November 30, 2012

Idunna: Goddess of the Golden Apple

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:42 am by Babs

Idunna (Iona or Ionna) is the Norse Goddess of innocence, fertility & death.  She was the custodian of golden apples which allowed the Aesir gods to maintain their youth.  Loki arranged for the cretin Thjazi to abduct her, but then was forced to get her back, a deed which ended in Thjazi’s death.  Apples are one of the oldest and holiest symbols of life and rebirth among the Germanic folk, appearing as grave gifts from the Bronze Age onward.  The Troth’s quarterly journal is named after this goddess.

Will the Real Loki Please Stand Up? by Magdelan Vertes

Has Loki, the Norse “Trickster” god, been misrepresented as an evil, scheming character, who was even considered by early Christians to be another face of the devil?  Or does Loki have his roots as a much more ancient god, concerned with the balance of nature?  It seems that Loki has all the attributes to suggest the latter.  first, Loki’s name may have been derived from the Sanskrit “Loka”, meaning a spirit undergoing karma – spiritual enlightenment through repeated reincarnation.  Loki, depicted as a handsome, agile little man, with a pointed laughing face, piercing blue eyes, and voluminous flame-red hair in curly locks, possesses sky shoes in which he can travel, with great speed, over land, sea and air – suggesting that he is connected with spirit flight (also being called the Sky Traveler) – and therefore has shamanic roots.  Also, Loki is the most prominent shape shifter in the mythological cycle – yet another shamanic trait.  Loki does not shape shift in any evolutionary order – which may disprove the theory that earthly evolution is a material representation of karma – a belief common among many ancient peoples (suck as the Hindus and Druids).  Despite their lack of science and technology, the non-classical peoples were in fact, as can be seen by their religious theories and practices, much more perceptive about their environment, both in worldly and other-worldly matters, than is often believed.

What can be deduced in general from this information, therefore, is that Loki’s true form presides over and represents the true and pure spirit form – the other form he takes, the bodies the spirit resides in on the earth during karma – for the only way that one can shape-shift in reality is by reincarnation.  As Loki is depicted as shape shifting into a specific form for a specific purpose in every case, this could how that, originally, Odinists believed that spirits could return to Earth in any form for any purpose according to fate, rather than in evolutionary order.  As can be seen from the myth “The Well of Asgard”, Loki changes into a mare in order to lure away a stallion, as a result, becoming pregnant with Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse.  Therefore Loki has the power to change sex as well as shape, and can become a father or a mother.  This alone represents two things: the first that we all hae within each of us, both a masculine and feminine aspect of the spirit, and can express either one irrespective of the sex of the physical body.  The seconde is that i it could exist first in a female body, and then is reborn in a male body, the state of being female in a previous life could still have an influence in the present life as a male.  Both these things can provide an explanation for homosexuality and transvestisism.

Loki is also associated with natural phenomena outside living things, and the reason for his being labeled ‘The Trickster” is the fact that natural forces, whether inside or outside living things are unpredictable and can be most destructive.  In Norse myth Loki’s parents are two fire giants.  Giants are living things and they are led by Utgard-Loki, a giant who is identical to Loki in every way, save that he is much larger.

In “Thor’s Journy to Utgard”, Thor and his friends visit Utgard to discover that all Utgard Loki’s subjects each represent a particular force of nature, after being defeated in several contests with them.  This story bearing the message that man can never have complete control over the forces of nature.  “The Binding of Loki” has the same meaning, as even when bound, Loki causes earthquakes when he struggles to break free.  Loki’s unpredictable side is represented in the myth “Sif’s Hair”, in which Loki, apparently for no reason, cuts off the long golden hair of Sif, a harvest goddess, whilst she lies sleeping and unsuspecting of him.  Loki then compensates for his deed by going to the dwarfs to ask them to make a magical wig of spun gold, which, when placed on Sif’s head, grows as her original hair did.  So Sif’s hair represents a field of ripe corn and Loki a fire would could suddenly destroy it; but if new corn is planted in the place of the original it will naturally grow again, represented by Sif’s new wig produced by Loki’s instigation, and suggesting, therefore, that Loki replaces all he destroys and so presides over the continuing cycle in nature.

Speaking of cycles, Loki is also connected with the seasonal cycle.  In the myth “Idunna’s Golden Apples”, a giant called Thiazzi, persuades Loki to deliver the youth goddess Idunna to him, together with her apples of eternal life.  So after Loki lures Idunna out of her apple orchard in Asgard for her to be abducted by Thiazzi, the gods grow old because they no longer have the apples of youth.  This represents the state of the earth in winter when nothing can grow and everything seems withered and old or dead.  Loki then rescues Idunna and returns her and the apples to the gods who then regain their normal youth and vigor, thus spring comes again.

More about Idunna

Idunna is the Norse Goddess of innocence, fertility and death.  She was the custodian of golden apples which allowed the Aesir gods to maintain their youth.  Originally a member of the Vanir.  She departed Vanaheim to life with her husband Bragi in Asgard.

November 26, 2012

Flora: Roman Goddess of Flowers

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , , at 1:35 am by Babs

When spring is here, for many of us, it means a relief from the cold, dark days and snows of winter.  As the days lengthen and get warmer, we are greeted by the rebirth of the earth itself: bulbs come up and bloom, filling the air with their heady, tempting fragrance; birds chirp and sing as they return from their winter migrations to build their nests; cats yowl out their urgent readiness for motherhood.  All around us are symbols of fertility, growth, warmth and light.  It is the perfect time to throw a May Day party or Beltane Festival, to celebrate the end of winter hibernation and to reconnect with your friends and loved ones.

Historic Beltane

Beltane is an old Celtic Fire Ritual which celebrates at the most fundamental level the end of winter and the beginning of the warmer, lighter half of the year.  It is the counterpart to Samhain, which marks the Pagan New Year and celebrates ancestors and the death of the crops (harvest).  Beltane celebrates life.  For the Celts, it was a festival that insured fertility and growth.

May Day, Beltane’s other name, can trace its origin from many pagan sources, its main source is believed to be ancient Roman festival of Floralia.  This festival began around the year 258 BCE.  Pagan Romans celebrated for six days, from April 25th to May 3rd, honoring their Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, Flora.  Flora is known as Chloris to the Greeks, was a beautiful and serene Goddess, the Queen of Spring.  She was married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and her temple is in Aventine.

Floralia was a time a great merriment and rejoicing in ancient Rome.  During the festival, Romans would cast off their habitual white robes for more colorful garments, especially green ones.  They would also deck themselves and everything around them in flowers then engage in all sorts of activities.  There would be feasting, singing, dancing, and gaming.  Offerings of milk and honey were made to the Goddess Flora.  Goats and hares meant to symbolize fertility were let loose in gardens and fields as protectors in Flora’s honor.  Singing filled the air and dancers stomped the ground to awaken nature and bring it back to life.

Ancient Roman prostitutes in particular enjoyed this festival as they considered Flora their patron Goddess.  So Floralia was especially important to them.  They participated in many events, from performing naked in the theatre to gladiatorial feats.

With the occupation of Rome in many countries of the western world at the time, especially in Britain and continental Europe, the festival of Floralia spread, with each country adding its own special touches to the festivities.  And finally, Floralia became May Day.  many countries choose a May Queen to preside over the day’s activities and children dance around the Maypole.  Some collect flowers on May Eve for the next day and some couples even make love in their garden to ensure fertility.  One belief that has been passed on is that oe should wash one’s face with the dew from may Day morn to obtain lasting beauty.

Floralia or May Day is our way of welcoming spring after a long dark winter.  Our senses delight in the warmth and beauty of spring and we are happy that the cycle of nature continues.  Though Floralia began as a festival to ensure fertility in the land, in the animals, and in ourselves, May Day continues as a celebration of renewed life and the joy of the return of spring.  Give thanks for life is in bloom all around you.

Flora & The Birth of Mars (Aries)
Flora tells her story: ‘Mars (Aries) also, you may not know, was formed by my arts.  I pray that Jove (Zeus) stays ignorant of this.  Holy Juno (Hera), when Minerva (Athene) sprang un-mothered, was hurt that Jove did not need her service.  She went to complain to Oceanus of her husband’s deeds.  She stopped at our door, tired from the journey.  As soon as I saw her, I asked, ‘what’s brought you here, Saturnia (Hera)?’  She reports where she’s going, and cites the cause.  I consoled her with friendly words: ‘Words,’ she declares, ‘cannot relieve my pain.  If Jove became a father without using a spouse and possesses both titles by himself, why should I not expect a spouseless motherhood, chaste parturition, untouched by a man?  I’ll try every drug on the broad earth and empty Oceanus and the hollows of Tartarus.’  Her speech was mid-course; my face was hesitant.  ‘You look, Nympha, as though you can help,’ she says.  Three times I wanted to help, three times my tongue stuck: Jupiter’s anger caused massive fear.  ‘Please help me,’ she said, ‘my source will be concealed;’ and the divine Styx testifies to this.  ‘A flower,’ I said, ‘from the fields of Olenus will grant your wish.  It’s unique to my gardens.  I was told: ‘Touch a barren cow; she’ll be a mother.’  I touched.  No delay: she was a mother.’  I quickly plucked the clinging flower with my thumb.  Juno feels its touch and at the touch conceives.  She bulges, and enters Thrace and west Propontis and fulfils her wish: Mars (Aries) was created.  Recalling my role in his birth, Mars said: ‘You, too, should have a place in Romulus’ city.” – Ovid, Fasti 5.229

November 20, 2012

A-Ma – Taoist Sea Goddess

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , at 11:11 am by Babs

A-Ma (also known as Matsu or Mazu literally “Mother Ancestor” or by her mortal name Lin Moniang) is the Taoist Goddess of the Sea who protects fishermen and sailors.  She is extremely popular among the Taiwanese, Fujianese, Cantonese, and Vietnamese people, who have cultures strongly linked to the sea.  The Matzu Islands are named after her.

