Tag Archives: athena

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: UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT BY MARIA CARATTI &ANTONELLA PLATANO

UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

MARIA CARATTI uses Tarot, runes, I Ching and a crystal ball for divination, she also deals with magic and focuses on the cult of the Great Goddess, paganism and spells. She is the author of Wheel of the Year Tarot and Wicca Divination Kit and has also collaborated in the development of Secret Forest Tarot and Harmonious Tarot decks. She lives with cats.

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

ANTONELLA PLATANO (called by Maria Caratti ‘MagicaAntodalleManidOro“‘ meaning Magical Antonella of the Golden Hands) is an Italian cartoonist. She was born February 12 1973 in Cuneo and graduated from an art college in 1991. She has always been fascinated by comic books and collaborated with Sergio Bonelli Editore, the comics oriented publishing house (she is the co – author of such titles as Legs Weaver and Nathan Never), she has also collaborated with such publishing houses as San Paolo and Rainbow. Antonella has illustrated some popular Tarot decks released by Lo Scarabeo: Witchy Tarot, Gay Tarot, Tarot of the 78 Doors and Wheel of the Year Tarot.  Her favourite techniques are pencil and ink. I have not come across her personal webpage but you can find her profile in a Wikia about comics here.

You can also check the deck’s profile on Lo Scarabeo page and all the cards on Maria Caratti’s Youtube channel. She has also posted some initial sketches of the deck by Antonella Platano on her Facebook profile.

ADVANTAGES

Most important advantage of this deck is the fact that it indeed presents 78 goddesses and nymphs from all over the world. Authors have matched them quite adequately to the Minor and Major Arcana and included not only the most important goddesses but also those less known making the user search and google them. Maria Caratti explains on her page that she initially intended to publish a deck called The Ladies of Magic consisting of around forty cards and presenting the Wiccan themes, however Piero Alligo, an artistic director of Lo Scarabeo, suggested she could instead create the Tarot deck where a goddess would be assigned to each Arcane. It was a real challenge and required deep research in the mythologies, legends and folklore of the world. I have already mentioned in my review of the Goddess Tarot that it is not an easy task to connect the goddesses’ myths, elements and symbols with the original meanings of the Tarot cards.

Most of the choices the author has made seem to  merge successfully goddesses myths with the basic meanings of each Arcane. The best associations seem to be Athena as The Emperor, Aphrodite as The Lovers, Hekate as The Hermit, Arianrhod as The Wheel of Fortune, Ishtar as Strength, Kali as Death, Lilith as The Devil, Morrigan as The Tower and Gaia as The World. As far as the Minor Arcana are concerned , the best assignments seem to be Psyche (Two of Chalices), Leto (Five of Chalices), Maya (Seven of Chalices), Calypso (Eight of Chalices), Hestia (Ten of Chalices), Yemanya (Queen of Chalices), Saraswati (King of Chalices), Sif (Five of Swords), Nehalennia (Six of Swords), Blodeuwedd (Seven of Swords), Fortuna (Ace of Coins), Juno (Queen of Coins) and Lakshmi (King of Coins).

In most cases goddesses are presented in accordance with the cultures they were venerated in and are depicted in archetypical situations and places with typical attributes (with some exceptions which I will present below).

The order and names are taken from a traditional Tarot de Marseilles (Justice as the eighth card and Strength as the eleventh one), authors kept the original names of cards with the exception of The Wheel of Fortune which is renamed simply as The Wheel and The Star (the Pleiades are presented on the card so the name takes plural The Stars).

DISADVANTAGES

I mentioned the cards which seem to be well assigned to the original Tarot meaning but there are also some to which I have some serious objections. Starting with the Major Arcana, I do not think that Demeter, the goddess of earth and vegetation, should represent the card of The Mage who is linked to the element of fire. I believe that much better choice for this arcane would be Brigid who appears in this deck as King of Wands. I do not understand at all the assignment of Kuan Yin to the card of Queen of Wands, firstly because she does not fit the original meaning of Tarot card and secondly because I associate her with the element of water rather than with fire typical for Wands. Studying the legends about her, you will indeed find the description of fire as it is seen on the picture but it is just a piece of plot and it does not characterise the heroine. I absolutely do not perceive Kuan Yin as Queen of Wands, in reality she seems to be her complete opposite smirk2. I would rather match Freyja to this card, especially that she is not present in this deck at all. I do not really understand the reasons why Flora was assigned to a swift like an arrow whizzing in the air Eight of Wands (particularly that she encourages: Lie down with me on this soft grassy carpet and close your eyes in the deck’s booklet), I’d rather see Iris here, however she is Knight of Wands in this deck. I would connect Oya not with the card of Knave of Wands but with Knight of Swords as she is traditionally linked to the element of air, storms and expressing oneself i.e the domain of Swords. I do not really understand what is Inanna, Queen of Heaven, doing on quintessentially earthly Four of Coins.

