January 29, 2013

Hina: The Hawaiian Butterfly Goddess

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , at 9:01 am by Babs

Near the mountains of Hilo, and appearing each one closer to the ocean, are three extinct craters in the shape of hollow hills.  They are called Halai, Opeapea and Puuhonu.  The soil on these hills were especially rich and the area was blessed with abundant rain.  The Goddess Hina, Mother of Maui, gave Halai to her daughter, Hina Keahi, mistress of fire.  She gave Puuhonu to her daughter, Hina Kuluua, mistress of rain.  The women settled on their bountiful lands and their people prospered for a long, long time.

Uli was a kahuna who could see into the future.  Her powers were legendary throughout the islands and she refused Hakalanileo’s request, for she foretold tragedy in their union.  The chief was relentless, standing unmoving in the face of Uli’s arguments, willing to accept any fate for the chance to be with Hina.  Finally, Uli relented and Hina and Hakalanileo were married.  However, it was not without warning.  Uli impressed upon the young chief that he must guard Hina well, for the light of his life would soon be stolen and the winds of change would not bring happiness.  She told him to beware when the night winds blow across the sea from the northern islands.

Several blissful years passed as Hina bore two sons.  The land was peaceful and Hakalanileo became content as his people and his family prospered.  Eventually, Uli’s warning became a faint memory that drifted from his mind.

There lived on the distant island of Moloka’i, a legendary chief, ferocious in battle and handsome in form.  It was said that he killed hundreds of men with his bare hands and piled the bodies high on the alter to Moa’ali’i, the shark god of Moloka’i.  Some say that he swallowed whole, the left eye of these sacrifices.  His name was Kaupe’epe’e and he was the king of Moloka’i.

Songs praising the beauty of Hina, Hilo’s queen, swept through the islands and reached the ears of Kaupe’epe’e.  He became intrigued and sought her out during a secret visit to Hilo.  There, he saw that the poet’s words were true and found himself mesmerized by Hina.  He approached the situation with reckless abandon and formulated a plan to take Hina, risking his life and his kingdom for his new-found love.

It was on an evening when a cool wind blew from the north, Hina and her attendants were bathing in the ocean as they always did, when a canoe slid among them under the cover of darkness.  Hina was lifted into the canoe which slipped soundless away and over the reef before anyone knew anything was amiss.

The canoe landed on Moloka’i where Kaupe’epe’e was waiting.  He carried Hina up the rocky cliffs to his legendary fortress, Ha’upu.  There he kept her prisoner, offering her all she could want save her freedom, for as long as his heart was her captive, he could not let her go.

Hina demanded to be released and shouted hateful words at the handsome chief, but his temper did not flare and he returned to speak with her often during her years of captivity.

Having expected Kaupe’epe’e to be forceful and frightening, Hina was amazed at how kind and gentle he was.  She began to look forward to his visits and a bond grew between them.

As the years passed, Hina’s sons grew to be tall and handsome warriors and jointed their father’s unrelenting search to find their mother.  They were, however, unsuccessful as no clues were left on the night of Hina’s disappearance.  Finally, Hina’s sons went to see Uli, who consulted the signs of prophecy and was granted permission by the spirits to repeat the warning she had given Hakalanileo so many years before.

“Beware when night winds blow across the sea from the northern islands.”  The island north of Hawaii was Moloka’i.  Hina’s sons decided that their mother must be a prisoner in Ha’upu, the impenetrable fortress, and they resolved to go on an impossible mission to rescue her.  Chiefs from the other Hawaiian islands agreed to join in on the attack to finally bring the fearsome Kaupe’epe’e down.

Over one thousand red war canoes made their way to Moloka’i with Hina’s husband, sons and mother leading the way.  Warriors paddled hard and chanted while war drums pounded a steady beat.

One canoe was dispatched ahead bearing the promise that the fortress would be left untouched if Hina was released.  Kaupe’epe’e would not comply, answering instead that Hina lead a happy life and that he would rather die than give her up.

Kauppe’epe’e’s forces stood ready.  Each movement of the enemy was observed and planned for.  The great fortress was filled with warriors ready to give their lives for their chief.  Kauppe’epe’e looked upon his men with sadness in his eyes, for he knew that he could not guarantee their survival.  He granted pardon to anyone who wanted to leave, but none did.

When darkness fell, the army from Hilo began swarming up the rocky cliffs.  Kaupe’epe’e had planned for this and unleashed a wall of rock that had been prepared earlier.  Boulders rushed down the gorge where the men were climbing and screams of death echoed shrilly throughout the darkness.  Blood washed down over crushed bodies and the first battle was decided.

The Hilo force, however, had been very resourceful and while Kaupe’epe’e had been occupied with the frontal assault, warriors had begun a rear assault as well.  Trees had been cut down and lashed together to make a monstrous shield which could be moved forward while protecting those behind it from spears, rocks, and arrows.  Every night, the shield was moved forward and every day the army from Hilo came closer to the fortress that was once considered invincible.

One day, heavy storm clouds moved in turning day to night.  The wind whipped in all directions and rain fell as though the land was pointed by a waterfall.  Kaupe’epe’e posted a few guards and brought his men in the fortress to keep dry.  This proved to be a mistake, for the men from Hilo pushed their mighty shield right up to the fortress walls in the cover of darkness and began swarming over the walls.  The guards’ warnings were swallowed up in the downpour and the wind and the army of Hilo swept  through the fortress, cornering and killing Kaupe’epe’e’s warriors.  Kaupe’epe’e was pierced through the breast with a spear wielded by one of Hina’s sons.

“For her sake, you live as I die.  Honor your queen mother.”  Kaupe’epe’e’s last words escaped his lips as his body fell lifeless onto the blood-soaked floor.

Hina was found unharmed deep within the temple and she was returned to Hilo.  The once formidable fortress, Ha’upu, was torn apart so that not one single stone remained in place.  The body of Kaupe’epe’e was recovered and honored with a royal burial.  His bones were hidden on his beloved Moloka’i.

Hina lived the rest of her days with her sons and husband as the graceful queen of Hilo.  However, she would often go alone to the ocean where she would watch the tossing waves.  There crept into her eyes a wistful joy whenever the winds from the north blew through her hair and across her face.

