted into the early 1920’s. Here she talks about some of the writings that many pagans grew up reading or having read to them by their parents. One of these stories is that of “The Wind in the Willows” By Kenneth Grahame. “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” is very much the story of Pan appearing to the characters of the story. He looks like a protector of the wild places. The way this piece reads you feel a closeness to Pan that is calm and beautiful.

I also learned all the different names of the different types of nymphs from this book about Pan. I find that the history of Pan, in all the different ways he was seen, to be fascinating. It becomes an attractive subject, in such a way that if you would let it, it could quickly become a rabbit hole for you to fall down.

Ms. Draco’s book “Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches” is both entertaining and educational for those Pagan’s seeking more knowledge of an old God, that seems older than even the Olympian Gods.

I look forward to reading more of Ms. Draco’s books and in learning more about the “Goat-God.”

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Good God!

March, 2017

Meet the Gods: Mars

Mars

(Image by Samantha Sullivan)

Merry meet.

In Roman mythology, Mars is the god of war; he was the most prominent of the Roman’s military gods and the most important god in the pantheon after Jupiter, the supreme god. Most of his festivals – featuring with chariot races and animal sacrifices – were held in March, the month named for him. His priests would honor him by dancing – clad in full armor – at the site of his altar in the Field of Mars, a floodplain of the Tiber River, that was also home to the temple of Apollo. More festivals were held to honor Mars in October.

Mars was represented as an armed warrior with a spear and a shield, Sources say he regarded the wolf and the woodpecker as sacred.

His Greek equivalent is Ares.

In early Roman times he was a god of agriculture.

Mars was the father of Romulus, said to be the founder of the Roman nation, and Remus; their mother was Rhea Silvia. Venus, with whom Mars had a love affair, was the divine mother of Aeneas, a Trojan refugee credited with founding Rome generations before Romulus erected the city’s walls. That love affair appealed to poets and philosophers, and the couple was frequently found in art.

Mars was also associated with Bellona, the Roman goddess of war.

As the god of war, Mars could be associated with bloodshed. Blood, along with soil on the planet Mars are both red because they are rich in iron. In Roman mythology, Mars’ chariot was pulled by two horses: Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror or panic). When American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered that Mars had two small moons, he named them after the two mythical horses.

According to witchipedia.com, astrologically, Mars is associated with confidence and self assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition, and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. It is ruled by fire in Chinese astrology, making it passionate, energetic and adventurous. In Indian astrology, Mars is called Mangala and represents energy, confidence and ego.

In addition to Mars being associated with the color red, it is also associated with the tower card in tarot decks, the horse, the bear and the wolf, per Witchipedia.

In magic, Mars’ energy can be called on when dealing with battles, when feeling attacked, or when courage or strength are needed. Its energy lends itself to sexual potency, lust and passion, but not to love and loyalty.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

October, 2016

 

The Korrigan

While the Korrigan, or Korrigans, were not necessarily Goddesses themselves, depending upon which myth and/or legend you believe, they were most definitely Her priestesses, and yes, The Korrigan, alone, may have been a Goddess.

In France, Korrigan was the name of the Goddess of underground springs and wells. It was rumored that She was the grand-daughter of a great Druid Priestess. She was beautiful and She was radiant. Her powers were strongest at night, when she appeared as a Maiden. During the day, in her guise as the Crone, her powers waned.

korrigan1

She was said to be not only beautiful, but dangerous; however, the danger was never toward women. Men who saw who were killed outright or forced to marry her and never return to their own lives.

In other myths, the Korrigans were faeries or spirits. They may have possibly been water faeiries, haunting fountains and wells, where they would lure men to them, in the way of Sirens. This, ulitmately, would end in the death of the man.

The Korrigans were thought to be the spirits of Priestesses who were angry at the rise of Christianity and fought it.

(Note: This would make sense due to the possibility of the Korrigan (singular) being the grand-daughter of a Priestess.)

Because of this, the new church portrayed them as demonic, as they did with so much of the old pagan traditions and deities. In turn, the Korrigans were do what they could to tempt and lure the priests. These priests would ring the church bells, as it was said that the Korrigans could not abide the sound.

On the night of Samhain, they would lurk near dolmens, stone tombs, and waiting for a victim; they most likely were the ones who would switch a human infant with a changeling.

The Korrigans would have their Spring Festival, where a goblet of inspiration and wisdom was passed from one to another. Apparently, any man who saw this ritual would instantly fall dead.

korrigan2

However, not all stories of the Korrigan or Korrigans were dark and mischievous.

One legend has it that there were nine of them, all healers, living in a sacred grove. They are described as being shape-shifters, which explains how they were sometimes seen as water faeries, goblins, beautiful young girls or wizened crones.

