(Photo Credit: wikipedia)
Nanshe – Goddess of water, Goddess of fertility, Goddess of Prophecy, Goddess of Social Justice, Lady of the Storerooms.
Nanshe was worshipped from the 3rd millennium BCE to the advent of Christianity, throughout the history of Mesopotamia.
She was born to Enki, the God of wisdom, magic and water and Ninhursag, a Mother and Earth Goddess.
Being most strongly associated with water, she is the Goddess of fishing. The fish is one of her symbols, as s symbol of life; her other symbol is the pelican, who sacrifices itself to feed her young. She is often depicted as a woman dancing above the water. Her father gave her dominion over the waters of the Persian Gulf, and all living creatures within it.
She was known as the Lady of the Storerooms, making sure all measurements and weights were correct.
As a Goddess of Social Justice, she was a defender of those in need; She nurtured orphans, helped widows, and gave advice to those in need.
Her main festival was on the first day of the year, held at Her main temple, “Sirara” in the city of Lagash. A large parade of boats was held, honoring Her as a Water Goddess, the largest of the floats held a sizable likeness of her, that was brought to the temple.
She was a wise Goddess, who handled disputes between her peoples, as well as court cases. She judged the behavior of the people in the preceding year. She also gave oracular messages, and interpreted dreams.
(Image Credit – Deviant Art by Kendigo)
I had a special request to do a column on the Horned Goddess Cernuna. As it turned out, there is not much available on Her. As per usual, She seems to have been superseded by the Horned God Cernunnos, who is represented by his torque, holding a snake and surrounded by animals.
It would/could be assumed that all representations are of Cernunnos, however a small bust of a Horned Goddess was found in Kent, UK. Two others have also been found; one rests in the British Museum of London and the other at the Musee de Clermont-Ferrard in France. (Please see above photo from these museums). As you can see, both of these show her holding a bowl or cornucopia and a patera, which is an ornamental circular disc.
The information I was able to come across shows Her as a Horned Goddess that embodies the seasons. She is a Goddess of transition, change and growth.
The cornucopia she holds in the above photo also shows that She is a Goddess of abundance, fertility and the harvest.
Before the Winter Solstice was changed to the Christian holiday of Christmas, it was the female reindeer, the Deer Mother, who drew of the sleigh of the Goddess at Solstice. It is the female reindeer that keeps her antlers. She was honored as the life-giving Mother. This very well could be Cernuna, not a female version of Cernunnos, not his consort, but the life-giving Mother Goddess, a protector of, and personification of, the land.
(Image Credit; Motherhouse of the Goddess)
She could be seen as being related to Flidais, the Irish Goddess of cattle and fertility, the Cailleach, the deer protector, and some see her as Elen of the Ways, sometimes seen as a Horned Goddess.
Wishing I had been able to find more information on this almost-forgotten Goddess, I do firmly believe that she is an ancient Mother Goddess, protector of animals, abundance and the fertility of the land
Susan Morgaine September 1, 2020
“I am pure strength. I honor my anger by
giving voice to it”
(Photo and Quote from The Divine Feminine Oracle by Meggan Watterson)
Sekhmet, the lion-headed Goddess of the Egyptians, harnesses the destructive powers of the sun. She is also known as “One Before Whom Evil Trembles”, “Mistress of Dread”, and “Lady of Slaughter”.
She is the Goddess of the sun, war, destruction, and, oddly enough, healing. She is also a protective Goddess, as seen by the lion headdress she wears. The lion is a strong animal with protective attributes.
Her solar disk shows that She is a solar deity, in Her case, one who is connected with the burning, destructive heat of the sun. Her breath created the desert.
As befits one who is also called The Red or Scarlet Lady – red being the color of blood – She is often seen wearing a red dress. She is sometimes portrayed as holding an ankh, the symbol of life.
In some mythology, She is the daughter of Ra; in others, She is the daughter of Nut, the Sky, and Geb, the Earth.
She felt that humankind was not living up to the
principles of Ma’at* (justice/balance). Her rage overcame Her and She began to slaughter them. Ra mixed beer with pomegranate juice and placed it in Her Path. Thinking it was blood, She consumed it all and became drunk. When She awoke, Her rage was gone, thus saving humankind once again.
