Ancient Sky Watchers and Mythic Themes

Book Review by Ted Denmark, Ph.D.

(Huge thanks to Ted for this amazing review of Volume One in the Sky Lore Anthology series. It’s a thrill to hold two decades of work in my hands. If you’re tempted, there’s purchasing info for both volumes at the end of his review. Thanks in advance!)

If you were ever a reader of Atlantis Rising magazine over the course of its impressive twenty-year flight, you will likely have seen, and been drawn to read, some of Julie Loar’s regularly-featured and highly-polished astrology articles upon first publication.  The recent good news is that they have just become even more accessible together in this self-published retrospective anthology collection—without having to wait to catch the next one on the fly—in the wake of her extensive interest in and wide-ranging knowledge of this fascinating and always controversial subject, whether ancient mythic, modern discursive, or cutting-edge technical (!). 

The subject of astrology stimulates a lot of creative writing in our time as it has for many centuries, having been the commonality and primary core subject, as C.G. Jung noted, of many if not most traditional wisdom traditions leading up to and including his own most impressive additions to modern psychology, as the mix and clash among religious, scientific and pop variants still contend for mind and shelf space.  Of course there is a lot of student-level enthusiasm as well as some amount of backsliding in all this robust output of writing—not to mention the entertainment genre—so something has to be good to maintain its position on the front lines of conversation at the astrology brew pub.  Julie’s selection of forty articles in five major categories of her highly varied and successful previous outings, virtually as they first appeared, are still highly topical, in this first, Ancient Sky Watchers volume, and they do indeed rise to a high level of interest and accessible value, being well worth the read—one at a time before and after tea or in binge mode—especially if you are looking for a fresh,  comprehensive and well-researched take on this perennial subject, either as student, professional consultant, critic, or occasional curious onlooker.

It is a real treat to find an author in this fascinating subject area so simultaneously knowledgeable, sophisticated and articulate about the prehistoric mythic traditions of Egypt and Sumer vis-a-vis those of  ancient Greece and Rome, the approaches and strategies of an experienced modern astrological consultant, and the more recent discoveries in space science from ground-based telescopes and satellite instrumentation—all referencing the impact or influence on our lives of many kinds of very real celestial objects now known and understood in greater detail than ever before.  It’s not easy to provide an entry into the basics of celestial mechanics, whether for students of qualitative astrological interpretation or quantitative scientific rigor, but Julie goes to some length to make this subject approachable with her writing and teaching skills for either group.  Being able to visualize (and understand!) the varied daily motions of Earth, Moon, and Planets, not to mention the longer-term cycles of eclipses, comets and the grand Precession of the Equinoxes, is the point of entry into the cosmic sky-watcher game (beyond just looking, which is cool enough), and if you have not bothered to look up at the sky—urban dwellers in night-lighted areas are most disadvantaged—then this is a place to begin to get your bearings.

Like Julie, I have been a lifelong sky-watcher as both astrologer and amateur astronomer (and unlike her, a design engineer of space-satellite instruments), and I have to admit that I have learned an enormous amount from the original publication on her articles over the years before meeting her in person a decade or so ago.  As an astrologer, I was most lacking in knowledge of the mythic and historical origins of ancient astrology, and in that, she is probably as good as anyone now in print, to help us understand the viewpoint and philosophy of the ancient interpreters of this universal cosmic art-science or pre-scientific art that has been continuously available to all people of all cultures virtually for all time—in fact it is probably the most universally shared common human experience ever on our little ”blue dot” (to echo Carl Sagan) of a water planet in the outer reaches of the Orion Arm of the ever-so-glorious Milky Way Galaxy.  Julie ranges through many familiar subjects on the astrology agenda, often with a tip of the hat to Joseph Campbell and a few other luminaries, to making strikingly original observations about ‘sky paintings’ on the cave planetarium walls near Lascaux in France (‘animals of the hunt’ as a very early “Zodiac” with the Pleiades depicted) to the Dendara Zodiac in Egypt (symbol for Zodiac sign Cancer correctly interpreted and understood, possibly for the first time).  

If we ever wondered what was going on with the mytho-poetic stories of the legendary gods and goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean world, many of whom are now up in the constellational sky, go no further than any number of sophisticated recapitulations and explanations along the way of the Titans and Olympians who, then as now, populate our astrology archetypes.  Julie presents the pantheon with sympathy and insight—and scholarship.  One can spend a great deal of time spinning through various re-tellings of these yarns without much accumulated insight, as I did, before focusing on Julie’s understanding, among other things, of the category of the feeling for “the Sacred” in the ancient world.  In a sense these poetic stories were the religions as well as the ‘movies’ of those times and, though varied and ever-changing, they had a similar cultural place understood by the natives, just as their story-board correspondences are understood by us today.  The truth is that the people of these earlier times, though certainly less educated and knowledgeable scientifically, were mostly just as smart and passionate within their range as modern people, however much our somewhat condescending idea of “progress” may be in need of remedy.  Of course times were very different then—the very thing astrology helps up to understand in the most meaningful way!  If you have not yet been initiated into the grand scheme of the Platonic Year, this is the place to perk up to a more than merely fascinating historical hypothesis.

In the middle span of her territory Julie, as a very well experienced consulting astrologer, fills in all the blanks that many readers will be looking for in the always telling areas of personal interest with “cook-book lists” of astrology planets, signs and aspects, the working tools of the trade in astrology chart art, which will tell you, from time to time, about wherever you might begin to fit into various developmental sequences, as a Sun in Aries, Moon in Pisces, cuspal ascendant and the standard stops in between.  Her approach in such thematic articles adds immeasurably to the flat newspaper entertainment style (which, sadly, is all many people will ever know about astrology), and brings it all back home with insights only an experienced and conceptually sophisticated analyst can succeed with in a brief offering.  It’s not a substitute for an in-depth ‘reading’, but her itinerary is always thought-provoking and often spot-on. She’s been a guide on many Egyptian tours, too, and has specialist knowledge in this area of ancient sky watcher lore for mainline Graeco-Roman astrologers who came in at the intermission of the astrology movie.