The Person – according to legend, Lin Moniang was born in 960 (during the early Northern Song Dynasty) as the seventh daughter of Lin Yuan on Meizhou Island, Fujian.  She did not cry when she was born, and thus her given name means “silent girl”.  There are many legends about her and the sea.  although she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer.  She wore red standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.

According to one legend, Lin Moniang’s father and brothers were fishermen.  One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished.  In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she either fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping.  In either the trance or the dream, her father and brothers were drowning, and she reached out to them, holding her brothers up with her hands and her fathers up with her mouth.  However, Moniang’s mother now discovered her and tried to wake her, but Moniang was in such a deep trance or dream that it seemed like she was dead.  Moniang’s mother, already believing the rest of their family dead, now broke down, crying, believing that Moniang had also just died.  Hearing her mother’s cries, in pity, Moniang gave a small cry to let her mother know she was alive, but in opening her mouth, where was forced to drop her father.  Consequently, Moniang’s brothers returned alive (sadly without their father) and told the other villagers that a miracle happened and that they had somehow been held up in the water as a typhoon raged.  There are at least two versions of Lin Moniang’s death.  In one version, she died in 987 at the age of 28, when she climbed a mountain alone and flew to heaven and became a goddess.  Another version of the legend says that she died at age 16 of exhaustion after swimming far into the ocean trying to find her lost father and that her corpse later washed ashore in Nankan Island of the Matsu Islands.

Lin Moniang (2000), a minor Fujianese TV series, is a dramatization of the life of Matsu as a mortal.

The Goddess – After her death, the families of many fishermen and sailors began to pray to her in honor of her acts of courage in trying to save those at sea.  Her worship spread quickly.  Much of her popularity in comparison to other sea deities resulted from her role as a compassionate motherly protector, completely different from authoritarian father figures like the Dragon Kings.  She is usually depicted wearing a red robe, and sitting on a throne.  She somehow became an empress figure during the Yuan Dynasty.

Her Worship – There are about 800 to 10000 Taiwanese temples dedicated wholly, or usually, partly, to Matsu.  Jenlan Temple in Tachia, Taichung County is the most famous Matsu temple in Taiwan, and an annual pilgrimage takes place there each spring.  Chaotian Temple of Peikang Township in Yunlin is another popular temple of Matsu in Taiwan.  Heavenly Empress Palace – Meizhou Ancestral Temple is on her native Meizhou Island.  There is also a temple on the Pescadores Islands.

In Hong Kong, around 60 temples are dedicated, at least partially to Tin Hau.  The temple in Tin Hau area, east of Victoria park, in Eastern district, on Hong Kong Island, has given its name to the area and to the MTR station serving it (Island Line).

Macau has three Tin Hau temples (one per Coloane, Macau Peninsula, and Taipa).  In total, there are around 1,500 Matsu temples in 26 countries of the world.  The name “Macau” is thought to be derived from the Templo de A-Ma a still-existing landmark built in 1448 dedicated to the goddess Matsu.

Matsu has also gained popularity in the west as well.  Many temples dedicated to Matsu are located in many Chinatowns in the United States.  The oldest Taoist temple in the United States is dedicated to Matsu, Tien Hau Temple in San Francisco, built in 1852.

Another Matsu temple that has gained notoriety in the west is located in Los Angeles, which is known as Chua Ba Thien Hau, an immensely popular tourist attraction in Chinatown.  The temple is also home to the Camau Association of America, a Chinese/ Vietnamese Teochew benevolent association.  On September 5th, 2005, the temple was completed after two years of building, costing about $2 million dollars.  The temple itself has become popular by many, mainly because of its annual 24-hour lion dances and legal firecracker display on chinese New Year’s Eve.

Festival of Matsu – Her birthday-festival is on the twenty-third day of the third lunar month of the Chinese calendar.  It falls in late April or early May in the Gregorian calendar.

Mazu, Chinese Goddess of the Sea – is a story of an extraordinary girl who became a goddess.  The Goddess Mazu’s stories even come to us in an unusual way.  Usually we have to search the works of poets and philosophers, historians and anthropologists, when wishing to explore the myths of the legendary ladies we call goddesses.  But ancient government edicts, court documents, Taoist scriptures, and even shipping logs provide the stories of the young girl and the goddess she became.

Mazu… a goddess, even after a millennium has passed… arguably the most worshipped in the world with over 1,500 active temples and 100 million devotees.  Hers is a fascinating story.

The Chinese goddess Mazu has many names and titles.  Known in different regions as Matsu, Ma-Tsu, A-ma, Tianhou, and other names, with numerous titles that include “Motherly Matriarch”, some experts feel she may be a version of the older goddess Kuan Yin (who is better known in most western countries), Mazy is deeply rooted in the hearts of her people, especially coastal areas in the East, and is best known as the “Goddess of the Sea”.

In folk tradition it is believed that, when you are facing great difficulty, you can call her by the name “Mazu” and she will immediately come to your rescue.  If, however, you address her as the “Empress of Heaven”, she will have to take time to put on her fine clothing and will be delayed in coming to your aid!

The Chinese Goddess Mazu originated with the deification of a young woman named Lin Mo Niang who had performed numerous miracles during her short life.  A kind-hearted girl with a vast knowledge of Chinese medicine, she was known as a healer, curing the sick while teaching peoples how to prevent illness and injury.  Many of the miracles she performed involved quelling storms at sea, so it is hardly surprising that she is known as the protector of all seafaring people.  Mazy was born on a small island in the straits of Taiwan off the coast of southeastern China in 960 A.D. Her middle-aged parents, the Lins, already had six other children, only one of them a girl.  Her mother prayed to the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin, for another daughter.  Hearing her fervent prayers, Kuan Yin came to her in a dream; giving her a flower blossom to eat that caused her to conceive the next day.

The baby was named Lin Niang (in China the family name, or surname, comes first).  At her birth the room was filled with a brilliant light and the fragrance of fresh blossoms.  As a newborn, she was strangely silent.  alert and healthy, she did not cry at all during the first month of her life, leading her parents to nickname her Mo (which means “silent”).

As she grew it quickly become apparent that Lin Mo was gifted with remarkable intelligence and an eidetic (photographic) memory.  Supernatural powers were soon to become apparent as well.  Visiting a Buddhist temple when she was four years old, Lo Min began her incredible journey of spiritual enlightenment.  Standing before a statue of the goddess Kuan Yin, she was given her “second sight”, the ability to sense or “know” events that would happen in a distant time or place.  At the age of ten she began to study Buddhism, and when she was 13 she was accepted as a student by an elderly priest who, recognizing her profound spirituality, passed on to her the secret mysteries of Taoism.

One legend ascribes her mystical powers to an event that took place when she was fifteen.  Going with her girlfriends to check out their new dresses in the reflections of a pool, a sea creature erupted out of the water and was holding a bronze disk out, offering it to the girls.  Terrified, the others ran away, but the brave Lin Mo calmly accept the bronze.  From that moment on, she began to display unusual powers – powers that grew daily and made her a legendary figure at a young age.

Already held in high esteem by the villagers for her healing, Lin Mo could now predict changes in the weather and could announce when it was a safe time for sailors and fishermen to set out to sea.  to this day sailors from places as far-flung as China, Okinawa, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and even San Francisco pray to Mazy before setting out… and give thanks to her upon their safe return.

Marine folklore is filled with tales of catastrophes averted when the goddess Mazy, dressed in red, appeared to sailors as a warning that unseen storms were rising and that their voyages should be postponed.

Many a seafarer has recounted times when the goddess Mazy appeared as a bright light on their troubled ships, arriving just in time to clam a storm and save their lives.  Some said that Lin Mo could actually ride clouds across the ocean, and appear in the flesh to rescue them.  Though there are numerous accounts of Mazu’s many sea rescues, none is as poignant as her mystical rescue of her father and brother when they were washed overboard by a typhoon that came up suddenly while they were at sea.

Lin Mo was at home weaving a tapestry when she fell into a trance, “seeing” the events that were taking her kin to a watery grave.  She used her spiritual powers to transport herself to their sides.  Propelling her elder brother to safety, she returned to rescue her father.  She was swimming homeward with her father clenched firmly between her teeth, when her mother noticed that Lin Mo, was slumped over her weaving.  Believing she was ill, her concerned mother woke her.  Lin Mo’s trance was broken and her father drowned.  Lin Mo walked into the sea and found her father, returning three days later with his body so he could be buried at home.  In some of her myths, she was engulfed by clouds that carried her across the waves to find him.  Regardless, the outcome was the same.  The bereft Lin Mo intensified her quest for spiritual growth, continuing her legacy of compassion and good works, but now she seemed more distant and “other-worldish” in her grief.

Like Kuan Yin, the goddess Matsu decided not to marry in spite of immense social pressure to do so.  Two warriors of great fame became inflamed with lust when they say the beautiful young girl and wanted to “marry” her.  She challenged the pair to fight her for the privilege, insisting that they would have to do her bidding forever if she won.  (Recall that learning the martial arts had long been a part of the training of Buddhist priests and undoubtedly was part of her studies as well.)  You can probably imagine how that fight ended!

