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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

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REVIEW: GODDESS POWER PACK BY CORDELIA BRABBS

GODDESS POWER PACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

According to a note published on Amazon  Cordelia Francesca Brabbs is a young British journalist and a freelance author who writes articles about health, well – being and lifestyle for many UK’s top magazines and newspapers. She is working on her master’s degree in women’s studies and likes travelling around the world, snowboarding, yoga and reiki. She also seems to run trainings concerning  magic and improving financial condition. You can follow her on Facebook, YouTube oraz na Twitter.

Find out more about her on her website: http://www.magicalbadass.com/

ADVANTAGES

The cards themselves are fabulous, colourful and easy to perceive. Goddesses are presented as contemporary women but still retain their symbols: Athena (Minerva) is accompanied by owl, Lakshmi by lotus and Lilith by snake. The effect is very interesting although I suspect the reason for that was to simplify the divinatory layer as much as possible in accordance with the motto of this deck Unleash Your Inner Goddess. However, it does not change the fact that cards are simply great, they present a hypothetical situation of goddesses moving from the ancient times into modern ones. One thing is strange…there is no remark suggesting any connection of these images directly to Cordelia Brabbs. In list of acknowledgments at the end of booklet you will find Brenda Rosen as consultant editor, Alice Bowden as project editor, Sally Bond as art editor, Pia Ingham for Cobalt Id as designer, Javier Joaquin as illustrator and Louise Hall as production controller. So, if I am not mistaken, this deck should be called Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs&Javier Joaquin (or perhaps by Cordelia Brabbs, Pia Ingham&Javier Joaquin, depending on the amount of work) if only the publisher followed the good practices of issuing card decks as othes do. I do not understand why it did not happen rolleyes11.

DISADVANTAGES

If I had choice, I would only buy the cards themselves and would skip the booklet added to the deck. The booklet is full of banal esoterics and all that find the inner goddess babble, moreover it is written in everyday English which was probably intended to reach teenage girls but something tells me that even they would find this style artificial. The fact that someone is young does not mean than you can brush them off with simple tips for life. The cover of booklet itself reveals what is to come inside informing us that we will find thirty goddesses from independent Artemis and fun – loving Yemaya to nurturing Gaia and sexy Kali

The booklet discourages from using the pack rather than encourages to do it. It is a pity because the content itself is not that bad. The author draws accurate conclusions from the goddess mythology but she wastes them away by treating the reader as a child saying Do this! Do that! On one hand she encourages Stick to your beliefs, g – girl, no one can take them from you but on the other hand she determines a specific profile of what your beliefs should be: joining a protest rally, eating an apple instead of chocolate, exercising yoga, getting involved in the environment protection movement etc. I do not want to be misunderstood, it IS good lifestyle and I support it but at the same time I can understand that not everyone finds it suitable and wants to adopt it. The ton of superiority which the author uses definitely does not help:  You can be a loser and eat, drink and wear what the big – bucks companies tell you to, even if the food is stuffed full of chemicals, the lipstick was tested on animals and the T-shirt produced by sweat shop labour. Or you can  become informed about the products you buy, and make ethical choices that serve you and the planet. You can watch TV and play your games console, and live like a zombie in front of a flashing screen. Or you can exercise your body, nourish it with good food and spend your spare time having fun outdoors.  We have to remember that each of us is in a different point of their life path and it makes no sense to hurry them up. Calling someone loser will probably not help to drag them on ‘the light side of the Force’ wink3. This booklet rather than TO readers speaks ABOUT the author. I think before I started writing books with some advice for others, I would first check if I am mature enough and work with my own ego because it is ego that tells me to compare myself with others and present myself as the better one.

Nothing good will come out of imposing views on what is good and what is bad. Any person who has a very basic knowledge of esoterics and card spreading knows that cards only show a certain situation and never make a decision instead of the person inquiring. This is why the card of Lilith saying It’s time to ditch that loser is a huge faux pas 74282! If you look closely at the decks I consider to be good ones  (e.g the already analysed deck of Amy Sophia Marashinsky and Hrana Janto), you will notice that the authors only pose questions which the user should answer herself/himself. They do not take the responsibility out of user by saying Do this, do that! What will happen if a young girl indeed decides to ‘ditch that looser’ just like the author advises and will regret it later? Will Cordelia take the responsibility for it now that she was assuring it would bring the young girl such a fabulous life?

