Empowering Women

My blog recently won a gold medal from the Coalition of visionary Resources

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Multi-Award winning Author, Julie Loar, explores feminine empowerment in today’s culture and the value of ancient wisdom…

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     

Sagittarius Goddesses

Aim for the Stars and Keep Your Feet on the Ground

The Goddess Sign for Sagittarius is the Bow and Arrow

Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign and embodies the idea of illumination that results from the joining of balanced power in the two prior signs, Scorpio and Libra.  Sagittarius energy is philosophical in nature, seeking wisdom and an understanding of fundamental archetypal principles.  While its opposite sign Gemini tends to gather information, Sagittarius looks for wide and varied experiences that ultimately lead to spiritual understanding.  The path of Sagittarius is to learn the patterns that lie at the root of our problems and challenges.  This search can lead to true perception and the ability to focus and direct the fire of aspiration.

The Goddess Sign for Sagittarius is the Bow and Arrow, and this symbol affirms that we should aim for the stars and keep our feet on the ground.  In traditional astrology, Sagittarius is symbolized by the Archer, who is a centaur.  Many goddesses, in fact some of the most ancient, are huntresses who live in primeval forests and guard the animals who live there.  For these goddesses hunting is not sport but a sacred act of reciprocity that is represented in women’s lives and the Earth herself.  The Sagittarian hunt can also be seen more symbolically as the quest for wisdom, engaging the fire of aspiration that takes us into a larger view of the world.  Goddesses that are included in Sagittarius represent wisdom, dreams, providence, fortune, the voices of oracles, and horse goddesses who are kin to centaurs.  Because Sagittarius is ruled in astrology by the sky god Jupiter, a mythical latecomer, goddesses of light, wisdom, thunder and lightning are also included.

Diana is the Roman goddess of the hunt.  She is equivalent to the Greek Artemis, although Diana is thought be of earlier Italian origin.  Diana was envisioned as riding across the sky in a chariot drawn by two white stags.  Much later, she and her twin Apollo were born on the Greek island of Delos.  Many temples to Diana were later converted to churches dedicated to Mary.  Danu is the ancient mother goddess of the Celtic Tuatha De Dannan, the “people of the goddess Danu.”  They were believed to be a magical race of beings skilled in the lore of the Druids.  They are linked to the legendary fairy folk who live beneath the hills.  The root of Danu’s name means “overflowing abundance,” which is a likely connection to a Sagittarius goddess.  

Fortuna is the Roman goddess whose domain is good fortune, as her name suggests.  She was worshipped far and wide in the Roman world.  People visited her shrines to appeal for her positive intervention in their changing fortunes, and she was usually depicted on a grand scale.  Tyche, whose name also means “fortune,” is a Greek mother goddess who likewise has dominion over fate and luck.  She is usually depicted standing on a wheel, blindfolded and winged.  A statue found in Petra, Jordan, shows Tyche’s face within a zodiac, which is supported by the winged goddess of victory,  Nike.  It was said no ruler of Antioch had the ability to act without Tyche’s favor. 

Bilquis is an Arabian goddess from Yemen who scholars equate with the legendary Queen of Sheba. Bilquis was half djinn, or genie, on her mother’s side, and was endowed with magical powers and great wisdom.  One lineage considers her to be the mother of Menelik, the king of Ethiopia, who was Solomon’s son and part of a dynasty that extends to present-day Rastafarians.  Minerva was the goddess and keeper or guardian of Rome itself, although she is Etruscan in origin.  Her name derives from an Indo-European root that means “mind.”  Minerva was seen as the actual embodiment of wisdom.  Athena, or Pallas Athena, is a famous Greek goddess of wisdom.  The owl, who is able to see in the darkness, is her sacred animal.  The Greeks named the city of Athens for her in gratitude for the gift of the olive tree.  In a contest for the honor, Poseidon struck a rock on the Acropolis and created a spring, but Athena won the day when her olive seed sprouted and bore fruit. 

Sapienta, whose name means “feminine wisdom” is another archetype of wisdom.  Wisdom was sophia to the Greeks and chockmah to the Jews.  The Latin Sapienta thrived as a hidden goddess of philosophical inquiry between the fifth and fifteenth centuries when the sacred feminine was considered heresy.  In a similar way, Shekinah, the feminine side of God in the Jewish tradition, is seen as the principle of light that dwelled at the very heart of the Jerusalem temple. Sarah, who is described in the Bible and the Quran, is really a goddess in disguise.  Her name means both “goddess” and “princess.”  In rabbinic literature her gifts of prophecy were greater than those of her husband, Abraham, since Sarah received her prophecies directly from God rather than from angels.  As a human woman she was a Chaldean princess who brought both wealth and status to her husband.  