Hina is the champion of words and ideas.  She is a butterfly goddess representing meaningful communication between women and facilitator of sharing the truth between women and men.

Suggested Mantra: Communication

Suggested Affirmations:

  • I share truth
  • I feel release through communication
  • It is easy to articulate my feelings
  • I release my anger, I embrace joy
  • I connect with my needs, and let them be known
  • My insecurity is replaced with wisdom

Gemstones:

  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Aquamarine
  • Turquoise
  • Light Blue Stones

More about Hina:

Hina is a Butterfly Goddess of the Pacific Islanders.  She is known as the first woman hence the Hawaiian word for woman: wahine.  She lives in the moon, having traveled there on a rainbow path via the sun.

She represents meaningful communication and the sharing of truth between women and men.  Her message is to forgive past transgressions and give up negative attitudes that prevent you from growing as a person.  In short, she helps you make the choice to be more heartfelt with others and fly free from the cocoon that binds you.

As a communicator, her inspiring speeches and ideas give birth to new ways of thinking.  She is a messenger, a carrier of news and creator of ideas.  Whipping her followers into fervor of idealism, her speeches vibrate with inspirational energy.

January 24, 2013

Inanna: Queen of Heaven (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , at 2:54 am by Babs

Inanna is also referred to as the Goddess of the Dark Moon and a dark or new moon ritual has been found which may help you develop a closer relationship with this Goddess.  The name of the original author has been lost.  If known, please let me know and I will post full credit.

Dark Moon Ritual: Inanna’s Journey

Things you will need:

  • Black Candles
  • Candle (your favorite color)
  • Bowl of Water
  • Mirror
  • Thurible (censer)
  • Incense (your choice of scent)
  • Tarot Cards

The altar can be directional, whatever your preference.  All altars are perfect in their beauty.  Each participant needs a necklace, shawl, and one tarot card.

Preparation for the Journey:

Like the Goddess Inanna, you are choosing to travel to the underworld.  Before you go, you clothe yourself, like Inanna did with the me, protecting, wrapping yourself in your Earthly powers and attributes.  In this case, the seven me are symbolized by the necklace, the shawl, and the tarot card.  The tarot cards are shuffled and as this is done, you ask the spirits to bring you a shield, a symbol of protection.  Choose one, study it, hear your inner voice telling you what it symbolizes to you.  As you put on the necklace and the shawl, take time with each item, endowing them with the power you think you will need in the underworld.

Creation of Sacred Space:

Athame delineates the circle.  Call the directions using the Wand.  Invoke the East/Air to stir up and charge the circle’s energy.  Invoke the of the South/Fire to purify the space.  Invoke the West/Water using a Pentagram for protection.  Invoke of the North/Earth casts the circle complete.

Invocation of Inanna:

The powers of Inanna include those of the dark moon, of High Priestess, Regulator of Divine Order, Judgement, the planet Venus, the control of the law of Heaven and Earth, the Lioness.  Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte – Goddesses powerful and wise.  From the Great Above She opened Her ear to the Great Below.  Inanna abandoned heaven and earth to descend to the underworld.  O Great Queen, wrapped in wisdom and beauty; she who fixes destinies at the time of each new moon!  Guide our journey, strengthen us, as we open our ear to the Great Below.  Praise to Inanna!  Queen of Heaven and Earth!  Blessed Be.  The Circle is cast.

The participants are seated in a circle around the altar.  Each is dressed for her journey, the tarot card this is her shield/ talisman and is before her, in her hand.  The black candles have been lit and are glowing softly.  The power of their energy fills the circle.  It is time to begin.  The participants can act as co-priestesses here, or a High Priestess can guide the journey.  But, like Inanna, each shall travel alone.

The Ritual Begins: (spoken)

The Goddess Inanna, powerful Priestess, beloved Queen of her people, descended two times: she descended from Heaven to Earth to rule Her people where she made the sacred marriage to insure the fertility of the lands to that Her people would not know hunger; and she made another descent, this time into the underworld, a journey of great danger and fear – a personal journey for spiritual growth.  As Priestess and Witch, we too must be willing to learn, to descend into the underworld, not as a place of no return or dread, but as a place of magic and mystery – a vital force in life and in our training.  All we need do is be open, to feel the power of the dark moon within us.  To listen.  The Goddess Inanna gained her insight in the underworld as a corpse hanging on a peg.  If she can gain wisdom in that fashion, think of what we can do!

Priestess (name), do you seek to journey, to explore the inner womb of the Earth, your innermost self?  Why do you decide to travel, to journey deep within?  Is there an answer you seek?  A mystery you must explore?  A desire you must fulfill?  Ask for the power of the dark moon, and for the wisdom of Inanna to guide you on your journey.

  • Priestess gives her answer.  She may elaborate aloud, or silently align herself and decide her path.

The journey begins.  (During the meditation, music can underscore the journey, or perhaps a drumbeat.  In solitary work, you can prerecorded the meditation.)  Travelling afoot, toward the setting sun.  You feel the gravel road beneath your feet, the warmth of the sun, the breeze in your hair, you drink in the surroundings.  Yes, this is the path.  There is nothing discernible in the distance, yet you are drawn forward, onward toward the unknown that is the underworld.  You have chosen to make this journey.

As you walk, you are aware of the boundaries of your physical body.  You experience it in its earthly incarnation.  You become aware of the garments about you – necklace, shawl, tarot card – that which you have empowered with protection, identity, magic – earthly gifts and trappings that you have taken with you.

The sun disappears just as your path begins to curve; your descent has begun.  Darkness surrounds you.  There is no moonlight; the dark canopy overhead is like soft black velvet.  You are frightened, but all the same you know that you must continue.  No sooner do you restate your resolve than you reach a obstable – it is a gate that impedes your progress.  There is no key.  You try to force it open, but it is no use.  The iron bars are too close together for you to squeeze through.  They are too high to climb over.  Standing on the path, facing the gate, you call the Goddess.  What should you do?  Her message becomes clear to you: you are no longer in the Earthly realm and you must make an offering if you are to continue your journey.  But what?

You are wrapped in your glamours – your talismans and shields.  Remove one if you are to travel further.  This offering is not an easy one to make.  You are aware as you relinquish this what powers this item possesses, what it means to you, what it says about you.  But the offering must be made.  Once the token is removed and you have laid it at the foot of the gateway, the gate opens wide.  You may go forward on your journey.  The surroundings are vastly different on this leg of the journey.  Be mindful of the sights, weight of your offering lifted from you – you travel with greater ease – you are different, changed.  Feel what it is like.  Remember the sensations.

