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Enlightenment Through Discovery

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The Goddess Files: Enlightenment through Discover

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May 2nd, 2008

Devi (Devanagari: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for Goddess.

Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void. Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism.

Devi is, quintessentially, the core form of every Hindu Goddess. As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti or Maya, as she balances out the male aspect of the divine addressed Purusha. [1]

Manifestations

Devi or the divine feminine is an equal conterpart to the divine masculine, and hence manifests herself as the Trinity herself - the Creator (Durga or the Divine Mother), Preserver (Lakshmi, Parvati & Sarswati) and Destroyer (Mahishasura-Mardini, Kali & Smashanakali ).


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The conjoined image of three especially popular manifestations of the Hindu Divine Mother: Lakshmi (wealth/material fulfillment), Parvati (love/spiritual fulfillment), and Saraswati (learning and arts/cultural fulfillment).

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devi
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Who Is Devi

The Great Goddess, known in India as Devi (literally "goddess"), has many guises. She is "Ma" the gentle and approachable mother. As Jaganmata, or Mother of the universe, she assumes cosmic proportions, destroying evil and addressing herself to the creation and dissolution of the worlds. She is worshiped by thousands of names that often reflect local customs and legends. She is one and she is many. She is celebrated in songs and poems.

Always Blissful Mother
by Kamlalakanta Chakrabarti

Mother, you're always blissful.
You charmed destructive Shiva,
you dance in your own joy,
and clap your hands to keep time.
O Elemental, Eternal One!
Your form is empty space,
yet the moon adorns your brow.
Where did you get your garland of severed heads,
before the universe came into being?
You are the operator,
and we nothing but machines
that run by your rule.
We stay where you put us,
and say what you make us say.
Cursing you, O Destructive One,
restless Kamlalakanta says:
With the sword in your hand
you've slaughtered my faith
together with my disbelief.
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http://www.asia.si.edu/devi/whoisdevi.htm
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Her Many Forms

She has many names and forms such as the warrior Durgha and the bloodthirsty Kali or she can be gentle as Parvati, mother of the elephant god Ganesha. Devi is the consort (wife) of Shiva which is Parvati. Shiva is the god of generation and destruction. Devi is the "Mother Goddess," meaning she is the mother of all. In her hands she holds joy and pain, right hand; and life and death is held on her left hand. Devi is the god of nature and life because she brings rain and protects against disease. Devi is mild and loving. This was the personality of Devi as mother of life.

As mother of death, she is terrible. In her description, Devi has eight arms, only one arm has a sword. When she is fighting against evil, she is usually mounted on a lion or a tiger. Devi holds the universe in her wombs. Devi is the warrior Durgha when she is the mother of death. Gods begged Durgha to kill and protect from the evil Mahisasura. Devi is in all the women's soul and she can also turn into the religious Uma.

Devi's diagram is called her mansions. In the middle of her forehead, she has a Bindu (drop or dot) which in some ways seems to be masculine. Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu is an incarnation of Devi. She is the goddess of creative power and represents all women in the universe.

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http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/devi.html
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September 26th, 2007

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OYA

Mythology:

In Africa, Oya (pronounced oh-yah) is the Yoruban Goddess of weather, especially tornadoes, lightning, destructive rainstorms, fire, female leadership, persuasive charm, and transformation. She is also one of the most powerful of Brazilian Macumba deities. When women find themselves in hard-to-resolve conflicts, she is the one to call on for protection. Wearing wine, her favorite color, and exhibiting nine whirlwinds (nine being her sacred number), she is depicted here with a turban twisted to appear like buffalo horns, for it is said she assumed the shape of a buffalo when wedded to Ogun. (5)


Alternate names: Oya-ajere "Carrier of the Container of Fire", Ayaba Nikua "Queen of Death", Iya Yansan "Mother of Nine", Ayi Lo Da "She Who Turns and Changes", Oia, Yansa, Yansan. (3)