General Chien-li–yen (Eyes that See a Thousand Miles) and General Shun Feng Erh (Ears that Can Hear the Wind) died that day during the fight that took place on Mount Peach Blossom.  To this day, the pair of defeated subordinates are seen by her side in statuary and images and as puppets in the annual processional that celebrates Mazu’s birth.  The entourage traditionally includes guards costumed as ancient soldiers, and thirty-six martial artists carrying special weapons.  Tens of thousands make the eight-day pilgrimage to the oldest temple of Matsu in Taiwan each year.  Countless other treks and festivals are held on her birthday throughout the coastal regions where the goddess Mazu is still revered.

Lin Mo’s death, at the age of 28, was as remarkable as her birth.  One day she simply told her family it was time for her to leave and that she must go alone.  Her neighbors and family watched as she walked to the top of a mountain near her home.

Reaching the top, Lin Mo was encircled by clouds of dense fog, and to the accompaniment of enchanting celestial music, was carried into the heavens in a golden glow of light.  Where she had been last seen, a great rainbow appeared.

In Chinese mythology the rainbow signifies the presence of dragon, a symbol of great blessing and good fortune.  The dragon is a serpent that quenches its thirst in the sea and, as a sky dragon, unites heaven and earth.

The rainbow also has special significance in Taoism – the colors representing the five Buddha families, with the color orange associated with the Bodhisattva, those who have achieved enlightenment but choose to remain on earth to be of service to their fellow humans.

Honoring her humility and compassion, her devotion and spiritual enlightenment, following her death Lin Mo was elevated to the list of Buddhist deities and declared a goddess by the Chinese government as well.  During the Millennium after her death, the Imperial Courts of several different dynasties raised her status with new and grander titles (twenty-two promotions in all) and the construction of new temples and extensive repairs to the ancient ones.  Yet the true power of the Goddess Mazy, who was once the female shaman Lin Mo, is the great and abiding love of her people.

Goddess Symbols and Sacred Objects of Mazu

Goddess symbols, individualized for each goddess, were incorporated into the worship of the ancient goddesses, where often worn as jewelry, and also used in the household decor as talismans to seek the goddesses special gifts, blessings, or protection.  A large number of goddess symbols have survived in statuary and other works of art.

Many of the goddess symbols come from the legends surrounding a specific goddess and were “characters” in her story.  Other goddess symbols were derived from the rituals used in the ancient rites of worship of these pagan goddesses.

Mazu (Mat-Su) is often represented by symbols associated with the sky and sea.  It si not surprising that many of our icons representing courage and compassion are derived from the ancient goddess symbols of Mazu.

General: Dragon, Turbulent Sea, Clouds, Sky, Rainbows, Raised Fist, SEa Serpents, Mountain Tops, Sailing Ships, The numbers 9 and 36, Mala (headdress with a beaded veil), Stone Stairways (Ladder to Heaven), Martial Arts, Swords and other Ancient Weapons, Spirit Flags.

Animals: Dragon (celestial), Tiger, Serpent, Pigs, Deer.

Plants: Peach Tree, Willow, Bamboo, Lotus, Peony, and Medicinal Herbs.

Perfumes/ Scents: Ylang-Ylang, Dragon’s Blood, Myrrh, Peony, Incense.

Gems and Metals: Pearls, Bronze, Pale Green Jade, Shoushan Stone (Alabaster).

Colors: Orange, Black, Red and Blue.

November 15, 2012

Gaia – Earth Mother

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , at 5:06 am by Babs

Gaia (Gaea, Ge), according to Greek myth, is the supreme woman, the all-powerful, the original Mother Earth.  The ancient Greeks believed that the universe was originally one big, formless Chaos with light and dark,l sea and land all merged into one.  When Chaos became a little more settled, Gaia emerged as the deep-breasted one – the Earth, considered by Hesiod “the oldest of divinities”.  She was said to be the child of Ether (Air) and Hemera (Day, though some said She was born directly from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe, and with her came Eros (Love) and Nyx (Night).  For timeless spans she existed on her own until she craved love so much that she made herself a son-lover, Uranus, and took him as her husband.

She is credited with creating the Universe, and is known as the mother of many including: Uranus (the starry sky or heaven); Pontos, the sea.  This was achieved parthenogenetically (without male intervention).  Other offspring included the Titans, who include Oceanus, Cronos, Rhea, Mnemosyne (the mother of Muses), Phoebe and Themis; six sons and six daughters.  She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters that became known as the “Hecatonchires” or the hundred-handed monsters.  The spirits of punishment known as the Erinyes (Furies) were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus along with the Melic nymphs; the monsters Typhon, Ladon and Echidna; the sea-monster Charybdis; and the serpent-king Erechtheus, whose temple is the Erechtheum on the Acropolis.  Other versions say that Gaia had as siblings Tartarus (the lowest part of the earth, below Hades itself) and Eros.

As Heaven arched over his mother Earth in good old Greek incestuous style, Time (Cronos) was conceived.  But as her brood increased with their endless couplings, producing the marvels of the earth, Uranus became so jealous that Gaia had to hide her children from him.  To protect her children from her husband, (the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, as he was fearful of their great strength), Gaia hid them all within herself.  One version says that Uranus was aghast at the sight of his offspring so he hid them away in Tartarus, which are the bowels of the earth.  Gaia herself found her offspring uncomfortable and at times painful, when the discomfort became too much to bear she asked her youngest son Cronus to help her.  She asked him to castrate Uranus, thus severing the union between the Earth and Sky, and also to prevent more monstrous offspring.  To help Cronus achieve his goal Gaia produced an adamantine sickle to serve as the weapon.  Cronus hid until Uranus came to lay with Gaia and as Uranus drew near, Cronus struck with the sickle, cutting the genitalia from Uranus.  As his blood fell over ripe old Mother Earth, she was so fertile that it made her swell with the beginnings of the dynasty of gods and goddesses which colored ancient Greek history including the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees).

After the separation of the Earth from the Sky, Gaia gave birth to other offspring, these being fathered by Pontus.  Their names were the sea-god Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia.  In other versions Gaia had offspring to her brother Tartarus; they were Echidna and Typhon, the latter being an enemy of Zeus.  Apollo killed Typhon when he took control of the oracle at Delphi, which Gaia originally provided, and then the “Sibyl” sang the oracle in Gaia’s shrine.

It was Gaia who saved Zeus from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had been born, Gaia helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to trick Cronus into thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that one of his children would depose him and so to get rid of his children he had swallowed them.  Gaia’s trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete.

Gaia being the primordial element from which all the gods originated was worshipped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was supplanted by other gods.  In Roman mythology she was known as Tellus or Terra.

While Gaia is considered the Mother of All who nourishes and cares for Her children and brings rich blessings she is the Goddess of the Earth, meaning She was also an Underworld goddess who brought all Her creations back to Her and therefore she destroyed as well as created.  Gaia as the ever-present Earth was invoked in oaths as a witness, and as one who being All, knew all, was considered a goddess of prophecy: the Olympian oracle was Hers, and the famous oracle at Delphi was originally Hers, before Apollo either stole it, or before it was passed down through Her daughter Phoebe to Him.

It is interesting to note that the ancient super continent of Earth, the primeval union of the land before continental drift gave us the current configuration, is called Pangaea; which literally means “All EArth”, but is also the names of the Great Mother Goddess and the Universal God, the “Great All”, Pan.

Gaia in a reading indicates a time of fruitfulness and bright blessings, of nourishment and fulfillment.

“First in my prayer, before all other deities,

I call upon Gaia, Primeval Prophetess…

The Great great earth mother.”

~ Aeschylus ~

Creation of Her

Gaia, more frequently spelled Ge, was the Earth.  She is rarely even referred to as a deity, she is more a power.  Wat is.  She was one of the firsts.  Well, one of the firsts in some versions.  There are actually a couple of different creation myths, and not all of them include Gaia.  The original Greek Mythology (i.e. pre-Classical) was Pelasgian myth (the Pelasgians came to Greece from the Asia Minor 3,000 years before Hesiod).  The Pelasgian creation story focuses on Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things.  Here we will focus on Gaia.  There are two parts: Creation of Her and Creation by Her.

There are two accepted versions of Classical Creation: Hesiod’s and Ovid’s.  Both versions begin with Gaia’s emergence from Chaos.  She has a parthenogenic birth (i.e. only one parent needed).  According to Ovid, Gaia pretty much just appeared (similar to the Judeo-Christian creation story).  After her birth, Ovid continued to see the hand of a Creator at work (an unnamed Creator), who populated Gaia with the necessary mountains, seas, flora, and fauna.  I much prefer Hesiod’s version.

Before I tell you about what Hesiod has to say, I’m going to give you this wonderful quote from his creation story:

“Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,

Broad blossomed, she that is the steadfast base

Of all things.  And fair Gaia frist bore

The starry Heaven, equal to herself,

To cover her on all side and to be

A home forever from the blessed Gods.”

And now back to the story.  According to Hesiod, the first beings sprang into existence without cause or explanation.  After Gaia came Tartarus (the lowest level of the Underworld, also viewed as a sort of huge cave or pit) and then came Eros: Erotic Love.  Chaos continues her parthenogenic streak, giving birth to Erebus and Nyx.  In her sleep, Gaia gives parthenogenic birth to Uranus (the Universe, who emerges as big and powerful as Gaia) and Pontus (the Sea, and the God of the Sea_.  Uranus, bursting (literally) with love for Gaia (possible only by the creation of Eros, you see), showers her with fertile rain and this is how Gaia gives birth to the rest of creation (you remember, seas, mountains, etc. – we already covered this with Ovid).  Gaia and Uranus also gave birth to the Titans, the three Cyclopes and the three Hundred-Armed Giants.

