Tag Archive | Goddess

She is Three

I love the symbolism of Maiden-Mother-Crone. Not only was the Triple Goddess concept a life-saver for me in my 30s (when I found Wicca more than twenty years ago), but I still resonate to the symbolism of Three in many ways. This leads me to feel that while we may lean one direction intellectually, I often wonder if there isn’t an energetic pattern or genetic memory associated for some of us with this connection to the Triple Goddess. But then, I link to energies, not dogma; structure can be helpful scaffolding, and provide a sense of support especially when starting on a new path, but I prefer to weave my own spiritual practice and life.

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Three Raccoons Visiting

That said, my embrace of Maiden-Mother-Crone has shifted over time so that I feel the Triple Goddess not so much as abiding in or expressing as a distinct or rigid phase of life but as ebbing and flowing states of being. In other words, I continually move in and out of these three base energies that arise out of the Divine Cosmic Womb.

This perspective is even easier for me now, to be at ease with this ever-changing concept of Maiden-Mother-Crone, since studying Ayurveda and the Samkhya philosophy. That ancient healing system also views the life phases through a broad spectrum of three primary energies (child is Kapha, productive adult is Pitta, wisdom/spiritual contemplative elder is Vata) although we also, each of us, has within us the unique blend of the doshas (the three arise from the five elements) so we can access any of the energies we need and are not restricted to a particular phase of life. Ultimately, life is change and the patterns or symbols or structures we use are available to us as life support systems, however we need them to be.

Many women in the Women’s Spirituality movement seem just as obsessed with stating the idea that Maiden-Mother-Crone is not ancient tradition as are those who cling firmly to the idea that Maiden-Mother-Crone is linked to ancient tradition. And wherever each of us is, so be it…may we all find our highest and deepest healing path. Because Wicca was “re-created” by a man (Gerald Gardner) and a man (Robert Graves) developed the concept of three goddesses as aligned with three lunar phases, many women now go overboard the other direction to disparage their ideas. I used to do that, too, and still occasionally find myself resisting something simply because a man created, developed, or expanded upon an idea or concept. However, the older I get, the more at ease I am in realizing that we’re all human and there are brilliant, sensitive men able to tap into women’s feelings, emotions, and perceptions, spiritual or otherwise. (It probably helps that my husband is a loving, generous example of this kind of man.)

Further, this determined adherence to fact or data – only accepting what has been “proven” — is often a defensive move so that people don’t think women are crazily irrational in their belief system. Not that this is an imaginary response. Sadly, we still experience a duality – the one that says men are rational, and women are not. I feel like a lot of women continue to retain a lot of anger, bitterness, and defensiveness, based upon their (our) experiences of men, duality, hierarchy, and/or patriarchy. Feminism has evolved and come a long way, but the movement is far from over.

Recently I heard of a spiritual teacher who begins many lectures or teachings with the phrase: “maybe I’m wrong but…”. This opens up the conversation and lets the speaker, right from the start, admit to the listeners that there are other possibilities than just the one she personally advocates for herself. This is where I like to place myself, as well, and it allows for transformative experiences and beliefs. I don’t care to experience life from within the confines of yes or no, true or false, fact or fiction. So, while I may have my own theories and belief system, it’s just that…mine.

This leads me to my appreciation for a recent post on Feminism and Religion by Carol Christ, a foremother of the Women’s Spirituality movement. I’ve read all of Carol’s books, many of her articles, and have long admired her as a sort of kindred spirit. I love that she continues to share her thoughts and feelings through her own spiritual and life journey; she has had a tremendous impact upon my own journey. However, since I’m not an academic person, I have no deep need or desire to accept, confirm, or deny definitively whether the Triple Goddess symbolism is “an ancient pattern” or a modern creation. Carol ends with:

“Ours is not a tradition handed down intact from the ancient past, rather it is a new creative synthesis of aspects of the past combined with contemporary insight and experience. Once we recognize that the Triple Goddess is a contemporary creation, we are free to affirm Maiden, Mother, Crone—or to use other symbols.”