Oya is the powerful Yoruba Goddess of the Winds of Change; the Primeval Mother of Chaos; Queen of the Nine (for the nine tributaries of the Niger River). Using her machete, or sword of truth, she cuts through stagnation and clears the way for new growth. She does what needs to be done. She is the wild woman, the force of change; lightning, fire, tornadoes, earthquakes and storms of all kinds are ruled by Oya. She is also Queen of the Marketplace, a shrewd businesswoman and adept with horses. As the wind, she is the first breath and the last, the one who carries the spirits of the dead to the other world, which is why she is associated with cemeteries. (1)

Oya is known as a fierce warrior and strong protectress of women, who call on Her to settle disputes in their favor. (3)


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As the goddess of change, She brings down the dead wood to make room for the new, and She uses Her machete or sword to clear a path for new growth. She is believed to watch over the newly dead and assist them as they make the transition from life. She is equated with the Vodoun lwa Maman Brijit, who, like Oya, guards graveyards. (3)

Oya is the goddess of the Niger River, and Her violent rainstorms are said to be its source. Like Oshun, She is worshipped not only in Africa but in Brazil, where the Amazon is said to be Her river, and where She is equated with the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of La Candelaria. Oya, who is a goddess of a very fiery demeanor, also seems to have a far-flung connection with the Celtic Bride or Bridgit, both in Her Vodoun counterpart Maman Brijit, and in Her associated Catholic saint, Our Lady of La Candelaria, whose feast day, February 2nd, is shared with Bride. (3)

Oya's attributes are the sword or machete and the flywhisk, and Her animal is the water buffalo, in whom She sometimes manifests. Her mother is said to be Yemaya, the Great Sea Mother. Oya Herself is said to be the mother of nine children--Egungun and four sets of twins. (3)

Oya is one of the most powerful African Goddesses (Orishas). A Warrior-Queen, She is the sister-wife of the God Shango, to whom She gave the power to create storms[2]. Much of Oya's power is rooted in the natural world; She is the Goddess of thunder, lightning, tornadoes, winds, rainstorms and hurricanes. A Fire Goddess, it is Oya who brings rapid change and aids us in both inner and outer transformation[3]. (2)

Oya is the guardian of the realm between life and death; as such, She is not only the Goddess of spirit communication, funerals and cemeteries[4] but also the Goddess of clairvoyance, psychic abilities, intuition and rebirth. She can call forth the spirit of death, or hold it back -- such is the extent of Her power. [3]. Because of Her affiliation to the dead, and Her intense knowledge of the magick arts, Oya is also known as "the Great Mother of the Elders of the Night (Witches)"[3]. (2)

Oya is both loved and feared, and for good reason: unleashed, Oya is the Savage Warrior, the Protective Mother, She whose power sweeps all injustice, deceit and dishonesty from Her path[4]. She will destroy villages if the need is true enough, for while She understands everything, She will only accept, act upon, and speak the truth (even when it is hard to bear)[3]. (2)

Oya is the protectress of women and patron of feminine leadership[4]. Fiercely loving, She is wildly unpredictable and can change from benevolent, caring Mother to destructive Warrior in the blink of an eye. Passionate, fearless, sensual and independent, Oya is not a Goddess to be invoked lightly and must be treated with respect and care. While She will toss you in Her storms of change, and shelter you in Her caring embrace, She will also strike you down with Her lightning should the need arise. However, do not let that dissuade you from working with Oya, for She is the Strong Woman, the Bringer of Change and Seeker of Truth, who can be a most powerful ally. (2)


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Oya storms into your life to tell you that change is calling, beckoning, and camping out on your doorstep. The way to wholeness for you lies in embracing change. Have you been too busy, too stressed, to attend to the changes needed in your life to nurture yourself? Is change so fearful a concept that you push it aside, play hide-and seek with it, or just ignore it? Have you arranged your life so perfectly that there is no room left for potential? Time for change. Time to sweep out, sweep up, and be swept away. Perhaps you are in the midst of the Change (menopause) and are having trouble accepting it. Resistance to change brings more persistent change. Choosing to dance with change means you will flow with it. Let yourself be unsettled, prepare yourself for growth. Enter deeply into change's chaotic dance and you'll be richly blessed with abundant possiblity. It is time for something completely different. The Goddess says that the earth must be dug up before anything can be planted and that change always brings you what you need on your path to wholeness. (5)


Honoring Oya:

Colours: maroon, purple, deep dark red, oranges, browns, multi-colours, burgundy, copper.

