goddess

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

June, 2015

Kwan Yin, The Goddess of Mercy and Compassion

(This column is dedicated to my dear friend, Denise M.)

I think that, at least one time or another, we all need a little mercy and compassion in our lives. When times are such that this is what you need, look no further than Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.

She is known by many names in many place – Kannon in Japan; Gwan-Eum in Korea, Kuan Im in Thailand; and other similar pronunciations in bordering countries.

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A mind perfected in the four virtues,
A gold body filled with wisdom,
Fringes of dangling pearls and jade,
Scented bracelets set with lustrous treasures,
Dark hair piled smoothly in a coiled-dragon bun,
And elegant sashes lightly fluttering as phoenix quills, Her green jade buttons
And white silk robe
Bathed in holy light;
Her velvet skirt
And golden cords
Wrapped by hallowed air,
With brows of new moon shape
And eyes like two bright stars,
Her jadelike face beams of natural joy,
And her ruddy lips seem a flash of red.
Her immaculate vase overflows with nectar from year to year,
Holding sprigs of weeping willow green from age to age.
She disperses the eight woes;
She redeems the multitude;
She has great compassion;
Thus she rules on the T’ai Mountain,
And loves at the South Sea .
She saves the poor, searching for their voices,
Ever heedful and solicitous,
Ever wise and efficacious.
Her orchid heart delights in green bamboos;
Her chaste nature loves the wisteria.
She is the merciful ruler of Potalaka Mountain,
The Living Kuan Yin from the Cave of Tidal Sound.

kwan

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Because there are different interpretations of Kwan Yin in different countries, there are several stories of her origination. I will share two of them here.

The Story of Thi Kinh

Thi Kinh was a young girl who lived with her parents in a small village. Her father owed money to his landlord and gave his daughter to the landlord’s son to marry. One night as her husband was sleeping, she took a scissors to cut a hair out of a mole on his face. He awoke and thought that she was trying to kill him. She was thrust out on her own, with no family and no where to go. She decided to shave her long hair and dress as a monk so that she would be able to stay at the Buddhist temple. One of the village girls saw her (dressed as a monk) and became infatuated. One night she saw someone she thought was him (really her) and invited him in, whereupon they had sex. When she became pregnant, she named Thi Kinh as the father.

Thi Kinh was banished from the temple, once again becoming homeless, never telling anyone that she was a woman, so as not to shame the young pregnant village girl, even though it would exonerate her. She chose to live her Buddhist beliefs and forgive the young girl, protect her and suffer the abuse of the village.

The child was given to Thi Kinh to raise. She went from village to village begging for food for the child, and was abused at each place she stopped for shaming Buddhism But she continued on, until at one village, she was beaten to death. When her clothing was removed, it was discovered that she was, indeed, a woman and could not have gotten the young village girl pregnant. The villages then revered Thi Kinh for what suffered on behalf of this young girl. Her spirit became Kwan Yin.

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The Story of Princess Miao Shan

At the time of Miao Shan’s birth, her mother the queen, dreamed about the moon; the earth shook and the child was born amidst the smell of flowers. She was enveloped in a radiant light and all knew she was a Goddess. However, her royal parents had wanted a son.

She was extremely kind and patient and refused to marry as her father insisted. As he grew angry, he made her do the worst chores around the palace and barely gave her food; he then sent her to a nunnery, insisting that they continue her punishment for disobeying him. She did all of them without a complaint. The Master of Heaven, seeing her, sent animals and birds to help her. When she still refused to marry, her father sent his men to kill all of the nuns by setting fire to the nunnery. When the nuns turned on her for bringing this upon them, she felt responsible and punctured the top of her mouth and spit blood into the air, praying to the Buddha. The blood turned into water and put out the fire. Her father then brought her back and had her executed. The Master of Heaven sent a giant tiger to bring her body to him. She came back to life after living in heaven for a while, and went to live upon a mountain. Her evil father was constantly ill due to the vileness of his nature. While he lay dying, a strange monk came and told him if he could “take the arm and eye of one who is without anger”, he should combine them and apply them to become well. No one was without anger, and no one would sacrifice themselves for this evil man. The monk told him that someone such as this lived on the nearby mountain. Her father sent a message, not knowing it was the daughter he had killed. When she heard her father was dying, she gouged out her eyes and cut off both of her arms and her father was cured. Her parents traveled to visit this person and recognized her as their daughter and begged her forgiveness.

She rose into the air to become the Thousand-Armed and Thousand Eyed Guan Yin, for she now would have 10,000 eyes to see the suffering of the world, and 10,000 arms and hands to help those in need.

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In Talmage, Mendocino County, California is the international Buddhist community known as the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. In the Buddha hall, there are really 10,000 small buddha statues in niches in the walls. This hall is for meditating and chanting and is dominated by a large golden statue of Kwan Yin.