So, I guess I both agree and disagree with the above. Maybe the Triple Goddess is ancient memory, maybe not. That’s not important to me. What I do agree with is that each of us is always free to access that which resonates, whether old, new, or unknown, and to then create powerful, healing symbols and systems for ourselves and the world.

Welcoming Mawu

MawuSculptedSerpentineElephant2015She observes in stillness, but her head is tilted to the side, a state of curiosity in her witnessing so that I am not uncomfortable with a confrontational gaze, not unnerved by too intense a watchfulness.

She listens with a sweet sort of inclined attention, with a flow to her posture that welcomes story and presence without the intimidation her size might otherwise instill upon my essential timidity. I am a mouse before her giantess nature of peace and communion in the wilderness in which we both live.

She is ancient angelic behemoth, swaying to celestial harp and earthly rhythmic drum, composing songs of pulsing heartbeat and twinkling embrace.

She is the songstress of the land – her sister of ocean is whale. Do they sing to each other in circumference, their vibrational melodies meeting in the air that both breathe?

She speaks through the text of landscape, through feet that sense sound, through a long snake-like trunk that touches and caresses.

She has a message for me; she holds healing and wisdom and beauty so easily balanced.

She is listening to me, hearing me into a more powerful presence.

She removes obstacles and blockages that inhibit creativity and flow.

She is ancient wisdom.

 

My fascination for this sculpture was a mystery. I’ve rarely been drawn to the elephant as a spirit guide though I admire them as I do all creatures. When women in Circle were speaking of how important the elephant was to them, I couldn’t relate. When Ayurveda classmates were embracing Ganesh, I felt only slightly drawn. But when I saw this large sculpted elephantine figure carved out of dark green serpentine stone, I was captivated, our spiritual convergence at hand.

As I had done two years ago with an African figurine (both were found at the Tucson Gem Show), I first turned to a book* for a name. As soon as I saw the name and its short description as “Moon goddess and creator of all things,” it felt right.

 

I call her Mawu.**

She came from Zimbabwe.

 

MawuElephantSculpture020915b

As I sit with her, as I research her, evidence linking us is revealed.

The blend of sculpting an elephant from serpentine stone is a blessing, the properties of each an invocation upon the other, stone and symbol further stabilized and amplified by the sacred exaltation of Mawu.

Mawu is a Creation Goddess whose fecund energy interconnects with those of the elephant’s longevity and serpentine’s property of cellular regeneration.

Mawu’s symbols of seed and clay align with the elephant’s affinity to the earth, as a grounded and grounding Being, and with serpentine stone’s ability to assist in healing the earth through it’s association with elemental beings.

Mawu, “after creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky.” In this respect, she is aligned with serpentine stone in its ability to work with the powers of Snake.

Mawu, a lunar goddess, “arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy.” Within this mythology, she is clearly affiliated with the strength and feminine powers of Elephant.

Of particular interest to me, as I continue seeking ways to adjust to Desert Fire, is that Mawu “is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world.” This attribute is exceedingly welcome!

All three – Mawu, Elephant, and Serpentine – impart the quality of Wisdom.

There are many more healing and supportive qualities I need that flow between this symbolic and energetic representation of Goddess, animal, and stone. The above are just a few.

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* Conway, D.J. The Ancient & Shining Ones: World Myth, Magic & Religion.

** Now, a sculpture from South Africa (Zimbabwe) carries the name of a West African (Benin) Goddess. The name Mawu is from myths told by people in the former Kingdom of Dahomey, now known as the Country of Benin, in West Africa. Benin borders Bekina Faso, which is where the sculptor who made my bronze figurine lives.

Artemis in Crete

[The following is an excerpt from Minoan Messages On The Gaia Path.]

balconyIS IT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM STAYING at a hotel named after Artemis? Artemis who has long been another resonant Goddess for me? Artemis who exemplifies the independent stage of life I went through after my divorce and before I met Ron? Artemis in her Maidenhood, her independence and empowerment, her strength and intimate relationship to the wilds, the woods, nature, her pack of hounds called the Alani? The Alani of which I became one?