Pandora was a Greek goddess whose name means “all giver.”  Her story is an example of how powerful goddesses were diminished as the patriarchy ascended to power.  In the early myths, Pandora was married to Prometheus and she dispensed only good gifts to humanity   The identification of “Pandora’s box” was a later invention and a translation mistake.  The container was a honey jar, a pithos, which poured out only sweet blessings.  Bona Dea, the “good goddess,” was a healer whose special rites were celebrated on December 4, the date she is honored in Goddesses For Every Day.  She was shown seated on a throne and holding a cornucopia.  She was worshipped in gardens of medicinal herbs where sick people were tended.

Rhiannon is a Welsh horse goddess who name derives from Rigantona, which means “great queen.”  She was made famous in modern times by means of the popular song of the same name written and sung by Stevie Nicks.  In the magical and mysterious ways of the Goddess, Nicks liked the name when she read it in a novel but was unaware of the myth until after she wrote the enduring song.  Rolling Stone magazine rated Rhiannon as one of the greatest songs of all time.  

Wherever the idea of wisdom is found in traditions around the world it is always seen as feminine.  I believe it’s because wisdom can be seen as a container in which we gather our experiences and knowledge.  Because vessels are always feminine, and true wisdom involves compassion, it is an essentially feminine and receptive quality—something we attain and hold.  During the time of Sagittarius we can call upon powerful goddesses of wisdom and light to guide us through the dark time of the 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     

Saturn-Pluto Conjunction Jan 2020

“We are living in what the Greeks called kairos­­–the right moment ­­for a ‘metamorphosis of the gods,’ of the fundamental principles and symbols.”

                                                                                    Dr. Carl G. Jung

The Return of Persephone Lord Frederic Leighton (1891)

Saturn and Pluto will form an exact conjunction in a single intense pass on January 12, 2020. The two planets conjoin roughly every 33-38 years as Pluto’s eccentric orbit causes the timing to shift by zodiac sign. The conjunction will contain five planets at 22 degrees of Capricorn that includes the Sun, Ceres, and Mercury. It’s a powerful lineup as the planet of structure combines with the energy of hidden influences and is fueled by the force of the Sun. This rare concentration could trigger a redistribution of power globally and nationally. Corrupt structures may be revealed, and we may see deconstruction and reconstruction based on tests of integrity and unraveling moral fiber. The conjunction will also offer a preview of the Pluto return in America’s horoscope in 2022. 

Earlier interpretations of Saturn/Pluto conjunctions have focused on the dark side and chronicled violent upheavals. These energies cannot be denied as this planetary combination can bring things to a dramatic end. But there is potential for an expanded view of this energetic combination based on a re-examination of their myths. 

Before telescopes only five planets were visible to the naked eye. The Greeks called them asteres planetai“wandering stars” as they appeared to be bright lights that moved against the background of “fixed stars.” They named these moving stars after their gods, and the Romans followed the Greeks. The fastest moving planet was named Mercury, after the swift-footed Messenger of the gods. Venus was bright and beautiful, so she was named after the goddess of love and beauty. Mars looked red in the sky, so it seemed apt to name that planet after the god of war, and Jupiter was king of the Olympian gods.

Saturnus was an old Roman agricultural god who ruled in a past golden age. Under Saturn’s rule, humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in the “Golden Age” described by Hesiod and Ovid. The Romans equated Saturnus with the Greek Cronus, although their natures were quite different in some ways. Saturnus taught the Romans agriculture, and his annual winter solstice festival called Saturnalia bore hallmarks of our Christmas and New Year celebrations. We do not know why the Greeks named the planet we call Saturn after the elder Titan god Cronus rather than  another one of the Olympians. We can suppose the Greeks acknowledged the idea of time, since this planet was the slowest moving of those visible, and therefore signified the slower motion of old age. 

Astronomy has retained the Roman planetary names, and astrology still uses the archetypes of Greco-Roman gods, complete with their flaws and foibles. With increasingly powerful telescopes we can now see the planets and peer deep into space. Our ability to experience the influence of planetary energies has also grown, and modern changes in society should be taken into account. Therefore, I believe it is time for a “metamorphosis of the gods” and a re-examination of symbolic identities. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction offers just such an opportunity.

