Myths and Legends
As we saw in a previous post, the Seven Macaw was getting way too full of himself.
Here we have the beginning of the defeat and destruction of the day of Seven Macaw by the two boys, the first named Hunahpu and the second named Xbalanque.
Being gods, the two of them saw evil in his attempt at self-magnification before the Heart of Sky. So the boys talked: “It’s no good without life, without people here on the face of the earth.”
“Well then, let’s try a shot. We could shoot him while he’s at his meal. We could make him ill, then put an end to his riches, his jade, his metal, his jewels, his gems, the source of his brilliance. Everyone might do as he does, but it should not come to be that fiery splendor is merely a matter of metal. So be it,” said the boys, each one with a blowgun on his shoulder, the two of them together.
And this Seven Macaw has two sons: the first of these is Zipacna, and the second is the Earthquake. And Chimalmat is the name of their mother, the wife of Seven Macaw.
And this is Zipacna, this is the one to build up the great mountains: Fire Mouth, Hunahpu, Cave by the Water, Xcanul, Macamob, Huliznab, as the names of the mountains that were there at the dawn are spoken. They were brought forth by Zipacna in a single night.
And now this is the Earthquake. The mountains are moved by him; the mountains, small and great, are softened by him. The sons of Seven Macaw did this just as a means of self-magnification.
“Here am I: I am the sun,” said Seven Macaw.
“Here am I: I am the maker of the earth,” said Zipacna.
“As for me, I bring down the sky, I make an avalanche of all the earth,” said Earthquake. The sons of Seven Macaw are alike, and like him: they got their greatness from their father.
And the two boys saw evil in this, since our first mother and father could not yet be made. Therefore deaths and disappearances were planned by the two boys.
And here is the shooting of the Seven Macaw by the two boys. We shall explain the defeat of each one of those who engaged in self-magnification.
This is the great tree of Seven Macaw, a nance, and this is the food of Seven Macaw. In order to eat the fruit of the nance he goes up the tree every day. Since Hunahpu and Xbalanque have seen where he feeds, they are now hiding beneath the tree of Seven Macaw, they are keeping quiet here, the two boys are in the leaves of the tree.
They are now hiding beneath the tree of Seven Macaw. In this classic Maya vase painting from the lowlands, Seven Macaw is shown perched in the top of a fruit tree. The tree itself is portrayed as animate, with a face and ears at its base. Hidden behind the tree is Xbalanque, whose pawlike hand protrudes above the tree’s left ear. Crouching at the right is Hunahpu, in the act of shooting Seven Macaw with his blowgun. (The presence of a scorpion beneath the tree remains unexplained.)
And when Seven Macaw arrived, perching over his meal, the nance, it was then that he was shot by Hunahpu. The blowgun shot went right to his jaw, breaking his mouth. Then he went up over the tree and fell flat on the ground. Suddenly Hunahpu appeared, running. He set out to grab him, but actually it was the arm of Hunahpu that was seized by Seven Macaw. He yanked it straight back, he bent it back at the shoulder. Then Seven Macaw tore it right out of Hunahpu. Even so, the boys did well: the first round was not their defeat by Seven Macaw.
And when Seven Macaw had taken the arm of Hunahpu, he went home. Holding his jaw very carefully, he arrived: “What have you got there?” said Chimalmat, the wife of Seven Macaw.
“What is it but those two tricksters! They’ve shot me, they’ve dislocated my jaw. All my teeth are just loose, now they ache. But once what I’ve got is over the fire- hanging there, dangling over the fire- then they can just come and get it. They’re real tricksters!” said Seven Macaw, then he hung up the arm of Hunahpu.
Meanwhile Hunahpu and Xbalanque were thinking. And then they invoked a grandfather, a truly white-haired grandfather, and a grandmother, a truly humble grandmother- just bent-over, elderly people. Great White Peccary is the name of the grandfather, and Great White Tapir is the name of the grandmother. The boys said to the grandmother and grandfather:
“Please travel with us when we go to get our arm from Seven Macaw; we’ll just follow right behind you. You’ll tell him: ‘Do forgive us our grandchildren, who travel with us. Their mother and father are dead, and so they follow along there, behind us. Perhaps we should give them away, since all we do is pull worms out of teeth.’ So we’ll seem like children to Seven Macaw, even though we’re giving you the instructions,” the two boys told them.
“Very well,” they replied.
After that they approached the place where Seven Macaw was in front of his home. When the grandmother and grandfather passed by, the two boys were romping along behind them. When they passed below the lord’s house, Seven Macaw was yelling his mouth off because of his teeth. And when Seven Macaw saw the grandfather and grandmother traveling with them:
“Where are you headed, our grandfather?” said the lord.
“We’re just making our living, your lordship,” they replied.
“Why are you working for a living? Aren’t those your children traveling with you?”
“No, they’re not, your lordship. They’re our grandchildren, our descendants, but it is nevertheless we who take pity on them. The bit of food they get is the portion we give them, your lordship,” replied the grandmother and grandfather. Since the lord is getting done in by the pain in his teeth, it is only with great effort that he speaks again:
“I implore you, please take pity on me! What sweets can you make, what poisons can you cure?” said the lord.
