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     

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.

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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

 

 

Aries Goddesses: The Double Axe of Crete

Eva Krocher CC BY-SA 2.5-Labrys_Kettenanhänger

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Pisces Goddesses — The Grail

“An awakened heart is full of compassion.”

Goddesses for Every Day

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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.