Creation by Her:

Don’t know you your mama is?  That’s OK, Gaia’s the default, and you can always accurately claim her along with all of her children listed on page one.  A good mythical example of this is when Pyrrha and Deucalion had to throw their mothers’ bones over their shoulders!

What is Gaia?

The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival.  Formulated by James Lovelock in the mid-1960’s and published in a book in 1979, this controversial idea has spawned several interesting ideas and many new areas of research.  While this hypothesis is by no means substantiated, it provides many useful lessons about the interactions of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth.  Thus, it is a good starting point for our study of oceanography, providing a broad overview of the kinds of processes that will interest us.

Throughout history, the concept of Mother Earth has been a part of human culture in one form or another.  Everybody has heard of Mother Earth, but have you ever stopped to think who (or what) Mother Earth is?  Consider these explanations:

The Hopi name for Mother Earth is Tapuat (meaning mother and child), symbolized by a form of concentric circles or squares.  These forms symbolize the cycle of life, the rebirth of the spirit, its earthly path, and, possibly, its return to the spiritual domain.  The lines and passages within the “maze” represent the universal plan of the Creator and the path that man must follow to seek enlightenment.

A more imposing definition of Mother Earth might be found in the Hindu Goddess Kali.  She is the Cosmic Power, representing all of the good and all of the bad in the Universe, combining the absolute power of destruction with the precious motherly gift of creation.  It is said that Kali creates, preserves, destroys.  also known as the Black One, her name means “The Ferry across the Ocean of Existence.”

The ancient Greeks called their Earth goddess Ge or Gaia.  Gaia embodies the idea of a Mother Earth, the source of the living and non-living entities that make up the Earth.  Like Kali, Gaia was gentle, feminine and nurturing, but also ruthlessly cruel to any who crossed her.  Note that the prefix “ge” in the words geology and geography is taken from the Greek root for Earth.

James Lovelock has taken the idea of Mother Earth one step further and given it a modern scientific twist.  (Are our modern Mother Earth “hypotheses” any more refined than ancient Mother Earth myths?)  Lovelock defines Gaia “as a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”  Through Gaia, the Earth sustains a kind of homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively constant conditions.

The truly startling component of the Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth is a single living entity.  This idea is certainly not new.  James Hutton (1726 – 1797), the father of geology, once described the Earth as a kind of super organism.  And right before Lovelock, Lewis Thomas, a medical doctor and skilled writer, penned these words in his famous collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell.

Viewed from a distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the Earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive.  The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dry as an old bone.  Aloft, floating free beneath the moist,, gleaming, membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos.  If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land.  If you had een looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the contents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath.  It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.

Thomas goes even one step further when he writes: “I have been trying to think of the earth as a kind of organism, but it is a no go… it is most like a single cell.”

Whether the Earth is a cell, an organism, or a super organism is largely a matter of semantics, and a topic that I will leave to the more philosophically minded.  The key point here is the hypothesis that the Earth acts as a single system – it is a coherent, self-regulated, assemblage of physical, chemical, geological, and biological forces that interact to maintain a unified whole balanced between the input of energy from the sun and the thermal sink of energy into space.

In its most basic configuration, the Earth acts to regulate flows of energy and recycling of materials.  The input of energy from the sun occurs at a constant rate and for all practical purposes in unlimited.  This energy is captured by the Earth as heat or photosynthetic processes, and energy is captured by the Earth as heat or photosynthetic processes, and returned to space as long-wave radiation.  On the other hand, the mass of the Earth, its material possessions, are limited (except for the occasional input of mass provided as meteors strike the planet).  Thus, while energy flows through the Earth (sun to Earth to space), matter cycles within the Earth.

The idea of the Earth acting as a single system as put forth in the Gaia hypothesis has stimulated a new awareness of the connectedness of all things on our planet and the impact that man has on global processes.  No longer can we think of separate components or parts of the Earth as distinct.  No longer can we think of man’s actions in one part of the planet as independent.  Everything that happens on the planet – the deforestation/ reforestation of trees, the increase/ decrease of emissions of carbon dioxide, the removal or planting of crop lands – all have an effect on our planet.  The most difficult part of this idea is how to qualify these effects, i.e. to determine whether these effects are positive or negative.  If the Earth is indeed self-regulating, then it will adjust to the impacts of man.  However, as we will see, these adjustments may act to exclude man, much as the introduction of oxygen into the atmosphere by photosynthetic bacteria acted to exclude anaerobic bacteria.  This is the crux of the Gaia hypothesis.

Gaea – Love this Earth

Gaia connects us to the universal source of “mothering” and “nurturing”, leading us to a feeling of profound peace and balance.

Suggested Mantra: Peace

Suggested Affirmations:

  • Wherever I go, I am loved.
  • There is purity in th quiet touch.
  • Love is eternal and ever-lasting.
  • Love flows into my life like a river.
  • I stand in complete satisfaction.
  • I embrace life in its absolute fullness.
  • I’m calm and centered, now and always.

Gemstones: Green Calcite, Amber, Jet, Black Tourmaline, Geodes

More about Gaia:

The Romans believed every element in the universe, whether on land, in the sea or sky, was a single living entity of Gaia, the primordial Great Mother.  More than any other goddess, Gaia, is identified as the divine and animate Earth Mother.

She is the living, conscious planet who provides sustenance and nutrition and the wisdom inherent in the earth itself.  Her values are rooted in the sacredness of all life, whether it be plant, animal or the stars in the sky – respect for other is paramount if we are to attain the deep sense of balance and completeness that a connection with Gaia brings.

Gaia represents virginity and pure love.  She also represents raw sexual energy.

The full and seductive, terrible and wonderful Gaia always has something to offer.  She is the brother, father, sister, mother, lover and friend.  She is the fiend, monster, beast and brute.  She is the sun and the ocean; she is the grass and the dew.

Dear ladies, please wake up the goddess within you – be a woman proud to be a woman, sensual and inspiring, radiant and able to spread out clarity, love, power, beauty, and sensuality.

Gaia as Prophetess

Gaia was the original prophetess whose priestess presided over the Delphic oracle.  Delphi was considered to be the omphalos, the navel of the earth, the connection point where human life and earth met, and the place where the wisdom of both worlds could be interpreted.  Originally the omphalos could have been a grave mound.  It is possible that Gaia was a death goddess who received the dead back to her body, the earth.  Her oracle was situated over a deep cleft in the earth and on it resided the Python, the symbol of women’s wisdom.  Vapor from the earth arose through the cleft, and the presiding priestess interpreted Mother Earth’s information for the seeker.  Gaia’s oracle was revered because it represented the wisdom inherent in the earth itself.  The information revealed to the seekers aided in the sustenance of human life.  Under later Greek patriarchal rule, the temple and the oracle at Delphi were assumed by the Greek god Apollo.

Honoring Gaia with Song:

Orphic Hymn to Gaia (Translated and interpreted by Virginia Stewart, M.Ed.

Oh Goddess, Source of Gods and Mortals,

All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia,

Mother of All, Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers,

All variety, Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own,

Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace,

Deep bosomed Earth, sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains,

Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine,

Come, Blessed Goddess, and hear the prayers of Your children,

And make the increase of the fruits and grains your constant care, with the fertile seasons

Your handmaidens,

Draw near, and bless your supplicants.

Gaia Homeric Hymn, 7th Century B.C.

I will sing of

well-founded Gaia,

Mother of All

eldest of all beings,

she feeds all creatures,

that are in the world,

all that go upon the goodly land,

and all that are in the paths of,

the sea,

and all that fly:

all these are fed of her store.

Honoring Gaia with Ritual:

The Altar: When choosing your candles and symbols for your altar, here are some manifestations to evoke Gaia’s attributes into your life: the color green, the gem stones of green calcite, amber, jet, black tourmaline, geodes.  Fragrances of honeysuckle and cypress.  All flowers and vegetation.

The Cakes: Karri Allrich writes in her book “Food and the Goddess” that “by aligning ourselves closer to nature’s cycles, we bring the Goddess back into our everyday awareness.  When we eat what the season offers, we connect with the changing rhythms of the Goddess Gaia, the earth herself.  This connection between food and the Goddess is an ancient one.  Earliest peoples worshipped Mother Earth as the Great Provider, finding sustenance in her seeds, roots and fruit, and healing in her herbs and sparkling waters.  Within her caves and caverns they found shelter.”

To this end, I suggest the following recipe for grounding at the end of your ritual, it is taken from The Vegetarian Mother and Baby Book by Rose Elliot and is for Rice Pudding:

  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Pudding Rice (rounded)
  • 4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 5 Cups Milk or Soy Milk
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Set oven to 325 degrees.  Use the butter or margarine to grease a shallow oven-proof dish.  Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water, then put it into the dish with the sugar and mils – stir gently.  Grate some nutmeg on top, then place in the center of the oven and bake for about 2 hours or until thick and creamy.

In the autumn and winter earth this hot and steamy.  In the summer cool and top with fresh berries.  Couple this with fresh sparkling water following the ritual.

The Invocation:  Cast your circle and call in those you wish to join you.  Ask Mother Gaia to join your circle with this invocation:

Of her I sing, the All-Mother,

old and rock-hard and beautiful.

Of her I sing, the Nourisher,

she upon whom everything feeds.