“We just pull the worms out of teeth, and we just cure eyes. We just set bones, your lordship,” they replied.
“Very well, please cure my teeth. They really ache, every day. It’s insufferable! I get no sleep because of them- and my eyes. They just shot me, those two tricksters! Ever since it started I haven’t eaten because of it. Therefore take pity on me! Perhaps it’s because my teeth are loose now.”
“Very well, your lordship. It’s a worm, gnawing at the bone. It’s merely a matter of putting in a replacement and taking the teeth out, sir.”
“But perhaps it’s not good for my teeth to come out- since I am, after all, a lord. My finery is in my teeth- and my eyes.”
“But then we’ll put in a replacement. Ground bone will be put back in.” And this is the “ground bone”: it’s only white corn.
“Very well. Yank them out! Give me some help here!” he replied.
And when the teeth of Seven Macaw came out, it was only white corn that went in as a replacement for his teeth- just a coating shining white, that corn in his mouth. His face fell at once, he no longer looked like a lord. The last of his teeth came out, the jewels that had stood out blue from his mouth.
And then the eyes of Seven Macaw were cured. When his eyes were trimmed back the last of his metal came out. Still he felt no pain; he just looked on while the last of his greatness left him. It was just as Hunahpu and Xbalanque had intended.
And when Seven Macaw died, Hunahpu got back his arm. And Chimalmat, the wife of Seven Macaw, also died.
Such was the loss of the riches of Seven Macaw: only the doctors got the jewels and gems that had made him arrogant, here on the face of the earth. The genius of the grandmother, the genius of the grandfather did its work when they took back their arm: it was implanted and the break got well again. Just as they had wished the death of Seven Macaw, so they brought it about. They had seen evil in his self-magnification.
After this the two boys went on again. What they did was simply the word of the Heart of Sky.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
This was when there was just a trace of early dawn on the face of the earth, there was no sun. But there was one who magnified himself; Seven Macaw is his name. The sky-earth was already there, but the face of the sun-moon was clouded over. Even so, it is said that his light provided a sign for the people who were flooded. He was like a person of genius in his being.
“I am great. My place is now higher than that of the human work, the human design. I am their sun and I am their light, and I am also their months.
“So be it: my light is great. I am the walkway and I am the foothold of the people, because my eyes are of metal. My teeth just glitter with jewels, and turquoise as well; they stand out blue with stones like the face of the sky.
“And this nose of mine shines white into the distance like the moon. Since my nest is metal, it lights up the face of the earth. When I come forth before my nest, I am like the sun and moon for those who are born in the light, begotten in the light. It must be so, because my face reaches into the distance,” says Seven Macaw.
It is not true that he is the sun, this Seven Macaw, yet he magnifies himself, his wings, his metal. But the scope of his face lies right around his own perch; his face does not reach everywhere beneath the sky. The faces of the sun, moon, and stars are not yet visible, it has not yet dawned.
And so Seven Macaw puffs himself up as the days and the months, though the light of the sun and moon has not yet clarified. He only wished for surpassing greatness.
This was when the flood was worked upon the manikins, woodcarvings.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
From the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life, we have this account of how the Gods destroyed their second failed experiment with creating humans.
Again there comes a humiliation, destruction, and demolition. The manikins, woodcarvings were killed when the Heart of Sky devised a flood for them. A great flood was made; it came down on the heads of the manikins, woodcarvings.
The man’s body was carved from the wood of the coral tree by the Maker, Modeler. And as for the woman, the Maker, Modeler needed the pith of reeds for the woman’s body. They were not competent, nor did they speak before the builder and sculptor who made them and brought them forth, and so they were killed, done in by a flood:
- There came a rain of resin from the sky.
- There came the one named Gouger of Faces: he gouged out their eyeballs.
- There came Sudden Bloodletter: he snapped off their heads.
- There came Crunching Jaguar: he ate their flesh.
- There came Tearing Jaguar: he tore them open.
They were pounded down to the bones and tendons, smashed and pulverized even to the bones. Their faces were smashed because they were incompetent before their mother and their father, the Heart of Sky, named Hurricane. The earth was blackened because of this; the black rainstorm began, rain all day and rain all night.
Into their houses came the animals, small and great. Their faces were crushed by things of wood and stone. Everything spoke: their water jars, their tortilla griddles, their plates, their cooking pots, their dogs, their grinding stones, each and every thing crushed their faces.
Their dogs and turkeys told them: “You caused us pain, you ate us, but now it is you whom we shall eat.” And this is the grinding stone:
“We were undone because of you.
Every day, every day,
in the dark, in the dawn, forever,
right in our faces, because of you.
This was the service we gave you at first, when you were still people, but today you will learn of our power. We shall pound and we shall grind your flesh,” their grinding stones told them.