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Kwan Yin is a manifestation of the Divine Mother, the nurturer, the caregiver, the comforter, the one who hears the cries of all those who are suffering. She is sometimes seen as holding a willow branch, which she uses to heal illness and to fulfill the requests of her followers. She is also seen with a vase symbolizing the nectar of compassion and her wisdom. Most often, she is seen as sitting upon a lotus blossom. The lotus is an amazing flower, which grows from the mud, opens and blooms each morning and closes each night. The lotus symbolizes rising to the occasion and blooming to your true potential.

Namo Guan Shih Yin Pu-Sa

kwan4

(Hail to Kwan Yin Bodhisattva)

May the blessings of the Goddess be upon you.

Namaste

)O(

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

March, 2015

Freya

Untitled

 

 

Freya, or Freyja, Queen of the Valkyries and Queen Mother of the Vanir, is both a goddess of love, peace and sexuality, as well as the ruler of war and death.

As a goddess of peace, she is the spirit of the Earth’s fertility, as she is always there when Spring has awakened, and removes herself from earth in the Fall and Winter.

As one of the Vanir, she was a giver of magic, and as such, she taught women chosen by her, magic songs to allow them to see into the future.

As Queen of the Valkyries, she clothed herself in a falcon-feathered cloak and her amber necklace, donned a war helmet and carried a spear. As she drove her cat-drawn chariot of gold, she would claim the spirits of those who had fallen on the battlefield and bring them with her to her palace, in Folkvangir, in Asgard. Those whom she chose, would live with her and their afterlives were filled happiness. Those whom she did not choose would be escorted by her Valkyries to Odin. She would ease the transition of the deceased to Valhalla.

Although she was married to Od, the god of ecstasy, she took many of the gods as her lovers.

At one time, she visited the Land of the Dark Elves and watched them forge a most beautiful necklace; this necklace, she felt, should be hers. Every offer she made to the Elves was refused. She told them that whatever they wanted for the necklace would be theirs. Each of them asked for one night with her; and so, she stayed with each of the elves for one night and she received the necklace from them. As the necklace was placed upon her neck, it blazed with fire as a rainbow appeared in the sky. The morning star of the dawn was brought down by the light of the necklace, the flame of its’ forging. She brought these gifts to 

her people. This necklace became Brisingamen. Freya’s necklace is what some Norse still call the Milky Way.

Freya

Brisingamen was stolen from Freya by Loki, who turned himself into a flea, and while she slept, bit her on the cheek. This caused Freya to turn and allow Loki to remove the necklace. Loki brought the necklace to Od, as proof of Freya’s promiscuity. Od disappeared without a trace. Freya donned her feather cloak and searched the world for him, all the while weeping tears of gold. She searches for him still.

Goddess Blessings!

Enchanted Cottage

February, 2015

Brighid

 

brighid

 

 

I am Brighid-nam-Bratta: Brigit of the Mantle,

but I am also Brighid-Muirghin-na-tuinne: Brigit, Conception of the Waves,

and Brighid-sluagh, Brigit of the Faery Host,

Brighid-nan sitheachseang, Brigit of the Slim Faery Folk,

and Brighid-Binne-Bheule-lhuchd-nan-trusganan-uaine,

Brigit the Melodious Mouthed of the Tribe of the Green Mantles.

 

From Brigit Speaks by Fiona MacLeod

 

 

She is Goddess, Saint, and Faery Woman; She is Healer, Poet and Smith; She is Mother of Songs and , The Flame in the Heart of All Women and Mother of All Wisdom. Brighid, Goddess of the Hearth Fire, has many names known throughout the lands She was once worshiped and honored. As a Goddess that has survived through time under the guise of Saint, She has never been forgotten. She lives on in the hearts of Her people, healing the wounds left by the trials of life.

 

She is Saint Brigid, Foster Mother of Christ, and St. Brigid of Kildare where nineteen nuns tended a perpetual flame in Her honor. She is the patron saint of poets, children midwives and livestock.2 Ever present, Saint Brigid is still honored today by many Catholics and Pagans alike. Through Her healing nature and deep well of wisdom, She gathers Her children under Her mantle, filling them with Grace and Tranquility.

 

Known as Breo-Saighit and Bride in Scotland, Brigit in Ireland, Brigandu in France, Brigantia in England, and Ffraid in Wales3, Brighid and Brigid are now the most common spellings used. The most popular meaning for Her name is The Exalted One. She is the fiery or bright arrow, the bright flame of inspiration and is said to be the daughter of the Dagda, the Good God of the Tuatha De Dannan.

 

As Hearth Goddess, Brighid, or Brigandu as I like to call Her, is one of the most popular of the Gods to be worshipped in the home. She is a Goddess of healing and abundance, bringing health and prosperity to the home of those who worship Her.  Brigandu is the Bright Faery of Wisdom and Inspiration, bestowing a wealth of esoteric knowledge when called upon. She is Lady of Fire, warming our homes and hearts with Her presence.