The spiral path pulls you along.  Your initial fears have been replaced by anxious curiosity.  Your pace quickens, as does your breathing and heartbeat.  Your eyes are opened wide in the darkness as you strain to memorize all that you are experiencing.  Just ahead you see a light-colored object.  As you draw closer you see that it is a huge stone, so large that it blocks the entire path.  Again, you are thwarted – the path to the underworld is indeed an arduous one.  Again you listen to the voice of the Goddess.  The stone is too large and smooth to climb over, there are no tools or sticks to pry it loose from this spot – if you are to continue your journey, you must make a sacrifice, an offering of one of your earthly garments.  This offering is more difficult than the first one, for this protection is more important to you.  You look behind you at the path you have walked thus far, and you know that there is no question about continuing this journey.

The second offering is made, and as you remove it from you, you are reminded again of what this token means to you, says about you, how you need it to protect you, define you.  The stone crumbles to dust right before your eyes.  Your journey continues.

As you walk, the spiral path beckons you, you feel the lightness of your being without the lost token.  Your step is easier, your load is lighter – that which you have needed on the earthly plane becomes expendable here.  Again, the surroundings have changed.  The decline of the path has become more steep, your feet cannot walk fast enough, your physical body can barely keep up with your racing, curious spirit.  Be mindful of all that you see in this part of the journey, what you are learning, seeing, experiencing.

Mesmerized by a soft glow in the distance, your feet and body guide you toward it.  You come upon its source: a wall of flames.

Inanna is in you, you know now what you must do – you must make a third and final offering.  The last vestige of earthly power, safety, identity, must be given up.  Hold the object in your hands; remember what it means to you, what it signifies.  Throw it into the fire, release it.  You do not need it here.  There is again a lightness, a freedom that rains down upon you as the fire slowly subsides.  Feel the weight of the glamours three as they are lifted from you.  How are you changed?

When Inanna descended into the Underworld, she removed all of her garments, eschewed the me that enshrouded and protected her.  And you have done the same.  Remember, in leaving these belongings behind, you cast off not your power, for that is deep within and always with you.  You are deep within the underworld now, and you are conscious of all that is around you – that the underworld is not a place of dread, but a place of mystery, magic, and transformation.  It has no destination, but is infinite.  As is the wisdom of the Goddess Inanna.  Once Inanna shed and discarded her garments, she was no longer the commanding queen.  She could accept her own vulnerability.  In this acceptance, she can also own her sorrow, her suffering, her pain.  (Each participant is handed a small mirror.)  Look deep within, look into Inanna’s mirror and see yourself, unadorned, and feel your vulnerability.  See it in your face, in your eyes; feel it in your body, your pain, how and where you have suffered.  The dark moon rains down in the darkness that is whin you.  Feel it now.  In your vulnerability is power.  The power of the Goddess, of Inanna.  You are Inanna.  Listen to the voice of the Goddess: mysteries will be revealed, desires fulfilled.  See these things manifesting now; yours to change.  (To celebrate this change, light your candle here.  Tend the flame well to bring these things to pass.)

It is time to return to the circle, to leave the underworld now.  (Take as much time as you need; some take the elevator, some need to retrace their steps)  As you reach the gate, you find your glamours, garments, and talismans.  (Each may end up with a different card or new card) Rededicate them and yourself, swear allegiance to your inner and higher powers, to the path that you have chosen.

A necklace was presented as a gift to remind Inanna’s people of the powers of the cycle of life, death, and life again.  (Necklaces are returned here.  Each should receive her own.)  Rededicate your necklace now – remembering the wisdom and vulnerability of Inanna, and the message that she has made manifest to you this night.  (Pass about a bowl of water)  It is said that Inanna sent forth healing after a great flood, and indeed that the cleansing waters themselves refreshed the entire earth.  Refresh yourselves now with Inanna’s clear waters.  Be born anew, the dark moon waxing to fullness now – your new destiny fixed.  (Thurible is set alight here, a symbol of the power of change.)

The wisdom of the Me; the gifts of Inanna to Her people (say or chant together) The rights, the privileges and duties of Priestess, The arts of warfare and statesmanship, The arts of lovemaking, creation, family.  The arts of prostitution, sacred and profane, of the temple and the tavern.  The arts of music and the artisan.  The power of judgement and wisdom.  (Add to these the powers of Inanna that are yours, the power to change, etc.)  Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte Goddess powerful, wise to my Queen, wrapped in wisdom and beauty; She who fixes destinies at the time of each new moon!  Our vulnerabilities are our power!  Praise to Inanna!  Blessed Be!  Sing the praises of Inanna in Her song!  Close the circle.  Blessed be.

Sources, Information, Inspiration:

  • Eleanor W. Gadon, The Once and Future Goddess, Harper & Row
  • Janet & Stewart Farrar, The Witches’ Goddess, Phoenix Publishing Co.
  • Merlin Stone, Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, Beacon Press
  • Wolkstein and Kramer, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper & Row

January 16, 2013

Inanna: Queen of Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , , at 11:38 pm by Babs

Inanna, which means “Queen of Heaven”, is the Sumerian Great Goddess and forerunner of the Babylonian Ishtar, with whom She shares similar legends.  Sumer was a culture located in what is now the southern half of Iraq, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers known as the “Cradle of Civilization”.  It was one of the earliest civilizations on this Earth.

Inanna is the First Daughter of the Moon Goddess Ningal and her consort Nanna, and the Star of Morning and Evening.  She is also regarded as a daughter of the sky-god An and sister of the underworld goddess Ereschkial and of the sun-god Utu.  Like Anat and Aphrodite (who is believed to have a Phoenician origin) She is linked to the planet Venus and is a love goddess.

Her wedding to the Shepard Dumuzi was celebrated on the first day of the new year as a sacred marriage rite and Her legends show Her to be a woman of powerful sexuality.

The Sumerian great “Lady Queen of Heaven” (Ninanna) who appears in two sources: the Gilgamesh Epic, where she aids the hero and tries to seduce him, and in the Cycle of Inanna, a collection of poems concerning her relation – in life and death – to her brother and lover, the vegetation god Dumuzi (aka Tammuz).