This deck includes Mary as a goddess which I find a huge disadvantage.

Another huge disadvantage is a horrible box. It naturally provokes the question, What the hell was the publisher thinking of?!

Generally speaking if you buy it, I would suggest concentrate on the deck of cards and skip the booklet. Establish the custom of drawing one card daily, observe the colours, symbols, situation presented on pictures, search for the correspondence in daily events and study the actual myths. This way you will learn much more than reading booklet.

ISSUE

30 cards

a booklet containing short information on how to use cards, who goddesses are, how to contact and worship them, how to listen to their advice, suggestions how to become the worshipper of goddess (‘g-girl’, an abbreviation from ‘goddess girl’), how to create g – gangs (‘goddess gangs’), what are the rules and codes of being ‘g-girl’ and being in ‘g-girl gangs’, descriptions of ceremonies, calendar of festive days, invocations, rituals, affirmations, sample spreads, descriptions of each card and index

box with carton insert to support cards

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

– name of a goddess

– name of a card

– short presentation of a goddess

– suggestions how a goddess can help and her message

– invocation to a goddess

– tips concerning an invocation

– affirmation

– one sentence general advice from a goddess

box cordelia brabbs

The size of cards is 13 x 8 cm

Back sides of cards show a yellow stage illuminated by headlights.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena (Minerva)

Athena in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs (as Minerva)

Brigid

Brigid in The Goddess Power deck by Cordelia Brabbs

Demeter

is not included in this deck

Isis

Isis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Back side

back side cordelia brabbs

Text copyright© Cordelia Brabbs 2005 

Publisher: Godsfield Press

ISBN: 1 84181 253 6

Aphrodite
Artemis
Brigid
Cerridwen
Corn Woman
Durga
Eostre
Freyja
Gaia
Hathor
Hekate
Isis
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lilith
Maat
Maeve
Mary
Minerva
Oshun
Oya
Pele
Rhiannon
Sekhmet
Sulis
Tara
Uzume
Vesta
Yemanya

KORE PERSEPHONE (PROSERPINE)

KORE PERSEPHONE (PROSERPINA)

Hellenic goddess of the Underworld, vegetation and changing of the seasons, guardian of the souls of the dead, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, wife of Hades. The myth of her abduction was an explanation of seasons changing and the base for Eleusinian Mysteries. Her first name, Kore, means ‘a young girl, a maiden’, her second name probably originates from a foreign language which was unknown to the Hellens, one of the possible etymology is perein phonon meaning  ‘bringing death, causing death’.

ABOUT GODDESS

The myth of Kore’s abduction has already been told in the post about Demeter so let me simply quote it

Kore was a young girl when she was playing on the meadow with fellow nymphs on a sunny day. Her mother allowed her to weave wreaths from all the flowers but a narcissus dedicated to the gods of the Underworld. Unfortunately, Kore forgot her mother’s warning and picked this flower. It brought the darkness over the meadow, the ground cracked and a chariot led by black horses  emerged from the abyss. It was Hades, the lord of the Underworld, he captured Kore and abducted her to his realm below the surface of the earth. It was all so sudden that nobody was able to react or even realise that Demeter’s daughter disappeared. Only Cyane (Kyane), a water nymph and Kore’s companion, heard her friend’s cry and hurried to save her. However, it was too late and one of the horses kicked her in the shoulder so she could only massage the sore spot and cry after Kore. Terrified Demeter kept searching for her daughter everywhere but she did not realise that Zeus had promised his daughter as a wife without her mother’s knowledge and consent.

