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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: THE ORACLE OF THE GODDESS BY GAYAN SYLVIE WINTER AND JO DOSE

THE ORACLE OF THE GODDESS

by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

GAYAN SYLVIE WINTER is the writer who lives in Santa Fe in the USA. She was a model and an actress in the 70’s when she went to India and spent seven years in Osho’s Meditation Centre. She published 25 books and decks.

JO DOSE is a painter and an illustrator. She lives and works with her husband in Sedona in the USA.

Both ladies have already worked together on Vision Quest Tarot.

None of the authors has an official page nor social media sites (Gayan Sylvie Winter is only available on LinkedIn , she also seems to have her FB profile, but it looks like a private one, I have not come across her official page there)

ADVANTAGES

Images are certainly the advantage of this deck. Jo Dosé has done a tremendous work trying to render the goddesses from different lands and times. Her images of goddesses represent the myths, symbols and attributes of particular deities: Amaterasu shines in the skies, Athena has her owl, Demeter – her sheaf, Freyja – cats and falcon feathers cape, etc. There is an eight – pointed star representing Venus above the heads of Astarte, Inanna, Ishtar and Venus who were all associated with this planet.

I am delighted to see Skadi included in this deck, her myth is one of my favourite ones and she is rarely presented in other decks.

Another advantage is definitely a wide range of cultures included in this deck, you will see here goddesses from Mesopotamia, Hellas and Rome, Celtic lands, Africa, India, the Far East, Polynesia and both Americas. Although some of the choices the authors have made might be controversial (see below), the overall choice of goddesses is satisfying.

DISADVANTAGES

I find the booklet added to the cards rather disappointing even though it seems to be a substantial part of the set (big size, bibliography etc.). I find the geographical division to be completely messy, there is no chronological order in the contents so we jump from ‘Universal Goddesses’ through Indian and Chinese Goddesses to Greek Goddesses then Japanese Goddess just to end up with Phoenician Goddess. Phew! I am quite well informed when it comes to different cultures, but for those who are not, this may seem like riding a carousel. I also question some names used: I am not convinced that we can describe some goddesses as ‘universal’, after all they were still created by a particular culture. I totally disagree with calling Hekate a ‘Turkish Goddess’: in the ancient times there was no ‘Turkey’ as we see it now, the areas of modern day Turkey were generally called Anatolia and the mighty Hellenic colonies were present on its coast. Plus mythologically Hekate is rather connected to Thrace than to Anatolia.

The book itself is also rather disappointing. Some basic facts about the goddess are mentioned in each chapter but if you already have certain mythological and cultural knowledge, it is unlikely that you will find out much more.

There is The Oracle part added to each chapter but it seems rather vague and not related to the goddess at all. Here’s an example, the message added to the chapter about Freyja

A message can be understood in many ways…A message talks with many tongues…Learn to tell which message is right. Everything depends on the mind of the person who hears the message; on his or her eyes and ears. The low voices of nature spirits want to show you the way now. But often we don’t listen to the subtle voices that want to help us and follow the confusing voices in our head instead which keep talking to us without respite. Let go of these voices which come from the past and still wish to determinate your future. Let go of the things that suppress you, that hold your spirit prisoner and hide the truth from you.

Learn to see what is precious in your life and do away with things that prove unreal and thus worthless; don’t pursue them any longer. All it takes is a little light to see the difference. Sometimes all it takes is turning one’s head to see the truth behind all the appearance. It is not until you’ve found the truth inside yourself that your life will change and reveal its deeper meaning to you.

Now, I don’t want to cavil nor be nosy but what has this to do with Freyja? Which myth of her is it connected to? Which symbol does it mention? Sure, the author has the right to convey their own vision in the deck but if it is called ‘The Oracle of the Goddess’ then there SHOULD be some connection to their myths and symbols, right?

The more I read the more doubts I have.

As far as I know calling three Hindu goddesses Trimurti is a mistake. ‘Trimurti’ is a Hindu expression for three male deities: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, while the female ones, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati are referred to as Tridewi.

