Category Archives: Anna’s Impressions

THE DAY OF SOLSTICE

I hope you enjoy this magical and meaningful time of winter solstice as much as I do. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting both my blog and its page on FB.

I shall write a separate blog entry about the gemstone oracle deck Kamienie Wróżą as I promised but for now let me remind you of what I have already written about the winter solstice.

Greetings and see you soon 🙂

https://landofgoddesses.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/time-of-the-suns-return/

greetingseng

REVIEW: THE GODDESS CARD PACK BY JUNI PARKHURST

THE GODDESS CARD PACK. DISCOVERING YOUR GODDESS WITHIN

by Juni Parkhurst

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Unfortunately, it is one of these rare situations where I am not able to provide you with the information about the author because I cannot find much. There is no author’s bio in the booklet, no author’s page nor profile on social media. She seems non-existent in the Internet, all I could find was the address of the place where she is said to work as a hypnotherapist (in the booklet it is also mentioned she organises the goddess card readings and the goddess workshops). She also belongs to the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners.

If you know anything about her, please share it with me.

ADVANTAGES

The first advantage is definitely a wide range of cultures included in this deck, you will find here the goddesses from different parts of the world.

Again the images turn out to be a strong advantage of this deck, they are all bright, colourful and similar in style of expressionist or fauvist artists such as Munch or Matisse. They may appear as a bit careless and childish yet it may also be treated as an advantage because this simple and direct way appeals to the reader’s intuition immediately. Intuition is the basic, primary and straightforward sense so colourful, uncomplicated images can be very helpful in making it work. Of course, as I always repeat after the ancient Romans de gustibus non est disputandum and some will consider it to be a disadvantage of this deck.

Big thumb up for including the real goddesses only, no card of Mary here.

Another huge advantage is the attempt to give structure to the oracle card deck. The whole deck is divided into six parts ruled by the archetypical deities who impersonate its features: Aphrodite, Kali, Diana, Hecate, Athena and Demeter. To find the goddess who corresponds best to your nature, you have to fill in a short personality test. Each ruling goddess is then described by the summary of  her mythology and her equivalent in modern psychology, also visualisations and rituals are given as well as divinatory meaning.

Other goddesses are classified to the clusters ruled by the above mentioned deities.

Kali’s Cluster of Goddesses of the Dark Side of the Moon

Pele

Medusa

Lilith

Sekhmet

Demeter’s Cluster of Goddesses Who Nurture

Gaia

Brigid

Kwan Yin

Sophia

Hecate’s Cluster of Goddesses of the Sacred Healing Mysteries

Persephone

Hygea

Ostara

Changing Woman

Diana’s Cluster of Nature Goddesses

Yemanya

Ceres

Cerridwen

Chalchiuhtlicue

Athena’s Cluster of Warrior Goddesses

The Morrigan

Victoria

Freyja

Inanna

Aphrodite’s Cluster of Love and Sex Goddesses

Frigg

Isis

Lakshmi

Oshun

I consider it to be an advantage of this deck, after all such subject as the goddesses mythology seems to be an excellent source of archetypes ready to be translated into the modern times. In fact, I am surprised that most of goddess oracle decks do not pay attention to this aspect but concentrate on the pure oracle or worship elements.

DISADVANTAGES

The division may as well be considered to be the disadvantage because it is controversial. The attribution of ruling deities to their clusters can be disputed. Some goddesses are rather versatile and it is difficult to classify them to one category only, Sekhmet could as well be a warrior goddess, Freyja and Inanna are as much love and sex goddesses as they are warlike and Lakshmi seems to match the nurturing goddess cluster. Personally I would like to see a whole new cluster of wisdom, intelligence and inspiration goddesses with Sophia, Brigid and Athena.

In my opinion the goddess card pack makes the impression of a slapdash if not messy edition. There are factual mistakes (I have already mentioned in my post about Demeter that Ceres was not a Greek but Latin goddess) as well as simple typos (‘Eostara’, ‘The Morrogon’ and ‘Lakshimi’). Instinctively I started to search for the name of the person responsible for correction but I found none. In fact the information about the edition is very limited as if just one person did the whole publishing work. There is the copyright recognition of Juni Parkhurst but for the text only, not for the images as I (and probably most users) initially thought! So who created the images? Similarly to Godsfield Press’ other issue The Goddess Power Pack there is no direct remark, bah! there is not even a list of the people participating in the card pack edition as it was in the case of Cordelia Brabbs’ deck so we cannot even guess who did the pictorial work. I was baffled even more when I read the following sentence in the booklet

Juni Parkhurst asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

‘Moral’? Seems ambiguous to me… When it comes to copyright it is common to establish clear and precise attribution to avoid any possible legal battles and ‘moral’ has too vast meanings to be exact. It is not the first time when the publication by Godsfield’s Press lacks clarity (see my review of Goddess Power Pack). I am not going to further explore the topic but I certainly treat it as a huge disadvantage of this deck.

