Category Archives: Warrior Goddess

KALI

KALI

Hindu goddess of time, change and death, a warrior and a demon slayer who also has the aspect of goddess mother, Shiva’s shakti. Her name Kālī is a female form of the word kāla and signifies ‘black, dark one (the colour which is omnipresent before the light appears), time (she is beyond it), death (because it comes with time)’.

ABOUT GODDESS

Kali first appears in the story about the battle with demons when she jumped out of Durga’s forehead armed with a sword and a loop as the goddess was trying to kill the demon called Raktavija who multiplied whenever a drop of his blood fell down the ground. Kali caused fear with her appearance, a piercing shriek and a thirst for murder. She devoured the slain ones and annihilated Raktavija by sucking the blood out of him. She was so drunk with victory and ichor that she started to dance on the battlefield wreaking havoc and becoming a threat to a further existence of life. She was not listening to any pleas for mercy and did not let anyone stop her until Shiva, her consort, has finally lain down on her path to prevent the extermination of the whole world. This eventually sobered the goddess up and she bit her tongue as a sign of her shame. The image of Kali dancing over Shiva’s body is called Daksinakali. According to another version Shiva appeared on the battlefield disguised as a crying child. When the goddess saw him, she took pity of a baby, embraced and fed with her milk.

It must be added that apart from her warrior aspect, Kali also manifests her gentler nature. According to Tantra Kali is Mahadevi i.e. essence, Divinity Itself and all the three most important gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva arise from her ‘like bubbles in the sea’ all the time, constantly ending, arising and passing away, however leaving her intact as the source. Shiva praises her in one of the texts as the Beginning of All, Creatrix, Protectress and Destroyer. She reminds of the inseparability of life and death, helps accept the existing order and encourages to become accustomed to death. Kali is a tough mother though, a Hindu poet Rāmprasād writes about her in this way,

Can mercy be found in the heart of her who was born of the stone?*
Were she not merciless, would she kick the breast of her lord?
Men call you merciful, but there is no trace of mercy in you, Mother.
You have cut off the heads of the children of others, and these you wear as a garland around your neck.
It matters not how much I call you “Mother, Mother.” You hear me, but you will not listen.

And he later concludes that being Kali’s child means being deprived of earthly wealth and pleasures because the goddess does not give what we want, however this is what lets her worshippers reach beyond material world. Because of her Mahadevi’s aspect she is particularly respected in the Tantric teachings (Shiva laying at her feet is an embodiment of matter and Kali herself represents primordial feminine energy, according to the tantrics without energy the matter itself is lifeless*).

Another legend about Kali and Shiva tells the story of their dancing contest. Having defeated demons, the goddess settled down in the forests of  Thiruvalangadu on the south of India and terrorised its inhabitants with her violent nature. One of Shiva’s worshippers complained to him that he could not meditate in the forest because of her so Shiva decided to talk to Kali. She treated forest as her own territory so Shiva challenged her to a dancing contest. Kali was equal to him in every aspect until the moment when god performed a figure which required exposing sexual organs. Kali strongly refused and agreed to calm down enough to let Shiva’s worshippers perform their religious practices**.

Kali is particularly venerated in the north of India, especially in the region of Bengal and other areas situated within Himalayas (according to a legend Kali originates from these mountains, this is why Rāmprasād is wondering whether he can find compassion in the heart of the one who was born from the stone). A music genre called Shyama Sangeet (Dusky Music) is dedicated to Kali, it was traditionally performed by men but more and more women perform it nowadays. Goddess is venerated during the Kali Puja festival taking place at the new moon in the month of Ashwin (at the turn of September and October) which coincides with Diwali. A particular form of  Kali’s cult is venerating a hand painted image of her called Poteshawri (literary Goddess Drawn On The Piece Of Cloth), it is typical for the city of Shantipur.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Kali is presented as frighteningly skinny woman with bloodshot eyes, dishevelled hair, open mouth and tongue exposed, she wears a tiger skin, a belt of human hands around her waist and a necklace of skulls (traditionally 51 or 108 of them, they represent the Sanskrit letters therefore Kali is considered to be the mother of languages and mantras). She has four arms, one holds khadga (a curved sword or scimitar) or trident, the second onea severed head, the third one – a bowl (or cup made ​​from the skullcatching the dripping blood, and the fourth one is set in the shape of mudra. The weapon symbolises divine wisdom and a severed head signifies human ego explaining clearly that in order to develop soul one must get rid of daily restrictions (these items are usually held in left hands). Right hands set in mudras show that Kali provides support and blessings on the difficult path of self – development and that her follower is never alone.

As Daksinakali she keeps her right foot on the chest of lying Shiva and is accompanied by serpents and a jackal. Her skin is dark (as opposed to Shiva, whose skin is covered with white ashes from the burning pyres).

hindu-gods-kali
V0045118 Kali trampling Shiva. Chromolithograph by R. Varma.
When she is presented separately as Mahakala, she has a higher aspect of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess guarding the cosmic order. She is depicted with blue skin, three eyes, ten heads, ten arms and ten legs, each hand holds a different weapon or a sacred object, which symbolises the belief that the power of each of the gods comes from her.
kali ma 1
mahakali

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

The person represented by this card is constantly in motion, not afraid of taking risk and will not rest until they reach the target. The person who says the things straight and can enforce their own point of view. Also someone dominant whose presence overwhelms us, a person who seems to suck the energy out of us.

Professions: a member of law enforcement services (military, police, customs, etc.), an athlete, a liquidator, a bailiff, a controller, the person responsible for the restructuring process

ADVICE

It is not the time to be afraid and to hesitate, it is time to act and confront.