Sekhmet is truly a warrior Goddess. Rituals were held at the end of wars and at the beginning of each New Year to tame Her anger.
As women, we are told that showing our anger is not becoming, it is not lady-like, but anger, as every other emotion, is valid. Sekhmet represents the sacred rage that is ours, our true strength as women. Our anger is sacred and holy; it is the anger to change worlds — think Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks. Anger forces us to action.
“I burn and fume
and shoot daggers from my eyes
I erupt and roar
(though you’ve not pulled my tail)
my edge are sharp
and I cut deep
my energy is strong and fierce
and my displeasure
needs to be expressed
Though sometimes mild
I can be very intense
I am difficult to put out
I am always appropriate
Don’t try to get rid of me
I need to be acknowledged and heard.
I am anger”
(Photo and quote from The Goddess Oracle
by Amy Sophia Marashinsky)
September 1, 2020
Mira Bai/MiraBai (1498-1546 CE)
(Image Credit: learnreligion.com)
Mirabai, also known as Meera, is a Bhakti poet and mystic from India. She is the central poet of the Bhakti movement, a path of spirituality that focuses on a personal love for the Divine, and that one is able to have direct access to the Divine through this intense devotion. She became a symbol of the suffering and persecution of her people, of all castes.
She was born into the Rajput aristocracy. Legend has it that when she was a mere four-year old, she and her mother witnessed a wedding procession. She seriously looked at her mother and asked who her bridegroom would be. Not knowing how seriously her answer would be taken, her mother pointed to a statue of Lord Krishna and said he is your bridegroom.
In 1516, Meera was made to marry the Crown Prince of Mewar, much against her will. She felt that the Lord Krishna was her true husband.
She refused to worship her husband’s family’s Goddess, due to her vow to Krishna.
She did not fulfill the duties and expectations of a dutiful and obedient wife. This continued until the death of her husband, when she refused, as custom demanded, that she throw herself on his funeral pyre.
(Photo Credit: feminisminindia.com)
Her husband’s family tried several times to have her killed. Once she received a basket of flowers designed to hide a cobra; when she opened the basket, she discovered a garland and an idol of her beloved Krishna. Another time, as an offering, she was given a cup of poison; as was her habit, she offered it first to Lord Krishna. When she drank the contents of the cup, she was not harmed.
Mirabai’s love for Krishna surpassed all other. In doing this, she forsake a life of luxury and began her non-violent fight against persecution.
After her husband’s death, her husband’s family, due to their disapproval of her, tried to lock her in the house, and ultimately, turned her away. She returned to her own family, who also disapproved and turned her away.
She began to travel, write her devotional poetry to Krishna. She sang and danced in her intense devotion and began to gain many followers. There is a temple to her in Chittorgarh, not far from where she was born.
(Photo Credit: tourmyindia.com)
What Meera or Mirabai tells us is to do what it right for us, to stand up for what we believe and for what we know is best for us, and not what someone else thinks is best for us. Be sovereign; be authentic.
(Photo Credit: The Divine Feminine Oracle by Meggan Watterson)
The following is a sample of Mirabai’s poetry:
MINE IS GOPAL
Mine is Gopal,
there is no one else.
On his head he wears the peacock-crown:
He alone is my husband.
Father, mother, brother, relative:
I have none to call my own.
I’ve forsaken both God, and the family’s honor:
what should I do?
I’ve sat near the holy ones,
and I’ve lost shame before the people.
I’ve torn my scarf into shreds;
I’m all wrapped up in a blanket.
I took off my finery of pearls and coral,
and strung a garland of wildwood flowers.
With my tears,
I watered the creeper of love that I planted;
Now the creeper has grown spread all over,
and borne the fruit of bliss.
The churner of the milk churned with great love.
When I took out the butter,
no need to drink any buttermilk.
I came for the sake of love-devotion;
seeing the world, I wept.
Mira is the maidservant of the Mountain-Holder:
Now with love
He takes me across to the further shore.
Susan Morgaine July 1, 2020
(Image: The Avalonian Oracle)
Flower face. Innocent. Delicate. Brought into being without consent, without question, without knowing.
Arianrhod swore that her son would remain nameless, unless given a name by her. She swore that her son would never get arms/weapons, unless given them by her. She swore that her son would never have a wife from the land.
