Tag Archives: inanna

REVIEW: THE GODDESS CARD PACK BY JUNI PARKHURST

THE GODDESS CARD PACK. DISCOVERING YOUR GODDESS WITHIN

by Juni Parkhurst

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Unfortunately, it is one of these rare situations where I am not able to provide you with the information about the author because I cannot find much. There is no author’s bio in the booklet, no author’s page nor profile on social media. She seems non-existent in the Internet, all I could find was the address of the place where she is said to work as a hypnotherapist (in the booklet it is also mentioned she organises the goddess card readings and the goddess workshops). She also belongs to the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners.

If you know anything about her, please share it with me.

ADVANTAGES

The first advantage is definitely a wide range of cultures included in this deck, you will find here the goddesses from different parts of the world.

Again the images turn out to be a strong advantage of this deck, they are all bright, colourful and similar in style of expressionist or fauvist artists such as Munch or Matisse. They may appear as a bit careless and childish yet it may also be treated as an advantage because this simple and direct way appeals to the reader’s intuition immediately. Intuition is the basic, primary and straightforward sense so colourful, uncomplicated images can be very helpful in making it work. Of course, as I always repeat after the ancient Romans de gustibus non est disputandum and some will consider it to be a disadvantage of this deck.

Big thumb up for including the real goddesses only, no card of Mary here.

Another huge advantage is the attempt to give structure to the oracle card deck. The whole deck is divided into six parts ruled by the archetypical deities who impersonate its features: Aphrodite, Kali, Diana, Hecate, Athena and Demeter. To find the goddess who corresponds best to your nature, you have to fill in a short personality test. Each ruling goddess is then described by the summary of  her mythology and her equivalent in modern psychology, also visualisations and rituals are given as well as divinatory meaning.

Other goddesses are classified to the clusters ruled by the above mentioned deities.

Kali’s Cluster of Goddesses of the Dark Side of the Moon

Pele

Medusa

Lilith

Sekhmet

Demeter’s Cluster of Goddesses Who Nurture

Gaia

Brigid

Kwan Yin

Sophia

Hecate’s Cluster of Goddesses of the Sacred Healing Mysteries

Persephone

Hygea

Ostara

Changing Woman

Diana’s Cluster of Nature Goddesses

Yemanya

Ceres

Cerridwen

Chalchiuhtlicue

Athena’s Cluster of Warrior Goddesses

The Morrigan

Victoria

Freyja

Inanna

Aphrodite’s Cluster of Love and Sex Goddesses

Frigg

Isis

Lakshmi

Oshun

I consider it to be an advantage of this deck, after all such subject as the goddesses mythology seems to be an excellent source of archetypes ready to be translated into the modern times. In fact, I am surprised that most of goddess oracle decks do not pay attention to this aspect but concentrate on the pure oracle or worship elements.

DISADVANTAGES

The division may as well be considered to be the disadvantage because it is controversial. The attribution of ruling deities to their clusters can be disputed. Some goddesses are rather versatile and it is difficult to classify them to one category only, Sekhmet could as well be a warrior goddess, Freyja and Inanna are as much love and sex goddesses as they are warlike and Lakshmi seems to match the nurturing goddess cluster. Personally I would like to see a whole new cluster of wisdom, intelligence and inspiration goddesses with Sophia, Brigid and Athena.

In my opinion the goddess card pack makes the impression of a slapdash if not messy edition. There are factual mistakes (I have already mentioned in my post about Demeter that Ceres was not a Greek but Latin goddess) as well as simple typos (‘Eostara’, ‘The Morrogon’ and ‘Lakshimi’). Instinctively I started to search for the name of the person responsible for correction but I found none. In fact the information about the edition is very limited as if just one person did the whole publishing work. There is the copyright recognition of Juni Parkhurst but for the text only, not for the images as I (and probably most users) initially thought! So who created the images? Similarly to Godsfield Press’ other issue The Goddess Power Pack there is no direct remark, bah! there is not even a list of the people participating in the card pack edition as it was in the case of Cordelia Brabbs’ deck so we cannot even guess who did the pictorial work. I was baffled even more when I read the following sentence in the booklet

Juni Parkhurst asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

‘Moral’? Seems ambiguous to me… When it comes to copyright it is common to establish clear and precise attribution to avoid any possible legal battles and ‘moral’ has too vast meanings to be exact. It is not the first time when the publication by Godsfield’s Press lacks clarity (see my review of Goddess Power Pack). I am not going to further explore the topic but I certainly treat it as a huge disadvantage of this deck.

