My mom called me the other night. She gets together with this awesome group of women who have the most incredible parties. Their big one is in June, and it’s called Estrofest…it’s quite an extravaganza. Anyway, they are having a “Goddess Party” this weekend and she, and my sis-in-law, were asking for some ideas for goddesses. I was just going to email them, but then I thought, hey, this is a great post…
So, before the concept of “God” started leaning toward the patriarchal, bearded grandfather concept that dominates many religions today, the goddess, in her many forms, reigned supreme. This is a vast and fascinating subject, and the archetypes represented in the pantheons of goddesses across cultures and millennia have a lot to offer to us. They show up in our dream minds, and inform our ordinary waking states. We can recognize some aspect of all of them in ourselves, and it can be helpful to contemplate them when we need a little support cultivating the energy or ideas that they represent in our own life.
Here are a few goddesses that come first to my mind in this autumn season:
Demeter: The Greek Goddess of Agriculture.
Her name means, “barley mother” and “earth mother”; she is a fertility goddess, and is often shown with a stalk of corn or grain, a torch, and a crown. She helps women harmonize with the ebb and flow of their life cycles. Her daughter, Persephone, was carried away in a notoriously bad relationship with Hades, god of the underworld. Demeter was so grief stricken that she caused the world to ebb into winter and to stay in that state of death until Persephone was returned, albeit for only part of the year (hence, the seasonal cycle.)
Hestia: Greek Goddess of Hearth and Home
Hestia represents purity, sincerity, sanctity and safety. She is responsible for the wholesomeness of a warm meal and a cozy hearth. We bring her energy into our lives when we express the “domestic goddess” inside of us.
Now, if you are looking for a goddess with energy a little less tame, meet a few of my favorites:
Durga: Hindu Warrior Goddess
Durga is my girl.
She symbolizes strength, valor and protection. The Hindu gods called her forth with a “breath of fire” when they found they could not defeat the Buffalo Demon, Mahisasura, who threatened the world. She rides on a lion in a sacred trance, brandishing a weapon given to her by the gods in each of her eight arms (click the link above for more on her weapons.) She is the slayer of evil, and is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).
Here is kirtan (a sacred chant) to Durga
Lilith: Hebrew Goddess of Personal Power and Sexual Appetite
Take a walk on the wild side ladies. When God made Lilith (the first Eve) for Adam, and she told him, “I will not lie beneath you”, and he gave her the old “well, I won’t lie beneath YOU because you should always be in the inferior position…”, Lilith said, “Ah, no you din’it!”…or something like that. Anyway, Lilith doesn’t take any shit, so if you feel like you need to pull a little of that power into your aura, she’s ya’ girlfriend. Lilith is all about freedom of choice; she makes her own rules, and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is also a sensual seductress, tempting men to follow her for her own pleasure’s sake. So, have at it ladies. YOu may also want to check out Lilith Magazine.
White Buffalo Calf Woman: Lakota Goddess of Peace
This sacred woman of supernatural origin gave the Lakota their "Seven Sacred Rituals". She is the ultimate role model for woman as facilitator, leader, healer and bringer of peace. You know the “Peace Pipe’? Yep, that was all her. The peace pipe was used in rituals within a sacred circle; it was passed from person to person so each could share their truth, and understanding and unity could be brought to the group. I love her because her way to peace and understanding is decidedly feminine, based in communication and tolerance.
Saraswati: Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Arts
Saraswati is my patron saint, so to speak. I just love her. She dresses in white, and holds a mala (prayer beads) and a palm leaf scroll, indicating knowledge. Saraswati usually rides a swan or a peacock, while playing music on a veena. She is the mother of the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India. She is identified with the Saraswati River and it’s nourishing and purifying aspects. She is the consort of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. Saraswati Puja (celebration) is coming up in October, if you have a Hindu temple in your town, try to go, they are amazing rituals and celebrations.
None of these great goddesses resonating with you? Here are a few more to ponder:
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love
Green Tara: Buddhist Goddess of Compassion
Isis: Egyptian Goddess Magic and Life
Artemis: Greek Goddess of the Wilderness and the Moon
Butterfly Maiden: Native American Goddess of Renewal
Manditory Goddess Reading:
Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
A Goddess is a Girl's Best Friend by Laurie Sue Brockway
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Other Resources for Your Inner Goddess:
Inner Goddess Retreats
Art of the Divine Feminine
Enjoy, and may the Great Goddess hold you in the palm of her hand always.
P.S. Mom and Sarah, send in some pics from the party and I’ll put them in a follow up post.