You also have to face the basic problem whether a goddess really is a goddess zeby. What to do with the figures who are not clearly defined in stories as women? Is it really worth to risk including them in the deck? I can understand attributing Lan Tsai Ho (Lan Caihe), one of Eight Immortals, whose gender is not determined, to the arcane of The Fool, this choice can be explained by the original meaning of this card (ambiguity, lack of focus, numerous different possibilities, something which may lead to many options). However, in the case of Akycha (Seven of Wands) it is doubtful because according to the sources I accessed, Akycha is male. Ten of Wands shows a very interesting motif of Caeneus/Caenis whose myth seems consistent with the original meaning of this arcane, however if we followed this way of thinking, Tiresias could equally be included in this deck.

Unfortunately, unlike Maria Caratti I am not amazed by the illustrations made by Antonella Platano. I do not like this cartoon and comic like style. As far as I know, opinions about Lo Scarabeo’s artwork vary, there are certainly a lot of fans but there is also a large number of opponents. I always repeat after Romans, de gustibus non disputandum, however I have got the right to disagree with the way of depicting goddesses. They are mostly presented in a manner adequate to their eras and civilisations, but in some cases their clothing differs radically, the most obvious examples are Pandora (Four of Chalices), Nehalennia (Six of Swords), Rhiannon (Knight of Swords) and Aine (Knight of Coins).

pandora

nehalennia1

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

aine

Honestly speaking, I do not know whether it is a deliberate action or just a mistake (however after doing so much research, it seems to be rather unlikely). Perhaps I am a traditionalist in this particular area but I simply do not accept such attitude. When I watch the cards of goddesses or historical series, I do want to see the clothing from that particular era and civilisation, not a fashion show à la goddesses or catwalk clothes “inspired by” a certain dynasty. I only accept a deliberate modernisation of archetypes as it happened in case of Cordelia Brabbs’ deck.

ISSUE

78 cards + 2 additional ones, a title card and the one with other Lo Scarabeo decks enlisted

a booklet in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German, it contains introduction by both authors, short messages from goddesses on each card and a spread called The Temple

a box

universal goddess tarot

A booklet added to the cards contains a short presentation of each goddess and her first person message consistent with the original meaning of the Tarot arcana.

The size of cards is  12 x 6,5 cm

Back sides of cards show double female profile joint by a hexagram inscribed in a Wiccan symbol.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as The Emperor

Athena in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Brigid as King of Wands

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Demeter as Mage

Demeter in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Isis as The High Priestess

Izyda – Hathor w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Lakshmi as King of Coins

Lakszmi w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Seven of Wands

seven of wands

Nine of Chalices

nine of chalices

Five of Swords

sif1

Seven of Coins

seven of pentacles

Back side

2

©2006 Copyright Lo Scarabeo

Publisher:  Lo Scarabeo

ISBN: 888395523-4

MAJOR ARCANA

 0. THE FOOL – Lan Tsai Ho
1. THE MAGICIAN – Demeter
2. THE HIGH PRIESTESS – Isis
3. THE EMPRESS – Astarte
4. THE EMPEROR – Athena
5. THE HIEROPHANT – Aditi
6. THE LOVERS – Venus
7. THE CHARIOT – Eos
8. JUSTICE – Maat
9. THE HERMIT – Hekate
10. THE WHEEL – Arianrhod
11. STRENGTH – Ishtar
12. THE HANGED MAN – Frigg
13. DEATH – Kali
14. TEMPERANCE – Anahita
15. THE DEVIL – Lilith
16. THE TOWER – Morrigan
17. THE STARS – the Pleiades
18. THE MOON – Selene
19. THE SUN – Amaterasu
20. JUDGEMENT – Cerridwen
21. THE WORLD – Gaia

MINOR ARCANA

WANDS

Ace – Bast
2 – Ataentsic
3 – the Horae
4 – White She Buffalo
5 – Pele
6 – Andraste
7 – Akycha
8 – Flora
9 – Angerona
10 – Caeneus/Caenis
Knave – Oya 
Knight – Iris
Queen – Kuan Yin
King – Brigid

CHALICES

Ace  –  Habondia
2 – Psyche
3 – the Graces
4 – Pandora
5 – Leto
6 – Hina
7 – Maya
8 – Calypso
9 – Nike
10 – Hestia
Knave – Hebe
Knight – Epona
Queen – Yemaya
King– Saraswati