Inanna figures prominently in various myths, such as ‘Inanna’s Descent to the Underworld’.  In this particular myth she travels to the realm of the dead and claims its ruling.  However, her sister Ereshkigal, who rules the place, sentences her to death.  With Inanna’s death, however, nature died with her and nothing would grow anymore.  Through the intervention of the god Enki she could be reborn if another person took her place.  She chose her beloved consort Dumuzi, who would from then on rule the underworld every half-year.  This myth has some relations to the Demeter/ Persephone myth as well as to the celtic beliefs that the vegetation dies and gets reborn.

During the time of growth, which was in the Near-East the autumn when the first rain after the long summer fell, the people celebrated the “Holy Marriage” of Inanna and Dumuzi – yearly at the autumn equinox as the New Year Festival which brought the land fertility and growth again, because Dumuzi had returned from the underworld and made love with Inanna again.

Inanna’s Story in Short:

Inanna makes her descent into the dark realm, kur-nu-gi-a, of her sister, Ereshkigal.  Inanna passed the seven portals of kur-nu-gi-a and at each of the portals she was obliged to remove an item of clothing until at last she stood before Ereshkigal, totally naked.  Ereshkigal fastens on Inanna and for three days she hangs like a carcase on a hook.  Her faithful female companion, Ninshubur (“Queen of the East”) whom she warns to go in search of help for her if she does not return, appeals to the god of wisdom, responds to her and sends two creatures to plead with Ereshkigal for Inanna’s release.  They find Ereshkigal in the process of giving birth.  Inanna is restored to life and ascends like the moon after its three days’ death to assume her place once more as Queen of Heaven.

The lesson of this ritual drama for Sumerian culture was the deep realization that death is not inimical to life but an essential aspect of its totality and, indeed, the passageway to a new cycle of life.  So her journey into the Netherworld was both a literal and symbolic enactment of a natural world occurrence and its mirror in the human psyche as represented by her earthly representatives: the priestesses of Sumeria.

Inanna’s descent to the Underworld is similar to the journey of the later goddess Ishtar, with some important differences.  Inanna goes to the Underworld to learn of the wisdom of death and rebirth.  To be released from Death She must choose a substitute, and offers up Dumuzi, who in Her absence has not mourned.  With Dumuzi gone, His sister Geshtinanna, Goddess of Wine, went frantically searching and eventually a bargain was struck.  Dumuzi would remain half the year in the Underworld, and Geshtinanna would take His place in the Land of the Dead for the rest of the year.

Other Names and Titles:

Like many goddesses whose name means “Queen of Heaven” there are many names which represented aspects of her power and glory.  Inanna’s (also known as Innin and Innini) titles include Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Holy Priestess of Heaven, Supreme Among the Heavenly Gods.

As the “Lady of Myriad Offices” she acted as a mediator of differences.  Her duty is to light fires as well as put them out, to cause tears as well as joy.  Also, to pester, insult, deride, desecrate, as well as venerate.  Inanna, downheartedness, calamity, heartache and joy and good cheer is your domain.

As the “Lady of the Palace” she ruled as queen.  As Ninsianna she is the personification of the planet Venus.

As “Mother of All” she was the goddess of fertility, birth, and nature.  The importance of which shows up in the following Sumerian proverb that may be a blessing or “toast” given to a young man by his father or close friend:

May (the goddess) Inanna cause a hot-limbed wife to lie down for you;

May she bestow upon you broad-armed sons;

May she seek out for you a place of happiness!

As the “Goddess of War and Strife” she held the title Nin-kur-ra-igi-ga “the queen who eyes the highland” meaning that other lands feared her.  Battle was called the “dance of Inanna’ and she was at the very heart of it.  She was the star of the battle-cry who can make brothers who have lived together in harmony fight each other.  She is known for causing the fall of the city of Agade:

The gates of Agade, how they lay prostrate; …the holy Inanna leaves untouched their gifts; the Ulmas (Inanna’s temple) is fear ridden (since) she has gone from the city, left it; like a maid who forsakes her chamber, the holy Inanna has forsaken her Agade shrine; like a warrior with raised weapons she attacked the city in fierce battle, made it turn its breast to the enemy.

As “Queen of the Sky” or Nin.an.na Nu-ugig-anna, the Hierodule of Heaven and Usanzianna, Exalted Cow of Heaven, we see her power over the rains and storms in which she is known for being both a gentle rain and a tempest.

Proud Queen of the EArth Gods, Supreme Among the Heaven Gods, Lout Thundering Store, you pour your rain over all the Lands and all the people.  You make the heavens tremble and the earth quake.  Great Priestess, who can soothe your troubled heart?

You flash like lightening over the highlands; you throw your firebrands across the earth.  Your deafening command, whistling like the South Wind, splits apart great mountains.  You trample the disobedient like a wild bull; heaven and earth tremble.  Holy Priestess, who can soothe your troubled heart?

Your frightful cry descending from the heavens devours its victims.  Your quivering hand causes the midday heat to hover over the sea.  Your night-time stalking of the heavens chill the land with its dark breeze.  Holy Inanna, the riverbanks overflow with the flood-waves of your heart…

Her Signs and Symbols:

Her symbol is the eight pointed star.  Inanna was the goddess associated – in terms of symbology – with the moon, the planet Venus and the serpent.  Being explicitly a goddess of sexuality and fertility, her worship included sacred prostitution.  With wings and serpents adorning her shoulders we can see a trace of the ancient Neolithic Bird and Snake Goddess.  The symbols of caduceus and the double-headed axe both represented her power to bestow and withdraw life.

Cult Centers:

Important sanctuaries of Inanna were in Uruk, Zabalam, and Babylon.

Inanna in Poetry:

INANNA: Journey to the Dark Center

by Mary Scarlett Moon and Callista Deep River

I am the daughter of the Ancient Mother,

I am the child

of the Mother of the World/

I am your daughter

O Ancient Mother,

I am your child

O Mother of the World.

O Inanna!  O Inanna!

O Inanna!

It is you who teaches us

to die, be reborn and rise again.

Die, be reborn, and rise!