And this is what their dogs said, when they spoke in their turn: “Why is it you can’t seem to give us our food? We just watch and you just keep us down, and you throw us around. You keep a stick ready when you eat, just so you can hit us. We don’t talk, so we’ve received nothing from you. How could you not have known? You did know that we were wasting away there, behind you.
“So, this very day you will taste the teeth in our mouths. We shall eat you,” their dogs told them, and their faces were crushed. And then their tortilla griddles and cooking pots spoke to them in turn:
“Pain! That’s all you’ve done for us. Our mouths are sooty, our faces are sooty. By setting us on the fire all the time, you burn us. Since we felt no pain, you try it. We shall burn you,” all their cooking pots said, crushing their faces.
The stones, their hearthstones were shooting out, coming right out of the fire, going for their heads, causing them pain. Now they run for it, helter-skelter. They want to climb up on the houses, but they fall as the houses collapse.
They want to climb the trees; they’re thrown off by the trees. They want to get inside caves, but the caves slam shut in their faces.
Such was the scattering of the human work, the human design. The people were ground down, overthrown. The mouths and faces of all of them were destroyed and crushed. And it used to be said that the monkeys in the forests today are a sign of this. They were left as a sign because wood alone was used for their flesh by the builder and sculptor.
So this is why monkeys look like people: they are a sign of a previous human work, human design- mere manikins, mere woodcarvings.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
From the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life, we have this account of the Gods first experiment with creating humans. This experiment was undertaken because the final result of the creation of the animals did not go as planned.
Again there comes an experiment with the human work, the human design, by the Maker, Modeler, Bearer, Begetter:
“It must simply be tried again. The time for the planting and dawning is nearing. For this we must make a provider and nurturer. How else can we be invoked and remembered on the face of the earth? We have already made our first try at our work and design, but it turned out that they didn’t keep our days, nor did they glorify us.
“So now let’s try to make a giver of praise, giver of respect, provider, nurturer,” they said. So then comes the building and working with earth and mud. They made a body, but it didn’t look good to them. It was just separating, just crumbling, just loosening, just softening, just disintegrating, and just dissolving. Its head wouldn’t turn, either. Its face was just lopsided, its face was just twisted. It couldn’t look around. It talked at first, but senselessly. It was quickly dissolving in the water.
“It won’t last,” the mason and sculptor said then. “It seems to be dwindling away, so let it just dwindle. It can’t walk and it can’t multiply, so let it be merely a thought,” they said. So then they dismantled, again they brought down their work and design.
Again they talked: “What is there for us to make that would turn out well, that would succeed in keeping our days and praying to us?” they said.
Then they planned again: “We’ll just tell Xpiyacoc, Xmucane, Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote, to try a counting of days, a counting of lots,” the mason and sculptor said to themselves. Then they invoked Xpiyacoc, Xmucane. Then comes the naming of those who are the midmost seers: the “Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light,” as the Maker, Modeler called them. These are names of Xpiyacoc and Xmucane.
When Hurricane had spoken with the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, they invoked the daykeepers, diviners, the midmost seers: “There is yet to find, yet to discover how we are to model a person, construct a person again, a provider, nurturer, so that we are called upon and we are recognized: our recompense is in words.
our grandmother, our grandfather,
let there be planting, let there be the dawning
of our invocation, our sustenance, our recognition
by the human work, the human design,
the human figure, the human mass.
So be it, fulfill your names:
Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote,
Bearer twice over, Begetter twice over,
Great Peccary, Great Tapir,
Maker of the Blue-Green Plate,
Maker of the Blue-Green Bowl,
incense maker, master craftsman,
Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light.
You have been called upon because of our work, our design. Run your hands over the kernels of corn, over the seeds of the coral tree, just get it done, just let it come out whether we should carve and gouge a mouth, a face in wood,” they told the daykeepers.
And then comes the borrowing, the counting of days; the hand is moved over the corn kernels, over the coral seeds, the days, the lots.
Then they spoke to them, one of them a grandmother, the other a grandfather. This is the grandfather, this is the master of the coral seeds: Xpiyacoc is his name. And this is the grandmother, the daykeeper, diviner who stands behind others: Xmucane is her name.
And they said, as they set out the days:
“Just let it be found, just let it be discovered,
say it, our ear is listening,
may you talk, may you speak,
just find the wood for the carving and sculpting
by the builder, sculptor.
Is this to be the provider, the nurturer
when it comes to the planting, the dawning?
You corn kernels, you coral seeds,
you days, you lots:
may you succeed, may you be accurate,”
they said to the corn kernels, coral seeds, days, lots.
“Have shame, you up there, Heart of Sky:
attempt no deception before the mouth and face
of Sovereign Plumed Serpent,”
they said. Then they spoke straight to the point: “It is well that there be your manikins, woodcarvings, talking, speaking, there on the face of the earth.” “So be it,” they replied.
The moment they spoke it was done: the manikins, woodcarvings, human in looks and human in speech.
This was the peopling of the face of the earth: They came into being, they multiplied, they had daughters, they had sons, these manikins, woodcarvings. But there was nothing in their hearts and nothing in their minds, no memory of their mason and builder. They just went and walked wherever they wanted. Now they did not remember the Heart of Sky.