When Demeter found out about the conspiracy (either from all-seeing Helios the sun god or Hekate, goddess of the night and witchcraft), she became so furious  that she cursed the earth and told her not to raise crops until her daughter comes back to her. This interrupted the order of the seasons so plants began to wither and people started to complain they would not be able to gather them and they would suffer from hunger.  Zeus had no option but to return Kore to her mother. However, the girl was lured to eat a couple of grains of pomegranate in the Underworld and this made her belong there forever. In the end the gods and goddesses entered into a compromise: Kore was to spend one third of the year with her husband as Persephone the Queen of the Underworld but for the remaining two thirds she could return on the surface and enjoy the time with her mother. This is how the Hellens understood the seasons change: in winter the earth was saddened by the absence of Kore Persephone together with Demeter and in spring and summer when she was coming back, the earth was showing joy by letting leaves and blossoming the flowers.

Kore's abduction

It is the first and the most significant appearance of Kore Persephone in the Hellenic mythology but not the last one. She is present as the wife of Hades in many stories telling about the hero’s descent to the Underworld. She is so moved by Orpheus’ song that she convinces her husband to return his wife Eurydice to him. She helps Heracles fulfil his twelfth labour of tying Cerberus, the guardian dog of the Underworld. She is sometimes involved in a story whether she wants it or not, such as in the case of Pirithous, a hero and a friend of Theseus, decided to take Kore Persephone away from Hades as a revenge for the death of his own beloved wife Hippodamia. The plan failed and both heroes were sentenced to be imprisoned in Hades and enchained to the rock. Theseus was freed from the ordeal by Heracles,  Pirithous, however, had to remain enchained in Hades forever.

Kore Persephone has also participated in the dispute with Aphrodite concerning Adonis. According to myths Adonis was an illegitimate child of Princess Myrrha who made Aphrodite angry, and the goddess punished Myrrha by making her fall in love with her own father. Princess managed to deceive him and spend a couple of nights with him but when the affair came to the light, furious king seized the knife and started to run after her. Escaping his rage, Myrrha begged gods for rescue and they turned her into a tree which was later named after her. After nine months tree bark cracked and a boy came out of the trunk. Aphrodite put the baby into the chest and entrusted to Kore Persephone. However, the goddess of the Underworld fell in love with young Adonis herself and decided to keep him in Hades forever. This made Aphrodite furious. The disagreement must have been eventually resolved by Zeus who decided that Adonis was to spend one third of the year with Aphrodite, one third with Kore Persephone and the remaining part of the year wherever he wants to. According to another version of this myth young man died pierced by the tusks of boar, the animal was in fact jealous Ares in disguise. Aphrodite’s grief was so big that Zeus let her lover return to the goddess during spring and summer, Adonis, however, must have come back to Hades for autumn and winter.

According to most of the myths, the marriage of Kore Persephone and Hades remained childless* but some versions claim that she was the mother of  Zagreus/Iakchos/Dionizos (with Zeus).

Deity descending into the Underworld was a popular explanation of seasons changing in the ancient times. A similar motif in present in the mythologies of the Middle – East, be it Attis (see the post about Cybele) or Osisris (post about Isis) and the theme of a young woman abducted to the Underworld is also present in the story of Ereshkigal (see the myth of Ishtar). Basing on the mythology and archaeological remains, it can be assumed that an agrarian cult of Demeter and Kore Persephone was one of the oldest in the Hellas, older than the cults of Olympian deities. It is possible that it came to Hellas from other countries (the Hellens were writing the name ‘Persephone’ in many ways, it may suggest that they were unable to pronounce it themselves so it either originated from a pre-Hellenic language or was a borrowing from a foreign language). The beginnings can be dated up to 1400 – 1200 before Christ based on the inscriptions on the tablets found in Pylos, her name is written as Preswa and this may be its oldest form. There is also enough evidence to assume that Persephone was venerated in the Minoan Crete. Similarly to Egypt, the eldest deities were strictly associated with nature and often depicted as half – humans and half – animals (a Cretan figure of Minotaur, centaurs, satyrs, tritones, mermaids, sirens etc seem to be the remaining of this cult in mythology). An image of two women was discovered in the temple of Despoina in Mycene, it is assumed that these were either Demeter and Kore Persephone themselves or their priestesses wearing animal masks, this proves how early their cult was. Cretan agrarian cults have not used images of any deities  (similarly to the oldest forms of the Great Mother Cybele’s cult), they were mostly performed by females and the rites themselves included dancing, shaking trees and worshipping stones (most probably  meteorites). There are also reasons to believe that Kore Persephone was identified with yet older goddesses such as Despoina or Ariadna. Excavations on the temple sites suggest that places of worship were situated near springs and fire was burning in them all the time.