Scents: patchouli, sandalwood, geranium.

Gemstones: red stones, particularly garnet, but also bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz.

Foods: eggplant, grape wine, grapes, gin, rum, kola nuts, rooster, hen, porridge, fruit, fish, anything spicy.

Herbs: comfrey, pleurisy roots, horehound, chickweed, peony, elecampane, royal poinciana, star apple, flamboyan, yucca, caimito, cypress, grains of paradise.

Icons: masks, swords, whips, pennies, brooms, camwood, wind instruments, anything associated with wind (e.g. pictures of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc), bright-coloured cloth, buffalo's horns, anything copper.

Metal: Copper.

Number: 9. (2)


Invocation:

Oya can be invoked for change, strength, leadership, authority, courage, justice, weather spells, ancestor-worship, grief, truth, power, magick, protection... (2)

Meditation to Oya:

Oya, Lady of Storms,
Oya, Bringer of Change,
Oya, Warrior of Women,
You who command the winds
And protect the souls of the dead
You whose domain is the tornado, the storm, the thunder,
I thank you for your presence tonight
Your wise words, listening ear, and instigation of change.
Hail, Oya, and Farewell! (2)

Offerings to Oya include eggplants, coins, red wine, and cloth. (3)

(( In other notes.. there is a very interesting magick ritual through one of the websites I used as a reference. This is the link: http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Oya_2.html ))

References:
(1) - http://www.goddessmyths.com/Lucina-Ptesan-Wi.html
(2) - http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/Oya.html
(3) - http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/oya.html
(4) - http://www.awakenedwoman.com/oya.htm
(5) - http://www.angelfire.com/va/goddesses/oya.html


Exterior References from MY (2):
[2] Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. Goddesses in World Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford University Press : New York (1995).
[3] http://www.geocities.com/ojedele/oya.html
[4] http://www.goddess.com.au/goddesses/Oya.htm

April 3rd, 2007

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Tara, the Lotus of Wisdomw

Tara (Sanskrit, "star") is a Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. In Tibet, where Tara is the most important deity, her name is Sgrol-ma, meaning "she who saves." The mantra of Tara (om tare tuttare ture svaha) is the second most common mantra heard in Tibet, after the mantra of Chenrezi (om mani padme hum). (1)

Tara is the Bodhisattva of feminine compassionate wisdom in action. Her name means 'she who ferries across', 'one who saves', or 'star'.(2)

Her name means "The Star" because she is believed to lead her devotees through the treacherous waters of life to safe harbor. (3)

The goddess of universal compassion, Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother's love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. (1)

Origins of TaraCollapse )


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Green TaraCollapse )


Green Tara Thangka -and- Analysis of Symbolism PresentCollapse )


Devotional Hymn of the Green TaraCollapse )


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White TaraCollapse )

White Tara Thangka and Analysis of Symbolism PresentCollapse )


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Other Taras

Tara is sometimes depicted in colors and forms other than green and white. Tibetan temple banners frequently show 21 different Taras, colored white, red, and yellow, and grouped around a central Green Tara. In her ferocious, blue form, invoked to destroy enemies, she is known as Ugra-Tara, or Ekajata; as a red goddess of love, Kurukulla; and as a protectress against snake bite, Janguli. The yellow Bhrkuti is an angry Tara. (1)

In Japan, Tara is a bodhisattva called Tarani Bosatsu. The Japanese Tara embodies both the white and green forms of the Tibetan Tara, and is usually only found on mandalas and temple banners. She is pale green and holds a pomegranate (a symbol of prosperity) and a lotus. Tara is not often to be found in China. (1)

(1) - http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/deities/tara.htm
(2) - http://www.fraughtwithperil.com/blogs/rbeck/archives/000633.html
(3) - http://www.mandarava.com/Retail/tara_gifts_1.htm
(4) - http://www.thangka.co.uk/detail009.htm
(5) - http://pages.cthome.net/tibetanbuddhism/thangka_painting.htm
(6) - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bodhisattva

March 14th, 2007

Spider Grandmother

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Not enough props are given to the Native Americans. (and that's a gross understatement) I searched for Native American goddesses and Spider Grandmother was the first and most numerous response. What a cool name, huh? And what a cool idea of the creator. I am thoroughly comforted by this thought of Spider Grandmother, spinning her web of my universe.



