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Time of Maat

Now that the Sun moved to the sign of Libra let me use the opportunity to remind you about Maat. Again as always I encourage you to check my other blogs.

Maat in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

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MAAT

The Sun has just entered Libra so I am adequately reposting what I have written about Maat.

https://landofgoddesses.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/maat/

Maat in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc Maat in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews Maat Maat Maat

 

REVIEW: UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT BY MARIA CARATTI &ANTONELLA PLATANO

UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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

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

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

pandora

nehalennia1

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

aine

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

ISSUE

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

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

a box

universal goddess tarot

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

The size of cards is  12 x 6,5 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as The Emperor

Athena in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Brigid as King of Wands

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Demeter as Mage

Demeter in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Isis as The High Priestess

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

Lakshmi as King of Coins

Lakszmi w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Seven of Wands

seven of wands

Nine of Chalices

nine of chalices

Five of Swords

sif1

Seven of Coins

seven of pentacles

Back side

2

©2006 Copyright Lo Scarabeo

Publisher:  Lo Scarabeo

ISBN: 888395523-4

MAJOR ARCANA

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

MINOR ARCANA

WANDS

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

CHALICES

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

SWORDS

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

COINS

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

REVIEW: GODDESS POWER PACK BY CORDELIA BRABBS

GODDESS POWER PACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISSUE

30 cards

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

box with carton insert to support cards

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

– name of a goddess

– name of a card

– short presentation of a goddess

– suggestions how a goddess can help and her message

– invocation to a goddess

– tips concerning an invocation

– affirmation

– one sentence general advice from a goddess

box cordelia brabbs

The size of cards is 13 x 8 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena (Minerva)

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

Brigid

Brigid in The Goddess Power deck by Cordelia Brabbs

Demeter

is not included in this deck

Isis

Isis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Back side

back side cordelia brabbs

Text copyright© Cordelia Brabbs 2005 

Publisher: Godsfield Press

ISBN: 1 84181 253 6

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

HESTIA (VESTA)

HESTIA (VESTA)

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

ABOUT GODDESS

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

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

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

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

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

220px-Vestalvirgins11

Here is the reconstruction.

220px-Casa-vestali

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

200px-Vestalin

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

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

Hestia

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

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

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

ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE

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

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

FINANCES

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

HEALTH

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

CARDS

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

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

Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

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

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

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

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

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

Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

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

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

Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

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

Hestia in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs

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

Hestia from Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

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

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

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

Hestia in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

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

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

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

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

Based on Mity Greków i Rzymian by Wanda Markowska, Dictionnaire de la mythologie grecque et romaine by Pierre Grimal, The Greek Myths by Robert Graves, Wikipedia and http://books.google.pl/books?id=cRS3E3u3HuAC&pg=PA104&lpg=PA104&dq=114+b.c.+vestal+virgins&source=bl&ots=KmguiRMVfX&sig=i6sp2-vfotMzp9TBhRX_reS2n7g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1nu3T6SZCdDHtAbez7nzBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=114%20b.c.%20vestal%20virgins&f=false , http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-clothing/vestal-virgins-clothing.htm .

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

THE GODDESS ORACLE

by Amy Sophia Marashinsky&Hrana Janto

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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

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

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

ISSUE

52 cards

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

a box

set

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

– name of a goddess 

– name of a card

– a first person narrated poem representing the goddess

– mythological background

– divination meaning mainly containing qustions for self work

– ritual suggestion

The size of cards is 9,5 x 13 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena (as Minerva)

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

Brigid

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

Demeter

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

Isis

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

Lakshmi

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

Back side

sybil

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

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

ISBN: 1 – 57281 – 546 – 9

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

REVIEW: GODDESSES OF THE NEW LIGHT BY PAMELA MATTHEWS

GODDESSES OF THE NEW LIGHT

by Pamela Matthews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

ADVANTAGES

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

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

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

ISSUE

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

28 cards

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

– name and origin of a goddess

– key words associated with her

– a short presenation of myths about her

message from a goddess as a divinatory element

– a couple of affirmations

and advice how to use cards + two spreads

a Polish translation

a box

pamela matthews

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

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Brigid

Brigid in the deck of Pamela Matthews

Demeter

Isis

Lakshmi

Back side

Goddesses of the New Light © 2000 Pamela Matthews

Publisher: The Grail Press (Czech: Synergie)

ISBN 80-86099-85-7

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