SWORDS

Ace – Bellona
2 – Fides
3 – the Norns
4 – Ch’ang O
5 – Sif
6 – Nehalennia
7 – Blodeuwedd
8 – Persephona
9 – Ate
10 – Sakuntala
Knave –  Diana
Knight– Rhiannon
Queen – Tara
King– Coatlicue

COINS

Ace  –  Fortuna
2 – Hemera and Nyx
3 – the Esperides
4 – Inanna
5 – Hel
6 – Acca Larentia
7 – Estsanatlehi (Changing Woman)
8 – Nu Kua
9 – Rosmerta
10 – Ben Saiten
  Knave – Fulla
  Knight – Aine
  Queen – Juno
King – Lakshmi

REVIEW: THE GODDESS TAROT BY KRIS WALDHERR

THE GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

It is not strictly the goddess oracle deck, it is Tarot deck inspired by goddesses. I find the paintings of Kris Waldherr to be the main advantage. As I have already mention in the review of Goddess Inspiration Cards her graphics appeal to me and the cards are alluring visually. In fact Goddess Inspiration Cards were created after success of The Goddess Tarot as a deck of oracle cards for the users who are not fluent in reading the Major and Minor Arcana.

Obviously when you interpret the readings of The Goddess Tarot, the question arises immediately what to mostly concentrate on: the primary meaning of the Tarot card or the myth about the goddess presented on this card? That is why it is essential to attribute goddess to the arcane adequately, basing on the myths, symbols or elements. It is a complex task and matching female deities to the quintessentially male figures seems to be the main limitation. I must admit that Kris Waldherr somehow managed to fulfil this task. The only things I don’t agree with are:

– incredibly feminine Freyja attributed to the arcane of The Emperor. I find a severe Athena more appropriate choice, however Athena represents the arcane of Justice in this deck (and I admit this assignment makes sense, too)

 – I am not convinced by the assignment of the sea goddess to the arcane of The Devil (here called Temptation) associated with an earth sign of Capricorn 

– I believe that if you take into consideration the nature of Gwenwhwyfar (‘the May Queen’), the card of Judgement which she represents should rather be named Revival

I believe and strongly insist that the original meaning of Tarot arcane should be the primary interpretative level and the goddess myth should only be its completion (especially that the mythological background is presented in a very  cursory manner in the booklet).

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

DISADVANTAGES

The deck is really interesting, however remembering the previously asked question (which came first? Tarot card meaning or the goddess myth?) I must say that its semantic chaos is really disturbing. The author somehow took shortcuts  because goddesses are only present on the 22 Major Arcana while the Minor Arcana are the reproductions of the images from Rider – Waite – Smith deck while the order is taken from Tarot of Marseilles and the deck of Alistair Crowley. It is actually the deck of goddess half – Tarot wink3 .

I also think that the rejection of traditional names is a disadvantage and it may be confusing. If you look at the name of Freyja’s card, Power, you may confuse it with the actual card of The Strength.

Kris Waldherr has attributed divine patronesses to all the four suits of the Minor Arcana and the figures representing each suit have characteristic features of people living in the place where the goddess was worshipped. And so Chalices (beginning the cycle of Minor Arcana against the tradition) are attributed to Venus, Wands to Freyja, Swords to Isis and Coins to Lakshmi.

ISSUE

78 cards + 3 additional ones with the information about the deck

a booklet with an introduction written by the author, short description of the Major and Minor Arcana meanings and example spreads (3 Cards + the Celtic Cross) and some empty pages for notes

a box

the goddess tarot

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

– name of a card

– a short description of goddess (Major Arcana) or the image on the card (Minor Arcana)

– meaning of the card when it is placed in a regular position

– meaning of the card when it is placed in a reversed position

The size of cards is 12 x 8,5 cm

Back side of the card is an ornamental motif of golden leaves placed between vertical and horizontal golden lines on a light blue background.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as Justice

Athena in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Isis as Mage

Isis – Hathor in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi as Wheel of Fortune

Lakshmi in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Nine of Wands

9 of staves

Three of Chalices

3 of cups

Two of Swords

2 of swords

Six of Coins

6 of coins

Back side

3

Copyright©1997 U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

ISBN: 1-57281-066-1

MAJOR ARCANA

O BEGINNINGS – Tara
I MAGIC – Isis
II WISDOM – Saraswati
III FERTILITY – Estsanatlehi (Changing Woman)
IV POWER – Freyja
V TRADITION – Juno
VI LOVE – Venus
VII MOVEMENT – Rhiannon
VIII JUSTICE – Athena
IX CONTEMPLATION – Chang O
X FORTUNE – Lakshmi
XI STRENGTH – Oya
XII SACRIFICE – Kuan Yin
XIII TRANSFORMATION – Ukemochi
XIV BALANCE – Yemanya
XV TEMPTATION – Nyai Loro Kidul
XVI OPRESSION – The Wawalak
XVII THE STAR – Inanna
XVIII THE MOON – Diana
XIX THE SUN – The Zorya
XX JUDGEMENT – Gwenwhwyfar
XXI THE WORLD – Gaia