This first little tidbit comes from Wikipedia and that is all they had about her. (how sad!)

"In native American religions and myths, Spider Grandmother is creator of the world. She was also responsible for the stars in the sky. She took a web she had spun, and laced it with dew. She then threw it into the sky, and the dew became the stars."

Here is a Cherokee Legend about how Spider Grandmother stole the Sun for her from: peoplehttp://firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/GrandmotherSpiderStealsTheSun-Cherokee.html

"Now, when Earth was brand new, there was much confusion, for there was darkness everywhere. All of Earth's Peoples kept bumping into each other, and were often hurt. They all cried out for light, that they might see.

Fox said that he knew of some people on the other side of the world who had plenty light. He said that it was nice and warm, but those people were too greedy to share it with anyone else. Possum said that he would steal Sun. "I have a beautiful, bushy tail," he said. "I can hide the Sun in all of that fur. Let me try."

So Possum went to the other side of the world and found the Sun. It was hanging up in a Tree and lighting up everything. Possum took a piece of the Sun and hid it in the fur of his tail. But Sun was so hot that it burned all of Possum's tail hairs off. To this day, Possum has a bare tail. The people discovered Possum and took the piece of the Sun back.

Buzzard said, "I will take the Sun myself. I will put it on my head, so that I can see where I am going with it." So he tried to take the Sun too. He flew to the other side of the world, and dived down to snare the Sun in his claws. But it was so hot that it burned all of Buzzard's feathers off of his head. To this day, Buzzard's head is bald and ugly. The people discovered Buzzard, and took the Sun back.

Then Grandmother Spider said, "Let me try." First, she made a very thick clay pot, big enough to put the Sun in. Then, she spun a web which reached all the way to the other side of the world. She was so small and quiet that these people did not notice her at all. When she was ready, she quickly snatched up the Sun in her big clay pot, and hurried back home along her web. Now her side of the world had light, and warmth. Everyone rejoiced at Grandmother Spider's gift.

Spider Woman brought the Sun to the Principal People, the Cherokee, but also the gift of fire. She also taught them to make pottery."

Apparently she is revered in several Native American clans and traditions and, though it was hard to find much more information about how she created the universe, there are several tales like the above that feature her. There is also quite a number of her devotees in the pagan community, which goes to show you I have a lot more learning to do. I will continue to research Spider Grandmother and Native Americans in general. We raped and killed their families, gave them horrible European plagues, and took their land. The least we can do is learn about them now.



March 6th, 2007

Amaterasu

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I first learned of Amaterasu after reading a book of Japanese lore that I checked out from the library last year. What I find most interesting is that she is the first, and only, that I know of, goddess that is linked with the sun. Goddesses, and women in general, are more often than not associated with the moon, in almost all eras and cultures. The wikipedia entry is more like what I read in that book.



AMATERASU Sun goddess, ruler of the heavens. When her great enemy, the storm god Susa-No-Wo, destroyed her fine palace, Amaterasu went to hide in a cave. The other gods used all their magical tricks to get her to come out, to no avail. In her absence, darkness and demons ruled the earth until Ama-No-Usume lured Amaterasu out of the cave with a trick. With a comical and obscene dance, he made the gods gathered at the mouth of the cave laugh. When Amaterasu asked what was going on, Ama-No-Uzume replied that they had found another and better sun goddess. Amaterasu peeped out of her cave and saw her own reflection in a mirror which Ama-No-Uzume had hung on a nearby tree. Fascinated, Ameratasu drew a little closer for a better look, and the gods grabbed her and hauled her out. (1)

