Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • Also known as: Bella Donna; Duellona
  • Origin: Rome; possibly Etruscan
  • Feast Day: June 3

Bellona, Goddess of War and Conquest, was once extremely popular with Roman soldiers. Roman senate meetings pertaining to foreign wars were conducted in Bellona’s temple on the Capitoline Hill.

Bellona’s name derives from the same root as bellicose and belligerent. Some consider it safer to call her Bella Donna. Bella Donna, literally “Beautiful Lady,” contains the name Bellona within it. It may be a euphemistic pun so that one could refer to Bellona without actually calling upon this beautiful but fierce lady.

Classical Roman mythology classifies Bellona, Lady of War, as belonging to the family of Mars. She is variously described as the wife or sister of Mars, less often his daughter, and sometimes his charioteer or nurse.

  • Favored people: Soldiers, those who battle.
  • Manifestation: A beautiful woman with long windswept hair, girded for battle.
  • Attributes: Scourge; whip (to whip troops into frenzy); torch (to light her opponents’ funeral pyres).
  • Sacred plant: Belladonna, (atropa belladonna), a beautiful but lethal killer, shares her essence.
  • Sacred Sites: In addition to her Roman temple, Bellona had a temple outside York, England, and a shrine in Arfeuilles, France, now home of the Black Madonna of the Hollies. She was venerated wherever Roman soldiers traveled.

This goddess did not play a significant role in either myth or legend, and her worship appears to have been promoted in Rome chiefly by the family of the Claudii, whose Sabine origin, together with their use of the name of Nero, has suggested an identification of Bellona with the Sabine war goddess Nerio.

Her temple at Rome, dedicated by Appius Claudius Caecus (296 B.C.) in fulfillment of a a vow during the Third Samnite War with the Samnites and Etruscans, stood in the Campus Martius, near the Flaminian Circus and Porta Carmentalis (the Carmenta gate), and outside the gates of the city. It was there that the senate met to discuss a general’s claim to a triumph, and to receive ambassadors from foreign states. In front of it was the columna bellica, where the fetialis ceremony of declaring war was performed, in which a spear was cast against the distant enemy.

Note:

This native Italian goddess should not be mistaken for the Asiatic Bellona, whose worship was introduced into Rome apparently by Sulla, to whom she had appeared, urging him to march to Rome and bathe in the blood of his enemies. Her feast day was changed to the 24th of March, after the confusion of the Roman Bellona with her Asiatic namesake. See Day of Blood

 

 

In his book Deutsche Mythologie (1835), Jacob Grimm noted that Russians used the word kupala to describe the bonfires they lit at the summer solstice, and recorded that some people explained the word as the name Kupulo, a harvest god.

Gods such as Koleda and Kupala were constructed from misinterpreted names of popular Slavic folk festivals; Koledo was the Slavic name for Christmas processions of carol singers, whilst Kupala comes from Ivan Kupala (literally: John the Baptist), whose festivity day is celebrated at the summer solstice in many Slavic countries.

Although the word kupala (or kupalo) is usually explained as “bather” (from kupat(i) ‘to bathe’), some scholars claim that it is not an epithet of John the Baptist, but a name of a pre-Christian Slavic deity, derived from some other root.

According to Vyacheslav Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov, the name Kupala is derived from the same Indo-European root as the name of Cupid, Roman god of love, which means ‘passion’ or ‘desire’.  The cult of Kupala, the god of fertility and sexuality, was presumably replaced by worship of John the Baptist.

According to some texts on Slavic mythology, Kapalo or Kupalo is the god of the summer solstice. Kupalo is the mature, the aging Yarilo. Yarilo comes into human world (Yav) every spring to bring new life, fertility and rich harvest. In the summer he turns into Kupalo. His life on the world gradually moves to its end.

He has accomplished his mission in our world and sets off for the Underworld, so he can return again next summer.

This is why the Kupalo festival (summer solstice) is actually bidding farewell to the old-aged Yarilo – a preparation for his later ritual burial. During the celebrations, for the last time people express their joy of god Yarilo’s visit in their world, the happiness he had brought; they sing incantations and prayers to the fertile god to come again next year.