Herstory/ Lore

Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The Goddess Inanna ruled the people of Sumer, and under Her rule, the people and their communities prospered and thrived.  The urban culture, though agriculturally dependent, centered upon the reverence of the Goddess – a cella, or shrine, in Her honor was the centerpiece of the cities.  Inanna was the queen of seven temples throughout Sumer.  Probably the most important Sumerian contribution to civilization was the invention and creation of a standard writing and literature; the Sumerians even had libraries.  Their literary works reveal religious beliefs, ethical ideas, and the spiritual aspirations of the Sumerians.  Among these works are the hymns and stories of Inanna – important here because they were recorded at the time when the patriarchy was beginning to take hold, and the position of the Goddess, although strong, was changing.

My Lady looks

in sweet wonder from heaven.

The people of Sumer parade

before the holy Inanna.

Inanna, the Lady of the Morning,

is radiant.

I sing your praises, Holy Inanna.

The Lady of the Morning

is radiant on the horizon.

Inanna’s Descent

The hymns to Inanna are beautiful, poetic, and a testament both to Her power and to Her humanity.  She outwitted Enki, the God of Wisdom and her grandfather, and she endowed the people of Sumer with the seven me – wisdoms and gifts that inspired and insured their growth sensuous lover in The Courtship of Inanna and Damuzi.  Indeed, Inanna is herself sexual energy and passion – that generates the energy of the universe.  In the Courtship, Inanna is both the shy virgin and the sensuous mistress.  Her coupling with Damuzi is one of the most erotic and passionate passages in literature.  The marriage is one of body and spirit, and Inanna’s passion and expectations link her to women all over the world.  After their lovemaking, when Damuzi asks for his freedom, Inanna’s poignant lament is “How sweet was your allure…” The Descent of Inanna plays a key role in the Sumerian literature.

The Goddess Inanna descended twice: first from Heaven to Earth to rule her people; second, to the realm of the underworld, the domain of her sister Ereshkigal.  It is the second descent of Inanna that is the focus here.  Inanna was Queen of Heaven and Earth, but she knew nothing of the underworld.  Her quest for clarity and knowledge, as well as her sense of duty as Queen and Goddess, led her to the Earthly realm in the first place.  She was a powerful ruler, and yet she felt a strong desire to challenge herself further.

“My daughter craved the great below,” was the response of her father upon learning of her descent and death in the other realm.  In her naiveté, she wrapped herself in the me, transformed into garments and jewels, and began her descent.  Her sister Ereshkigal, upon hearing Inanna at the gates of the underworld, demands that Inanna must give up all of her earthly trappings before she can complete her journey.  There are seven stations through wich Inanna must pass before she meets Ereshkigal, her sister and rival.  At the seventh and last, she meets Ereshkigal, who seizes Inanna and hangs her on a peg to die.

What Inanna discovers about herself and about life itself as she makes her descent is not implicit in the texts.  However, by the time she relinquished her final garment, she is no longer the commanding Queen.  She is open, exposed, vulnerable.  This knowledge, and acceptance of her vulnerability, as well as her first-hand discovery of the necessity of sacrifice and death for the cycles of life to continue, increased her power, her understanding, her beauty.  Her sister learns a lesson as well: she has her heart opened to compassion.  When Enki sent two creatures, Galla, below to rescue Inanna, Ereshkigal was struggling to give birth, even though she was barren.  The creatures moaned in sympathy with her – for the first time in her life, Ereshkigal felt a connection to another.  As a reward for their compassion, the Galla were permitted to take the corpse of the Goddess Inanna away with them, and revive her.  But Inanna was not free to leave unless she ensured that there would be someone to take her place.  When she returned to earth, she found that her husband Damuzi did not mourn her; in fact, he had taken on even more power in her absence.  Inanna allowed the Galla to take Damuzi to rule in her place in the underworld.  For love of her brother, Damuzi’s sister Geshtinanna volunteered to take that place half of each year so he could return to his Queen.  This six-month cycle insured that the lands would maintain their abundance and fertility, and also served to humble the imprudent King.

Inanna Today

In the Inanna cycle, she is maiden, mother and crone.  Her encounter with Ereshkigal can be seen as a meeting of the creator and the destroyer – the light and dark aspects of the Goddess.  For modern women, Inanna is a powerful role model.  She indeed has it all: she is Goddess, protectress, sensuous, a politician par excellence, intelligent, beautiful, powerful.  She is aware of Her position in the world, of Her great responsibility.

We, like Inanna, challenge ourselves, often taking ourselves to task to know more, learn more, be more.  This is not necessarily good or bad.  But in the doing, in living this life, we too must know the power of the underworld and its mysteries, as well as know the power of compassion.  Our personal growth, suffering and pain can be likened to physical death; our psyches journey to the underworld again and again.  Old ideas, old visions, identities die; myths are shattered, and are created anew.  We rise up, like Inanna, aware of our vulnerabilities, and the strength created from them.

In Summary

Inanna is the Goddess of the dark moon, brave and unwavering, she ventures into the underworld.  She teaches us to stand firm, eyes focused on the end true goal, ultimately leading us to a state of wisdom.  She is honored at the dark moon as it is she who fixes destinies at each new moon.  Her journey into the underworld and subsequent revitalization represents the soul’s evolution through hardship into glorious renewal.  In her quest for clarity and knowledge, Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth descended to Earth to rule her people, where (so that her people would not know hunger_ she made a sacred marriage to endure the fertility of the lands.  She thirsted to understand first-hand though, the true sufferings of her followers, so she descended again, this time to the realm of the underworld, the domain of her sister Ereshkigal.

Suggested Mantra: Honesty

Suggested Affirmations:

  • I am revitalized
  • I have overcome negative influences
  • My new life path reveals itself to me
  • I say goodbye  to destructive influences
  • My insecurity is replaced with wisdom
  • Wisdom comes easily to me
  • I release myself from harmful judgements

Gemstones: Carnelian, Coral, Agate, Amber, Brown Jasper

January 8, 2013

Cerridwen: Welsh Goddess of Transformation

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , , at 2:57 am by Babs

Cerridwen (pronounced Ker ID wen – meaning “White Snow” or “White Crafty One”) is the Scottish or Welsh grain and sow goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and goddess of transformation.