Amaterasu, the powerful sun goddess of Japan, is the most well-known deity of Japanese mythology. Her feuding with her uncontrollable brother Susanoo, however, is equally infamous and appears in several tales. One story tells of Susanoo's wicked behavior toward Izanagi. Izanagi, tired of Susanoo's repeated complaints, banished him to Yomi. Susanoo grudgingly acquiesced, but had to attend to some unfinished business first. He went to Takamanohara (heaven) to bid farewell to his sister, Amaterasu. Amaterasu knew her unpredictable brother did not have any good intentions in mind and prepared for battle. "For what purpose do you come here?" asked Amaterasu. "To say farewell," answered Susanoo.

But she did not believe him and requested a contest for proof of his good faith. A challenge was set as to who could bring forth more noble and divine children. Amaterasu made three women from Susanoo's sword, while Susanoo made five men from Amaterasu's ornament chain. Amaterasu claimed the title to the five men made from her belongings. Therefore, the three women were attributed to Susanoo.


Torii at Ama-no-Iwato Shrine, Takachiho, Miyazaki PrefectureBoth gods declared themselves to be victorious. Amaterasu's insistence in her claim drove Susanoo to violent campaigns that reached their climax when he hurled a half-flayed pony--an animal sacred to Amaterasu--into Amatarasu's weaving hall, causing the death of one of her attendants. Amaterasu fled and hid in the cave called Iwayado. As the sun goddess disappeared into the cave, darkness covered the world.

All the gods and goddesses in their turn strove to coax Amaterasu out of the cave, but she ignored them all. Finally, the kami of merriment, Ama-no-Uzume, hatched a plan. She placed a large bronze mirror on a tree, facing Amaterasu's cave. Then Uzume clothed herself in flowers and leaves, overturned a washtub, and began to dance on it, drumming the tub with her feet. Finally, Uzume shed the leaves and flowers and danced naked. All the male gods roared with laughter, and Amaterasu became curious. When she peeked outside from her long stay in the dark, a ray of light called "dawn" escaped and Amaterasu was dazzled by her own reflection in the mirror. The god Ameno-Tajikarawo pulled her from the cave and it was sealed with a holy shirukume rope. Surrounded by merriment, Amaterasu's depression disappeared and she agreed to return her light to the world. Uzume was from then on known as the kami of dawn as well as mirth.(2)


(1) http://www.purgingtalon.com/nlm/worldmyth/japanese.htm
(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_mythology#Amaterasu_and_Susanoo


February 25th, 2007

In Susa, south of Iran, mother goddess was worshiped at least since early 4th millennium BC, with numerous statuettes of her found in the area. The tradition of worshiping the mother goddess spilled over to Mesopotamia, where it continued for thousands of years to come. (4)

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Aredvi Sura Anahita is the Avestan language name of an (Indo-)Iranian cosmological figure, venerated as the divinity of 'the Waters' (Aban) and hence associated with fertility, healing and wisdom. Her name is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle- and Modern Persian, Anahit in Armenian. The Greek and Roman historians of classical antiquity refer to her either as Anaitis or identified her with one of the divinities from their own pantheons. (5)

The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means "the immaculate one". She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals. (1)

Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the 'Great Goddess' which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra. (1)

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The mother goddess was sometimes attributed to the moon and some times to Venus. The reason behind this duality lies in the tradition of incest, which was not only allowed, but also sanctified in ancient Iran. According to this tradition which dates back to the cave dwelling period, the kings and noble men of Iran had to marry their close relatives, the offspring of such marriages enjoying priority to inherit the crown. The same tradition was observed among the divinities, so much so that the ancient goddesses appear alternately as the mother, the sister or the wife of the masculine god, having different ranks. That is why Anahita (Ânâhitâ), the Iranian goddess, sometimes appears as mother earth and the goddess of fertility and birth, and sometimes as Venus, the goddess of music, love, jealousy and coquetry. Nahid (Nâhid/Anâhid) is alternately the wife, the sister or the mother of god. However, when she is the wife and mother of god, her symbol is the moon, and when she represents the goddess of love and music, the planet Venus. An Armenian myth says: "the devil knew that if the god had intercourse with his mother, the sun would be born, and if with his sister, the moon would be born." (4)