women wearing clothes from the Minoean age and dancing around (most probably) Kore Persephone, the Isopata ring

Demeter’s daughter was the goddess of both Underworld (as Persephone) and vegetation (as Kore). She was depicted on sarcophagi as a symbol of revival and eternity. Apart from the Eleusinian Mysteries, Kore Persephone was also venerated separately in the temples located in Corinth, Megara and Sparta. She was worshipped as Despoina (Mistress of the House) in Arcadia, furthermore she was known under other nicknames, the most popular were those presenting her in the most favourable way to gain her benevolence: Hagne („Pure”, it was primarily the name of a spring nymph), Melindia or Melinoia („Of Honey”), Melivia, Melitodes, Aristi Tchonia („The Best of Chtonic”). In her aspect of the vegetation goddess she was called Kore Soteira („The Saviour Maiden”), Neotera („The Younger One”), etc., she also often appears together with her mother as Two Goddesses (Demeter being The Older and Kore The Younger) in Eleusis, The Great Goddesses and The Mistresses in Arcadia, Karpophoroi („The Bringers of Fruit”) in Tegea and Thesmophoroi („The Legislators”) during the Thesmophoria festival.

The cult of Demeter and Kore Persephone had many local versions but the most important festival was of course the Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated in the autumn. Celebrations were aimed at the immortality of life and were filling the initiated with hope for the good fate (it was most probably believed that they were sent to the best part of Hades called The Elysian Fields after death). Mysteries were divided into the Lesser ones (celebrated every year) and Greater ones (celebrated every five years, on the fifteenth day of boedromion month ie. at the turn of August and September/September and October, they lasted ten days). A prerequisite for participation was only freedom form “blood guilt”, the festival was open for women and slaves. This was the time of  initiation and involved a couple of degrees of initiation. The Eleusinian Mysteries required keeping the secret so only a few people with the highest degree of initiation knew what was hidden in kiste, a sacred chest and kalathos, a lidded basket. It is speculated that the Demeter’s sacred objects were golden serpent, an egg, a phallus and seeds.

It remains unknown what were the mysteries like because revealing the secret was punished by death, however the descriptions of public celebrations were written down. The Greater Mysteries in Athens began on the fourteenth of boedromion when the sacred objects were brought to Eleusinion, a temple situated at the base of the Acropolis Hill.  The next day was the time of Agyrmos (“the gathering”) when the priests announced the beginning of holiday and offered sacrifice. On the sixteenth day of the month, the rituals of purification in the sea were taking place near the port of Phaleron and on the seventeenth it was the time for Epidauria (so called “festival within festival”), celebrations for Asclepios, god of healing, when he was invited symbolically to the city with his daughter Hygieia goddess of hygiene and led in procession to Eleusion. On the nineteenth day procession was moving from the Kerameikos cementary to Eleusis along Hierá Hodós (“Sacred Way”), participants were swinging the branches called bacchoi. At a certain point they started to shout obscenities to commemorate (Iambe), an elderly woman who was trying to make Demeter laugh while she was grieving the loss of daughter by pulling the skirt up and saying naughty jokes, people were also shouting “Íakch’, O Íakche!” to celebrate Iacchus. When the procession reached Eleusis, it was the time for one day fasting to commemorate Demeter’s hunger while she was searching for her daughter, the only thing allowed to drink was kykeon made of barley and pennyroyal. On the 20th and 21st it was time for the proper celebrations when the crowd was gathering in Telestrion, a great hall („Initiation Hall”) where those waiting to be initiated gathered, in the centre there was Anaktoron („Palace”) where only the priests were allowed to come because sacred objects were stored here. Before entering Telestrion adepts had to say, I have fasted, I have drunk the kykeon, I have taken from the kiste (“box”) and after working it have put it back in the kalathos (“open basket”).  At first two special vessels were filled, then one was emptied in the direction of west and the other towards east and the worshippers were looking at the sky and earth whispering the rain fertilising the ground. The story of Kore Persephone’s abduction was told in three acts, first descent, then search and finally ascend and reconnection with mother. A ‘divine child’ was placed on hearth (check the story of Triptolemus in the post about Demeter) and those initiated to the highest degrees were to cut in silence a sheaf symbolising revival of life after death. The festival was completed with Pannychis, an all-night feast with dancing and rejoicing accompanied by the sacrifice from the bull and remembrance of the dead by libation the next day.