 

Imbolc, also celebrated as Candlemas, is Brighid’s Holy Day. Celebrated on February 2nd, Candlemas, or the Feast of Lights, is a festival of Renewed Life. It is when the first stirrings of Spring are found and the warming of Earth begins as the Old Crone, Cailleach, passes Her White Wand of Winter to Brighid as it turns into the Green Wand of Spring.

 

Brigandu is Goddess of Magic, enchanting the Land She walks upon and charming the hearts of those who love this Bright Queen of Faery. She can be called upon while creating prayers and spoken spells, kindling the Creative Spark of Inspiration. Embrace the healing powers of Brighid as you brew teas of health and wellness, infusing them with love and compassion. Find comfort in the warmth and prosperity She bestows upon our homes, remembering to give thanks to The Exalted One. Create Bridie Dolls and Bridie Crosses in Her honor; the book Candlemas Feast of Flames by Amber K & Azrael Arynn K has instructions on how to make these.

 

There are many ways to connect with this Holy Goddess. Whether as Saint, Faery Queen, Patroness of Poets, Goddess of the Sea, or any of Her myriad epithets, Brigandu is a very approachable Goddess. A simple heartfelt prayer, or a reverent request for Her help accompanied by gratitude, will aid in inviting Brighid into your home.  Offerings of milk and honey are appropriate for this Radiant Queen, as are all healing herbs and poetry spoken from the heart. Light a candle, close your eyes, and whisper Her name—She will answer…

 

 

 

Brigit—Lady of Light

Your Fire burns bright in the hearts of many.

Brighid—Exalted One

Most High do I sing Your Name.

Brigantia—Sovereign One

Through You, I honor the Sacredness of the Land.

Brigandu—Bright Faery Queen

The Realms of Enchantment are Yours, my Queen.

Breedia—She Who Heals

I embrace Your Powers of Healing, may I become One with You.

Brigit—Brighid—Brigantia—Brigandu—Breedia

I give thanks for the Blessings You bestow upon my Life…

 

~Vivienne Moss~

 

 

Notes:

  1. Candlemas: Feast of Flames by Amber K & Azrael Aryyn K
  2. The Way of the Hedge Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
  3. Candlemas: Feast of Flames…

 

 

Further reading:

Kindling the Celtic Spirit by Mara Freeman (February: The Festival of Brigit)

Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint by Brian Wright

Priestess of Avalon Priestess of the Goddess by Kathy Jones (The Quickening: Imbolc Festival of the Maiden Goddess)

Candlemas: Feast of Flames by Amber K & Azrael Arryn K

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

February, 2015

Brigid

brigid

As I sit here writing this column, it is only a handful of days until Imbolc, which makes it easy to choose Brigid as this month’s Goddess.

 

She is known today, by many, as St. Bridget of the Christian church.  Oh, but she was and is so much more.

 

Brigit, pronounced “Breed” started at a triple goddess in Ireland and surrounding areas.  In England, she was known as Brigantia; in Scotland, Bride; in Celtic France, Brigandu.  Her name means “bright one” or “bright arrow”.  A great flame went out from her head and into the sky on the day of Her birth.  This flame, tended at a sacred shrine in Kildare by 19 maiden women, named the Daughters of the Flame, perpetually burned; and, it was said that it was tended by Brigit, herself, on the 20th day.   This flame was looked on only by women so that its’ purity would be always protected.

 

As a triple goddess, Her aspects are linked by both fire and water.

 

Brigit is the Keeper of the flame, and is credited with the invention of smithcraft, She is the Goddess of the forge and of the Hearth in each home.  She is the Poetess, the Goddess of storytelling and inspiration.  She brings wisdom and guidance as the Goddess of prophecy and divination.  She is a nurturer, the bringer of children as a mid-wife.

 

She is a Goddess of healing and well-being.  Numerous healing wells are dedicated to her, many in the surrounding areas of Kildare.

 

brigid2

 

 

 

As Christianity conquered the pagan people of old, the church found that Brigit was so loved and so revered, that they could not eradicate her worship.  As they did with so many of of our ancient deities and customs, they co-opted her into the church, transforming her into St. Bridget, claiming that she was a Druid’s daughter and baptized by St. Patrick, he who allegedly drove the snakes (pagans) from Ireland.

 

Her sacred flames burned until 1220, when a Norman Bishop, angered by the fact that men were not allowed into the presence of the sacred flame, forced his way in with his men and had the flame put out, using its’ pagan beginnings as his reasoning.  The flame was re-lit in 1993; it is now maintained by the Sisters of Bridget.

 

The Goddess Brigid has many symbols — the forge, the hearth, the wheel, the crossroads, which represent transformation, as they stand between light and dark.   There is also Brigid’s cross, which is said to bring good luck and to protect a home from fire.   There are many websites that can help you with instructions on how to make your own Brigid’s cross.