When Persia conquered Babylonia (in the 6th century BCE), Anahita began to show some similarities with the goddess Ishtar. Since then her cult included also the practice of temple prostitution. During the reign of king Artaxerxes (436-358 BCE) many temples were erected in her honor; in Soesa, Ecbatana, and in Babylon. (1)

The cosmological qualities of the world river are alluded to in Yasht 5 (see in the Avesta, below), but properly developed only in the Bundahishn, a Zoroastrian account of creation finished in the 11th or 12th century CE. In both texts, Aredvi Sura Anahita is not only a divinity, but also the source of the world river and the (name of the) world river itself. The cosmological legend runs as follows:

All the waters of the world created by Ahura Mazda originate from the source Aredvi Sura
Anahita, the life-increasing, herd-increasing, fold-increasing, who makes prosperity for
all countries. This source is at the top of the world mountain Hara Berezaiti, "High Hara",
around which the sky revolves and that is at the center of Airyanem Vaejah, the first of
the lands created by Mazda. (5)


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Detail from Khusrau II's cave at Taq-i Bustan. Here Khusrau receives the diadem from Ahura Mazda on the right, while Anahita, on the left, also offers a diadem. Anahita in Persian mythology is the Strong Undefiled Waters, the source of fertility and life. (3)

As a divinity Aredvi Sura Anahita is of enormous significance to the Zoroastrian religion, for as a representative of Aban ('the waters'), she is in effect the divinity towards whom the Yasna service - the primary act of worship - is directed. (see Ab-Zohr). "To this day reverence for water is deeply ingrained in Zoroastrians, and in orthodox communities offerings are regularly made to the household well or nearby stream" (5)


References:Collapse )

February 19th, 2007

Shekhina (also Shekhinah or Shekina) means in Hebrew "Divine Manifestation," "Divine Presence," "Divine Power," "Glory," and "Grace." (Shekhina is a feminine word in Hebrew.) It is the Talmudic term for the visible and audible manifestation of Deity's presence on Earth. The Shekhina is considered so large that She overshadows the world (i.e., is transcendent), but so small She can dwell in the Temple and in each aspect of creation (i.e., is immanent). (2)

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Judaism is a monotheistic religion, strongly connected to a patriarchal God - Yahweh. It may surprise many people to discover that a goddess was associated with Judaism from its conception, and continued to play an important part, in various forms, to the present. The goddess is best known as Shekhina, a Talmudic term describing the manifestation of God's presence on earth. (1)

The word Shekhina, in Hebrew, is derived from the Biblical verb shakhan, meaning "the act of dwelling" but taking the feminine form. Therefore, at the beginning of the Talmudic era, the word Shekhina meant the aspect of God that dwelt among people and could be apprehended by the senses. For example, one Talmudic verse said: "Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell (ve'shakhanti) among them." However, in a later version, the translation said "Let them make Me a Sanctuary so that My Shekhina will dwell among them." In other words, a separate entity. (1)

Shekhina's presence was marked by the sound like the tinkling of a bell. (2)

Shekhina represented compassion in its purest form, and despite being, officially, the female side of God, she was visible and audible as a feminine entity in her own right. A beautiful being of light, whose most important function was to intercede with God on behalf of her children. (1)

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As the Jews migrated throughout Europe, sightings of the Shekhina occurred in every town Jews lived (ex: Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Russia).