I’ve read books and articles about Artemis, and relate to much of what’s written, yet I also know Her differently in some ways.

Goddess of the Hunt is one of Her appellations. However, as a devotee of Artemis, my sense is that as “the huntress” Artemis did/does not advocate killing. Rather, Hers is the power of dispensation and for stepping in as intermediary between hunted and hunter for a swift and painless death. In other words, if it is necessary to take a life for survival, invoke and invite her guidance and She may grant absolution to the one who deals death to a precious wild creature and/or an innocent of any species. Her bestowing of prowess with the bow—in her association with that tool—was for protection of the wild creatures, and to prevent suffering. Ultimately, Artemis is a Huntress of Souls, not hunting to kill in our mundane perceptions but to renew, protect, guide, save and inspire the wild and innocent beings.

In her other guises and energies, and at other points in time, Artemis is also known by a variety of names. For instance, on Crete, She is associated with Britomartis, Goddess of Mountains, and Eileithyia, Goddess of Birth and thus also of Death.

My own energy is connected to Artemis in some interesting ways. A zodiac sign associated with Artemis is Taurus, which is my birth sign. I have a strong attachment to not only the wild and untamed Rocky Mountains, but also to trees and especially pine trees; Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness, has been known to hold a “pine cone tipped wand,” and is a tree goddess. My middle name is Diane, a form of Diana which is the Roman name for Artemis. She is Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts; I am most content at night or in caves, and have always lived with multiple dogs and/or cats. The moment I ‘met’ Artemis, we were in resonance.

She has, however, been tainted by aggression, enslaved by the will of the oppressors, and made into an image of death-wielder or hunter of those She actually protects. There is a deep chasm stretching between Artemis-primordial and what they—the violent ones—seek to make Her. Her archetype has not the desire to kill or to destroy. She is the waxing moon of growth, the crescent moon is Her silver bow and Her discerning, protective gaze flies sure and true as an arrow from that bow. She is the Great Mother Bear, marking the trees to show all who come into the forest that this is sacred space. Who were the Amazons when Artemis led them into healing groves and fields of herbs where the animals showed ignorant human hands how to know blessed plants that could turn fear into peace, hate into love, and still the pains of birth and death?

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 4.24.41 PMHow can we see Artemis clearly if we look through the eyes of patriarchy and those who dominated even themselves, restraining any semblance of kindness? Harsh times rode in on horses disregarded except as vehicles, long forgotten as the wings upon earthly rhythms pounding freedom across the land. Can we close our eyes and feel the origin? Imagine one of the first faces of She Who Runs With the Wolves for they are Her friends, her kin.

I am stricken and saddened by how easily we forget to look before the onslaught of oppression, look into the forest mists of the times when harmony reigned and all of Great Mother’s creature beings were honored, each life taken a great sacrifice for which we gave thanks, asking beforehand for a volunteer … the wounded, the weak, the old. Grace is given for their life to be taken quickly, offered as sustenance in the cycle. The vibrational patterns of life, the energetic threads of relationality became snarled and were tangled, so that we forgot Her truth, Her Divine gift of interconnected honoring into harmony.

Under the light of the waxing moon, She cast shadows to protect the wild beings, to create equality—challenge and illusion—so they would not be taken too easily, would not be slaughtered without asking forgiveness, without prayer and invocation of Divine guidance to lead them to balance of sacrifice and nurturance.

There is tremendous strength in standing firm, in holding fast, in celebrating birth and death as equally vital in our human forms walking the manifest world. Artemis is the exhilaration, the growing light in the sacred dark, glorying in the soft shadows of night and the cool recesses of the cave, and the womb of renewal and joy of youthful vigor.

She has been tarnished and stained, contorted by aggressors who cannot possibly understand Her complexities, for taking a life is a mighty honor and the life taken is then to be honored in a way that reveres all life be it plants, animals or the unknown mysteries of the unseen realms that guide and direct us into opportunities for greater inter-relationship.

Her stories were told and written down by men who could not comprehend Her. Artemis is one who guides us to look within, in the dark, to discover whether we need to take a life or sacrifice our own or even to simply allow a flow of compassion into the relating of all life. She guides us into the paths of our souls, pointing with her arrows to that which needs to be removed or transformed.