To sum up, let me quote the Russian proverb signifying great plans but ineffectual result: We wanted to do our best but in the end it all turned out as usual

ISSUE

30 cards

a book containing the introduction, information how to use the card pack, ‘Which Goddess Are You?’ test, the descriptions of the goddesses and advice how to use cards (how to lay out the cards, a couple of spreads, how to interpret the cards), famous goddess types and index

a box

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

the descriptions of the cluster leading goddesses (history, today, challenges, love, ritual, visualisation, divinatory meaning)

+

other goddesses (key words and short divinatory meaning)

 box juni pankhurst

The size of cards is 13,5 x 8 cm

Back sides of cards show the brown and yellow fish swimming in the blue waves.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Back side

back side juni parkhurst

© 1999 Godsfield Press and text © 1999 Juni Pankhurst

Publisher: Godsfield Press/Sterling

ISBN: 0 – 8069 – 9903 – 9

Aphrodite
Athena
Brigid
Ceres
Cerridwen
Chalchihuitlicue
Changing Woman
Demeter
Diana
Eostre
Freyja
Frigg
Gaia
Hecate
Hygea
Inanna
Isis
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lilith
Medusa
The Morrigan
Oshun
Pele
Persephone
Sekhmet
Sophia
Victoria
Yemanya

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

THE ORACLE OF THE GODDESS

by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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

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

Both ladies have already worked together on Vision Quest Tarot.

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

The more I read the more doubts I have.

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

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

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

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

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

ISSUE

33 cards

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

a box

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

– name of a goddess 

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

– the oracle

box the oracle of the goddess

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

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

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

Brigid

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

Demeter

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

Isis

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

Lakshmi

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

Back side

back side gayan winter

© 2005 AGM AGMüller Urania, Neuhausen/Switzerland

Publisher: AGM AGMüller Urania

ISBN: 3 –03819 – 026 – 8

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

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

REVIEW: UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT BY MARIA CARATTI &ANTONELLA PLATANO

UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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

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

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

pandora

nehalennia1

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

aine

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

ISSUE

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

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

a box

universal goddess tarot

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

The size of cards is  12 x 6,5 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as The Emperor

Athena in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Brigid as King of Wands

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Demeter as Mage

Demeter in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Isis as The High Priestess

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

Lakshmi as King of Coins

Lakszmi w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Seven of Wands

seven of wands

Nine of Chalices

nine of chalices

Five of Swords

sif1

Seven of Coins

seven of pentacles

Back side

2

©2006 Copyright Lo Scarabeo

Publisher:  Lo Scarabeo

ISBN: 888395523-4

MAJOR ARCANA

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

MINOR ARCANA

WANDS

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

CHALICES

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

SWORDS

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

COINS

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

REVIEW: THE GODDESS TAROT BY KRIS WALDHERR

THE GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

ISSUE

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

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

a box

the goddess tarot

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

– name of a card

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

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

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

The size of cards is 12 x 8,5 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as Justice

Athena in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Isis as Mage

Isis – Hathor in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi as Wheel of Fortune

Lakshmi in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Nine of Wands

9 of staves

Three of Chalices

3 of cups

Two of Swords

2 of swords

Six of Coins

6 of coins

Back side

3

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

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

ISBN: 1-57281-066-1

MAJOR ARCANA

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

REVIEW: GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE BY KRIS WALDHERR

GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

kris waldherr booklet

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

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

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

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

ISSUE

80 cards

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

a card bag

a box

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

– name of a goddess 

– area of her influence

– key words describing a goddess

– short mythological background

– affirmation

box kris waldherr

The size of cards is  11 x 7 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Back side

kris waldherr

Goddesses Inspiration Oracle Guide© 2007 by Kris Waldherr

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1167-6

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

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.