Perhaps the most intriguing and possibly surprising aspect (there’s a timeless astrology term) of Julie’s presentation is her enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of state-of-the-art scientific discoveries in more modern astronomy and astrophysics (more interpretative scholarship).  The impact they will have on the meaning and development of astrology for astrologers (note: we are not astrologists but hope you get the gist of astrology ) in the future will doubtless be great—even revolutionary—as it attempts to assimilate the existence of various big moons, little asteroids, dwarf planets, the rocky Kuiper Belt, the icy Oort Cloud and the mysterious—and quite likely astounding—discovery of either a huge new planet termed, “Planet Nine” (was that where John Lennon was from?), orbiting in the far reaches of the outer solar system, or as Nemesis, a small companion proto-star in an extreme orbit nearby our solar system.  This is the modest tip of the iceberg of Julie’s more ambitious project of revisioning astrology, now going forward as we may look back at her musings over the course of the astersand disasters of our still new Century 21.  Julie Loar is a star in her own right who knows about the real stars way out there—the real subject of astrology that, sadly, has been lost behind much of the yet most valuable modern planetary astrology (a very complex subject in its own right  in any event) … and much, much more.

This is how Volume One of Julie Loar’s “Sky Lore Anthology,” Ancient Sky Watchers, ends—in an exciting rush into anticipation of future science breakthroughs … and of course, the meaning of them to be discerned by and for those of us who know … it ain’t all random grains of sand on the beach, folks.  If you are one of us, you will not be disappointed, and if you are a sceptic, you will learn a lot that will make you very thoughtful.  This is a major publication event in the astro-theme world … with Volume Two (As Above, So Below) also available now … and also to be acknowledged in review ASAP.

Click the first link below to buy Volume One on Amazon in print or ebook. It’s also available from Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

https://smile.amazon.com/Ancient-Sky-Watchers-Mythic-Themes/dp/1792335148/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=ancient+sky+watchers&qid=1596734532&sr=8-1<><><><> 

Volume Two, As Above, So Below: Sun, Moon and Stars is also available. This is the Amazon link.

Leo Goddesses – The Cobra

“With power comes great responsibility.”

From Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom & Power of the Divine Feminine Around the World

The Goddess Sign for Leo is the Cobra, and she is arguably the Queen of Serpents.  Around the world serpents and dragons are connected with the wisdom of the sacred feminine.  Many cultures also imagine the apparent motion of the Sun, the ruling planet of Leo, crossing the sky as a serpent.  Dragons are creatures of fire, and in myth cobras are seen as “spitting fire” at their enemies. Leo goddesses include radiant solar goddesses, great cats from different cultures, and also those who represent the creative principle of fire in the form of dragons or serpents.  Leo goddesses represent nobility, the principle of light, and the fire of the Sun.  Sometimes these goddesses are daughters of the Sun.

Wadjet is an Egyptian goddess who was depicted as a golden cobra on the crown of the pharaoh.  Sometimes she is pictured as lion-headed and crowned with a sun disk and the ureaus, the cobra symbol.  She was a fierce fire-spitting serpent who was the symbol of mastery and regent of the northern part of Egypt.  Her name is the ancient Egyptian word for “cobra” and “eye.”  One of her aspects was the “avenging eye of Ra,” the Sun.  In a mystical sense she is like the Red Lion of alchemy who wields the magic of fire and burns away the impurities of our personalities.  Budhi Pallien is another great cat goddess of the Assamese people of northern India.  Their native language derives directly from Sanskrit.  She roams the jungles of the area in the form of a great tigress, protecting her territory.  She possesses a great deal of natural wisdom and is able to communicate with other animals and send messages to humans when necessary.  

Saule is the great goddess of the Lithuanian and Latvian peoples from the Baltic area.  Her name means “little white sun.”  She was also called Queen of Heaven and Earth and was envisioned as the sun itself.  She was also the goddess of amber, which comes from the Baltic region.  In contrast to some other capricious solar deities, Saule was loyal and hard working and was greatly admired.  Hae-Soon is a Korean sun goddess.  As she sets off on her daily journey across the sky people come out to look at her.  At first she blushes dimly, but as she feels stronger she burns brighter and lights up the day.  After a time she shines so brightly that people cannot look at her directly.  Akewa is a sun goddess of the Toba people of Argentina.  She journeys across the sky, bringing light to the world each day. Sometimes a great jaguar swallows her, causing solar eclipses.  But she is too hot, and the jaguar spits her out, returning sunlight to earth.

Python is a very ancient Greek goddess in the form of a great dragon.  Python was the original underground guardian at the ancient shrine of Delphi in Greece, long before the priests of Apollo hijacked the site.  Dragons are magical creatures of fire.  In myth she was born to the goddess Hera, without the participation of Zeus, indicating her antiquity. Mahuika is a Maori goddess of fire.  Like Python, she lives deep in the underworld where she preserves the secret of making fire.  Her story is called the “spark of Mahuika.”  To this day the Maori of New Zealand say rubbing together the dry wood of her sacred tree can awaken the sleeping child of Mahuika and bring forth a flame.  

Amaterasu is a Japanese sun goddess.  Long ago her brother savagely destroyed her garden and killed her animals.  She fled inside a cave to hide and deal with her sorrow, and the world became dark and desolate.  Over time eight hundred deities gathered outside the cave to coax her out.  The goddess Uzume performed an outrageous and bawdy dance, using a magical mirror called Yata no Kagami.  Everyone laughed and Amaterasu came out to investigate.  Her brilliance was reflected in the mirror, and she became convinced to return her much needed light to the world.

Sunna is a Scandanavian goddess whose title is Mistress Sun.  She carries the sun across the sky each day in her chariot pulled by horses.  Her mother’s name is Sol.  Belisama is a Celtic sun goddess whose name means “bright light.”  She represents the brightness of summer and is a goddess of fire, including sunlight, starlight, and the fires that forge metal for weapons and crafts.  Shapash is a goddess of the sun who was worshiped at sunrise, noon and sunset by the people of ancient Ugarit, part of modern-day Syria.  One of her names was Torch of the Gods.  Like many solar deities she has an affinity with serpents and was said to have the power to cure snakebites with her burning light.

We are close to the midway point between summer solstice and autumn equinox.  Already we can sense a shift in the nature of the light but the power of the sun, and the goddesses who serve and embody this fire, is strong and intense.  We can make conscious use of this fire to burn away what no longer serves us, freeing ourselves to radiate more of our own brilliant and purified light into the world.

http://www.JulieLoar.com

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA  www.newworldlibrary.com  

Virgo Goddesses

“All things bear fruit according to their nature.”