If you resist change, life will force you to change anyway but then you may have less options.

Changes are already taking place in your life, you cannot stop them. Even if everything around is falling apart, remember that something new will begin soon. Obstacles stimulate our development, thanks to them you get motivated and achieve what seemed impossible. Problems are necessary for growth. The mind and soul will not develop if they are remaining without challenges for too long.

Following old patterns will not get you anywhere. If a problem was growing for a long time, you will not solve it with the old methods, you need new ones. 

Think of what would you do if you were not afraid.

Key words: Movement. Change. Dance. Lack of control. Hunger. Being drunken. Ecstasy. Insatiability. Conscious or unconscious fear of death. The order of the world. Expressing yourself.

LOVE

If you are in the relationship:   Time of change which cannot be avoided, either strengthening or ending relationship. Widowhood.

If you are single:  High levels of woman’s libido. Reluctance to permanent relationship. Inability to compromise. Make sure that you do not drink too much alcohol at a party so that you do not wake up in the wrong bed in the morning.

FINANCES

A sudden and inevitable change of situation. Be prepared for arguments among workers or hostile actions from outside. Impoverishment. Work overload, too many duties, feeling burnout. Something that sucks finances out of the company.

HEALTH

Surgery. Amputation of body part(s). Radical therapy. Severe trauma or injury. When surrounded by other alarming cards, it signifies changes caused by proliferating cells. Too much of adrenaline and stress. Lack or excess of energy. Eating disorders. Problems with mental hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, bipolar disorder). Endangered parts of the body: limbs.

CARDS

A model image of Kali with the symbol of female energy shakti in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

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

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

Kali dancing on Shiva’s body in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Kali dancing on Shiva's body in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

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

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

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Kali in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano as Death

Kali in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Based on English Wikipedia.

* Tantra’s teachings are about co-existence and co-dependence of male element (shiva) with the female one (shakti). Tantra says that it is shakti, a creative and dynamic energy which stimulates shiva, a driving and static consciousness to act. The tantrics see it literary because in case of most men their strategic body part rises and “awakes to life” as a reaction to woman’s presence. One of folk tales about deities tells the story of Parvati asking Shiva which one of her ten forms he likes best. He immediately pointed out at Kali because without jewellery, garments, emotions and humanity she is a pure, raw and chaotic energy as terrifying as the time itself and perhaps even greater. When she assumes this free from limitations, wild and uncontrolled form, Shiva lays down at her feet and asks her to put the feet on his heart. Only Shiva is able to tame her and only  Kali is able to enliven him.

** However, when presented on modern images Kali is naked because as a representation of time she is beyond the veil of Maya – Illusion. Kali is perceived as an eternal life force and driving energy providing the existence of the world so the categories of “good” and “evil” cannot be attributed to her. To understand her nature, one must reject this duality and accept the fact that just like death does not exist without life, life cannot exist without death.

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. 

ISHTAR

ISHTAR

Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love, fertility, sensuality, sexuality and war, Anu’s daughter, Ereshkigal’s sister and Tammuz’s lover. She represents two aspects of Venus: as the Morning Star she brings love and as the Evening Star she causes war. Similarly to Sumerian Inanna  and Phoenician Astarte  she is the Queen of Heaven and that’s what most likely her name means.

ABOUT GODDESS

In most myths Ishtar was either the daughter of Anu, the god of heaven or Sin/Nanna, the god of the moon. Although she was very much attracted to men, her love brought them bad luck. When Ishtar wanted to seduce Gilgamesh, he rejected her saying that she was not faithful. It infuriated Ishtar so much that she complained about the hero to her father Anu and demanded punishment for him. Quoting the fragments of Tablet VI of Epic of Gilgamesh

He washed out his marred hair and cleaned up his equipment,
shaking out his locks down over his back,
throwing off his dirty clothes and putting on clean ones.
He wrapped himself in regal garments and fastened the sash.
When Gilgamesh placed his crown on his head,
a princess Ishtar raised her eyes to the beauty of Gilgamesh.
“Come along, Gilgamesh, be you my husband,
to me grant your lusciousness.’
Be you my husband, and I will be your wife.
I will have harnessed for you a chariot of lapis lazuli and gold,
with wheels of gold and ‘horns’ of electrum (…)

Gilgamesh addressed Princess Ishtar saying:
“What would I have to give you if I married you!
Do you need oil or garments for your body! Do you lack anything for food or drink!
I would gladly feed you food fit for a god,
I would gladly give you wine fit for a king (…)
Where are your bridegrooms that you keep forever’
Where is your ‘Little Shepherd’ bird that went up over you!
See here now, I will recite the list of your lovers (…)
You loved the Shepherd, the Master Herder,
who continually presented you with bread baked in embers,
and who daily slaughtered for you a kid.
Yet you struck him, and turned him into a wolf,
so his own shepherds now chase him
and his own dogs snap at his shins.
You loved Ishullanu, your father’s date gardener,
who continually brought you baskets of dates,
and brightened your table daily.
You raised your eyes to him, and you went to him:
‘Oh my Ishullanu, let us taste of your strength,
stretch out your hand to me, and touch our vulva.
Ishullanu said to you:
‘Me! What is it you want from me!
Has my mother not baked, and have I not eaten
that I should now eat food under contempt and curses
and that alfalfa grass should be my only cover against the cold?
As you listened to these his words
you struck him, turning him into a dwarf,
and made him live in the middle of his (garden of) labors,
where the mihhu do not go up, nor the bucket of dates down.
And now me! It is me you love, and you will ordain for me as for them!”