Of Gaia I sing.  Whoever you are,

wherever you are, she feeds you.

from her sacred treasury of life,

bountiful harvests, beautiful

children, the fullness of life:

these are her gifts.  Praise her.

The wide blue sky wants to penetrate the earth.

The earth longs for utter union.  Look: it comes.

Rain falls.  Rain falls as sky meets earth.

Rain falls.  Earth bubbles with life.

Life springs forth from the damp soil:

flocks of sheep like clouds, oceans of wheat.

Body of the Ritual:  Depending on the time of year the focus could be flexible.  For example, Earth Day or Arbor Day are natural (excuse the pun) days to honor Gaia.  Either would be a wonderful time to thank the Earth Mother for her beauty and nurturing, or to pray for her healing.  The Autumn would be ideal to offer prayers of thanksgiving.  Meditate on the Earth Mother and your connectedness to her.  Ask Gaia to guide you as you use your preferred divination techniques to answer a pressing question.

Raise the Energy:  You might choose this chant from “The Voices of Gaia” to raise some energy.  After, close your circle and ground yourself with the rice pudding and sparkling water refreshments.

We are the rhythm of the earth.

We are the flow of the sea.

We are the spirit on fire.

We are the air we breathe.

November 8, 2012

Persephone – Queen of the Underworld

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , at 8:32 am by Babs

Persephone (pronounced: Purr-sef-foni) was the innocent daughter of Demeter and was abducted by the Greek God Hades and taken to the underworld where she took on a dark and mysterious persona as his new wife.  Although found by her mother and freed on the condition that she had eaten nothing whilst imprisoned, it  transpired that she had indeed eaten some pomegranate seeds.  She was obliged thereafter to return to the underworld thereby dividing her time between her mother and her husband (Hades) but later chose to return of her own volition.  But let’s get to the details of the story…

Persephone, a Greek goddess known in her childhood by the name Kore (or Cora, meaning young maiden), was the only child of the union of Demeter (Goddess of the bountiful harvest) and Zeus (king of the Olympians).  The Greek Goddess Persephone was born when Demeter was Zeus’ consort, long before his marriage to Goddess Hera.  By all accounts Persephone had an idyllic childhood, raised by her nurturing mother and played with her father’s other daughters, the Greek Goddesses Athena and Aphrodite.  Always a cheerful and compliant child, the little Goddess Persephone was a parent’s dream.

According to Greek mythology Persephone’s life was soon to change.  As signs of womanly beauty began to shine along side her childlike innocence, the adolescent Persephone unwittingly attracted the attention of Hades, brother of Zeus and ruler of the underworld.  One can hardly blame Hades because the underworld, in Greek mythology, was the realm of the sleeping and the dead.  It probably needed some “brightening up”, and the young Persephone’s radiance would assuredly liven up the place.

Hades, however, did not bother to woo the young Persephone, traditional goddess protocol notwithstanding.  After asking for (and receiving) her father’s approval for Persephone’s hand in marriage, Hades simply abducted her one bright sunny day when she stooped to pluck a narcissus from a field of wildflowers near her home.  The meadow was suddenly rent open and Hades simply reached out and snatched Persephone away, taking her to his underworld kingdom and making her his queen.  Although the young Persephone grew to love Hades, she remained lonely for her mother and the life she’d known on earth.

Her mother, Demeter, had heard Persephone’s screams when Hades grabbed her.  She began an intensive search for Persephone.  After learning how Zeus had betrayed their daughter, and consumed by grief and sorrow.  Demeter demonstrated her outrage by withholding her blessing by withholding her blessing from the earth until Persephone was returned to her.  Droughts ensued, and the earth lay barren.  Mankind was facing a major famine.  Zeus finally relented and sent the god Hermes to bring the young Persephone back to her mother.  Part of Persephone missed her mother horribly, but another part had grown rather fond of the god.  Preparing to return to the earth with Hermes, Persephone accepted a pomegranate offered to her by Hades.  She knew full well that anyone who had eaten while in the underworld would not be allowed to return, even a goddess.  Persephone went ahead and ate seven of the seeds.  Her choice prevented her from ever being fully restored to Demeter, but did open up the possibility of a compromise.  Hermes was able to negotiate an agreement on her behalf between Hades, a god who was usually rather cold-natured and self-centered, and Demeter.  Persephone would be allowed to stay with Hades in the underworld for four months each year (winter) and would return to the earth and her mother the remaining months.  Persephone was soon reunited joyfully with her mother.  Each year as Persephone left to join her husband in the underworld, Greek mythology tells us that Demeter would begin to grieve, bringing on the cold, barren winters.  But a few months later Persephone, the goddess associated with awakening, would return to bring spring and its verdant growth in her wake… thus were the seasons established.

Not that Persephone sloughed off any of her responsibilities as the Queen of the Underworld.  Apparently Persephone didn’t spend all her time “going home to momma”.  Having made the decision to consume the seeds of the pomegranate while in the underworld, Persephone managed to somehow always be there when others came visiting, ready to receive them into the underworld and to serve as their hostess and guide.

Persephone was willing to help Psyche pass Aphrodite’s tests so that Psyche could be reunited with her beloved husband.  Psyche had been assigned to go to the underworld and return with some of Persephone’s famous youth serum/ beauty ointment (actually it was a sleeping potion, but hey, we all know what a bad night’s sleep can do to our appearance!) While Psyche was in the underworld, she found Persephone to be both a gracious and generous hostess.

Persephone also helped Heracles (Hercules) by loaning him Cerberus, the ferocious three-headed dog that guarded the entrance of the underworld so that he could complete the Twelve Labors he’d been assigned to make reparation for the death of his wife.  Persephone was also at home in the underworld when Odysseus (Ulysses) arrived.  she rewarded him with a legendary tour of the souls of women of great renown.

In another intriguing story, the Goddess agreed to hide Adonis, a mortal youth who was Aphrodite’s lover, from Aphrodite’s suspicious husband.  But upon seeing the beautiful Adonis, Persephone, receptive goddess that she was, also fell for his charms and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.  (Remember, these Greek goddesses were the original “wild women”, refusing to yield to convention!)

Eventually, Zeus had to step in to settle the argument.  He ruled that Adonis should spend a third of the year with each of the goddesses, Persephone and Aphrodite, and he left to his own pursuits the remainder of the year.  Unfortunately, Adonis chose to spend his free time hunting and was killed in a hunting accident a few years later.

Persephone represents both the youthful, innocent, and joyous maiden aspect of a woman as well as the more womanly self who, innocence lost and family attachments loosened, can begin to consciously decide for herself.  In Greek mythology Persephone, Goddess of the soul,  is the possessor of its dark and frightening wisdom.  But the Goddess Persephone is also the harbinger of spring… and a reminder of all the growth and hope that it brings.

Symbols & Sacred Objects of Persephone:

Goddess symbols, individualized for each goddess, incorporated into the worship of the ancient goddesses, were often worn as jewelry and also used in the household decor as talismans to seek the goddesses special gifts, blessings, or protection.  A large number of goddess symbols have survived in statuary and other works of art.

Many of the goddess symbols came from theologians surrounding a specific goddess and were “characters” in her story.  Other goddess symbols were derived from the rituals used in the ancient rites of worship of these pagan goddesses.  Persephone (also known in her youth as Kore and the Roman Goddess Prosperina) is often represented by symbols associated with the coming of spring.  It is not surprising that many of our icons representing the mysteries of rebirth are derived from the ancient goddess symbols of Persephone.

General: Spring, Wreath of Flowers, Torch, Reeds, Waterfalls, Rivers and Springs.

Animals: Bat, Ram, Parrots (and all talking birds), and Monkeys.

Plants: Pomegranate, Narcissus, Willow Tree, Lily, Ivy, Lily of the Valley, Oriental Lilly, Maidenhair Fern, Daisy, and Lavender.

Perfume/ Scents: Floral scents, especially Narcissus and Hyacinth, Almond, Vanilla, and Bergamot.

Gems/ Metals: Crystal, Quartz, Agate, Black Onyx, Pink Tourmaline, Sapphire, Obsidian, Mercury, Coral, Carnelian, and Brown Jasper.

Colors: Green, Black, Light Blue, Purple, Magenta, Indigo, and Yellow.

Sacred Mantra: Empowerment

Suggested Affirmations:

  • I am as free as a bird.
  • I am free to be myself.
  • I accept myself as I am.
  • I am good and I know it.
  • I believe in my gifts and abilities.
  • I release my need to be humiliated.
  • I release my habit of self – criticism.

Persephone’s Modern Energy:

It is usually “victims” who identify the strongest with Persephone – the maiden goddess symbolizing vulnerability – especially those who secretly enjoy adverse circumstances which have been thrust upon (or did they seek them out?).

Just as Persephone came to secretly enjoy her life in the world of darkness, so do her followers chase the trail of temptation amidst cries of protestation – they’re really quite enjoying much of the drama and intrigue that’s throwing their life into turmoil.  They know they should escape their destructive cycle, but do they really want to?  After all, the bad things happening to them are always someone else’s fault; why do they always find themselves in a bind?  It is because they are allowing themselves to be seduced by the Dark Queen Persephone – they are CHOOSING it to be so.

If Persephone’s message is striking a chord with you, prepare to do something constructive about taking responsibility for yourself and your life.  It is time to stop luxuriating in guilt and empower yourself thorough honest.  Spend today acknowledging truths, honoring those who are trying to help you, and showing gratitude for all the “good” in your life.  Come out from the darkness and turn your face to the light.

