Tag Archives: sige

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

SOPHIA (CHOKMAH/SHEKHINAH)

SOPHIA

God’s wisdom and the co-creatrix of the world considered by many Christian philosophers and artists to be a female manifestation of God appearing to the humankind and Holy Spirit,the third person of Trinity. Sophia means Wisdom in Greek.

ABOUT GODDESS

The concept of Sophia i.e. Wisdom has already been known in the times of antiquity, Pitagoras, Socrates and Plato perceived philosophy literary as philo (‘love for’) – sophia (‘wisdom’). According to Plato, Wisdom was one of four cardinal virtues (as Prudence) therefore it was believed that the philosophers should rule the Utopian country because such rulers would admire prudence. The love for wisdom itself was also shown in the behaviour of Socrates when he said I know that I know nothing. Contrary to what may seem, such statement opens the mind for Wisdom because this makes it resemble an empty jar which can be filled with knowledge; it is also a contrast to the attitude of Sophists who claimed they were able to teach wisdom, for an appropriate price of course. Later the Hellenistic philosophers merged the concept of Sophia with Logos (‘Word’), this idea was then adopted by the author of the Gospel of John (introduction: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God) and it is resulted in perceiving Jesus as the Word of the Father.

Sophia has a special status in monotheistic religions. Wisdom is called Chokmah/Hokmah in a Jewish tradition and she is the subject of many books of the Old Testament (Proverbs, Song of Songs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Book of Wisdom, Wisdom of Sirach). The part which is crucial for the interpretation of Divine Wisdom is the quote from Proverbs when Wisdom speaks about herself

The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;

I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be (…)

I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,

rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.

(NIV Bible, Proverbs 8:22).

This fragment is widely discussed, some claim that it the basis to assume that Chokmah is a divine person while others believe that it is only a symbolic representation. Honestly speaking  I am not surprised at all by the latter attitude because the female element is usually treated in a symbolic way in monotheistic religions . The description of creating the first human is an additional reason to believe in a personal, not symbolic interpretation of Chokhmah

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”

  (NIV Bible, Genesis 1:26).

If God was all alone, he would probably have said ‘my’, not ‘our’. And from limited but still logical human point of view the personal interpretation seems to be justified, in the end you need both male and female energy for the act of creation.

Those interested in the Kabballah are aware of the fact that  Chokmah is the name of the Tree of Life’s sephirot, which together with Binah is the closest to the sephirot Kether (it must be said however that Chokmah represents male energy there). The word Shekhinah meaning God’s Presence on Earth (e.g. in the Temple of Jerusalem, in the burning bush when God appears to Moses, in the inspiration of the prophets and King David when he creates psalms) is feminine which allows some researchers to identify her as Chokmah basing on what she speaks about herself, I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind (NIV Bible, Proverbs 8:22).

According to the Jewish law Shekhinah is where at least seven pious Jews gather. In Kaballah Shekhinah is also called Matronit and in some religious songs she is identified as the Bride from Song of Songs. According to the Jewish tradition Shekhinah is the essence of womanhood with whom every man contacts through his wife.  Kabballah teaches that every pious Jew has two partners, one on Earth and the other in Heavens; the mystery of matrimony reflects in the fact that mating with his earthly companion he becomes close to the heavenly one in a natural way because the one on Earth represents the one in Heavens. There are also different interpretations of the name Ruach Ha Kodesh which is used to describe God in Psalms 51:11 and in the Book of Isahiah meaning ‘the Divine spark, the Divine inspiration, insight, breath, wind, invisible moving force’ (‘ruach’ is also feminine).

In Christianity Divine Wisdom is also one of the most important themes as it appears in gospels and apostolic letters. She is particularly worshipped in the Eastern Christianity where she is identified as Divine Word (Logos) which was incarnated into Christ. In the Orthodox liturgy the priest is introducing the reading of the Bible with the word Sophia! to make everyone pay attention. The best example of the big respect shown to Divine Wisdom is certainly basilica Hagia Sophia (which had been built in Christian Constantinople, later it was turned into a mosque and it is a museum now).

 

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

However in the Western Christianity there were also people who had a special reverence to Sophia. These were among others  Hildegard of Bingen (below you will find her picture of Sophia), Jakob Böhme , 16th century visionaire whose philosophy strongly influenced other thinkers or Jane Leade, 17th century English mystic who was describing her visions and dialogues with Sophia (similarly to Vladimir Solovyov who will be presented later).