Goddesses for Every Day

Goddess Sign — The Sheaf of Wheat

The Goddess Sign for Virgo is the Sheaf of Wheat, which appears in depictions of the constellation of Virgo as the bright star Spica that is held like a staff in the hand of the goddess.  The mutable earth sign Virgo relates to the stage of spiritual unfolding which focuses on specialization of forms.  Virgo represents the stage in the cycle when the soul’s experience is focused on assimilation of knowledge.  In this phase matter is organized, purified and refined into specific and recognizable objects.  Here we might say the Grand Plan of the Cosmos is carried out in detail. Metaphysically Virgo is the matrix and represents the womb of the inner spiritual self, containing the seed and eventual fruits of the Spirit.  Seeds germinate in darkness, breaking their way out of their shell casings, and sending roots into the Earth.  Like the abdomen and intestines, which Virgo has dominion over, this phase distills the qualitative pearls from life.   

In every case I have been able to find except Egypt, the Earth is always seen as feminine.  She is a great mother goddess who gives birth to and sustains her children from the substance of her body.  This expresses through the fertility cycles of the seasons.  Virgo goddesses include goddess of agriculture and grain, as well as the harvest, and the annual descent into the underworld while the Earth grows barren for a time.  Icons of these goddesses include generous platters of fruits, overflowing cornucopias and waving fields of grain.  

Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the twins, Castor and Pollux (Gemini), she is the only human figure.  Author Richard Hinkley-Allen says, “Those who claim very high antiquity for the zodiacal signs (15,000 years ago), assert that the idea of these titles originated when the Sun was in Virgo at the spring equinox, the time of the Egyptian harvest.”  Australian astrologer Bernadette Brady has remarked that, “Whatever image is chosen across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine.  She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth.”  The more ancient concept of “virgin” described a woman who was independent and free to love whom she chose. 

Demeter was the Great Mother earth goddess of the people who preceded the Greeks.  Her sacred rites, known the Eleusinian Mysteries, were celebrated for nearly two thousand years, as long as Christianity has existed, in what is now mainland Greece.  People came from all over the known world to participate in these secret ceremonies.  We don’t know many details of these activities, as the penalty for revealing their contents was death.   Some aspects are known or suspected however, as the high point of the ritual was said to be a “sheaf of wheat reaped in silence.”  The Eleusinian Mysteries are similar in significance to the annual celebration of the mysteries of Isis and Osiris in Egypt.  I believe the deeper meaning is learning move in resonance with shifting seasons of light and dark in order to harvest blessings in their time.  

Based on and excerpted from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.  Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com     

Cancer Goddesses — The Shell

“Precious pearls are formed by friction.” Goddesses for Every Day

Cancer is a Cardinal Water sign that marks the Summer Solstice and adds the powerful quality of emotion to the mental nature of the preceding sign.  Cancer acts like the womb, and is the Universal Mother principle, providing the vessel from which all forms are born.  Cancer energy is highly instinctual, nurturing and protective, longing to make a home and build emotional connections.  Learning to stabilize and steady the emotions is the path of Cancer.  

The Goddess Sign for Cancer is the Clam Shell, symbol of the ocean from which Cancer’s traditional symbol of the Crab emerges.  The Goddess Sign for Cancer expresses the sentiment that precious pearls are formed from friction.  Shells, which are containers of the life that emerges from the ocean, appear in numerous cultures as images of the goddess.  Sometimes it is the Cowrie shell, which is widely revered, and is suggestive of a woman’s anatomy.  The goddess Venus also mythically emerged from the ocean on a clamshell.  The sign of Cancer is ruled by the Moon, so Goddesses which appear in the sign of Cancer include lunar goddesses from diverse cultures as well as goddesses of the sea.  Cancer goddesses are nurturing, often creators, and are linked to the ocean which is the source of all life.  They are protective mothers who guard the home, keep the hearth fires burning, and honor their ancestors and ancient traditions.  

Hestia was the firstborn Olympian, older even than Zeus, and was the daughter of the Titans Kronos and Rhea.  Her name figures in an ancient Greek expression, “start with Hestia,”  Meaning “Begin at the beginning.”  She is the symbol of the hearth fire at the center of the home.  Satet is an Egyptian goddess who was thought to release the Nile flood each year at the summer solstice.  Each year the great goddess Isis shed one magical tear, which would be caught by Satet in her jar and then poured into the river to begin the flood.

Mari, like the Egyptian Isis and the Hindu Devi, is an overarching Great Mother goddess who is the source of all life. Her name and nature has come down to us in many forms, including Mariamne in Greek, Miriam in Hebrew and the English Mary.  Hina is a great goddess of Hawaii who is the eldest of the indigenous Hawaiian pantheon.  She is known all over Polynesia and the Pacific.  Nu Wa, called Lady Dragon, is a Chinese creation goddess who sculpted humanity from mud long before the similar story appeared in Genesis.  

Oshun is a goddess of the Yoruba people of West Africa, and is one of their seven great Orishas, or spirit beings.  Her domain is the fresh water of rivers and it is believe that she is the owner of the rivers.  Leucothea, whose name means “white goddess” is a Greek sea goddess.  Her nature comes from the image of whitecaps on the ocean or in the foam of the tides.  In one story it is Leucothea who rescued the hero Odysseus from drowning.  Ajysyt is a mother goddess of the Turkic Yakut people of Siberia.  Her name means “birth giver,” and she is also called Mother of Cradles.  She is present at every birth, and women invoke her to relieve the pains of childbirth. 

Devi is the Sanskrit world for “great mother,” and was merged into many Indo-European names.  Devi is cosmic force, and she is the creator, annihilator, and re-creator of the universe, which she holds in her womb.  Kaltes is a goddess of the Uguric people of Siberia.  She is a moon goddess who watches over birth and sometimes she is a shape-shifter like the moon.  Ngame is a lunar creator goddess of the Akan people of Nigeria.  She creates all things by shooting life into new beings through the power of her crescent-shaped bow and life-giving arrows.  She is also the mother of the Sun.  

Mother Goose is the familiar character from children’s nursery rhymes, but her origins are ancient.  Egyptians recognized the Nile Goose, called the Great Chatterer, who laid the cosmic golden egg from which the sun god Ra emerged.  Birds appear as companions of the goddess across cultures and reaching far back in time.  Selene is a Greek goddess of the full moon.  In classical times she was the daughter of Thea and Hyperion.  Selene was depicted with wings and sometimes she was shown riding on a bull.  More often, she rode across the night sky in a silver chariot drawn by two white steeds.  Ilithyia is a Cretan goddess who acts as a divine midwife.  Women in childbirth prayed to her as a “liberator” who freed the infant from the womb. 