The nine would circle a fountain, dancing under the light of the full moon, as in ritual.

korrigan3

Looking at the stories of them as Priestesses living in a sacred grove, and combine that with the fact that there is mention made of the Nine Korrigans of the Sacred Isle and the Nine Fays of Britain. This directly connects them to the Nine Sisters or Morgens of Avalon. If you look at their Spring Festival, it is easy to see that this goblet of inspiration and wisdom is actually the Holy Grail, the cup and womb of the Goddess.

This would bear witness to how some of the old pagan stories were changed by the new religion of Christianity until there was almost nothing left of their origins, except in instances like this, where we can connect the one to the other and find their common beginning.

Were the Korrigan(s) dark, evil and murderous? Or were they Goddesses, or at least, Priestesses of the Goddess? I’m going to go with the latter of the two. I believe their stories/myths/legends were changed to fit a new paradigm; a paradigm that would not tolerate a beautiful Goddess or Her Priestess that could shift their shapes, foretell the future and heal the sick.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2016

Maia

goddess

(Photo Credit: femcompetitor.com)

Maia is the Goddess for whom the month of May is named. 

Various meanings of her name are *grandmother*, *midwife*, *wise one*, *She Who is Great*. In Rome, she was also known as “Maia Maiestas”, meaning “Maia the Majestic”.

While much of Her story has been forgotten, there are a few things we do know about Her.

She was the eldest daughter of Atlas and Pleione, the oldest of what came to be known as the Pleiades; as such, in Greece, She was also called the Goddess of the Night Sky.

The Pleiades were the 7 Sisters who were nymphs in the company of emis. Their name became the name of the 7 star-cluster constellation in our night sky. They were born in a cave on Mount Cyllene, where Maia continued to live, quite secluded.

goddess1

(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Apparently, she was not quite secluded enough as Zeus found her, and in due course, She gave birth to Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods. She is sometimes called the *Grandmother of Magic*, as it is said (but highly doubtful) that Hermes invented magic. Maia was also given Arcas, Zeus’ son by Callisto, to raise as Callisto was turned into a bear by the Goddess Hera, who was ever jealous of Zeus’ extra-marital relationships.

In Rome, She was Earth Goddess; the goddess of youth, love, birth and sexuality. She was the goddess of plants and of Spring. She was also a Fire Goddess, who ruled growth, warmth and sexual heat. She was paired with the God Vulcan, as he also was a deity of heat and fire. She was

honored in Rome in the month of August at August Volcanalia, a festival to ward off fires that were caused by the dry weather and extreme heat that could destroy the harvest.

She was celebrated as the Goddess of Spring, welcoming in the renewal and rebirth of the new season, shedding the death of winter. She represented growth and fertility and was honored with an abundance of flowers at her festival on May 1st. This festival was eventually changed to honor Mary as the Queen of Flowers, but it will always belong to Maia.

goddess2

(Photo Credit: greekgoddesses.wikia.com)

In both Greek and Roman cultures, Maia was strongly identified with Mother Earth, who in Greek was Gaia to the Roman Terra. She was also identified with Bona Dea, The Good Goddess.

goddess3

(Photo Credit: listal.com)

May all the joys of Spring be yours!

Many blessings!

)O(

Friendship with the Gods

May, 2016

I have called this ‘friendship’ with the gods rather than ‘devotion,’ because pagan religion does not require us to fake emotions the way the biblical religions do. As many of us know, Jews and Christians are commanded “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind, and all thy strength.” Was a more impossible commandment ever given? The pagan gods of nature, unlike Yahweh, “in whom we live, move and have our being,” do not compass us round about. They arise from chaos at the beginning of a world cycle and build a new world out of matter in the chaotic state. “Chaos,” which later biblical theologians have mistranslated as a void, meant in Hebrew (and other ancient languages) a devastation, the world left over from its destruction at the end of the previous cosmic cycle.

So the gods build a new world around themselves and live in it as their cosmic house. They create animals, plants, men, and other beings, of gross and of subtle matter (spirit), to share their habitation with them. This is not creation out of nothing; indeed, the idea of something coming from nothing was at first absent from, and later repugnant to, the ancient mind. In the still largely pagan Genesis, Yahweh creates Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathes into him his breath-soul, in Hebrew his nephesh, made out of subtle or elemental air. Odin, Vili, and Ve create the first man and woman out of an ash and elm tree, respectively, found along the shore of the primeval sea.

Thus the gods are our neighbors, as well as, in a sense, our parents and elder brothers and sisters. They inhabit the cosmic world of time and space with us. They live a very long time, but not forever. They perhaps inhabit a higher dimension as well as ours (there is no reason why our cosmic home should not have more dimensions), but they do not inhabit eternity. They are not transcendent in any absolute sense. They are wise, powerful, and generally benevolent; but they are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. They are persons like us, if incomparably older and more sublime and powerful.