Since 2006 Pluto has been designated as a dwarf planet. Pluto’s moon Charon is half the size of Pluto, and is tidally locked, so the two are considered a dynamic binary dwarf planet. The other known moons of Pluto are Nix and Hydra, Kerberos, located between the orbits of Nix and Hydra, and Styx. All of Pluto’s moons were named for mythological figures associated with the underworld, a naming convention begun by 11-year-old Venetia Burney in 1930.    

The underworld idea took root. Astrologically Pluto governs the symbolic underworld–what has not yet been redeemed in our psyches. This includes hidden and dormant conditions that need to be brought to conscious awareness, purged, and transformed into new sources of power. Pluto is the urge to regenerate and transform. Pluto rules those who work under the surface such as miners, psychologists, nuclear physicists, and undertakers. Certainly the darker side of Pluto can’t be ignored as the idea of plutocracy, an elite class whose power derives from wealth, stems from Pluto’s misuse. Gold is the source of wealth and the origin of greed–it is an axiom that power corrupts. 

The standard interpretation of Pluto can be expanded and deepened if we look at earlier myths, as Pluto was not always the god of the underworld. Pluto is cognate with the Greek Plutos, which means “riches.” He was the Greek god of wealth, giver of gold, silver, and other subterranean substances. Because these gifts were mined, Plutus became recognized as the god of the physical underworld, which in turn became the spiritual underworld, and therefore death. In Greece, this earlier god was sometimes called Hades, which was also the Underworld itself. 

According to Hesiod, Plutus was born in Crete and was the son of the goddess Demeter and the Cretan Iasion. Sometimes he was the child of Pluto (Hades) and Persephone, where in the theology of the Eleusinian Mysteries, he was regarded as the “Divine Child.” In art he usually appears as a child with a cornucopia and is shown with Demeter and Persephone. 

Demeter and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a religious tradition that predated the Olympian pantheon, and lasted for 1,800 years. Similar rites occurred in agricultural societies of the Near East, Egypt, and Minoan Crete. The mysteries were secret initiatory rites that represented the symbolic abduction of Persephone by Pluto-Hades in three phases: descent (loss), search, and ascent. The marriage of Pluto and Persephone was at the heart of this religion, and the main theme was the ascent, or return, of Persephone and annual reunion with her mother. This cycle is parallel to the archetype of the heroic journey described by Joseph Campbell. 

Within the Olympian pantheon, Pluto-Hades was permanently confined to the Underworld. It was Persephone, the feminine aspect, his wife and queen, who made the annual depth journey and return to the surface of Earth. Each year Persephone descended into shadows and dark places, the realm of death and buried secrets. Symbolically, she is soul and psyche, representing the psychological work of the shadow. She always returned to the surface, bringing light and warmth, while Pluto remained below as king of the Underworld and all it contained—gold and old bones. 

In the case of Saturn, the astrological influence is the embodiment of form, and the dramatic rings surrounding the planet represent the idea of limitation. Saturn is the cohesive force that binds. The ringed planet gives form to our life experiences and also provides our lessons. Saturn constructs, deconstructs, and reconstructs—no form is permanent. When we deal with Saturn we deal with authority, both our own capacity to wield authority, and our ability to be led by and learn from others.

Saturn’s influence by transit brings a reckoning, facing payment of what has come due. If we squander our resources we become bankrupt, but if we are prudent our assets can grow. This is not a cruel or vindictive figure wielding a scythe, but rather a principle of equilibrium, seeking balance. This law is a self-correcting mechanism that brings an end to structures whose life cycle is ending and are beginning to decay.  

An alternative mythic identity for the ringed planet could be Demeter. Like the other visible planets, she was one of the twelve Olympians, goddess of the harvest who presided over grains, agriculture, cycles of the year, and the fertility of Earth. More importantly, she was the goddess who presided over sacred law and the repeating cycle of life and death. One of her titles was Thesmophoros, “Law Bringer,” an apt name for the planet said to be exalted in Libra. Sacred law, like karma, is not punishment but the direct consequence of choice and action; we reap what we sow. 

There is precedent for Saturn being a feminine planet, even among the Greeks. In an early text by Hellenistic astrologer Dorotheus of Sidon, Carmen Astrologicum, he states “the feminine planets are Saturn, Venus, and the Moon, and the masculine planets are the Sun, Jupiter, and Mars.” Mercury was seen as both. This brings more balance to the planetary gender polarities. Isabelle Hickey, author of Astrology: A Cosmic Science, describes Saturn as both the Dweller on the Threshold and the Angel of the Presence, the testing and teaching agency by which we learn and master our life lessons. She describes Saturn as a feminine archetype and penned a poem about her, saying “freedom is only found through Saturn’s discipline.”

