Starry, Starry Night

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“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”    

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh’s powerful work is known for its beauty, emotion, and color. Although many of the images are achingly familiar, he never sold a single painting in his lifetime. The irony is several of his paintings now rank among the most expensive in the world.  Irises sold for a record $53.9 million, and his Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million. He is considered to be the greatest Dutch painter, perhaps after Rembrandt, but was poor and unknown during his lifetime.

The story of his life is tumultuous and extremely difficult read. It’s said he painted The Starry Night while in the throes of emotional torment. In the end, struggling with mental illness, he committed suicide at the age of thirty-seven. His story is a classic tale of a tortured genius. His biographers describe a difficult and temperamental man with deep psychological fissures from his childhood that only widened over time.

I have often pondered the tragedy of Van Gogh’s life. Did his art arise from his suffering? Why, we ask, did such genius go unnoticed or unrewarded during his life? Was his pain so difficult to be around when he was alive that the genius of his art was eclipsed by his personality? And, in a larger sense, why do so many artists suffer a similar if less dramatic fate? Is it true that sorrow can be turned into great art?

Many have wrestled with these questions and with the pain of their own artistic life.  The path of the artist may relate to the spiritual path and to the capacity to live with a truly open heart. As I find myself much closer to the end of my life than the beginning, I am pondering my own life purpose, which has never really seemed to come into focus–I have never found the bliss that Joseph Campbell spoke of. I experienced a small measure of success in the corporate world, but have been unable to support myself through my creative work. I struggle. I strive. And yet the balance I seek eludes me.

Like Van Gogh the stars are also a source of wonder and inspiration to me. I have always known that my true home is somewhere out there, and living on this planet, however beautiful, has often felt like exile. Even as a child my longing to return to the stars was extreme. So I reach deep inside in search of meaning and rise each dawn to face the day, hoping to be of use and perhaps make a small difference with the words that come from my efforts. Hard lessons in my life have taught me that life is not about what we accomplish, earn, or own, but who we become as channels of loving kindness. I have come to understand that the truest and most powerful creative act is to become a compassionate being and to know the depth of the truth of Maya Angelous’s words,

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”    

In the time we are experiencing in the world our loving kindness is often the most priceless gift we can offer.

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Great Wheel of the Ages

“For the present is the point where time touches eternity.”

C.S. Lewis

Earth’s Motions

Earth wobbles as she spins and circles the Sun. This wobble is caused by the pull of gravity from the Sun and other objects in the Solar System, and the result causes our view of the sky to slowly change over thousands of years. In astronomy, this motion is known as axial precession, causing the sky to shift over time at the rate of one degree of arc every 72 years. In astrology this slow motion causes different stars to rise ahead of the Sun at spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which marks the passage of the astrological ages.

Called the Great Year, and composed of twelve cosmic months that are the astrological ages, this cycle lasts roughly 26,000 years. The points of reference for this backward motion, called Precession of the Equinoxes, are the zodiac constellations that form the ecliptic, the Sun’s apparent path. Each age is about 2,160 years and we are now passing from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius. This cycle is called precession because the motion is in the opposite direction from the Sun’s apparent direction through the zodiac in a year.

Another result of the wobble, which creates another frame of reference, occurs at the poles. Like a spinning top Earth’s axis causes an imaginary circle to be traced in the sky by the poles. As the orientation of the north pole shifts relative to the circumpolar stars, a different North Star moves into position. 12,000 years ago, the star Thuban, brightest star in the constellation of Draco, the Dragon, was the pole star.

A great wheel also exists at the heart of the Hindu tradition in phases that are called yugas. The Greeks and Romans had ages that ranged from an idyllic Golden Age that descended over thousands of years into the Iron Age. The changing of ages has long cusps, or transitional periods, and there are no precise demarcations of the circle where one influence stops and a new one begins. The duration of an astrological age is characterized by the archetypal energies of the constellation whose stars rise before the Sun at spring equinox dawn. We can only look back in time to sense approximately which archetype held sway and what experience humanity drew from to unfold our emerging pattern. The Age of Pisces, the Fishes, began about 2,000 years ago and has been marked by symbols and icons of fish.