Try this: Today, write down five things you are grateful for.  It could be the sunrise you caught this morning, the toast your partner made you or seeing children skipping to school – whatever it is that makes you feel glad to be alive.

When you wake up tomorrow, add to the list another five things.  Keep adding to the list everyday until your heart is glowing with gratitude and joy.  Let the healing energy empower you in your new life.

Goddess Persephone – In Summary:

Persephone, daughter of Demeter, was a young and beautiful Greek Goddess.  Her innocence of the world grew from the love and protection her Mother surrounded her in.  Persephone lived in eternal spring, unaware of any existence outside her mother’s realm.

One day as Persephone was walking in a meadow she sees a flower, the beautiful narcissus – the flower of death.  As she reaches down to pluck the flower the earth trembles and opens up releasing Hades from the underworld.  His desire aroused by Her light of innocence and her seeing the beauty in the flower of death.  Persephone had never seen anything like Hades and His shadow, the youthful maiden was equally drawn to him.  As they danced around each other, the shadow and the light began to spiral around them – first in then out again.

Persephone’s Spiral Dance into the shadows of the underworld filled her with the wisdom and knowledge of existence outside of her Mother’s realm.  So bright was Goddess Persephone’s light that Hades himself fell in love and shared the pomegranate Hades shared the food of the dead that sustains lost souls as they wait on the Spiral Dance that is life.  Goddess Persephone grew from a child into a woman, from a daughter of a Goddess into Goddess of her own kingdom.  Her kingdom being the sanctuary to the souls that travels between the realms as one must die to be reborn.

Goddess Persephone returned to Goddess Demeter, but as a deity unto herself, Goddess Demeter’s joy at the return of her daughter filled her with creativity and spring was granted.  All seeds sprang forth life new beginnings and grew into the summer.  As with our sacred circle, the wheel turns endlessly, bringing with it the seasons.  With harvest at end, Goddess Persephone grows restless for her own time and path.  Goddess Demeter’s own need for renewal brings winter and once again we celebrate what past and what has yet to come.

From an astrology point, the story of Persephone is fascinating.  As Hades is representation of our planet Pluto, change is inevitable for Persephone.  Pluto removes all that is necessary for one’s life to progress.  One can not see the loss is in the best interest, but Pluto promises a brighter path with the change.  One can “swim upstream” in the mist of Pluto but it will be wasted energy as change will come.  Pluto is also the season of Scorpio, great passion, sexuality and death.  All associated with Persephone.

Persephone our Goddess of Death and transformation is the gate of endings and beginnings that come with Samhain – our “New Year”.  Seek her wisdom by seeking her visions.  To seek Persephone is to take time to look inside, to contemplate in stillness and seek inner peace.  Persephone shows a woman that she needs to find an inner sanctuary to seek and understand deep feminine power within to manifest or accept changes need to dance the Spiral Dance that is her path.

From the Goddess Gift Ezine (subscribe@goddessgift.com) here is Persephone’s Pomegranate Punch!

You will need:

  • 1 Gallon Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 Quart Apple Juice
  • 1 Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 20 Cloves (whole)
  • 20 Cardamom Seeds
  • 1 Cup Almond Slivers
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries

What to do:

Place cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon in a cheesecloth bag and tie tightly.  Bring juices, honey, and water boiling point and then add spice bag.  Simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat.  Add almonds and cranberries.  Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.  Best served warm like mulled cider.  This recipe can be refrigerated and then warmed in the microwave.

(Optional: Add vodka or Courvoisier to taste)

November 1, 2012

Guinevere: The Lady in White

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , at 10:35 am by Babs

Guinevere (Welsh, Cornish) also Gwenhwyfar, Gueneve, and Gwenivere.  Her name means “white shadow”, the sovereign power behind King Arthur’s throne.  While the Camelot stories surrounding her, King Arthur, and his rival, are romantic in nature, these modern incarnations demean the status of the sovereign Goddess in their telling… She was the sovereign who gave Arthur his right to rule simply by being with him.  When she left him he pursued her not for love, but because without her his kingdom would crumble for lack of leadership.  The role of Goddess of Sovereignty is more clearly seen in her legends than in many others.  Her duty is to blend the king’s energy with the energy of the land.  It is in many myths that when the king forgets where his power comes from that the queen will seek other champions and lovers to remind him as she gladly did.

She is also a May Queen who is occasionally thought of as a female Gwyn Ap Nuad, an otherworld king and God of the hunt.  According to Arthurian legend, Arthur met Guinevere in the court of Duke Cador of Cornwall.  Guinevere was the ward of Cador and she came from a noble Roman family; according to both Wace and Layamon, it was on her mother’s side that she was Roman.  Later legends say that Guinevere was the daughter of Leodegan (Leodegraunce), king of Camelide (Camelot).  After Arthur helped Leodegan, Arthur became betrothed to Guinevere.  One of Guinevere’s companions, after she married Arthur, was her cousin and lady-in-waiting, Elibel.  They married but had no children (except in the Perlesvaus, where their son was named Lohot (Loholt)).

In the Welsh Mabinogion called Culhwch and Olwen (before 1100), Guinevere was called Gwenhwfar which possibly means “White Phantom”.  This was Guinevere’s first appearance.  Gwenhwyfar was the daughter of Gogrfan and the wife of Arthur.  The tale also mentioned that Gwenhwyfar had a sister, named Gwenhwyfach.  This sister of Gwenhwyfar, Gwenhwyfach, also appeared in the Welsh Triads 54, in the 2nd line of the Three Harmful Blows of the Island of Britain: The second Gwenhwyfach struck upon Gwenhwyfar: and for the cause there took place afterwards the Action of the Battle of Camlan… This is the only Welsh reference that we have found in Guinevere’s connection to the Battle of Camlann, which is markedly different from that of Mordred seizing her and the throng of Arthur.

According to Diu Krone, Heinrich von dem Turlin says that her sister was Queen Lenomie of Alexandria.

The Mabinogion had mentioned several times that Arthur had several sons: Gwydre, who was killed by the boar Twrch Trwyth (in Culhwch and Olwen), Llacheu, who was later identified as Lohot (in the Dream of Rhonabwy), and Amhar (in Gereint and Enid).  But there was nothing to indicate that they were her sons, though as wife of Arthur, we could possibly assume they probably were her sons.  In most tales, they were married but had no children, except in the Grail romance titled Perlesvaus, where their son was named Lohot.  According to this tale, when Sir Kay murdered Lohot, Guinevere was grief-stricken and she died from broken heart.

In the poem known as the Welsh Triad, Arthur had three queens.  All three wives were named Gwenhwyfar.  They were called Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwent (Cywryd), and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwythyr son of Greidiawl, and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gogfran (Gogrvan) the Giant.  This recalls the Celtic love for the number three, like the triple personifications of Ireland, the triple war-goddesses Morrigan, the triple Sovereignty of Ireland or the triple mother-goddesses Danu in Irish myths.  Here, the Welsh myths are identical to the Irish, with the three wives of Arthur being the personification of Britain or the Sovereignty of Britain.  Gwenhwyfar represtnts the land of the kingdom and was more than just a queen, but a powerful goddess.  And in order for Arthur to become king of Britain, he must wed and mate with the three goddesses in order to ensure the prosperity and fertility of the land (Britain).

In the Latin romance, titled The Rise of Sir Gawain, Gwendolena (Guinevere) was not only Arthur’s wife; she was a powerful sorceress, who had the ability of foretelling.  It was she who predicted a champion Sir Kay, when these two challenge Gawain, but were unhorsed.  Guinevere was said to be a wise queen as well as one of the most beautiful women in the world.  Her great beauty also caused trouble for her.  She had being abducted a few times, where she had to be rescued.  According to The Life of Gildas, Caradoc of Llangarfan wrote that Melvas, king of the Summer Country, had abducted and raped Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere).  War erupted between Arthur and Melvas and Melvas retreated to Glastonbury.  St. Gildas doesn’t like Arthur, since the king had killed his rebellious brothers, but he intervenes.  St. Gildas talked the two warring kings to make peace, and Melvas returned Gwenhwyfar back to Arthur.

This event was most likely the source for the romance of Chretien de Troyes, titled Le Chevalier a la Charrette, which translated to Knight of the Cart, though sometimes it was “Lancelot”.  This Melvas became Meleagant, the son of King Baudemagus of Gorre.  Meleagant had abducted Guinevere and later challenged the hero Lancelot to a duel, which he lost.  Lancelot fought him again, in the second duel, and killed Meleagant.  Though, Lancelot appeared in earlier works of Chretien, but his role was minor.  The Knight of the Cart is actually Lancelot’s first appearance as a hero and it was the first time that he appeared as Guinevere’s lover.

In the early tradition (in Geoffrey’s work and the Welsh texts) when Mordred, acting as a regent during Arthur’s absence in the war against the Romans, seized power in Britain.  To add salt to Arthur’s wound, Mordred had married Guinevere.  Mordred may have forced Guinevere into marrying him, but most say that she was accomplice in the treason and may have seduced Mordred.  According to the alliterative morte Arthure, Guinevere had two sons by Mordred.  Again, like the Irish myth, the king can only rule the land if he marries a goddess of the land.  And since the Welsh see Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) as a goddess, it was she who could choose a king, and she had seduced Mordred, therefore Mordred was in effect, a legitimate king.

