Tag Archives: shakti

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: 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

KALI

KALI

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

ABOUT GODDESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

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

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

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

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

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

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

ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE

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

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

FINANCES

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

HEALTH

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

CARDS

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

The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Kali in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

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

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

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

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

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Kali in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

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

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

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Kali in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

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

Kali in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Based on English Wikipedia.

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

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

LAKSHMI

LAKSHMI

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

ABOUT GODDESS

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

– Kamadhenu, divine cow granting wishes,

– a seven – headed horse,

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

– Parijat, an ever-blossoming tree

– Varuni, the goddess of wine

– the moon

– the sun

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

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

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

star of lakshmi

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

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

cow fehuv

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

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

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

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

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

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

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

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

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

ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

There are some features which describe a wealthy mind. Try to perceive the world like a child does: everything is a new and fresh opportunity. This is what wealthy mind does. Energy follows attention so be careful where you direct it. Your perception helps in changing your reality. Concentrate on achieving your goals but do not forget to have fun, too. Authenticity, serenity and flexibility are like gold for your psyche.

BE THANKFUL FOR EVERY MANIFESTATION OF WEALTH IN YOUR LIFE

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

Love

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

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

Finances

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

Health

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

CARDS

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

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

Lakshmi in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

Lakshmi in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

Lakshmi in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

and in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

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

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

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

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

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

Lakshmi in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Lakshmi in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Lakshmi w Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

and in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Lakshmi in Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

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

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

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

Lakshmi in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Lakshmi w The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

Lakshmiin Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

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

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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

DURGA

With my special dedication to

Amitabh Ghosh

the Bengali Tiger 😉

DURGA

ABOUT GODDESS

Durga is a Hindu warrior goddess, an incarnation of feminine force of creation, preservation and destruction.

Her name means The Inaccessible.  According to myths she appeared when Hindu gods were exhausted by the war with demons led by Mahishasura (‘Buffalo’). He caused chaos and terror in the worlds and he could have been defeated neither by god nor man. A shiny orb propellant flames arose from the anger of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods. The light infiltrated three worlds, concentrated and took the feminine shape. The lady who introduced herself as the form of Brahma, the creator of all gods* had three eyes (left one was associated with the moon and desire, right one – with the sun and activity while the central one was connected with fire and wisdom) and ten or eight arms to be able to carry more weapons. Durga was riding a tiger** and started to slay the demons immediately with the deadly gifts from gods: a club, a loop, a lance, a bow, a disk, a sword, a trident and even a lightning.

When she annihilated all of the demons and stood in front of Mahishasura himself, he initially neglected her saying, How can a woman kill me who has already defeated gods? Durga laughed so mightily that she caused an earthquake and this made the demon realize how dangerous his enemy was. Mahishasura attacked her tiger which infuriated the goddess so much that she caught him with a lasso but he transformed into a lion. Durga beheaded him and yet a clever demon managed to turn into a man with a sword. When she tried to pierce him with her weapon, he took the shape of an elephant, when she cut his trunk down, he changed back to a buffalo and so lasted the duel until Durga’s patience ran out. She blinded him with the light emanating from her body, jumped close to the demon, pinned him to the wall with her trident and beheaded once and for all. Their duel is shown beautifully on this picture:

Durga fighting Mahisasura

According to a Hindu mythology the world is influenced by two forces: the Devs (deities) and the Asurs (demons) who are balanced and cannot win one another. Durga is born from the rage of Devs and their frustration that they cannot defeat the Asurs.  To show the nature of their war I’d like to quote this siteThis personification of cosmic energy is one of the most wonderful and the richest in meanings. Durga’s battle shows an eternal fight between wisdom and ignorance, truth and untruth, Dev’s noble activity maintaining the balance in the world and Asurs’ destructive ego. She defeats the last and the most powerful demon Mahishasura who attacks her under the form of buffalo representing the power of chaos. Durga must also face the  male charm which the Asurs use to seize her power and weapon and she keeps her female dignity and the ability of self-determination.