I am also not sure whether it was a good idea to single out Shakti as a separate goddess. I am not an expert in Hinduism and please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I understand this concept, Shakti is a universal female energy which manifests itself in particular goddesses. If you include Kali or Lakshmi in the deck, what is the point to include Shakti as well?

And I believe the most dubious assumption is calling Tao a goddess. Tao is the life force on Earth, it does not take any forms and it is impossible to define it therefore it has no sex. It cannot be represented as goddess. To make you understand this concept better let me quote Tao Te Ching, Taoism’s sacred book:

The Tao (Way) that can be told of is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth.
 
This is why it is impossible to make the personification of Tao and it makes no sense to attribute either positive nor negative features to Tao (therefore you cannot say it symbolises ‘soft and female’, this is represented by the Yin energy).*
 
I am also not sure if all the three, Inanna, Ishtar and Ashtarte, had to be included in the deck, after all they are alike and represent similar features.

And of course, a huge minus for including Mary in this deck. I explained clearly here why she is NOT a goddess.

ISSUE

33 cards

a book containing introduction, short information how to use the cards and information about each goddess presented

a box

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

– name of a goddess 

– area of her influence, myths, the development of her cult

– the oracle

box the oracle of the goddess

The size of cards is 13,5 x 9,5 cm

Back sides of cards show the pink lotus – like flower surrounded by the stars on the night sky with clouds in the corners.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

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

Brigid

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

Demeter

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

Isis

Isis – Hathor in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

Lakshmi

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

Back side

back side gayan winter

© 2005 AGM AGMüller Urania, Neuhausen/Switzerland

Publisher: AGM AGMüller Urania

ISBN: 3 –03819 – 026 – 8

Amaterasu Omikami
Astarte
Bridget
Changing Woman
Chalchihuitlicue
Demeter
Diana
Freya
Gaia
Hathor
Hekate
Hera
Inanna
Ishtar
Isis
Ix Chel
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lilith
Mawu
Mary
Pele
Rhiannon
Skadi
Shakti
Spiderwoman
Songi
Tao
Tara
Trimurti
Venus

* Many thanks to danceronthewaves for explaining this concept to me.

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: 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

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

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 .

RHIANNON

RHIANNON (RIGATONA)

Celtic goddess of horses and the Underworld. A Welsh epic of Mabinogion describes her as Pryderi’s mother and the wife of first Pwyll and then Manawyddan. Her name Rhi Annon (Ri Ana) means ‘the Great Queen’.

ABOUT GODDESS

Rhiannon was a Celtic goddess of horses also known as Rigatona and identified with her continental counterpart Epona, the only Celtic goddess worshipped by the Romans. However, the Welsh mostly know her as the heroin of the First and the Third Branch of Mabinogion saga.

Not much is known about how her cult looked like because no written descriptions remained (the Celts have not written  their history not myths down so they only circulated in an oral tradition). The only items associated with Rhiannon which survived to this day are figures and reliefs of a woman sitting on a horse. Mabinogion is a cycle of Welsh legends which nevertheless were not recorded in writing until the Christian era. Christian scribes in monasteries were removing elements incompatible with the new religion therefore Rhiannon is not referred to as a goddess in the saga*. The first translation of Mabinogion from Welsh into English was not made until half  of the 19th century; the translator was Lady Charlotte Guest, an outstanding personality and the promotor of Welsh culture and literature.

Rhiannon first appears in the First Branch of Mabinogion when Pwyll the prince of Dyfed noticed her while hunting. She was sitting on a pure white horse of large size, with a garment of shining gold around her and when the prince asked his companions whether they knew her, they said they did not. Pwyll told them to ask the lady who she was but she fled on a horse back so quickly that Pwyll’s servants could not catch her. It happened again and again and finally Pwyll became so intrigued that he got on the horse himself sam and chased the mysterious lady but even having the swiftest horse in the kingdom, he was unable to reach her. At last he was so tired of the pursuit that he called, Lady, please do stop!. She did and replied, I will gladly stop and it would have been better for your horse if you had done it much earlier. When she took off the part of a headdress which was covering her face, Pwyll realised she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. The girl introduced herself as Rhiannon, the daughter of Heveydd Hên who wanted to marry her to a man against her will. She then added, But no husband would I have, and that because of my love for thee, neither will I yet have one unless thou reject me. Of course, Pwyll was not intending to reject her, moreover he added that if he could choose from all the women in the world, he would choose nobody but her. They arranged to meet in her father’s castle in exactly one year time and then parted.