To sum up, let me quote the Russian proverb signifying great plans but ineffectual result: We wanted to do our best but in the end it all turned out as usual

ISSUE

30 cards

a book containing the introduction, information how to use the card pack, ‘Which Goddess Are You?’ test, the descriptions of the goddesses and advice how to use cards (how to lay out the cards, a couple of spreads, how to interpret the cards), famous goddess types and index

a box

In a book each card is presented in the following way:

the descriptions of the cluster leading goddesses (history, today, challenges, love, ritual, visualisation, divinatory meaning)

+

other goddesses (key words and short divinatory meaning)

 box juni pankhurst

The size of cards is 13,5 x 8 cm

Back sides of cards show the brown and yellow fish swimming in the blue waves.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Back side

back side juni parkhurst

© 1999 Godsfield Press and text © 1999 Juni Pankhurst

Publisher: Godsfield Press/Sterling

ISBN: 0 – 8069 – 9903 – 9

Aphrodite
Athena
Brigid
Ceres
Cerridwen
Chalchihuitlicue
Changing Woman
Demeter
Diana
Eostre
Freyja
Frigg
Gaia
Hecate
Hygea
Inanna
Isis
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lilith
Medusa
The Morrigan
Oshun
Pele
Persephone
Sekhmet
Sophia
Victoria
Yemanya

ABOUT HINDU GODDESSES

I have recently got some nasty comments and emails expressing anger about posting the oracle cards with nude Hindu goddesses on my blog. I ignored them at first but perhaps it is better to explain this matter in a clear and logical way to finish it once and for all. As Michelle from Allo, Allo used to say, Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.

So here are my three short points.

Primo: writing to me is useless because I am not the author of these images (and I point it clearly on my blog that I post them for cognitive and educational purpose). If you really are so angry that a goddess is presented nude, you should address the painters themselves.

In a very polite way, I suggest.

Secundo: someone wrote to me in this manner:

But u guys need to understand and that is pls stop using the word Mythology … Becos these personalities are not fictional… They are real… U never say bible mythology or quran mythology … And that to whr the world knw these two are formed religions which are formed on faith… Whereas vedic culture is for everybody…

 
And secondly pls dont depict nude images of Goddesss … They wont present themselves so nude and sensually… They had a divinty in them…. In west that would be the culture…but not in Vedic civilisation…
 

Well, but IT IS MYTHOLOGY! 😀 Every religion is based on mythology that you for some reasons believe in, whether you like it or not. The fact that you have a certain image of deity in your mind does not mean that this is an exact representation of the divinity. It is just the image your religion instilled in your mind. God/Goddess/higher force does not have to look and behave like this (or they do not have to exist at all as the atheists claim). In fact the more human traits we see in a deity, the more we worship egregore, not the divinity itself. But that is another topic and it is too complicated to explain it here. If you wish to explore this topic, I suggest reading the texts of Rudolf Steiner and Joseph Campbell. If you dare, of course… I must warn you this knowledge may destroy the beliefs you are fond of and broaden yours horizons.

To put things simple: the fact that you believe in a certain image of a deity does not have to imply that everyone else must believe in it, too. This is the basic truth and I shall stick to that even though personally I prefer the traditional art rather than New Age pictures. But if someone feels like showing a god or goddess without clothes, they have the right to do it. People do have the right not to feel the same as you when it comes to different things, including religion or spirituality. In fact, the people of art have always had more freedom in doing so than the worshippers of any religion.

Deal with that.

I also suggest you take a deeper look at your culture and art because as far as I know it is not strictly prohibited to present partially nude deities. Have a look at the murals in Kerala presenting Shiva and Parvati

shiva and parvati

Or the numerous sculptures of Kali (here is the one from Calcutta)

Kali_sculpture_from_Calcutta_Art_gallery_1913_(2)

It seems that the attitude to body and sex is not as rigid as in the case of monotheistic religions. I am not even going to mention the sculptures adorning the Khajuraho Temple which could embarrass even the porn stars.

3b3798aeb5732c3a4a1ed8c8d37cee5f 50b21cce6f22d158d0170f01678d3f3e 3e39bc9c9481854e353e2dc18059c51f 83e7073b59a2f11d605d80eeddd5d7e7 3eee1c9d17d707fb63999463eaa16551 c78a5c3a037533ed3e156ba61d4cb593 d0425c60e437ff61fbc620eb3c1bde46

d92148fcdaaa6dead29880b1c9cce560 05e40e2bcd62b7c4e498b640ea48b701

But sure, if you want to, you can always say I am a Westerner so I cannot understand. I do not care much about it and accusing me of being wrong will automatically make you feel better.

In fact while checking what phrases make people come to this blog, I was puzzled why the combination ‘kali/lakshmi/parvati/durga/saraswati + nude + sex + pics’ appears so often in search. To show you what I mean let me post just a yesterday’s sample:

hindu goddesses1

And it is not a unique case, it has been going like this since many months.

This gives me the right to conclude that some people search for these phrases just to come here and get offended (and show me how offended they are). If you do this, then I am sorry to inform you that such behaviour is pathetic.

Tertio: Do not threaten to sue me. Do not try to make me feel guilty (‘you would not show your mother like this!’). Do not threaten me with bad karma. These are just coarse emotional blackmails and I got quite a blackmail-proof throughout my life. Take care of your own karma and I shall take care of mine.

If you want to see the goddesses the way you were taught, go rather to the temple, do not waste your time on searching on the Internet.