In Qabalah, Saturn corresponds to the Sephirah (sphere) Binah on the Tree of Life. Binah is the Great Mother, matrix of form, and the template of the manifested universe, whose limitation and form-giving power are the womb of creation. The word matter stems from the same root as matrix and mother. 

How might we recast the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto if we include the Eleusinian mysteries and alternate myths in the interpretative mix? If Pluto has an aspect of giving gifts mined from the deep parts of our psyches, how might we view his energy in a different light? And, if Pluto is seen not as the vile abductor of an innocent virgin, but rather as acting in concert with his wife Persephone, it’s possible to better understand the nature of cyclic loss and symbolic resurrection. 

If we consider Saturn as Demeter, something profound can be understood in the mythic encoding of the cycle of the year. Death does not triumph but is rather a change of state, offering a time of rest and renewal. A wise teacher once said, “All pain is caused by holding on.” Willingly letting go, we can gracefully surrender the forms that need to die, trusting the process of rebirth and reformation. 

Perspective is what matters. After the harvest we do not weep for the death of the wheat. Instead, we celebrate the abundance of crops and move with the cycle of the year until spring returns and it’s time to plant again. Likewise, if we have been good stewards of our symbolic fields, we can rejoice. If we have made poor choices we can learn from our mistakes and move on. If we embrace this wisdom we can face what has outgrown its time and be courageous enough to stop clinging to the past. Our openness will make room for new life, and we can make a fundamental course correction.  

However we choose to cast the characters in this morality play, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction offers a powerful time of reckoning. We must face the truth of structures of power that have become corrupt, and we can expect some chaos. Collectively we must clear the fields and winnow the wheat, making way for new structures for the next cycle. We should take care at the dawn of a new age what seeds we plant for the future.  

Goddesses for Every Day in the News

First, I’m beyond thrilled to announce that Goddesses for Every Day has just received an iconic book award presented by the Coalition of Visionary Resources. I received the award at the International New Age Trade Show in Denver in June. The competition was fierce and global, and I was stunned. Goddesses for Every Day was a profound labor of love and devotion. The book was self-published in 2008, right before I went to Greece with Alan Oken and taught about the divine feminine in ancient sites. In fact, I carried the very first proof copy with me on that amazing journey. I had just gone through a painful divorce and my new passport had my reclaimed maiden name. So with a new book and a new name I set off for Greece. Then in 2010 the book was picked up by New World Library and has since won three other national awards. The iconic award recognizes that Goddesses for Every Day has staying power and is now an “icon.” Wow. It’s an awesome honor that brings a sense of confirmation.

Writing is such a solitary discipline so it is a great joy to connect with readers and those who’ve been touched in some way by your work. It’s both humbling and empowering. Thanks to everyone who has come into my life through this book–the circle continues to expand and my heart opens wide.

And then, adding to the sense of wonder, I recently learned that a fabulous new foodie placed opened in my small town (Pagosa Springs, Colorado). Brilliantly named The Juice Goddess, they serve juices, smoothies, and other great foods. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered the names of the items on the menu were named after goddesses from my book. Triple wow. From my perspective, every sip and bite of something delectable, and prepared with love, is infused with the divine and empowering energy of a goddess. Positively sublime. https://www.thejuicegoddessco.com/menu

Moi, waiting for my smoothie

Along with the struggle and pain there are times that life offers moments of transcendence. Before the first sip of my smoothie I will take a deep breath and prepare to drink in the flavors of the fruits of the Earth, the essence of archetypal feminine power, and the joy of such marvelous creativity. Thank you Sarah and Gavin for bringing more light and goodness into the world. (And big thanks to their daughter Rachel for the great photo).

Drink up goddesses!

Gates of Starlight

Milky Way Galaxy

“May we come and go in and out of heaven through gates of starlight. As the houses of earth fill with dancing and song, so filled are the houses of heaven. I come, in truth. I sail a long river and row back again. It is a joy to breathe under the stars. I am the sojourner destined to walk a million years until I arrive at myself.”        

                                                           Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris

 

Existence is vast, seemingly boundless and immeasurable. The latest figures from NASA estimate that there are one hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy pictured above. There are also estimated to be a jaw-dropping two trillion galaxies in our universe alone. It’s impossible to comprehend this immensity of scale, and yet it’s believed by scientists that we are also part of a multiverse. Perhaps an unknown number of universes co-exist in a Cosmos of parallel dimensions that spread light through infinite space and time. What is the significance of one brief human life in all this immensity? 

