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.
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 As per usual, She seems to have been superseded by the Horned God Cernunnos, who is represented by his torque, holding a snake and surrounded by animals.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
(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.
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)
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.
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.
(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 British Goddess of springs and wells, she was also a Goddess of abundance and inspiration. Her sacred well, located in Northumberland, is considered a sacred healing site.
While there is not much information on her, Anaita was an Italian Goddess of the Oscan tribe, a Goddess of witchcraft and healing. It is said that she is the originator of herbal charms.
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.
A powerful healer of the Orisha, her name means “wild wind”. It is said that she is the one who taught all of the worlds’ healer.
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.
(Image and Poem Credit: The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky, Illustrated by Hrana Janto)
Sulis is the ancient British Goddess of healing waters. She oversees all sacred wells and springs. She was also seen as a life-giving Mother Goddess. It is said that She is a sun Goddess as the meaning of Her name in Celtic means “sun” and “eye”. She is a Goddess for light, healing and wellness.
She was normally shown as matronly, with a hat made out of a boar’s head and a foot resting on an owl.
Her power was strongest at the mineral springs in Bath, which, archeologists say, have been in use at least 10,000 years. The spring has been renowned since these ancient times for its’ healing powers. People came from all over the world, and still do, for their own health and healing.
(Image Credit: ancient-origins.net)
When the Romans came to Britain, they build a bath complex around the spring and called it “Aquae Sulis”, The Waters of Sulis. The Romans equated Sulis with their own Goddess, Minerva and called her Sulis-Minerva.
(Image Credit: Wikipedia)
Sulis’ themes are healing and blessings; Her symbols are water and fire.
Sulis asks us to look deep within ourselves to see where we are healthy and where we are ill. She wants us to take the time for self-care and to see where we are lacking in taking care of ourselves and to bring our focus and our energies to where they are most needed.
Fill your bathtub with hot water and sea salt. Light yellow candles and incense of cinnamon or cloves, next to a vase of sunflowers. Lower yourself slowly into the bathtub, lie back, closing your eyes and slowing your breath. Open yourself up to your inner most thoughts and speak to Sulis. Listen for Her words and heed Her advice.
(Photo Credit: The Divine Feminine Oracle Guidebook by Meggan Watterson)
Vajrayogini is considered to be the prime deity of the Tantric pantheon, the principal female deity of the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Yantras, and central to the practice of Vajrayogini Buddhism.
She is a Dakini (Tantric Priestess) and female Buddha, the complete essence of Buddhahood in female form, and is common to all Tibetan Buddhism schools.
Her red body symbolizes Her inner fire, while the flames surrounding her represent Her elevated wisdom and spiritual transformation. The ability to see with clarity in the future, as well as the present and past, is evident in Her third eye chakra.
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
She carries a bowl filled with blood, which represents the sacred blood of menstruation and birth. It also represents the clear light of bliss that can be attained by letting go of our attachment to ego.
There are different forms of Vajrayogini, each having a different name and appearance. Some of Her names are descriptive; some refer to Her lineage. The following examples are from the website himalyanart.org
Vajrayogini has been called the Buddha for our time, this time we live in with our busy, hectic lives, our myriad of problems and fears of work, paying our bills, the terrifying issues around the world. She is both peaceful and full of wrath. Vajrayogini is a meditation deity. She helps us to see the truth, free of our illusions, free of being selfish. She works always for others and their well-being and helps us to destroy us of our hanging on to our egos. Vajrayogini is easy to reach during our dark times. She is anxious to help us and bring us to Enlightenment.
You can meditate upon Her likeness, one of Her mandalas or chant Her mantra.
(Photo Credit: Pinterest)
There are several temples in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, dedicated to Vajrayogini, three of which are below. Sankhu Vajrayogini Temple, Guhyeshwari Temple and Vidhyeshvari Vajrayogini Temple.
The Dakini are beyond intelligence; they are the embodiment of female wisdom and enlightenment.
Dakini, translated, means “sky dancer”. They are seen as the attendants of Kali. Like Her, they can be vengeful and protective. The Dakini can be unruly; they make their own rules and love their freedom. They can appear as intense or nurturing as they represent energy in in all of it’s ever-changing forms.
Their resemblance to Kali is seen within the garland of skulls that they wear.
She/they is also seen carrying a vessel of menstrual blood – the elixir of life.
In other representations, She holds a gold Tantric staff, which symbolizes the ultimate union she has attained within herself.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dakini is the most sacred feminine principle. As Tantric Priestesses, they are limitless possibility.
She represents the inner realm as a meditation guide, and the outer realm as a Tantric yogini.
A Dakini can also be a sacred female spirit, a woman who has reached a certain amount of spiritual development and who teaches truth and spiritual wisdom in every aspect of her life. She carries power and grants insights to the serious yogini, especially those who practice Kundalini Yoga.
It was believed by Padmasambhava, who was a pioneer in Buddhism, that women were better able to go more deeply into meditation than males and, thus, were able to realize the wisdom of his teachings.
There were many Dakini temples, round structures, with no roof, open to the sky. The most famous is the 64 Yogini/Dakini Temple, which has 64 niches with carvings representing various aspects of this Goddess.