Asked about the mysterious lady Pwyll changed the subject. However, when an arranged time came, he gathered one hundred horsemen and went to Heveydd Hên’s palace where he was welcomed cordially and a feast was arranged in his honour. Pwyll was seated between Heveydd Hên and Rhiannon but the good atmosphere was destroyed at the end of the feast when a richly dressed young man entered the chamber. His name was Gwawl the son of Clud and he was Rhiannon’s wealthy suitor. Gwawl started to talk with Pwyll and maneuvered unaware prince to agree on his marriage with the woman he loved. To prevent it Rhiannon gave a bag to her beloved and  ordered him to come back with his horsemen in one year time during her feast before the wedding. She ordered him to wear rags and ask for as much food as the bag could contain and she would use her magical powers to make it botomless so the guests would wonder what to do to make it fill. Say thou then that it never will, until a man of noble birth and of great wealth arise and press the food in the bag with both his feet, saying, ‘Enough has been put therein’, said Rhiannon. I will cause him to go and tread down the food in the bag, and when he does so, turn thou the bag, so that he shall be up over his head in it, and then slip a knot upon the thongs of the bag. Let there be also a good bugle horn about thy neck, and as soon as thou hast bound him in the bag, wind thy horn, and let it be a signal between thee and thy knights.

This was exactly what happened one year later; hearing the signal Pwyll’s knights entered the chamber, disarmed Gwawl’s companions and cast them into the dungeons. Gwawl himself was still immobilised in the bag until he swore to Pwyll that he would resign from the marriage with Rhiannon, respect Pwyll’s relationship with her and would not take vengeance.  He was released with his people and left immediately. Pwyll and Rhiannon were able to get married. Pwyll gave a lot of gifts to his wife’s kinsmen and then he took  Rhiannon to his castle in Dyfed where in turn she was requiting her husband’s subjects with gifts.

The marriage was happy but still childless after two years. In the third year the noblemen came to Pwyll to express their sadness that he still did not have an heir. They suggested leaving Rhiannon and marrying another woman who would bear him a son. Pwyll answered that they were married for a relatively short time so they could still have children. Grant me a year from this time, and for the space of a year we will abide together, and after that I will do according to your wishes, he said. A year later Rhiannon gave birth to a healthy son. Tired after childbirth she fell asleep and the baby was entrusted to six women to watch over it at night. However, they fell asleep and when they woke up, the royal heir was gone. Terrified that they would pay for it with their own lives, they devised a plan: There is here a stag-hound bitch, and she has a litter of whelps. Let us kill some of the cubs, and rub the blood on the face and hands of Rhiannon, and lay the bones before her, and assert that she herself hath devoured her son, and she alone will not be able to gainsay us six.

When princess woke up and asked for her son, wicked women started  to persuade her that although they were trying to proctect him, Rhiannon ate her own child. Of a truth we never saw any woman so violent as thou, they added. Rhiannon did not get caught by the accusations and assured women that she would defend them if they lied out of fear. They, however, kept lying. Soon the news spread all over the country and people demanded Rhiannon to be put to death for the crime. Pwyll did not agree but felt responasble as a ruler to draw consequences towards his wife. To expiate the act attributed to her, the princess was to sit in the gate to the castle for seven years, tell her story to anyone who did not know it yet and offer that she would carry the traveller on her back into the palace. Luckily, not many demanded that. Although innocent, Rhiannon was enduring her ordeal with dignity and humility.