It may seem natural for Christianity to follow the Jewish tradition of Chokmah and Shekhinah and to attribute the feminine features to the Holy Ghost. Indeed the representation of the Holy Trinity as Father, Son&Sophia remained in the church in Urschalling in Upper Bavaria

However, when the Old and New Testament were translated into Greek, the Holy Ghost was described with the word pneuma (literary ‘breath’, it is neuter) and in Latin the form Spiritus Sancti was used (it is a second declension so the gender is definitely masculine). The Holy Ghost was therefore presented either as a man (below you will find a famous icon Trinity by Andrei Rublev, all the three divine persons are young men) or as a dove.

It should be mentioned that doves have always been connected to womanhood (below the picture of Aphrodite from the deck by Hrana Janto).

Nevertheless if you asked an average Christian what does the Holy Trinity look like, the answer would probably be, An old man, a young man and a bird .

It was Gnosticism, the religious and philosophical movement popular in the East of the Roman Empire in the first and the second century, which developed the concept of Sofia. The Gnostics were inspired by many beliefs and religious systems such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroaster and Hellenic and Roman philosophers. Its main assumption was the belief that the material world in which we live is imperfect and gnosis (cognition) is the only way to liberate oneself from its limits. It is difficult to analyse it nowadays because not many materials remained and particular Gnostic currents differed from one another but there are some common points for all of them:

1. Sophia is a female emanation from the very beginnings (which connects her to SigeSilence Before Creation). It is in Pleroma (Fullness, Oneness) with other  emanations (aeons). It is associated with the Divine Wisdom known from the Jewish stories which was co-creating the world, although in the Gnostic version it happened in quite an untoward manner. Sophia is an emanation of God and represents his female aspect who extracted herself spontaneously from the unnamed highest creature, the primary aeon (Jah/Bythos) as his „reflection”, mental power and wisdom. She is his lowest and furthest emanation together with Christ (aeons are paired, male and female ones exist together).

2. She experiences the first cognition, Sophia becomes pregnant all by herself, without the participation of God, and brings Demiurge (also called Archon or Yaltabaoth – ‘Child of Chaos’) to the Universe (quoting The Secret Book of John from the Nag Hammadi archives, And an imperfect product appeared from her, and it was different from her pattern because she created it without her partner. And it was not patterned after the likeness of its Mother, for it had a different form. When she saw (the product of) her will, it was dif­ferent, a model of a lion-faced serpent. His eyes were like flashing fires of lightning. She cast him out from her, outside of those places so that none among the immortals might see him, for she had cre­ated him in ignorance).

Demiurge organises the material world which is not perfect because it lacks a spiritual element. He is not aware of God’s existence therefore he considers himself to be God and together with seven Archons (‘Rulers, Watchers’) keeps the mankind in the veil of illusion thus breaking the primary divine oneness. There are different reasons given to explain why Sophia becomes pregnant, it is either the will of disconnecting from God or haughtiness  or an uncontrolled need of creating or madness.

3. Through disconnecting from the divine oneness it is also Sophia who has to exist in two forms: Sofia Ennoia i.e. the High Sofia, Neverending One, The Power of the Thoughts as well as the Low Sofia called the Small Sophia or Sophia of Death. In this way Sophia combines two elements: the divine and the human one.

4. After the creation of the material world, Sophia gets stuck there and God feeling compassion for her, sends Christ to help her. Thanks to him, Sophia gets rid of low motives and comes back to the Oneness with Divinity (in another version it remains in the material world for the sake of the humankind whom she loves). Christ comes to Earth to teach people how to recognise wisdom so that they could participate in Pleroma, too.