Durga is self-sufficient and independent from male Hindu gods (they did not create her therefore they have no power over her). She is considered to be an aspect of Goddess Mother and all the other Hindu goddesses are perceived as the emanation of Durga. It must be mentioned that the notion of energy is crucial in Hinduism and the main female energy is Shakti, the feminine element reflected in inspiration, passion, charisma, intensive activity and vitality. Shakti is always paired with Shiva, the male element, and these two create the balance and build the basis of the world. Durga is an emanation of Shakti along with Parvati, Kali and Uma. Durga herself appears in nine forms called Navdurga: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri (you can see them here). She knows no fear, she is patient and she never loses the sense of humour even during the battle. Her name is called upon in the cases which seem to be lost.

The main celebration is famous Durga Puja, very popular especially in Bengal, India’s Himalayan regions, Bangladesh and Nepal in late September and October. The holiday lasts ten days because according to the myth the goddess was fighting demons that long. The altars are being built, the figures of Durga are being created, painted, decorated and carried around and finally drowned in the river. Read more about the festival here.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

When it comes to pictures she is usually portayed very dynamically while battling Mahishasura, presented in a side profile pose, riding a tiger and holding weapons in all her hands (in this form she is called Mahishasurmardhini – ‘Mahishasura’s Killer’).

However,  in sculptures and figures she is presented statically as a peaceful woman with a gentle and often smiling face.  She holds flower garlands, pearl necklaces, shells and the lotus flowers in her hands or she places fingers in mudras or symbolic gestures.  In this milder form she is called Maha Gauri (‘The Fair Lady’).

The animal mostly associated with her is tiger.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The card of Durga shows a woman who is independent, ambitious and courageous. She is often a boss or she runs her own business.When she wants to achieve something, she does not give up until she gets it and she is able to move heaven and earth for an important purpose. She can also be quarrelsome, requiring, intolerant to different opinions and stubborn. A workaholic. This card represents a boss, a soldier, a police officer, a judge, a social worker, a craftsman (according to one of the legends Durga was leading her own army against demons and after the victory she thanked the warriors by teaching them how to make jewellery).

Advice

The problem which you are inquiring about can be resolved by various means (as the proverb says ‘if they don’t let you in through the door, get in through the window’) just like the duel with Mahishasura shows.

Situation requires courage, intransigence, concentration and patience.

Key words: Transformation.  Solitude.  Counting on yourself only. Concentration. Independence. A success gained thanks to patience, ambition and determination.

Love

If you’re single: You have an independent nature and it is difficult for you to compromise. It is possible that your work means more than a relationship. Lack of trust to men caused by bad experiences or bringing up without a father. Men may feel respect to you but not necessairly attraction.

If you’re in a relationship: This card may show tension in a relationship, quarrels, claims, etc. Perhaps one of the partners is dominated by the other. Lack of communication. Transformation.

Finances:

It is a good time to start your own business or to change the job. If you do not have a job, this card suggests searching for something different than what you used to do. In your resume mention all your diplomas, certificates, skills and abilities even if you consider some of them to be less important, you need to use versatile methods.

Health

Beware of injuries and accidents. Too much stress. Lack of energy or too much energy. Possible imbalance in the body. A disease difficult to diagnose or a long and difficult therapy. With other alarming cards it can signify changes caused by multiplying cells. Endangered parts of the body: limbs, eyes and brain.

IMAGES

Durga in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthewss.

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

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

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

Durga in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English and Polish Wikipedia and the following pages:   http://www.indiaguide.pl/india/devi_durga_kali.html
http://hinduism.about.com/od/hindugoddesses/a/durga.htm
http://www.indif.com/nri/articles/article2.asp

*Fire is the male element required to perform an action but when incarnated in the body of a woman it creates peace and harmony.

** According to another version it was a lion.