The Amazon legends, like the stories of Artemis, were recorded by men; we must seek within our own hearts to find the truth between the lines of the self-reflected, ego-dictated aggression of patriarchy to locate pure source. Maybe the Amazons were indeed wild women of the forests who supplemented their gatherer diets with the occasional meat sacrifice. But I sense that whenever a kill was necessary, it would have been a grave undertaking, not a revelry of joy and laughter with fierce cries of jubilation and pounding upon the chest in dominance. There would have been no joy in the kill.

Artemis vibrates with protection, defense when necessary, and survival with a distinctive grace and reverence for all life. Humans have the will and the intellect to choose how we live, and Artemis will guide us through the dark if we open to Her power.balconyatdusk

Possibility

Surprise LiliesGaia’s infinite wisdom and essence permeates all life and universe vast without limitation for She is not a Being, a construct, an energy — She is All of these and None of these — She is form and non-form, in me and part of me, me within Her and Her outside of me flowing as the ultimate Source. She is beyond comprehension and what we glimpse of Her are facets of Her Grace, thus, the possibility of my grace, our grace.

“Know Thyself.” ~ earnest advice inscribed at the Oracle of Delphi, but a far more ancient concept.

“If that which you seek, you find not within, you will never find it without.” ~ from Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente

That which is sought, the “it” is: Self, peace, love, divinity …

Through Jung and his perspectives on psychology … To be seeking Grace and the Soul in Life, in Living. Not to be trapped in the past or stuck in reviewing the past, but rather using it consciously as a tool, a mirror into revealing sacred Self and Source. There is a balance to be discovered within this exploration, one that allows peace and love to flow … if these energies aren’t becoming stronger during the times of non-reflection, then the Self-discovery is stagnant and stuck in the ego-woes of former moments. The psychological quest is meant to be a healing process; if one is not feeling the healing seeping in like a transfusion of a fresh, clean, pure blood from the heart of Gaia … then one must review where one has gone off the healing path. Jungian psychology supports the process as both: a healing journey and a spiritual journey.

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Saraswati

As I begin preparing for college, I say grace to the Feminine Divine,

in Her energy as Goddess Saraswati,

for Her guidance.

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She is Mother of Wisdom, Goddess of Knowledge,

She is The Flow of Divine Sound into Words.

Books and Paper are Sacred to Her.

The following video is the mantra version I learned

while studying at Kripalu School of Ayurveda in 2010,

and I trust the resonance will open the space around me

to the intuitively guided learning that is bestowed by

Goddess Saraswati.

The following quote is from an interview of Manorama:

“Our job as the student is to ask what is truly being meant by the imagery.  Invoking mantras to Saraswati calls to your own creative essence asking the energy to move through you and link up with the one vibration of the universe. It is like invoking a river of energy that flows underneath you that is ever connected with all. Saraswati doesn’t determine the creation, she just gives you access to your own storehouse of creative energy that is both satisfying and fulfilling. When you are connected with your source energy your creation has an immortal and eternal quality. The body passes, the mind shifts, but something about you remains eternal. When creativity syncs with your soul, what manifests through you is eternal.”

OM AIM SARASWATI NAMAHA

For more information via a beautiful essay about Saraswati,

go to Sacred Wind’s Sarasvati page.

A Conception of Choice

“The power of the matriarchal story—myth or fact—is in the assertion that the world CAN be different. Patriarchy and war are not the “just way its always been,” or a “more evolved” society, or the only possibility for the future. The matriarchal myth opens up the door for a new FUTURE story, not just a revisionist look at the past.”

The above quote is from Molly’s latest post on her blog Theapoetics. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say to me something like “it’s human nature to fight” and I want to respond — like Molly does here — with a concise reference to the fact that we do have examples of cultures that were different and, based upon various interpretations, were egalitarian and peaceful.

Kore from CreteI started reading about these ancient matrifocal cultures in 1995, and I love that nearly 20 years later younger women continue to teach and spread the wisdom of potential and possibility that our foremothers struggled to make available to us through their writing and activism.