And so they fell, just an experiment and just a cutout for humankind. They were talking at first but their faces were dry. They were not yet developed in the legs and arms. They had no blood, no lymph. They had no sweat, no fat. Their complexions were dry, their faces were crusty. They flailed their legs and arms, their bodies were deformed.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
This part of the Mayan Creation Story explains why animals became food.
Now they planned the animals of the mountains, all the guardians of the forests, creatures of the mountains: the deer, birds, pumas, jaguars, serpents, rattlesnakes, yellowbites, guardians of the bushes.
A Bearer, Begetter speaks: “Why this pointless humming? Why should there merely be rustling beneath the trees and bushes?”
“Indeed- they had better have guardians,” the others replied. As soon as they thought it and said it, deer and birds came forth.
And then they gave out homes to the deer and birds: “You, the deer: sleep along the rivers, in the canyons. Be here in the meadows, in the thickets, in the forests, multiply yourselves. You will stand and walk on all fours,” they were told.
So then they established the nests of the birds, small and great: “You, precious birds: your nests, your houses are in the trees, in the bushes. Multiply there, scatter there, in the branches of trees, the branches of bushes,” the deer and birds were told.
When this deed had been done, all of them had received a place to sleep and a place to stay. So it is that the nests of the animals are on the earth, given by the Bearer, Begetter. Now the arrangement of the deer and birds was complete.
And then the deer and the birds were told by the Maker, Modeler, Bearer, Begetter:
“Talk, speak out. Don’t moan, don’t cry out. Please talk, each to each, within each kind, within each group,” they were told the deer, birds, puma, jaguar, serpent. “Name now our names, praise us. We are your mother, we are our father. Speak now:
‘Hurricane, Newborn Thunderbolt, Raw Thunderbolt, Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, Maker, Modeler, Bearer, Begetter,’ speak, pray to us, keep our days,” they were told.
But it didn’t turn out that they spoke like people: they just squawked, they just chattered, they just howled. It wasn’t apparent what language they spoke; each one gave a different cry.
When the Maker, Modeler heard this: “It hasn’t turned out well, they haven’t spoken,” they said among themselves. “It hasn’t turned out that our names have been named. Since we are their mason and sculptor, this will not do,” the Bearers and Begetters said among themselves.
So they told them: “You will simply have to be transformed. Since it hasn’t turned out well and you haven’t spoken, we have changed our word: “What you feed on, what you eat, the places where you sleep, the places where you stay, whatever is yours will remain in the canyons, the forests. Although it turned out that our days were not kept, nor did you pray to us, there may yet be strength in the keeper of days, the giver of praise whom we have yet to make. Just accept your service, just let your flesh be eaten.
“So be it, this must be your service,” they were told when they were instructed – the animals, small and great, on the face of the earth. And then they wanted to test their timing again, they wanted to experiment again, and they wanted to prepare for the keeping of days again. They had not heard their speech among the animals; it did not come to fruition and it was not complete.
And so their flesh was brought low: they served, they were eaten, they were killed – the animals on the face of the earth.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
Now it still ripples, now it still murmurs, ripples, it still sighs, still hums, and it is empty under the sky. Here follow the first words, the first eloquence: There is not yet one person, one animal, bird, fish, crab, tree, rock, hollow, canyon, meadow, forest.
Only the sky alone is there; the face of the earth is not clear. Only the sea alone is pooled under all the sky; there is nothing whatever gathered together. It is at rest; not a single thing stirs. It is held back, kept at rest under the sky. Whatever there is that might be is simply not there: only the pooled water, only the calm sea, only it alone is pooled.
Whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night. Only the Maker, Modeler alone, Sovereign Plumed Serpent, the Bearers, Begetters are in the water, a glittering light. They are there, they are enclosed in quetzal feathers, in blue-green. Thus the name, “Plumed Serpent.” They are great knowers, great thinkers in their very being.
And of course there is the sky, and there is also the Heart of Sky. This is the name of the god, as it is spoken.
And then came his word, he came here to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn. He spoke with the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, and they talked, then they thought, then they worried.
They agreed with each other, they joined their words, their thoughts. Then it was clear, then they reached accord in the light, and then humanity was clear, when they conceived the growth, the generation of trees, of bushes, and the growth of life, of humankind, in the blackness, in the early dawn, all because of the Heart of Sky, named Hurricane. Thunderbolt Hurricane comes first, the second is Newborn Thunderbolt, and the third is Raw Thunderbolt.
So there were three of them, as Heart of Sky, who came to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, when the dawn of life was conceived: “How should it be sown, how should it dawn? Who is to be the provider, nurturer?”
“Let it be this way, think about it: this water should be removed, emptied out for the formation of the earth’s own plate and platform, then comes the sowing, the dawning of the sky-earth. But there will be no high days and no bright praise for our work, our design, until the rise of the human work, the human design,” they said.
And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth. For the forming of the earth they said “Earth.”
