Goddesses for Every Day: Exploring the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Feminine around the Worldby Julie Loar
Throughout time, people have turned to goddesses as symbols of what they seek from abundance to healing, from protection to passion. Building on the resurgence of interest in the Divine Feminine, Julie Loar presents the qualities and origins of an international array of these deities, along with powerful suggestions for putting their attributes to practical
Throughout time, people have turned to goddesses as symbols of what they seek from abundance to healing, from protection to passion. Building on the resurgence of interest in the Divine Feminine, Julie Loar presents the qualities and origins of an international array of these deities, along with powerful suggestions for putting their attributes to practical use. In a daily-reflection format, she gracefully aligns the goddesses with the cycles of nature and the signs of the zodiac.
If you are struggling to attain a goal, call on the Nepalese goddess Chomolungma, as the sherpas climbing Mount Everest have done for generations. Or, for good luck, invoke the Roman goddess Fortuna, the inspiration behind gambling’s wheel of fortune. With 366 goddesses to choose from, you will find a deity to call upon for every aspiration and need.
“Rich in symbology and wisdom, this book will empower women through inspiration and awareness of the Sacred Feminine. It offers lots to learn and think about!”
Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, author of Goddesses in Everywoman
“The goddesses throughout this book are complex and contradictory: they are gentle but fierce, creative but destructive. They are strong, wise, brave and loving....No other book has aligned the goddesses with the cycles and the seasons, with the zodiac and its symbolism. [This] book is a tool to create empowered women one day at a time.”
“Drawing together astrology and goddess mythology, Julie Loar offers a treasury of images, stories, and prayers. From the familiar to the obscure, each of these goddesses inspires and illuminates.”
Patricia Monaghan, author of The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog and The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines
“Imagine if every woman and girl had a chance to get to know a new and different face of the Sacred Feminine day after day for a whole year! Julie Loar gives each of us a bountiful opportunity to do just that, offering a compendium of goddesses from throughout history and all around the world. Come and feast!”
Judith Duerk, author of Circle of Stones
“In her wonderful book, Goddesses for Every Day, Julie [Loar] sheds light on the legendary gifts of 366 goddesses
The descriptions in her book bring these legends to life, and more pointedly, remind us of the abilities in ourselves, and the power of the feminine throughout history and across cultures.”
Gillian Holloway, PhD, author of The Complete Dream Book and Dreaming Insights
- New World Library
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Read an Excerpt
Goddesses for Every Day
Exploring the Wisdom and Power of the Divine Feminine around the World
By Julie Loar
New World LibraryCopyright © 2011 Julie Loar
All rights reserved.
The Spinning Wheel
THREADS OF DESTINY ARE SPUN BY CHOICES AND DEEDS
* * *
Capricorn anchors the winter solstice and combines the principles of cardinal initiating energies with the grounding influence of earth. In this sign, matter organizes itself into perfect forms. Capricorn's energy expresses itself as governing and conserving, focused on achievement, integrity, recognition, and responsibility. Capricorn natives are fueled by tremendous ambition, and their lessons stem from learning the motive that underlies their drive to climb. Capricorn is the tenth sign, and it represents the stage of the spiritual journey in which our aspiration turns inward to the clear mountain air of our spiritual nature. It also represents the principle of ambition, whether this is directed outwardly to the world of accomplishment or turned toward the spiritual path.
The goddess sign for Capricorn is the Spinning Wheel, representing crone goddesses who are weavers of fate. Spinning, weaving, and looms are the province of wise elder goddesses who pronounce our destiny and measure and cut the threads of our lives. While Scorpio spins the threads out of the substance of the goddess's belly, it is in Capricorn, the sign of form, that the threads take shape and are woven into the tapestry of our lives. Mountains symbolize the spiritual quest in numerous traditions, so Capricorn is traditionally symbolized by the Sea Goat, a mountain goat with the tail of a fish or dolphin. And so, ancient mountain goddesses are included in Capricorn, along with goddesses who embody structure, organization, time or duration, endings, the dark of winter, and the wisdom of old age.