REVIEW: GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE BY KRIS WALDHERR

GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

kris waldherr booklet

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

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

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

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

ISSUE

80 cards

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

a card bag

a box

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

– name of a goddess 

– area of her influence

– key words describing a goddess

– short mythological background

– affirmation

box kris waldherr

The size of cards is  11 x 7 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Back side

kris waldherr

Goddesses Inspiration Oracle Guide© 2007 by Kris Waldherr

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1167-6

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

DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE CARD OF MARY

THE CARD OF MARY

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

MARY IS NOT A GODDESS!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where does the Marian cult come from?

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

wayoflifeblogartisis

isis-horus-to-mary-jesus

Isis_nurseHorus_Danto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bottles1

(source: etnomuzeum.eu)

bottles2

(source: scenki.blogspot.com )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps it is time for a red pill?

red_blue_pill

CARDS

Mary in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Mary in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Mary in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Mary in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

Black Madonna in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

Mary in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Mary in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English Wikipedia and my own thoughts.

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

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

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

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

HESTIA (VESTA)

HESTIA (VESTA)

A Hellenic goddess of house, home, hearth and family as well as order and organisation. Hestia is Cronus and Rhea’s eldest daughter and a sister to Demeter, Hera, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. She has never got married nor had children herself.  There was Hestia’s sacred hearth in every house,  village or town of the ancient Hellenic world and the first offering was always dedicated to this goddess. Her name means hearth, fireside. She was venerated in Rome as Vesta and considered to be one of the top deities of a Roman pantheon.

ABOUT GODDESS

Hestia was highly respected for her immaculate nature. She disapproved bloodshed, did not participate in wars and intrigues, did not gossip nor was spiteful. She valued peace most and apparantly was disgusted by the behaviour of Olympic deities because she gave her place in the council of gods to Dyonisos as soon as he came to the mount (there could be no more than twelve deities in the Olympian council). Despite Poseidon and Apollo’s wooing she decided to stay a virgin.

Hestia was particularly respected as a goddess literary closest to people. She resembles an Egyptian goddess Maat in the way that she does not appear in a lot of myths and does not have many temples, she is, hovever, a base of social order in Hellas and her cult is manifested through rituals. A hearth was situated in the centre of a Hellenic house, giving the inhabitants warmth and shelter when darkness fell, being a place where both sacrifices were offered to gods and food was prepared for people. When a baby was born, it was carried around a hearth and the family was asking the goddess for blessings, the child was then put on a cooled down ash of a heart to introduce it to heaven and earth. A marriage rite in ancient Hellas focused on a hearth too; a bride’s mother was lightining a torch up in the hearth of her house and was carrying it in a procession to newlyweds’ house where a new fire was lit up, from that moment marriage was considered to be concluded. Prayers have always begun with invoking Hestia, women have asked her to protect their children and grandchildren; she was also called upon before setting off a journey to help travellers come back home safely. It was a form of an early divination to observe a smoke from burning altars to see whether gods accepted the offering or not: if the smoke was rising straight to heavens, it was an omen of gods’ grace but if the smoke was circling down among altars, it signified that deities were not supportive.

Her sacred flame was present in every Hellenic settlement, people were watching over it carefully because if fire extinguished, it would signify gods’ disgrace (on a more practical level it was not easy to rekindle it in the times when matches have not been invented yet). The flame was only extinguished to be ritually renewed during the purification ceremonies. When ships were leaving Hellas to start a new colony, there was always a flame from the city they were setting off. This flame burning in a new place was a symbol of unity between the colony and its hometown. Outlaws and those escaping a vengeance or being chased, found a refugee by her altar, no one could hurt them from that moment on because they were protected by the goddess.

Hestia’s cult as Vesta has developed in a special way in Rome where her temple was the only sacral building of a round shape and having a roof to protect the sacred flame against the rain. Similarly to the inhabitants of Hellas, Romans also believed that fire represented their state and it was essential to keep it burning, however according to Georges Dumezil* they have associated Vesta strictly with earth and its burning core hidden under a crust which was sometimes breaking through  e.g during the eruption of a volcano. They also noticed the connection of fire with the nature’s cycles, cultivation and life, especially with the beginning of life**. Also similarly to Hellas, Vesta’s altar was a hearth in atrium; she was likewise associated mainly with women who generally functioned in a family space, not a public one. Interestingly, when it comes to order of Roman prayers Vesta was called upon as the last deity, not the first one as in Hellas.

