Monthly Archives: September 2011

SIGE

“Let silence take you to the core of life.”
~Rumi

“My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to listen to the voices not produced by tongues, nor shouted from throats. Now … I sip at silence and listen to its inwardness that chants songs of the eons, reciting praises of the sky, announcing the mysteries of the Unseen.”
~Kahlil Gibran

SIGE

Silence in Gnostic cosmology, primary female Principle who emanated other aeons including Sophia (Wisdom).

ABOUT THE GODDESS

Gnosticism was a popular philosophy of the Roman’s Empire’s  eastern lands (especially Egypt and Phoenicia) in the first and second century of our era. It combined the elements of Christian, Hellenic and Roman philosophies (especially Gnosis, dualism and Hermeticism). One of its major assumptions is the domination of energy over matter and the necessity of constant self-development; soul’s redemption occurs on the path of Gnosis i.e. enlightenment, emancipation, the oneness with God. Gnostic movement was diverse and was early condemned by the Church Fathers thus the original writings have not remained and the Gnostic views were preserved only in the papers of its adversaries. It was not changed until 1945 when the papyri of Nag Hammadi were discovered. As a consequence of this finding, it was possible to reconstruct Gnostic gospels and other important writings presenting Gnostic philosophy.

Most Gnostic systems are based on the concept of aeons, the emanations of God who is known as The One, Absolute, the Monad, Aion Teleos (The Broadest Aeon), Bythos (Depth), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning), Arkhe (Beginning). Depending on the school the aeons are differently classified and named but for the purpose of this post I only concentrate on the beliefs of Valentinianism. The Valentinians considered aeons to be twin pairs of male and female energies called syzygies; the primary ideal Principles are male Bythos, Proarkhe or Propator and female Ennoia (Thought, Intent), Charis (Charis) or Sige (Silence). They conceived and emanated male aeon Nous (Mind) and female Aletheia (Truth) from whom Zoe (Life) and Logos (Word) originate together with other twin male – female aeons who form Pleroma (Oneness, Fullness)*.

Aeons

The last and the youngest female aeon was Sophia (Wisdom) who, due to ignorance or the need of forming, emanated Demiurge, the creator of the material world, and therefore lost her place in Pleroma. To save her and human kind, Bythos emanated Christ who was born as Yeshua and taught people how to achieve the state of enlightenment (Gnosis).

Valentinian Pleroma

According to the Valentinian system, two perennial coexisting Principles began the life in the Universe by emanating aeons in their likeness, i.e. male&female ones and creative by nature (because they emanated further aeons). It is not clear whether two primary Principles have always been dual. According to the previous beliefs and even some Valentinians, the primary Principles were either above all the sex or a hermaphrodite who split into male and female elements. Also according to Cyril of Jerusalem, Sige was Bythos’ daughter and with him she conceived Logos but it has to be mentioned that the author was a relentless critic of both Arians and Gnostics and presented this origin only to ridicule them (it is similar with Irenaeus of Lyon who sneers at the idea of Silence and Word coexisting in one Pleroma). 

As a matter of fact, nomen est omen because it is the silence which surrounds Sige herself and it is difficult to find any information about her. However, her message in the card decks is very clear, Be aware of the fact that silence is a great force.  It is wise to decide when it is better not to speak or not to answer. Experience the creative silence of concentration before you start acting. This is the goddess of contemplation who convinces us to slow down, to ponder and to rest. Remember that when you are alone and you do not communicate with environment, you contact your true self. We often crave for love and acceptance so much that we suppress our real needs. Our civilization pushes us to live in the community and therefore being alone and silent may cause anxiety in us. Drawing the card of Sige helps us find the power to confront ourselves.

Sige shows the non-action which comes not from indifference but from the ability to think and to observe. She reminds us that the word can both heal and kill and once it is said, it cannot be unsaid. If Logos was born from Silence, it means that Silence is creative by nature and it incorporates the element of searching for knowledge and understanding. Because of its feminine aspect, this knowledge is intuitive and subconscious but without searching we shall not attain the enlightenment**. The power of silence is within each of us and each of us must confront it at some point of life. If we do listen, the silence and focus can speak loudly and clearly but when we try to ignore them, they begin to scream and to demand attention.