Meanwhile at the night when Rhiannon’s son was born some other strange events took place. Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, Lord of Gwent Is Coed had an incredibly beautiful mare which regularly foaled on May, 1st but a colt kept vanishing mysteriously. Eventually angry Twryv decided to bring the mare into the house for the time of delivery and to watch over her fully armed. The mare indeed gave birth to a large and beautiful colt but right after that, he heard a great tumult and saw an enormous claw entering through the window and taking the colt. He threw himself at the big hand with his sword and cut it off in an elbow so only the hand with the colt remained. Outside tumult enhanced so Teirnyon ran away to check what happened but it was so dark that he could see nothing. When he came back home, he noticed a baby boy wrapped in a satine mantle lying on the door behold. He brought the baby to his wife and they both decided to adopt him and call  Gwri Wallt Euryn for the sake of his blond hair. Boy was growing up rapidly, much faster other children; being just one year old he was bigger than a three year old child, while he was two, he seemed to be six and when he was four, he bribed the grooms to allow him to take the horses to water. Seeing how quickly he was growing, Teirnyon’s wife convinced husband to give boy the colt which was born on the same night as he.

Eventually the news of what happened with Rhiannon reached their castle. Teirnyon felt sorry for her and he started to ask what exactly happened and observed the boy whom he was raising. He noticed his great resemblance to Pwyll and realised he would have to give him back to his real parents. His wife agreed and the same day Teirnyon went to Dyfed with the boy. They met Rhiannon in the gate and in accordance to her penance, she offered to carry them on her back to the palace as a punishment for devouring her own child but Teirnyon refused. They got to the palace where Pwyll welcomed them cordially and invited for a meal. While they were eating Teirnyon told the prince of what had happened in the night when the boy and the colt were born. And behold here is thy son, lady– he said to Rhiannon. – And whosoever told that lie concerning thee, has done wrong. Everyone confirmed boy’s great resemblance to Pwyll and it finished Rhiannon’s ordeal. She called the boy Pryderi meaning ‘Loss’ and Teirnyon was offered great treasures, however being a modest man he did not accept them. Still he was in the great favour of both Rhiannon and Pwyll until his death.  Pryderi grew up to be a talented and wise young man and he inherited the throne after his father’s death; he was greatly loved by his people. And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogion.

After Pwyll’s death Pryderi married Kicva and became ruler. He managed to enlarge his lands and went for a war with Ireland together with Bendigeid Vran (Bran) son of King Llyr** who attacked the lands of his brother-in-law in revenge for his treatment of his wife Branwen, Bendigeid’s sister. Pryderi was one of the seven men who survived the bloody battle beetween the Welsh and the Irish. He came back home accompanied by Manawyddan, Llyr’s other son whom he befriended so much that he decided to marry him to his widowed mother. He arranged a welcome feast to honour his guest and seated him next to Rhiannon. His plan succeeded, Manawyddan and Rhiannon took a fancy to each other and got married soon. For some time Pryderi, his wife, mother and stepfather lived peacefully but one day while they were outside, a storm raged and a strange mist descended on the country. When it disappeared, it turned out that they found neither buildings nor people nor cattles; it seemed as if in the whole Dyfed there was no single person except of the four of them. They remained all alone in their lands for two years but eventually they got bored of having no companionship.

So they set off to England where Manawyddan and Pryderi became so good craftsmen that local guilds turned against them because their products were much more popular  than the local ones. The Welsh decided to leave the town and move to another one but the same history repeated there. They moved to yet another town and again they were better than local craftsmen irrespective of whether they were producing saddles, shields or shoes. Their work made buyers delighted but it also aroused the anger of local craftmen so eventually they decided that it was useless to stay there and came back to Dyfed. After a month  Manawyddan and Pryderi went hunting. They came across a great boar of pure white which led them straight to a newly built castle which they saw for the first time. The boar ran straight into the castle and Pryderi’s hunting dogs went after him. Since they were not coming back for a long time, he decided to go inside and take them even though Manawyddan suggested staying.