Vesta’s sacred fire was watched over by six (seven in the end-stage era of Rome) vestal virgins i.e. Vesta’s priestesses. The service at the temple lasted thirty years; Rome’s high priest (pontifex maximus) was choosing girls of preschool age originating from the patrician families who were to move to a three storey building of Atrium Vestae near forum.

220px-Vestalvirgins11

Here is the reconstruction.

220px-Casa-vestali

There were twelve younger girls in the house apart from main vestal virgins, they were adepts who were preparing themselves to the service in the goddess’ temple and vowed chastity for thirty years (it liberated them from the custody of their fathers and other men, a vestal virgin was the daughter of a state). The thirty years of service was divided into three decades: for the first ten years they were learning, for the next ten years they watched over the fire and for the last ten years they were teaching young girls. There were not many requirements for a girl to become a vestal virgin, she only had to be healthy and sane, both her parents had to be alive and Roman citizens (at first only patricians, later also plebeians were included). In case of one of vestal virgins’ sudden death, candidates to take her place were presented, the only requirement was woman’s good opinion; she didn’t have to be neither a child nor a virgin, usually young widows or even divorcees were appointed (although divorcees were considered to bring bad luck). Vestal virgins were easily recognised by their apparel, apart from a regular tunic and stola, they were wearing a white woolen fillet called infula, a white woolen veil worn during rituals and sacrifices called suffibulum,  white and red woolen ribbons symbolising Vesta’s fire and the vow of chastity and a long shawl draped over a left shoulder called palla.

200px-Vestalin

Vestal virgins’ duties included keeping the fire from extinguishing (allowing that happen was punished by flogging), bringing water from a sacred spring, taking care of sacred objects such as palladium***, preparing ritual food and mola salsa, a mixture of salt, flour and wheat, which was later used to sprinkle animal victims. Vestal virgins were so respected that they were often put in charge of executing testaments  (this is what Julius Cesar and Mark Anthony did among others). Any inhabitant of Rome could receive fire to take it to their house and in the times of Empire, Vesta’s hearth was considered to be the emperor’s household fire.

Breaking the vow of chastity was punished by being buried alive in a tomb on Campus Sceleratus (Evil Field) with a supply of food and water for a couple of days only. This way of punishing resulted from the interdiction of spilling blood and burying within the city limits. During one thousand years of Vesta’s fire cult only several of such cases were noted. The one from 114 bC is particularly interesting when as many as three Vestal virgins Aemilia,  Marcia and Licinia were condamned death for ‘multiple adultery’; most probably their processes were fabricated and they became scapegoats. Evidence against them included the Sibylline prophecies and witnesses decribing literally orgies taking place in the Vestal house; the process itself was provoked by a thunder striking a travelling girl so supersticious Romans immediately thought of that as of gods’ anger and started to search for a reason***. According to the legend Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa was also punished this way. Numitor’s brother seized the throne and forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal virgin hoping this will prevent her from giving birth to a potential avenger who in turn would deprive him of power. However, Mars the god of war took advantage of Rhea Silvia who gave birth to twins Remus and Romulus. Children were left in a forest to die there, luckily their divine father sent a she-wolf to feed them with her own milk. Shame on him that he show no similar care about their mother and did not save her from the consequences that she had to face because of him; after all such deux ex machina (unexpected turn of events) is often featured in myths of Hellenic gods who seduced mortal women.

This story may be the symbol of how women were treated in Rome, it must be noted that comparing with average female inhabitants Vestal virgins were an exception. They were ‘the daughters of Rome’, so did not belong to their fathers, brothers or sons, they were respected, could act independently, vote, possess and manage property, give oaths because their word was trusted without question. They were free to travel in a carriage preceded by a lictor, they were participating in celebrations and performances with the right to sit in a reserved place of honor and had right to free a condamned prisoner (which they showed by touching him,  also if a person sentenced to death saw a Vestal on his way to an execution place was automatically pardonned). Because of Vestal virgins’ immaculate reputation they were entrusted with particularly valuable state documents such as treaties. Their person was sacrosant so every attack on a Vestal virgin was considered to be a coup d’etat and punished by death for treason.

The chief Vestal (Virgo Vestalis Maxima or Vestalium Maxima – ‘the greatest, the eldest of Vestals’) was the only woman to be included in the College of Pontiffs gathering all the high priests of native Roman cults. After 30 years of service a former Vestal virgin was obtaining a pension and had the right to leave the temple, get married and give birth to children. A marriage to a former Vestal was considered to be a huge honour and very lucky. Emperor Elagabalus did something more and married a Vestal virgin Aquilia Severa who was an officeholder at the time of her marriage. It was a very logical thing to do from his point of view as a follower of Eastern religions (vide post about Ishtar and the instytution of sacred marriage between a king and a high priestess), however the Romans considered it to be a sacrilege.

