Friday, July 22, 2011

Deities of the Month of July

Athena- the Greek Goddess of War and Wisdom, daughter of Zeus. She leapt full grown from Zeus’s head already dressed in Her Armor. She is, above all, the Goddess of the City, the protectress of civilized life, of artesian activities, and of agriculture. She also invented the horse-bit, which, for the first time, tamed horses, allowing men to use them. 
She is the favorite daughter of Zeus; and that's why he let her use his insignia: the terrible shield, the aegis and his devastating weapon, the ray. 

Cerridwen- the Welsh Goddess grain and sow-Goddess, keeper of the Cauldron of Inspiration and Goddess of Transformation. She is also called the White Lady of Inspiration and Death. Her son was so horribly ugly that She set to making a brew of wisdom for him, to give him a quality that could perhaps overcome his ugliness. Every day for a year and a day She added herbs at the precise astrological times, but on the day it was ready, the three magical drops fell instead on the servant boy, Gwion Bach, who was set to watch the fire. Instantly becoming a great magician, the boy fled from Her wrath, and as She pursued him they each changed shape--a hound following a rabbit, an otter chasing a salmon, a hawk flying after a sparrow--until finally the boy changed to a kernel of wheat, settling into a pile of grain on a threshing-floor. Cerridwen, becoming a black hen, found him out and swallowed him down. Nine months later she gave birth to Taliesin, who would be the greatest of all bards.

Hel- the Norse Goddess of the Dead and the Afterlife. Her name literally means ‘One who Hides’ or ‘One who Covers Up’. She is the ruler of Helheim, the Realm of the Dead. She is the youngest child of the evil god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. She is usually described as a horrible hag, half alive and half dead, with a gloomy and grim expression. Her face and body are those of a living woman, but her thighs and legs are those of a corpse, mottled and moldering. The gods had abducted Hel and her brothers from Angrboda's hall. They cast her in the underworld, into which she distributes those who are send to her; the wicked and those who died of sickness or old age. Her hall in Helheim is called Eljudnir, home of the dead. Her manservant is Ganglati and her maidservant is Ganglot (which both can be translated as "tardy").

Holda (Mother)- the Germanic Goddess of spinning, childbirth and domestic animals. In old German households she brought on Winter, rewarded the industrious and carried infants that died to the Heavens. She is a symbol of virtue and hard work. Holda is perhaps the only. Germanic Goddess whose worship survived until today. Her association with the home and women may be what caused her to be much maligned in modern times. Holda means “gracious one”. She resides in the sky, riding her chariot through the night. Her chariot is pulled by many animals of the wood and she is accompanied by the infants that died before they were named. She is seen as a beautiful woman with long white hair bathing in a clear pool to the good hearted and hard working. But to the lazy and unkind she appears as a wizened old woman. She is sometimes seen as a woman with two faces; one young and beautiful, one old and stern. In either manifestation, she is not a lithe spirit. She is of sturdy stock, at par with her sisters to the North.

Juno- the Roman Goddess of Protection and special counselor of the Roman state and Queen of the Gods. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. As the patron Goddess of Rome and the Roman empire she was called Regina ("queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome. As the Juno Moneta (she who warns) she guarded over the finances of the empire and had a temple on the Arx (one of two Capitoline hills), close to the Royal Mint. She was also worshipped in many other cities, where temples were built in her honor. The primary feast of Juno Lucina, called the Matronalia, was celebrated on March 1. On this day, lambs and other cattle were sacrificed to her. Another festival took place on July 7 and was called Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig"). The month of June was named after her. She can be identified with the Greek Goddess Hera and, like Hera, Juno was a majestical figure, wearing a diadem on the head. The peacock is her symbolic animal.

Khepera- an Egyptian a form of the sun-god Re. Khepera was specifically the god of the rising sun. He was self-produced and usually depicted as a human with a beetle on his head, or sometimes with the beetle as his head. His name comes from the Egyptian word, kheprer or "to become". Khepera is the manifestation of the rising sun. Khepera would roll the sun along the sky, much as the dung beetle rolls a ball of dung in front of him (sometimes the Khepera was also shown pushing the moon through the sky). This ball of dung is what it lays its eggs in. The beetle larvae eat the ball of dung after they hatch. The Egyptians would see the beetle roll a ball of dung into a hole and leave. Later, when many dung beetles emerged from the hole, it would seem as though they created themselves. Khepera also had this attribute of self-generation and self-renewal.
The particular dung beetle the Egyptians identified with Khepera was the Scarabaeus sacer.

Venus- the Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty. Although she was a latecomer to Roman mythology, she rose quickly among the ranks. Like the Greek Goddess Aphrodite whose mythology she inherited, the Roman Goddess Venus assumed the divine responsibility for love, beauty, and sexuality, not to mention marriage, procreation, and domestic bliss.  She was also known as the Venus Verticordia, Goddess of chastity in women, as Venus Victrix, the Goddess of victory in war, and also a nature Goddess, associated with gardens and the arrival of spring.

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