When Ishtar heard this, in a fury she went up to the heavens,
going to Anu, her father, and crying,
going to Anrum, her mother, and weeping:
“Father, Gilgamesh has insulted me over and over,
Gilgamesh has recounted despicable deeds about me,
despicable deeds and curses!”
Anu addressed Princess Ishtar, saying: “What is the matter?
Was it not you who provoked King Gilgamesh?
So Gilgamesh recounted despicable deeds about you,
despicable deeds and curses!”
Ishtar spoke to her father, Anu, saying:
“Father, give me the Bull of Heaven,
so he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.
If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
And the dead will outnumber the living!”

Anu addressed princess Ishtar, saying:
“If you demand the Bull of Heaven from me,
there will be seven years of empty husks for the land of Uruk.
Have you collected grain for the people!
Have you made grasses grow for the animals?”
Ishtar addressed Anu, her father, saying:
“I have heaped grain in the granaries for the people,
I made grasses grow for the animals,
in order that they might eat in the seven years of empty husks.
I have collected grain for the people,
I have made grasses grow for the animals.”
When Anu heard her words, he placed the noserope of the Bull of Heaven in her hand.
Ishtar led the Bull of Heaven down to the earth.

Enkidu stalked and hunted down the Bull of Heaven.
He grasped it by the thick of its tail
and held onto it with both his hands,
while Gilgamesh, like an expert butcher,
boldly and surely approached the Bull of Heaven.
Between the nape, the horns, and… he thrust his sword.

Ishtar went up onto the top of the Wall of Uruk-Haven,
cast herself into the pose of mourning, and hurled her woeful curse:
“Woe unto Gilgamesh who slandered me and killed the Bull of Heaven!”
When Enkidu heard this pronouncement of Ishtar,
he wrenched off the Bull’s hindquarter and flung it in her face:
“If I could only get at you I would do the same to you!
I would drape his innards over your arms!”

Even gods were helpless while faced Ishtar’s power. Gilgamesh’s words about the Shepherd refer to her adolescent lover Tammuz, the god of nature, vegetation and shepherds who died because of her. Most probably getting him back was the reason why she entered the Underworld as it is described in Descent of the Goddess Ishtar into the Lower World*. Queen of Heaven has to descend into Irkalla, the Underworld, called the land of no return in the poem. Proud goddess stands before the gatekeeper and orders him to let her in and bring her to her sister Ereshkigal, Queen of Underworld.

Gatekeeper, ho, open thy gate!
Open thy gate that I may enter!
If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.

Although Ishtar is divine being, she belongs to the world of the living so the gatekeeper is not entitled to simply let her in. He consults his ruler, Queen Ereshkigal, and she allows him to enter Ishtar but he can only do it according to the ancient decree. It means that Ishtar must pass seven gates and leave a piece of garment or jewellery at each of them. When she finally reaches Ereshkigal she is stark naked and enraged. She throws herself at her sister who orders her servant Namtar, the god of death and pestilence, to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her. This makes goddess fall into a lethargy similar to death.

When Ishtar is closed in the Underworld, the whole sexual activity disappears from Earth, animals stop mating and people sleep separately. Of course it causes anxiety of gods, especially Ea, the supreme deity who is told the news about Ishtar by the god Papsukal. Wise Ea creates an intersex being called Asu – shu – namir and sends him to Ereshkigal to demand the bag containing the waters of life in the name of all the most important gods. Queen of the Underworld is very much displeased about the order but she cannot refuse. Asu – shu – namir sprinkles Ishtar with water of life and revives her. Goddess is passing seven gates again regaining the garments and jewellery which she left there.

Tammuz and Ishtar’s myth has similar features as Greek Adonis and Aphrodite mourning him  (it comes as no surprise for those who know that Aphrodite’s cult came to Hellas through Cyprus from the East). Since summer solstice the time of mourning Tammuz began in the countries of ancient Middle East; when the days were getting shorter it was believed that he descended into the Underworld so his symbolic funeral rites were taking place for six days. There is an evidence of these celebrations even in the Old Testament, Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz  (Ezekiel 8:14 NIV). Even today July is named Tammuz in Hebrew and an Iraqi dialect of Arabic.

Ishtar’s cult was most popular in the cities of Uruk, Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela. It was the fertility cult which is why it involved  so called sacred prostitution, Ishtar herself had numerous lovers and no husband (no children of hers are mentioned in myths neither). Herodotus claimed that each woman in Babylon had the duty to arrive to Ishtar’s temple once a lifetime and to have a sexual intercourse with the man who pays for that. It has to be said that Herodotus was not an objective observer and modern researches assume that this custom was not as common nor perceived in the way the traveller described it.  If this custom was true, it was not what we perceive as prostitution today; a sexual intercourse itself was an act of faith in Ishtar. Even the Old Testament recognises the difference as it distinguishes between the words kedeshah (qedesha) meaning ‘consecrated woman’ who lives in a temple and zonah signifying the woman having sex for money. It is important to mention that it was not until monotheistic religions that the fear of woman, her body and sex was introduced to the system of beliefs. It is only the Old Testament which makes woman in her menstrual days or puerperal period ‘impure’, in the cults based on cycles, agriculture and fertility woman’s body was valuable itself because it carried a new life to the world. Kedeshah had a high position in the society, she was allowed to start a family and to hold other offices. It was Judaism that first introduced the rule excluding women from priesthood and this common law was later continued by Christianity and Islam. Basing on archaeological and cultural research we can now assume that the custom of Hieros Gamos (sacred marriage) was conducted. It involved the king of Sumer and the High Priestess of Inanna and this practice was preserved in the times of Babylon when Inanna began to be worshipped as Ishtar. New king’s power was legitimized when he spent one night in the temple of Inanna during the 10th day of New Year in the month of Akitu. No exact description of rite was preserved but it was ‘the marriage of Heaven and Earth’  which was aimed at bringing fecundity and fertility in the coming year. It is also worth mentioning that not only kedeshah but also other words describing female temple titles were translated as ‘prostitute’. These include qadishtu, entu and naditu (it may come as a surprise to find out that naditu were obliged to keep sexual abstinence zeby). All these women have originated from higher classes and had a high social status; most probably only entu were taking part in the rites of Hieros Gamos but still it is dubious to call it prostitution. Additionally it is also assumed that especially in the city of Arbela, the cult of Ishtar involved prophesying, performed predominantly by women similarly to the Pythia in the Hellenic sanctuary of  Delphi.