 

brigid3

 

 

Brigid is celebrated on Imbolc, February 1st, which is a time of purification and cleansing.   With her two opposite symbols of fire and water, it reminds us to always maintain a balance within our lives.  This is a time of transformation, and new beginnings.

 

To celebrate Brigid, one of the first things that should be done is to set up your Imbolc altar.  No matter the amount of space that you have available, a beautiful altar is yours for the making.  A statue of Brigid is a lovely addition to the altar, as are candles (for the symbol of fire), and chalices, (for the symbol of water).  Any spring-blooming plants would be appropriate.  Of course, your Brigid’s cross, if you have made one, would be perfect.  (The opening photo is the beginnings of my own Brigid/Imbolc altar.)

 

Before your ritual, knowing that this is a celebration of purification and cleansing, you should bath first with a mixture of sea salt, epsom salt, baking soda and lavender oil.

 

 

 

There are many rituals surrounding both Brigid and Imbolc.  This is the perfect time to re-dedicate yourself to your path.  For other ideas,  please check out:   http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/imbolcfebruary2/a/AllAbout_Imbolc.htm

 

 

“IRISH PRAYER TO BRIGID”

 

Brigid, gold-red woman

Brigid, flame and honeycomb

Brigid, sun of womanhood

Brigid, lead me home

 

You are a branch in blossom

You are a sheltering dome

You are my bright precious freedom

Brigid, lead me home

 

 

 

As always, I can be reached at ShaktiWarriorSpirit@gmail.com

 

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc and may Brigid watch over you.

 

Resources:  The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

                     Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by Merlin Stone

                     Gathering for Goddess by B. Melusine Mihaltses

                     The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan

                      http://paganwiccan.about.com

 

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

January, 2015

Kali

 

“By you this universe is borne, by you this world is created

By you it is protected, O Devi. By you it is consumed at the end

You who are eternally the form of the whole world,

at the time of creation you are the form of the creative force,

at the time of preservation you are the form of the protective power
and at the time of the dissolution of the world
you are the form of the destructive power
You are the Supreme Knowledge, as well as ignorance,
intellect and compassion”
From the Devi-Mahatmya

Kali

I was unsure of which Goddess to choose for the January column.  December was fun in choosing Winter Goddesses.  January is cold and dreary in most of the northern hemisphere.  Should the Goddess be all about the light?  Apparently not.

 

I have been having Kali visit me in the quiet of my mind these past few months, and She got me to thinking.  The New Year is a time of change for many people.  Most run around making resolutions that, honestly, dont make it through the first month.  Some make the same resolution every year Im going to give up smoking, I am going to exercise everyday, and so on.   The thing we most want and what we focus on are our obstacles, and THAT, is where Kali comes in.  She will help you destroy those obstacles and free you to make the changes you wish.

 

In Hinduism, the Goddesses are Devi, which means deity.  She, of course, has different aspects: Durga, Lakshmi, Tara, Sarasvati, Parvati, Kali.  Kalis name means Time

 

Her stories are bountiful.  Born from the brow of Parvati, Kali killed the demonic forces that were threatening.   She danced with the Lord of the Dance, Shiva, and it is said the dance grew wilder and wilder, and as the dance continues, it will one day shake the world to pieces.   She killed other demons during another battle,  and it is said that after they were dead, exhilarated, laughing and roaring,  Kali happily drank their blood and began to dance wildly, hence Her dance of death and destruction.

 

 

She is seen as a Dark Goddess, as she dances the dance of death and destruction, but She is also keeper of time and will be there when new things emerge from Her destruction.  When you see Her, there is no mistaking Her. 

She wears a necklace of skulls around Her neck, She hold weapons in her numerous hands.  Her tongue protrudes from Her mouth.  She can be terrifying to behold and to work with. 

Kali2

 

 

However, She is worshiped by many as the Mother Kali or Kali Ma, in which Her worshipers surrender to Her utterly.   Abrahim Khan, an anthropologist, said that to belong to Her, the worshiper must surrender not just the intellect, but the entire self, that is the mind, the body.”   To me, that is the key to working with Kali.

 

Even so, Kali is still once of the most worshiped Goddesses in India and other parts of the world.   Kali is more than a Dark Goddess who destroys.  She is also the Goddess who helps us to face our fears head on.  She is strength.  She is courage.  She helps us to face our own darkness.

 

The following is my meditation from a *workshop that I have taught, Healing Dance of the Kali Dakini.***

 

Sit quietly, breathing deeply, closing eyes.  Visualize yourself in darkness, a cave, deep within the womb of the Earth.  Breathe into your sacred feminine energy.  Now, open yourself to She, who is Kali, who is both fearsome and

spiritually liberating, offering you healing from your emotional wounds.  Sense Her in whatever way you wish and allow her to see you in your entirety, the good and the bad. Let your breath connect to her.  Draw her presence into your body, into each part of yourself.  As you do this, allow the release of all obstacles, accepting the freedom that She offers.