I have written all of that not because I hate the Hindu beliefs. I do not hate religions but I do not have to obey their rules either.

It is perfectly all right to be critical about something and yet respect the people who believe in it. But having respect for somebody does not have to mean following their beliefs.

I hope I made myself clear.

JUST A COUPLE OF WORDS FROM ME

Hello to all of you

As you may know my name is Anna and I have been running this blog since 2011. I am interested in all sorts of cards but my favourite ones are the goddess oracle cards. I publish the information about mythology and symbols connected with goddesses and my own interpretations of goddess cards resulting from those. I belong neither to Wicca nor any other forms of pagan cults. I tend to explore the topic from the psychological, not religious point of view and I am only interested in female deities as archetypes.

Due to lack of time I am forced to suspend posting new episodes for the time being. However, I am going to

– refresh, refine and reblog some of already published posts

and

– continue reviewing goddess oracle card decks (I have so many of them that I will have plenty of work to do).

I have also admitted that my dream is to publish my own deck which already exists and works in the form of little carton pieces with goddess names on them. I do realise, however, that for the purpose of issue the goddesses images and a solid booklet are required. This is why I suspended my work over the deck until the moment I have enough time to prepare it in peace. I want to base the booklet on solid works, not on the Internet pages, so it may take some time.

I am now working hard on my own story which you can find here. If you are interested in the world of fantasy and esoterics, you are invited.

Thank you for reading, commenting and supporting me in my work. Enjoy the end of the year and see you in 2015!

REVIEW: GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE BY KRIS WALDHERR

GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Waldherr is an illustrator, writer and designer. Her works were exhibited in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, she is an author of popular decks such as The Goddess Tarot, The Lover’s Path Tarot, The Anubis Oracle and books Doomed Queens, The Book of Goddesses and The Lily Maid. She lives in New York with her husband, anthropologist Thomas Ross Miller and their little daughter Thea.

Find out more about her on her website: http://kriswaldherr.net/main/

ADVANTAGES

Personally I think that the first advantage of this deck is simply being really pleasant for the eye. If you have already seen The Goddess Tarot created by the same author then you more or less realise what style you can expect. I like those slightly careless, a bit blurry and not fully polished graphics, however I can understand that they may not appeal to everybody.

I recommend this deck to users who appreciate originality, there is quite a lot of more ‘exotic’ goddesses that you will not find in typical decks. It’s a particularly multi – cultural deck, indeed containing deities from all over the world.

Another huge advantage is that in includes ONLY REAL GODDESSES without any cards of Mary or other Christian pseudogoddesses. An author presents the goddesses in an universal way, she pays attention to mythical and cultural rather than detonative layer. You will not find any rituals, invocations or any other forms of goddess cult. I admit that I like this broad perspective, you do not have to be a Wiccan or to believe in goddesses at all to be able to use their cards.

An author suggests that this deck is particularly suitable for people working creatively. She advises to use it in the moment of crisis caused by lack of ideas, simply by asking which direction to head in and then picking a card.

A huge advantage is the possibility to try this deck yourself here.

DISADVANTAGES

It is a very interesting deck but in my opinion it is too large, that makes meanings repetitive and does not allow to present goddess more accurately. In fact just half of the page in the booklet is left for the legends, myths and symbols associated with a particular goddess. It is much too little, especially that many of them is almost unknown.

kris waldherr booklet

I think it would be wiser to pick just 40 – 50 cards but to elaborate the mythical and divination layer. Seriously it makes no sense to create a goddess oracle deck that is larger than Tarot! zeby On the other hand, I can certainly understand an author as the person who is creating her own deck herself. When you come across the goddess whose myths comprise a lot of meanings, archetypes and symbols, it is hard to reject her wink3 .

In general, it is a very good addition to the more regular goddess oracle deck that you are already using. A beginner may get lost in it.

I think that the container is a disadvantage as well because the cards box is made rather unintelligently (however a card bag is added to the issue).

And one more thing, Fricka is much better known as goddess Frigg.

ISSUE

80 cards

a booklet containing information on how to use cards and descriptions of goddesses

a card bag

a box

In a book each card is presented in the following way:

– name of a goddess 

– area of her influence

– key words describing a goddess

– short mythological background

– affirmation

box kris waldherr

The size of cards is  11 x 7 cm

Back sides of cards show a double female figure with wide wings on a yellow background adorned with spirals.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Back side

kris waldherr

Goddesses Inspiration Oracle Guide© 2007 by Kris Waldherr

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1167-6

Abeona
Aditi
Aine
Ajysit
Amaterasu
Annapurna
Anuket
Astarte
Athena
Baba Yaga
Bastet
Benzai-ten
Berchta
Brigit
Changing Woman
Chang O
Cimidye
Cybele
Danu
Demeter
Diana
Erda
Erzulie
Fortuna
Freyja
Fricka
Gaia
Glispa
Gwenhywfar
Haltia
Hathor
Haumea
Hekate
Heqet
Hera
Hsi Wang Mu
Huchi-Fuchi
Hygeia
Iduna
Inanna
Isamba
Isis
Juno
Kali Ma
Kishijoten
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lalita
Maia
Maman Brigitte
Mama Quilla
The Moirae
The Muses
Mut
Nügua
Nut
Nyai Loro Kidul
Ogboinba
Oshun
Oya
Pajau Yan
Pele
Persephone
Psyche
Rati
Rhiannon
Saci
Sarasvati
Sehkmet
Shakti
Sophia
Spider Woman
Tara
Yemanja
Zhinu
The Zorya

DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE CARD OF MARY

THE CARD OF MARY

First of all I find it essential to state clearly sth that I thought was evident:

MARY IS NOT A GODDESS!!!

