Pisces Goddesses — The Grail

“An awakened heart is full of compassion.”

Goddesses for Every Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Aquarius Goddesses – The Spiral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(galaxy image from SnappyGoat.com)

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

 

Winter Solstice

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Kindle Your Inner Fire

Winter Solstice is the rebirth of the Sun and is an important turning point in the year as it marks the longest night. Winter Solstice occurs at a specific time, not on just a certain day. This year on December 21, at 11:29 AM EST and 8:29 AM PST, the Sun will shine directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, the southernmost point the Sun reaches in its apparent annual journey, causing colder temperatures and shorter days in the north. In the Southern Hemisphere, days are long and it’s high summer. On December 21, North America will see only nine and a half hours of daylight and fourteen and a half hours of darkness.

After Winter Solstice, the Sun seems to rise and set in the same place in the sky for three days. That’s why December 25 is significant as that’s when the Sun begins its northward motion. Many scholars believe the Christian church selected December 25 as the symbolic date of Jesus’s birth several centuries after his death, mystically linking him to many ancient and powerful solar deities and holidays such as the Roman Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun.

Winter Solstice, or Yule, is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year; it is the seed time, the longest night, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King. In many cultures Winter Solstice was associated with the birth of a “divine king,” a god of light. Since the Sun is considered to be a male divinity in many traditions, this time is celebrated as the “return of the sun god” as he is born again of the Goddess. At this time of year, the Goddess is in her dark Crone aspect, ‘She who cuts the thread,’ ‘Our Lady in Darkness’, severing the old year and calling back the light. At the same time, she gives birth to the Son who will fertilize the Earth, bringing back light and warmth to the world.

Fire festivals, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, held on the Winters Solstice can be found throughout the ancient world. The Roman festival of Saturnalia was held on the Winter Solstice. Boughs of evergreen trees and bushes would decorate the house, gifts where exchanged, and normal business was suspended. The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. In Sweden December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, “Shining One,” and was a celebration of the return of the light.

On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honor Odin and Thor. The festival is also associated with the birth of older gods like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus, and even Arthur with a cycle of birth, death and resurrection.

Culturally, we do not allow enough space or value to darkness – the night’s deeps, Winter Solstice, dreaming in a cave, Yin energy, the formless, infinite, indefinable, unknowing realms of unconsciousness and shadow. Yet this is where creativity and energy are born. In a poetic sense it is on this, the longest night, ‘the dark night of our souls’, where a new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, is reborn within.

Take time this December 21 to welcome back the light. Many solstice rituals include lighting candles, incense, and setting intentions for the new year. It’s a perfect time to write down what needs to be released and burn the paper in a fire, releasing the old energy and liberating bound patterns. Meditating at the moment of solstice, settling into the deep and silent darkness, then lighting a single candle with intention, brings in powerful energy as a profound shift to the return of light.

Fan the spark of your inner fire and let it blaze with joy and inspiration. Joyous Solstice!

 

Doves – Guest Blog from my husband, Ted

Perched Dove Marking a Mercury Direct Station Point

by Ted Denmark, Ph.D.              Avery, CA               May 3, 2017

Picture1.jpgI had spoken with Julie earlier in the morning for a bit longer than usual about our various plans and current affairs, and now I was getting my highly-esteemed, shiny chrome-plated Pavoni espresso machine cranked up for a morning Peru blend with the usual 2% organic Clover Dairy’s half cup of milk.  The very bright sunny morning was a bit shocking after so many rainy overcast days this now mid-spring season, which has already become the wettest season on record in Northern California.  For some reason I impulsively happened to look up and out the east window on my right hand and noticed a mid-sized bird on the wing, about 50 yards away, flying a diagonal course towards the house.  I immediately noticed that this was not a common bird to see in this area, so I looked more carefully as it approached.  It was smaller than a Raven and larger than an acorn woodpecker commonly seen at this higher level in the air lanes habituated by the local feathered bipeds.  I could see the curious white markings on the underside of its wings, of a kind I could not remember ever having seen before.