The flame in the temple was renewed every year on March 1st and the goddess’ festival called Vestalia was celebrated between 7th and 15th of June. The temple was the place where no one except of Vestal virgins had access to but on the first day of festival mothers were allowed to enter it to bring the offering of food.

Vesta’s flame had been burning in Rome for about nine centuries until it was extinguished in 391/394  of our era when Emperor Theodosius forbade any other religions than Christianity. According to contemporary recordings Serena, a Christian and Emperor’s adopted daughter, entered Vesta’s temple, took a necklace off the statue of Rhea Silvia and put it on. An old woman, Coelia Concordia, the last Virgo Vestalis Maxima, got indignant seeing such an act of sacrilege and prophesised a punishment to her. Indeed, Serena had later the dreams about her own death (and she died executed during the siege of Rome in 409, accused of conspiring with the enemy and high treason). An old Vestal was not the only one who got outraged at what Theodosius was doing; plenty of Romans was saying aloud that the sack of Rome in 410 by the Visigoths led by King Alaric and the following fall of an actual power of Roman Empire was a punishment for a Christian anihilation of cults celebrating deities who were protecting the Eternal City for almost one thousand years.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Some  sculptures of Hestia remained presenting her as a majestic woman wearing simple clothes and a veil and holding a stick or a staff in a hand. She was, however, mainly represented by a hearth and a burning flame itself.

Hestia

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

In positive meaning the person shown by this card is peaceful and balanced, often working in the profession dealing with implementing law or ensuring that everything is done in accordance to procedures. Somebody who values tradition and order and does not want to violate them. In negative meaning a person who is passive, conformist, shallow and superficial; possibly avoids making decisions and wants to make everybody happy. This person may be too strict and rigid and sticks to the decision made earlier no matter what. A person who is very much dvoted to family and house.

Profession: an official, a clerk, a police officer, a firefighter, an auditor, a controller, an architect, an interior designer, parent working at home or a housewife/househusband, a clergy person, a priest/priestess, a monk/nun.

ADVICE

This cards concentrates mostly on family life as well as law&official cases. Make sure everything is ok in these areas of your life. Try to smooth over disputes with your loved ones, Hestia encourages you to be gentle. Even if you disagree with somebody, you do not have to impose them your own opinions. Remember that holding grudges and keeping anger inside is mostly harmful to you.

Perhaps you do not have your own space in the house or it is only the place to sleep before you leave early for work. Your home should be your retreat and shelter from rush, stress and anger , not another source of them. If you cannot stand the atmosphere at home, this card definitely suggests moving out. You choose who should be in your environment. Either biological or emotional family gives us support and the feeling of continuity and belonging to a larger whole. Home is above all the feeling of belonging.

It is good to take care of your flat or house because your environment influences directly your mood, the level of energy and the ability to regenerate. This card suggest a major clean up or repairs, throwing unnecessary things away and rearranging your space. If you live in a house without a fireplacee, you may consider installing it; you would be surprised how much it may improve the spirits at home.

In the situation you are inquiring you should act honestly and lawfully, otherwise consequences may be very serious.

This card also suggests a certain ritual: regardless of your religion or lack of faith, you should light a candle and/or an incense at least for a couple of minutes every day and while staring at it rethink your day, attitude and behaviour. Learn from your mistakes and then clean your mind from negative thoughts. We are accustomed to the fact that altar is situated at church and yet even the simplest domestic activities may be sacred. It is worth to follow the ancient who offered sacrifices and prepared food on the same hearth. What is intended for the body must be paired with what is intended for the spirit.

Never let your inner flame extinguish. Soul needs warmth to bloom.

Family. Home. House or flat. Religion. Law. Rules. Tradition. Journey. Celebrations and festivals. City.

LOVE

If you are in the relationship: Marriage or official confirmation of a relationship. Do not forget to fan the flame in the relationship, otherwise it will be extinguished. Provide warmth in mutual relations. A moment when casual matters begin to dominate reality.

If you are single: Perhaps you pay too much attention to external aspect of romantic relationship. If you want your partner to declare their feelings, propose and start a family too fast, you may startle a potential candidate. Beware of thinking I want to be in a relationship with anyone, just not to be alone. Reluctance to engage emotionally. An inner need to remain single.

FINANCES

Promotion. A strong position. Respect of co-workers. Restriction of freedom. An influence of law or office on your work and the way it functions. An official control in your workplace. To resolve the problem you are inquiring you should follow precisely the letter of the law. Work at home.

HEALTH

Fever. Inflammation. Body temperature fluctuations. Exacerbation of medical conditionPatient care at homeExcess or lack of energy.  Endangered parts of the body: heart, arteries, reproductory system, small intestine.