In 19th century a movement based on the Gnostic tradition called sophiology was born in Russia. Sophiology is a belief in the metaphysical cognition of the Absolute through the contemplation of Sophia as his emanation. The Russian movement was started by Vladimir Solovyov, a thinker and esoteric whose doctrine was called ‘a mystic intuition of Sophia’. According to what he said himself he had experienced three meetings with Sophia which enlightened him; his first vision occurred when he was nine and during the service he saw a female image of God. When he grew up and this image kept appearing in his dreams, he decided to take up theological studies. He was particularly impressed by the texts of Jakob Böhme and Emanuel Swedenborg, he also got interested in Kabballah and then Sophia reappeared to him and ordered to go to Egypt to continue his study about her. Probably because of that Sophia had some aspects of Isis: the vision was accompanied by the scent of roses, goddess’ flowers,  besides it was Egypt where the cult of Isis began to transform into the belief in Sophia identified as Mary and all the doctrines assuming the faith in the female aspect of God’s Wisdom such as Hermetism, Gnosis and alchemy also originated from Egypt. Sophia’s message to Solovyov and other people was that the world is changing through love and human choices which allow to return to the divine Oneness.

Solovyov paid attention that regardless of a language her name is always feminine: in Hebrew it is ‘Chokmah’ (Wisdom, Knowledge), in Greek and Russian – ‘Sophia’ (Wisdom), in Hindi ‘Maya’ (Idea, female image of divinity), in Latin ‘Sapientia’ (Wisdom). He also claimed that throughout the Jewish and Christian tradition she has never been a separate deity but a female emanation of God. He perceived Sophia through the Gnostic and Kabballistic tradition as both Chokhmah and Shekhinah (a female beginning in God). The messages conveyed by his automatic writing survived  and among them there was one with the notice An-Soph, Jah, Soph-Jah wchich can be translated as An Soph – ‘Hidden God of Kabballah’, Soph – ‘End’, Jah – ‘Unnamed God’. The whole notice means that Sophia is  ‘the end of God’, a link between God and human kind, a mediator between energy and matter (which corresponds to the Gnostic tradition of Sophia as the aeon closest to Earth). Solovyov also maintained the Jewish belief that a female aspect of God is reflected in the beloved woman on Earth and love allows to see his visible image in the material world. He was following the philosophy of Jakob Böhme about death being the disintegration which began when the sexes of a primary androgenic creature were divided. He also assumed that a human who comes back to Oneness can become immortal therefore a harmonious relationship based on higher feelings can lead to the eternal life.

It is interesting to notice that in the 19th century Solovyov had only been capable to study Gnosticism from the texts of its opponents such as St.Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria or Hippolytus of Rome because a great number of Gnostic works was not discovered until the forties of last century when the archives of libraries in Nag Hammadi and Qumran were discovered. And yet despite Solovyov’s unacquaintance of these essential texts, his sophiological concepts are surprisingly consistent with the main assumptions of Gnocistism.

Solovyov has created very personal and sensual poems to Sophia which somehow resembled the relation between a priest and his goddess. He was calling her Eternal Friend, Queen, Goddess, Mystical Bride, Nature of the Universe, Most Beautiful Lady, Heavenly Maiden, Maiden of the Rainbow Gate, Dawn (Aurora), Ewig Weibliche, Boehme, etc. Sophia has many names in his works because she is divine therefore she can be anything. Solovyov has showed a special appreciation to love making because it is a chemical bond of two creatures thus it leads to the oneness. Even maternal love cannot be compared to it because it is always accompanied by the mother’s loss of individuality. This is why building good relationships with other people especially with women was for him the best expression of worship Sophia as woman had an exceptional position in sophiology.

Solovyov has immediately found many followers even though revelation is an individual and very intimate experience. Among those who shared his belief in Sophia were his brother Mikhail and nephew Sergey Solovyov, Alexander Blok, Boris Bugaev (Andrei Bely), also Pavel Florienski, Nikolai Berdyaev and most of all Sergey Bulgakov who perceived Sophia not as a part of Trinity but a being co-existing with the Trinity, equally powerful and acting as a female force apart from male Trinity (which was considered to be a heresy). Why was sophiology so popular in Russia? A possible explanation is that unlike Western Europe this country has not gone through the Age of Reason with its cult of logics and rational perception while the Orthodox Christianity retained some aspects of old religions with its visions of a cosmic order which resulted in mysticism and following spiritual leaders. Moreover, if you take a closer look at the Western culture, art and literature in the second part of the 19th century, you will find an image of a femme fatale as a main representation of womanhood (the motif of Salome with the head of John the Baptist was particularly popular). Such attitude was probably caused by progressive emancipation of women and men’s fear of losing their position. Meanwhile in Russia the trend was totally different. Some kind of mental revolution occurred in the middle of 19th century which promoted the image of woman being an intellectual partner for a man as the ideal image of a woman. This is why the well – born maidens were educated and encouraged to develop themselves, of course it was only possible in those families who were able to afford it.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

In Hellenic culture Sophia was rather a philosophical concept but sometimes her personifications have been made (here is her allegoric figure from the Library of Celsus in Ephesus).