Wow, this could get interesting, I thought, as I remembered I had left the telephoto lens on my trusty little camera from a successful quick shot of a clever and cheeky ground squirrel that had climbed to the top of the house totem pole, an old snag left over from a forest fire many decades ago, to get its portrait taken.  As soon as the grayish flyer made its way to the top perch of a recently expired Ponderosa near the southeast corner of the house, and after setting its position, I made my way into the living room to get the camera and make my way outside to see if this pole sitter was still going to be there when I arrived.  It was.  I cranked up the camera and quickly twisted the function rings for max zoom at infinite distance and stopped all the way down.

I put the bogey at mid-screen, and not wanting to waste any time betting on the whimsical behavior of always jumpy bird life, I squeezed off the first shot.  The backscreen viewfinder on this camera is not particularly good or bright enough outside on a sunny day, but I thought my chances were good enough.  I couldn’t really get the orientation of the bird because it was too far away to actually see in the setup (this is not a DSLR or even mirrorless camera), except to notice it was there.  I waited a half second and squeezed off another.  I was having to hunch down a bit to remain in the shadows while still having the perch in view above the roof overhang, which was not exactly comfortable … so I looked around and moved back on the deck to get under another roof overhang that would allow for a full standing posture while steadying the camera on the nearly redwood  post.  I arrived and squeezed off a third shot, beginning to feel confident that I would have at least a few shots to tidy up in “post production” (no pun intended until noting).

At that moment the barely visible bird talent made a short series of three calls, clearly those of a dove that I had often heard in the bushes on the hill behind the house, but I had only succeeded in seeing the originator of such calls scurrying around on the ground a few times in all the years of living out on my Sierra ridge.  These were clearly the loud and distinctive “coos” of a dove, delivered the moment before this lovely charmer jumped up and flew away to the east, the direction from which it had come just a few moments before.  So, the three coos were a good match for both the date and the number of shots I had taken … just in time.

I walked back into the house to sit down with my “continental breakfast” and take stock of the next amazing description of a civilization in my Star Elixirs book done by my old friend Michael Smulkis, now recently deceased.  I mused to myself, “I’ll have to call Julie and tell her this dove story—she always loves to think of doves, the symbol of our Pleiadian home world.”  Another curious thing about this novel perched-bird sighting, I had noted, since Julie and I had briefly discussed this in our morning update, was that the planet Mercury was about to “go direct on its station point” in about an hour.  Lots of curious things always happen on these Mercury station points, either as it goes retrograde (now having a more widespread understanding among hip folk) or turns direct, like today.  In fact this dove caper, I had realized, began at the very minute (9:33 a.m.) of the station point!  This really was amazing, and unlike anything I had ever witnessed in my escapades in birdland!  I chose to wait a few more minutes before calling Julie so I could finish the last bites of my breakfast and have a moment to ponder  why this might be happening—of course, I could already think of several situations to which it might apply.

But no need to wait any longer, the phone was ringing, and it was the dear sweet beautiful lady herself, calling with a tone of excitement, to tell me that she had just come back from our lot in Pagosa Springs, CO where three large loads of dirt were being dumped by truck for the eventual base of our house foundation.  I let her describe a few more of the details before telling her of my rare and likely propitious dove sighting just a few minutes before.  It only took us a couple of moments to realize that my bird sighting and photo op had occurred at exactly the same moment as her trip out to the lot to christen a load of dirt being delivered to our building site … and indeed at the very moment of the Mercury Direct station point (!).  Excitement was in the air and on the ground.

Nothing quite like this had ever happened before: that is, simultaneous events, one for each of us, timed to coincide with a super-classic astrology aspect that we both always note with some anticipation and gravitas.  It was also true that I was just finishing the transcription and edits of our Telepresence Conference 64 of the *Five Star Series* … which was about “revisioning Astrology” (!).  Well, this would be “one for the books” … one of our very own books in the series of bird antics with a highly suspicious backlog of meaning for our navigation through the twists and turns of life.  We finished our call with ‘high fives,’ and I soon finished my breakfast and went to my media computer to download whatever I may have gotten in my morning mini-shoot.