The ancient Egyptians were master sky watchers. Monumental temples aligned with the rising of bright stars and calendars and ceremonies were planned based on the sky. Egyptian funerary texts called the Book of Gates proclaimed that when Ra, the sun god arrived at the twelfth and last hour of the night, before dawn, the miracle of rebirth occurred through the gate “with the mysterious entrance.”

 In The Traveler’s Key to Ancient Egypt, author John Anthony West describes Egyptian funerary texts as “manuals of spiritual instruction” and says the Duat is the “field” in which the transformation of the soul occurs. The theme of transformation and reclamation also runs through other ancient mystery traditions. Many ancient gods were seen as solar and stellar fire, and many rites represented the redemption and regeneration of this spiritual energy. The ineffable mysteries they sought to unveil, and the hidden knowledge the rites contained, held and transmitted this wisdom. Manly P. Hall, in Secret Teachings of the Ages says, “Mysteries were the channels through which this one philosophical light was disseminated.”

The Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece took place from 1,600 BCE to about 400 CE, although most scholars believe their origin is much earlier in the Mycenean period. They were contemporary with, and bear strong resemblance to, the Egyptian mysteries of Isis and Osiris. In the Greek mysteries the goddess Demeter, carrying two torches named “intuition” and “reason,” searched the world for her daughter Persephone, who symbolically represented the lost soul. She had to be rescued from the underworld, where she had been abducted by the god Hades.

Sometimes the light seems to go out in our lives and we can be deeply challenged by a darkness of spirit. Although we know the Sun still shines behind the clouds, and the stars still burn even though hidden in cities by artificial light, at these times we need courage and the love of friends. Poet Khalil Gibran said, “One may not reach the dawn except by the path of the night.” This is true, but there have always been those who hold lanterns to guide our way through the darkness to the mysterious entrance of initiation. We can take heart that this universal path of spiritual teaching has permeated spiritual traditions throughout time. Often called the Underground Stream, the spiritual wisdom of ages is always present, even though hiding in the shadows at times. Our job is to remember that the light is always there and to prepare ourselves to receive the gift of ancient wisdom, which sheds light on the Path.

 Julie Loar’s blog won a gold medal last year.

http://www.JulieLoar.com

 

Adventure

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Me with two cobra friends at Kom Ombo, Egypt in 2012

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing,”  Helen Keller

This October I will embark upon my thirteenth trip to Egypt with a dozen other intrepid travelers. It’s remarkable really as I never expected to go even once. But I have always been deeply called to do so. My parents told me I was fascinated with Egypt from the age of three. They would find me asleep on open pages of my uncle’s National Geographic magazines, dreaming of pyramids, temples, and fabulous jewelry no doubt.

My affinity with ancient Egypt has been an enduring feature of my life, and given my interests and proclivities, I feel certain that the waters of the great Nile have flowed through my veins for millennia. We are so accustomed to short life spans, and a disbelief in superluminal travel, that we can scarcely imagine how vast and limitless the Cosmos is. I have come to understand that my soul has worked for lifetimes to heal and integrate experiences from ancient Egypt, especially at Abydos during the time of Ramses II and his beloved wife Nefertari 3,300 years ago. I have come to understand that I was born into this lifetime with unfinished business that is long overdue to complete. And so I return, and each time I dig deeper.

Helen Keller and Amelia Earhart have always been major she-roes. Another is Beryl Markham, who was a pilot and horse trainer in South Africa during the “Out of Africa” times. Author Ernest Hemingway praised her work and said it made him ashamed to call himself a writer. I think of those women, and other profoundly courageous souls I have known, in moments of fear and doubt.

Moving out of our steady states of comfort and the illusion of safety causes us to grow, to widen our horizons, and to experience more of the world. Unless we are narrow and spiteful by nature, we are better for it. We all face choices in life about how we respond, and some of them are profoundly difficult. Some of us wait for the verdict of a test that could yield a terminal diagnosis, or learn to walk again after a debilitating injury. Others pick through the rubble of what was once a treasured home after the ravages of a storm or fire. How do we move on? How do we face loss and uncertainty?

Death is certain, only the timing is unknown.  It seems richer to embrace the unknown and cultivate a sense of adventure, grabbing onto life for all its worth, the joy and the sorrow, and the surprises that come when least expected.

Let me know if you feel called to Return to the Nile with me this fall.