There is one interesting short story which a poetess named Marie de France had written in the lat 12th century, titled Lanval,  Marie had written that she had translated from a Breton song, known as the lai.  The story telling of how the hero Lanval was loved by a fairy woman, where he must not reveal of her presence to anyone.  When Guinievere, his liege lord’s wife, had unsuccessfully tried to seduce him, he boast of the fairy woman’s beauty surpassing the Queen.  Guinevere then falsely accused him of making unwanted advances upon her and bragging of loving a woman more beautiful than her.  Arthur would have punished him if Lanval could prove his boast, had it not being the timely arrival of the fairy woman saved from execution with her appearance.  Lanval and the fairy woman then left the mortal world, to dwell in Avalon.  Here, Guinevere was clearly portrayed as the adulteress, who tried to seduce the young knight.  The tale is similar to another, later Breton lai titled Graelent, written in the mid 13th century, by an anonymous writer.

However, Guinevere was best known for her long love affair with Lancelot, the best knight in the world.  This firs appeared in Chretien de Troyes’ romance titled Knight of the Cart (or Lancelot).  In the Vulgate Cycle and after, Guinevere had definitely betrayed Arthur by committing adultery.  However, it was not Mordred who was her lover, but the greatest knight of them all – Lancelot of the lake.  All Lancelot’s heroic deeds were performed because of his love for her.  Lancelot was inspired by her love.  Lancelot was her lover and her champion.  Lancelot would often rescue her from one danger or another.  (See Knot of the Cart from Lancelot du Lac.)

There was probably some justification of the adultery of Lancelot and Guinevere, since Arthur was not entirely blameless or guiltless.  In the Vulgate text (Lancelot), on the night Lancelot first made love to Guinevere, Arthur was in the arms of Saxon sorceress and enemy.  (See Lancelot)  And, their love would cause Lancelot to fail in the Quest of the Grail, and would bring about the circumstance, which would cause death of Arthur and the destruction of the Round Table.

The kingdom and the Round Table became identically associated with Guinevere.  When Arthur married Guinevere, he was given the Round Table and a hundred knights, as part of dowry.  When Arthur tried to execute Guinevere, then a war broke out between Lancelot and Arthur, the Round Table in a sense had been broken.  Before the Grail quest, Guinevere’s love for Lancelot had in fact made Arthur’s kingdom and the Round Table – strong.

The big difference between Mordred and Lancelot was that Lancelot didn’t seek to rule in Arthur’s place.  Lancelot loved Arthur as his king, and was willing to carry this secret relation to his grave.  This strange loyalty to Arthur had actually made Arthur’s claim to kingship, even stronger.  But this triangle could not last, since adultery is seen as crime and a sin.  It was only when Arthur arrested Guinevere for adultery and treason, that the power of the Round Table broke.  The Round Table was not broken in the physical sense, but symbolically when the two strongest supporters of Arthur became two factions between the House of Ban (Lancelot) and the House of Orkney (Gawain), came into conflict.  Though the war ended without either side winning and Guinevere was returned to Arthur, the strength of the Round Table was seriously weakened without the support of Lancelot and his kinsmen, when Mordred betrayed Arthur and seized the kingdom.  In the Vulate Cycle and later authors, Guinevere had managed to prevent Mordred from marrying her by gathering loyal men hidden behind the walls of the Tower of London.

As Arthur fought Mordred, Guinevere had fled to abbey at Caerleon or the City of Legion (or outside of London, according to Mort Artu).  Guinevere took the vow to become a nun, even before the battle was decided.

It should be noted that there were two Guineveres according to the Vulgate Cycle.  In the Vulgate Merlin, the second Guinevere was the daughter of King Leodegan and his seneschal’s wife.  His seneschal was named Cleodalis, who married the maid of Leodegan’s wife.  The maid became a lady in Leodegan’s court.  Leodegan lusted after the seneschal’s new wife.  Leodegan had sent Cleodalis with and army against the Irish.  Shortly after Leodegan had made love to his wife, the Queen being a devout Christian, went to the church.  So in his wife’s absence, Leodegan took advantage of the situation and ravished his wife’s former maid.

The two Guineveres were actually half-sisters.  As it can be seen, the were conceived on the same night and were later born on the same day and with the same name, and looked exactly alike.  Leodegan and his wife’s daughter became Arthur’s wife and the mistress of Lancelot.  This second Guinevere was frequently known as the False Guinevere or Second Guinevere.  The only means of identifying the real Guinevere from the false was that she had a birthmark of a king’s crown on her back, while the Second Guinevere had none.

In Lancelot Proper, the False Guinevere would later cause the separation of Arthur and his wife.  She posed as the false queen and wife of Arthur; trying to get Arthur to execute the real Guinevere.  This plan was foiled when Lancelot challenged three of her knights in a trial by combat.  Even though, Lancelot won the contest, Arthur was still in love with the imposter, because she had given a love potion to the king.  The False Guinevere and her accomplice Bertholai confessed to their crime when they were both struck down by a mysterious illness.  It is not certain if the imposter died from her illness or she was executed on Arthur’s order.

The wife of Arthur, daughter of Kin Leodegrance of Cameliard in Malory.  Welsh tradition calls her father Gogrvan or Ocvran, whille in Diu Crone he is called King Garlin of Galore.  A late literary source, Thelwalls play “The Fairy of the Lake” (1801), suggests that she is the daughter of Vortigern.  Wace makes her Mordred’s sister.  In Geoffrey, she is of Roman stock, and while Arthur was fighting the Roman war, Mordred abducted her and made himself king.  In the later version of the Arthurian story she was the lover of Lancelot.  Their intrigue discovered, Lancelot fled and Guinevere was duly sentenced to burning.  Lancelot rescued her and war followed between him and Arthur.  While Arthur was away, Mordred rebelled.  Arthur returned to do battle with him and received his final wound.  Guinevere took the veil.  However, there are different tails of her end.  According to Perlesvaus, she died in Arthur’s lifetime, while Boece averred she ended her days as a prisoner of the Picts.  She and Arthur had a son called Loholt, though he was also said to be the son of Arthur and Lionors.  The Alliterative Morte Arthure says that she and Mordred were the parents of two sons.  B. Saklatvala has suggested she was really a Saxon named Winifred, and J. Markale has opined that Kay and Gawain were originally amongst her lovers.  Welsh tradition stated that Arthur was married, not to one, but to three Giuneveres.  Some have argued that Guinevere is a mythical figure, representing the sovereignty of Britain, over which contenders fight in this respect she is a parallel figure to Eriu, the goddess of the sovereignty of Ireland.  C. Matthew’s contends that this interpretation is supported by the legend of three Guineveres married to Arthur, saying these are not three separate persons but a single trine goddess.  J. Matthews contends that Guinevere and Morgan are like two sides of a coin, the beneficent and malevolent aspects of sovereignty.

Efforts to connect Guinevere with Findabair, daughter of the Irish goddess Maeve, have not proven successful.  Guinevere was very susceptible to being abducted and it has been suggested that her story is a parallel of the Irish story of Midir and Etain.  In this, Etain was once an otherworldly bride of Midir but she retains no memory of this fact and is now married to an Irish king.  Midir turns up to lure her back to the Otherworld.  Similarly, it is said, Guinevere’s abductor, be he Meleaguance or Lancelot, Gasozein or Valerin is meerly taking her back to the Otherworld whence she came.

We are told in the Mabinogion that Guinevere had a sister named Gwenhwyvachl in Frince romance that she had an identical half-sister who, for a while, took her place and in the German Diu Crone that she had a brother Goterin.

Guinevere as Goddess

She is the beautiful Goddess of the Land.  In myth, Arthur (The Holy king in the wheel of the year), vies with Lancelot (the Oak King), for Guinevere and the sovereignty of the land.  Goddess of love, growth and fertility, her dazzling, intoxicating charms wreak havoc in the world of men!  She holds an apple, the symbol of the giving and receiving of love, both physically and spiritually.  It also reflects her role as a Celtic triple Goddess.  Her name means “White One” – Fairie Goddess of the Old Ones.  Here we see her rising from the land surrounded by her sacred May blossoms.

King Arthur and the Goddess Tradition in Britain

The stories of the goddess were originally the closely guarded secret of the temple custodians.  These stories were, however, passed to the common people disguised as entertainment.  When they became part of the common folklore they were changed as people tried to make the goddess represented in the tales behave more like an ordinary person… for example if a story said that the goddess gave birth to such-and-such a god or nymph, then the later stories would provide her with a husband or a sexual encounter to explain this.  In this way, the myths soon became very tangled and when we unravel them we find that the goddess has married herself under different names, has given birth to herself several times, and even made war on herself under different names.

In later centuries, there was another reason to keep the goddess’s stories secret.  From the Greek times forward, the goddess religion was suppressed and forbidden, and to declare any expertise on the subject was to risk death.  This was the case in the middle ages in Britain where the tales were still told, but in forms which only the knowing would recognize, and with plentiful references to Christian piety in case the authorities got too close.  Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (partially The Miller’s Tale) and the Robin Hood stories are other examples, but the most revealing may be that of King Arthur.

The story of Arthur contains a full suite of the Celtic version of the goddess myths.  The principal story, that of the two kings representing the old and the new years, who content for the affections of the goddess, is given in the relationship of Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere.  Guinevere (whose name means Lady in White) is the goddess.  Arthur is the god of the old year, and when he goes away he is replaced by the god of the New Year, Lancelot.  This implies infidelity on Guinevere’s part and introduces a tension in our understanding – if she were an ordinary mortal, that is, and if this were an ordinary story about ordinary people.

