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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.

KALI

KALI

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

ABOUT GODDESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

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

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

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

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

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

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

ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE

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

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

FINANCES

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

HEALTH

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

CARDS

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

The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

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

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

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

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

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

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

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

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

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

Kali in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Based on English Wikipedia.

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

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

LILITH

LILITH

Goddess of the night, Adam’s first wife who according to Jewish beliefs was created together with him, she, however, rebelled against his need to dominate and fled from Eden. The meaning of her name varies from Night Creature, Night Monster, Demon, Screech Owl, Lady Air, Wind or Spirit.

First I have state clearly that the character of Lilith can be interpreted in two manners, either in the same way as she was perceived by the ancient folks or in a modernised one. I am going to describe how she was depicted throughout the ages but as far as the divinationary section is concerned I refer to present time reality (and so do most authors of goddesses decks).

ABOUT GODDESS

Creatures resembling Lilith are first mentioned in the Mesopotamian mythology, however they do not take the shape of the characters from subsequent Jewish legends yet. While researching the Epic of Gilgamesh Samuel Noah Kramer studied the text of Twelfth Tablet which was not originally included in the poem. What he found there was the story of Inanna who planted the huluppu tree (most probably a willow) in her garden in Uruk so that she could make a throne for herself from its wood. However, when she came back after ten years to cut the tree, it turned out to be inhabited: a serpent was living in its base, a Zu bird (a huge bird with the head of a lion) had the nest with its young in the crown and ki-sikil-lil-la-ke found the home in its trunk. According to the tablet Gilgamesh, asked by Inanna, has smitten the serpent, made the Zu bird fly away to the mountains with its young and ki-sikil-lil-la-ke destroyed her house and fled to the forest. There is not enough evidence to identify Lilith with ki-sikil-lil-la-ke, in fact modern scholars reject this connection. The only thing that can be determined with high probability is the analysis of the tree spirit’s name: ki-sikil means ‘acred place’, lil is ‘spirit’ and il-la-ke can be either ‘water spirit’ or an owl. According to one of the Sumerian texts, Lilitu is Inanna’s handmaiden, a beautiful prostitute whom the goddess sends to the streets so that she seduce men there.

Moreover, in the texts of incantations from Nippur in Babylon dated back to around 600 bC there is a mention of vardat lilitu meaning a female spirit connected with storms and winds; the word lili itself was associated with magic and demons. According to a hypothesis the Sumerians and the Akkadians, the native inhabitants of Mesopotamia were bilinguial and their deities syncretised, in this case in the Summerian language the spirit was named ki-sikil-lil-la-ke while for the Akkadians the name of the same spirit was Ardat-lili (Ardatû). Lilitu were also present in the myths of Assyrians, the heirs of the Summerian and the Akkadians, as the demons hunting for women and children associated with lions, deserts, storms and diseases. Originally they were linked to the wind and storms and then to the night and copulating with people while they were sleeping; lilitu were hostile towards families, seduced men (it was believed that sick men were possessed by lilitu), caused infertility, miscarriages, complications during delivery and death of babies. Prostitutes were also called ardatû.

It was not until Jewish culture came that Lilith was distinguished from other night demons and gained her own mythology. Her appearance in the Bible is disputed, the only remark mentioning her is the Book of Isaiah 34: 13 – 15 where the word lilit/lilith is enumerated as one of the impure animals (most probably because of the associations with demons), it is unclear, however, whether the author refers to a particular person or the species of demons. In most translations of Bible into foreign languages lilith is treated as a specified creature bringing bad connotations for the contemporary  who shall nest and lay eggs, hatch them out and gather them in her shadow (in Septuaginta, Greek transation of the Bible, a satyr is an equivalent, being a creature of a significant sexual freedom, an embodiment of the forces of nature, in Vulgata, Latin translation, lilith is translated as Lamia, a figure from Greek mythology who was said to abduct and devour children etc). In the King James Bible, the classical translation to Old and New Testament to English, the word screech owl is used and this manner was generally adapted in further renditions.

 Lilith is given a specific embodiment in modern Jewish texts, particularly Talmud and Kabballah. According to these, she was created by God at the same time and from the same clay as Adam thus was his first wife. Several versions of this story have been noted: either she had been brought to life before Adam was, on the fifth day of creation or just a moment before him or Adam and Lilith were created as one being but Lilith’s soul was lodged in the depths of the Great Abyss until God called her to join Adam lying on the ground as lifeless body, it was not until that moment when God created soul for him and divided a woman from a man. According to yet another version Lilith was not created by God but emanated spontaneously as a separate deity and is connected to the Sefirot of Gevurah in the Tree of Life. There is also an alternative version claiming that Adam&Eve and Lilith& Samael came into living as twin couples of hermaphrodites.