It was in the beginning of Arthur’s time there lived in Penllyn a man named Tegid Voeland his wife Cerridwen.  There was born to him of his wife a son Creirwy, and they had a brother, the most ill-favored man in the world, Avagddu.  Cerridwen, his mother, thought that he was not likely to be admitted among men of noble birth by reason of his ugliness, unless he had some exalted merits or the books of the Fferyllt, to boil a cauldron of Inspiration and Science for her son, that his reception might be honorable because of his knowledge of the mysteries of the future state of the world.  Then she began to boil the cauldron, which might not cease to boil for a year and a day, until three blessed drops were obtained of the grace of Inspiration.

She put the servant boy, Gwion Bach, the son of Gwreang of Llanfair in Caereinion, to stir the cauldron, and a blind man named Morda to kindle the fire beneath it.  She charged them that they should not suffer it to cease boiling for the space of a year and a day.  She, herself, according to the books of the astronomers, and in planetary hours, gathered every day of all charm-bearing herbs.  One day, towards the end of the year, as Cerridwen was culling plants and making incantations, it chanced that three drops of the charmed liquor flew out of the cauldron and fell upon the finger of Gwion Bach.  By reason of their great heat he put his finger to his mouth, and the instant he put those drops into his mouth, he foresaw everything that was to come because he instantly became a great magician.  He perceived that his chief care must be to guard against the wiles of Cerridwen, for vast was her skill.  In very great fear he fled towards his own land.  The cauldron burst in two, because all the liquor within it except the three charm-bearing drops was poisonous.  The horses of Gwyddon Garanhir were poisoned by the water of the stream into which the liquor of the cauldron ran, and the confluence of that stream was called the Poison of the Horses of Gwyddon from that time forth.

Thereupon came in Cerridwen and saw all of the toil of the whole year lost.  She seized a billet of wood and struck the blind Morda on the head until on of his eyes fell out upon his cheek.  He said, “Wrongfully has thou disfigured me, for I am innocent.  Thy loss was not because of me.”  “Thou speakest truth,” said Cerridwen,  “it was Gwion Bach who robbed me.”  She went forth after him, running.  He saw her and changed himself into a hare and fled.  So she changed herself into a greyhound and turned him.  He ran towards a river, and became a fish.  She, in the form of an otter-bitch, chased him under the water, until he was fain to turn himself into a bird of the air.  She, as a hawk, followed him and gave him no rest in the sky.  Just as she was about to stoop upon him, and he was in fear of death, he spied a heap of winnowed wheat on the floor of a barn.  He dropped among the wheat, and turned himself into one of the grains.  Then she transformed herself into a high-crested black hen, and went to the wheat and scratched it with her feet, and found him out and swallowed him.  As the story says, she bore him nine months, and when she was delivered of him, she could not find it in her heart to kill him, by reason of his beauty.  So she wrapped him in a leather bag, and cast him into the sea to the mercy of God, of the twenty-ninth day of April.  So, the great poet, Taliesin made an entrance into this world; the original and greatest of all bards.

Called “the White Lady of Inspiration and Death”, Cerridwen’s ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing seasons.  Her cauldron contains awen, meaning the divine spirit, or poetic or prophetic inspiration.  Her link as the Mother of Poetry is seen in Her reborn son Taliesin, and in the Welsh ward that makes up part of Her name, cerdd, which also means poetry.  Welsh Bards to this day call themselves Cerddorion (sons of Cerridwen).

Cerridwen signifies inspriation from an unexpected corner.  Plans may go awry; projects may change.  Do not be too quick to hold a project to its course – instead let it take its shape as it will.

Correspondences:  Sows, Cauldron, Inspiration, Shape-shipfters, Death, Enchantment, Dark Moon, Fertility, Divination, Hens, Poetry, Astrology, Crones, Knowledge, Herbs, Regeneration, Spells, Science

Cerridwen, The dark goddess of great wisdom, prophetic foresight, and magical shape-shifting abilities lends us her relentless energy and focus required to achieve our ultimate goals.

Suggested Mantra: Magical Energy

Suggested Affirmations:

  • What’s next?! (yeah!)
  • Success comes easily to me
  • I feel absolutely supercharged
  • My vital energy resurfaces naturally
  • My insecurity is replaced with wisdom
  • I am filled with energy to achieve my goals
  • I have abundant energy, vitality and well-being

Gemstones: Carnelian, Coral, Agate, Brown Jasper, Aquamarine

More About Cerridwen 

The Magical Welsh crone goddess Cerridwen was a shape-shifting goddess of dark prophetic powers, enchantment and divination.

Cerridwen is the keeper of the cauldron of the underworld and it is a powerful symbol of transforming magic, and of the lessons learned through change and experience, as well as divine creative inspiration.  The potion she brewed was known as ‘Greal’ (from which the word Grail probably came), and was made from six plants for inspiration and knowledge.

Her symbol was a white-corpse eating sow representing the Moon and the fecundity of the Underworld, and the terrible strength of the Mother.  She is often equated with the famous Greek crone, Hecate, and to the Irish Badb.  She is also sometimes related to the Greek Muses, only in a more violent and dark form.

She is the tigress mother, dark goddess, prophetic crone, who pursues her interpretation of justice with unfailing energy.  She correspondes with Brigit and is connected with wolves.  Some believe that her cult dates to the Neolithic era where she was originally a corn goddess.

More About the Cauldron

Though the cauldron is often associated with witches and witchcraft, it’s not really a common tool.  Cauldrons can be hard to find, large to store and not all that necessary for most rituals.

A typical or traditional cauldron is cast-iron with three legs, but you don’t need to be bound by this form or material.  Depending on how you plan on using it, your cauldron should be both fire-resistant and water-tight.  If you prefer the standard cast-iron variety, they are available from most Pagan shops in sizes ranging from very small (votive candle size) to large floor models.  If you do intend to light fires in your cauldron, I would recommend getting one with a lid.

The cauldron is a tool that represents the element of water, and the fertility and abundance of the womb.  Most folk and I know keep a cauldron more as an altar decoration rather than a real, working tool.  Though the cauldron is associated with water, it is often used in conjunction with fire when used in rituals.  Small fires are lit within the cauldron, usually when you don’t have access to an outdoor area for a bonfire.  Another use for a cauldron is water scrying, or any spells that require water to be kept on the altar.