It was similar with Shekhinah as the Israeli were forbidden to represent God through sculptures or pictures thus there are no figures nor other images of Wisdom neither.

As it has already been mentioned the most popular symbol representing Sophia in the Western Christianity is a dove while in the Eastern one the sophiological iconography is well developed.

Sophia’s symbol in the Christian culture is also a circle of seven pillars of knowledge (Proverbs again: Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. Proverbs 9:1)

There is also a certain riddle concerning The Creation of Adam fresco by Michelangelo. Here it is if you don’t remember the details

Have a closer look at the person with blond hair, distinct eyes and slender silhouette who is embracing the Creator and differs from other cherubs.

The identity of this person was discussed; some believe that because of her female beauty this may be the figure of Eve waiting to be created, however if you look at the other parts of the fresco you will find Eve painted in a completely different manner

So who can that be? At least a couple of researchers believe it is Sophia herself.

According to Proverbs, I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be (…) Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind, which implies that Sophia must have been present at the creation of the first human (additionally look at Genesis 1:26, Then God said, “Let US make mankind in OUR image, in our likeness”).

It makes sense for me 🙂

I also highly recommend the article by Miguel Conner from Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio about Sophia and her connections to pagan myths.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

This card represents someone who is wise, not only intelligent. Unlike the card of Athena which concentrates on facts and cold logic the card of Sophia pays attention more to an inner wisdom gathered by observations and not necessarily based on the bookish knowledge. In my personal understanding the card of Athena means studying Science while the one of Sophia talks about Humanities and Foreign Languages). This knowledge is based on love and understanding for others regardless of age, education or race. The person shown by this card is open and forgiving and in negative superficial, unable to predict the consequences of their acting and conceited.

Professions:  a scientist, a lecturer, a teacher (rather on university level than on primary school), an inventor, a person using the intellect and language in their work, a mediator and any kind of intermediary.

ADVICE

Your thoughts create your reality, filter those which may harm you.

Look deeper. Observe without judging. In the situation you are inquiring about you may be expected to behave on a higher level than others. Trust your own wisdom, no those who surround you. Know when it is good to speak and when it is better not to. Do not be discouraged by difficult beginnings, help will come.

This card confirms that your way of perceiving the world is correct. You may feel like being caged in structures, superstitions and superficiality. You may feel lonely and underestimated. Loneliness is often the price of wisdom but remember that wisdom itself has not got a high value if it is not shared.  Others may learn from you and you from them.

Find inspiration.

Education. Understanding. Enlightenment. Time to think. Communication. Mediation.

Love

If you are in the relationship: this card often signifies the beginnings of a relationship, time of joy and playing but accompanied by other cards it also suggests the need of strengthening the bond and behaving in a more careful way. Your partner’s mistake comes from their ignorance, not malice.

If you are single: your loneliness may be caused by the fact that you have not become mature enough for a stable relationship.

Finances

In the situation you are inuring about you may need to consult a specialist or a intermediary. Beginnings of a new project which is very probable to be successful despite initial problems. Do not focus only on profit, look from a wider perspective.

Health

Beware of psychosomatic illnesses and those resulting from stress. Migraines. Insomnia. Possible miscarriage or premature delivery. Endangered parts of the body: psyche rather than a particular part of the body.

CARDS

My favourite image of Sophia and the favourite card of all the possible decks is the one from Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews (referring to Gnostic philosophy)

The image of Sophia in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr resembles the style of Orthodox icons which undoubtedly makes sense if you take into account the respect shown to Sophia by Eastern Christianity

Sophia in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky is presented as being pregnant (again in accordance with a Gnostic tradition), she is holding a chalice of wisdom in her hands and is accompanied by a dove (a Western Christian tradition), you can also see the halo of Shekhinah above her head (a Jewish tradition)

Sophia in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst has the face of Black Madonna and roses attributed to both Isis and Mary

Sophia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took, I have an impression that this deep look of her eyes somehow refers to the fresco by Michelangelo which was discussed above