It arose suddenly, just like a cloud, like a mist, now forming, unfolding. Then the mountains were separated from the water, all at once the great mountains came forth. By their genius alone, by their cutting edge alone they carried out the conception of the mountain-plain, whose face grew instant groves of cypress and pine.
And the Plumed Serpent was pleased with this: “It was good that you came, Heart of Sky, Hurricane, and Newborn Thunderbolt, Raw Thunderbolt. Our work, our design will turn out well,” they said.
And the earth was formed first, the mountain-plain. The channels of water were separated; their branches wound their ways among the mountains. The waters were divided when the great mountains appeared. Such was the formation of the earth when it was brought forth by the Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, as they are called, since they were the first to think of it. The sky was set apart, and the earth was set apart in the midst of the waters.
Such was their plan when they thought, when they worried about the completion of their work.
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
The first four humans, the first four earthly beings who were truly articulate when they moved their feet and hands, their faces and mouths, and who could speak the very language of the gods, could also see everything under the sky and on the earth. All they had to do was look around from the spot where they were, all the way to the limits of space and the limits of time.
But then the gods, who had not intended to make and model beings with the potential of becoming their own equals, blew mist into their eyes, and limited human sight to what was obvious and nearby. Nevertheless, the lords who once ruled a kingdom from a place called Quiche, in the highlands of Guatemala, once had in their possession the means for overcoming this nearsightedness, an ilbal, a “seeing instrument” or a “place to see”; with this they could know distant or future events. The instrument was not a telescope, not a crystal for gazing, but a book.
The lords of Quiche consulted their book when they sat in council, and their name for it was Popol Vuh or “Council Book.” Because this book contained an account of how the forefathers of their own lordly lineages had exiled themselves from a faraway city called Tulan, they sometimes described it as “the writings about Tulan.”
Because a later generation of lords had obtained the book by going on a pilgrimage that took them across water on a causeway, they titled it “The Light That Came from Across the Sea.” And because the book told of events that happened before the first sunrise and of a time when the forefathers hid themselves and the stones that contained the spirit familiars of their gods in forests, they also titled it “Our Place in the Shadows.”
And finally, because it told of the first rising of the morning star and the sun and moon, and of the rise and radiant splendor of the Quiche lords, they titled it “The Dawn of Life.”
From: Popol Vuh: the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life
‘Diana was the first created before all creation; in Her were all things; out of Herself, the First Darkness, She divided herself; into Darkness and Light She was divided.Lucifer, Her brother and son, Herself and Her other half, was the Light.
Diana greatly loved Her brother, Lucifer, the God of the Sun and of the Moon, the God of Light (Splendour). Diana had by Her brother, a Daughter, to whom they gave the Name of Aradia.
Aradia was a child of the Spirit. And even in Her youth She heard the voices that only the Ancients once knew.
In the early hours of the dawn, she walked among the Alban hills near Lake Nemi. One day, after having journeyed far into the hills, she grew tired and took her rest beneath the shade of a large tree.
As she centered her thoughts within her mind, a voice spoke to her, saying:
‘ Look well into the skies,
and know that you are chosen.’
Aradia gazed upwards, the skies darkened, and the voice whispered to her the words
Something within her awoke, and she understood the path that lay ahead of her. Looking about from the hillside, she saw the beauty of creation and the equality of all things.
An understanding of the inner workings of Nature arose within her and with this enlightenment she opened up her heart and mind to the vastness of all she perceived.
Then Aradia beheld the oppression of the peasant people; knew their sorrows and was greatly moved with compassion.
In the time of Aradia, many peasant slaves had escaped into the hills and forests.These people gathered into bands of outlaws in order to survive. Aradia sought them out, living with them for a period of time in the woodland camps near Lake Nemi. There she listened to the plight of the people.
Many suffered persecution from the Church because they worshiped in the Old Ways. Others were made slaves by evil Lords who held power in the land. Among these outlaws Aradia came to know many Witches who were also in hiding.
In time, Aradia went down into the villages and towns in order to give hope to the people. She taught them saying:
‘Blessed Be the free. Blessed be they who rejoice in Truth and Love, and seek not to maintain evil and misguided teachings. Know that the Spirit is upon you all, and that spirit is love.
Love punishes not, neither a day nor an eternity. Do not lend yourselves to teachings of fear and restriction.
Blessed be the free in spirit for their kingdom is of both worlds. They are the children of the Earth who neither hate nor teach hate, fear nor teach fear, restrict nor teach restriction.
These same are the children of Spirit.’
Aradia gathered her disciples and taught them the inner mysteries of the Old Ways, the inner mysteries of the Old Ways that their Ancestors once embraced.
She revealed the true nature of the Name Aradia, taken in honor of the historical daughter of Diana. Many people knew Aradia in her home town of of Volterra, and in Benevento, before she took this name. Her fame soon spread to all regions of Italy; people came to listen to the words of Aradia and to join her as followers.
She taught them the doctrine of reincarnation, and about the old gods. Aradia revealed the secret of the Earth and the knowledge of the ancient teachings.