One of the better known cauldrons is the one owned by the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen.  Her cauldron was called Amen, and contained knowledge.  She is often portrayed with it, and it is possible that the quintessential image of the witch and her cauldron came from these images of Cerridwen.

“I see the Wild Witches dancing in the moonlight, on the bluff above the raging sea.  I feel their Magic pierce the night, even as their Love touches me.  I see the Druids raise their arms, I hear their Shaman power call to me.  Feel the pagan Magick in your breast, expand, contract, and transform thee.

I am a Witch, Druid, and a Mystical Muse.  I am Magickal, Spiritual, and a Bard with Exciting News…”

– from the Bard by Rhuddlwn Gawr

January 1, 2013

Juno: The Queen of Heaven

Posted in Goddess Project, Goddess Things tagged , , , , , , at 10:20 pm by Babs

Juno is the Roman mother-goddess protecting childbirth, marriage and women in general.  She is the wife of Jovis (Jupiter) the Roman equivalent to the Greek Zeus.

Though generally equated with the Greek Goddess Hera, Juno was in fact a native Latin Goddess with a mythology of Her own; some has survived.  Her disposition was also much different from Hera’s, and She was accounted the wisest counselor and beloved wife of Jupiter, which she was not from the beginning of her worship.

She actually started as a Goddess of her own right and was responsible for youth.  There was a famous statue of Juno from the Etruscan city Veii, which the Romans transferred in 296 before our time to Roam after defeating the city.  The church Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was erected near the site of an old temple dedicated to Juno Lucina:

Even in the late Empire a temple to the Roman mother-goddess Juno Lucina was still flourishing on the Esquiline Hill and was frequented by many Roman matrons approaching childbirth.  It is highly likely that a church to the Virgin Mother of God was erected to supplant the enduring pagan cult of Juno Lucina.  In fact, some of Santa Maria Maggiore’s marble columns came from the Juno Lucina temple, which was located, according to archeological findings, about 300 meters from the basilica’s present site.

– cited from: The Basilica of Summer Snows by June Hager

Juno and the Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was presented in 1884 as a gift from the French Grant Orient Temple Masons to the Masons of America in celebration of the centenary of the first Masonic Republic.  She is holding the Masonic “Torch of Enlightenment”.  Also referred to back in the 1700’s by the Illuminati Masons as the “Flaming Torch of Reason”.  The torch represents the sun in the sky.   The official title of the statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World”.   The cornerstone of the statue records how it was laid in a Masonic ceremony.

The torch symbol to the Illuminati means to “bare light” and one way to symbolize this is by carrying a torch.  A torch sits on top of the Statue of Liberty, on top of JFK’s grave, and on top of the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed.

The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was placed in a solemn ceremony in 1884 organized by the Masonic lodges of New York.  The Statue of Liberty, which was designed by the French sculptor Bartholdi and actually built by the French engineer, Gustave Eiffel (both well-known Freemasons), was not originally a “Statue of Liberty” at all, but first planned by Bartholdi for the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1867.

Bartholdi, like many French Freemasons of his time, was deeply steeped in ‘Egyptian’ rituals, and it has often been said that he conceived the original statue as an effigy of the goddess Isis, and only later converted it to a ‘Statue of Liberty’ for New York harbor when it was rejected for the Suez Canal.”

– from best-selling author, Robert Bauval

The goddess Isis is known by many names, including Juno.  Interestingly, the goddess Juno made an appearance on a Vatican coin in 1963 (with her torch) during the period of the alleged Freemason Roncalli’s Pontificate, the curiously named John XXIII, architect of the disastrous Vatican II.

The torch analogy is very interesting.  The original statue of Bartholdi destined first for Port Said at the mouth of the Suez Canal, was also to bear a torch intended to symbolize ‘the orient showing the way’.  The ‘Grant Orient’, of course, is the name of the French Masonic mother lodge, and to which Bartholdi belonged.  There is another similar torch that played a strange role in the French Revolution, but of which I will reveal later in my forthcoming book “Talisman”.  It still is to be seen in the skyline of Paris today.

People today do not realize the power of such symbolism, and how they can be used with devastating effect on the minds of the unsuspecting masses.  And this is worrying.  The SS Nazi movement made prolific use of all these “symbol games” and wreaked havoc in the world.”

– from best-selling author, Robert Bauval

Below: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculpture of the Statue of Liberty, on a Masonic Card (notice the Masonic compass and square).

Qualities of Juno

Juno was prepared to go to any lengths to protect her relationship with her husband.  She gives us the energy to fight for the elements we want and deserve in a relationship in order to preserve and enrich the home environment.

Suggested Mantra: Soul Connection

Suggested Affirmations:

  • I stand in complete satisfaction
  • I embrace life in its absolute fullness
  • At this moment, I have all that I need
  • I love life in all its facets and colors
  • I give love as I deserve and receive love
  • I deepen my willingness to give and receive unconditional love

Gemstones:

  • Amber
  • Tiger Eye
  • Yellow Jade
  • Garnet
  • Boji Stone
  • Carnelian
  • Citrine

More About Juno:

Juno was married to the Roman God Jupiter and thus represents the wife and life partner.  Juno’s energies have moved on from Aphrodite’s courting phase, to a fuller commitment to share her physical, emotional and spiritual self through union with a soul mate.  Juno protected her status as Queen of Olympus with a passion.  She did not ignore her husband’s philandering, but took her violent revenge on the concubines and conquests, thereby preserving what she saw as a happy union (and her image as a diligent and devoted wife).

The month of June was named after this goddess (it is summer in the northern hemisphere, and therefore a time considered extra fortuitous for weddings.

Juno’s Legacy:

The vestige that still remains of Juno’s worship in today’s culture is that of brides still choosing to marry in the month of June, thus assuring themselves of her blessings for June was named after this goddess.  Under her different names Juno ruled not only marriage but the entire reproductive life of each woman.  She is the ruler of femininity.

A very ancient Italian goddess, Juno was long recognized as one of the predominant Roman divinities.  Juno ruled along with Minerva and Jupiter to make up the trinity that ruled Rome.  She was Regina, “the queen”.  One of her most famous names was Moneta or “warner” earned many times over.  Once when her sacred geese sent up such a squawking that the city was warned of invading Gauls, another time when an earthquake threatened and Juno’s voice from heaven alerted the city, and finally when the under-funded Roman generals came to Juno’s temple for advice and were told that any war fought ethically would find popular and financial support.  This last warning made her the matron of the Roman mint, which was located in her temple and turned her title into a word for ‘money’.