This is why I do not consider this card as legitimate in the deck of goddesses, I have no special code with it and I will not provide you with any divination meaning in this post. I will only share basic information about Mary and my own thoughts.

Not much is known about Mary, in fact all the information about her come either from the Bible or Christian Tradition. It has to be stated that she is mentioned in the Bible not more than twenty times. According to the New Testament Mary (Miriam) was engaged to be married to Joseph but marriage has not taken place yet and she has not moved to his house. At that time Archangel Gabriel was said to appear to her to announce that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Saviour. When they got married, Mary and Joseph  were obliged to go to Bethlehem to be registered in a census. This is where she delivered a healthy boy according to the legend. Soon after the child was born the family had to flee to Egypt to avoid the danger from King Herod. When they got back, they lead a peaceful life until Jesus turned thirty – three and started to preach. There are not many mentions of the events from his childhood in the official Canon texts except of an episode when Mary’s son remained in the temple after sacrifice and engaged into a discussion with the scholars.When Jesus started to preach, his mother was in the group of women accompanying him; she is mentioned as the one who asked him to change water into wine. She was also present during his crucification and with the apostles when they chose the person to replace Judas after Jesus’ departure. There is no trace of her in the Bible after that. All the speculations concerning her death or assumption are only included in the Tradition.

It is crucial to notice that the texts of New Testament mention Jesus’ brothers (James, Joseph, Judas and Simon) and sisters (their names are unknown). At first Christian philosophers such as Tertulian considered them to be literary Jesus’ younger siblings, the children of Mary and Joseph. It was not until the fourth century when the belief that Mary stayed a virgin her whole life became dominant. At that time the Church fathers acknowledged ‘the brothers and sisters of Jesus’ as either Joseph’s children from his previous marriage or the children of Mary’s sister therefore in fact Jesus’ cousins. Later this belief resulted in Catholic and Orthodox dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

So coming back to the subject, why every self-respecting author of goddesses cards should NOT include the card of Mary in their deck?

Most of all because Mary is a common woman. She has ABSOLUTELY NO DIVINE FEATURES. She has no supernatural powers, she does not create, she does not do shape-shifting, she has no magical influence on people nor nature, etc. On the contrary, stress is being put on her humility towards deity (Behold, the [a]bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word, Luke 1:38).

While in Buddhism a mortal is able acquire divine powers thanks to an effort and self-work (this is what happens with Kuan Yin or Tara), Mary has never acquired them even after her assumption. Her assumption is also a highly controversial issue; it is considered to be a dogma only by the Catholic faction of Christianity and it was introduced only in 1950. The Marian cult is currently vivid only in the non-Reformed churches, mainly in the Catholic and Orthodox ones. The Protestants respect Mary as Theotokos i.e the Mother of God but do not venerate her while the Anglican Church is internally divided over the subject; the only dogma concerning Mary is that she is the Mother of God, while other beliefs are not treated as obligatory for the faithful.

Where does the Marian cult come from?

As I have already mentioned in the post about Isis, at the beginning Christianity did not have any significant female figures to attract female worshippers. Of course, in the ancient world full of more or less important goddesses it was a significant disadvantage of the new religion. Women preferred participating in the mysteries honouring Isis or Demeter which concentrated on the themes of life, death and rebirth. These motifs have been particularly close to them because in those times women were giving birth even several times in their lives, their children often died either in their childhood or because of hunger or war, not to mention the fact that pregnancy and delivery were themselves main dangers to women’s life and health. Christian leaders realised it and from the 2nd-3rd century they began attributing consistently the features, images and titles of goddesses to Mary to fill in the void in the Christian mythology. Isis was the main inspiration in this process, Mary took over her titles of Queen of Heaven (here is how ‘royal dynastic line’ proceeded: Inanna -> Ishtar and Astarte -> Aphrodite -> Isis -> Mary) and Stella Maris (Aphrodite Urania -> Isis -> Mary) as well as her most characteristic image of mother with a child:

wayoflifeblogartisis

isis-horus-to-mary-jesus

Isis_nurseHorus_Danto

(source: http://astronomologer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Isis-Mary-Mother.png, http://inkmonster.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/images.jpeg, http://files.abovetopsecret.com/files/img/lx50aed6e5.jpg)

Theoretically women could have their cake and eat it. They had their mysteries where a mother loses her child and regains it (just like Demeter) and at the same time they belonged to the cult which, at least officially, was monotheistic. The pernicious thing was that when the Christian era began, all the other divine feminine types have vanished quietly and unnoticeably. Indeed, the archetype of goddess mother such as Gaia, Demeter and Isis was popular in antiquity, however there were also NUMEROUS other archetypes.