White Tara (TAR-ah), called She of the White Lotus, is one of the manifestations of the Great Goddess Tara, who originated in India as a Hindu goddess. Tara has 108 names and many aspects or qualities. Worship of Tara was incorporated into Buddhism; she is Buddhism's most revered female bodhisattva. Her name means "star" in Sanskrit and also "she who brings forth life." White Tara is a three-eyed goddess of the day and is pictured with the wheel of time on her chest. She travels across the ocean of existence in a celestial boat, and her countenance is filled with love and compassion.
As Yeshe Dawa, or Moon of Primordial Awareness, she was a princess from millions of years ago who attained bodhichitta, the "awakened heart." She resolved to be incarnated only in female form until all the wounds of humanity are healed. Then, as the embodiment of Tara, she will manifest the supreme bodhi, or spirit of enlightenment in the world. In Japan, temple bells are rung 108 times in her honor at midnight on New Year's Eve to help counteract humanity's sins and hasten her manifestation of enlightenment.
As the eternally revolving wheel of the seasons starts the cycle of the calendar again, I set my sights on noble endeavors and vow to serve.
Chomolungma (cho-mo-LUNG-mah) is the Nepalese goddess embodied by the mountain we now call Everest. Her name is the original name of the mountain, bestowed by the indigenous people who live there. She is the goddess of the mountain itself and is considered to be the mother of the world, since she reaches so close to heaven. Chomolungma is the consciousness that abides through countless eons. When we approach her, or what looks like a mountain to us, we should adopt an attitude of devotion.
Today, when native Sherpas accompany those who would climb to the summit of the twenty-nine-thousand-foot mountain, one of the highest on earth, they pray and string colorful flags, honoring her at every stage of the ascent. They are Buddhists whose relationship with this austere goddess is one of humility and deep respect for the challenges she presents.
I climb to the peak of the mountains of my life in a spirit of humility and vigilance.
Konohana Sakuya Hime
Konohana Sakuya Hime (koh-no-HAH-na sah-KOO-yah hee-may) is the Shinto goddess of Mount Fuji in Japan. Her name means "blooming flower princess." Fuji is the tallest and most famous mountain in this country of volcanic islands. The serenity of the snowcapped mountain symbolizes the peace that comes only in meditation, when the restless activity of the mind is stilled. But of course this stillness is broken at times by the powerful eruptions of human life.
Her myth tells of her husband's jealousy and his doubt about her faithfulness. To prove her innocence, she entered into a fire while pregnant with their unborn son and emerged unscathed. As a result, fire ceremonies are performed each year. The people light flames on altars in their homes, and torches in public ceremonies, to honor Konohana Sakuya Hime. Women also call upon her to ease the pain of childbirth.
By quieting my mind, I can still the quakes and reverberations of my unruly consciousness.
Ninhursag (nin-HER-sag) is a Sumerian creator and mother goddess who is one of the seven major deities of Sumer worshipped five thousand years ago. Her name means "lady of the sacred mountain," and she is generally depicted with a horned headdress and tiered skirt similar to those of the goddesses of Crete. She was the tutelary goddess to several Sumerian rulers who called themselves "children of Ninhursag."
Ninhursag, sometimes along with Marduk, chief god of the Babylonian pantheon, molded the first humans out of clay or mud. This myth precedes the much-later, similar biblical account. She shaped Enkidu to be the rival of the hero Gilgamesh. Some stories say she also gave birth to Gilgamesh. She created all vegetation and was also a goddess of childbirth. Serpents were sacred to her as symbols of continual regeneration.
I am the sculptor of my future and the weaver of my destiny.
Jord (yord) is a Norse or Teutonic goddess who was worshipped on the tops of mountains, where it is believed she once mated with the sky, bringing heaven to earth. Jord is the word for the earth in the old Norse language, so this powerful goddess may have embodied all the strength and endurance of our planet. Her father was thought to be an ancient giant, so Jord, as befits the earth, is considered a giantess.
Some stories say she is a wife of the Norse god Odin and the rival of his other wife, Frigg. She was the mother of Thor, the god of thunder and lightning. This makes Jord an important figure in Norse cosmology, as she gave birth to thunder, lightning, and the rain that follows, fertilizing the fields and making all life on earth, which is her body, possible.
If I close my eyes and open my imagination, I can feel I am as big as the whole earth.
