Tag Archives: vesta

REVIEW: GODDESS POWER PACK BY CORDELIA BRABBS

GODDESS POWER PACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

ADVANTAGES

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

DISADVANTAGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISSUE

30 cards

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

box with carton insert to support cards

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

– name of a goddess

– name of a card

– short presentation of a goddess

– suggestions how a goddess can help and her message

– invocation to a goddess

– tips concerning an invocation

– affirmation

– one sentence general advice from a goddess

box cordelia brabbs

The size of cards is 13 x 8 cm

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

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena (Minerva)

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

Brigid

Brigid in The Goddess Power deck by Cordelia Brabbs

Demeter

is not included in this deck

Isis

Isis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Back side

back side cordelia brabbs

Text copyright© Cordelia Brabbs 2005 

Publisher: Godsfield Press

ISBN: 1 84181 253 6

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

HESTIA (VESTA)

HESTIA (VESTA)

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

ABOUT GODDESS

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

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

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

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

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

220px-Vestalvirgins11

Here is the reconstruction.

220px-Casa-vestali

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

200px-Vestalin

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

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

Hestia

DIVINATION MEANING

PERSON

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

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

ADVICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE

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

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

FINANCES

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

HEALTH

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

CARDS

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

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

Hestia in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Hestia in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

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

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

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

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

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

Hestia in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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

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

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

Hestia in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

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

Hestia in The Goddess Power by Cordelia Brabbs

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

Hestia from Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

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

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

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

Hestia in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

BRIGID (BRIGIT, BRIDE)

BRIGID (BRIGIT, BRIDE)

ABOUT GODDESS

Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, blacksmithing, house and hearth. She was the daughter of Dagda, the High King of Tuatha Dé Danann and an unknown poet, the wife of Bres of the Fomorians and the mother of his son Ruadán. Her name means The Exalted One (Breo-saighit – ‘A Fiery Arrow’).

Brigid was involved in the war between her native tribe and the Fomorians, the tribe which had lived in Ireland before their arrival (according to the Irish legends Tuatha Dé Danann was the fifth tribe to arrive in the island). Traditionally the Fomorians are considered to represent chaos and wild forces of nature while Tuatha Dé Danann were the ones who built the civilization. Brigit’s son died in the war between the two tribes and this tragedy made her invent keening, a kind of mourning song.

Brigid is connected with the sun and everything which is considered high both literally (high-raising flames, highlands and upland areas) and metaphorically (wisdom, perfection, intelligence, creativity, eloquence, poetry, warcraft, healing, divination, druidic knowledge and crafts especially blacksmithing). Similarly to the Hellenic goddess Athena, Brigid was inventing various helpful objects such as a whistle used during night journeys and ogham, the Celtic alphabet. According to some beliefs she was also the goddess of fertility and the women during their labour. Wells have been dedicated to Brigid and in fact the custom of decorating healing wells with clooties is still present in many places in the British Isles.

Trees decorated with clooties

and

Trees decorated with clooties

It is interesting that the pagan Celtic goddess is often identified with her Christian saint namesake who was the abbess in Kildare. Kildare was the area of Ireland where the cult of the goddess was very strong in pagan times and according to the legends the custom of maintaining Brigid’s sacred flame remained there even in the Christian era. The hearth was surrounded by the hedge which no man had right to cross and those who tried to do it against the prohibition were said to die, go insane or have their penises withered. Each of the nineteen priestesses (and then nuns) was watching over the flame for one hour and it is said that for the twentieth hour the goddess herself was protecting the hearth. It was not until 1220 when Henry Bishop of Dublin ordered to extinguish the flame (however I found the note here that in 1993 the Brigidine sisters of Ireland rekindled her flame at Kildare). Pay attention to the fact that the protection of hearth just by female members of the house is the custom which makes Brigid similar to the Hellenic goddess Hestia and Roman Vesta.

I suppose that Christianity was helpless against strong pagan beliefs. The pope Gregory I himself stated in the letter to St. Augustine of Hippo that the cult of goddess should be incorporated to Christian faith rather than fought with. I suppose that it resulted in the legend of Brigid being the midwife of St.Mary when she was giving birth to Jesus. St. Brigid’s Day is celebrated in the Christian churches on Feb, 1st probably as one of the remains of the Celtic holiday Imbolc (Oimelc). It was the holiday dedicated to Brigid and people were celebrating the spring coming up, days getting longer and longer and the time of birthing and freshening of sheep  (animals attributed to her). The Christians changed the name of the holiday into Candlemas but kept the ritual of blessing the sheep. Brigid was worshipped in the whole Celtic world and many cities and towns took their names after her e.g. Braga and Bragança (Portugal), Bregenz (Austria), Brigindo (Switzerland) etc. She was considered to be the Triple Goddess* thanks to her three aspects: the first one was inspiration and creation, the second one was blacksmithing and the third one  – the art of healing and medicine. Legend says that in 722 she appeared to the Irish army hovering in the sky before they routed the forces of Tara similarly to the cross which had appeared to the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

The most important symbol associated with her is Brigid’s cross made of rush, one of the symbols of the Republic of Ireland which among others was used as the logo of the public television.