This is how Cicero wrote about these celebrations, For among the many excellent and indeed divine institutions which your Athens has brought forth and contributed to human life, none, in my opinion, is better than those mysteries. For by their means we have been brought out of our barbarous and savage mode of life and educated and refined to a state of civilization; and as the rites are called “initiations,” so in very truth we have learned from them the beginnings of life, and have gained the power not only to live happily, but also to die with a better hope.. (Laws II, XIV, 36)

Another holiday for Demeter and Kore Persephone was the festival of Thesmophoria celebrated all over Hellas from the 11th to 13th of the Pyanepsion month (October) when married women were free to come out of the houses** and participated in the women exclusive rites. Not much is known about this festival for a very simple reason: only married women participated in them and they were not the ones who wrote chronicles or memories. What we do know is that there were processions on the first day, the second one was the time of mourning, extinguishing the fire and eating pomegranates and the third was sacrificed to the rather unknown in mythology Kalligenea, goddess of beautiful birth. There were also records saying that at night swine were sacrificed in the trenches and caves and the remains of the animals sacrificed in previous year were retrieved and placed on the altar, mixed with seeds and planted. There was also Anthesphoria, the festival of flowers and cereals, celebrated in the Hellenic colonies in Italy (so called Magna Grecia) and in the Peloponnesus.

Ancient Romans took the cult of Kore Persephone over from Hellenic colonies established on the south of Italy and Sicily. She was called Proserpine in the local local dialect and this version of her name was adopted in the Apennine Peninsula. It is interesting to notice that she was venerated as the patroness of marriages in one of these cities called Epizephyrian Locris (present day Locri), this usually was the domain of Juno (Hera). Children were entrusted to Persephone and brides were bringing her their garments before weddings as votive offerings. A very popular image of Kore Persephone and Hades surrounded by plants and animals attributed to them comes precisely from Epizephyrian Locris.

Kore Persephone and Hades

In the 5th century before Christ Empedocles, a poet, philosopher and healer, has created the concept of four elements. He connected Kore Persephone named here Nestis with the element (or to be more precise with the root, it was not until Plato when the word ‘element’ was used) of water: Now hear the fourfold roots of everything: enlivening Hera, Hades, shining Zeus. And Nestis, moistening mortal springs with tears. Empedocles uses the nickname of Nestis and does not pronounce her real name which was considered to be a taboo since the earliest times. It was not advised to call the Queen of the Dead even in a simple conversation nor to speak her name aloud so Nestis was used as her cult title (Homer in his hymns refers to her as the Queen of the Shades).

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

The type of the oldest Hellenic sculpture is called kore, some hypotheses assume the figures represent Demeter’s daughter.

 KoreKore

Moreover, Kore Persephone is also presented sitting on the throne as majestic Queen of the Underworld with a sceptre, fruit, sheaves of grain and a liknon basket used to separate seeds from chaff.

Kore Persephone

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

A young girl, a teenager. A person who experienced a sudden or tough events. A person who is emotionally immature. Someone who was charged with too much responsibility too early. Somebody who became bitter due to bad experiences, childhood traumas or seriously betrayed trust. In negative a person with a victim pattern and not enough self – esteem and maturity to face the problems on their own.

Advice

What you need is patience. This card shows maturing in a hard way and learning to compromise. You cannot accelerate anything. Let things run their course. Give time some time. What you reap is what you sow. At first you will have to work hard and make a lot of effort to put your plans into action and you will be rewarded later. Everything changes sooner or later.

I personally associate strongly the card of Kore Persephone with the rune Jera.