This means that if I want to become acquainted with some of the gods, I must put myself forward and greet them respectfully, as if for the first time, for it will be the first time, at least for this incarnation. And the same rules of social intercourse that hold between humans hold between humans and gods. To take an 18th century parallel, it is like a country farmer calling on the local squire for the first time. This gives us a clue to how best to approach the gods.

If you were a country squire and a local farmer approached you for the first time, fell on his face and begged for mercy, how would you feel about it? Chances are you would not like it, and neither do the gods. Though, as we know, a few gods here and there do like it, for they are after slaves rather than friends and neighbors. But let us leave them to their slaves and focus on the pleasant gods of paganism.

The story of the Pharisee’s prayer in the New Testament, contrasting the praying of a Hellenized Jew with the groveling of a more orthodox Jewish publican (tax farmer), is informative for neo-pagans inquiring into the right way to approach the gods. The Pharisee, though a monotheist, has learned the temple etiquette of the Greeks. He stands before the altar in an attitude of self-respect and thanks his god for having made him the way he is. He mentions his alms-giving, his fasting, and his other accomplishments. The gospel account presents him as self-satisfied and vain, but notice that he takes no credit for his virtues but instead thanks his god for having granted them to him. Nearby, the wretched publican (who oppresses the poor as a tax farmer) is groveling in the dirt and imploring mercy from his god. The Pharisee notices him and adds thanks to his god that he did not make him like that; in so doing, he is not blaming the publican but assuming he cannot help himself: Yahweh has made him as he is, and the Pharisee thanks Yahweh for making him a different sort of person.

The European pagans, except when in dire extremity from plague or famine, approached their gods in this manner, for they wished to be friends with their gods above all. They also generally prayed when in a light-hearted mood, and this was no doubt very important the first time they made contact with a deity. You would not wish to be friends with someone who pulled a long face the first time he met you. The idea is not to fake cheerfulness, but to wait until you are light-hearted and cheerful before making first contact with a god; and most of your interactions with a deity should be conducted in the same way. After all, the most common reason for prayer is to thank the gods, and in order to do this sincerely we must feel thankful. They are sensitive to our feelings as well as our words, and if we thank them while feeling depressed or deprived they will know it.

Pick two or three deities to start, not all of them great gods, but on different levels. It is good to start with household deities like the threshold and hearth guardians. Then add in the sun and moon, and possibly the night. Night is a great goddess, akin to chaos and fate, and we should salute her when darkness falls. She is the origin and final destiny of men and gods, and it is good to connect with her. We cannot ask her for favors (she is implacable), but a positive relation to her helps us to accept those things in our lives which are fated.

Make a little altar or two to your new friends, and include incense, a candle, a bowl of water, and possibly a dish of salt and/or grain (afterwards distribute these to plants and animals). Light the candle and then address the deity. The usual tradition is that the deity is not present until the candle is lit; it is like putting through a call on the phone. This is convenient, for you would not like the deity to watch you twenty-four hours a day, and the deity wouldn’t like it, either. They have other things to do. This is a big difference with the biblical god, who watches us like a hawk day and night and never sleeps. The gods sleep, and wake, eat and drink and laugh and make love, just as we do.

If you spend time occasionally with your gods you will get a sense of an ongoing friendship with them. They will become part of your personal history, and you will have a small share in theirs, which is their myth. Please don’t think you have to visit with them every day. Give them a break!

They do not seek to become your all-in-all; they are content to check in with you occasionally. But if you ask them for a favor, you must thank them after it is granted. And here you will receive a pleasant surprise. If you do not lame your prayer by adding the words ‘if it is your will,’ you will often find your request granted, though not always in the way you anticipate. Do not ever say ‘thy will be done’! This is one more example of a back-handed compliment paid by biblical worshippers. Of course the god or goddess will do as he or she wishes; you don’t have to remind them that they have free will! Nor need you reassure them of your friendship and continued loyalty if for some reason they cannot, or will not, grant you your request. These practices contain veiled insults to them.

As you continue in your friendships with gods and demigods (daimones, the local deities of house and field), you may find your friendly feelings blossoming into something like love and devotion. That is all right, but it is best to keep it light in your prayers to them. Don’t embarrass them by professing love, for they know how you feel anyhow (when the candle is lit and you are praying to them) and the gap between god and human cannot be bridged in any case; and to put yourself forward in this way would be presumptuous, to say the least. Be content to be good friends.

If you are a good neighbor to your gods, they will reciprocate.

She who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

January, 2016

Isis

I have chosen Isis for this month’s column because I do believe it is time for us and Her to reclaim Her name from those who use it to bring terror, evil, murder and injustice into our world. She is a Goddess from the beginning and She is still worshipped today. Let Her name be heard and live beyond those who dishonor her.

There, in the beginning was Isis, Oldest of the Old, She

was the Goddess from whom all Becoming arose.