In the northern hemisphere it is high summer and the time of greatest light.  It is a common time for weddings, starting a home and honoring the hearth.  We can celebrate a symbolic bonfire, releasing energy from the past that needs to be available for new forms.  It’s liberating to invoke these great mothers and dance around a bonfire, dreaming of what we desire to birth. 

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com  

Gemini Goddesses: The Bee

“Community depends on pollination by each member.”

Goddesses for Every Day

Gemini is a Mutable Air sign that embodies the principle of motion.  The energy of the third zodiac sign is the result of the irresistible force of Aries impinging on the immovable object of Taurus.  Spinning motion on an axis is the result.  Gemini’s expression is to adjust and adapt in an ever-widening collection of data and a search for meaning.  Learning to tame the mind is the quest of this sign.  Geminis are curious and social, desiring to make connections and form relationships, and they are rarely still.  In traditional astrology Gemini is represented by the Twins, showing the sign’s dual nature.  

The Goddess Sign for Gemini is The Bee, which like curious Gemini, flies from flower to flower, drinking nectar, preparing to make honey.  The Bee is an ancient symbol of royal power and the sacred feminine.  This Goddess Sign teaches that community depends on pollination from each member.  Myths of Queen Bees, and priestesses who tend her hives and shrines, exist in diverse cultures.  Bees pollinate flowers, which bear fruit and yield seeds in a perpetual cycle of renewal.  The industrious Bee, who is not supposed to be able to fly, is an appropriate symbol for the pollinating nature of mental Gemini.  The goddesses who are included in Gemini encompass magicians, clever tricksters and shape shifters as well as those who are gifted with words, language and the power of sound.  Gemini goddesses are animated, verbal, mental, versatile and magical, and there is often an air of mystery about them.  

Melissa was the name of the goddess Artemis when she was worshipped as the Queen Bee and honey goddess.  Melissameans “honeybee” in Greek and was also the title given to a high priestess of the goddess Artemis.  The plural is Melissae, and there is evidence that there were thousands of these priestesses.  Honey was seen as the sacred substance of the goddess, and the honey jar, the pithos, was a symbol of the Divine Feminine as the womb of creation.  

Sara-la-Kali, of Sara the Black, is a spirit being of the Romani, or Roma, people who are more commonly known as Gypsies.  Every year in May thousands of Gypsies go on pilgrimage to Sainte Sara-la-Kali’s crypt.  Her shrine is located in the church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in southern France.  The same site is also the location of relics dedicated to the three Marys:  Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome, and Mary Jacobe, who according to a mysterious legend, were cast adrift in a boat after the crucifixion of Jesus, along with an enigmatic figure called Black Sara. 

The Cherubim were originally female angels of the highest order who supported the throne of God and were associated wit the goddess Asherah.  These powerful winged beings bear little resemblance to the small chubby angels who appear on greeting guards.  Dione was a goddess of ancient Crete who was the Titan goddess of Gaia and Ouranos—earth and sky.  Later sources claim Dione was the first consort of Zeus and also the mother of Aphrodite, suggesting both her antiquity and her exceptional power.  Laka is a goddess and ancestral spirit whose domain is vegetation, herbal lore and wild forests.  She is thought to have blessed the ancient Hawaiian people with the sacred dance of hula.  Her domain is also the powerful tradition of the flower lei, which connects her to bees and pollination.  

The Rusalka are Russian or Slavic nature spirits, similar to elves and fairies.  Wherever their feet touched the ground the grass would grow green and thick.  They are talented shape-shifters and are known for their beautiful and captivating voices.  Renenet is an Egyptian goddess of great power who in ancient times gave newborn babies the gift of their name, called their Ren.  The name she bestowed was an aspect of the eternal soul, and it was said that a baby had Renenet on its shoulder from the first day.  Zoe is a deity of the Gnostic Greeks who is said to possess a fiery breath.  Her name means “life,” and she is mentioned in part of the Nag Hammadi library, codices found in Egypt in 1945.  She was the daughter of the Great Goddess whom the Greeks called Sophia.  

Vach is a Hindu goddess called She of the Thousand Forms.  Her name means “voice,” and she was once a goddess of thunder.  Vach is the goddess of the word, language, and both divine and human speech.  Laima is a goddess of fate and good fortune from Latvia and Lithuania and is seen as the personification of these ideas.  Her name actually means “luck,” so she is well cast as a Gemini goddess.  To this day, the people of Latvia still use the expression, “Laima willing.”  Canola is a particularly ancient Irish goddess who is said to have invented the harp, one of the long-cherished symbols of Ireland.  In Greek myth Penelope was the wife of the hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca.  She was also cousin to Helen of Troy.  But in the older stories she was a powerful spring fertility goddess whose role was to choose the annual king.  Penelope was famous for her cleverness, and while Odysseus was fighting the Trojan War and believed dead, she defied many suitors by saying she couldn’t marry until she finished weaving a funeral cloth for her father-in-law.  Each night she unraveled what she had woven the day before, so the cloth was never complete.  

This is the time of greatest light in the northern hemisphere.  Our days are longer and we steadily approach the turning point in the wheel of the year and the return to the darker times.  It’s a good time to ask ourselves what needs to grow and brighten in a big way.  It’s also a great time for a festival bonfire and a ritual of fertility.

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com  

http://www.JulieLoar.com

Taurus Goddesses: The Tree of Life

 

Goddess Tree

The Tree of Life Grows in Every Garden   Goddesses for Every Day

Taurus is a Fixed Earth sign and embodies the principle of pure substance.  Taurus is the matrix that absorbs the impact of the energy projected outward by Aries.  Energy is action.  Matter is reaction.  Alchemically the matter of Taurus is precipitated from the water of Pisces, the twelfth sign, by the fire of Aries.  The nature of Taurus, traditionally symbolized by the Bull, expresses stability and permanence.  The spiritual path of Taurus involves cultivating higher values versus seeking purely material motives. Taurus natives tend to be builders and sustainers and rarely act without reflection.