This is the power of concentration and inspiration indispensable before we start acting. It brings to my mind the message of the Fool (Zero or Twenty – Second Major Arcanum of Tarot) and the letter Alef of the Hebrew alphabet, This is the moment when we have an idea but it remains unspecified yet, it has only begun developing in our mind and it has not been showed to the world yet. This is the moment when we take a breath to present our idea to the public, to name it and to make all our expectations, assumptions and talents happen but before the first word is pronounced everything can still be changed. There is still time to modify the nature of the word because it is still being created.***

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

No images of Sige survived antiquity and it is not certain whether they existed at all.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

Person showed by the card of Sige is close-mouthed and silent, often shy but also wise. When accompanied by other cards (e.g . Persephone) it may suggest a difficult childhood, quarrels in the family or opinionated parents. When negative it shows a person who either talks too much, is unable to listen to others, tells lies, gossips or expresses an opinion but thinks about about something different and does yet another thing.

Advice

You can feel overwhelmed by the amount of events in your life now. Perhaps some serious disturbances in everyday routine such as disease or loss of something valuable will force you to stop and reconsider what you really need and how to achieve it. Do not make any serious decisions at the moment as it is not the time to act. Avoid noise, do not shout at others, try not to let racing thoughts overpower your mind, do not react to provocations nor answer back. It is advised to to calm down and meditate. If it is possible, take a couple of days off. If it is not, ask the people who surround you to give you a breather. This must be the time only for you.

Love

In a relationship: possible problems with communication. Listen to your beloved more and speak less yourself. It is probable that conflicts have grown to such an extent that a (temporal) separation is required.

If you are single:  this is the time for you, you are advised to concentrate on observation and learning, not on flirting. Perhaps you withdrew from your social networks or family life.

Finances

This is not a good moment to act, you should rather spend it on thinking the problem over or planning a strategy.  While searching for a job this cards encourages to plan your own business especially in the professions requiring creativity and intelligence. It is also a warning that either your boss or your colleagues do not tell us everything or maybe even hide something important.

Health

Pay attention to the diagnosis because something may be unnoticed or neglected during the examination. It is possible that you must consult at least a couple of doctors before the reason of  disease will be determined.  Do not pull an all-nighter and try to get enough sleep . You do need rest and peace, if you do not take a break now health problems will soon affect you seriously. Endangered parts of the body: larynx, pharynx, throat, thyroid, tonsils and tongue.

IMAGES

The first image of Sige comes from the deck of Pamela Matthews and personally I consider it to be extremely beautiful.

The one from the deck of Doreen Virtue seems a bit like a Disney princess.

Sige in Doreen Virtue's deck

*First eight aeons are called The Ogdoad.

**The purpose of Gnosis is is the liberation from the constraints of the world and achieving  enlightenment.

*** Based on the programmes of Danuta the Tarot Reader and translated from Polish.

Based on http://gnosis.org and English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeon_%28Gnosticism%29, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinians

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DURGA

With my special dedication to

Amitabh Ghosh

the Bengali Tiger 😉

DURGA

ABOUT GODDESS

Durga is a Hindu warrior goddess, an incarnation of feminine force of creation, preservation and destruction.

Her name means The Inaccessible.  According to myths she appeared when Hindu gods were exhausted by the war with demons led by Mahishasura (‘Buffalo’). He caused chaos and terror in the worlds and he could have been defeated neither by god nor man. A shiny orb propellant flames arose from the anger of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods. The light infiltrated three worlds, concentrated and took the feminine shape. The lady who introduced herself as the form of Brahma, the creator of all gods* had three eyes (left one was associated with the moon and desire, right one – with the sun and activity while the central one was connected with fire and wisdom) and ten or eight arms to be able to carry more weapons. Durga was riding a tiger** and started to slay the demons immediately with the deadly gifts from gods: a club, a loop, a lance, a bow, a disk, a sword, a trident and even a lightning.