Each phase of the Great Year is like a month, possessing a distinct and overarching quality of experience. The ages can be seen as spokes of the cosmic wheel, presenting a phase shift of archetypal energy designed to provide an evolutionary school room for developing humanity. Since the great cycle of the ages is a repeating pattern, perhaps we can learn something about our present and future from a better understanding of the past. What follows are brief reflections on past ages and a short look ahead to the Age of Aquarius. Next month I will explore that topic in more detail.

(Note: The dates given below are approximations, and the decidedly arbitrary lengths of the ages are arrived at by dividing the Great Year by twelve. Many believe the Age of Aquarius has already begun).

Age of Leo – 10,600 BCE – 8440 BCE

The age of Leo may have been the mythical golden age referred to in many ancient legends. The date generally accepted as the final destruction of Atlantis correlates with the timeframe for the age of Leo. According to certain occult traditions Atlantean civilization reached its zenith during this age of kings and also failed whatever tests were presented. Symbolically, humanity’s task during this age was finding the light within, learning self-rule rather than being subject to external authority. All the legends of Atlantis point to the fact that this lesson was not fully learned or integrated. The astronomy work of researchers Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock convincingly argue that the Great Sphinx of Egypt was a lion that mirrored the sky and the constellation of Leo at this time.

Age of Cancer – 8440 BCE – 6280 BCE

Symbolically the oceans of Cancer swallowed up the external evidence of ancient cultures, but new discoveries in Turkey and India, dating to 11,000 years ago, are pushing back the generally accepted dates and ideas about the sophistication of civilizations that existed at this time. The evolutionary lesson for the age of Cancer related to new ideas about home and tribe. After the destruction of Atlantis humanity’s relationship with technology was stripped away and the simple values of the hearth and heart and growing food became the central focus.

Age of Gemini – 6280 BCE – 4120 BCE

Scholars believe this period was characterized by widespread migrations, which is a very Gemini theme. From a post-flood simplicity cultures expanded and spread out, perhaps in many cases as hunter gatherers. Mythically deities were twins, brothers and sisters, during this time. Shadowy origins of pre-dynastic Egypt puzzle researches as a brilliant and complex civilization seems to have sprung full blown from the sands of the desert. Historically the links have been missing, but ongoing discoveries are filling in the blanks. The lessons of the age of Gemini involved making new connections and reintroducing the curious rational mind into the repertoire of skills.

Age of Taurus – 4120 BCE – 1960 BCE

During the age of Taurus the Bull, Minotaurs, Apis bulls, and the Bull of Heaven dominated myth and iconography. Conventional wisdom declares this to be a time of primarily agricultural societies where the domestication of cattle and the mastery of the element of earth is displayed through an emphasis on fertility. Farming and centralized settlements reemerged. In what seems to be a stunning contradiction this period saw the Dynastic period in Egypt where monumental temples and tombs were built. The lessons of the age of Taurus involved humanity’s relationship with the physical world and possessions. Greed versus generosity were themes.

Age of Aries – 1960 BCE – 200 CE

Next the march of ages brought the ram-headed god Khnum of Egypt to the stellar throne. This period might be described as an age of heroes as the “lamb” was ritually slain and the mythic focus turned to conquest and a glorification of war. In this period sons became more important than daughters and inheritance through the male line replaced matrilineal succession. By 330 BCE Alexander’s conquests had established Greece as a major power and the force that seemed to provide the container for “modern” civilization. The lessons of the age of Aries included such positive characteristics as valor and such negative qualities as brutality and mindless exploitation and domination.

Age of Pisces – 200 CE – 2400 CE

The age of Pisces has seen the emergence of hierarchy in organized religion and the growth of monastic orders, following the pattern of the ill-named Holy Roman Empire. After the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE what became Christianity began to emerge. By 200 CE this thrust was well entrenched and we have seen increasing industrialization of parts of the world with the centralization of wealth. In the age the lamb of god became the fisher of men. The archetype of suffering has hopefully provided a schoolroom for humanity to become more compassionate.