Even if the interpretations aren’t accurate — though I believe they are — the possibilities they present by simply viewing history and pre-history as different means that we can conceive of a different way of living and being in our world. And since science is now revealing that our very biology is cooperative as well on a cellular level, we are waking up and seeing that we can choose peace and cooperation, and that our physiology supports these choices.

Prowling With Goddess

Bast carved from 'found' antler

Bast carved from ‘found’ antler

I was touched during meditation by a presence, by how I see Bast — as Goddess, energy and archetype — and by how most cats manifest full embodiment of introversion in a wide spectrum.

I have usually tried to be ‘me’ ever since aging out of my late teens and early 20s, but it felt, in hindsight, like I was always defensive, always pushing ‘this is me’ in a like-it-or-lump-it hardness rooted in reserve, introversion and/or the insecurity of an introvert trying to live in an extroverted society. Whereas, now, I am feeling more softness coming in and slipping around the essence of ‘this is me’ — way less defensive/aggressive energy twinges. This is a good revelation. I look back and see myself with a lot of walls, putting myself out there as me but with this sort of false expression. I don’t know how to describe it, because it wasn’t a confrontational attitude necessarily. It was an insecure sort of stance; like dual personality, like I was wearing a costume and playing a role and yet the essence of that role was really the authentic me. Like a cat wearing a cat-suit. It’s bizarre. And that was when I wanted a cat, too … not to bond with per se but more to honor that mode of being.

Bast encompasses for me the traits of grace, flexibility, privacy, strength, and balance in Her approach to living in form. She is about self-reliance and full acceptance of self yet She can also mingle with community without being absorbed into it — She always retains her authenticity and autonomy no matter what. Within Herself, She is whole. And Her strength is not always apparent; She can be different than how She sometimes appears, suddenly springing hidden qualities. She is incredibly patient because She puts all that She is into each moment, listening, waiting, watching, yet can act in an instant when the time comes. I really aspire to that controlled fire, the drive to put Her all into action when the perfect moment has arrived — the moment born of instinct, intuition. Quick, agile, at ease balancing on the fence, she holds the positive attributes of radiant energy. And she has discernment, to know exactly when that ripe time comes.

Bast takes a different approach to protection than Sekhmet. Bast protects, but is more cautious, elusive and subtle; she watches and steps carefully because she is also very aware of her own vulnerability in that She doesn’t have a family/pride to watch her back or help her survive or bring down prey. Bast does not pretend to be anything other than who she is — she is definitely not a weaker version of Sekhmet. She knows her own nature, and honors her own set of talents and skills. She is within community at times but primarily remains isolated, and welcomes her ability to move in and out of other communities like a shadow. She is adaptable to any environment; her subtlety allows this whereas Sekhmet doesn’t have this particular gift.

Bast has pointed ears and Sekhmet rounded; clearly, they are differentiated deities and that is my sense of them as well. They are not simply Upper and Lower Egypt versions of the same Goddess. Images — from paintings to statues or figurines — of the Goddesses were made very carefully and I cannot conceive that the artists would accidentally render them incorrectly or overlap energies inadvertently. Their image creates a unique distinction that visually sets them into separate realms and energies.

Bast carved from 'found' antler

Bast carved from ‘found’ antler

The image of Bast is of the sand cat or wild cat which is a different creature in many ways than the lion — being nocturnal more than the lion, solitary rather than living in prides, and so hunting, being, protecting, living in a different way than the lion. I feel this individuality indeed has an effect upon how the two Goddesses were portrayed in Egypt and shows, perhaps, once again how spirituality — our alignment and resonance — regarding certain deities alters through time. Sekhmet the Lion is bold, prominent and doesn’t hesitate to roar, while Bast the Wild Cat or Sand Cat is subtle, elusive and hushed. This is significant in understanding and relating to them, and can clarify how each of us may be drawn to the side of one or the other. I greatly admire Sekhmet but to try to draw within myself her power would overwhelm me. Bast, in her subtlety, is very much familiar to me.