When she annihilated all of the demons and stood in front of Mahishasura himself, he initially neglected her saying, How can a woman kill me who has already defeated gods? Durga laughed so mightily that she caused an earthquake and this made the demon realize how dangerous his enemy was. Mahishasura attacked her tiger which infuriated the goddess so much that she caught him with a lasso but he transformed into a lion. Durga beheaded him and yet a clever demon managed to turn into a man with a sword. When she tried to pierce him with her weapon, he took the shape of an elephant, when she cut his trunk down, he changed back to a buffalo and so lasted the duel until Durga’s patience ran out. She blinded him with the light emanating from her body, jumped close to the demon, pinned him to the wall with her trident and beheaded once and for all. Their duel is shown beautifully on this picture:

Durga fighting Mahisasura

According to a Hindu mythology the world is influenced by two forces: the Devs (deities) and the Asurs (demons) who are balanced and cannot win one another. Durga is born from the rage of Devs and their frustration that they cannot defeat the Asurs.  To show the nature of their war I’d like to quote this siteThis personification of cosmic energy is one of the most wonderful and the richest in meanings. Durga’s battle shows an eternal fight between wisdom and ignorance, truth and untruth, Dev’s noble activity maintaining the balance in the world and Asurs’ destructive ego. She defeats the last and the most powerful demon Mahishasura who attacks her under the form of buffalo representing the power of chaos. Durga must also face the  male charm which the Asurs use to seize her power and weapon and she keeps her female dignity and the ability of self-determination.

Durga is self-sufficient and independent from male Hindu gods (they did not create her therefore they have no power over her). She is considered to be an aspect of Goddess Mother and all the other Hindu goddesses are perceived as the emanation of Durga. It must be mentioned that the notion of energy is crucial in Hinduism and the main female energy is Shakti, the feminine element reflected in inspiration, passion, charisma, intensive activity and vitality. Shakti is always paired with Shiva, the male element, and these two create the balance and build the basis of the world. Durga is an emanation of Shakti along with Parvati, Kali and Uma. Durga herself appears in nine forms called Navdurga: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri (you can see them here). She knows no fear, she is patient and she never loses the sense of humour even during the battle. Her name is called upon in the cases which seem to be lost.

The main celebration is famous Durga Puja, very popular especially in Bengal, India’s Himalayan regions, Bangladesh and Nepal in late September and October. The holiday lasts ten days because according to the myth the goddess was fighting demons that long. The altars are being built, the figures of Durga are being created, painted, decorated and carried around and finally drowned in the river. Read more about the festival here.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

When it comes to pictures she is usually portayed very dynamically while battling Mahishasura, presented in a side profile pose, riding a tiger and holding weapons in all her hands (in this form she is called Mahishasurmardhini – ‘Mahishasura’s Killer’).

However,  in sculptures and figures she is presented statically as a peaceful woman with a gentle and often smiling face.  She holds flower garlands, pearl necklaces, shells and the lotus flowers in her hands or she places fingers in mudras or symbolic gestures.  In this milder form she is called Maha Gauri (‘The Fair Lady’).

The animal mostly associated with her is tiger.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The card of Durga shows a woman who is independent, ambitious and courageous. She is often a boss or she runs her own business.When she wants to achieve something, she does not give up until she gets it and she is able to move heaven and earth for an important purpose. She can also be quarrelsome, requiring, intolerant to different opinions and stubborn. A workaholic. This card represents a boss, a soldier, a police officer, a judge, a social worker, a craftsman (according to one of the legends Durga was leading her own army against demons and after the victory she thanked the warriors by teaching them how to make jewellery).

Advice

The problem which you are inquiring about can be resolved by various means (as the proverb says ‘if they don’t let you in through the door, get in through the window’) just like the duel with Mahishasura shows.

Situation requires courage, intransigence, concentration and patience.

Key words: Transformation.  Solitude.  Counting on yourself only. Concentration. Independence. A success gained thanks to patience, ambition and determination.

Love

If you’re single: You have an independent nature and it is difficult for you to compromise. It is possible that your work means more than a relationship. Lack of trust to men caused by bad experiences or bringing up without a father. Men may feel respect to you but not necessairly attraction.

If you’re in a relationship: This card may show tension in a relationship, quarrels, claims, etc. Perhaps one of the partners is dominated by the other. Lack of communication. Transformation.

Finances:

It is a good time to start your own business or to change the job. If you do not have a job, this card suggests searching for something different than what you used to do. In your resume mention all your diplomas, certificates, skills and abilities even if you consider some of them to be less important, you need to use versatile methods.

Health

Beware of injuries and accidents. Too much stress. Lack of energy or too much energy. Possible imbalance in the body. A disease difficult to diagnose or a long and difficult therapy. With other alarming cards it can signify changes caused by multiplying cells. Endangered parts of the body: limbs, eyes and brain.

IMAGES

Durga in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthewss.