CARDS

As I mentioned above Hestia/Vesta was manifesting herself through the fire itself, not necessairly through statues. This is why I appreciate the cards from Thalia Took and Kay Stevenson’s decks which represent her in this way:

Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took (as Vesta)

Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

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

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

Hestia in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton (as Vesta)

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

Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews (as Vesta)

Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Hestia in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason (as Vesta)

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

Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (as Vesta)

Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Hestia in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs (as Vesta)

Hestia in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs

Beware! Hestia from Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton (as Vesta) will hit you with a candlestick in a momentgrinrotfl2!

Hestia from Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Hestia with her lips pumped up with silicone in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Hestia in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan

Hestia as Ten of Cups in in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Hestia in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

*Georges Dumezil, a French philologist exploring the roots of proto-Indo – European, presents numerous similarities between the Vedic (Agni), Persian and Hestia/Vesta cult of fire. The cult of fire and purity remained to this very day in the Zoroaster rites. Similarities with Celtic goddess Brigid are obvious, too.

** Esoteric tradition recognises Fire as the beginning, the first element followed by Water, Air and Earth. First four figures of Major Arcana in Tarot correspond to this division: The Mage, The High Priestess, The Empress and The Emperor as well as the traditional order of Minor Arcana: Wands (Fire), Chalices (Water), Swords (Air) and Coins (Earth).

***It also included protecting sacred objects such as palladion, a wooden statue of Pallas Athena which as the legend says was saved by Aeneas from burning Troy. Palladium was the symbol of city and its civilisation.

**** Additionally these are recordings of stories which seem very similar to Middle – Age legends. One of them tells the story of a Vestal virgin Tuccia who brought the water from the Tiber to the temple of Vesta in a sieve to prove her innocence (told by Pliny the Elder). Another legend speaks about a Vestal virgin Aemilia who let the sacred flame extinguish by accident and asked Vesta to protect her against the punishment. She rekindled the flame miraculously by throwing a piece of garment on the coals of the hearth (it brings the resemblance with Brigid and clooties).

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://books.google.pl/books?id=cRS3E3u3HuAC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=114+b.c.+vestal+virgins&source=bl&ots=KmguiRMVfX&sig=i6sp2-vfotMzp9TBhRX_reS2n7g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1nu3T6SZCdDHtAbez7nzBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=114%20b.c.%20vestal%20virgins&f=false , http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-clothing/vestal-virgins-clothing.htm .

A SHORT GUIDE HOW TO USE CARDS (PART 1)

I have recently noticed that many people come to my blog searching for the instructions how to use the cards. This is why I decided to write a couple of separate entries about the art of working and using different types of decks so that you can avoid common mistakes and enjoy their beautiful and magical world. I am not a professional card reader but since five years I have been regularly spreading various sorts of cards for myself and my friends and I learnt a lot about them. Remember this is my personal understanding and you don’t have to agree with it.

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DIVINATIONARY AND ORACLE CARDS

If you take a closer look at the offer of esoteric shops, you will notice there is a division into divinationary and oracle decks.

Divinationary cards follow a certain structure which has been developed throughout years (or even throughout ages); they are put in a certain order, there is the same number of cards in each deck, there is an inner division, the symbols and meanings are more or less constant and so on. Therefore they are destined for answering specific questions and often used in spreads. If interpreted correctly, they provide very adequate and exact answers.

The most popular divinationary systems are Tarot, Runes, Playing (also called ‘Classical’) Cards, Lenormand Cards, Gypsy Cards etc.

Oracle cards don’t follow a strict structure and are composed solely in accordance to the visions of their authors who often claim they receive messages from spirits. They are diverse by nature and you probably never come across two identical oracle cards decks. They aren’t generally designed to provide very detailed answers and are used mostly for guidance of the supernatural forces they are dedicated to.

The most popular oracle decks are angel cards, ascended masters cards, gods/goddess cards, power animals cards, druid cards (based on trees), unicorns cards, fairies cards etc.

WHICH TYPE OF CARDS SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

I think it depends mainly on what are you searching for. If you have a specific question such as ‘When I get the job?’ or ‘Will me and Mr/Ms X be together as a couple?’, I suggest divinationary decks like Tarot or Lenormand cards. However, if you feel connected to the Higher Forces (no matter if it is God, Mother Earth, nature spirits or your Higher Self), you can always ask them for opinion and advice and for that purpose I recommend oracle decks. However, I must make a certain distinction between angel/unicorns/faeries cards and the ones connected with ancient history and mythology such as gods/goddess, power animals and plants oracle cards.