Ishtar was one of Babylon and Assyria’s main deities and to honour her King Nebuchadnezzar II built and named the north gate to the city of Babylon after the goddess.  The Ishtar Gate was created around 575 bC, it consisted of roof and doors made of cedar tree and the walls constructed using different types of bricks including glazed ones; it was decorated with lapis lazuli tiles and reliefs showing lions, Ishtar’s sacred animals, mušḫuššu (a hybrid of a dragon, an eagle and a cat) dedicated to god Marduk and aurochs of god Ardad. The Processional Way went through the gate and each year at the time of New Year the inhabitants of Babylon were using this path to arrive to the temple of Marduk. The Ishtar Gate had been considered to be one of the seven wonders of an ancient world until it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. The gate was excavated and partially reconstructed in the thirties of last century and it is now displayed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. A replica was also constructed in Iraq in the place where it was located in ancient times.

Reconstruction in Berlin:

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX 420 Pergamonmuseum_Ishtartor_06

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   the Ishtar Gate

Details from the Ishtar Gate and a building inscription of King Nebuchadnezzar

details from the Ishtar Gate

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A miniature model of the Procession Way with the Ishtar Gate

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Original excavation site from the beginning of the 20th century and a modern replica in Iraq

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modern replica in Iraq

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Lion was Ishtar’s sacred animal. Ishtar herself was considered to be a divine personification of planet Venus, traditionally depicted as eight – pointed star. The images which survived the antiquity show her as the goddess of war standing on lions and holding weapon.

Ishtar standing on lions

ishtar_7

ishtar_5

Ishtar Ishtar

assyrian-ishtar

ishtar-cow-calf

ishtar-and-worshipper

As Queen of the Night

ishtar_2

ishtar_8

ishtar_1

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The person shown by this card is strong, self – assured, courageous and not afraid of taking risks. She is beautiful, sensual and full of passion, she is eager to meet new people, especially men. In her negative aspect she is arrogant, haughty and spoilt; she may be convinced that she is like the Eight Wonder of the World and she has the power to do whatever she wants. She treats sex as a game, sport or mean to achieve sth and does not get involved in it emotionally.

ADVICE

It is time to come back to life and joy. Get rid of what is holding you back and keeping you hidden, grieving, angry, guilty and ashamed. Draw conclusions from your mistakes but do not concentrate your whole attention on them.

Be courageous. Start out. You will not gain anything by standing in the same place. Leave chaos behind you, you are worth much more than being stuck in it. You were not born to stay in the darkness but to radiate. You do have strength and knowledge to make your plans work.

Think about your attitude towards your body and sex. Are they limitations in your life or the source of joy?

Time for joy, entertainment and romance. Feel good in your body. Spread your wings.

Courage. Devotion. Time of rejuvenation. Beauty. Sex appeal. Sexuality. Fertility. Conjunction.

The star of hope shines over you even in the greatest darkness.

Love

If you are in the relationship: sacrifice or compromise especially to get the partner back, in case of an argument this card suggests taking the first step to reconciliation.

If you are single: a good time for a romance but not so good for searching a lifetime partner. It is possible that your sensuality raises concerns because  sexual freedom has for ages been tolerated in case of men, but not women.

Finances

Time to act and to put your plans into practice. Risk will pay off. Beware of conflicts between co-workers or exterior hostile activity. Romance at work.

Health

Beware of accidents and injuries. Check the level of hormones. Risk of obesity and diabetes. You have to exercise more. Possible urine system infection or kidney stones. Do not forget to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Endangered parts of the body: face, neck, parathyroid, pharynx, kidneys, bladder, adrenals, sexual hormones, reproductive system.

CARDS

Ishtar as Strength in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano, I think it is a very adequate assignment

Ishtar in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

A beautiful representation of Ishtar as Queen of Heaven with the crown of planets and zodiac signs in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Ishtar in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Ishtar with her gate in the background in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

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

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

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

Image in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue was painted by Jonathan Earl Bowser wherein it must be clearly stated that original one depicts Cleopatra, not Ishtar. You can check the original painting here

Ishtar in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Ishtar with lions and eight – pointed star in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

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

Ishtar in the darkness of Irkalla but still with the shining star above her head in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Ishtar in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

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

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

Based on the myth of Descent Of The Goddess Ishtar Into The Lower World, Epic of Gilgamesh,  http://www.themystica.com/mythical-folk … shtar.html, http://www.matrifocus.com/SAM05/spotlight.htm, http://www.matrifocus.com/SAM08/spotlight.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitution , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieros_gamos , http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/meso/ishtarins.html , http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/ishtar.html

* There are also other explanations why Ishtar descended into the Underworld, I will develop the topic in the post concerning Inanna.

