by Morag GrayHheart
Greek mythology is full of lulz, and the myth of Harmonia is no different. This goddess of harmony was born of one of Aphrodite’s illicit affairs—with Ares, god of war. Blend of war and love sex creates...harmony? I always thought it created tragedy, but whatever. According to the myths, Harmonia presided over marital harmony, as daughter of Aphrodite, and over harmony in war, as daughter of Ares, which still doesn’t make any sense to me but maybe that’s because I’m an anti-war activist.When Harmonia is born, Hephaestus, Aphrodite’s husband, is really pissed off that his wife cheated; so he decides to curse any children She and Ares produce. That’s totally fair, right? Your mom was unfaithful to me, so I’m going to make you kids’ lives a living hell, because obviously it’s your fault. Hephaestus, being the god of the forge and stuff, makes Harmonia a beautiful necklace that’s never consistently described in the legends but, so far as we can tell, was made of gold, in the shape of two serpents, whose mouths formed the clasp. That is rather apropos, considering the end of Harmonia and her husband. The necklace is cursed: it brings the woman who wears it endless beauty and youth but also terrible misfortune. Hephaestus presents this necklace to stepdaughter Harmonia as a wedding gift upon her marriage to Cadmus of Thebes. Cue: many problems lead to their need to relocate, and eventually they both get turned into serpents, and the gods then take pity on them and put them in Paradise. But they’re still serpents. Which could be kind of cool, I guess, but not forever.
By Morag Grayheart
Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,
Broad bosomed, she that is the steadfast base
Of all things. And fair Gaia first bore
The starry Heaven, equal to herself,
To cover her on all sides and to be
A home forever for the blessed Gods.
Since Her conception, people have been screwing with Gaia, the Greek Earth goddess and grassroots-slang term for our terra firma. Gaia had offspring by the hundreds-She gave birth to all creation, after all-populating the annals of Greek myth with Titans, furies, nymphs, and giants. (The Olympian gods came later, from the Titans. But that’s another story.)
Gaia was a huge figure in Greek religion, though few stories exist about Her. Gaia is not anthromorphised (given human form) as some other Greek deities are-She is considered a spirit or energy of the Earth more than a lady wearing a purple dress and flowers, telling Captain Planet how best to beat the bad guys. Anthromorphised deities are more likely to have a lot of stories about them. The more like humans they are, the more trouble they get into.
The parlance of our times refers to Earth as Gaia, wrongly quoting Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis: “Earth is a single, living entity.” The Gaia Hypothesis doesn’t state this, but “that all living things have a regulatory effect on the Earth’s environment that promotes life overall.”1 All processes and relationships among living and non-living things on this earth form a system so complicated it can be thought of as a single organism. Read more »
by Morag Grayheart
As crocuses appear out of the snow and the days slowly lengthen, we count down to the Vernal Equinox, the day night and day are of equal length (equinox literally means equal night), a sign of warmer days to come. We also count down to Easter, a day of chocolate, eggs, and bunnies—and the rebirth of Christ.On one hand, Jesus Christ, rebirth, resurrection, crucifixion…on the other, bunnies, chocolate, and eggs. See the connection? No? A possible source of these traditional Easter symbols is Eostre, or Eostara, the Teutonic lunar goddess of dawn, spring, and fertility, whose symbols were the bunny and the egg. Her holiday fell on the full moon of the vernal equinox (ie, the closest full moon to the equinox itself). The holiday was called Lady Day, on which people would put eggs (a general symbol of regeneration and birth) onto gravesites to symbolise rebirth. This is why Easter moves its chocolaty fingers all over the calendar every year. It occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. If the first full moon and Sunday coincide, Easter gets bumped a week later, to make sure it’s not on the full moon itself. This is because the Church follows a solar calendar–which makes sense, as they follow a Lord of Light–and doesn’t want to give concessions to those crazy lunar people, or those crazy lunar goddesses (or gods). That’s cool. It doesn’t stop equinox from happening or people from eating all the chocolate they want.
by Morag Greyheart
The Tara Goddess figure has many shapes and forms, spanning both Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindus regard Tara as a Mother Goddess, appearing beside other Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The Boddhisattva Tara is seen as the Mother of All Buddhas–hence containing the wisdom of all the Buddhas. Tara also shares her qualities with Kuan Yin, the white ceramic mother-goddess figure often found in Chinese shops. Thus, over much of the planet, Tara depicts the commonly held idea of a loving, accepting Great Mother.
by Morag Grayheart
Pele (PAY-lay) is the Hawaiian Goddess of volcanoes. Passionate, fiery, and with a fierce temper, Pele is a continually visual deity in the Hawaiian pantheon. Both creator and destroyer, Pele is considered responsible for the creation of the Hawaiian islands. She is still active today, on Mt. Kilauea on the Big Island, and continues to demand sacrifice from the residents of Hawaii. When lava threatens a Hawaiian home, the owners would be better off giving Her gifts so that their residence may be spared. Read more »
by Morag Grayheart
Kali is a more misunderstood Goddess of the world. We can all get behind the endless-love-compassion thing. But death and destruction? Scary!
Ease your fears – Kali is endless love and compassion, though in a different light. She is the death of the ego, the death of the illusion we perceive as reality. She makes us remember we are spiritual beings on a human journey – not vice versa. She grants total liberation.Attachment to the ego comes from over-identification with the body, the physical plane. Kali’s name comes from the Sanskrit kal, meaning time. Time takes its toll on our bodies as Kali wears away our ego.
by Morag Grayheart
Hathor, ancient Egyptian cow-goddess, was seen as the personification of the Milky Way. She stood in cow form upon the earth, Her four legs holding up the firmament, which was Her belly.
The name Hathor literally means “house of Horus”, and Horus, as the sun god, was seen to enter Her mouth each night and be reborn again in the morning. Consequently He was seen as both Her husband and son.
Hathor maintained the living with Her milk and provided food for the dead in Tuat, the underworld. She was a cosmic primal mother goddess, and is one of Egypt’s oldest known deities. Read more »