If Aries is the first sign in the forward motion of the zodiac, then moving in the reverse direction of Precession Aries would complete a cycle. Therefore, the age of Pisces the twelfth sign, would have commenced a whole new cycle of precession. That we started counting time again two millennia ago might be seen as confirmation of this.

Age of Aquarius – 2400 CE – 4560 CE

From the disappearance of Atlantis nearly 13,000 years ago we have moved half way around the wheel of precession. This opposition of signs may well bring the ascension of sunken Atlantis, symbolically if not literally, in terms of reclaimed knowledge. Our understanding of how far back our story goes will be ascertained. As we approach the much-heralded age of Aquarius, the stars of the Water Bearer will replace those of the Fishes. At some point a new archetype for the Aquarian age will emerge and the diversity of this expression can already be witnessed in young people around the world. At the least we can expect a greater degree of scientific detachment. The already exponential growth of technology will continue, and early examples of this are electricity, space travel, and the Internet. The lessons of this age are similar to that of Atlantis; will the enlightened use of technology be used in service of the collective, or will unleashed forces destroy us again?

If we learn us lessons in the new age we will travel to the stars and meet the other beings who live there. Check in next month for a more detailed exploration of the Age of Aquarius.
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Sagittarius Goddesses

Goddess Sign — The Bow & Arrow

Aim for the stars, and keep your feet on the ground

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.

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     

Libra Goddesses

Libra Goddess Sign The Dove

“Peace begins within.” Goddesses for Every Day

The Goddess Sign for Libra is the Dove, which is an ancient emblem of the Roman goddess of love, Venus, the traditional ruler of Libra.  Birds have long been symbolically connected with the Sacred Feminine around the world and viewed as messengers between humanity and heaven.  In the Hermetic tradition, what is called the Language of the Birds, or the Green Language, is the province of the Goddess since she is “mistress of beasts.”  White doves are ancient symbols of peace and purity; even the ancient Egyptians revered them.  Doves are also symbols of love, “billing and cooing.”  Doves, sometimes called lovebirds, have no season so they can mate all year.  

Libra is a Cardinal Air sign that holds the place of the Autumn Equinox when light and dark are balanced for a time.  Libra embodies balance, and the principle of equilibrium, which results from the interaction of Leo and Virgo, the two signs that precede Libra, and form a marriage of spirit and matter.  Libra energy seeks to harmonize and is inclined toward cooperation, compromise and partnership, desiring to bring balance, but brings potential challenges from trying to be all things to all people. Libras seek the mirror of relationship and the accompanying lessons, but they can have difficulty standing up for themselves.  Sometimes they try to maintain peace at any price, resulting instead in passive aggression and suppressed conflict. 

Libra goddesses embody the traditional ideas of love, peace, beauty, art and elegance.  Libra is also the sign of marriage, so these goddesses learn to balance the challenges relationships present.  Typically, relationships bring more friction than harmony, but it is through these lessons that we learn powerful lessons if we face the shadow, the play of light and dark, that they reveal.  Libra is the sign where we can learn how to manage conflict and differences, trying to bring balance and equilibrium.  Although Libra seeks peace and harmony, conflict is inherent in relationships, so this dual air sign also includes goddesses who can appear as fierce birds of war.  Libra goddesses can seem complex and contradictory as they may embody the qualities of desire and attraction as well as the keen eye and swift action required of a seasoned warrior.  

The Roman goddess Venus, who came after the Greek Aphrodite, was a less complex deity.  She dealt more with gardens and simple groves of trees that became her shrines.  Her rituals were related to the growing things of Earth and enhancing their fertility.  Our word veneration comes from her name.  Virgins of both genders ritually tended her natural stone altars beneath large trees.  The city of Venice was named for her, and the duke of Venice symbolically married her by throwing a wedding ring into the sea.  The planet Venus, ruler of the sign of Libra in astrology, likewise has been seen with a dual nature.  When Venus rose as Morning Star, she was seen to express the warrior side of her nature, but when she set in the west with the Sun, it was her passionate nature that held sway and lovers called upon her in this form.  

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     

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  

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