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FREYJA

FREYJA

German goddess of love, fertility, beauty, gold, magic, war and death. She originated from the Vans and was considered to be the daughter of Njörđr and his unnamed wife as well as Freyr’s twin sister. She was married to Óđr and had two daughters Hnoss i Gersemi with him. She owned Fólkvangr, the field prepared for the warriors killed in battles. Freyja means ‘Lady’ in Proto – Germanic.

ABOUT GODDESS

Freyja and her brother were probably one of the oldest deities connected with fertility. Freyja appears in many legends, most importantly in Poetic Edda where she argues with Loki who accuses women of infidelity, she borrows her feather cloak to Thor searching for his stolen hammer Mjöllnir and she helps Ottar to find his lost genealogical tree) and in Prose Edda (the Younger Edda) where her palace Sessrúmnir is mentioned as being situated on the Fólkvangr field. She is also said to pour more beer to the chalice of already drunk and lost in Asgard jötunn (giant) Hrungnir and it is revealed that the goddess is very fond of love song and the bouquets of flowers. She is also briefly mentioned in the saga of Heimskringl and in others.

Freyja was an object of desire of male creatures of all kinds: gods, giants, dwarves and people. When jötunn Ţrymr stole Thor’s hammer, he promised to give it back but he demanded Freyja to become his wife in return. When Thor and Loki suggested goddess agree to this offer, Freyja became so furious that the walls of her palace shook and the gods had to leave with their tails between their legs. Loki advised to resolve the problem with a trick: he dressed Thor up as Freyja and solemnly wed to Ţrymr as his ‘wife’ and when the clothes fell down, a very surprised giant had no choice but to give Mjöllnir back. In the Younger Edda a story about building Valhalla is told. It is said that an unknown builder came to the gods and offered to make a fortification so strong that no-one from  Midgard would be able to trespass it. In return he demanded the sun, the moon and Freyja to become his wife. Gods agreed but when the work was done, they discovered it was a giant in disguise and he was eventually killed by Thor.

Freyja was married to Óđr the god of summer sun who bears some resemblance to Odin, however he disappeared soon after the wedding. Everyone thought that he was killed by gods  for disobeying their rules but even though Freyja was crying the tears of gold because of his sudden vanishing, she refused to give up. She put her magical cloak made of falcon feathers on and went to search for him under various aliases  (the most common are Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Skjálf, Sýr, Thröng,  Thrungva, Valfreyja and Vanadís). She was right. Óđr did not die, but was lost on the sea and exhausted. He was starting to take the shape of a terrifying sea serpent but it did not scare Freyja away, she stayed with him and was comforting her husband and when he died, she got so furious that she threatened to kill gods if they do not make Óđr come back. They had no chance but to agree and even though Óđr did not die in a battle, he was allowed to live in Valhalla and Frejya got the right to visit him so in fact they remained together (this legend is one of many motifs linking Freyja with the Hellenic goddess Aphrodite).

Freyja is particularly associated with gold. Her daughters were so pretty that the expressions concerning wealth originated from their names (‘hnossir’ meaning treasure comes from Hoss, Gersemi means ‘gem’). One of the most famous stories about Freyja is the one about her necklace called Brísingamen (‘Fire Jewellery’). One day when Freyja was coming back to her palace after dark, she got lost in a blizzard but luckily she met four dwarves Dvalinn, Alfrik, Berling and Grer (their names probably meant North, South, East and West) who took her to their house. Goddess wanted to pay for their hospitality but when the dwarves suggested spending the night with each of them, she steadfastly refused. However when she saw the necklace they have just created, she found it so delightful that she decided to get it. She offered them to pay any price for the jewel, however the owners wanted exactly the same thing as before so Freyja agreed. She came back to her palace with the necklace but did not say anyone how she got it.  However, Loki found the way to uncover her secret and informed Odin about the case. Odin told him to steal the necklace so clever god changed into the fly and took the gem from Freyja’s room. Goddess went to Odin to tell him about the theft and he promised to return it to her on the condition that she would create two kings Högni and Heđinn who were supposed to fight each other until they are released from the curse by a christened warrior (this story comes from The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason).  Brísingamen was said to be decorated with rubies and ambers and it had the magical power to enhance Freyja’s natural beauty so much that no one could resist her.

In another myth Freyja helped Óttar, her devoted worshipper and supposed lover, to get the information about his genealogy. Both flattering and threathening shaman (völva) Hyndla with death in fire she convinced her to recite the list of Óttar’s ancestors. They both came to Valhalla, Freyja was riding her boar called Hildisvíni (which was Óttar in disguise) and Hyndla appeared on a wolf and there Hyndla revealed Óttar’s pedigree. Freyja was praising the warrior for building her an altar and make her offerings (this story comes from an Old – Norse poem called Hyndluljóđ). Freyja is also believed to teach magic to the Æsir, especially seiđr.

Freyja was leading the Valkyries and it was generally believed that half of the warriors killed in a battle went to live after death on the Fólkvangr field while the other half belonged to Odin. Freyja and the Valkyries were taking them from the battlefield to her palace and the goddess also invited their wives or lovers there. When the suite was moving through the sky, their armours were sparkling as aurora borealis.