Patience. Maturing. Harvest, crops, abundance, wealth, plenty. Revival. Beginning or end of the cycle. Bad timing, hurrying too much, poor plans, acting blindfold. An insufficient harvest, loss, scarcity.Intervention in the natural cycle. Possible trip but not for pleasure, rather forced by circumstances. Trauma. Abandonment. Compromise. Inevitability. A strong influence of mother. Secret knowledge, esoterics.

 Love

 If you are in the relationship: lack of maturity to a stable and adult relationship. Compromises and patience are required. Hiding from problems. Early marriage, possibly enforced somehow. Being childless. A strong influence of the mother. A cold, emotionally detached or manipulative partner.

If you are single: lack of maturity to a stable and adult relationship. A strong influence of the mother. Patience is suggested. It is also advised not to get into a relationship just to avoid being alone.

Finances

Trip forced by circumstances.  Beginning or ending a certain stage of career. Business involving volatility of revenues depending on time or season. Suspension of business activity. Time of harvesting profits.

 Health

Women: fertility and regular cycle, pregnancy and successful, natural delivery. Therapy limited to taking medicine. Vegetarian, macrobiotic or vegetable, fruit and cereal based diet. Regenerative skills. Checking your health regularly. Negative: laziness, wrong diet, insufficiency, problem with high cholesterol and obesity. Woman’s cycle disorder. Neglecting regular health tests. Eating in a hurry. Endangered parts of the body: the digestive system (particularly stomach, colon, small intestine and the large intestine).

CARDS

Kore Persephone  in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Kore Persephone in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews 

Kore Persephone with Demeter in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Kore Persephone with Demeter in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Kore Persephone (together with Hades and Cerberus) in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

 Kore Persephone in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Kore Persephone in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

 Kore Persephone in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kore Persephone in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 Kore Persephone in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Kore Persephone in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Kore Persephone in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr 

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

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

Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

 Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Kore Persephone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Kore Persephone in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

 Kore Persephone in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kore Persephone as Eight of Swords in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Kore Persephone as Eight of Swords in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, Wikipedia and http://www.webwinds.com/myth/elemental.htm

* It seems logical that the deities associated with death could not have children themselves. In Egypt Seth, god of desert and death, was infertile and his wife Nephthys craving for a child, got pregnant with their brother Osiris (that could be the reason for Seth’s hatred towards Osiris).

 *** In Hellas women did not participate in public life.

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:

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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

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ishtar_5

Ishtar Ishtar

assyrian-ishtar

ishtar-cow-calf

ishtar-and-worshipper

As Queen of the Night

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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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REVIEW: THE GODDESS ORACLE BY AMY SOPHIA MARASHINSKY AND HRANA JANTO

THE GODDESS ORACLE

by Amy Sophia Marashinsky&Hrana Janto

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

AMY SOPHIA MARASHINSKY is a writer, director, theatre producer and spiritual counseller who began her interest in mythology&fairy tales when she was just ten. Her other books and oracle card decks include Mermaid Magic and Oracle of the Grail Code: Restauration of the Feminine.  She has worked in New York, Japan and she currently resides in Western, MA, US.

Find out more about her on her website: http://www.amysophia.com

HRANA JANTO is an artist oriented at fantasy, history and mythology. She has provided images for television, book covers, goddess calendars, magazines and has exibited her work throughout the United States; she also paints portraits and do private commissions. She lives in New York.

Find out more about her on her website: http://www.hranajanto.com

ADVANTAGES

The choice of goddesses to this deck is definitely very good, you will find here not only European and Asian deities but also the African and American ones. It also has to be said that the attention is paid to all the cultures so there is no overrepresentation of any in particular (in other decks I have noticed domination of Celtic or Egyptian goddesses). It was also a good idea to include goddesses which may seem ‘exotic’ to an average user; in the deck you will come across not only Isis, Athena, Freyja or Lakshmi, but also Gyhldeptis, Pachamama, Sheila Na Gig or Vila. Authors ‘have done the homework’ in the field of psychology, psychoanalisys and modern interpretations of ancient myths which can be clearly seen in the choice of some cards such as Baba Yaga (who is considered to be Goddess Mother by my favourite Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés, she claims that when Christian beliefs were introduced Baba Yaga was condemned as a dangerous witch and pushed away into the subconsciousnes) or Eurynome (who is de facto the main heroine of the Pelasgian creation myth quoted in the Greek Myths by Robert Graves). I also find it very correct that ONLY REAL GODDESSES are included in this deck and authors did not attach such cards as the one of Mary.