There was not a trace of a boar and hunting dogs inside neither any signs of people living there. There was, however, a murmur fountain in the center with a golden bowl hanging over it. Pryderi was so amazed by the the quality of craft that he came to the bowl and placed his hands on it. He did not realise it was enchanted and when he wanted to take his hands back, it turned out to be impossible; he could not utter a word neither. Manawyddan was waiting for him  to come back until the evening but eventually he returned to the palace and told Rhiannon about what had happen. She reproached him for not accompanying Pryderi and went searching for her son herself. When she entered the castle and saw him, she touched the bowl and fell under the spell too. Thunderstorm came again and mist enshrouded the castle making it vanish.

Kicva, Pryderi’s wife, fell into despair thinking she could lose him, however Manawyddan promied her that she would certainly have him back. Since they had neither hunting dogs nor food, they emigrated to England again where Manawyddan worked as a shoemaker once more. His products were of the highest quality as always so the local craftmen turned against him and after a year Rhiannon’s husband had to flee from the town. Luckily Manawyddan and Kicva took a burden of wheat with them to Dyfed so they sow the seeds which grew up profusely. Additionally, Manawyddan went fishing and deer hunting so they did not starve. Unfortunately, when the time of harvest came, it turned out that some mysterious creatures cut all the ears leaving stalks only. Manawyddan decided to watch over crops to save what had remained; it turned out that around midnight a big host of mice appeared on the field and carried the ears away. Manawyddan managed to catch one of them to the glove.

He was going to execute it but then suddenly a man appeared and came closer; he seemed to be a scholar which surprised Manawyddan because he saw no unknown person in this land for last seven years. When they started to converse and a stranger found out what Rhiannon’s husband was intending to do, he was trying to convince him to sell him the mouse. Manawyddan, however, did not agree so the scholar went away. Soon a priest rode with the same offer and  even higher price. Still Manawyddan did not want to sell the mouse so a priest left but Rhiannon’s husband could already see a bishop with his attendants approaching. He offered money again but Manawyddan kept refusing even though the price was getting higher and higher. Eventually bishop offered to release Pryderi and his mother. Manawyddan understood that the mouse is more valuable than it seemed so he additionally demanded the spell to be taken off Dyfed.

Bishop had no choice but to agree. He admitted that in fact he was mage named Llwyd son of Kilcoed and his pregnant wife was disguised in the body of a mouse.  He also revealed that he cast the spell on Dyfed to revenge the insult which Rhiannon and Pwyll made to his friend Gwawl son of Clud. He transformed into mice with his household members and went to Manawyddan’s fields, however because of her condition his wife could not run as fast as the others and was caught. He asked Rhiannon’s husband to release her and assured he would give up his revenge and take spell off Dyfed and he would never do it again. When Llwyd brought Rhiannon and Pryderi back, he returned his wife to him. Life came back to Dyfed and there were peeople, villages and cattles again. And thus ends this portion of the Mabinogi.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

The animal mostly associated with Rhiannon/Rigatona is a horse. Roman images of a woman riding a horse remained to this day; they probably depict either Rigatona or Epona.

Rigatona

Rhiannon is also connected with the Underworld through her birds. Mabinogion mentions her miraculous birds which sang so sweetly that warriors listening to them fell under their charm for eighty years. Three birds had magical skills to wake the deads up and put the living to sleep. In an old Welsh legend about   Culhwch and Olwen one of Culhwch’s tasks is to get Adar Rhiannon – The Birds of Rhiannon  (he wants to marry Olwen but her father does not accept it and demands from suitors things impossible to get). Birds also appear during the feast in the Second Branch of Mabinogion:  the singing of the birds of Rhiannon (…) and there came three birds, and began singing unto them a certain song, and all the songs they had ever heard were unpleasant compared thereto; and the birds seemed to them to be at a great distance from them over the sea, yet they appeared as distinct as if they were close by, and at this repast they continued seven years.