 

This is a lovely song for a Kali meditation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJa4r-OydDM&list=PL_dIya2JbVnTkujuSpjPc-hZV6LbKSnTX&index=2

 

I also recommend the Dance of Kali, which I also do in my workshop.  The idea behind this is to just dance, allow your body to move freely without inhibition.  As you dance, visualize yourself healed – a blissful Kali Dakini dancing in the light in service to Kali.  (Note: a Dakini translates as sky dancer.  She is a spiritual disciple of Kali, the creative personification of the Divine Feminine)***

 

I would recommend lying down and relaxing with long deep breathing for at least 10 minutes after the above meditations.

 

 

That is Kali.  You can reach me at ShaktiWarriorSpirit at gmail.com if you have any questions or (nice) comments.

 

May Kali bless you on your journey!

 

 

 

 

Resources:  ***The Healing Dance of Kali, Workshop taught by Susan Morgaine

                               (@ShaktiSpirit 2014)

                     Kali, The Feminine Force by Ajit Mookerjee

                     The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

                             (a must-have)

                      Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by Merlin Stone

                             (also highly recommended)

Renee’s Thoughts Worth Catching

January, 2015

Oya, also known as Kale or Pele, is the Goddess of Change and Transformation, and this Goddess means business.

Spiritually speaking, she embodies the qualities of Radical transformation, releasing, dying to the old to embrace the new. She embodies wind, graveyards, storms, and yes, the market place!

I have a great and grand fondness with this Goddess. I will admit, at first, with the death talk, and the letting go and change, made me all shift in my seat and take a step back. I believe, that for me, I was so used to the life created around me, that no matter how much I needed and had to change, I was scared to do that. Change seemed so courageous and I felt fearful.

She has come around once or twice now. The two times she came, were after I made it away from my childhood fears and moved on with grace instead of grief. She then appeared after my son was born and I knew that the marriage of that time was detrimental.

Now, as 2014 comes to a close, she is once again here. The past month has been an absolute roller coaster of emotions, sickness, mentally draining, physically hard, and I kept finding myself a bit let down and lost.

However, I knew that there was Oya with me. In the last few days of actually slowing down and doing some Soul searching and work and honest-to-goodness hard looks in the mirror, I am letting her take me on this ride, and I am ready and not scared at all.

For one thing, I am letting go of things that no longer serve me or appeal to the highest good of my life. I am going to let people go, even some that I may have known years. I have let go of a lot of physical things, making many trash, donation and recycling trips. And now, the deep Soul Transformation can begin.

Oya does not play around. When she is here, she is hear to work. She recognizes a change that must be heeded to and pushes the process far. She whispers a lot .. “Do you really like going to eat at that place or do you go just because it is convenient?” “Why is your closet still not organized?” “Do you want your surroundings to change? Change them!” An important thing to realize here is that she does not mess around. She will make you take that deep look into yourself so you will feel her Wind, her passion and her storminess.

She is working for you and assisting you to release these circumstances and make that change within you. She is here for you. She loves you. And she is a force to be reckoned with.

Listen to the Wind Blow.

Warrior Women

September, 2014

Rafea Anad

 

I first “met” Rafea Anad on a PBS TV show called Solar Mamas, one of a series of programs collectively entitled Why Poverty? She was thirty-two years old at the time, with four daughters (a fifth came along a bit later.) She is a Bedouin and lived in a traditional tent in the middle of the Jordanian desert, close to the Iraqi border. Her village was said to be one of the poorest of all the desert villages in Jordan.
Rafea Anad was given the opportunity to travel to India, to the Barefoot College, to learn to be a solar engineer. This college, the brainchild of entrepreneur Bunker Roy, trains impoverished women, from all over the world, to become solar engineers.
And so, Ms Anad left her four daughters, her home and her husband and headed off to India. The project is intriguing on several levels. Uneducated women, living in abject poverty, are given the opportunity and responsibility of first, learning a trade themselves, and later, training their peers to do the same. Their goal is to provide the entire village with electric power.
Watching the PBS show, I was impressed by the dedication and determination of the women at Barefoot College. They came from everywhere: Kenya, Guatemala, Colombia and many other countries. The women could not speak to each other as they did not have a common language, but they still managed to communicate and support one another. The classes were taught in English, by an Indian man with that stereotypical accent so common in Hollywood movies and silly cartoon shows. It is a wonder the women learned anything at all. But learn they did, and after six months of study, were sent home.
What struck me was the enormity of the change in Rafea Anad’s life. Here is a woman who was removed from formal schooling at the age of ten (for girls to be educated beyond that point is thought to be “shameful,”) who had never traveled before, who lived under the complete control of a strict patriarchal society, and in particular, her husband; a woman who lived a simple, perhaps monotonous, life, who was thrust into a completely new, and most likely, scary, world. I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do it.
When Ms Anad returned to her village, she (and her aunt, who had attended Barefoot College with her) installed eighty solar panels in one week. Wow! I just can’t imagine the amount of work involved. And some of the parts and components of the solar panels must have been pretty damn heavy.
Ms Anad experienced great deal of resistance, of course, from the men in her village, especially her husband. They wanted her to remain in her traditional Bedouin role of submissive, meek wife and mother. She had other plans.
The focus, strength and conviction of Ms Rafea Anad is humbling. I don’t know if I could do what she has done. I imagine it must have been excruciating to leave her daughters! What courage.
Brava! for a job well done, Rafea Anad.
To watch the documentary of Ms Anad’s journey, go here:
http://video.pbs.org/video/2296683172/