The Goddess Sign for Taurus is the Tree of Life.  Trees, especially those that bear the fruit of immortality, are connected with the Goddess in cultures around the world.  She typically lives in a western garden with a serpent that guards the Sacred Tree.  Gardens located in the symbolic west, the place of the sun’s daily death, connote immortality in numerous cultures where the goddess holds the secret to resurrection.  The energy, which sinks sustaining roots deep into the Earth, describes the grounding and stabilizing nature of Taurus. Taurus goddesses embody the element of earth, and many are also symbolized by cows or other strong, protective mammals. Qualities of Taurus goddesses are abundance, sustenance, manifestation, security, growth, the establishment of roots, and fertility.

Green Tara is Mother Earth in her oldest form and is the most revered of all the pre-Vedic goddesses of India.  She is a female Buddha and one of the aspects of the Great Goddess Tara, who encompasses all manifestations of feminine divinity.  She is sometimes called the Mother of the Buddhas.  Her name means “star,” or “she who ferries across,” and we can call on her as we move into the spiritual-growth aspect of our lives.  Gaia is one of the oldest creation deities from the area that much later became Greece.  Her shrines were built in mountain caves and in sacred groves of the oldest trees.  In myth, Gaia’s temple at Delphi was given to her by the great serpent being Python.  Thousands of years later, when Zeus took over as king of heaven, the Greeks still swore their most sacred and binding oaths to Gaia because they were still subject to her law.

Asherah is another vastly ancient fertility goddess who was worshipped in both Egypt and Canaan, the biblical Promised Land.  She was the consort of both Ba’al and Yahweh.  She is a benevolent goddess who gave her love freely and was called Mistress of Sexual Rejoicing. In Israel, archaeologists have unearthed thousands of terra-cotta figurines of Ashera, some of which look like pillars or tree trunks.

Maia is the Greek goddess whose name is the origin of the English word May.  She embodies the forces of growth and brings the seasonal warming of the earth.  The Greeks knew Maia as the Grandmother of Magic. Some stories say she scorned marriage, preferring to be free.  Lakshmi is a well-known and beloved Hindu goddess usually equated with wealth.  Although most people may believe this refers only to material wealth, her nature is far-reaching, and includes the deeper idea of spiritual riches and alignment to divine wisdom.  Her name comes from the Sanskrit word laksya, meaning “aim” or “goal”.

Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. Her sacred animal is the wild cow, and her magical implement is the sistrum, a type of musical rattle.  One image of Hathor is a winged cow that gives birth to the whole universe.  When the goddess manifests as the Seven Hathors, who foretold a child’s destiny at birth, she resembles the Greek Fates and other goddesses of fortune.  Callisto is another pre-Hellenic goddess whose name means “fairest one.”  Like the later Greek Artemis, who took on her qualities, Callisto is a goddess of the hunt who possessed keen instincts.  One of her forms is a bear, one of the oldest symbols of the Great Goddess, reaching back in time at least seventy thousand years.  She survives in starry form as the constellation Ursa Major.

Asase Yaa is a goddess of the Ashanti people of western Africa.  Called Old Woman Earth, she is a creation goddess who gave birth to all of humanity.  She also reclaims her children at death as they return to the earth, which is her womb.  Hou Tu is a Chinese fertility goddess who is similar to the goddess Gaia and represents the deification of the earth.  Her domain is earth magic, and the ceremonies and rituals performed in her honor were believed to bring people into resonance with their Divine Mother.

White Buffalo Calf Woman is the daughter of the sun and moon and comes to earth as a wakan, a holy woman, in critical times to reach humanity.  She is Whope, “falling star goddess,” to the Plains Indians, and Ptesan Wi, or “white buffalo calf woman,” to the Sioux.  She is a sacred being of supernatural origin who appeared out of a mysterious cloud two thousand years ago, blessing the Sioux with a sacred bundle of seven rituals.

At this time of year in the northern hemisphere the signs of spring are everywhere, and our thoughts turn toward our gardens and growing things. These ancient and powerful Taurus goddesses remind us of the sacredness of the earth and her creatures.  We are reminded to walk gently on her body and to respect all life.  There is power in the knowledge that the Goddess renews everything in an ever-repeating cycle of death and rebirth.

(Image from snappy goat.com)

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com

 

 

Aries Goddesses: The Double Axe of Crete

Eva Krocher CC BY-SA 2.5-Labrys_Kettenanhänger

Labrys of Crete  (author Eva Krocher CC BY-SA 2.5)

 

“Courage is acting in spite of fear.”   Goddesses for Every Day

Aries is a Cardinal Fire sign that begins at Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, the time of equal day and night.  The character of Aries is the force of spring emerging out of the collective dissolution of the twelfth sign Pisces.  Aries is irresistible force, and represents the principles of resurrection and individualization, the symbolic point of all beginnings, and onset of the circle of the seasons.  Aries has traditionally been represented by the Ram, and its energy tends to be pioneering, initiating, headfirst, impulsive and adventurous.

The Goddess Sign for Aries is the Double Ax of Crete, called a labrys, a ritual implement that was wielded by a priestess.  The labrys was a symbol of royal power and was not a weapon, although it may have been an implement in the sacrifice of sacred bulls.  The word comes from the same root as labyrinth.  The earliest labyrinths were found in Southern Europe and date to 4,000 years ago, although the labyrinth at the Minoan site on the island of Crete is likely older.  Aries are pathfinders, and walking the sacred path of a labyrinth, wielding the Double Ax, seems a fit metaphor for the pioneers of the zodiac.  Aries goddesses include gentle goddesses of spring who embody new beginnings, the light of dawn, cyclical renewal of the Earth, and the rebirth of life.  In contrast, Aries goddesses are also pioneers who blaze new trails, courageous leaders and fierce warriors who have the will to do battle.  The quality of vision, enabling Aries to move forward in the direction of the new path, is vital.  Aries goddesses are independent, possessing a keen sense of adventure, and they understand that courage is acting in spite of fear.

Aditi, whose name means “limitless,” is the Hindu goddess who is clothed with the Sun.  She is said to be the self-formed Mother of Worlds.  She is sometimes seen as a cosmic cow that supplies milk that is a redemptive drink called amrita.  She gave birth to the twelve spirits of the zodiac, called Adityas, who are her children.  One of them rules each month.