There was plenty of space for warrior goddesses. These were not only the ones supporting just wars such as Athena but also Phoenician Anat who was getting so much in war rage that she was spattered with blood all over, an Egyptian lion goddess Sekhmet so blood thirsty that Ra had to change Nile into wine to sedate her and prevent further hecatomb or Hellenic Erinyes who kept avenging the assassinated ones and chasing murderers until they fell into madness.

There was plenty of space for goddesses of sensuality and sexuality such as Summerian Innana, Babylonian Ishtar, Phoenician Astarte, Hellenic Aphrodite originating from the latter, or Egyptian Hathor. In their cults sexual intercourse was an act of faith in the goddess and the fertility she was providing to all the earthly creatures. The myth of Descent Of The Goddess Ishtar Into The Lower World tells the story of what was happening when they were gone.

There was plenty of space for the goddesses of healing, magic and oracle such as Egyptian Bast and Isis, Hellenic Gaia, Medea, Hekate and Hygeia or Hittite Kamrusepas who were believed not only to heal but even resurrect.

Ever since the figure of a humble, obedient virgin mother began to be glorified, it became a general and only valid archetype for women. For centuries a woman born in the Christian world could in fact be either a wife and a mother or a nun (without real power that ancient priestesses had though). A woman willing to fight and demanding her rights was condemned to either die (e.g Jeanne d’Arc) or, at best, considered to be a hysteric. A woman making love outside the socially accepted norm of marriage was recognised as a whore, stigmatised and punished severely. A woman who was helping with childbirth, knew herbs or was able to predict future was quite often paying the price for all of that with her own life dying on a stake.

The fact that the cults of ancient goddesses of war, sensuality and magic perished is a great loss for womanhood in general but in particular for those women who want to be warriorlike, sensual or magical.

It is essential to notice that the cult of Mary was frowned upon in early Christianity. It was connected with the sect of Collyridians and considered to be heretic. However, the very ancient, even thousands year old beliefs were so rooted in people’s mentality that they could not be simply deleted. Whether Christian priests liked it or not, they had to tolerate them so they became a major part of non – Reformed churches’ Tradition (mainly Catholic and Orthodox). The rituals we now associate inherently with the Marian cult such as processions, chants, decorating paintings and rural chapels with flowers and herbs, pilgrimages* are all the manners in which ancient goddesses were venerated! It is similar with Mary’s ‘localness’ i.e. the fact she is worshipped in various local versions, the most popular being Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Lourdes etc; ancient goddesses have also had local nicknames. Litany of Loreto mentions Mary’s 50 titles which makes her alike Egyptian Isis. What we consider to be arch – Catholic now is deeply rooted in the ancient times. Not even to mention the material aspect of Marian cult. My “favourite” ones are all those ridiculous bottles with Mary’s head or crown as a cap sold next to the the springs with miraculous water…

bottles1

(source: etnomuzeum.eu)

bottles2

(source: scenki.blogspot.com )

So why did this phenomenon occur under the patronage of Catholic authorities?  My guess is that it suited their version of religion with a severe God the Father (God is a just judge, who rewards good and punishes evil ) to whom you therefore cannot address directly but through milder intermediaries such as Jesus, Mary, angels, saints, etc**. The Catholic church has not moved away from this image until several dozens years ago so I am always slightly amused whenever a born again Christian discovers with a big surprise, ‘God loves me!’. Well yes, with the image of severe Yahweh built for centuries it is the AHA! moment to discover that God may not be as dangerous as it seemed zeby.

It is not hard to notice that non – Reformed churches have expanded this ‘softer back up’ of deity to an enormous extent. The amount of saints and blessed specialised in particular task (if you forget sth pray to st. Anthony, if you sett off for a journey, pray to st. Christopher etc.) makes anyone who has a basic knowledge and conscious mind think of the multitude of deities in the ancient Hellas. Every city, mountain, spring, river or tree had their divine or semi-divine protector in the Hellenic world. It must be clearly stated, however, than although the ancient world recognised deities as more or less important, there was no such concept as ‘the only true god’. Romans were indeed conquering the whole contemporary world but they have never hidden that they were doing this for land, wealth, slaves etc. Romans did not establish their own gods in the conquered provinces, they were rather merging them with the local deities by attributing them Roman names and keeping their cult. Some of the foreign gods and goddesses such as Isis, Cybele or Mithra even got to the Roman Pantheon and made indeed an outstanding careers in the whole Empire. I do not know any big religious wars, conquests nor crusades which would take place in the ancient times. They had not existed before monotheism became powerful.

This is why I believe that Catholicism and Orthodoxy are some bizarre hybrids of Christianity and ancient cults thus they do not work properly. I believe that every self – honest follower of Catholic or Orthodox faith should ask himself/herself a question: what exactly is that I value my religion for? If it is indeed studying and applying Jesus’ teachings then perhaps it would be a better idea to move to a Protestant community aimed at analysing the Bible instead of liturgy. However, if s/he is more fond of the rituals such as processions, decorating rural chapels with flowers and chanting then it seems like a more reasonable idea to come back to the roots of this phenomenon i.e. beliefs in real goddesses. Of course, this requires courage, consequence and determination to stand against the majority. Many people act cowardly and deny when a child shouts, ‘King is naked!’. It is quite probable that they will try to convince, persuade or even harass you but please do take into consideration the fact that we live in 21st century. You will not be burnt on a stake just because you believe in Goddess, not in God.