She comforted the sick, the poor, the suffering, and had a particular concern for repentant sinners "These are accepted by the Shekhina as if they were righteous and pious persons who never sinned. They are carried aloft and seated next to the Shekhina...he whose heart is broken and whose spirit is low, and whose mouth rarely utters a word, the Shekhina walks with him every day...". (1)

By the 3rd century CE, the Shekhina was considered capable of opposing and influencing the Lord. Her compassionate nature compelled Her to argue with the Lord in defense of humanity. She was thought to have admonished the Lord not to practice retribution and to refrain from punishing Israel. (2)

A significant passage from the 11th century, describes Rabbi Akiva (a second century sage) saying: "When the Holy One, blessed be He, considered the deeds of the generation of Enoch and that they were spoiled and evil, He removed Himself and His Shekhina from their midst and ascended into the heights with blasts of trumpets..." (1)

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Ur-Nammu with Shekina (female spirit) offers libations to the Tree of Life
to both the Moon Goddess Ningal and the Moon God Nannar (Woolley 1954 pl 22). (4)

Like any good mother, she could punish too. When she behaved violently, her character came closer to her powerful aspect of the great Asherah, Yahweh's Canaanite Consort. She descended to Earth to punish Adam, Eve, and the Serpent when they sinned at the Garden of Eden.(1) She is believed to have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of its depravity, when not even one good person was found to dwell there. (2) She confused the builders of the Tower of Babel. She drowned the Egyptians at the Red Sea crossing during Exodus. When needed, she even killed righteous people. Since the beginning of time, six people -- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam -- could not be taken by the Angel of Death because of their perfect purity. Someone had to bring their souls to Heaven, and only Shekhina could do that. By kissing them, she released their souls from bondage to this world. (1)

It is believed that She will descend to fight in the battle between good and evil at the end of time. (2)

The Shekhina is also thought to intervene at judgment after death. According to Midrash Mishle and Rabbi Hananel (died 1050 CE):

QuoteCollapse )

Kabbalah on ShekhinaCollapse )

Believe it or not, Leonard Nimoy has a photography series devoted to HerCollapse )
References:

(1) - http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/shekhina.html
(2) - http://wheeloftheyear.com/reference/shekhina.htm
(3) - http://www.leonardnimoyphotography.com/
(4) - http://www.dhushara.com/book/orsin/origsin.htm

February 18th, 2007

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Coatlicue

Pronunciation:
coh-ah-tlee'-cooeh (3)

Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan (also transcribed Teteo Inan) ("The Mother of Gods"), is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. She is also known as Toci ("our grandmother") and Cihuacoatl ("the lady of the serpent"), the patron of women who die in childbirth.

The word "Coatlicue" is Nahuatl for "the one with the skirt of serpents". She is referred to by the epithets "Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things", "Goddess of Fire and Fertility", "Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth" and "Mother of the Southern Stars". (1)

Coatlicue was the old goddess of the earth, she was the mother of the gods as well as the grandmother of the race of man. This statue depicts her in her most grusome form, as the flesh-eating goddess of sacrifice. Two serpent heads spring from her severed neck to form the single face of the great earth monster. A necklace of human hearts and hands decorate her body, a form comprised entirely of serpents. The earth goddess is represented as the cannibalistic eater of flesh. A representation of the earth's decomposition ofall that dies, and returns back to nature. All life and hence matter is eventually consumed by the earth. (2)

Coatlicue represented the type of the devouring mother in whom were combined both the womb and the grave. (3) Almost all representation of this goddess depict her deadly side, because Earth, as well as loving mother, is the insatiable monster that consumes everything that lives. (1)

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Coatlicue was a goddess thirsty of human sacrifices. Her husband was Mixcoatl, the cloud serpent and god of the chase. Coatlicue gave birth to Huitzilopochtli after a ball of feathers fell into the temple where she was sweeping and touched her. This weird pregnancy greatly offended her existing four hundred children who were encouraged by Coyolxauhqui to kill their dishonored mother.

However, Huitzilopochtli emerged from the womb of his mother fully armed and saved her. Huitzilopochtli cut off the head of his sister, Coyolxauhqui and threw it into the sky to become the Moon.

(Her son)Huitzilopochtli was also known as the god of war and the hummingbird wizard. He served as the chief god of Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs. (4)

(1) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coatlicue
(2) - http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/coatlicue.html
(3) - http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/coatlicue.html
(4) - http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mythology/coatlicue_earth.html&edu=high
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