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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.

 

A Woman’s Place

May, 2018

Judging Women Ourselves & Others

One of the things that stand out for me in the everyday world is how women judge themselves, and other women, so harshly.

It happens between friends when one is unintentionally hurt by the words of others. In a friendship, for the most part, although there are exceptions, no one ever wants to hurt the other, but it happens. You apologize and, with hope, move forward.   

Stop a moment and think about how much and how often we judge others; those we know, and more often, those we do not know.  This is especially prevalent in women; women judging ourselves and women cruelly judging other women.  We do it; we ALL do it, even those who believe we are enlightenedand feminist in our thinking, whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not.

I am of the opinion that this is the way this patriarchal culture, this male-dominated society, has trained us to be so.  I am not going to go into the many wrongs done to women and to people of color by a white-male privileged society, not here anyway and not yet (fair warning).  This is more to the way women are trained from birth to judge and to distrust other women.

It would appear that the most important thing any female can do in this culture is to find a man, keep him, marry him and raise a family.  We are told this continually, we see it daily in movies, on TV, in books (for those fortunate enough to love to read).  This is the life we are trained for.  Little girls get toy vacuums, little plastic kitchens, tea sets; we are the ones who are taught to set the table, clean the house, do the chores, and maybe get taught how to cook, at least the basics.  As we grow older, we shave the unwanted hair on our bodies, make ourselves up like kewpie dolls, all in the name of getting a man”.  

(Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash)

As we look around at the men available to us, the women who should be our friends, our allies, somehow become our enemies, our rivals, in the getting of a man.  So, we look at them.  What do they have that I dont have?  What color is their hair?  Are they fat?  Are they thin?  Who looks at them and who looks at me?  We slowly begin to judge ourselves how do we stack up compared to them.  Media and culture being what it is, we NEVER come out on top.  There is something wrong with us, because we are TOLD something is wrong with us.   We begin to judge the other women.  If we are not perfect, then neither are they.  This does not make us sympathetic to them because we can relate; this makes us judge them even more harshly.  It becomes shes ugly”, shes so fat, shes easy, whatever the hell that might be.  The names being “fatso”, “slut”, “whore”, bitch”.  How often do the mean girlsstop and think about how they may feel if these words were hurled at them in hatred?  Unfortunately, words like this are said by even those who are not considered the mean girls and it continues into adulthood. When women, themselves, judge each other, see each other as “enemies”, how hard does patriarchy need to work to put us down? Not very hard as we put ourselves down.

This, I believe, is one of the biggest problems faced by feminism, and, really, it does not matter if you are a radical feminist, or a liberal feminist or anything in between because we are all affected. Seriously, how do you get a woman raised to believe they are second-best, inferior, not-good-enough, to get rid of the judging, get rid of the distrust and band together, stand together to fight the status quo?  

I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I believe it starts by teaching little girls they are valuable, they are worthy, they are important.  We teach them that the Divine once was, and still is, a woman.  We continue this dialogue that has already begun, with each and every woman we meet in real life and online.  We create sacred circles of women to stand together and be strong and TEACH each younger generation of women what is right and what has been wrong for so, so long in the treatment of women and it has to change and it has to begin, and continue, with women.

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

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She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2016

Maia

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(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.

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(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.

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(Photo Credit: listal.com)

May all the joys of Spring be yours!

Many blessings!

)O(

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

May, 2015

Croning Part 2

Croning : when, where and with whom

cameo
Merry meet!
This month is the second of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone. It touches on when, where and with whom to celebrate.
Croning can be a done alone or before a group. That group can include only women, a community such as a grove or a coven, or family and friends. It can include a formal circle, a picnic or a restaurant dinner. In other words, it can be be anything the crone wishes.
The crone rules the dark of the year (from Mabon to Yule or even up until mid-January). It’s her time of power. It’s also the time of death. The crone creates the ending so the maiden can begin again. The waning moon (from full to new) is also a time of gathering darkness, hence it is also the crone’s time. Planning a ceremony to coincide with those energies would be a natural choice.
Other dates that might be significant include a birthday, the anniversary of the day you committed to your path, or the day you initiated an ending. You could also hold a croning by yourself at the stroke of astrological Samhain or with hundreds of witnesses as part of a pagan festival.
I had to choose between croning during an annual Mabon weekend retreat with about 20 magical women, primarily witches, or to have it at Samhain so that I could also invite some family and friends – including men – who would not be part of the retreat.
As much as I wanted to be able to share my croning with a few very special non pagans in my life, I chose the Mabon weekend because that clan comes from far and wide I knew the chances of them all gathering again six weeks later were slim. Choosing the Mabon retreat also meant a lot of the logistics were already taken care of.
I recently participated in a handfasting where about a quarter of the attendees were witches. We set up the altar, cast a small circle, called the quarters and performed the sacred rite while family and friends watched. Something similar could be arranged for a croning ceremony, or you could choose to include everyone in the circle.
If you have a mixed group, you might want to give more details, instructions and explanations before and during the ceremony so that everyone understands what is occurring and what is expected of them. Consider providing an outline along with the words to any responses, chants or songs.
Two crones worked with me as I moved through the process of discussions, decisions and doings. We met a couple of times over breakfast to talk about accepting the mantle of pagan elder and the work I would would perform in preparation. Then I was told that everything else was out of my hands.
More years than not, I’ve planned the weekend’s worth of rituals, sometimes alone, sometimes with others. I had begun to plan my croning ritual, and had even picked up a book on the topic. It was surrendered along with the Mabon ritual from the previous year … and part of my training was to practice letting go. It was not an easy lesson.
I spent time creating a Facebook page called Cauldron of Care (which you are invited to join) and another called Council of Crones (which has yet to be perfected). With the help of a carpenter, I made a staff. While it’s common to gift the crone, this crone wanted to gift, so I worked to make wisdom scrolls and flower essences, and wrapped the most awesome old witch cameo pins to give to my sister crones.
I was asked two more questions: was there a symbol of cronehood I wished to be presented with (I chose a shawl, which a friend was making as a gift), and which of the crone Goddesses I wished to call (I chose the Norns).
You might well have the opportunity to plan more of your own ritual. You can find books and websites with a wide variety. You are free to pick and choose parts of them, incorporating as many components as are important and meaningful to you into your own ritual. What you want could determine where the event is held: a room at a restaurant, a rented hall, a living room or a place in nature – keeping in mind any challenges your guest may have.
Next month I’ll write about crone symbols. July will prompt you to reflect on your life and the wisdom you have to share. My croning ritual will be a large part of the August column, along with some ideas for your own and some references. We’ll wrap up in September with any questions you may have as well as some details that did not fit into previous columns.
Merry part. And merry meet again.