One may wonder whether the Protestant women are discriminated in their religious communities since the Marian cult is missing there? There are some men in the country where I live who claim that the veneration of Mary makes women feel particularly respected. Well, Protestant women neither chant litanies to Mary nor go on pilgrimages to her sacred places nor pray to her images. Protestant women are priestesses themselves. Most of Reformed communities accept women as pastors. Catholic and Orthodox Churches will not probably make such a decision for another several or several dozens of years. I believe it is because of the Marian cult and because neither Catholic nor Orthodox women demand their rights. It is enough for them to go to church, pray rosary and ask the Virgin Mary to help them because they have got such a tough life after all. I do not want to quote Lenin’s words about religion being an opium for masses but I do think Catholicism strengthens the attitude of shrugging shoulders and saying ‘ah well, there is nothing I can do’. Have I made a mistake? Then I will go confess and will get penance. Have I made the same mistake again? Then I will go confess and will get penance. Catholicism is a religion focusing on rituals and words while Protestant faith requires active participation and consequence, to describe it with a metaphor: you cannot just read, you have to read and understand.

What I write about comes from my own experience as a former Catholic. I do not consider myself even to be a Christian now because neither I believe in the necessity of baptism nor in Jesus’ divinity***. What I do believe is that Yeshua-Jesus’ teachings have a deep meaning but Christianity makes sense only in its Protestant understanding. By that I mean you, Bible and God, instead of  you, churches, paintings, litanies, adorations, processions, angels, saints, Mary, Jesus and God. It does make sense for monotheistic (at least in theory) religious system, don’t you think?

Any person with basic knowledge and conscious mind surely notices that the Catholic leaders keep presenting Mary as a role model to women (at least in my country). They are very stubborn in promoting quiet, humble and obedient virgin mother as if they were blind to changes in mentality and lifestyle. It is one of the factors that make young and educated women (including yours truly) leave the Catholic Church in my country. I think that despite the ages of oppression, a monotheistic religion does not have to be hostile towards women if it opens up to varied types of femininity. Why not to put more attention to feminine spirituality? Why not to set Sophia the Divine Wisdom as an equiponderant role model for women? Why not to speak out that the third godhead of the Trinity, that unfortunate and unspecified Holy Spirit, was feminine in nature until it became a dove in the Western tradition? I have written in a very detailed manner about the ancient tradition of Chokmah/Shekhinah/Sofia in the post about her. She was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be, was co-creating the world, kept appearing to the people and was an inspiration for artists and architects. Doesn’t it REALLY MAKE SENSE to treat her as a role model? After all she has only lost her feminine nature due to translations of the Bible into foreign languages! Is it really impossible for the Catholic leaders to encourage women to develop wisdom and the ability of thinking? Well, apparently it is. Perhaps this should not be a surprise as we are talking about an institution which has merely changed since the feudal times…

For all those reasons I have mentioned above there should be no card of Mary nor any other Christian saint in goddesses cards. In fact you would not see it in the best decks, those presenting a very conscious, not a fairytale like approach towards womanhood. No surprise these are the decks I value most. Let me quote what I have written in the review of Doreen Virtue’s deck

The same objection applies to religious heroines such as Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. The latter is presented in an arch-Catholic and Baroque style and the author claims that in the West, Mother Mary in undoubtedly the most famous goddess. Well no, Doreen, not at all! Mary has no divine features in any factions of Christianity.

I believe that including the card of Mary, Mary Magdalene or Jeanne d’Arc is damaging because it conserves this Matrix like image of Mary as virgin mother, a role model for women who is powerful yet in fact does not have actual power in Christian teachings.

Perhaps it is time for a red pill?

red_blue_pill

CARDS

Mary in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Mary in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Black Madonna in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Black Madonna in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

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

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

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

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Mary in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Black  Madonna in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (she is nearly identical as Dana from the deck of Doreen Virtue, she just has a darker skin)

Black Madonna in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Mary in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Mary in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Mary in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Mary in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English Wikipedia and my own thoughts.

*Even prophet Muhammad kept pilgrimage as an integral part of Islam after destroying polytheistic shrines. Few people know that Mecca was originally the place where goddess mother Al – Lat (Goddess in Arabic, just like Al – Lah means God) was venerated. The black stone, to which the Muslims from all over the world come, is the remaining of Al – Lat’s temple.

** Personally I call them ‘God’s court’.

*** In the past I could possibly be classified as an Arian. Arianism was quite popular at the very beginning of Christianity, unfortunately these beliefs were condamned by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 of our era and Arius himself was banished. It is worth, however, to mention the passage from the Gospel of John which made Arius believe that the Son’s power comes from the Father,  “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 12:28). Even as a child when I still belonged to the Catholic Church, I somehow sensed that Jesus is not a divine figure as the Christian leaders want to see him but a teacher who brought universal and timeless message to the people who were not ready for it.