Brigid’s number is nineteen because according to druid’s knowledge the new moon needed 19 years to appear in exactly the same time as winter solstice.

The animals attributed to her were an ox (she had two: Fe and Men which graze on a plain named Femen after them), a boar, a sheep and a swan (an animal which unites the forms of a bird and a serpent).

Cauldron was attributed to Brigid as the patron of craft and both spear and arrow were her symbols as the mentor of the warcraft.

Brigid was often presented wearing a green coat although it has to be said that not many images of her survived the introduction of Christianity.

DIVINATION MEANING

Beacuse Brigid is a very versatile goddess, her oracle card also carries a lot of meanings. Most of all because of her clear connection to the element of fire, her cards presents all the features traditionally attributed to it.

Positive: energy, activity, courage, being go-getting, ambition, creativity, eagerness, initiative, dynamics, passion, enthusiasm, leading skills, success, extrovertism, optimism

Negative: anger, lack of control, risk, imprudence, carelessness, acting without thinking, inability to finish what was started, impatience, obsession, narcissism, tendency to exaggerate, distress, capriciousness

PERSON

Woman shown by this card is versatile, intelligent and passionate, she often has manual and creative skills and is good at making strategies. She definitely is strong, ambitious, talented and creative but she also takes great care of her family and she fulfils herself in many areas of life. In negative it presents the woman who tries to kill too  many birds with one stone or is torn apart between fulfilling the needs of others and her own.

This cars also represents artists, artisans, doctors, officers, firefighters, teachers, philosophers, midwives, farmers and fortune tellers.

ADVICE

Be assertive and do not back down even if you are under pressure. Express yourself clearly and do not think that showing your strength will scare people away from you. If you are unclear about your intentions, you lessen your own force and it will not help you to achieve your goal. You cannot satisfy everyone so it is better not to ponder what others may think. It is time to act, not to hesitate.

Try to express yourself in writing, reciting, singing, designing, creating in metal, clay etc and all the kinds of craft.

Think deeply of the problem which drenches you. The solution is already in your mind, you only have to bring it up on the surface like water is taken upwards from a well.

LOVE

If you are in a relationship: This is the time of attraction and passion, a good moment to show your partner love. In negative meaning it can signify anger and quarrels which in the end should not last long anyway. If surrounded by other card(s) presenting the goddess of house and family, it suggests marriage or strengthening the already existing relationship.

If you are single: Do not sit and wait until Prince Charming comes to save you. Start searching for him yourself but do not concentrate on finding Mr Perfect. Instead surround yourself with people with whom you are connected by work, hobby or volunteering, the more people you meet, the bigger chance of finding someone who will suit you. If you have already crush on someone, this card suggests making the first step.

FINANCES

Positive: possible promotion or pay rise, negative: more work or duties. Often signifies your boss or someone who has power over you. It is a good moment to think about a new project or starting your own firm, Brigid says, ‘Think carefully about the plan and consider all the possible options and when you are ready, act immediately and do not hesitate’.

HEALTH

A visit to doctor or a hospital is necessary. You need to take better care of your health, if you delay consulting a specialist, the problem will be growing. Possible fever or inflammation of one of the body’s organs. Injuries caused by speed or sport may happen to you. Also problems with overactivity may affect your mind (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder etc) and that is the right time to diagnose them. If accompanied by the goddesses of earth, this cards may suggest a visit to spa&health centre. If it appears at the end of spread in questions concerning health problems, it usually suggests recovery especially if it is accompanied by the goddess of wealth, well-being or fertility.

CARDS

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

This beautiful and very Art Nouveau image of Brigid comes from Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews.

Brigid in the deck of Pamela Matthews

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

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

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

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took

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

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

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

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

The card from the deck of Doreen Virtue brings the message which is consitent with the element of Fire, Don’t back down. Stand up for what you believe is right. Speak your truth. Stick to your opinions.

Brigid in the deck of Doreen Virtue

Brigid in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst (or is it Archangel Michael? )

Brigid in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

Brigid in The Goddess Power deck by Cordelia Brabbs

And this is a very adequate assignment of Brigid as King of Staves from the Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano  (Staves=Fire, King=the most progressed and advanced in development of the court figures). As you can see there is the sign of triquerta over the goddess’ head which may be some kind of overinterpretation but it definitely pays attention to Brigid’s triple nature.

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Based on English Wikipedia and the following pages:  http://www.realmagick.com/6807/brigid-the-goddess-of-imbolc-and-celtic-europe/, http://www.inanna.virtualave.net/brigit.html and http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/thecygnusmystery_swan.htm.

* I will publish a separate post explaining the notion of Triple Goddess because it is definitely worth to study it deeper.

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