Other animals associated with Rhiannon are a boar, dogs and a badger (Welsh game ‘a badger in a bag’ was traditionally initiated when Gwawl, Rhiannon’s suitor, was closed in a bag and teased).

Rhiannon is also associated with the symbol of cauldron (magical bowl in a castle) which is typical for Celtic goddesses (Welsh Cerridwen, Irish Brigid and triple Morrigan) which makes her the goddess of magic. Some researchers claim that similarly to Irish Medb (Maeve) and Welsh Gwenhwyfer (Guinevere) she is the goddess of sovereignity and grants the throne to the man who marries her. Like a Hellenic goddess Demeter she is linked with horses and perceived as the goddess of abundance and fertility.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

Someone with a great need of moving or a person of a swift mind. Someone who is experienced in life, wise, bright and ingenious. A person of great patience and dignity.

ADVICE

It is you who is right in the situation you are inquiring. Do not let people around you make you believe you are not. Have no doubt of who you are, what you do and where you are heading. You are good enough in whatever you are planning so do not allow fears to destroy your potential.

A gaslightning *** method may being used to belittle you, do not stop believing in your own feelings, impressions and emotions. You are right.

Time to change and move forward. A trip is a good idea.

Reflect deeply on what you are intending to do because you will not be able to turn back the time.

Movement. Velocity. Change. Power. Dignity. Mobility. Internet. Happy ending of a difficult situation.

Love

If you are in the relationship: time of testing or ordeal. Speak honestly about what you want, sometimes it is enough to simply ask for it. False accusations. Re – marrying. Being deprived of/granted the custody over the child.

If you are single: this card suggests meeting somebody during a journey.

Finances

Loss, typically not caused by wastefulness but by decision of an office or a bank. It is possible to compound or to bend the rules in order to change this situation. Departure, most probably abroad.

Health

Beware of falling down and injuriese. Endangered parts of the body: musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments).

CARDS

Rhiannon hurrying with horses and birds in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

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

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

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

Rhiannon in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Rhiannon in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Rhiannon as The Chariot in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Rhiannon as The Chariot in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Rhiannon in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Rhiannon in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

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

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

An interesting representation of Rhiannon in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Rhiannon in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Rhiannon in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue (I think I have expressed my views about this ‘work of art’ clearly enough in the review of Doreen Virtue’s deck so I will not say a word more)

Rhiannon in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Rhiannon as Knight of Swords in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

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

* It also affected other Welsh legends about King Arthur, most probably both Morgaine – Morgan Le Fey and Gwenhwyfer – Guinevere were at first goddesses. Legends about King Arthur have been formed in their ultimate shape around 15th century under the French influence while original Welsh myths are as old as at least 6th century. To be honest these versions often differ like fire and water. Both Rhiannon’s husbands are also considered to be originally gods; Pwyll was the lord of the Underworld while Manawyddan seems to be a Welsh counterpart of Irish god of the sea called Manannán.

** Prototype of Shakespear’s King Lear.

*** “Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.

The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way. Gaslighting involves the abuser to frequently and systematically withhold factual information from the victim, and replacing it with false information. Because of it’s subtly, this cunning Machiavellian behaviour is a deeply insidious set of manipulations that is difficult for anybody to work out, and with time it finally undermines the mental stability of the victim. That is why it is such a dangerous form of abuse. The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. When they are exposed to it for long enough, they begin to lose their sense of their own self. Unable to trust their own judgments, they start to question the reality of everything in their life. They begin to find themselves second-guessing themselves, and this makes them become very insecure around their decision making, even around the smallest of choices. The victim becomes depressed and withdrawn, they become totally dependent on the abuser for their sense of reality. In effect the gaslighting turns the victim’s reality on its head.” (from Narcology)

Based on original issue of Mabinogion available online (much to my joy) here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab20.htm and http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab24.htm

as well as English Wikipedia, http://wintergrovecoven.tripod.com/deities.html , http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/rhiannon.html , http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/Celtic/deitiesr-s.html, http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/Celtic/deitiesn-o-p.html .