Sophia in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc (as Chokmah)

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

Based on:

Rzeczycka Monika, Fenomen Sofii-Wiecznej Kobiecości w prozie powieściowej symbolistów rosyjskich (Andrieja Biełego, Fiodora Sołoguba, Walerija Briusowa), Gdańsk 2002, Divine Sophia: the Wisdom Writings of Vladimir Solovyov by Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt (available here), The Christian Goddess: Archetype and Theology in the Fantasies of George MacDonald Bonnie Gaarden (available here), http://youtu.be/Azrh3IwLFTM, http://www.jstor.org/pss/3045958, http://www.jstor.org/pss/1483492, http://www.oocities.org/athens/agora/6776/break1.htm , http://northernway.org/presentations/godwife/33.html , http://northernway.org/presentations/godwife/38.html ,http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/apocjn-long.html and English Wikipedia. All the quotes from the Bible come from http://www.biblegateway.com (NIV)

And because that was the most complex and the most extensive post I have ever written about any goddess then let me reward myself with an appropriate music which may suit you too

Therion The Perennial Sophia

And one more, very different but also equally moving:

Victoria Williams Holy Spirit

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REVIEW: GODDESS GUIDANCE ORACLE CARDS BY DOREEN VIRTUE

GODDESS GUIDANCE ORACLE CARDS

by Doreen Virtue

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doreen Virtue, Ph. D., has completed her doctorate in the field of psychology. She says she originates from the family of people with strong psychic abilities and is a clairvoyant herself. She is particulairly interested in the subject of angels and has already published several books and decks of cards about them which turned out to be very popular.  Studying her biography you will find a lot of TV and radio shows where she appeared (very American style of presentation indeed). She resides in Hawaii. More on her page.

ADVANTAGES

Some of the messages are excellent and well-prepared from the point of view of psychology, such as e.g. Sekhmet (See yourself as strong and victorious. Don’t complain about anything. Don’t blame anyone or any condition. You’re the embodiment of strength, not victimhood), Guinevere (You needn’t be in a partnership to evoke romance; from my own experience I can say you have to grow up to accept this message) or Mary Magdalene (The lower levels of human bickering, judgement, and chaos are just that: lower levels. I choose to do my work from the level of the higher consciousness).

For me personally this deck will always have a sentimental value because these were the first cards of goddesses that I have come across in my life. One of the clairvoyants has been spreading them in a live fortune – telling programme on TV and as the person who has been interested in the topic of goddesses since childhood I was amazed and started to search for them.  Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards was the second deck that I bought (and I have to admit that the choice of decks in my native country is very limited, I bought most of mine in the UK online shops).

DISADVANTAGES

I was communicating easily with these cards for a long time, however when I started to analyse the myths of particular goddesses, it turned out that I can see slightly different messages than the author. And when I started to DIG DEEPER, the reasons to be amazed by this deck suddenly disappeared.

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards is the deck which features not only real goddesses but also literary and religious heroines. Isolde IS NOT a goddess! I do understand that sometimes it is not easy to find a goddess in a myth because after christianisation she was reduced to a common mortal woman (this is probably what happened to Rhiannon, Gwenhwyfar and Morgaine) but despite her Celtic origins Isolde herself has nothing to do with goddesses!

The same objection applies to religious heroines such as Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. The latter is presented in an arch-Catholic and Baroque style and the author claims that in the West, Mother Mary in undoubtedly the most famous goddess. Well no, Doreen, not at all! Mary has no divine features in any factions of Christianity.

The selection of goddesses to this deck is regular but still somehow controversial. I do not like the overrepresentation of the goddesses from the British Isles. Doreen chose Sulis and Coventina to represent the message suggesting purification and the contact with water. Why? They are both rather unknown and they were in fact venerated only in one place, in Bath on the British Isles. I believe that Anahita the great Zoroastrian goddess of water would be much better choice. She has been highly worshipped all over Persia for centuries and one of the most important ceremony  aimed at purification and consecration of water is dedicated to her. Zoroastrianism is one of few big ancient religions which survived to this day and placing Anahita in this deck would support its worshippers (does anyone know that the parents of Freddie Mercury practised Zoroastrianism?). But I have to honestly admit that the authors of all the decks I have come across for the unknown reasons honour a little known Sulis as the deity associated with water and purification. Anahita does not appear in any of godesses oracle decks, she is only included in Universal Goddess Tarot where she represents the Major Arcane of Temperance.