Guinevere is not the only face of the goddess in this story.  Arthur is given his kingship by the Lady of the Lake (Nimue), who we may identify as being the goddess by her magical powers and her association with water.  When Arthur dies he is taken by three ladies (representing the Triple Goddess) in a boat (the tradition) to Avalon (the goddess’ apple isle, the traditional paradise reserved for heroes).  A mediterranean version of Arthur would have been taken instead to the Pleiades.

Merlin, the model for future wizards, is an echo of the Celtic high druid or ollave, a role first played by the high poets of the mediterranean goddess-temples.  As has been said above, the keepers of the original goddess stories were under an obligation to keep the stories both secret and unchanged.  This tradition was apparently still alive at the time of Sir Thomas Malory.  In his Death of King Arthur Malory rebukes other writers for having recorded the story.  He was referring to French authors who picked up the story from Welsh poets, who in turn had got it from the older Celtic bards.  Malory also takes care to fill his book with heapings of Christian camouflage.  When Arthur dies, Guinevere becomes a nun, and Lancelot a monk and so on.

Gwenhwyfar: The Cloud Who Would Be Queen

Name: Gwenhwyfar, Gwenhwyvar, Guenievre, Guenhumara, Jenefer, Ginevra and Guinevere.  The Welsh name comes from two words that mean either White/ Shining or Holy and Cloud/ Phantom/ Shadow or Smooth.  The best bet is either White Cloud or White Phantom but as others have speculated on the true meaning of the name – what’s to stop you from mixing and matching with other interpretations?

Symbols: Of the original Gwenhwyfar is hard to say.  The Guinevere that has come to us from more than a Round Table full of hands no doubt obscures most of what was the original Goddess.  We can hazard a guess and say, some of her symbols were such things as a cloud, crown, dog, and various symbols associated with triple goddesses.

Image: A very fair-skinned woman of preternatural beauty.

Relatives: Gogrvan or Ocvran or Ogrfan Gawr the Giant of Castell y Cnwclas (Father), Arthur (artviros ‘Bear Man’) Husband, Gwendydd, Gwenith, Gwynith, Gwyneth, Gweneth, Gynath, Gandieda, Catherina, Catarina (Sisters), Loholt (Son, though some say the son of Arthur & Lionors) and two unnamed sons with Mordred Arthur’s son was his half-sister Morgan.  And you thought the family relations on Angel were messed up.

Synodeities: Goddess of Sovereignty (Britain), Eriu (Ireland)

Details: No matter what has been made of Gwynhwfar over the years, and she has passed through dozens if not hundres of hands and minds.  At her start she was said to be a Goddess called White Cloud (or White Phantom, White Shadow, Shinning Cloud, etc.) who was a mischievous shape shifter, who from time to time found that she just could not help but incarnate as a human to mix in the affairs of mankind.  She would do this by entering a womb and being born as a human.

While that does seem to indicate that she might not have had the most noble of motivations (from a human viewpoint at least) she was not however portrayed as the adulteress at best and adulteress traitor at worst that we have today in her more well-known form of Queen Guinevere, wife of King Arthur.  This view first came from the 12th century writer Chretien de Troyes who was also the inventor of Sir Lancelot.

There are more than a few versions of the story of Arthur & Guinevere, with Welsh, British, Irish, German, French & modern takes on the story, the above is just one of them.  Today most think it is just the tale of a king and his queen and all the knights in shining armor stuff.  However, the myth from which that story grew is far older than that; taking place long before there were knights.  For one thing it was believed that Arthur had three queens, all of them named Guinevere (or variations of that name).   That this points to a Celtic triple Goddess is pretty easy conclusion to reach.  A good guess is that she is much like the other Goddess of Sovereignty found in Celtic myth; without whom a God-King cannot reach true power.  So just how did a fun-loving shape shifter out for just a bit of a lark among the humans become the embodiment of adulterous females?

I would guess that White Cloud is perhaps the true original origin of her name.  And like those who look at clouds and see bunnies, or monsters depending, not on the shape of the cloud but on the shape of their mind, the Guinevere that was born from that Gwynhwfar of long ago is still laughing at the things we humans get up to based on the smallest of things.

Ray Attributes: The Elohim of the Sixth Purple/ Indigo (and White) Ray of Idealism and Devotion which “stimulates all religious devotion and aspirations and prepares the thought of the World for the coming of the World Teacher.  The Sixth Ray is to empower, through Cosmic Justice, the one-pointedness and striving which enables humanity to persevere through every conceivable obstacle.”  The planetary attribution of the Sixth Ray is to Mars and so the day of its enhancement is Tuesday.

Historical & Mythical: Queen Guinevere as Gwenhwyvar, daughter of Leo de Grange of the Celtic Kingdom of Brittany, was betrothed to King Arthur, probably to form an allegiance between the Celts in Britain and mainland europe.  In Malory’s “Romances”, the famous “Round Table” was given to Arthur by Guinevere’s father as a wedding gift.  The table was then set up at the Court of Camiliard (Camelot), now thought to have been at Cadbury Castle at Somerset.  This is now a hill fort circumscribed by four ditch and bank lines.

The Celtic custom always attributed the Queen as representing the sovereignty aspect of the Triple Goddess, whose role was to uphold the correct alignment and balance in the land by upholding the rights of the people in accord with the traditions.  It was the break with these traditions by the Court of Arthur, in favor of a more Christianised Roman way, that led to the downfall by Mordred (Madoc), who championed the dark aspect of the Goddess or Morgan, the Keeper of the Old Ways.  The reputation of Guinevere (the light, fertility aspect of the Goddess) then, depended upon the success of the Grail Quest in order to restore the “Wasteland.”

Having successfully made Cadwaladyr (Cadwallader) into the High King of the Realms, Myrddin (Merlin) advises Cadwaladyr to return briefly to Amorica (Brittany) in order to forge a stronger alliance through marriage with the Celts of Europe.  He returns with Gwenhwyvar ferch Lleudd Eugfran (Guenevere, daughter of Llud) along with her handmaiden Niniane, who is of the Line of Avalon.  Gwenhwyvar is chosen because she is herself of the Sangreal Lineage.  She is a slight girl of around 15 years of age, with blonde hair and sharp Breton features.  Niniane, however, is also small in stature but with dark hair and dark eyes.

Cadwaladyr and Gwenhwyvar are married in the city of Venta Belgarum (Winchester) and the betrothal ceremony takes place upon the mound now known as “Chalk Hill.”  Cadwaladyr returns with his new Queen to the royal court above the White Horse (in a hill-fort now known as Uffington Castle).  Niniane accompanies her as handmaiden, although Myrddin’s prophecy forebodes ill:

Listen little pig!

Are not the thorn buds green

The mountain fair, the earth

beautiful?

I will predict the battle of Argoed Llewifain,

Bloody biers after Owain’s assault.

When stewards dispute,

When children are perjured,

when Cadwaladyr conquers

Mona –

Then the Saeson will be driven out!

Listen little pig!

Wonders there will be

in Prydain – but I shall not care.

When the people of Mona

Ask questios of the Brython,

That will be a troublesome time!

A superior lord will appear.

Cynan from the banks of the Twiwi.

Confusiton will follow –

But he shall have the music of Bards to follow (Myrddin)

(Note: Mona is the ancient name for what is now called The Isle of Anglesey,  Saeson means Saxon, and Brython means Briton.)

After some time in rulership and after the subsequent battles under Cadwaladyr, thye land has become safe and protected from the invading Saxons and a time of peace ensues.  The King of Gwynedd, Maelgwn, however, still refuses allegiance to Cadwaladyr and has stirred much anxiety and division amongst the Dragon Tribes, by accusing Cadwaladyr of upholding a military state and exacting unfair taxes.  Gwenhwyvar now feels enmity towards the Dragon Banner and all that it represents as she has taken to the new faith, being that of the New Religion (Christianity).  The High Queen calls a meeting of The Council and suggests that Cadwaladyr shoudl change his emblem from that of the Dragon.  Cadwaladyr is loath to do this because of the implications of his oath and kingmaking, to serve the people as Pendragon (“Son of the Dragon”) according to his lineage and heritage.

Lleminawg will come.

An ambitious man,

To subdue Mona,

To ruin Gwynedd.

From its borders to its heartland,

Its beginning to its end,

He will take its pledges.

Furious his face

Submitting to no-one,

Cymry or Saeson.

(Taliesin)

Following the abduction of the High Queen by Maelgwn and her safe return by Lleminawg, Cadwaladyr eventually submits to the will of his queen because following her ordeal, she now feels defiled by the Dragon.  Cadwaladyr changes his name to Arthur (Yr-Arth-Great Bear) and he also changes his banner to the Bear emblem.

Niniane (Nimue) returns from the “Priestess Isle” at Inis Witrin (Glastonbury) along with Medraut, Arthur’s illegitimate son by his half-sister Morgaine.  She returns to remind Arthur of his Oath to serve the Dragon as The Pendragon. Arthur learns that Medraut has already taken up allegiance with Magloculus against him if he does not hand over his sovereignty to his son Medraut as hereditary successor of The Dragon Line.

Niniane and Medraut are both banished from court, while Gwenhwyvar prepares an order of treason to be brought against them.  Taliesin leaves court with his partner Niniane, having argued with the High Queen to no avail concerning the treason charges brought against her.  Medraut returns to Maglocunus at Powys.  the latter has threatened to invade if Medraut is held captive by Arthur.

After the death of Arthur at the Battle of Camlanna, Lleminawg returns with his lover Gwenhwyvar to their homeland of Amorica (Brittany).  Gwenhwyvar, however, later joins hold orders and enters a nunnery to find some inner solace in face of her sorrowful past.

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