Her son got a name, Llew Llau Gyffes and was armed by his mother through trickery and deceit. When he wanted a wife, one was made for him from oak, meadowsweet and broom, among other herbs and flowers. Blodeuedd, as she was originally named, was made by the magician, Gwydion and Math of Mathonwy, the king of Gwynedd; made by charms and enchantments.
Other than his wanting a wife, he cared nothing for Blodeuedd; his goal was to defy his mother and break her curse. His feelings were what mattered and what he concerned himself with. She was wanted only to make a point to his mother and to do what tradition dictated in having a wife.
Brought into this world without a thought to her, they are married. She was then left alone. Think of how she must have felt, brought into existence and left in a life and a world that she did not comprehend.
While Llew Llau is away, the castle is visited by a neighboring lord, Gronw Pellyn, whom she invites in. They both immediately fall in love, one with the other. Gronw Pellyn, *sees* her, really sees her, as a woman and not just a means to an end.
The invites him to stay and stay he does, for three nights, bonding and consummating their love.
Gronw wants Blodeuedd and they hatch a plan whereupon she will find out how her husband can be killed. She gets the information from Llew Llau and lets Gronw know where he should be hiding, which day and which location. Gronw hits Llew Llau with a poisoned spear; he turns into an eagle and flies away. Gronw took possession of the land and was with his beloved.
Gwydion, the magician who was Llew Llau’s uncle, searched high and low until he came upon his nephew and he was transformed back into a man and brought back to health, whereupon he wanted revenge.
His wife, Blodeuedd, fled with her maidens, who because they kept looking back, all fell into a lake and drowned. This lake is Lynn Morwynion, Lake of the Maidens.
When they caught up with Blodeuedd, they did not kill her. Instead, Gwydion turned her into and owl and renamed her Blodeuwedd, which means owl. Llew Llau got his revenge upon Gronw by killing him at the same location where Gronw tried to kill him.
When Blodeuwedd is thought of now, she is almost always remembered as a traitor, betrayer and cheat. But is she, truly?
I think not. I believe she was, ultimately, a woman, faced with a choice of being stuck in a world she did not know, a life she did not choose, with a man to whom she never gave consent, and being her own authentic person, choosing her own Sovereignty, choosing what she wanted instead of being told what she wanted.
How is that even a choice. You choose your path or, eventually, you wither and die. There is no other choice for her to make, and so, she does. She shows courage, and the strength of her convictions and confidence in herself. So should we all.
Susan Morgaine June1, 2020
The Goddess Nabia, also known as Navia, is a Goddess of many functions. She comes to us from ancient Lusitania on the Iberian Peninsula, on what is now Portugal.
Her main function seems to be as a Goddess of waters, rivers and fountains, however, She is also worshiped in forested areas.
It is possible Her name comes from the Sanskrit word, “navya”, which means water course. Also, the Portuguese name for ship is “navio”.
Numerous rivers still have the name, as the River Navia in Northern Portugal.
There have been at least 20 inscriptions dedicated to her throughout Western Iberia, which is Portugal and western Spain. Many of these are found near water and sacred springs/fountains.
One of these fountains is the Fonte do Idolo, or the Fountain of the Idol, in Braga, Portugal. This fountain is dedicated to Nabia and most likely depicts the Goddess Herself.
Inscriptions to Her have also been found in Serta in the Castelo Branco region of Portugal, as well as this one from Marecos, and another in Guntin.
An inscription in Marecos mentions animals that were being sacrificed to Her, and indicates that she is a “virgin nymph”, who may also have war attributes. The name of the people sacrificing to. Her were the “Danigo”.
The date of this inscription is April 9, which is now assumed to be her feast day.
The inscription in Guntin shows a crescent moon carving, which would indicate Her to be a lunar Goddess, as well. There are indications that She is a chthonic Goddess, leading souls to the Underworld by underground streams and springs which were her purview. As with the River Styx, waters lead to the Underworld.
Some inscriptions have been found on mountains and possibly show that She may have been consort to Reo, God of thunder, mountains and sky.
As with most Goddesses, her responsibilities are many, the waters, the mountains, the forests, a Sovereignty Goddess, a lunar Goddess, as well as a guide to the Other-world.