Tink about It

September, 2014

Skaði

For years I heard people talk about patron gods and goddesses. Some just chose one they liked, others were ‘called’ by the deity itself. The first didn’t feel right to me, although I had several gods and goddesses I was attracted too. But ‘being called’ sounded a bit strange. What did they mean with that? When, why, how? I didn’t really get it and very few had a clear story about how it works. It seemed to be hard to explain…

When I met my second power animal, a polar bear, in a meditation it was handed to me by a woman. At the time I didn’t really pay attention to her as I was very excited to get to know my new power animal. Somehow though, the woman settled herself somewhere in the back of my mind. In the weeks and months after this happened she slipped into my dreams, meditations, shamanic journeys and even in my daily life. Sometimes I saw her, most of the time I felt her. I just knew she was there. I had heard about a Norse goddess called Skadi, but I didn’t make the connection yet between her and this mysterious woman that decided to occupy my mind.
I decided to do a journey in which I asked my polar bear friend to bring me to her. We walked through a magnificent landscape with snowy mountains and finally arrived in a cave or hall of ice. The woman was sitting in front of a fire and a roasting spit. I assumed she killed the animal on the spit herself; her bow and arrows are lying next to her. She first welcomes my polar bear and only then she invites me with a gesture to sit down. I spent quite some time there, mostly listening, sometimes answering questions. She was friendly enough, but I still felt a bit intimidated. She radiated strength and a strong sense of authority. When she indicated it was time to leave, she gave me her symbol: a silvery white snow crystal. I thanked her and left.
After this journey it was clear to me that she had chosen me, ‘called’ me if you will. My first task was to find out all I can about her. Still a work in progress but I’ll share some of what I found here.

 

Skadi

 

Skaði is one of the lesser known goddesses of the Norse Pantheon. She is the goddess of winter, snow, ice, cold, skiing and hunting. She is often depicted on ski’s with a hunting bow, accompanied by a snow animal (polar bear, white wolf, arctic fox). Her colours are white and icy blue.
Contrary to a goddess like for example Freya there is not a lot to be found about Skaði in the Edda’s and/or other texts from that era. The name Scandinavia is said to be derived from her name, meaning ‘Skaði’s island’. Etymologically her name is related to ‘skathi’, an Old Norse noun meaning ‘harm, damage’, the Dutch word is ‘schade’ which could point to the destructive power of snow and ice. Sometimes Skaði is referred to as Öndurguð (Old Norse ‘ski god’) and Öndurdís (Old Norse ‘ski dís’, often translated as ‘lady’).

Not everyone agrees on calling her a goddess. She is the daughter of the Jotun (ice giant) Thiazi. When the Aesir (clan of gods) kill her father, she leaves Jotunheim (world of the ice giants) and travels to Asgard (realm of the Aesir) to avenge this heinous act. The Aesir fear the destructive powers of winter and convince her to refrain from revenge. She agrees, but demands two things in return. First the gods have to make her laugh, because she hasn’t been able to laugh since her father died. Then Loki ties the end of a rope to his testicles and the other end to a goat. When the goat starts to walk, Loki’s face grimaced from the pain and Skaði laughs out loud. Her second demand is to marry one of the gods. Odin agrees, but determines she can only see the gods’ feet to choose from. She chooses the most beautiful feet, thinking it must be Balder. However, they belong to Njord, the sea god. The marriage isn’t very successful. They eventually split up because Njord can’t get used to living in the mountains and Skaði hates the sea.
According to the Heimskringla (a collection of Norse kings’sagas) Skaði later married Odin, and they had many children together. She also has connections to Loki. In the poem Lokasenna (Poetic Edda) she places a venomous serpent right above Loki’s face, he can’t get away from it, because he is bound. His wife tries to catch the venom in a bowl, but when she has to empty it, the venom drips on Loki’s face, causing a lot of pain and his fury.