Because of her fame, she fell into disfavor with the church, and the priests plotted against her. Soldiers were sent to arrest her for heresy, and she was placed inside a prison. There, Aradia suffered humiliation and torture. The officials feared her popularity amongst the peasants and desired to sentence her to death.
When morning arrived on the day the priests were to meet, they ordered Aradia be brought before them, but she was not to be found in her cell. A search began for her, but she could not be located anywhere in the region.
Later, in the south of Rome, Aradia appeared again and continued to teach. The people were amazed because they believed she had been killed or imprisoned for life. Hearing the news of her appearance in Rome, the soldiers came to retrieve her. But none questioned by the soldiers knew anything about Aradia.
After the soldiers departed, the priests sent spies to dwell amongst the peasants in hopes of discovering her whereabouts.In that same month some people discovered Aradia sitting with her disciples and instructing them. Aradia saw that they were joyful to encounter her, and she spoke to them saying:
‘Blessed be the free in Spirit and they who love without profit. For love is the greatest attainment. It is the gift of the Spirits’ blessing. Therefore never betray a love, nor deceive one.
Love each other and care for each other, and for each thing, with the heart and soul of a poet
Strive to see the world as does the artist. Go, seek, and capture the beauty which is there. And take care that you hurt not even one which is among you,
But love, and live to the fullest, in awareness and compassion to the minds and hearts and souls of everyone around you. Live in peace’
Many people began to question themselves concerning Aradia. Her disciples came to her and said, ‘My Lady, some say you are a prophetess, and some say you are a magus. What shall we tell them?
Aradia picked up a handful of earth and looking at the crowd, she said:
‘I am the Daughter of the Sun and of the Moon. I am the earth.
I am the love of freedom, which is the love of the Gods. And whosoever shall believe in me, the same shall be a child of the Mother and Father who dwell in all things.’
A spy from the church approached and said: ‘ Lady, we know that you are a holy one: Tell us of the God from which your power comes.’
Aradia replied :
‘ Though men shall call upon many gods, there is but one, which is the many.
A man is called in his life by many names. Some may know him as father, or friend. To some he may be an enemy or a brother, and to another a cousin. Yet, is he still not one?
Another spy asked her: ‘The priests tell us that god is male, and that women must submit. What do you say?
‘Does not even Nature show you, in all ways, that all is equal? In all Flora and Fauna, there is male and female. Who among you can truly say which is more important? One cannot be without the other.’
After this a disciple asked: ‘Lady, if all you speak to us is so, then why do the priests not tell us?
‘ The priests tell us what they have been told. It is with they who have been above the priests that the Truth is known and hidden. There are many greedy and power-hungry men who profit from the church. It is better for them, to control with false teachings that restrict and threaten independence from the priesthood.’
The spies returned to the priests and reported what they had heard. The priests were angry and spread lies concerning Aradia’s teachings,claiming they were evil.
After Aradia and her disciples had left the area the soldiers came again, hoping to arrest her. On the road they surrounded Aradia and her followers, taking her into custody.
As they traveled back to Rome, a band of outlaws approached them. The leader was a slave whom Aradia had converted to Moon worship in the Cult of Diana.
A fight resulted in which Aradia was freed and taken by the outlaws to a hiding place. The outlaws escorted Aradia and her followers to a campo in the forest. There she chose twelve of her disciples, six male and six female, and took them into a clearing in order to instruct them.
Aradia spoke to them :
‘With you I now re-establish the Old Religion. Know that there are others who still worship in the ways of their Ancestors. Seek them out and tell them the Mother is with Child, and they will understand my meaning.
Seek out also they who will come to follow us.’
The disciples asked her: ‘Who is this child? Tell us of her.’
‘ The infant is the child of Mother Earth. She shall be known as that which is reason and wisdom. She shall come to the world and deliver all people of all nations from the rule of Kings and authorities.
In this Age of the Daughter great changes shall occur such as the world has never known. This shall be a time of renewal.’
Her disciples asked her: ‘ When shall this occur?’
She told them:
‘The dawning of the Age will be signaled by the Will of the Daughter. Her words shall be heard among the words of men. Then women will walk in the ways of men, and the law shall know no difference. When this occurs, the Age has begun.
And my prophet shall then restore my teachings, making ready the dawn of the Age for She who will come.
And in the year of this prophet’s birth there will be a sign for which all witches may rejoice. For this year shall be the rebirth of the Old Religion.’
Aradia spoke further:
’ Yet before this time there shall be death among our people. The time is near when my followers shall be taken before the courts and they shall prosecute you. But the Age of the Son shall draw to an end, giving way to the Age of the Daughter.
You have heard the priests tell you of hell and damnation. But I say to you, believe not in such things. For the Spirit of the Great One is Love, and love damns not, but blesses. For a fathers’ and a Mother’s love does not forget the child, nor does it put one child away and keep the other.’
All that day Aradia instructed her disciples and answered their questions. She taught them the secrets of magick and the knowledge of ritual.