An inconsistency of style is a huge disadvantage. Doreen does not have one ‘court’ artist and she used the images of twelve different painters in this deck. All you get is a huge mish mash. Apart from really intriguing images of Brigid, Eireen or Kali you come across some really nasty scribbles of Coventina or Dana. I know, I know de gustibus non est disputandum et cetera but the problem is that most of the pictures reflect Doreen’s style anyway. They are  ‘princess-like’ or saying aloud: trashy. Cards are full of goddesses with the faces of little girls, flowers, birds, pastel colours etc. Even Ixchel who was always perceived as a crone here is not older than thirty. Even powerful Underword goddess  Rhiannon, a wife and a mother running like the wind on a palfrey, here is a little girl going slowly on a unicorn. C’mon! In myths and legends only pure and innocent virgins could touch a unicorn! Doreen must be really into unicorns because she made a whole seprate deck for them but Rhiannon has nothing to do with them. Why is a woman infantilising womanhood so much? Why does she treat me as if I were a little girl and squealed with delight thinking about dolls, playing Mummies&Daddies and Prince Charming riding a white horse to take me to the Land of Permanent Happiness?! Avoiding nudity is also a part of this problem. Even Aphrodite, the most beautiful and seductive Hellenic goddess here looks a fainting nymph tightly entangled in seaweeds so that no part of body can be seen. I dare say that through a huge popularity of her product Doreen somehow ‘brought up’ her followers in the same manner. Why? While browsing goddesses cards in Amazon I have recently come across a review of a realistic deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky. A lady was complaining about nudity in the images and the fact that ‘there is no card of Mother Mary there’.

It is the same with messages. Generally speaking just like with angel oracle cards the main theme is ‘surrender all your worries to Heaven, everything will be all right’. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to neglect the inner need of praying. Personally I talk to The One&Sophia on regular basis but leaving all the problems to Heavens do not help in self-development. It’s as if you stopped on the level of childhood, after all ‘child is not able to understand the sophisticated world of adults’. In fact, I don’t think it’s good that all the cards are positive by default. The world around us is not always positive and it is our duty to learn how to deal with negativity and to be able to do it even if we run out of faith. Have a look at the card of Sedna who was first brutally treated by her beloved and then her own father pulled her out of the boat to the sea and cut her hands off so that she couldn’t get in again. And all of the sudden she receives from Doreen a cheerful message Infinite Supply. You are supplied for today and all of your tomorrows because the Inuit believed that fish came into existence from her amputee hands. And guess what is best? When you look at the image, you will not find a cruelly treated disabled woman but a sleepy girl with her head resting on hands (!). This is the deck for consolation, not for an inner work and deeper insight into yourself. Unless you start to dig deeper and analyse actual myths  . But then you will suddenly find out that Athena would not suggest following an intuitive wisdom at all but the rules of logics instead. Or that the mother of Diana (or more correctly Artemis who has a separate card in this deck which even augments the confusion and the chaos of meanings) did not have a painless labour at all! Even though she gave birth to Artemis painlessly according to the Roman writers, she was struggling to deliver Apollo, Artemis’ twin, for many days and nights.

I have to say honestly that I do not like this whole esoteric hotchpotch which Doreen presents in her decks. ‘Call upon goddess to…’, ‘Ask angels for…’, Christian figures, Pagan figures, Ascended Masters, etc all mixed together. If we throw everything we have in our fridge to a cauldron, we will not get a tasty soup at all. You have to remember that people using these cards were more or less brought up in the Christian faith where you believe in One God. Therefore if angels, unicorns or goddesses say to you ‘Surrender all your problems to us’ then why do you need God at all? I think that anyone who creates the deck of goddesses cards should take it into consideration because really there is no need to become a Pagan to use such decks. You don’t have to actually believe in goddesses to grow and develop your mental strength by using their cards.

This is why with my whole respect to Doreen I believe she should stick to the angel cards and leave the topic of goddesses to people with more professional attitude. Besides it seems that she treats her goddess oracle deck somehow with disregard as one of her many decks. It is not recommended nor featured on her page and it is not so easy to find it among others. I guess it’s similar to mothers with multiple children: you take care of all of them but you can’t concentrate on all of them.

