ARTEMIS/DIANA, ISIS, HECATE
The Maiden:A representation of enchantment, inception, expansion, the female principle, the promise of new beginnings, youth, excitement, and a carefree erotic aura. Innocent in some ways, but also a seductress who recognizes the power of her sexuality. Maiden goddesses include: Anatha, Brigid, Nimue, Kore, Persephone, Gerd, Caer, Blodeuwedd, etc. Her traditional color is white.
Artemis is the virginal moon goddess roaming the forest with her band of nymphs, bearing the bow and quiver, avoiding men and killing any male who looks on her. But this familiar form was only one of the identities assumed by this complex Greek goddess, the warlike Artemis said to have been the special goddess of the Amazons. Artemis represents the Maiden goddess. She came to represent the variable energies of the feminine. She was therefore contradictory: she was the virgin who promoted promiscuity; she was the huntress who protected animals; she was a tree, a bear, the moon. Artemis was the image of a woman moving through her life and assuming different roles at different times; she was a veritable encyclopedia of feminine possibility. There an order exists so unlike human order that it seems to us formless and free, but this freedom is that of complete obedience to instinct, which animals still follow while humans do not. Artemis in this form was the "Lady of the Beasts," the force who assured their individual deaths and the survival of the species. As mistress of the animals, she was the invisible game warden of the Greeks, killing with sharp arrows anyone who hunted pregnant beasts or their young. Again as instinct, she ruled reproduction, both sex and birth.
The Mother is a symbol of ripeness, fertility, fulfillment, stability, and power. Mother is full-breasted, at the peak of her womanly powers. She is the one who tenderly rocks the baby, but she is also the lioness who hunts to feed her offspring and will fight to the death to protect them. Mother goddesses include: Aa, Ambika, Anahita, Asherah, Ceres, Coatlicue, Danu, Demeter, Hathor, Ishtar, Isis, Lakshmi, Luonnotar, Nintu, Sheng-Mu, etc. Her traditional color is red.
Isis took on the identities of lesser goddesses until she was r evered as the universal goddess, the total femininity of whom other goddesses represented only isolated aspects. She became the Lady of Ten Thousand Names, whose true name was Isis. She was the moon and the mother of the sun; she was mourning wife and tender sister; she was the culture-bringer and health-giver. She was the "throne" and the "Goddess Fifteen." She was a form of Hathor (or that goddess a form of her). She was also Meri, goddess of the sea, and Sochit, the "cornfield." But she was everlastingly, to her fervent devotees, the blessed goddess who was herself all things and who promised: "You shall live in blessing, you shall live glorious in my protection; and when you have furfilled your allotted span of life and descend to the underworld, there too you shall see me, as you see me now, shining ... And if you show yourself obedient to my divinity ... you will know that I alone have permitted you to extend your life beyond the time allocated you by your destiny." Isis, who overcame death to bring her lover back to life, could as readily hold off death for her faithful followers, for the all-powerful Isis alone could boast, "I will overcome Fate."
The Crone is wisdom, retrenchment, repose, and compassion. She is old age, experience, accumulated wisdom and death. She is the gateway to Death, and the guide to Rebirth. Crone goddesses include: Annis, Baba Yaga, Cailleach, Greine, Hel, Maman Brigitte, Oya, Sedna, Skuld, Takotsi, Toci. Her color is black.
At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occasionally she stopped to gather offerings left by her devotees where three roads crossed, for this threefold goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it was even said that Hecate could look three ways because she had three heads: a serpent, a horse, and a dog. As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said to be the moon-goddess in her dark form. She may as readily have been the earth goddess, for she ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death she ruled the magical powers of regeneration; in addition, she could hold back her spectral hordes from the living if she chose. And so Greek women evoked Hecate for protection from her hosts whenever they left the house, and they erected her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions.
2ND CENTURY EULOGY TO THE GODDESS
Mother of Living Nature,
The food of life
Thou metest out in eternal loyalty
And, when life has left us,
We take our refuge in Thee.
Thus everything Thou dolest out
Returns into Thy womb.
Rightly Thou art called Mother of the Gods
Because by Thy loyalty
Thou hast conquered the power of the Gods.
Verily Thou art also the Mother
of the peoples and the Gods,
Without Thee nothing can thrive or be;
Thou art powerful, of the Gods Thou art
The Queen and also the Goddess.
Thee, Goddess, and Thy power I now invoke;
Thou canst easily grant all that I ask,
And in exchange I will give Thee,
Goddess, sincere thanks.
YULE RITUAL TO THE GODDESS
Items sacred to your patron goddess (those symbolic of her)
Chalice filled with wine, juice, or water
3 1/4 in. satin ribbons: 1 purple, 1 green, 1 silver
1 tree about 2 feet high, root hormone
(available in the garden section of stores)
1 qt. of water
"Ceud m`ile failte', O dear goddesses
(name of your pantheon)
amazon and keeper of the mysteries of womyn
who are, were,and shall be my dearest guardian
among all realms, my greatest strength, and friend"
"Once again, dear goddesses,
I come before you and ask you to
celebrate with me Yule, the Winter Solstice
for you my altar is festive with things
sacred to you alone- in honor, thanks and love
for the gift of your presence in my life"
Pick up cake:
" O keeper of the
mysteries of womyn, bless this cake I eat,
and imbue me with your power."
Take a bite:
"Slainte'! So mote it be!"
Pick up chalice:
" O keeper of the mysteries of womyn, bless this liquid that I drink,and imbue me with your power."
Take a drink:
"Slainte'! So mote it be!"
Braid the three ribbons- purple, green,
and silver- together, saying, as you work:
" May this bracelet of frienship,
symbol of my love for all womyn,
keep me ever mindful of my commitment
of our collective fight for justice
for all womyn who are or have been
oppressed.Slainte! So Mote it be!"
Tie ribbon around your ankle.
Dig a hole in the ground of your favorite
sacred space, saying as you work:
"In the spirit of the new season,
and in the name of th Goddess,
I bring forth new life in the
gift of this tree that I return
with great respect to the realm
Plant the tree seedling.
Water the ground liberally, but take
care not to drown the tree.
"Many thanks for your company
this eve, dearest (name of your patron goddess)
Go in peace, and thou go well
Slainte'! So mote it be.
as it shall also be with thee
Slainte'! So mote it be.
To the Realms 3,to you and the Daoine Sidhe!
Slainte'! So mote it be.
Until we meet again, may you weave
a bright web in the tapestry of life!
Slainte'! So mote it be, and so it is!"
Note: For those of us who can't plant a tree due to living in an apartment, etc. You can plant one in a park or plant an indoor tree in representation.~Blessed Be