Aradia and her disciples went again out into the towns and villages in order for her to heal the sick and teach the Old Religion, even though they were concerned over their safety. Soldiers, accompanied by several priests, came to arrest her. Realizing she was trapped, Aradia looked upon them sternly, saying :
‘ I rebuke you and cast you out from the people because you teach punishment and shame to those who would free themselves from the slavery of the Church.
These symbols and apparel of authority which you bear serve only to hide the nakedness in which we all are equal. You say you serve your God, but you only serve your own fears and restrictions.’
The soldiers seized her, even though many people tried to protect her. Her disciples fled to avoid being captured themselves. In the town of Benevento they took refuge among the followers of Aradia already living there.
Aradia was put into prison and was condemned for heresy and treason.
While in prison a certain guard was very moved by her beauty and charm. Aradia allowed him to come to her as a lover. On the eve of the execution, Aradia persuaded him to take her into the courtyard so she could pray out in the open.
Two other guards overlooked the courtyard as she prayed. After she finished, a storm gathered and the guard told Aradia to return to her cell.
As she complied, the storm crashed over them with great fury. An earthquake shook the ground and the buildings fell, stone by stone. When calm returned at last, only a few people were found alive. Word spread far and wide that Aradia had perished.
Seven days later, Aradia appeared in the camp of the forest outlaws; everyone was amazed to see her because it was reported that she had died.
Aradia would not speak to them concerning this, and she gathered together these disciples who still followed her and left the forest.They journeyed into the hills near Nemi. When they had settled for the night, Aradia came to them and said:
‘The time is marked, and I shall remain with you for but a short while longer.’
Aradia marked a circle upon the ground spanning nine paces from the center. She gathered her disciples into the circle and formally instructed them.
Following this, Aradia addressed them:
‘When you have need of anything, gather then in secret when the Moon is full and worship the Spirit of the Queen of Witches; The Queen of All Witches.
Gather yourselves within the circle of the Arts, and secrets that are as yet unknown shall be revealed.
And as a sign that you are truly free, you shall be naked in your rites, for such is the essence of Spirit and joy upon the Earth.
And your Law shall be,
Love Unto All.
Be true to your own beliefs.
Keep to your own ways beyond all obstacles.
For ours is the key to the Mysteries and the cycle of rebirth, which opens the door to the womb of enlightenment.
I am the spirit of all witches, which is joy and peace, and harmony. In life does the Queen of All Witches reveal the knowledge of Spirit. And from Death does the Queen deliver you unto peace and renew your life again.’
Aradia next taught her disciples about the secrets of the circle. She spoke of the gods and the Old Ones, known as the Grigorii (Watchers) ~ She taught them all types of enchantments, signs in the sky, and of the seasons.
When Aradia had revealed these things to her disciples, she told them:
‘In memory of me you shall eat cakes of grain, wine, salt and honey. These shall you shape like the crescent of the Moon. Then shall you bless them in my name and partake of them upon your sacred gatherings.
As of old, you shall hold sacred the first day of May and of August and also the Eve of November, which is the Time of Shadows. Of February shall you observe it’s second day. Also shall you observe the Solstices of midsummer and midwinter and the Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn.
To all those who observe these sacred times will the Queen of Heaven give the power. And you shall enjoy success in love. And you shall have the power to bless, and the power to consecrate. And you shall know the tongue of Spirits, Obtain knowledge of hidden things, And raise forth the spirits from beyond the void.
You shall understand the voice of the wind, And the knowledge of the changing of forms. To you shall the future be known, and secret signs revealed. And you shall have the power to cure disease, and bring forth beauty. Wild beasts shall know you and cause you no harm.
Know that the power is gained through knowledge and that the knowledge is gained through understanding. Know therefore that you must understand the balance. Everything which lives is of male and female essence. Do not exalt the one above the other. Come to know both, to be complete.
Blessed Be the free in spirit. When you hate, or despair, or do not understand it is because you are not in balance with your surroundings. I do not speak of masculine or feminine, but of elements and causes and forces.
Seek first the Balance, then you will understand, and understanding you will overcome what you must.’
Aradia stood in the midst of her disciples and spoke:
‘ My purpose is firmly set forth, and to you I now give the power. In my Name shall you go forth and teach the ways of freedom and magick.’
Aradia let her garments fall, fully revealing herself to her disciples. She took one of them by the hand and brought him beside her on the ground.
There upon the sacred Earth, beneath the star-filled night, they were joined in love. After this, each disciple was joined to the other. In this way, the power passed in love amongst the followers of Aradia.
It was early morning when the disciples gathered again to hear Aradia speak. She said to them :
‘ With you I now establish a covenant, between you and me and likewise to all who shall come to follow in the ways.’
Aradia then placed a scroll into the hands of the disciples upon which were written thirteen laws.
She also gave them nine sacred scrolls that she had written. This was the foundation of all the teachings that she had come to teach.
Aradia spoke again to her disciples:
‘Soon you shall go forth among they who dwell outside of the ways.