Adam wanted Lilith to have sex with him but when it turned out that she was expected to lie below him, she refused firmly. She could not accept such a position because she was created from the same clay as Adam therefore she was equal to a man, not subjected to him. Enfuriated she spoke the Ineffable Name and flew to the Red Sea. Adam complained to his Creator and Yahwe sent three angels Sanvi, Sansanvi and Semangelaf* to Lilith  to convince her to return. But this made Lilith even more enraged so she refused to come back and began relationship with Samael, an angel rebelled against Yahwe. Angels warned her that if she would not return to Adam, she would have to bear one hundred little demons every day but they would all die. Despite this threat Lilith did not surrender and did not return to Eden. This is why Yahwe created an obedient and subordinate Eve from Adam’s rib and Lilith, out of revenge that her own children die, captures the newly born descendants of Adam. Other legends say that Lilith incarnated as a vengeful serpent who convinced Eve to pluck the apple. It is also said that having been expelled from the Paradise Adam separated from his second wife and lived as a hermit, at that time Lilith returned to him as a demon in his dreams.

We have to remember that the ancient did not know what viruses, bacteria and genetic diseases were so when a baby was dying or a woman miscarried (and it did happen often) they were explaining it by the intervention of a jealous female demon. This was not only the case of Mesopotamia but also ancient Hellas where the above mentioned Lamia, half – woman, half – serpent came from). Wet dreams were explained in the same way, it was believed that these were incubus and succubus, night spirits, copulating with men and women. In mythology Lilith was presented either as filled with lust that made her seduce men or filled with jealousy over neonates, the root for the legend of murdering them. It must be noted, however, that these two characters have been evolving separately, there is very few stories where Lilith plays both roles. Patriarchal cultures stigmatize women who do not want to be subjected, they are considered to be bad, vicious and culpable; up to this day women who do not agree on arranged marriages or escape abusive husbands are convinced by their relatives to return in order not to dishonour their  families. It is forbidden for a woman living in a patriarchal culture to show desire and interest in sex and most of all it is suggested to her not to wear or behave in a manner that enhances her beauty (but it is man who decides how far is too much, this is where all those ‘explanations’ of rapists that they were provoked come from). Briefly speaking, Lilith’s history is everlasting. To check how to cope with it and not to get mad, please visit the divination meaning below.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Here is the Burney Relief with the image of Inanna/Ishtar (or Ereshkigal) which has already been discussed in the post about Ishtar. For some time researchers have been identifying the female figure as Lilith for the sake of wings, birdlike feet and being surrounded by birds resembling owls. This assumption was mostly based on the translation of the Twelfth Tablet of  the Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Burney Relief

However, this identification is now being disputed and mostly rejected.

Lilith appears in the early Romantic culture and art thanks to Faust by Johann Goethe and famous portraits by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, the leader of an English art group of Pre-Raphaelites

'Lady Lilith' by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

and of John Collier

'Lilith' by John Collier

Modern culture did not take the odium of a harlot and infanticide off her. Modern day images portray Lilith as having fair skin and long dark hair (in Jewish and Muslim tradition it symbolises dangerous female power of seduction) and staring at the mirror, the symbol of vanity. As a heroine of 19th century book Lilith by George MacDonald she possesses not only all the features that the ancient attributed to her but is also a vampire sucking blood out of people, she is similarly presented in a modern TV – series True Blood. She is treated as the first mother by the occult societies and traditionally connected to the new moon and the zodiac sign of Scorpio.

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

 Person shown by this card is strong – willed and adamant, definitely aware of her influence and strengths and knows how to use them (therefore may not be liked by the environment). She may have problems at work due to insubordination and because of intransigence in relationships. Beauty and sensuality attract men to her even in a subconscious way. In negative aspects she cannot deal with inner tension, past experiences, aversion towards men and subconscious fears or complexes (including sexual ones). This card also shows a person who misuses their attractiveness just because they can.

ADVICE

 DO ON BE SCARED TO SAY ‘NO’!

Our culture requires woman to be nice and polite but these requirements limit freedom of thought and behaviour. In the long run it is impossible to meet them without some loss of own psyche. Being nothing but sweetness is deadly. To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.

Being faithful to yourself requires courage and resistance which is not an easy thing to do as women are taught to be nice and please others. When you start setting the boundaries, people in your environment will be reluctant to accept it or may even behave in a hostile way. And yet if you do not do it, you will not acquire positive attitude and respect to yourself. Being submissive and will not make people love you but use you instead.