As a goddess of vegetation she was protecting the nature thus many plants were named for her sake: the Common Milkwort (Polygala Vulgaris) was known as Freyja’s hair, another plant was called Freyja’s tears etc. Although these names were changed into the ones connected with the Virgin Mary after christianity was introduced in Scandinavia, the names of towns which originated from Freyja’s name were preserved in Norse and Swedish (Frřihov, Frövi). It is also common in the Germanic languages to call the day attributed to the goddess with her name (German: Freitag, English: Friday etc). Other random facts concerning Freyja include her name appearing in the Danish anthem and the chemical element of vanadium being named after her nickname Vanadis.

There is also a hypothesis that because of many resemblances Freyja and Frigg,  Odin’s wife, are in fact either the same goddess or they originate from the same goddess.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Freyja is traditionally depicted as a blue – eyed blonde riding a golden chariot and wearing Brísingamen and a cloak of falcon feathers.

Freyja is mostly associated with cats and a boar called Hildisvíni which she rides when she is not using a chariot. According to some versions Hildisvini is Óttar in disguise which makes Loki call her a wanton and sneers that she rides her lover in public.

Cats appeared in Freyja’s household somehow by an accident. One day Thor woke her up unintentionally when he was getting ready to go fishing (to be more precise in his case it was a sea serpent). When Thor was on his way, he heard some sweet and calming sounds which immediately made him feel sleepy. He started to search for the author of a lullaby and came across a blue cat singing to his little kittens. God started to grumble loudly about being put to sleep while heading to hunt but the cat explained that his life as a single father is not easy and asked him if he knew a good woman who would take care of them. Thor offered to take them to Freyja and the goddess was delighted. Kittens soon became her favourite animals and when they grew up, they were harnessed to her chariot.

Both Freyja and her twin brother were associated with falcons. Freyja owned a cloak of falcon feathers which could transform magically into the bird and was said to borrow it to other gods in critical situations (to Thor when his hammer was stolen, to Loki when he was searching for the kidnapped goddess Idunn, etc).

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

Person showed by this card is powerful, emotional, feminine and sensual. She achieves what she wants, she is popular among men and whatever she wears she catches attention. She is quick-tempered, generous, spontaneous and falls in love easily. Because she is impulsive and does what she wants, she may have a bad reputation. A woman who is always romantic inside even if she leads an active sex life with multiple partners. Archetype of the woman facing male discrimination and harassement. In negative aspect this card shows a person using outside appearance to reach the target or someone who wants to reach the target by all means. A person who is pretty but empty.

Advice

Cease the day, take care of yourself and be assertive. Take a risk and do not be afraid to take an action. Only those who do nothing avoid making mistakes. Introduce changes in your life and reach out for what you really want. Do not pay attention to what others think. Be powerful because in this situation you will gain more thanks to being persistent than being nice. Visit a beauty or hair saloon or buy yourself a small thing which will make you happy. You can achieve your goal using an unsual method.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: possible separation from your partner. Romance. Passion. Cheating. Having an argument with your partner. Do not let yourself be a trophy whom your partner will be boasting off as if you were a luxurious house or a new car.

If you are single: beware, you are attracting a person who only pays attention to your appearance or does not intend anything more than a romance. Do not let yourself being exploited. If you want to have sex, make sure it is on your terms. Do not do it just because you are afraid to say ‘no’.

Finances

A profitable transaction. Gaining sth valuable at a low cost. Profit gained thanks to enthusiasm. Getting your own house or flat. Use your charm in negociations .

Your bosses may try to convince you to do sth you do not accept. Do not agree on their conditions.

Health

Be careful because this card predicts accidents and injuries. Check the level of hormones. Beware of urinary tract infections and stones in the kidneys.However, this card also generally indicates a good health. Contraception&protection against sexually transmitted diseases.Endangered parts of the body: face, neck, parathyroid, throat, kidneys, bladder, adrenals, sex hormones, the reproductive system.

CARDS

Freyja in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

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

Freyja in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

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

Freyja in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

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

Freyja in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Freyja in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

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

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

Freyja in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Freyja is also included in the Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr but by no means I can agree with assigning her to the Major Arcane of Emperor because she definitely represents female energy. I think the card of Chariot may be more adequate.

and in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by the same author

Freya as High Priestess in Tarot of Northern Shadows by Howard Rodway&Silivia Gainsford (this assignement is also arguable); the picture taken from http://www.valkyrietower.com/freyja.html

Freyja is also associated with rune Fehu in Rune Vision Cards by Silvia Gainsford, the picture taken from http://www.valkyrietower.com/freyja.html

Based on an English Wikipedia and the following pages http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/goddess-freya.htm , http://www.goddess-guide.com/freya.html and http://www.goddessfreya.info/about_freya.htm .

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

Goddess of the moon*, hunting, mountains, forests and wild nature, protectress of the Amazones, maidens and virgins.

ABOUT GODDESS

Artemis was a daughter of Zeusa and Leto and a twin sister of Apollo. Leto being Zeus’ lover drew the wrath of Hera his wife and the guardian of women in labour that was why the children could not come to the world for nine days and nights.  When Leto finally bore her first child it was Artemis who then helped her mother to deliver her twin brother.