Most of all, Juno was the goddess of time.  As the daughter of Saturn, she was a symbol of the menstrual cycle as the marking of time.  Goddess of the new moon, she was worshipped by Roman women on Calends, or the first, of each lunar month.  In addition to these monthly celebrations, Juno was honored in two festivals: the unrestrained Nonae Caprotinae on July 7, when serving girls staged mock fights under a wild fig tree; and the more sedate Matronalia on March 1, when married women demanded money from their husbands to offer to the goddess of womanhood.

Curitis was originally a Sabine Goddess of Protection who especially guarded or watched over the clans of the people.  She was worshipped by the neighboring Faliscans, an Etruscan people whose main city was called Falerii, and who though Etruscan spoke a dialect closely related to Latin.  She was the main Deity of Falerii and considered their patron Goddess who protected the city.  Curitis was assumed to be a form of Juno by the Romans, who called Her (oddly enough)Juno Curitis; but considering the manner in which She was usually depicted, an identification with Menrfa (Roman Minerva) or Athene would seem more logical.  Like Minerva, who adopted Her image from the Greek Athene, Curitis was depicted as a martial Goddess who carried a spear and shield, and who wore a goat-skin mantle much like the aegis of the Greek myth, which was a short goat-skin cape of shield probably symbolic of the thunderclouds, as the spear was of the lightening.  Curitis’s name is from the Sabine word curis and means “of the spear”; in addition to its stormy associations, the spear was also seen as representing authority or command, emphasizing Her role as the ruling Goddess.

It is not known if the Faliscans themselves originally saw Curitis as an aspect of their great Mother Goddess Uni, or just how She got assimilated to the Roman Juno; perhaps the Romans took Her position as head Goddess to mean She must obviously have been their Juno, the Queen of the Gods.  As stated above, Curitis certainly does share more than a few similarities with Menrfa; but according to tradition, when Falerii was destroyed by the Romans in 241 BCE, their Menrfa was officially brought to Roma under the name Minerva Capta, or Minerva the Captive.  Falerii was home to a cult-center of Menrfa, though it has not been determined which of the several temples found there was Hers.  The temple of (Juno) Curitis, however, has been identified with the largest temple there, and dates to the 5th century BCE.  It is of a tripartite Etruscan design, much like the Temple of the Capitoline Triad in Rome which housed, with Jupiter, both Minerva and Juno.  This temple was built over the remains of an earlier one, and votive offerings found there date back even further, attesting to the importance of the site and to the Goddess worshipped there.  Curitis may have been brought to Rome at the same time as Minerva Capta with the destruction o Falerii; by that time, Curitis and Menrfa were evidently separate deities (fi they ever were the same): the evidence is quite tangled, but perhaps they had originally derived from a common Goddess.  at any rate, both Minerva and Juno were sky-goddesses who traditionally had the power to throw thunderbolts.

In Rome, Juno Curitis was considered the Goddess of the curiae, the political, religious, and familial divisions or clans of the people of Rome.  Curia most likely derived from the same Sabine word curis ‘spear’, as the Goddess’s name; and a related word quirite, ‘spearman’ or ‘warrior’, was used of the oldest tribal peoples of Rome.  The 30 curiae were traditionally said to have taken their names after the women who, in the legendary past of Rome’s founding, were abducted from the neighboring Sabine tribe in the episode usually known to history as “the Rape of the Sabine Women”.  The curiae were taken from the noble class (no plebeians need apply), and each curia had its own specific religious duties and Gods, as well as their own building in which to worship and meet to discuss political or religious matters.  The altar within this building  was called a mensa ‘table’ and was considered sacred to Juno Curitis.  As the curiae themselves had Sabine origins, it is likely that the Goddess Curitis was specifically a Goddess of the people or nobility from very early times.  Another related word in Latin is curious, a legal term for a man who is responsible for the welfare of someone who under Roman law was not considered legally able, such as a minor, which indicates the sort of relationship Juno Curitis was believed to have with Her people.

The Sabine name for the God Mars was Quirinus, which also comes from the same root meaning “spear” or “lance”.  In the Sabine tale He was the father of the founder of their capital city Cures.  The same legend was told of Mars as the father of Romulus, and Quirinus was adopted into Roman religion, either equated with Mars or used as the name for His deified son Romulus.  Now the mother of Mars was Juno, who was holding a magical flower to Her breast.  As they are both of Sabine origin, have names stemming from the same word, and as their counterparts are said to be related in later Roman myth, one wonders if Curitis and Quirinus were originally cult-partners among the Sabines, who were worshipped either as mother and son or as husband and wife.

Juno Curitis had a temple in Rome, dedicated on the 7th of October, in the Campus Marius.  The Campus Martius (or Field of Mars) was a large flat piece of land, mostly treeless and hard by the Tiber; it was rather prone to flooding as it was low-lying.  It was bounded on one side by the Quirinal Hill, named for a shrine to Quirinus; and the field itself was dedicated to Mars and considered public land, at least in the early times.  As it was a large space, the army assembled there, and another War-Deity, Bellona, had Her temple there.  It is not known quite where in the Campus Martius the temple of Juno Curitis stood, though it may be one of the temples in the modern Area Sacro di Largo Argentina.

Ovid, a poet writing under Augustus, who wrote one of the first books to be banned in history, the Ars Amatoria (the Art of Love), tells of the festival to Juno Curitis he attended in Falerii.  Games were held in which young men threw spears at a she-goat (whoever hit it would get the meat as a prize), the local cattle were shown, and a procession was held that ended at the Temple of Juno.  White cows were led, followed by claves, then a pig and a ram for sacrifice; and boys and girls threw flowers.  The girls, Ovid mentions, were dressed all in purple with gold and gems bound in their hair; and behind them the priestesses, dressed in white, carried the cult-statue of Juno.

In addition to being a Goddess of the people or curiae, Juno Curitis was believed to protect mothers and married women, and to keep their children healthy and strong.  The snake was sacred to Her, and sacrifices were made to Her at the Fornacalia, or the Festival of the Ovens.

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