Give only as much as you really want to give. Being assertive is not easy, people in your environment may try to force you to explain your behaviour or will call you an egoist. Do not let them do that. Speak in a calm way and use simple, short statements e.g., I have no money, I have no time, etc. If anyone insists, do not engage in further discussion, just repeat the same sentence I have no money, I have no time over and over again, s/he will stop soon. Perhaps people in your environment will consider you to be a hag but they will do what they need without your help.

Express yourself clearly. Speak only things you really mean. Be consequent in what you do. Establish rules and stick to them. Giving your energy, time and money to others is good as long you do it with joy, not because you are expected to do it, the latter only leads to frustration and fatigue. You will not make anyone happy in this way.

Be prepared for the fact that showing your power will cause some unfriendly comments. People may suggest that powerful women discourage men, that you should behave in more feminine way, wear more feminine clothes or even play the role of dumb woman (‘sweet idiot’). Note that a man searching for a relationship with a woman will never get advice to be more male, wear more male clothes or play the role of strong man.

Be prepared that if you are being picked up and express your objection clearly, the person who picks you up will try to withdraw, begin to ridicule you or to say, ‘I was only joking’, ‘What were you thinking?’ etc. This tactics is aimed at “softening’ you and weakening your self – esteem but once you say ‘no’, most probably you will not be bothered again.

Think of the reasons why you are in your relationship. Perhaps it is because you are scared of being alone, not because you truly love your partner. If you are scared of being alone then do not expect someone to adore your company. If you are not scared to be alone, you will not be afraid to wait for a worthy person and you will not fritter away in an unsatisfactory relationship.

Make sure you are not dominated by your partner either in emotional, intellectual or financial way. Remember that men and women may differ but are equal. We cannot build happiness on the dependence on someone else. A cage made of gold is still a cage.

Think of whether it is worth to bind your emotions and energy to a person who is not free either legally or emotionally.

You have right to feel desire and want to have sex. Have a positive attitude to your body. Sex is a powerful tool which can either charge you with lots of positive energy or make you feel terribly down. As far as intimacy is concerned you should only do what YOU want to do. Do not let yourself be manipulated. If you do not feel like you want to have sex, do not go to bed with someone. Do not have sex just because you feel lonely, you are drunk, you want to achieve sth via bed, keep your partner or you think this will make you adult. Sex is an exchange of energy, do not waste yours on a wrong person. Do not be scared to talk about your needs and contraception.

My personal understanding of this card is not to be afraid to talk with children about their bodies, gender and sex (in the range depending on their age). Teach your daughters and sons how to say no and to set boundaries. Teach your daughters and sons that when another person says no they mean no and they have to respect their boundaries. Remember that your children’s future attitude towards relationships and sex is shaped by the behaviour they observe at their home. You also have to teach your children that not all the adults have good intentions and may hurt them.

Never forget that patriarchal culture also hurts men forcing them to play roles they do not want to or cannot bear.

Courage. Freedom. Equality. Strength. Opposition. Independence. Setting boundaries. Refusing to be enslaved. Freedom of mind, heart and body. Moving forward. Surprise.

LOVE

If you are in the relationship:  Lack of satisfaction in relationship. Romance. Partner may not be able to have children. Problems with getting pregnant, miscarriage or complications during delivery. First wife. Lover.

If you are single:  Romance. Being alone by choice. Being with someone who is already in a relationship.

(In both contexts this card warns against sexual harassment or rape)

FINANCES

 Strike. Discontent with present conditions. Inequality in wages for the same amount of work. Discrimination. Exploitation. Abuse at work (including sexual harassment).

HEALTH

 Infectious diseases. Visit your gynaecologist. Endangered parts of the body: sex organs.

CARDS

Lilith in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Lilith in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton 

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

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

Lilith accompanied by owls in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

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

Lilith in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lilith in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs  

Lilith fleeing from Eden in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lilith in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

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

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

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

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

 Owl – eyed Lilith in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Lilith in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

 Lilith as Devil in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Lilith in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

* The names of the same angels were written on the amulets for babies aimed at keeping Lilith away from them. Legend says that the angels sent to bring her back to Eden forced her to promise that she would not attack children wearing amulets with their names.

Based on English Wikipedia (unfortunately some information used in this post were removed from the current version of the article about Lilith) and http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/lilith.html

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. 