Artemis never got married. She remained a virgin and she expected the same from her female companions (usually nymphs) who she was spending time hunting and hiking. She was an extremely vindicative goddess whose arrows cause diseases and pierce anyone who who had the misfortune to expose themselves to her. This is what happened to the children of Niobe, the mother of seven sons and seven daughters, who dared say openly that she had more offspring than Leto. Artemis killed Niobe’s daughters and Apollo her sons.That was also the case of Orion, a famous hunter, to whom she sent scorpion to bite him because he was competing with her in discus throw (according to another version of a myth she punished  him because he was pursuing her nymphs and yet another says that when Apollo noticed that his sister is falling in love with a handsome hunter he decided to protect her virginity and made her accidentally kill him). One way or another both Orion and the scorpio were shifted to the firmament and the same happened to Callisto (Kallisto), her companion who fell victim to Zeus’ desire. When she became pregnant, the goddess transformed her into a female bear and baited her dogs on her. Callisto would have certainly died if not Zeus lifted her up in the nick of time and placed in the sky as a constellation of Ursa Major. Another victim of her rage was Actaeon, a mortal man who saw her nude while bathing in a mountain brook. She sent her own pack of dogs against him to tear him to pieces. Also Agamemnon the chief of the Achaeans caused her anger while their ships were heading to Troy.  The goddess caused calm sea and she demanded Iphigenia, his daughter as a sin offering so Agamemnon made her and her mother Clytemnestra come under the pretext of her engagement with Achilles. The most common version of the myth says that when the victim was about to be fulfilled, Artemis took the girl and brought her to Tauris (Crimea) where she became her priestess. She also sent a boar to devastate the areas surrounding the city of Calydon because King Oeneus omitted her during sacrifices. During the hunt for the boar  Atalanta one of her companions became the reason for a huge row which resulted in the death of Meleager, the king’s son.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Artemis’ symbols are a bow and arrows. Animals commonly associated with her include a bear, hunting dogs, wild fauna and a hind. One of Hercules’ labours was catching alive the Ceryneian Hind who was her sacred animal; a hind was so agile that it took the whole year to finally capture her, hinds were also harnessed to Artemis’ chariot.

When represented in paintings and sculpture Artemis does not usually wear a long chiton and peplos like other goddesses but a knee – length tunic instead to feel comfortable while running and hunting. 

Artemis and Acteon

The goddess was particularly worshipped in the mountainous and wild countries of Hellas such as Arcadia, Sparta, Laconia, Elis and the Taygetus Mountain. However her most famous temple was situated in Ephesus in Asia Minor where Artemis was identified with an ancient Asian goddess of fertility (more about it here and here). In Tauris humans were sacrificed to her.

Artemis of Efes

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

This card signifies a young girl or even a teenager. In her positive aspects she is independent, fit, strong and protective towards the ones she loves.  This person is friendly yet remains distant. Just like Persephone she has a strong bond with her mother and she finds support among other women but she tends to avoid men, relationships and engagement. As an archer she suggests concentration and focusing on an aim and avoiding distraction until you achieve it. In her negative aspects she is vindicative, does not forgive mistakes and it is better not to mess with her. Similarly to Athena Artemis keeps her virginity which may signify the fear of carnality and intercourse.

Advice

This card suggests help and advice from a sister, a female friend etc. It also informs you that you need more movement and excersises and it encourages you to spend time in wild nature (the modern version of Artemis’ activity would be extreme sports).  It is a positive answer to any questions involving sport activities or requiring competition.

Because of its association with the Moon it shows the whole spectrum of what is connected with it in culture, psychology and esoterics: intuition, emotionality, foreseeing the future, romanticism, fantasy, unconsciousness, ignorance, illusion, darkness, ambiguity, confusion, mystery, lies, gossip, self-deception, sorrow, tears, despair, pessimism, nervousness, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychosomatic illness, threats, mistaken action or passiveness, hidden issues which need to be explained, mental illness, hallucinations, somnambulism, nightmares, closing oneself off from others, running away from problems into the inner world, disease or drugs, sexual complexes, toxic relationship with a mother and other women.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: a strong influence of a woman on your relationship (a female friend, a mother,  a mother-in-law etc). A lot of emotions but usually hidden and unexpressed. Fears about future. Illusions. Hidden relationship.

If you are single: being single by choice. A pleasant company of the people of the same age. Secret longing for a partner.

Finances

Double check the documents you are going to sign. Do not be deceived by the outward appearance. Promises may not be fulfilled, do not take them for granted.

Health

Problems with body liquids flow, embolism, swelling. Sleep disorders. Coma. Depression, hallucinations and mental disorders. Addictions. Suicidal thoughts. Psychosomatic illness. Infectious diseases. Excessive use of drugs. You need more workout and movement. If you are a pregnant woman, this card suggest either a non-complicated labour  or the help of a competent woman. Endangered body parts: blood and lymph vessels, lymph nodes.

CARDS

A beautiful representation of Artemis in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Artemis in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky (she is portrayed here in an Amazone style)

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

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

Artemis in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé (as Diana)

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

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

Artemis, a hind&a leaning tower in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 A very ethereal and oniric image of Artemis in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews, volatile and delicate, it is lunar indeed rather than athletic; she is accompanied by a dog and some hares, symbols of fertility, but remember that despite being a midwife, she does not the goddess of fertility herself

Artemis in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

There is a strange situation in the deck by Doreen Virtue. The Hellenic and Italic goddesses are usually merged semantically while here we have the division into Artemis (Guardian) and Diana (Focused Intention). Artemis’ message is You and your loved ones are safe and spiritually protected while Diana says, Keep your unwavering thougths, feelings, and actions on your target, and you will make your mark. To be honest I do not think it was a good idea.

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

It is similar with Artemis&Diana in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took



 

 And in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock (first card is Artemis, th second one is Diana)

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

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

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

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

 A warlike Artemis straight from a computer game in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

A military and modernised Artemis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Artemis wearing ballerina’s skirt in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan (but how can you use a bow and an arrow while hopping on one foot in the clouds? laughing1)

Artemis in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano where she is Knave of Swords (as Diana)

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle and The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr where she is naturally associated with Moon the eighteenth Major Arcane  (as Diana again).