Another advantage is the book added to the set which indeed faciliates working with cards. It can be noticed at the first glance because it is much bigger than standard booklets added to similar decks. The content is a real encouragement to do self-work, ask yourself questions and make some effort. It is not a typical  ‘comforting deck’ just as many other oracle cards. I do not always agree with the author but I support her focus on psychology and overcoming problems thanks to our own strength. You will also find invocations and ritual to each goddess apart from the myths and divinationary meanings. Another helpful thing is the name of each card (eg. Amaterasu – Beauty, Aphrodite – Love), it helps to connect and memorise them.

Images of deities are consistent with ancient archetypes and heroines are depicted with their typical animals, plants, symbols, objects and themes. I think that the diversity in showing goddesses is surely appreciated by many users of this deck. Deities are presented in a various ways depending on their origins and the features their worshippers attributed to them: they have different skin and hair colours, types of body, age etc.  Authors  are not afraid to present them nude if it is adequate to their nature. I consider it to be a big advantage of this deck because I have seen the ones where nudity is persistently covered. Perhaps it is due to the times we live in and we are between a rock and a hard place: on one hand we are tempted by all the forms of pornography and on the other in our culture&mentality all the matters associated with body, nudity and sex remain a taboo. Sometimes I get this impression that it was easier to show naked body in ancient Hellas than in contemporary America where it is an offense to morality for a woman to show a breast (even if it is only to feed her child). I think it is also visible in the self censorship which art imposes on itself so I appreciate the authors of The Goddess Oracle even more for not following this hysteria.

DISADVANTAGES

Seeking for disadvantages I came to conclusion that some goddesses seem to be doubled when it comes to meaning such as eg. Yemanya and Oshun or Bast and Sekhmet. Personally I find the size of cards to be the greatest disadvantage; they are really big and thus difficult to shuffle. It would be much more comfortable to have them in smaller or even mini format.

ISSUE

52 cards

a book containing introduction and information how to use the cards plus some example spreads

a box

set

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

– name of a goddess 

– name of a card

– a first person narrated poem representing the goddess

– mythological background

– divination meaning mainly containing qustions for self work

– ritual suggestion

The size of cards is 9,5 x 13 cm

Back sides of cards show Sybil, the legendary Roman clairvoyant who offered her chronicles to the rulers to reveal the future of the city

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena (as Minerva)

Athena in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Brigid

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

Demeter

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

Isis

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

Lakshmi

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

Back side

sybil

The Goddesses Oracle © 2006 U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

ISBN: 1 – 57281 – 546 – 9

Amaterasu
Aphrodite
Artemis
Baba Yaga
Bast
Blodeuwedd
Brigid
Cerridwen
Changing Woman
Coatlicue
Corn Woman
Demeter
Durga
Eostre
The Erinyes
Eurynome
Freyja
Gyhldeptis
Hathor
Hecate
Hestia
Inanna
Isis
Ix Chel
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lady of Beasts
Lakshmi
Lilith
Maat
Maeve
Maya
Minerva
Morgan le Faye
Nu Kua
Nut
Oshun
Oya
Pachamama
Pele
Rhiannon
Sedna
Sekhmet
Shakti
Sheila Na Gig
Sophia
Sphinx
Sulis
Tara
Uzume
Vila
Yemaya

REVIEW: GODDESSES OF THE NEW LIGHT BY PAMELA MATTHEWS

GODDESSES OF THE NEW LIGHT

by Pamela Matthews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Matthews is a painter from New Zealand. According to the booklet added to the deck and curriculum vitae on the author’s page her main inspiration is classical European art especially such artists as William Blake, Pre – Rafaelites, Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Boticelli.

ADVANTAGES

The images are very feminine and resembling the ones of Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau. They are carefully painted with attention to details and contain typical symbols of a particular goddess. Although I am not fan of such Art Nouveau style of painting, I must admit that the images are beautiful and in some way magical indeed. The title light is omnipresent in this deck, even in the card of Black Madonna.