LAKSHMI

LAKSHMI

A Hindu goddess of abundance, wealth, prosperity both in the material and spiritual field, fertility, generosity, good luck, splendour, light, wisdom and courage. An incarnation of shakti, the feminine energy and an embodiment of beauty, charm and grace. She is also venerated as Mahalakshmi and her name in its full form means ‘Remover of Universal Agonies’. She is also called Śri, Padma, Thirumagal or Gunas. Some Hindu beliefs such as Sri Vaishnava consider her to be Iswarigm sarva bhootanam i.e. the supreme deity, not only the goddess of wealth.

ABOUT GODDESS

Lakshmi came to being during Samudra Manthan, the quest to get amrit by churning the Ocean of Milk. At the very beginning both Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) were mortal but they all wanted to become immortal. Therefore they decided to stop wars against one another, call a truce and collaborate together to churn Kshirsagar – ‘The Ocean of Milk’ in order to get amrit (soma), a nectar which granted immortality and eternal youth. They used Mount Mandarachala and Vasuki, the king of serpents as their churning rode and churning rope; Devas stood on one side, Asuras on the other and they started to pull back and forth. Fourteen precious objects appeared during churning, among them

– Kamadhenu, divine cow granting wishes,

– a seven – headed horse,

– Kaustubha, the most valuable jewel in the world which was later worn by Vishnu

– Parijat, an ever-blossoming tree

– Varuni, the goddess of wine

– the moon

– the sun

– and last but not least goddess Lakshmi. Emerging from the petals of a lotus, she amazed everyone and de concentrated Asuras. Because of her associations with lotus (she was either resting in the flower or holding it in her hand) she is called Padma (‘Lotus Dweller’). Vishnu has immediately fallen in love with her and she soon became his consort; it is believed that she accompanies him in all his incarnations.

Lakshmi is considered to be the shakti of Vishnu (his feminine power). She grants well-being to her followers, brings a stroke of luck and protects against any poverty and worries caused by material issues. She is also an intermediary between her husband Vishnu and the humankind; a protectress who influences the fate, mitigates disputes and is more approachable than her husband, that is why the Hindu call upon him through Lakshmi (she resembles Christian Mary in this aspect). She is also a personification of spiritual energy Kundalini and believed to be the Mother of Universe.

It has to be noticed that Hinduism stresses the fact that wealth and abundance are not restricted to the material area but also spiritual one as they are related.  Lakshmi’s divinity is also manifested through Fame, Knowledge, Courage, Strength, Victory, Children, Valour, Gold, Gems, Grain, Happiness, Bliss, Intelligence, Beauty, Higher Aims, High Thinking, Higher Meditation, Morality, Ethics, Good Health, Long Life and other examples of well being. Ashta Lakshmi (eight Lakshmis, goddess’ secondary expressions) are distinguished in her cult: Adi Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi, Santana Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi, Vidya Lakshmi). Ashta Lakshmi are represented by an eight pointer star called the star of Lakshmi

star of lakshmi

This is why money is treated as a manifestation of the goddess; when a coin falls down or touches a foot, the gesture of Pranāma is performed (person first touches the coin with the finger tip of their right hand and then their forehead and/or chest). Similarly this gesture is the apology for books and written materials which are treated as the manifestation of goddess Saraswati.

Another earthly manifestation of Lakshmi is a cow. Cattle is treated as a sign of wealth in various religions, not only in Hinduism but also Buddhism, Zoroaster and European beliefs. Cows were respected also in ancient Egypt, Hellas and Rome; cow is a central figure of creation myth in the legends of Germanic tribes (Audhumla). Those of you who have basic knowledge of runes surely know that the sign which begins the Elder Futhark, Fehu, is associated with cattles because cows and bulls were the visible evidence of wealth. Hindu texts suggest that a cow is an embodiment of many gods and goddesses, Lakshmi resides at its hind part.

cow fehuv

Lakshmi conditions life according to Hindu beliefs, without her there would not be harvests, air to breathe nor offspring therefore she is called pranadayini (“giver of vital life-sustaining energy”). For that reason Lakshmi can be identified with Hellenic Demeter as the goddess of vegetation and life force, in fact one of Lakshmi Puran(a) legends resembles the one about abducting Kore. Shriya, a woman originating from a lower caste, was so devoted to the goddess that she visited her in person which resulted in the anger of god Balabhadra. He forbade Lakshmi entry to the temple and the goddess became so sad that she left the place and went to her father. However, with her departure all the wealth and abundance disappeared from the temple and Balabhadra had to beg for food. It was at that time that he realised his mistake, he came to Lakshmi to apologise her and invite back to the temple to which she agreed.