The year is half-way through, last fruitful months are elapsing and then winter will come – the time of death goddess Mora, time of darkness, cold, misery, illness and death.

Sources: Various

A great many cultures around the world have believed in beings that we call angels. These great helpers of humankind are described in nearly all the sacred books of the world religions. Among the ancient religions and races that believed in angels were the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Muslims, Japanese Shintoists, Jewish Qabalists, Hindus, and the Maoris.

The deep teachings of the Jewish Qabala called the the “shining ones.” The Old and New Testaments and the aprocyphal books of the Hebrews and Christians are full of references to these beings. Even the Arabic Koran tells of angels, especially the four main archangels. The Koran says that it is the responsibility of these archangls to watch over humankind from their vantage point near God’s throne and record all their deeds.

Some of the world’s greatest thinkers and writers believed in angelic existence. References to angels can be found in the works of Socrates, Plato, St. Augustine, Paracelsus, Thomas Moore, William Blake, Milton, Shakespeare, Pythagoras, Homer, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jacob Boehme, and Swendenborg.

The archangels and all classes of angels are considered spiritual, celestial beings said to be made of the Element of Fire, or pure radiant energy. They are said to have evolved from a different line than humans. In Rosicrucian and Illuminati writings, these celestial beings were further described as being like small suns with an aura of radiant energy that gives off streamers of force.

In most descriptions this force is described as a brilliant light that comes from the crown of their head and encircles their form, giving them an appearance of having wings of light. It was said that they propelled themselves by manipulation of this force-field.

The word angel (Hebru, malakh) comes from the Sanskrit word angiras, a divine spirit; from the Persion angaros, a courier; and from the Greek angelos, a messenger or one sent. The meaning is actually closer to the Greek word daimon, a supernatural being who mediates between God and humans.

There are angels for the months, the zodiac, the days of the week, the four directions, and a multitude of other things, including the hours of the day.

From: Magick of the Gods and Goddesses

  • Also known as: Ca Ong; Mr. Fish; Grandfather Fish; Lord Fish
  • Origin: Vietnam
  • Favored people: Fishermen and men in general; Sir Fish is a men’s deity.

Sir Fish is not exactly a fish: he’s a whale. Sir Fish, King of the Sea, is a guardian deity in the form of a whale. He is the patron of fishermen whom he protects out on open waters.

Sir Fish is widely venerated along the central and southern coasts of Vietnam. Festivals are held in his honor. He may be an incarnation of the Lord of the South Seas. Sir Fish is associated with prominent Vietnamese male military or naval heroes and may be enshrined alongside them.

Whales are Sir Fish’s sacred messengers and must be treated with immense respect. Disrespect directed toward his messengers is the equivalent of disrespect directed towards Sir Fish.

The first person to catch sight of a whale carcass is considered as one of Sir Fish’s elder sons and must arrange and observe appropriate funeral rites for the whale. The whale carcass must be respectfully interred. In return, the man will receive blessings of good fortune from Sir Fish.

Sacred sites: Whale bones that have washed ashore are enshrined in his many temples along vietnam’s southern coast.

From: Encyclopedia of Spirits

Bona Dea (“The Good Goddess”) was a divinity in ancient Roman religion. She was associated with chastity and fertility in women, healing, and the protection of the Roman state and people. According to Roman literary sources, she was brought from Magna Graecia at some time during the early or middle Republic, and was given her own state cult on the Aventine Hill.

Bona Dea was worshipped only by women. In fact, the presence of a man at rites in her honor were a sacrilige. May 1 was the annual, state-sponsored festival to Bona Dea at her temple. In early December, there was another private festival as well.

Her rites allowed women the use of strong wine and blood-sacrifice, things otherwise forbidden them by Roman tradition. Men were barred from her mysteries and the possession of her true name. Given that male authors had limited knowledge of her rites and attributes, ancient speculations about her identity abound, among them that she was an aspect of Terra, Ops, the Magna Mater, or Ceres, or a Latin form of Damia. Most often, she was identified as the wife, sister or daughter of the god Faunus, thus an equivalent or aspect of the nature-goddess Fauna, who could prophesy the fates of women.