Eostre, pronounced Yo-ster, is the Germanic goddess of spring.  She is also called Ostara, or Eastre, and her name is the origin of the world Easter. She is a goddess of dawn, rebirth and new beginnings. Her festival is celebrated on March 21, the first day of spring, when she is invoked at dawn with ritual fire that is seen to quicken the land.  Persephone is the Greek goddess of cyclical rebirth.  Each year when she returned to the surface of the earth from the Underworld, and was reunited with her mother Demeter, the world bloomed again.

Nike is the Greek goddess who embodies the idea of victory in every aspect of life, including athletics.  Because of this, designer Jeff Johnson, hired by footwear entrepreneur Phil Knight, recommended using her name.  The power of the ancient goddess manifested in the most successful shoe company ever.  Proving that size is not a measure of power, Nike was sculpted by the Greeks as a tiny winged figure.

Reindeer Goddess is a Siberian reindeer spirit and guardian of all newborns, especially those born in spring.  German archeologists discovered a complete female reindeer skull mounted on a seven-foot ritual pole that had fallen into an ancient sacrificial lake near Hamburg. Aged antlered females such as this were sacred to ancient tribes and their shamans.  Among ruminants such as deer, it is the elder females who become the pathfinders and leaders of the pack.

Gendenwitha is an Iroquois dawn goddess whose name means “she who brings the day.”  She is seen in the form of Venus as the morning star. Olwen is a Welsh goddess of spring and sunlight whose streaming yellow hair flows behind her like sunlight as she moves.  Her name means “white path,” and it is believed that she leaves a trail of white clover as she passes and awakens the meadows of spring.

Theia is one of the Titans, the powerful beings who preceded, and gave birth to, the Greek Olympians.  Her parents were Gaia and Ouranos, the earth and sky, and her name is generally translated as “goddess.”  Two of her children were Helios, the sun, and Selene, the moon—the lights of heaven.   Inanna is an ancient Sumerian goddess of love and wine, but also battle.  She was known as the “holy virgin,” which at that time, meant she was an independent goddess who never married.  She is often shown standing on two griffins, female mythical beasts with lion bodies and eagle wings.  Like other goddesses, Inanna made an annual descent into the underworld and a triumphant return.

Al Uzza was an early desert goddess of pre-Islamic Arabia, and part of a trinity of goddesses that includes Al Lat and Al Menat.  Her name means the “powerful one,” or “mighty one,” and she was worshipped as the morning and evening stars.  She was the young maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess and was shown as a mighty warrior riding astride a camel.

Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife.  Her mother was the primordial goddess Nyx, whose name means “darkness” or “night.”  Her name was translated into Latin as Discordia.  Her Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Latin counterpart is Concordia.  True to her nature, she is now also the dwarf planet who caused the demotion of Pluto.  The Greek poet Hesiod describes two very different goddesses named Eris, or strife, in his Works and Days.  “So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two.  As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her.  But the other is blameworthy, and they are wholly different in nature.”  The archaic definition of strife was earnest endeavor, which seems more like honest striving and healthy competition.  It is also like the friction that promotes growth.  Seen in this way, the principle of discord, or strife, is the motive force of growth that yields the pearl in the oyster.

As the time of the Aries goddesses begins at spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, we can choose to awaken from the quiet inner time of winter and emerge renewed. We may choose to do battle with our inner demons, finding strength and courage in the example of these goddesses.  Or, we might take the path of rebirth and plant the seeds that will blossom as the realization of our hearts’ desires.

 

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com

 

 

Pisces Goddesses — The Grail

“An awakened heart is full of compassion.”

Goddesses for Every Day

wine-glass-cup-goblet-crystal-83094

Pisces is a Mutable Water sign and can be seen as the universal solvent, which both dissolves the boundaries of separation created by all the preceding signs, and creates the fluid environment in which the seeds of a new cycle can germinate. In Pisces the sorrows and joys of others are keenly felt and this is the sign where compassion is born. More than any other sign Pisces must lose a sense of the personal self in service to something higher. Pisces contains the knowledge of the underlying unity of all things, which is the reality behind the world of manifested forms.

The Goddess Sign for Pisces is the Grail, the chalice that contains the waters of collective consciousness. The Grail is a symbol of the quest toward immortality and conscious union with the Divine.  Pisces is traditionally symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions in the ocean of existence, but tethered at the tails. Pisces can represent illusion, not seeing clearly or refusing to see, or divine inspiration. This stage of the journey requires faith.  Pisces endows knowledge of the alchemical “Below,” the deep reservoir of collective existence, which engenders empathy. Pisces goddesses include mermaids, fish deities and mother-creators from the sea, as well as those who embody the principles of sacrifice and compassion.

Kwan Yin, who is called Mother of Mercy, is a Chinese bodhisattva and the embodiment of the principle of compassion.  She is usually depicted in a flowing white robe, holding an urn containing a substance called the “water of life” in one hand and a weeping willow branch in the other. In Japan she is called Kannon; in Bali, Kannin; in Korea, Gwan-eum; and in Thailand, Kuan-eim. One legend says Kwan Yin has a thousand arms with which to reach out and respond to the countless cries of humanity.

Ganga, whose name means “swift goer,” is the Hindu goddess whose body is the holy Ganges River in India. The origin of her waters is believed to be in heaven, where she circles the celestial Mount Meru three times.  In iconography she is depicted with a full vessel, which symbolizes her life-giving potential as well as her cleansing waters.  Britomartis is a goddess from ancient Crete who was addressed as “sweet maid,” and is thought to represent the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess—Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Britomartis was also called Lady of Nets as she bestowed the gift of fishing nets to her people.

Oba is a great goddess of the Yoruba people of western Africa, who were savaged during the period of slave trading. The waters of the river that is named Oba represent her. Some stories say she has a difficult relationship with her sister Oshun, who lives in another river. As proof, the waters are turbulent and dangerous where the two rivers meet.  Ma Tsu is a Taoist goddess of the sea from ancient China.  Her name means “mother ancestor.” She is still revered by more than a hundred million people in the coastal areas of southeastern China where her devotees come from seafaring lineages.  Sedna is a goddess of the Inuit people of the frigid Artic north who were once called Eskimo.  Her myth is a story of a beautiful girl who was tricked by a potential mate and then betrayed by her father when she called for help. Her father cast her out of his boat to save himself, even cutting off her fingers as she clung to the side. Her appendages became seals, walruses and whales.  Sedna is now Queen of the Sea and is the guardian of all the food the Inuit hunt.