Get Ted’s new book, Winged Messengers, at Amazon. Click on the image.                                                                                                 51nxTuKN0XL._AC_US160_.jpg

Earth Day

“A religion without a Goddess is halfway to atheism.”    

Dion Fortune

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As I ponder Earth Day my mind and heart are drawn to a contemplation of the Divine Feminine. I experience Earth as a goddess, as a mother, and my love for her is deep.  I was drawn to this image of Green Tara, a goddess in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Within Tibetan Buddhism Tara is regarded as a bodhisattva of compassion in action and came to be seen as an expression of perfected wisdom. Green Tara and White Tara are the most popular representations of Tara.

Tara embodies many of the qualities of the feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion, and relief from bad karma as experienced by ordinary beings in cyclic existence. She engenders, nourishes, smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children. Green Tara offers help and protection from all the unfortunate circumstances one can encounter within the world of sorrow. As White Tara she expresses maternal compassion and offers healing to beings who are hurt or wounded, either mentally or psychically.

Nearly forty thousand years ago a Great Goddess was revered, and clay figures of her are the earliest depictions of humans that have been found.  Cultures were more agricultural, time was experienced as circular, and the growing cycles of Earth were honored.  Seasonal festivals celebrated the annual ebb and flow of life as people moved in conscious resonance with shifting cycles of light and dark, life and death.  Western culture no longer moves in harmony with natural cycles.  In fact, we can no longer see the stars.  Earth Day celebrations bring back the honoring of the Earth and her cycles. 

I believe humanity has a deep need to revere the feminine side of the divine.  This unmet need is surfacing in our time in such examples as the phenomenal popularity of The Da Vinci Code, which highlighted principles of the feminine.  Apparitions of Mary, mother of Jesus, are on the rise around the world.  One of the most documented in recent times was in Zeitoun, Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of people of diverse beliefs stood side by side, over a period of twenty-three years, watching as Mary appeared over a small church in a suburb of Cairo. Millions make annual pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes, and the site of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  Worldwide response to the death of beloved Princess Diana of Wales also spoke to our need to revere a feminine archetype.

The feminine is half of all that exists. At this time I especially honor the feminine principle that is the Earth as well as all the growing things.

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Give someone you love a gift of 366 goddess for Earth Day or Mother’s Day. Click on the book to order.

My deepest thanks.

Julie

February 26, 2017 Solar Eclipse

The image above is the moment of totality from a solar eclipse I witnessed in Egypt in 2006. (If you can’t see it here look on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/jmloar  ).  We were lucky enough to have an astronomer with a good camera in our group. Experiencing such an eclipse first hand is life changing. One moment it’s daylight and slowly the Moon moves across the face of the Sun, the sky grows dark, and there is eerie silence. That day we could also see Venus shining brightly near the Sun. My own sense was awe and humility. Hundreds of people had camped in Egypt’s western desert and many were brought to tears.

This solar eclipse is exact Sunday, February 26 at 7:58 MST, where I am in Colorado. This eclipse is in Pisces, so the depths of our emotions are keenly felt. The Sun and Moon are also conjunct to Neptune, symbolic lord of the oceans. We are invited to dive deep into our inner feelings and honestly face what we see in the murky depths. What do we find hidden deep in the dark waters of our subconsciousness that has been driving our knee jerk responses and instinctual behaviors? It’s a good time to take stock.  Emotional tides could run high with a tendency to overreact. Mars is also conjunct Uranus in Aries so there is danger that strong emotions could lead to potentially violent responses.

If we are open to transmutation these purifying waters may cleanse us of false beliefs and old pain. The choice is up to us. As William G. T Shedd famously said, “Ships are safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”  Set your main sail and tack into the wind on the high tide of change.