There’s more, but that’s too much for a column. More sources and info are always welcome though, tips of books/websites/etc. are much appreciated.
I made a Pinterest album to collect images and artistic impressions of Skaði: http://www.pinterest.com/tinknl/deity-skadi/

 

 

Did you know Skaði before you read this?
Do you have a patron god(dess)? How did that happen?
T(h)ink about it and share if you’d like…

Blessings

Goddesses of Sorcery

July, 2014

Aine, Goddess of the Sun

 

Aine
In Wicca today we often associate the sun with the God and the moon with the Goddess but in fact there are many sun Goddesses in many cultures. At the time of Midsummer when the sun is at its peak we connect with that energy in our rituals and our meditations (also in our bar-b-q on the deck!)
Three Celtic Goddesses are associated with the sun, Aine, Brighid and Olwen. Aine was one of the great Irish Goddess who represented the spark of life. Her festival was celebrated on Midsummer’s eve. Later she was remembered in Christian times as the fairy queen in south Munster and she is said to haunt Knockainy Hill there. She has been known by other names, such as the Lady of the Lake, the Goddess of the Earth and Nature, and the Goddess of Luck and Magick. (www.goddesses-guide.com)
Aine was the daughter of Eogabail who was a member of the Tuatha da Danaan and the foster son of the Sea God Manannan Mac Lir. Some other legends say that Aine was married to the Sea God. Aine’s original role was a Sun Goddess, and she is sometimes called “bright,” . It was when she was in that role that she was able to shape-shift into becoming “Lair Derg,” the “Red Mare,” or the horse that never could be outrun. This is analogous with the sun because you can never outrun the sun! (www.angelfire.com)
Traditionally, Sun Goddesses have been known as Goddesses of Love and Fertility, and Aine followed in that tradition with great enthusiasm. It was during a much later period in time that Aine developed the characteristics of a more maternal Moon Goddess, and was believed to guard her followers’ livestock and crops. There are farmers, even today, who perform the exact same rituals that their ancestors performed thousands of years ago. At midsummer, they walk through their fields and wave their torches, in the hope that Aine and her sacred fire might grant them an abundant harvest. Farmers also continue to burn flowers and straw, as another way of honoring Aine, in the hope that she might grant them freedom from illness and evil throughout another turn of the Wheel of the Year.
In her role as a Moon Goddess, Aine was known as a Goddess of Agriculture and a Patroness of Crops and Cattle. An ancient myth exists which describes how Aine sat in her birthing chair on August 1st, and gave birth to a sheave of grain. It is believed that by performing that act, Aine gave the gift of grain to the people of Ireland.
Aine has always been an extremely popular Goddess, and she had a reputation for being exceedingly friendly with human men. People would worship Aine in the hope that she might bestow sexuality, fertility, abundance and prosperity upon them. Those attributes have often been connected with Love Goddesses, and Aine took her primary responsibility, that of encouraging human sexuality, very seriously.
Aine was well known for teaching humans about love, human love and divine love. In the first way, Aine become lovers with human men, and in the second way, which was the one that she used more frequently, she taught humans how to walk in spirituality, unity and love with the Goddess Danu or Anu. This is a very important part of Aine’s cult because she can deepen the love and connection we have with the Ever-Living-One, the Great Mother Goddess Anu.
When Aine did offer her love to human men she conceived a great many children, and by doing so, it is believed that she gave birth to a magickal Faerie-Human race.
Many stories exist regarding Aine and her mortal lovers. One day, while Aine was swimming in a river, an Irish Earl who just happened to be passing by stole her cloak, and then refused to return it to her until she agreed to marry him. With a heavy heart Aine agreed to his terms, and she did, indeed, keep her word and marry him, and some time later she gave birth to a baby boy. In the hope of gaining her freedom from the Earl, Aine struck a deal with him, the terms of which stated that he could never show even the slightest bit of surprise at anything their son might do, because if he did Aine would gain her freedom.
Eventually, the day finally arrived when the Earl witnessed his son perform the most amazing trick, jumping in and out of a bottle! He found himself unable to hide his surprise from anyone so Aine gained her freedom, and she returned back to the sidhes to live happily, once again, with the Faeries. Her son flew away in the form of a wild goose. This story is only one example of how intelligence, ingenuity and determination, which are all qualities of the Divine Feminine, were able to aid Aine, thereby allowing her to free herself from the Earl’s patriarchal bondage.
Like many other Celtic Goddesses, Aine can be seen as a singular Triple Goddess, based upon the various powers she possesses. In her first aspect, Aine has the ability to reward her followers with the gift of poetry or, for those that she deems unworthy, with the curse of madness. Aine’s second aspect is attributed to her association with lakes and wells, and with her ability to heal. The waters, which come from “Tobar-Na-Aine,” or “Aine’s Well,” are known to have life-restoring qualities. Finally, in her third aspect, Aine takes on the guise of a Dark Goddess, with the ability to appear to mortal men as a beautiful woman, which leaves little room for doubt why she has frequently been called the Leannan Sidhe, which means the “Sweetheart of the Sidhe,” or the “Faerie Lover.” Aine is also a part of a Triple Goddess trinity, consisting of herself, and her two sisters, Fenne and Grian(meaning sun). When a full moon rises, lighting up the evening sky, the three of them ride their horses from out from their sidhes, to laugh and play in Lough Gur.
Petitioning Aine