As far as the selection of goddesses to this deck is concerned, let me concentrate on positive aspects first. I think it was a good idea to include not only Isis, Demeter or Lakshmi but also rare deities such as Sige, Cybele or the Snake Goddess (in fact this is the only deck which features the Snake Goddess, considered to be one of the most ancient European goddesses!). Some cards such as the ones of Gaia, Ishtar and Freyja look really impressive. Artemis is presented in an unsual way, not in an atlethic and sporty manner like in most decks but rather ethereally as if she was a figure from dreams and visions which definitely makes sense if you take into consideration her strong connection with the moon. It should be noticed that Artemis wears a long gown in all her original, ancient representations, it was not until modern era when artists started to depict her in a short tunic! A huge advantage of this deck is a beautiful image of Sophia; it is not only the most impressive card in this deck, but also the most impressive card of goddess oracle I have ever come across. I made it a profile picture of the blog’s page on Facebooku as a good sign and a talisman.

From the personal point of view this deck will always be special for me because these were the first goddess oracle cards I have ever bought.

DISADVANTAGES

I have come across with the review where the author complains in a very fashionable nowadays style that the images are too pretty as if women presented there were glamour film stars. Well, I like neither air-brushed photos nor overly stylized celebrities thus I do not buy nor read women magazines at all.  In this case, however, I believe that showing goddesses as beautiful women really makes sense. In the end these are not the cards of Mrs Smith from the neighbourhood but goddesses, beings of supernatural beauty and powers. As the Ancient used to say de gustibus non est disputandum so either you like the  images or not; I quite like them.

Main disadvantage for me is not an artwork but the mythological and divinationary background. The weakest links are a small amount of cards (28) and a strong Indo – European character: only the goddesses from Egyptian, Babylonian, Hellen, Christian, Celtic, Scandinavian, Hindu and Buddhist civilisations are presented in this deck. No African, American nor Polynesian goddess is included. Instead, not only the card of Mary is the part of the deck but also the ones of Maria Magdalena and Black Madonna. I believe that considering a small amount of cards it is not wise to spend three of them for Christian “goddesses”. As I have already mentioned, I think it is not right to include Mary in the goddess oracle cards because she is not a goddess. If oracle cards called Historical, Legendary and Literary Heroines Who Made An Impact was created, she should definitely be the part of this deck but classifying her as ‘a goddess’ is a total misunderstanding. I am neither convinced to include the card of Grail. Indeed, a chalice is a female symbol which has always been associated with a womb and described in the Arthurian legends but still it is not a particular goddess.

ISSUE

I do not own the original issue which is featured on the author’s page: a box for cards, a booklet and a purple satine bag (however, the cover of my box has the ‘golden’ elements). I bought the deck in a Polish online shop but it was published in Czech Republic and the booklet was printed in Czech as well. There was also a terrible ‘translation’ into Polish added to the deck probably made by a very poor translating programme but this turned out to be a positive aspect because I started my own research and refreshed my mythological knowledge instead accepting the booklet uncritically.

28 cards

a booklet where each card is presented in a following way:

– name and origin of a goddess

– key words associated with her

– a short presenation of myths about her

message from a goddess as a divinatory element

– a couple of affirmations

and advice how to use cards + two spreads

a Polish translation

a box

pamela matthews

The size of cards is standard and quite comfortable (13×8 cm)

Back side is very interesting with the miniatures of various symbols.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Brigid

Brigid in the deck of Pamela Matthews

Demeter

Isis

Lakshmi

Back side

Goddesses of the New Light © 2000 Pamela Matthews

Publisher: The Grail Press (Czech: Synergie)

ISBN 80-86099-85-7

0 Grail
1 Sige
2 Isis
3 Nut
4 Maat
5 Kuan Yin
6 White Tara
7 Prakriti
8 Saraswati
9 Lakshmi
10 Durga
11 The Snake Goddess
12 Cybele
13 Ishtar
14 Hera
15 Persephone
16 Demeter
17 Athena
18 Artemis
19 Vesta
20 Aphrodite
21 Gaia
22 Freyja
23 Brigit
24 Mary
25 Mary Magdalene
26 Black Madonna
27 Sophia