After long spiritual way I think I have found myself as a Gnostic. It the past anytime I have come across a religion I was analysing it rationally, I can agree with this point, these elements do not match reality, those rules are clearly harmful etc. In case of the Gnostics it is completely different, their beliefs simply resonate with my interior. It may sound bizarre but I do not really have to engage into discussion nor accept unconditionally the principles of faith; I simply feel what Gnostics say is true. It is literary a gut feeling. If nothing significant happens in the spiritual field, I am going to remain Gnostic in the name of Sophia the Divine Wisdom and the Unknown, God Above God. 

DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE CARD OF ISOLT

If you come across the card of Isolt in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue and see the notice ‘Undying Love’, you may come to thinking it suggests a favourable, long lasting union. With my whole respect I believe this card is a double deception. Why?

Deception Number 1: Isolde Is Included In The Deck Of Goddesses So She Is A Goddess Herself.

Wrong!

ISOLDE IS NOT A GODDESS!

She is the heroine of a Celtic tale Tristan and Isolde (Isolt, Iseult, Yseult) which first appeared in France in 12th century. Tristan is the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, a very brave, talented and fair young man whom the king is very fond of. One day he decides to face Morholt, a messanger of an Irish king who demands a tribute of 300 young men and 300 young women to be paid by Cornwall. Tristan accepts his challenge to a duel even though an Irish knight is much bigger, taller and considered to be invincible. He manages to kill him but is himself severly injured. Anticipating his death he asks to be put in a boat and sent to the open sea where currents and tides bring him to the shores of Ireland. Isolde of Fair Hair, king’s daughter and Morholt’s niece notices an unknown man lying helplessly in a boat and heals him secretly. Realising that Isolde hates the killer of her uncle, Tristan hides his real identity and escapes as soon as he feels better.

The victory over Morholt brings him fame but also jealousy of four noblemen on the court. Scared that King Mark may pass the throne to his nephew, they insist on his marriage that could produce an heir. The king, however, secretely wants Tristan to inherit Cornwall after his death so he intends to agree on the conditon which seems impossible to fulfill: he will only marry the owner of silky, golden hair which was dropped on his window by two swallows. The rebelled noblemen grumble so Tristan undertakes the challenge of bringing the bride for King Mark. He tells the sailors to direct his ship straight to Ireland because he recognises that the golden hair belongs to Princess Isolde.

He shows his courage again in Ireland when he kills a dragon plundering a royal city but falls unconscious due to its poisonous breath. Another knight attributes the victory to himself and demands the marriage with Princess Isolde as reward. Meanwhile Isolde finds Tristan, heals him and discovers his true identity. Enraged that she helped to heal Morholt’s killer, she wants to kill him but he persuades her not to do it, otherwise she would have to marry the cowardly knight as no one would challenge him. Tristan indeed proves the knight’s words were wrong and demands king’s daughter to be given to his lord, King Mark of Cornwall in marriage. Isolde’s father agrees but she is angry because she thought Tristan wanted to marry her himself.

Seeing her so anxious Isolde’s mother prepares a magical potion which binds two people’s hearts forever irreversibly and asks her servant to watch over it and to pour it to the newlyweds’ chalice on their wedding night. However, on their way to Cornwall Isolde discovers the potion somehow, not realising its power she drinks it and gives it to Tristan, too. This makes them crave for each other so much that they cannot resist it and despite remorses they spend the night together.

When they reach Cornwall, Isolde is being wed to King Mark but lovers cannot go without each other. They literary wither and fall into diseases so eventually they start meeting secretly under a fir in the forest. With the help of God and nature they manage to escape the ambushes of four jealous noblemen a couple of times until they are finally caught on the act. Furious king intends to punish both with death for treason but Tristan manages to escape on his way to execution by jumping down from the window of a little chapel on the cliff where he asked to be brought for the final prayer. Thanks to the divine intervention he lands safely and is helped by an old friend. Meanwhile the King wants to burn Isolde on the stake but is persuaded by the lepers to give her to them as a lover. Tristan and his friend save her and all the three go living in the forest to escape King’s anger.

They are spending the whole summer in the forest but with winter approaching they face chill and hunger. A hermit living in the forest offers to be the messenger to the King who has already calmed down and feels sympathy for both of them. A hermit brings their letter to the ruler of Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde offer to separate forever if he forgives them.  The King agrees to accept Isolde as his queen and Tristan volunteers to be banished from the court. Lovers exchange rings and promise each other that in case of danger they will send them as an urgent call to meet.

Tristan hides near the castle and watches over Isolde. The queen comes back to the court and is greeted warmly by all the noblemen except the four traitors. They convince King Mark to demand his wife to be subjected to the ordeal of iron to clean herself off the accusations of adultery. Isolde agrees and sends a message to Tristan. On her way to the place of ordeal she has to cross the river so she asks a poor man wearing rags to bring her to the other bank. When she finds herself in front of the king and the noblemen, she takes an oath and publicly states that no man has hold her in his arms except of the king and the poor beggar who helped her to cross the river. Then she takes a burning iron in her hands and lifts it up for everyone to see, her arms are as healthy as the ones of a new born child. Everyone greets her but only Isolde knows that the mysterious beggar was in fact Tristan in disguise and she said no lie.