Maya is a Hindu and Buddhist goddess who is the universal creator of all forms in existence, and she is the divine power that allows the evolution of the world.  She is worshipped as Mother of Creation and Weaver of the Web of Life. She represents the continual exchange of matter and energy, and seems to be the embodiment of Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2.  Amphritite is a Greek goddess who ruled the sea long before Poseidon/Neptune. She is perhaps better understood as the ocean itself.  In art she is depicted in a chariot drawn by hippocampi, fishtailed horses.

Hina-Ika is a Hawaiian goddess known as Lady of the Fish.  She is regarded as the mother-creator of the island of Molokai.  In Polynesia she is known as Ina, and in New Zealand she is Hine-tu-a-manga, meaning “goddess of waters.” She is the guardian of the sea and all its creatures. The whales are her siblings and she retaliates when they are killed.  Ningyo is a Japanese mermaid goddess who is depicted with long black hair and the tail of a fish. Legend says that when Ningyo cries, her tears become precious pearls.

Lady Of The Lake, who is often called Viviane, is a Celtic goddess who appears in several guises.  She appeared in the Arthurian legend, and in some versions she was the foster mother of Lancelot.  She was also the guardian of the Hallows of Kingship, sacred objects related to the principle of sovereignty. Modjadji, which means “ruler of the day,” is a rain goddess of South Africa and an earthly manifestation of the goddess Mwari. She is called “transformer of clouds.” Modjadji is a rain queen who is thought to posses the secret of creating rain by interacting with cloud spirits.

As the wheel of the years turns toward light in the northern hemisphere, and winter snows become spring rains, we can call upon these water goddesses. Their healing waters can help prepare the fertile fields of our imagination to receive new seeds. Pisces goddesses can help us connect with these strong currents to bring rivers of healing and potential fertility into our lives.

 

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA

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Aquarius Goddesses – The Spiral

“What seems like a straight line is a never ending spiral.” Goddesses For Every Day

Aquarius is a Fixed Air sign where the unfolding sequence of the zodiac expresses in group consciousness, which ideally can be unified by a common ideal.  Aquarius looks for truth in all things and desires to unite with others on a universal level.  Aquarians are forward thinking and can be mental pioneers. However, this energy is mentally fixed, so Aquarians can also rebel at the status quo, or object in principle to structures which don’t seem to work, or appear to them to be outmoded. 

The Goddess Sign for Aquarius is the Spiral.  The spiral can be seen in the whirling galaxies of deep space, hurricanes, sunflowers, pinecones and seashells.  The spiral tells us that everything in form is in motion, and this symbol represents the nature of reality that eternally spins and revolves.  The spiral represents the cyclical motion of Nature and the sky, including the arms of our Milky Way, inviting us to look up and beyond our limited scope to widen our view.  The affirmation for this sign asserts that what seems like a straight line is a never-ending spiral. 

Aquarius goddesses are connected to space and knowledge of the alchemical “Above.”  In astrology Aquarius represents the realm of the higher mind, so Aquarius goddesses reach toward heaven, connecting to the sky and stars, celestial themes, and the ancient wisdom of astrology.  Some of these goddesses have a very cosmic nature.  

Hebe is the Greek goddess of eternal youth and beauty.  Like other goddesses who lost their once-powerful status, she was later replaced by the beautiful young male, Ganymede.   As a consolation, she was placed in the sky as the constellation of Aquarius.  In keeping with her eternal youthfulness, her importance has remained while most people have long since forgotten Ganymede.  Bau is a Babylonian sky goddess who was called goddess of dark waters.  Her name actually means “space.”  She was also seen as the goddess of dogs, which may link her cosmologically, similar to the Egyptian Isis, to Sirius, the Dog Star.  Tanith is a Phoenician goddess who was called “parent of all things, and “highest of the deities.”  Although the Romans destroyed Carthage they took her rites to Rome, where they depicted her with wings and a zodiac above her head.  

Uni was the supreme and cosmic goddess of the Etruscans, the people who preceded the Romans.  She was seen as so vast and powerful as to be the “uni-verse.”  She was a sky goddess who threw thunderbolts across the sky.  Nut was an Egyptian sky goddess and one of the original nine deities of ancient Egypt.  Her name is actually translated as “sky.”  Nut was “mother of all the gods,” including both Isis and Osiris.  Her mate was Geb, the Earth.  The Pleiades are a famous cluster of stars that have been revered by many cultures.  In myth, they were seven sisters who were the daughters of Atlas and Pleione.  Although Pleione was called a nymph, she was actually a manifestation of the goddess Aphrodite.  The Egyptians saw the Pleiades as the Seven Hathors who were powerful judges of human character.  

Brigid, whose name means “bright,” is a goddess of the Irish Celts.  She was Brigantia to the English, Bride to the Scots, and Brigandu in Celtic France.  She was so powerful that the Catholic Church made her a saint, complete with all her prior goddess attributes.  She was called High One, describing the realm from which poetic inspiration springs.  Her feast day is February 1, Candlemas to the Catholics and Imbolc to Pagans, the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.   

Aataensic is a great sky goddess of the Huron people, Indians who originally lived along the Great Lakes.  She fell through a hole in the sky and landed on the back of a great turtle that was known for its wisdom.  Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge and all aspects of the literary tradition.  Some sources say it was Saraswati who discovered amrita, the cosmic elixir of the gods that confers immortality, truly bringing heaven to earth.  

Anahita is an ancient mother goddess from Persia, in what is now Iran.  Her name means “immaculate one.”  She is a sky goddess who has dominion over fertilizing waters and the great spring among the stars, the Milky Way, which was thought to be the origin of all earthly rivers.  Ananke is the Greek goddess of necessity and is said to have emerged self-formed from primeval Chaos in serpentine form.  Her mate is Kronos, the principle of time.  According to Plato, it is Ananke, or necessity, who is the mother of invention. 

Nisaba is a Sumerian goddess who had great knowledge of the stars and was depicted with a tablet made of lapis lazuli, which contained a sky chart.  She also possessed what has been translated as “measuring lines,” with which she measured the distances of objects in heaven.  The Dakinis of the Tibetan tradition are “sky dancers.”  The name actually translates as “she who traverses space.”  Dakinis are similar to Celtic fairies and the air spirits who serve the Hindu goddess Kali.  Dakini priestesses take care of the dying, and they are said to take the last breath of the dying into themselves, thereby easing the person’s transition.  