The Good Goddess was a patron of the good of the earth and of chastity and fertility in women, she was invoked for healing and for freedom from slavery. Many of her worshippers were freed slaves and plebians, and many were women seeking aid in sickness or for fertility. She was also considered a protector from earthquakes.

Bona Dea was sometimes depicted with a scepter, vine leaves, wine, and a serpent, usually curled around her arm. Sometimes she was depicted seated, holding a cornucopia. Her image appeared on many coins.

The temple to Bona Dea in Rome stood over an overhanging rock, or cave, and both serpents and healing herbs are associated with the cave. The temple contained many kinds of healing herbs and snakes (both associated with medicine). Men were not allowed in her temple or at her festivals, nor were male animals.

The temple was decorated with vine-branches, and other plants and flowers (although myrtle was not permitted). Wine was served, but it was referred to as “milk” and the jar in which it was served, a “honey-pot.” A sow was sacrificed to her at the ritual.

Another ceremony was held in December in honor of the Bona Dea. The rites were conducted annually by the wife of the senior magistrate present in Rome in his home. She was assisted by the Vestal Virgins. The December rite was interesting because unlike the festival in May, it was not held in the goddess’ temple, not paid for by the state and the night of its celebration was not fixed. Unlike the May celebration, the December ceremony was an invitation only affair and pretty exclusive.

The celebrations for the Bona Dea seem to have been in the nature of a mystery cult. Men were strictly forbidden and the details that we have of the ceremony are from a late source, Macrobius. The worship seems to have been agricultural in origin and the careful exclusion of myrtle (associated with flagellation) may actually suggest origins as a purification ceremony.

In the year 62 BCE, the celebration was held in the home of Julius Caesar, then praetor and Pontifex Maximus, on December 3rd. His wife Pompeia and his mother, Aurelia, were in charge. A notorious Roman politician, Publius Clodius, dressed up as a woman and sneaked into the house. He was eventually caught by Caesar’s mother and kicked out. The ceremony had to be performed anew.

Caesar divorced his wife over it (claiming even she had to be above suspicion). Publius Clodius was sued and at his trial Cicero blew his alibi. The two became mortal enemies over the affair. The rites seemed to have fallen into disrepute over the events, and by the early empire, Juvenal suggested that it was nothing but a drunken orgy for girls.

Collected from various sources including: Women’s History, Ancient History, and Wikipedia

The Three Mothers, or Triple Goddess, were known around the world. The Triple Goddess represented the three stages of human life: youth and puberty, parenthood and maturity, old age and wisdom; or body, mind, and spirit. This triad symbolizes the three phases of the Moon: Crescent, Full, and Dark. The goddesses were most often known by the titles of Maid, Mother, and Crone. The ancient Mystery schools, which were originally centers of Goddess knowledge, had three main steps or  degrees.

The number three was a sacred number from the time of the ancient Babylonians on. Pythagoras wrote that the Universal Order had to manifest itself in threes. The ancient Chinese thought that three engendered all things. Even today, in numerology the number three stands for activity, creativity, talent, and knowledge.

The Celtic countries, in particular, honored this triad as the bringer of prosperity and a good harvest. The Celts considered the Horned God of the Forests to be Her consort and help-mate. During the month of May, especially at the ceremony of Beltane, wearing of the color green and freely expressing themselves sexually was widely practiced by the Celts. This practice became a real headache for the Christians when they took over. They tried to curb this custom by declaring that the color green was unlucky ant that sex was sinful and dirty.

We can look at the Three Mothers as more than sexual activity. They are symbols of the cycles of growth upon the Earth, the phases we physically go through in our present life, cycles of events within our lives.

Sometimes we are uncertain as to where we actually are in a cycle of events. This can be frustrating and depressing. We may have to endure until the completion of the cycle, but it’s comforting to have some idea how much longer we must grin and bear it. The Three Mothers Tarot Divination can give you some insight.

From: Moon Magick

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