At that point Tristan realises it is the time to fulfill the oath he gave and he must go abroad. He has his revenge on the traitors before he leaves for the continent. He comes to Brittany where he proves to be a brave and talented warrior and he liberates the duke of Brittany from a troublesome vassal. In return the duke wants him to marry his daughter Isolde of the White Hands and Tristan agrees. However, during the wedding night his longing for beloved Isolde revives and he abstains from consumming the marriage.

When her brother finds out about it, he gets angry that Tristan rejected his beautiful and decent wife and demands explanations. When he listens to his brother-in-law’s story, however, he is very moved and offers his help. They go under disguise to Cornwall and are trying to meet the queen, unfortunately because of a series of misfortunes, Tristan is led to believe that Isolde does not love him anymore even though in reality she craves for his presence. He comes back to Brittany and tries to find solace in battling enemies but he is severly wounded by a poisonous lance. Knowing that he will not survive, he asks his brother-in-law whom he trusts to be his messenger to Isolde. He wants her to come to him so that he could see her for the last time and he gives his friend the ring as a sign that it is Tristan who sent him. They make an arrangement that if he comes back with Isolde on the board, the ship will have white sails but if she refuses to come, the sails will be black. Unfortunately, Tristan’s wife, Isolde of the White Hands eavesdrops the conversation accidentally and grows very jealous.

His friend fulfills the mission successfully, Isolde agrees immediately to come to Brittany. They sail the sea and are about to come into the port, when Tristan’s wife notices the ship and tells him that her brother comes back. Tristan is already too weakened to come to the window and see himself so he asks his wife to tell him the colour of the sails. Isolde of the White Hands, sill enraged and craving the revenge, claims that the sails are black although in reality they are white as it was arranged. This piece of news kills Tristan.

Queen Isolde is hurrying to see him as fast as she can but on her way she hears the church bells ringing. Realising that something serious must have happened, she asks the passer-by what is wrong. ‘My lady’, he answers. ‘Our good protector and companion Tristan has just died.’ Struck with grief Isolde walks slowly to the church where her lover’s body is placed. She meets Isolde of the White Hands there, the widow is lamenting over the death she has caused. The Queen of Cornwall tells her gently to go away, then she prays, lies down next to her beloved and passes away with him.

King Mark takes the bodies of his wife and nephew back home and buries them in two graves. In the night a hawthorn grows from Tristan’s place of rest and its branch reaches the one of Isolde. The King tells the gardener to cut it off but the same situation repeats the next night and another one. Eventually King Mark allows the hawthorn to grow.

If you’re American, you probably do not know this tale but it is widespread in the European culture. Unlike some Celtic goddesses (Rhiannon, Gwenhwyfer) who have been somehow disguised as mortal women in Christianised version of their stories, Isolde does not seem to have any divine background. The tale of her and Tristan is a beautiful example of Medieval romance but Isolde herself is not an equivalent of any Celtic goddesses.

So if you pose the question about your romantic relationship and this card appears as an answer, do not think it predicts a happy, stable marriage. It shows rather a tormented, on-and-off union with ups&downs. If you go further and read the statement in a booklet added to the deck that love from your romantic partner is eternal, regardless of outward appearances, you may come to thinking that such a strong love will conquer all the obstacles. Well, I wish…but read the legend of Tristan and Isolde again. Even their powerful love resulting from magic did not provide them with happy emotional life. Women often enter secret relationships with men who are either married/not divorced yet/waiting for an adequate moment to tell their wives about the third one/not ready to commit. I do not judge anyone. We all make our own choices. But please think whether the man you are inquiring about, is worth your emotions, energy and most importantly your time.

Deception Number 2: Isolde’s Message Is To Have More Contact With Nature

Wrong!

I also disagree with other statements in the booklet: Nature is the great healer, you see. That’s why I’m frequently amidst the flower and the trees (…) Spend time among the forest and the trees and you’ll regain your foothold upon this planet. I do agree that spending time in nature is a good idea but I would not attribute such words to Isolde. Even though some motifs connected with nature appear in her story (living in a forest with Tristan, a bush of hawthorn growing on the graves of lovers), they do not change the plot nor resolve the problems. If a real Isolde for some reasons came out of the Medieval legend and stepped down into a contemporary world, her message to you would probably be:

Be careful with drinking. Do not leave your drink unsupervised while clubbing. Beware of the pills added to your drink that would leave you unconscious and prone to a potential abuser. A moment of  inattentiveness may ruin your life.

Seriously. Re-read the legend.

To sum up: it is not that I want to bash an author of certain deck because either I am jealous or I was paid to do it. I present my strong objections because I believe that if a deck of oracle cards based on ancient beliefs is to be reliable, it has to be accurate and its message should comply with the actual myths. So if you arrived at the end of this post, regardless whether you agree with me or not, I have just a small request to you: read the myths. Do not limit yourself only to booklets. Do not trust an author completely just because s/he is famous or talks about shiny angels. Do not resign from your own free, deep thinking. Do not even trust me completely. Dig deeper and find your own interpretation.

Yseult

The story of Tristan and Isolde is narrated basing on the version of Joseph Bédier.