Iris is the Greek goddess whose physical form is the rainbow.  Before Hermes/Mercury was the messenger of the gods, Iris had this role, and her words were never doubted.  She could fly from the heights of heaven to the depths of the sea, connecting humanity to the divine.  Crystal Woman is the mythical goddess of the crystal skulls.  She is said to transmit information between the dimensions, especially to healers and indigenous medicine people. She is said to have once possessed thirteen crystal skulls with magical powers, but they were separated and  are now protected by shamans until the time comes for them to be rediscovered.  

During the time of Aquarius, as the spiraling cycle of the year brings the return of light in the northern hemisphere, we can call upon these goddesses of the sky and stars and set our sights on heaven.  It’s a good time to consciously engage the higher mind that Aquarius represents and articulate our noblest aspirations, invoking the vast scope that these goddesses embody.  

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com  

(galaxy image from SnappyGoat.com)

Capricorn Goddesses: The Spinning Wheel

“Threads of Destiny are Spun by Choices and Deeds”

Julie Loar, Goddesses for Every Day

Capricorn anchors the Winter Solstice and combines the principles of Cardinal Earth.  In Capricorn matter organizes itself into perfect forms.  In astrology Capricorn represents the crystallization of matter into the Father principle and is the opposite sign to Cancer, who holds the energy of the Mother.  Capricorn’s energy is governing and conserving, focused on achievement, integrity, recognition and responsibility.  Capricorns are fueled by tremendous ambition, and their lessons stem from learning the underlying motives, which propel their drive to climb.  Capricorn is the tenth sign and represents the stage of the spiritual journey where our aspiration turns to the cold, clear mountain air of our spiritual nature.  Capricorn represents the principle of ambition, whether it is directed outwardly in the world of accomplishment or turned inward toward the spiritual path.  The theme of the Capricorn goddess reveals the threads of our destinies that are spun by choices and deeds.  

The Goddess Sign for Capricorn is the Spinning Wheel, representing the Crone goddesses who are weavers of Fate and represent the dark time of the year and the wisdom time of life.  Spinning, weaving and looms are the province of wise elder goddesses who pronounce destiny, measuring and cutting the threads of our lives.  The triple aspect of goddesses of fate is often seen first spinning the thread of a life, then measuring how long the life will be, and finally cutting the thread and ending the life at the appointed time.  While Scorpio spins the threads out of the substance of the goddess’s belly, it is in Capricorn, the sign of form, that the threads take shape and are woven into the tapestries of our lives.  Mountains are symbols of this process in all spiritual traditions, so Capricorn has usually been symbolized by a Mountain Goat with the tail of a fish or dolphin.  Ancient mountain goddesses are included in Capricorn along with goddesses who embody structure, organization, time or duration, as in measuring the thread of Fate, endings, the dark of winter and the wisdom of old age.

Chin Nu is a Chinese goddess of spinners and weavers.  She is the daughter of the Jade Emperor.  Although a goddess, she visited Earth and a human man stole her clothes, caused her to remain, and convinced her to marry him.  When she eventually returned to the sky her husband longed for her and followed her to the sky.  Her father gave them each a star, but they were on opposite sides of heaven.  So, her father built a bridge between the two stars, and once a year flocks of magpies bring twigs for the bridge so the lovers can cross the sky and spend one night together.  Ariadne is an ancient goddess from Crete, which preceded Greece by thousands of years, who is a goddess of fate and weaving.  She aided the hero Theseus in the Cretan labyrinth, where the bull monster hid, by giving him a ball of her thread so he could find his way out. 

Chomolunga is the Buddhist goddess whose body is the great mountain we call Everest, while Konohana Sakuya Hime is the Shinto goddess of Japan who is the goddess of mount Fuji.  Jord is a Norse goddess who was worshipped on mountaintops where she mated with the sky to bring heaven to earth.  

Hekate is an ancient goddess of the people who preceded the Greeks.  She was the daughter of two Titans who both represented the principle of scintillating light.  Hekate has dominion over crossroads, especially where three roads converge.  She is also believed to be a guardian of the Gates of Immortality.  Hekate is a master of time, and is often depicted as having three faces, each one looking in a different direction:  past, present and future.  

Holda is a Germanic or Teutonic goddess who is like a female Santa Claus.  In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Holda flies through the night in a magical carriage on December 24, bringing gifts and spreading boundless joy.  She dresses in red and white with a cape made from goose feathers and decides who is worthy to receive her gifts.   La Befana is the Italian Lady of the Twelfth Night, January 6, and the Feast of the Epiphany.  She visits every child in Italy on the night of January 5, filling stockings with candy.  Juno Lucina is called Mother Light.  She is a Roman goddess who bestows the gifts of vision and enlightenment.  Her festival was celebrated at winter solstice with torches and bonfires.  She acted as the midwife for the annual rebirth of the light.  Juno Lucina also opened the eyes of newborn children as they emerged from the darkness of the womb.  

The Zorya are three Slavic goddesses honored mostly in Russia.  They express the triple aspect of the goddess—maiden, mother and crone, or elder.  The Zorya are responsible for morning, noon and night respectively.  Zorya means “star” in Russian.  The three are guardians of life and time and keep charge over a giant doomsday hound that is chained to the North Pole.  The dog constantly pursues the constellation of Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, as it circles around the vault of heaven.  

Kali Ma is the beloved Hindu goddess of India who holds the energy of the Dark Mother, or the destroying crone.  It is her role to eliminate what needs to be removed in order to make room for what needs to be created or brought into expression. Kali also has a Triple Goddess aspect in which she mates with the three gods of the Hindu pantheon:  Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.  

The New Year begins with the Capricorn goddess White Tara, and her day is January 1. In bold contrast to the transforming energy of death and release embodied by Kali, White Tara is a divine manifestation that “brings forth life.”  Her destiny is to manifest the supreme bodhi, the spirit of enlightenment in the consciousness of humanity.  In Japan, temple bells are rung 108 times in her honor at midnight on New Year’s Eve to help counteract humanity’s sins.  As the wheel of the year turns, and we slowly move out of darkness into light in the northern hemisphere, we can take time to reflect on the lessons of experience this year has offered.  We can also decide to leave outworn forms behind and bravely focus on what we long to bring into being in the New Year.  

Based on and excerpts from Goddesses for Every Day © 2010 by Julie Loar.   Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA www.newworldlibrary.com