Durga in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English and Polish Wikipedia and the following pages:   http://www.indiaguide.pl/india/devi_durga_kali.html
http://hinduism.about.com/od/hindugoddesses/a/durga.htm
http://www.indif.com/nri/articles/article2.asp

*Fire is the male element required to perform an action but when incarnated in the body of a woman it creates peace and harmony.

** According to another version it was a lion.

BRIGID (BRIGIT, BRIDE)

BRIGID (BRIGIT, BRIDE)

ABOUT GODDESS

Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, blacksmithing, house and hearth. She was the daughter of Dagda, the High King of Tuatha Dé Danann and an unknown poet, the wife of Bres of the Fomorians and the mother of his son Ruadán. Her name means The Exalted One (Breo-saighit – ‘A Fiery Arrow’).

Brigid was involved in the war between her native tribe and the Fomorians, the tribe which had lived in Ireland before their arrival (according to the Irish legends Tuatha Dé Danann was the fifth tribe to arrive in the island). Traditionally the Fomorians are considered to represent chaos and wild forces of nature while Tuatha Dé Danann were the ones who built the civilization. Brigit’s son died in the war between the two tribes and this tragedy made her invent keening, a kind of mourning song.

Brigid is connected with the sun and everything which is considered high both literally (high-raising flames, highlands and upland areas) and metaphorically (wisdom, perfection, intelligence, creativity, eloquence, poetry, warcraft, healing, divination, druidic knowledge and crafts especially blacksmithing). Similarly to the Hellenic goddess Athena, Brigid was inventing various helpful objects such as a whistle used during night journeys and ogham, the Celtic alphabet. According to some beliefs she was also the goddess of fertility and the women during their labour. Wells have been dedicated to Brigid and in fact the custom of decorating healing wells with clooties is still present in many places in the British Isles.

Trees decorated with clooties

and

Trees decorated with clooties

It is interesting that the pagan Celtic goddess is often identified with her Christian saint namesake who was the abbess in Kildare. Kildare was the area of Ireland where the cult of the goddess was very strong in pagan times and according to the legends the custom of maintaining Brigid’s sacred flame remained there even in the Christian era. The hearth was surrounded by the hedge which no man had right to cross and those who tried to do it against the prohibition were said to die, go insane or have their penises withered. Each of the nineteen priestesses (and then nuns) was watching over the flame for one hour and it is said that for the twentieth hour the goddess herself was protecting the hearth. It was not until 1220 when Henry Bishop of Dublin ordered to extinguish the flame (however I found the note here that in 1993 the Brigidine sisters of Ireland rekindled her flame at Kildare). Pay attention to the fact that the protection of hearth just by female members of the house is the custom which makes Brigid similar to the Hellenic goddess Hestia and Roman Vesta.

I suppose that Christianity was helpless against strong pagan beliefs. The pope Gregory I himself stated in the letter to St. Augustine of Hippo that the cult of goddess should be incorporated to Christian faith rather than fought with. I suppose that it resulted in the legend of Brigid being the midwife of St.Mary when she was giving birth to Jesus. St. Brigid’s Day is celebrated in the Christian churches on Feb, 1st probably as one of the remains of the Celtic holiday Imbolc (Oimelc). It was the holiday dedicated to Brigid and people were celebrating the spring coming up, days getting longer and longer and the time of birthing and freshening of sheep  (animals attributed to her). The Christians changed the name of the holiday into Candlemas but kept the ritual of blessing the sheep. Brigid was worshipped in the whole Celtic world and many cities and towns took their names after her e.g. Braga and Bragança (Portugal), Bregenz (Austria), Brigindo (Switzerland) etc. She was considered to be the Triple Goddess* thanks to her three aspects: the first one was inspiration and creation, the second one was blacksmithing and the third one  – the art of healing and medicine. Legend says that in 722 she appeared to the Irish army hovering in the sky before they routed the forces of Tara similarly to the cross which had appeared to the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

The most important symbol associated with her is Brigid’s cross made of rush, one of the symbols of the Republic of Ireland which among others was used as the logo of the public television.

Brigid’s number is nineteen because according to druid’s knowledge the new moon needed 19 years to appear in exactly the same time as winter solstice.

The animals attributed to her were an ox (she had two: Fe and Men which graze on a plain named Femen after them), a boar, a sheep and a swan (an animal which unites the forms of a bird and a serpent).

Cauldron was attributed to Brigid as the patron of craft and both spear and arrow were her symbols as the mentor of the warcraft.

Brigid was often presented wearing a green coat although it has to be said that not many images of her survived the introduction of Christianity.

DIVINATION MEANING

Because Brigid is a very versatile goddess, her oracle card also carries a lot of meanings. Most of all because of her clear connection to the element of fire, her cards presents all the features traditionally attributed to it.

Positive: energy, activity, courage, being go-getting, ambition, creativity, eagerness, initiative, dynamics, passion, enthusiasm, leading skills, success, extrovertism, optimism

Negative: anger, lack of control, risk, imprudence, carelessness, acting without thinking, inability to finish what was started, impatience, obsession, narcissism, tendency to exaggerate, distress, capriciousness

PERSON

Woman shown by this card is versatile, intelligent and passionate, she often has manual and creative skills and is good at making strategies. She definitely is strong, ambitious, talented and creative but she also takes great care of her family and she fulfils herself in many areas of life. In negative it presents the woman who tries to kill too  many birds with one stone or is torn apart between fulfilling the needs of others and her own.

This cars also represents artists, artisans, doctors, officers, firefighters, teachers, philosophers, midwives, farmers and fortune tellers.

ADVICE

Be assertive and do not back down even if you are under pressure. Express yourself clearly and do not think that showing your strength will scare people away from you. If you are unclear about your intentions, you lessen your own force and it will not help you to achieve your goal. You cannot satisfy everyone so it is better not to ponder what others may think. It is time to act, not to hesitate.

Try to express yourself in writing, reciting, singing, designing, creating in metal, clay etc and all the kinds of craft.

Think deeply of the problem which drenches you. The solution is already in your mind, you only have to bring it up on the surface like water is taken upwards from a well.

LOVE

If you are in a relationship: This is the time of attraction and passion, a good moment to show your partner love. In negative meaning it can signify anger and quarrels which in the end should not last long anyway. If surrounded by other card(s) presenting the goddess of house and family, it suggests marriage or strengthening the already existing relationship.

If you are single: Do not sit and wait until Prince Charming comes to save you. Start searching for him yourself but do not concentrate on finding Mr Perfect. Instead surround yourself with people with whom you are connected by work, hobby or volunteering, the more people you meet, the bigger chance of finding someone who will suit you. If you have already crush on someone, this card suggests making the first step.

FINANCES

Positive: possible promotion or pay rise, negative: more work or duties. Often signifies your boss or someone who has power over you. It is a good moment to think about a new project or starting your own firm, Brigid says, ‘Think carefully about the plan and consider all the possible options and when you are ready, act immediately and do not hesitate’.

HEALTH

A visit to doctor or a hospital is necessary. You need to take better care of your health, if you delay consulting a specialist, the problem will be growing. Possible fever or inflammation of one of the body’s organs. Injuries caused by speed or sport may happen to you. Also problems with overactivity may affect your mind (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder etc) and that is the right time to diagnose them. If accompanied by the goddesses of earth, this cards may suggest a visit to spa&health centre. If it appears at the end of spread in questions concerning health problems, it usually suggests recovery especially if it is accompanied by the goddess of wealth, well-being or fertility.

CARDS

Brigid in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

This beautiful and very Art Nouveau image of Brigid comes from Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews.

Brigid in the deck of Pamela Matthews

Brigid in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Brigid in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Brigid in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Brigid in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Brigid in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Brigid in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

Brigid in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

The card from the deck of Doreen Virtue brings the message which is consitent with the element of Fire, Don’t back down. Stand up for what you believe is right. Speak your truth. Stick to your opinions.

Brigid in the deck of Doreen Virtue

Brigid in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst (or is it Archangel Michael? )

Brigid in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Brigid in The Goddess Power deck by Cordelia Brabbs

And this is a very adequate assignment of Brigid as King of Staves from the Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano  (Staves=Fire, King=the most progressed and advanced in development of the court figures). As you can see there is the sign of triquerta over the goddess’ head which may be some kind of overinterpretation but it definitely pays attention to Brigid’s triple nature.

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Based on English Wikipedia and the following pages:  http://www.realmagick.com/6807/brigid-the-goddess-of-imbolc-and-celtic-europe/, http://www.inanna.virtualave.net/brigit.html and http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/thecygnusmystery_swan.htm.

* I will publish a separate post explaining the notion of Triple Goddess because it is definitely worth to study it deeper.

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