ISSUE

44 cards

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

– name of a goddess, name of a card, short, one or two sentence introductory message from a goddess

– message from goddess

– different meanings of a card

– a short presentation about a goddess

and advice how to use cards

a box

doreen virtue

The size of cards is slightly bigger than the standard one (12,5 x 9 cm) and they have ‘gold plated’ edges. The issue is very good and comfortable: a box is small and handy and both booklet and cards are well-fitting.

Back side suggests these are the cards of queens rather than goddesses.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Brigid

Brigid in the deck of Doreen Virtue

Demeter

is not featured in this deck

Isis

Lakshmi

Back side

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards copyright @2004 by Doreen Virtue

Publisher: Hay House

ISBN 978 – 1 – 4019-0301 – 5

ISBN 1 – 4019 – 0301 – 0

Abundantia
Aeracura
Aine
Aphrodite
Artemis
Athena
Bast
Brigid
Butterfly Maiden
Cordelia
Coventina
Damara
Dana
Diana
Eireen
Freyja
Green Tara
Guinevere
Hathor
Ishtar
Isis
Isolt
Ixchel
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Maat
Maeve
Mary Magdalene
Mawu
Mother Mary
Nemetona
Oonagh
Ostara
Pele
Rhiannon
Saraswati
Sedna
Sekhmet
Sige
Sulis
Vesta
White Tara
Yemanya

SIGE

“Let silence take you to the core of life.”
~Rumi

“My Soul gave me good counsel, teaching me to listen to the voices not produced by tongues, nor shouted from throats. Now … I sip at silence and listen to its inwardness that chants songs of the eons, reciting praises of the sky, announcing the mysteries of the Unseen.”
~Kahlil Gibran

SIGE

Silence in Gnostic cosmology, primary female Principle who emanated other aeons including Sophia (Wisdom).

ABOUT THE GODDESS

Gnosticism was a popular philosophy of the Roman’s Empire’s  eastern lands (especially Egypt and Phoenicia) in the first and second century of our era. It combined the elements of Christian, Hellenic and Roman philosophies (especially Gnosis, dualism and Hermeticism). One of its major assumptions is the domination of energy over matter and the necessity of constant self-development; soul’s redemption occurs on the path of Gnosis i.e. enlightenment, emancipation, the oneness with God. Gnostic movement was diverse and was early condemned by the Church Fathers thus the original writings have not remained and the Gnostic views were preserved only in the papers of its adversaries. It was not changed until 1945 when the papyri of Nag Hammadi were discovered. As a consequence of this finding, it was possible to reconstruct Gnostic gospels and other important writings presenting Gnostic philosophy.

Most Gnostic systems are based on the concept of aeons, the emanations of God who is known as The One, Absolute, the Monad, Aion Teleos (The Broadest Aeon), Bythos (Depth), Proarkhe (Before the Beginning), Arkhe (Beginning). Depending on the school the aeons are differently classified and named but for the purpose of this post I only concentrate on the beliefs of Valentinianism. The Valentinians considered aeons to be twin pairs of male and female energies called syzygies; the primary ideal Principles are male Bythos, Proarkhe or Propator and female Ennoia (Thought, Intent), Charis (Charis) or Sige (Silence). They conceived and emanated male aeon Nous (Mind) and female Aletheia (Truth) from whom Zoe (Life) and Logos (Word) originate together with other twin male – female aeons who form Pleroma (Oneness, Fullness)*.

Aeons

The last and the youngest female aeon was Sophia (Wisdom) who, due to ignorance or the need of forming, emanated Demiurge, the creator of the material world, and therefore lost her place in Pleroma. To save her and human kind, Bythos emanated Christ who was born as Yeshua and taught people how to achieve the state of enlightenment (Gnosis).

Valentinian Pleroma

According to the Valentinian system, two perennial coexisting Principles began the life in the Universe by emanating aeons in their likeness, i.e. male&female ones and creative by nature (because they emanated further aeons). It is not clear whether two primary Principles have always been dual. According to the previous beliefs and even some Valentinians, the primary Principles were either above all the sex or a hermaphrodite who split into male and female elements. Also according to Cyril of Jerusalem, Sige was Bythos’ daughter and with him she conceived Logos but it has to be mentioned that the author was a relentless critic of both Arians and Gnostics and presented this origin only to ridicule them (it is similar with Irenaeus of Lyon who sneers at the idea of Silence and Word coexisting in one Pleroma). 