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

*In the Hellenic and Italic mythology there are four deities connected with the sun and the moon:  Helios/Sol and Apollo (sun) and Selene/Luna and Artemis (moon). Helios and Selene had belonged to the Titans, the first generation of gods whose cult was later replaced with the Olympians Apollo and Artemis. Since then Apollo is sometimes identified with Helios and Artemis with Selene, however there is still a certain semantic division. Helios and Selene are the deities who are phisically related to the sun and the moon as they roll the stars over the firmament with their chariots while Apollo and Artemis are their patrons but they do not put them into motion themselves.

BAST (BASTET)

BAST (BASTET)

Bast was an Egyptian goddess of love, fertility and relationships and the protectress of cats. The other variations of her name are Bastet, Baast or Ubasti (which probably meant She of the Ointment Jar).

ABOUT THE GODDESS

The history of Bast’s cult is divided into two stages. She was considered to be the guardian of Lower Egypt, during Old Kingdom of Egypt at least from the times of the Second Dynasty (i.e. from 3 500 b.C. even before the writing was invented). She was worshipped in Per Bast (Bubastis in Greek) where her famous temple was situated. It was described by Herodotus to be one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in an ancient world.  Archaeologists discovered the cementary filled with cat mummies near the remains of the temple because cat was Bastet’s sacred animal. During the New Kingdom of Egypt she was more and more identified most of all with the lioness goddess Sekhmet but also with Hathor, Mut and Tefnut and her cult spread significantly to reach even Italian Penisula in the times of the Roman Empire. According to the first myths Bast had been the daughter of Ra the sun god and herself the mother of Maahes , however after being identified with Sekhmet she became the wife of Ptah. There is also a hypothesis that she had been the lioness or the woman with the head of a lion and then to distinguish her from Sekhmet she was presented as a cat (a myth illustrates this change: a wild lioness touched the waves of a lake and took the milder form of a feline)*.

The duality of female nature is reflected in the way the Egyptians worshipped Bast.  At first because of her origins she was initially identified with the Sun (as a solar deity she was called Lady of the Flame, Lady of the East, the Goddess of the Rising Sun, Ra’s Eye and  The Sacred and All-Seeing Eye. However when the soldiers of Alexander the Great seized the power over Egypt she became the moon goddes under the influence of Hellenic beliefs (Herodotus identifies her as Artemis and in the hellenistic era she is known as Ailuros). In fact it does not seem to be best of the assignements because Bast was taking care of homes and families and was bestowing health and fertility (as a feline taking care of her offspring she was sometimes depicted with kittens). According to myths during daytime Bast sailed in the skies with her father Ra in the boat to which the sun was attached and was observing everything carefully to watch over him.  At night she was turning into a feline still keeping a perfect eyesight to protect her father from Apel (Apophis), a serpent who was his biggest enemy and who was eventually killed by Bast.

Thanks to her agility and power she was identified with the goddess of war and she was protecting the pharaoh on the battlefield. Archaeologists found vast cementaries of mummified cats and this shows how important cats were in the family life. They were protecting crops against mice and therefore it is possible these animals had as high status as cows in India.  Interestingly cats were also warning against the fire and if any of them was harmed in it, the goddess was reviving them and perhaps this is where the legend of cat’s nine lives came from. Various symbols of Bast were kept at homes, these were the cat figurines to scare mice and serpents away and all-seeing eye to make thieves and plagues keep out of the house. The sculpture of a feline feeding kittens was often given as a wedding present as it symbolized the wish for health and fertility and Bast was considered the guardian of women and children even more than other Egyptian goddesses. Probably because of her name’s etymology she was the protectress of people who manufactured perfumes.  Bast was also the goddess of dance, amusement, sensuality and pleasure. During her holiday the priestesses of her temple wearing red, a colour of the goddess, were performing something that we would call an erotic dance nowadays. Celebrations were taking place in April and May and they were very popular; perhaps even 700 thousand Egyptians could have come to Bubastis to sing, dance and drink excessively.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

She was presented as a feline or a slim woman with the cat or lion head.  Her attributes were sistrum, a musical instrument of the percussion family, a rattle, a basket or box. Her weapon was an aegis with the image of a lion.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The card of Bast shows a woman who feels fulfilled in many ways , both at work and at home. This is a modern mum who brings her children to kindergarten or school and then hurries to work. It also shows an independent woman or girl who cannot stand cultural and traditional limits and intends live her life in her own way. In negative it signifies egoism, lack of awereness, having too much fun and aversion to commitment in relationships.

Advice

Look closer into this situation because something may be hidden from you. Think it over and follow your intuition. Balance the male and female parts of your personality.

Love

If you are in a relationship: Take a good care of your family and pets. If you are thinking of staring your own family this is a good moment for that. Leave the everyday duties from time to time and be more playful. Your father may need your help.

If you are single: Time to have fun. Relax, have a bath, use a body cream, go out, dance and move with grace.

Finances

Perhaps you may have to adapt to new circumstances and change your job or profession. Do not be scared of that, this card shows your flexibility and the skill of balancing.

Health

It is a good moment to start excersising yoga or other stretching workout. Endangered body parts: spine and eyes.

CARDS

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

Bast in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Bast in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Bast in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

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

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

Bast in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Bast in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

and in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano where she represents Ace of Wands:

Based on the English wikipedia and http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/egyptian_goddess_bast.htm .

*That is why I considered writing a common blog entry about them but in the end I decided they deserve the separate ones.

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.