And you shall meet ignorance, fear and misunderstanding. Therefore, protect yourselves in all ways. And you shall come across many who truly wish to seek to be at one with the Nature of all things.
Teach all whom you find sincere and truly worthy. Yet take care that you do not become judgmental. Keep your own manner of being separate and do not expect everyone to be a likeness of yourself.
Show love and warmth to all persons for if you do not many will turn away from you. How then shall you serve the ways?
Know that your first allegiance is to the God and Goddess. Your second allegiance is to the Old Ways, and the third is to Witches all.
If you serve yourself you do not serve. When you serve your own self-importance you are out of balance with Nature, for in Nature, all things are equal ~ nothing is more important than any other thing.
And yet, all living things have the right to do what they must to survive. Who can speak against the order of things?
Therefore, live your life as you must according to the laws which I have given you. Enjoy each day and long not for the next. The only certainty, is now.
Do not become bitter or cold at the seeming harshness and unfairness of life, for love has the power to overcome all things.
Nothing lasts forever and nothing remains the same, for everything is even now moving towards that which it will become.
Therefore I tell you to observe the cycles of everything within you and outside you.’
It was her practice to teach her disciples in this manner. As the time for instruction was almost completed one of the disciples asked Aradia to speak again of the coming Age.
Aradia told them:
‘ The Age of the Daughter is the final age to dawn upon Earth. The first Age was of the Mother, when all people worshiped the Great Goddess. The second Age was that of the Father and the third Age is the Son.
Under the Mother there arose all Goddesses and their cults. With the Age of the Father arose the gods which would then come to dominate the female cults. It was then that the warrior cults began to rule the world. From this Age rose the Christ Spirit, but men clung to their stern Father God.
Now when the Age of the Daughter shall come, then shall reason be restored and the world shall be in balance.
To herald the coming of the Daughter and to keep it remembered upon the earth, every two hundred years there shall arise a prophet.
This prophet shall be a great teacher, and shall give life to the Old Religion. When the Age of the Daughter grows near, there shall be an awakening in the awareness of women, and their will shall be asserted.
Laws will then change and women shall walk in the ways of men. And there shall be a time when the last of the laws which persecute and suppress us shall be removed.
In that year, all Stregheria shall rejoice.
When the Age of the Daughter begins to replace that of the Son, then shall she appear who is to establish reason; and she will be thirty-six at this time. And she shall come in power, for the silent prophet will have established the way.
As this Age progresses, great trial and tribulation shall befall the people of all nations. And out of the ashes, shall arise the new world of reason. People shall no longer be ruled by governments, nor shall one people oppress another.
There shall be no rulers, but teachers and counselors. No-one shall possess power over another, nor shall anyone restrict or control another person.
The earth will be of one people and they will all live under the emanating rays of love, peace and reason.’
All that day and into the evening Aradia spoke of future events. The next day her disciples departed as instructed, in pairs of male and female to teach others the Gospel of Aradia. She had bid them farewell and directed them to go out into all the towns and villages.
In the days that followed, the fame of Aradia and her wisdom and her beauty went forth all over the land. People began to worship her, calling her the Beautiful pilgrim.
There were those who said She was The Goddess in human form.
The disciples traveled with a heavy heart, for Aradia had spoken of the times to come. They carried with them the thought of the many centuries that were to pass before the promised Age would dawn.
After travelling from village to village, the disciples returned to the village of Benevento. There they gathered the covens of Aradia which she had favored. The disciples taught them each the final words which Aradia had spoken and they shared the knowledge of the sacred scrolls with them. The followers of Aradia gathered into Clans and a covenant was established at this time in order to unite the clans in the Old ways.
These groups then departed to distant places, concerned at the possibility of further prosecution by the enemies of Aradia. However, there were those followers of Aradia who would not depart.
Aradia was not seen again by the people of that region. But Her followers remembered Her teachings, and gathered and celebrated as the Holy One had bid them, even as they do to this very day.
Here ends the Gospel of the Holy Strega.
Source: Temple Illuminatus
If look carefully at the moon in clear nights, one can see a black shadow on it. Here is an explanation from a Chinese fairy tale.
Long time ago, there was a man from Xihe of Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) named Wu Gang. He once followed the immortals to cultivate himself and became an immortal too. However, when in the heaven, he made a mistake and was banished to the moon to chop the laurel tree. This laurel tree growing in front of the Moon Palace was very flourishing and tall. Each time Wu Gang chopped it, it grew back right. This happened again and again and the tree was never cut down. The endless hard job was a punishment for Wu Gang.
From: China Travel Guide
The story goes about that three immortals reincarnated themselves into three poor old people and begged food from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and monkey both gave food to the immortals. However, the rabbit did not have any food. It then said to the immortals: “you can eat me” and jumped into the fire.
The immortals were so moved by the rabbit and sent it to the moon to become an immortal jade rabbit. Ever since, the jade rabbit stayed in the Moon Palace to accompany Chang E and pounded immortal medicine for those living in the heaven.
From: Travel China Guide