She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the Two Lands,

Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of

the House of Life. She was the Unique. In all Her

great and wonderful works, She was a wiser magician

and more excellent than any other.”

~ ~ R. E. Witt

isis1

(Photo credit: nasrinsafai.com)

Our beloved Isis was the first daughter of Nut, the Sky Goddess and Geb, the Earth God. Her twin sister-Goddess was Nepthys.

Isis was kind to her people, spending time with them, teaching the women how to grind corn and make bread. She taught the people agriculture and reading.

One of the stories surrounding Her is the anger she felt at Ra’s uncaring and cruelty to the people. She fashioned a snake out of mud and Ra’s saliva, which she had stolen. When Ra was subsequently bitten by this snake, becoming very ill, he ironically called for Isis to cure him due to her powerful healing magic. She refused to do this unless he gave to Her his secret name of power. Continuing to feel ill, Ra agreed and whispered his secret name to Her, realizing that from that point on, Isis would then have power over him.

While Isis loved Her people, She most loved her beloved brother/ lover/consort/husband Osiris. Overcome with jealously, their brother Set, who wanted Isis for his own, killed Osiris. Isis went into mourning, deeply grieving for him. She set out to search for his body.

In her travels, She came upon the Phoenician Queen, Astarte, who did not recognize her and hired her as a nursemaid for her child. Isis attempted to gift this child with immortality, laying him within a fire. The Queen saw this and became angered, pulling the child from the fireplace. As she turned to face the nursemaid, She revealed Herself as Isis. In atonement for her anger against the Goddess, Astarte revealed that Osiris’s body was hidden in a nearby tamarisk tree.

As Isis is returning to Egypt, Set comes upon Her and steals the body of Osiris, dismembering it and hiding each part separately. Once again, Isis searches for Her beloved. She finds each piece but one. She fashions Osiris a new penis out of gold, anoints him with oils and brings him back from the land of the dead. He impregnates Her and their son, Horus, is born.

isis2

(Photo Credit: ancienttreasures.com)

Isis was also known as Au Set, Auzit, Eset and Isis, the All Goddess.

These are but a few of her names. As Her own powers grew and as She took on the powers of lesser Goddesses, her names also grew.

Her name is similar to Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth and it has been suggested that they have a common distant origin. She was associated with the Goddess Hathor, with whom she has sometimes been mistaken and had a close relationship with the Goddess Bast, who’s name is “Ba-Ast”, or “Soul of Isis”. There were always cats in the temples of Isis.

She was known as “Isis Myrionymos” or Goddess of Ten Thousand, which we know Her as still today.

isis3

(Photo Credit: ahanaenterprises.com)

She is the Mother of the Sun, She is the Moon. She is the Goddess of the Earth and Stars; the Goddess of Healing and Magic, as we have seen from the two previous stories; She is the Goddess of Love and Motherhood. She is the Goddess of Medicine and Wisdom. She is the Giver of Life and Guide to the Underworld, protecting all with Her outstretched wings.

She was also known as the Goddess of the Sea, known as “Isis Euploia” or “Isis of Good Sailing”. One of Her festivals is the “Isidis Navigium”, held on March 5. There was joy, music and dancing as boats were dedicated to Her, as She held the power of the seas and the tides.

Other of Her festivals are the “Going Forth of Isis”, held on October 7, when Her image was decorated and proceeded to “visit” the temples of other deities.

June 14 is the “Night of the Tear Drop”, to commemorate and remember Her mourning of Osiris. It is said that when She wept, the Nile flooded.

Of course, one must not forget Her birthday celebrations on July 30.

Some of Isis’ many symbols are the full moon, the stars, Her diadem headdress (moon with horns), the ankh and the sistrum, used in Her many celebrations.

Of the many temples that were dedicated to Her, the one in Abydos was said to pre-date the pyramids. Of course, there were temples to Her in Alexandria, Petra, which was used for healing, Coptos and at least one in Roman London.

isis4

(Photo credit: dreamstime.com)

Some of these temples have been removed from Egypt. The Temple of Tafla is now located at the Museum of Antiquities in Leiden in the Netherlands. The Temple of Debad is in Municipal Park in Madrid, Spain. The one closest to my heart, as I have been there several times, is the Temple of Dendur which now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of in New York City, New York, USA. Please see this month’s “Sacred Place/Sacred Space” column for more on the Dendur Temple.

isis5

(Photo Credit: Susan Morgaine)

I wish you peace and the blessings of Isis.

**Personal Note: In my quest to reclaim Isis’ name, I currently have her on my Yule altar. After the new year, I will be putting together a ritual to continue this. If anyone is interested in joining me, please email me at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com and I will be happy to send you the ritual when it is finished.**

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

The Mysteries of Isis by DeTraci Regula

Isis Magic by M. Isadora Forrest

Next »