TYPES OF ORACLE CARDS

ANGEL/UNICORN/FAERIES ORACLE CARDS

First of all I want to stress that you can ask Tarot or other divinationary decks for guidance and you will get full and exact answer. Personally I think that angel oracle cards have been created because Tarot has undeservedly had such a bad reputation. The Christian leaders have considered the cards to be ‘the devil’s tool’ for so long that others started to believe it. On the contrary, angel oracle cards confirm the Christian vision of the world (angels are oh! so arch – Catholic after all) and therefore they are often used by the people who are scared of Tarot and other divinationary decks.

Or to be more precise: those who are scared of the potential negative answer. Pay attention that you will not get any negative news via angel cards. You will be constantly assured that you are taken care of, provided for and protected from any harm just trust angels, give all your worries to Heaven etc. My point is that angel (or faeries/unicorns) oracle cards are for comfort while divinationary cards are for growth. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will not develop. Just like this anegdote says: A child is climbing the tree. What will the mother say? ‘Don’t go higher!’ What will the father say? ‘C’mon! Go higher!’. Translating this attitude into the world of cards I would say that the angel oracle decks are mother-like while Tarot and other divination cards are father-like. Sometimes you need mother more and sometimes father is the most important. But you don’t stay with mother your whole life anyway…

I suggest not to use divinationary cards if you are not ready for any answer even the one you don’t want to hear. Remember there are no good or bad cards. They are all destined to teach us sth. Sometimes what initially seem to be a disaster, in the end turns out to be blessing in disguise.

Some don’t respect that simple knowledge and fail miserably. I have recently been terrified looking at the Tarot deck issued according to the vision of Doreen Virtue. Let me quote the announcement:

‘My new Angel Tarot Cards are finally available at bookstores everywhere! This is the first deck of 100% positive, gentle, and effective tarot cards which retain all of the traditional accuracy and details of tarot. The deck is filled with beautiful paintings of archangels, fairies, mermaids, friendly dragons, and unicorns’

With my whole respect to her all I can say is: Doreen if you perceive Tarot this way, it means you understood NOTHING about these powerful and magical cards. And if you understand NOTHING, it is not fair to sell it to people.

GODDESS/POWER ANIMALS/PLANTS/GEMS/NUMBERS ORACLE CARDS

On the other hand such decks as power animals, gods or goddesses, gems, numbers and trees oracles have their source not in author’s personal visions but in a longer and deeper traditions. They belong to the area of myths and symbols and therefore they convey deeper message, perhaps even as deep as the divinationary cards. If you follow my blog you can see that I interpret each card of goddess on a deeper level and I always try to provide as much mythological background as I can. Same goes for animals and plants, they have been present in the culture of tribes all over the world and studying them will reveal the divinationary layers you have no idea of.

ASCENDED MASTERS ORACLE CARDS

This type of oracle cards comes from the esoteric tradition which claims that some mythical and historical figures have achieved such high level of enlightenment that they have become the natural teachers. The cards represent men and women from different cultures and traditions, eg. Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Moses, Isis, Krishna, Merlin, Athena, Melchizedek, King Solomon and St. Germain. If you want to work with these cards, you have to accept this mixture of different times and places and to believe that the heroes and heroines have achieved the highest level of spiritual growth. If you don’t, you better find a different deck.

In fact I am a bit scared when I look at the search results that lead the readers to my blog. Apparently many people confuse types of cards and do not distinguish the differences between them. Here is one of the examples:

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Avalokiteśvara is a BUDDHIST bodhisattva of compassion and therefore is not included in EUROPEAN cards of Tarot. There is no such thing as ‘tarot reading of Avalokiteśvara’. I suspect the reader was searching for a further explanation of Tarot reading based on the deck where Avalokitesvara was attributed to one of the cards. But still I would rather concentrate mostly on the Tarot meaning of that card and then I would search for additional info about this particular bodhisattva himself.

Another examples of merging DIFFERENT energies:

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That is wrong. Goddesses have nothing to do with angels. I know that New Age simply love blending everything into one but this is not fair. You should never merge egregores. Do not get me wrong, I do not say you should always live according to the set of virtues, beliefs and myths which you have been brought up in. On the contrary, I stongly encourage you to search for your own way. However, I believe you should first examine carefully the egregore in which you have been brought up in, be it Christianity, Islam, atheism or any other set of beliefs. If it does not suit your inner needs then search and find the one which does. But do not mix them into one.  Taking a bit of this and a bit of that from any religion or spiritual beliefs which you have come across will not lead you far on your path. Children often enjoy really surprising mixtures such as a cheese, ketchup and chocolate sandwich but as they grow up they usually come to the conclusion that they prefer these ingredients separetly.

TO BE CONTINUED…

druid cards-ogham

gems cards

numbers cards