As a matter of fact, nomen est omen because it is the silence which surrounds Sige herself and it is difficult to find any information about her. However, her message in the card decks is very clear, Be aware of the fact that silence is a great force.  It is wise to decide when it is better not to speak or not to answer. Experience the creative silence of concentration before you start acting. This is the goddess of contemplation who convinces us to slow down, to ponder and to rest. Remember that when you are alone and you do not communicate with environment, you contact your true self. We often crave for love and acceptance so much that we suppress our real needs. Our civilization pushes us to live in the community and therefore being alone and silent may cause anxiety in us. Drawing the card of Sige helps us find the power to confront ourselves.

Sige shows the non-action which comes not from indifference but from the ability to think and to observe. She reminds us that the word can both heal and kill and once it is said, it cannot be unsaid. If Logos was born from Silence, it means that Silence is creative by nature and it incorporates the element of searching for knowledge and understanding. Because of its feminine aspect, this knowledge is intuitive and subconscious but without searching we shall not attain the enlightenment**. The power of silence is within each of us and each of us must confront it at some point of life. If we do listen, the silence and focus can speak loudly and clearly but when we try to ignore them, they begin to scream and to demand attention.

This is the power of concentration and inspiration indispensable before we start acting. It brings to my mind the message of the Fool (Zero or Twenty – Second Major Arcanum of Tarot) and the letter Alef of the Hebrew alphabet, This is the moment when we have an idea but it remains unspecified yet, it has only begun developing in our mind and it has not been showed to the world yet. This is the moment when we take a breath to present our idea to the public, to name it and to make all our expectations, assumptions and talents happen but before the first word is pronounced everything can still be changed. There is still time to modify the nature of the word because it is still being created.***

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

No images of Sige survived antiquity and it is not certain whether they existed at all.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

Person showed by the card of Sige is close-mouthed and silent, often shy but also wise. When accompanied by other cards (e.g . Persephone) it may suggest a difficult childhood, quarrels in the family or opinionated parents. When negative it shows a person who either talks too much, is unable to listen to others, tells lies, gossips or expresses an opinion but thinks about about something different and does yet another thing.

Advice

You can feel overwhelmed by the amount of events in your life now. Perhaps some serious disturbances in everyday routine such as disease or loss of something valuable will force you to stop and reconsider what you really need and how to achieve it. Do not make any serious decisions at the moment as it is not the time to act. Avoid noise, do not shout at others, try not to let racing thoughts overpower your mind, do not react to provocations nor answer back. It is advised to to calm down and meditate. If it is possible, take a couple of days off. If it is not, ask the people who surround you to give you a breather. This must be the time only for you.

Love

In a relationship: possible problems with communication. Listen to your beloved more and speak less yourself. It is probable that conflicts have grown to such an extent that a (temporal) separation is required.

If you are single:  this is the time for you, you are advised to concentrate on observation and learning, not on flirting. Perhaps you withdrew from your social networks or family life.

Finances

This is not a good moment to act, you should rather spend it on thinking the problem over or planning a strategy.  While searching for a job this cards encourages to plan your own business especially in the professions requiring creativity and intelligence. It is also a warning that either your boss or your colleagues do not tell us everything or maybe even hide something important.

Health

Pay attention to the diagnosis because something may be unnoticed or neglected during the examination. It is possible that you must consult at least a couple of doctors before the reason of  disease will be determined.  Do not pull an all-nighter and try to get enough sleep . You do need rest and peace, if you do not take a break now health problems will soon affect you seriously. Endangered parts of the body: larynx, pharynx, throat, thyroid, tonsils and tongue.

IMAGES

The first image of Sige comes from the deck of Pamela Matthews and personally I consider it to be extremely beautiful.

The one from the deck of Doreen Virtue seems a bit like a Disney princess.

Sige in Doreen Virtue's deck

*First eight aeons are called The Ogdoad.

**The purpose of Gnosis is is the liberation from the constraints of the world and achieving  enlightenment.

*** Based on the programmes of Danuta the Tarot Reader and translated from Polish.

Based on http://gnosis.org and English Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeon_%28Gnosticism%29, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinians

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