**All graphics from herminiusmons.wordpress.com
Susan Morgaine May 1, 2020
(Previously published July, 2015, with some modifications)
Like so many others, I am saddened, devastated and scared by the outbreak of this horrific and deadly virus that has stricken our world. This month’s Goddess column will be on just a few of the Healing Goddesses, whom I ask to please look kindly upon us all, to send us the strength and courage that we will all need to persevere through this.
The daughter of Askelpios, the God of Medicine and Epione, the Goddess of Pain Relief, Akeso is the Greek Goddess of healing and curing, which is the meaning of her name. She is also associated with the moon.
Sulis (or Sul)
Another British Goddess of Healing, Sulis oversees the sacred wells and springs, all of which bring healing and blessings. Her most sacred site is the healing hot springs at Bath, where thousands still gather for Her annual Festival.
She is of the Tuatha De Danaan, the Irish race of Gods and Goddesses, founded by the Mother Goddess, Danu. Airmed healed those who fell in battle. It is said that the healing herbs of the world fell from her eyes as she wept of her dying brother’s body.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis, THE Goddess of Ten Thousand Names; her worship has circled the world. While stories abound of Isis and Her magic, Her powers of healing are foremost in the story of her searching and finding the dismembered pieces of her beloved Osiris’ body, killed and scattered by their brother, Set. She searched the world over to resurrect him.
Another story of Her healing powers, She cured Ra of a snake bite, although truth be told She sent the snake and blackmailed him for the name of his power before She cured him.
May we all stay healthy. May we be healed. May we have peace. May we all be blessed.
My apologies for being mostly “missing in action” the past few months. Even beyond the pandemic, life has been hard and problematic, with health and family issues. I hope to get back soon to what I love, teaching and Red Tent; I have ideas for virtual classes and Red Tents. I will reach out to you when these changes come about. Herbal products are still somewhat available, although it is hard to get to the post office to mail them.
COVID-19 adds another layer for all of us to deal with beyond our life’s problems. It is my hope that you are all well and safe. I know at least a couple of you had to be tested and I’m grateful that those tests came back negative.
These are difficult and trying times and we must do the best we can with what we have. In trying to make things easier, I offer the Kundalini Yoga Meditation for a Calm Heart. I hope you will try this and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me.
I send you all my love,
Susan Morgaine (Devta Kaur)
This soothing breath practice (pranayama) relieves anxiety and promotes calmness and mental clarity.
Posture: Sit in an Easy Pose, with a light jalandhar bandh. Place the left hand on the center of the chest at the Heart Center. The palm is flat against the chest, and the fingers are parallel to the ground, pointing to the right.
Make Gyan Mudra with the right hand (touch the tip of the index [Jupiter] finger with the tip of the thumb). Raise the right hand up to the right side as if giving a pledge. The palm faces forward, the three fingers not in Gyan Mudra point up.
The elbow is relaxed near the side with the forearm perpendicular to the ground.
Eyes: Either close the eyes or look straight ahead with the eyes 1/10th open.
Breath: Inhale slowly and deeply through both nostrils. Then suspend the breath in and raise the chest. Retain it as long as possible. Then exhale smoothly, gradually, and completely. When the breath is totally out, lock the breath out for as long as possible.
Concentrate on the flow of the breath. Regulate each bit of the breath consciously.
To End: Inhale and exhale strongly 3 times. Relax.
The home of the subtle force of prana is in the lungs and heart. The left palm is placed at the natural home of prana and creates a deep stillness at that point. The right hand that brings you to action and analysis, is placed in a receptive, relaxed mudra in the position of peace.
This posture induces the feeling of calmness. It creates a still point for the prana at the Heart Center.
Emotionally, this meditation adds clear perception to your relationships with yourself and others. If you are upset at work or in a personal relationship, sit in this meditation for 3 to 15 minutes before deciding how to act. Then act with your full heart.
Physically, this meditation strengthens the lungs and heart.
This meditation is perfect for beginners. It opens awareness of the breath, and it conditions the lungs. When you hold the breath in or out for “as long as possible,” you should not gasp or be under strain when you let the breath move again.
Try for 3 minutes and work your way up to 11, and then 31.