La Befana (lah bay-FAH-nah) is the Italian Lady of the Twelfth Night, January 6, and the Feast of the Epiphany, which is twelve days from December 25. Her name has been corrupted from the original Italian, epifania, which means "epiphany." In the Christian tradition this date is when the Magi visited the infant Jesus. The goddess La Befana visits every child in Italy on the night before January 6, filling stockings with candy. And in a very familiar theme, bad children are said to get coal instead. La Befana is usually depicted as an old woman who rides through the sky on a broom, not a sleigh, and it is often said she will also sweep the house clean when she visits.
The legend of La Befana tells how the Magi asked her for directions to Bethlehem while on their journey following the star. They spent a night with her and invited her to join them. Although she declined to make the journey, she was made the symbolic mother of every Italian child. Between December 25 and January 6, a Roman festival takes place, during which toys, candles, and charcoal are sold.
Sometimes the wisdom of ages comes cloaked in simple garb, bearing priceless gifts.
Parvati (PAR-vah-tee) is a Hindu goddess also called She of the Mountains, especially the mountain Annapurna, which is located in central Nepal and is the tenth-highest peak in the world. Parvati is a consort of Shiva who won his affection through acts of devotion and self-denial. Shiva is the third aspect in the Hindu trinity that consists of Krisha, the creator; Vishnu, the sustainer; and Shiva, the destroyer. Parvati's practice caused her body to become so pure it developed a golden glow. She is the mother of Ganesha, the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, and is revered for her obedient nature, her loyalty, and her kindness to those in need.
It is said in the Soundarya Lahiri, which means "waves of beauty," a famous spiritual book about the goddess, that Parvati is the source of all power in the universe, and that Lord Shiva derives all his power from her. The energy of her sacrifice and renunciation is said to be transformed into a blessing for humanity.
Where can I unleash untold power through a conscious act of renunciation?
The Fates, or Moirai in Greek, are goddesses of fate, which was thought to be fixed. Destiny, on the other hand, could be altered by choice or acts of will. The Fates are three daughters of the goddess Nyx, whose name means "night." The daughters are called Clotho, meaning "spinner"; Lachesis, "apportioner"; and Atroposy, "cutter." Their names suggest their roles in casting the fate of a mortal. Clotho spins the material of the thread, Lachesis decides the length of life, and Atroposy cuts the thread and seals the fate. In myths, the Fates are often shown in opposition to Zeus, which hints at their remarkable power. They assisted Hermes, Greek god of writing and the divine messenger, with the invention of the alphabet. As the Roman Parcae, their Latin names are Decima, Para, and Nona.
The Norns are three Norse goddesses of destiny who are similar to the Fates. They are Urd, meaning "fate"; Verdandi, "necessity"; and Skuld, "being." Sometimes called the Wyrd Sisters, they lived beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the great World Tree, which grows at the very center of the cosmos. The Norns controlled the destinies of both deities and humans, as well as overseeing the unchanging laws of the universe. Each person's life was one string in their loom, and the length of the string determined the length of the person's life.
I make the most of the portion allotted to me today.
Paivatar (pie-VA-tar), a Finnish goddess of light, appears in Finland's national epic poem, the Kalevala. The Kalevala describes her as "residing in heaven, resplendent on a shaft-bow of the sky." Finnish myths, told as oral poems, date back many centuries. Part of Paivatar's myth is similar to that of the Japanese Amaterasu, and it tells of the annual release of the sun from the cave where her mother, a powerful sorceress named Louhi, holds her captive while she passes her tests of initiation. Courage and cleverness are required to win this annual battle. These stories promised the annual return of light during the dark times of the year and contained the deeper message that strength of character would eventually bring enlightenment.
Paivatar is a solar virgin, a solitary principle of light without a mate. She is the daughter of the sun and the arctic cold, and she spins daylight from her perch on the arch of the rainbow. She possesses a silver reed, from which she spins the threads of destiny, and a golden shuttle, with which she weaves a glorious cloth of gold from threads of daylight. Paivatar's work is similar to that of her cognate, the Hindu goddess Parvati, who spins the colored threads of fate.
Do I hold my own brilliance captive in a cave of my own creation?