The Hindu venerate her every day but her sacred time is October with Diwali, the Festival of Lights, when small olive lamps are traditionally brought in front of the house for Lakshmi to give her blessing to the family dwelling in it. An offering of food and sweets is given to her, Lakshmi’s followers pray and chant a litany of her 108 names. It is believed that on that night Lakshmi descends to Earth on her owl to remove poverty, stagnation and laziness and showers her worshippers with wealth. It is a special day for the Hindu when they give presents to one another and go gambling because Lakshmi is considered to be the one who brings good luck. She is also celebrated during the full moon of Ashvin (September – October) in the Eastern state of Orisa during the holiday called Sharad Purnima (or Kumar Purnima, purnima meaning ‘the full moon’). It is one of the most important and the most popular festivals in the state; it lasts up to ten days filled with singing, dancing and decorating Lakshmi’s figures. Young girls are given new clothes as presents, they prepare food offerings for the sun in the morning and go fasting the whole day and having performed rituals eat them when the moon rises. Sharad Purnima is said to release so much joy and positive energy that even non-Hindu participate in the celebrations. The Hindu also thank Lakshmi for the harvest in the month of Mrigashirsha (December – January) during the festival Manabasa Gurubara (also called Lakshmi Puja), houses are decorated with flowers and girlands each Thursday and the traces of feet are painted on the stairs as if Lakshmi entered the household. All the rituals are performed by housewives, rice is given to the goddess as an offering and then eaten by the family and the legend of Lakshmi Puran(a) is told in the evening. It is also the time of closing the year of trade, new trade books are established and sacrificed to Lakshmi in any places dealing with circulation of merchandise.

Traditionally the chakras of heart and solar plexus are attributed to Lakshmi.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Lotus is traditionally attributed to Lakshmi, she has numerous nicknames connected to this flower (Padma – ‘Lotus Dweller’, Padmamaladhara Devi – ‘The One Who Wears a Garland of Lotuses’, Padmamukhi -‘ The One Whose Face Is as Beautiful as a Lotus’ etc). Lotus symbolises the force and fertility of plants; the Hindu myths claim that the world constantly revives from the lotus placed on the Vishnu’s belly button. Her sacred animal is cow but she is usually depicted accompanied by two elephants. An animal associated with her is owl symbolising royalty, sharp eyes and intelligence; both an owl and an elephant are her vahana, ‘vehicle’ i.e.  animals identified with a particular deity (e.g. a tiger and a lion are assigned to Durga).

Lakshmi is depicted peaceful and smiling either sitting or standing on a large lotus. She wears a saree made from red (a symbol of permanent activity) or gold (a symbol of fulfilment) material, she usually has golden jewellery and a golden crown with rubies, her hair is dark and weavy and her skin has a golden tone. Lakshmi typically pours coins out of her hand while in her three other arms she holds a jar with gold, a sheaf of grain or presents a mudra.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

A person with a warm, creative, protective, tender, energetic and joyful personality who attracts people. The person who is beautiful both inside and outside. Somebody who suddenly appears in our lives to help us and brings us optimism and joie de vivre. Somebody whom we feel free and happy with. In negative this card signifies a person lacking Lakshmi’s energy: complaining, avaricious, rigid, self – limiting, focusing on the negative, poor not necessarily in the financial field but rather spiritually.

Professions: all the professions connected with the flow of money, food processing and agriculture, a teacher, a guardian, a psychologist, people working in the gambling and lottery industry

ADVICE

Wealth is manifested both in the material and the spiritual field, the first one appears in the form of objects while the second one in the form of health, optimism, friendship, courage etc. Even having few objects you can still be rich as long as you do not lack mental and spiritual capital. Thanks to wisdom and spirit you can always get more objects while having a lot of objects would not make you happy and fulfilled. Wealth can be manifested through the quality of your life: satisfactory job, loving partner, children bringing joy, good health, free time, devoted friends etc. Wealth based on objects is never enough and keeps demanding for more.

Think of your actual attitude to money. Coin is a symbol that people adopted as a determinant of worth and of exchange of goods, it is also a manifestation of life – giving abundance which Higher Forces pour onto you. As long as you remember that money is a mean, not the ultimate goal, you do not have to feel shame or any other negative emotions about owning. Money is an energy too, and it attracts likewise energy. If you concentrate your thoughts on lack of money and think of yourself as a poor person, it is rather doubtful that you will get more money. If you start thinking that you will not lack anything, you will program your subconsciousness in a positive way. Your subconsciousness has a bigger influence in decision-making process than you would expect. A mind open to abundance does not guarantee high numbers on your bank account but closing it with fear and anxieties will certainly not attract prosperity nor wealth neither. Free yourself from thinking focusing on lack, it is not a one time activity but a long term process. Start repeating to yourself, I always have money or Money come to me easily. You do not even have to believe it, just repeat it to yourself every day for a couple of months. When money is flowing, energy is flowing, too. Invite abundance and luxury by buying yourself a small gift (and do not feel guilty about it).

Be responsible for what you have. Apply a reasonable balance between gathering and spending. Do not forget that even having a small income, you can give others a lot simply by your wisdom, involvement or at least smile and kindness. Welcome wealth in your life no matter what form it takes. When you spend money, do not think that you are losing it, focus on what you are gaining.

Being successful in the financial field does not necessarily mean you are shallow or not spiritual.

Watch over your wealth, if you use it for a wrong purpose, it will get you into trouble.

There are some features which describe a wealthy mind. Try to perceive the world like a child does: everything is a new and fresh opportunity. The older you get the less enthusiasm you have, to start anew you have to let your previous  perception die. Keep your mind concentrated on here and now, it liberates your mind from worries. This is what wealthy mind does. Energy follows attention so be careful where you direct it. Your perception helps in changing your reality. Concentrate on achieving your goals but do not forget to have fun, too. Authenticity, serenity and flexibility are like gold for your psyche.

BE THANKFUL FOR EVERY MANIFESTATION OF WEALTH IN YOUR LIFE

(I rarely suggest visualisations in my posts but the image of Lakshmi is itself a visualisation, it is easy to imagine her pouring coins at you and a light emanating from a lotus calms you down and fills you with serenity).

Love

If you are in the relationship: a good card if you ask about marriage and offspring, possible pregnancy. A very good life partner who makes you blossom. In negative: a miser or somebody who does not show emotions.

If you are single: a new partner may appear in your life as a complete surprise, it is worth to give the new relationship a try.

Finances

In most cases this card gives a positive answer to a question concerning finances. It suggests the flow of money or an investment.

Health

Good health. An excess or deficiency of nutrients in body. Risk of obesity and diabetes. Check the level of cholesterol. Endangered parts of the body: stomach, pancreas, colon, intestines.

CARDS

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

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

Lakshmi in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Lakshmi in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Lakshmi with Vishnu as Wheel of Fortune in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

and in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

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

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

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

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

Lakshmi as King of Coins in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Lakshmi in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Lakshmi in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Lakshmi w Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

and in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Lakshmi in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

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

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

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Lakshmi w The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Lakshmi with Vishnu in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Lakshmiin Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on: http://jyotish.yogamaya.pl/index.php?op … Itemid=104
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_in_religion http://www.priestservices.com/our-services/gho-pooja/, http://www.goseva.net/cowanddivinity.aspx

AMATERASU

AMATERASU

A Japanese goddess of the sun, co – creatrix of the world who watches over its order, protectress of people and ancestress of the Japanese imperial family according to the beliefs of Shinto. Her name originates from the stem amateru meaning „Shining in Heavens” and when its full form is used, she is called Amaterasu-ōmikami (The Great August Goddess Shining in Heavens), Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami and Tensho Daijan (Goddess of the Sun).

ABOUT GODDESS

Her name first appears in Japan’s oldest chronicles Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. According to most myths kami (spirit, deity) Amaterasu came to being with her two brothers when their father, the first man in the world, Izanagi returned from Yomi, the Underworld.  He went there to take his late wife Izanami back but he failed (according to another version Izanami gave birth to Amaterasu as their first child as soon as the Japanese Archipelago came into being). He came back to the world of the living and purified himself; when he was cleaning left eye, Amaterasu, goddess of the sun, was born, cleaning his right eye resulted in the birth of Tsukuyomi, god of the moon and cleaning his nose, Izanagi created   Susanoo, god of the storms and the sea. Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi got married and became the rulers of heavens, however when Tsukuyomi killed Uke Mochi, the goddess of food, Amaterasu, abhoring violence and bloodshed, sent him away, dividing in this way the day from the night.

Amaterasu’s relations with her other brother were tense as well. When impulsive and unpredictable as a storm Susanoo was to travel to the Underworld, he came to say goodbye to his sister, she, however, knowing his nature, doubted he had good intentions and got ready for the fight. God of the winds challenged her to prove her wrong and Amaterasu agreed. The aim was to create living creatures from an object: goddess of the sun broke Susanoo’s sword into three, chewed the parts and spitted them out creating three women while her brother made five men from her necklace Mikuratana-no-kami, the symbol of power. When they started to argue who the winner was, a coarse god of the sea fell into rage and started to devastate rice and silkworm fields to that point that he eventually demolished her heavenly palace. Amaterasu was so scared and discouraged that she escaped to earth and hid in a cave (later to be called Ama-no-Iwato – ‘The Cave of the Sun God’ or ‘Heavenly Rock Cave’). She had no intention to get out even though Susanoo was punished and banished from heavens. Grief – stricken goddess did not realise that  all the radiance and warmth of the sun disappeared from the surface of earth with her departure. Knowing that life could not survive without the sun, other gods kept begging Amaterasu to get out of the cave but she strongly refused. Desperate gods thought of making her leave with a trick. They have organised a party with noisy music right outside the cave and a clever goddess Uzume (Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto) placed an eight pointed mirror and a tub in front of the entrance to the cave. She overturned the tub and started to dance on it throwing her clothes off. Other gods found it so humourous that they burst into loud laughter and Amaterasu got so curious of what was happening outside that she moved slightly the stone blocking an entrance. When a sunbeam reached the mirror and the goddess saw what radiating beauty she was, she got out of the cave and gods blocked immediately the entrance  with a rock. They asked Amaterasu not to leave heavens ever again and she agreed.

Amaterasu emerging from the cave

(Amaterasu emerging from the cave with the Imperial Regalia, painting: Origin of Iwato Kagura Dance by Utagawa Kunisada, 1857 )

Susanoo was apologetic and brought Amaterasu his sword  Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (‘Grass Cutting Sword’) as a sign of good will. She then gave the sword, the jewel Yasakani no Magatama and the mirror Yata no Kagami to her grandson Ninigi, son of Oshihomimi, one of the humans created during Susanoo’s challenge. According to Shinto myhtology, these objects were to provide help in terminating wars ravaging Japan when Ninigi’s great-grandson Jimmu claimed the throne as the first Emperor. They became the Imperial Regalia and up to this day they are a closely guarded treasure which is only used during the coronation of emperors. Japanese rulers have been considered to be Amaterasu’s descendents and worshipped as deities, this cult has not been finished until the end of WWII when the American authorities demanded it as a part of peace treaty. Also the Japanese flag was changed at that time as the previous one depicted the sun  (here is a naval version)

Naval_Ensign_of_Japan.svg

However, the motif of chrysanthemum, symbolising the sun, was preserved as the sign of an Imperial Family.

the flag of Imperial Family

Amaterasu was considered to be a peaceful, balanced, protective and generous goddess. She was believed to be the protectress of people and helped them to develop such crafts as weaving, building or rice cultivation. The sun goddess is venerated in the Ise Jingū temple in the city of Ise and Hibiya Daijingū in Tokyo. The Yata no Kagami mirror is stored in Ise Jingū; the sanctuary is also famous for its ceremony called Shikinen Sengu when every 20 years the temple wooden buildings are rebuilt on a the area nearby and the goddess is offered new robes and food. The Hibiya Daijingū temple was erected in Tokyo in 1880 so that the followers do not have to go on a pilrimage to Ise.

Amaterasu’s official cult resembled somehow the one of Hestia. The goddess was venereated by a high – priestess called Saiō on the behalf of the Emperor. Saiō originated from the Imperial Family and held her office throughout the reign of the Emperor who appointed her. According to legend this tradition was established by Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto, the daughter of Emperor Suinin, who was searching for the best place to worship Amaterasu for twenty years until she found Ise and decided to build a sanctuary there. Saiō was being chosen when a previous Emperor died and the previous Saiō’s term of office expired with his death. The choice was based on divination, although it was a custom that one of new Emperor’s daughter was to become a Saiō. High – Priestess had to be a virgin, health and beauty were also important factors. When a new Emperor was crowned, a future Saiō moved to a separate part of the palace and was undergoing the processes of purification and learning a proper ceremonial (including a special language of priestesses where the the impure words were replaced with a special cipher). After eight months the new Saiō was sent to a building called Nonomiya prepared especially for that purpose and one year later she was going with her retinue to Saikū, the seat of priestesses near the Ise shrine (on those days it was forbidden to bury the deads). Her service included praying for peace, offering the first harvests to deities in September and performing ceremonies during the Tsukinamisai festival at the Ise temple in June and November. Being Saiō was treated as an honour and the will of heavens so if she fell significantly ill, she could have been dismissed from her office. She was bound to remain a virgin throughout her stay in the temple therefore breaking the vow of chastity was treated as a reason to remove the high – priestess from the service to the goddess. There were some cases of suicides among priestesses when their reputation was questioned (according to chronicles Takuhatahime, daughter of the Emperor Yūryaku, fell the victim of her enemies’ calumnies so she buried the sacred mirror and then hanged herself). After the Emperor’s death or resignation, Saiō could come back to the court, get married and have children (similarly to Roman beliefs marrying a former priestess was a great honour). If for some reasons Saiō was dismissed before the end of her office, no other was chosen in her place until the reign of a new Emperor. The office of Saiō was held until 14th century.

When Buddhism became more and more popular in Japan, Amaterasu was recognised as a manifestation of bodhisattwa (either Kuan Yin or one of the forms of Buddha himself).

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Apart from the Imperial Regalia Amaterasu is closely connected to roosters crowing at the dawn and a raven called Yatagarasu (Eight-Span Raven), her personal messenger to Emperor Jimmu who not only helped his army pass the rocky mountains safely but also went scouting and even negotiated on his behalf.

Yatagarasu the Raven

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

A person of great beauty, knowledge, talents and serenity who yet does not want to shine in the company. Someone reliable but modest who does much and talks little. Also a shy and timid person who escapes from problems and hides from the reality. In negative a narcissistic person focusing on their appearance and awaiting flatteries.

ADVICE

Come out of your hiding place. Regardless of how talented you are, you will waste it if you do not let yourself shine. Even if you are tired and discouraged now, remember that life still holds many pleasant surprises for you.

Do not escape from problems. Focus on one goal even if it seems trivial. Do not start many things at the time because you will not complete any of them or they will not be done thoroughly and you will get even more frustrated.

It is not your task to hide in the corner. It is your task to shine with your beauty, wisdom and smile. Beauty is not just pretty face and body but rather charm which attracts people to you. Build your self-worth from the inside, do not base it on the opinion of others. Without self worth it will be difficult for you to keep balance, set boundaries and love others wisely.

Silence or withdrawing from the annoying conversation is not giving up or failure. You win it by not allowing the mental aggressor suck energy out of you. It reminds pulling the rope, if you let it, the person on the other end will fall down. Withdrawing from people and focusing on your inner life to think an important matter over is a very good idea. However, when you draw conclusions, do not keep them for yourself but rather put them into practice.

Hiding emotions inside will not make them disappear, instead they will be consuming you so it is much better to throw them out. If you do one thing, feel sth different and speak yet another thing, you are dispersing your energy. Let your thoughts, words and acts be one. Show integrity. If you put masks on, you will not let others to like, respect and love the real you. They will only like, respect and love the image of you that they have. It is impossible to build a true relationship with another person if you use illusions as a base.

Even if you feel like being immersed in darkness now, be sure that eventually you will shine.

Coming back to the world. New beginning. Competition. Strong position. Beauty. Radiance. Warmth. Fun. Music. Dance. Laughter. End of sadness. Harmony. Peace. Sensitivity. Creation. Teaching. Life Force.

In my personal interpretation, this card has often the similar meaning to The Sun, 19th Major Arcane of Tarot. Its energy is a bit “softer”, though, unlike a clearly male The Sun in Tarot.

LOVE

If you are in the relationship:  cooling down in a relationship, partner may become silent or withdraw from family life but it is also the time of improvement and solving problems out. Regardless of whether the union will resurrect like a phoenix or not, this card definitely assures you that the ultimate outcome will be positive to you.

If you are single: you are single because you isolate yourself from the world on the external or internal level. Either you do not go out to the places where you can meet new people or you do not let people approach you and you keep distance even when you are at the party or in the company of acquaintances.

FINANCES

Good time in finances. Promotion or pay rise. If the question concerns a new venture, this card suggests it will bring a satisfying result.

HEALTH

Internal diseases. Inflammation of organs. High temperature. Unrecognised depression. Post traumatic stress disorder. Excessive or low activity. Endangered parts of the body: heart, eyes.

CARDS

Classical representation of Amaterasu inspired by the picture of Utagawa Kunisada in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Amaterasu in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

A very similar image of Amaterasu looking at the cave in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

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

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

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

Amaterasu with the mirror in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

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

Radiating Amaterasu in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Amaterasu in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

Amaterasu with a rooster and a decorative headdress in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano as The Sun (according to one of the myth version seeing Susanoo approaching Amaterasu pinned wild boar tusks into hair to protect herself. Her brother used them, not her necklace, to create human beings)

Amaterasu in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

A fainting nymph…oh sorry, Amaterasu in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Amaterasu in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Blue Haired Fairy from Pinocchio…oh sorry, Amaterasu in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Amaterasu in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Based on English and Polish Wikipedia, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20090712x1.html and http://www.angelfire.com/de/poetry/Whoswho/Amaterasu.html .

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 .