 

  • Shape-shifting: petition Aine to help you with shape-shifting work.
  • Fertility and abundance: burn straws and flowers on an altar dedicated to Aine to ask for fertility and abundance
  • Love: petition Aine to bring the right lover (human) to you
  • Freedom from an abusive relationship: Aine can help you to find your freedom from an abusive relationship, but she won’t help you to fix that relationship. It is also possible that she will punish the abusive person, so make sure that you who are petitioning are free from guilt.
  • Spiritual Advancement: Petition Aine to deepen your connection and understanding with the Goddess Anu.
  • For Poetic Inspiration: If you have writers block Aine can help you with poetic inspiration
  • Healing: Take a cup or cauldron of water and bless it in Aine’s name. Use this water for healing. (You could travel to Ireland and visit Aine’s well to obtain water also.)

References
http://www.goddess-guide.com/sun-goddesses.html
http://www.angelfire.com/journal/ofapoet/aine.html
Monaghan, Patricia.1990. The Book of Goddesses and Heroines. Llewellyn publications.

MoonOwl Observations

June, 2014

Selene

Selene is a Goddess of the moon. She is generally depicted as either riding a horse or in a chariot drawn by a pair of winged steeds. She drives a white chariot of the moon across the sky each night and is usually shown with a crescent moon on her head. She is one of the Greek triple Goddess’ of the moon. She shares this with artemis and Hecate. Selene is the sky, artemis on earth and Hecate in the lower world and in the world above when it is cloaked in darkness. These three are also known for their aspects as the Mother (Selene), Maiden (artemis) and Crone (Hecate).
This favourite of poets is represented by the full moon and is the keeper of the silver wheel of stars. The days of the full moon could be set aside for her worship. She is also known as Luna, Mene and Selena.
-Mother of Pandia, Ersa, the Menai and possibly the four Horai. She also had a mortal child named Mousaios. She is a very passionate Goddess and has had many lovers but a popular story would be between Selene and Endymion.
“One night as she moved across the night sky looking down on the Earth below, Selene saw a beautiful young man sleeping. The handsome young man was named Endymion, and according to most legends he was a shepherd tending his sheep in the countryside. Entranced by the beautiful sleeper, Selene asked Zeus, the leader of the Greek gods, to give the youth eternal life and to make him sleep forever. Zeus, who loved Selene, and was her lover by some accounts, agreed and the young man remained young and asleep for all time.
In some stories, Zeus awakened the youth and asked him what type of life he would choose to lead. The young man, who had also fallen in love with the lovely moon goddess, asked that he might sleep forever beneath her soft light. Each night he dreamed of a beautiful woman who came and made love to him. Selene gave birth to 50 daughters as a result of her visits to Endymion. Their daughters represented the 50 lunar months of the Olympiad, or period of four years marking the beginning of the Olympic games in ancient Greece.
The love story of the sleeping young man and the beautiful moon goddess was a popular subject for artists during the second and third centuries. Many Roman and Greek tombs were carved with images of the the sleeping Endymion and the beautiful goddess coming down from the night sky to visit her lover. It also provided the ancient Greeks with an explanation for those who seemed to sleep without awakening. Like Endymion, perhaps they were merely waiting for a god or goddess.”
It is said that Selene’s moon rays fell upon the sleeping mortals, and her kisses fell upon her love, Endymion. She visited him often and had 50 of his children (this representing the number of lunar months between each Olympiad.
Selene hates change and has a fear of abandonment, which leads to her being unfaithful and having various affairs. She influences Agriculture, long life, medicine, visions and more.

Some things associated with Selene are:

Day of the week: Monday
Wood: Willow
Colour: Silver/grey
Candle: White
Power of giving sleep; lights the night and has control over time.
Sacred plant: Selentrope.
I found this hymn for Selene and thought I would share:
Muses, sweet-speaking daughters of Zeus Kronides
and mistresses of song, sing next of long-winged Moon!
From her immortal head a heaven-sent glow
envelops the earth and great beauty arises
under its radiance. From her golden crown the dim air
is made to glitter as her rays turn night to noon,
whenever bright Selene, having bathed her beautiful skin
in the Ocean, put on her shining rainment
and harnessed her proud-necked and glittering steeds,
swiftly drives them on as their manes play
with the evening, dividing the months. Her great orbit is full
and as she waxes a most brilliant light appears
in the sky. Thus to mortals she is a sign and a token

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