Nott is a Norse goddess who is seen as the personification of the night. The daughter of the giant called Norvi, Nott had several marriages, each of which produced a child. The stories vary, and the relationships can be confusing, but Nott is usually identified as the mother of Jord, the earth, but sometimes the earth is Nott's sister. Dagr, the day, is Nott's son, but sometimes Dagr is feminine and her daughter. Nott rides in a black chariot pulled by a dark horse named Hrimfaxi, meaning "frosty mane." Frozen dew, which covers the ground in a white sheet, is said to drip from his mane as they gallop across the land.
Dagr, the day, rides around the world in a chariot of light, and the foam from the chariot horse, named Skinfaxi, brings the next day's dawn. Both Nott and Dagr circle the earth, pulled by their magic horses, as the cycle of light and dark shifts, bringing night and day in turn.
In the deep dark of winter, I turn within and learn to know myself.
Louhi (LOU-vee) is a goddess of Finland and Lapland. Her realm in the Arctic North is called Pohjola in the Kalevala, an epic poem compiled from Finnish folklore. Her name means "magic" and also refers to a trance or alternative state of consciousness. The people who live in this part of the world were often feared for their shamanic powers. Anthropological research suggests that the original shamans were female, so it's no surprise that Louhi is a powerful sorceress who can shape-shift and cast spells.
Louhi is sometimes depicted as a winged creature and, like other goddesses of power, is often cast in a negative light. The more powerful a goddess was, the more she was feared and maligned as the patriarchy increased in power. In the Kalevala, Louhi challenged one of her daughter's suitors to forge a sampo, a magic mill that could continuously grind salt, flour, and gold. Then a hero challenged Louhi for the priceless artifact, and the drama of the tale unfolded. Despite many tests, Louhi managed to keep the mill.
The mill of my life grinds out grain and salt, as well as the gold of my heart's desire.
Nortia (NOR-tee-ah) is a goddess of the Etruscans, who inhabited the part of Italy now known as Tuscany. The meaning of her name is linked to both the word north and the direction, the symbolic place of wisdom and the direction of the spiritual quest. Nortia had a temple in the Etruscan city of Velsna.
Her symbol is a large nail, which was ritually hammered into a block of wood on the New Year to symbolize the idea of ending, or permanently establishing, what had passed in the previous year. When the hammer fell and the nail sank into the wood, the situation, or fate, was seen to be unalterable. The rules could not be changed. What had gone before was no longer in motion or in play, and a new fortune governed the future, or the new year to come. The custom survived into Roman times in the temple dedicated to Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva.
The universe operates according to laws. Once a course is set in motion, it's wise to make the best of it.
Seshat (sah-shet)* is the Egyptian goddess of architecture, sacred structures, books, and records. She recorded the name of each new pharaoh on the sacred Persea tree at the time the king took the throne. As goddess of writing and recording, she is called Mistress of Books. She was also known as Lady of Builders in the ritual called "drawing the cord" that she performed with the assistance of her priests. The ritual precisely aligned the axes of Egyptian temples to certain stars when the foundations of the structures were laid.
Seshat is the wife of the god Thoth, who was known as Hermes to the Greeks, and she is also credited with inventing mathematics and hieroglyphics. Seshat measures the cord that determines the length of a person's life, making her also a goddess of fate. Her iconic headdress is a seven-point star, a geometric figure that has to be drawn by trial and error and that is not an equal division of the circle. This symbol, as a result, is said to be an emblem of spiritual work.
As I lay the foundation for what I desire to build, I set my sights on the stars.
* In pronunciation guides with no capitalized syllable, each syllable is given equal emphasis.
Bertha, known as the White Lady, is a goddess of the New Year who is identified by various names in the snowy climate of Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia. She was thought to have a somewhat homely appearance, but Bertha was revered for her inner qualities, especially her kindness and sweet nature. Because Bertha's true beauty was recognized as internal, it is everlasting and evergreen.
One of Bertha's responsibilities was to watch over the souls of unborn children, who are called the Heimchen. She also takes special care of the souls of babies who die before baptism. Bertha is sometimes seen as the feminine form of the Norse god Odin, and then she is called Frau Gode.
A woman's path to enlightenment is a journey of unconditional love and compassion.
Excerpted from Goddesses for Every Day by Julie Loar. Copyright © 2011 Julie Loar. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >