Friday, September 26, 2014

7 Goddesses You've Never Heard Of

There are thousands of Goddesses across the world. Some of them get a lot of attention with a few that could even be considered main stream. The gods of the Greek and Egyptian pantheon come to mind. (Even a non-pagan person has heard of Aphrodite.) Television shows like Hercules, Merlin, and Witches of East End, and movies like Thor, have brought names of the old gods back into the world. Although these modern retellings are a bit off, the old ones are being remembered. However, there are more deities than the ones that most people know, like Aphrodite, Isis, Hecate, and Brigid (no offense dear Ladies!). I thought that it might be time to share a few of the more obscure Goddesses out in the world who you should really know about.

(And in writing this I know that there are people out there who do know these names, these stories, and these energies. Please feel free to share their stories as you know them!)

~Tiamat (Sumerian) - She is the primordial ooze that existed before anything else on this planet. In some stories Tiamat is described as a monster and early dipictions paint her as a dragon or sea serpent. She gives birth to the first creatures and later her body is broken into pieces to create the heavens and earth. We all come from the seas and Tiamat is the energy of that roiling place of creation. She is deep, dark, powerful, and her true form is beyond human conception.  Why you should know her: There are many origin stories across the world and many of them feature water, after all humans did evolve from the sea and Tiamat can help to bring you back to that place of origin. She is the grandmother who remembers you from before you were born. Her voice is deep and shakes the earth and with that voice Tiamat can bring you back into connection with the most primal forces that already exist within you.

~Sulis (Celtic) - This Celtic Goddess of healing was centrally located in Bath, England. Her life force and spirit could be found in the living and sacred thermal pools and flowing waters around Bath. Her worship goes well beyond recorded history. When the Romans came to England they connected Sulis to their Goddess Minerva and created great temples and healing centers dedicated to Sulis-Minerva in the same places where the indigenous people of the British Isles had been coming for millennia. Sulis is a Goddess that brings health, vitality, and healing, but she was also called upon for her cursing powers and prayers have been found asking for her to bring swift vengeance. After all the Celts believed in order to now how to heal you also must know how to harm. Why you should know her: Sulis understands the balance of illness and wellness. She offers healing waters, but also wasting illness if you should do wrong. The balance of illness and wellness is interesting in our modern culture. We take on illness as if it is a part of who we are and Sulis offers a different potential. How is it to honor illness or wellness as something part of our system, our body, and not our "self". How is it to dance with your wellness as something outside of you and treat any illness in the same manner? This is the power that Sulis can bring to your life.

~Skadi (Norse) - This Goddess of the north brings the power of winter in the Norse traditions and she rules over skiing and hunting. But more than that, Skadi is a giantess who was brave enough to put on warriors armor and take up weapons against the Gods who had killed her father. Although she did not kill the Norse Gods, they did offer her recompense for the death and offered her marriage to any of them in turn. Through this process she ends up married to the God of the sea, Njord, but there is also evidence of her relations with many other Gods including the Allfather, Odin. She is called the 'shining bride of the Gods' and she rules over the mountains and the cold. Her independence, her love of the mountains, and her desire to be free, leaves her life with her husband lacking something. This desire to be in her rightful place and her need to do what is right for her, led her to leave Njord and return to the mountain ranges. Why you should know her: Skadi says what she needs. She not only talks the talk, but she also walks the walk. She is strong, independent, and brave. Skadi can help you to tap into your own independence and find your strong voice. She can show you the way to your rightful place in the world where you feel at home.

~Nu Kua (Chinese) - This Goddess is the creatrix of the world in Chinese myth. She is both gendered, neither gendered, and gender fluid; with her form shifting and changing and often appearing as a serpent or dragon. Her body is never one thing for very long, often being seen as human, bull, dragon, or a combination of these. The world before humans was a difficult and inhospitable place. It was dangerous with the landscape in constant flux and change. This is when Nu Kua came. She created order and put an end to the chaos. In story after story in Chinese myth she appears and brings order, repairs what has been broken, and fixes the mistakes that other gods have  made. Why you should know her: Nu Kua can be a calming force in the midst of chaos. When you are in times of trouble, feeling overwhelmed, or trapped in a mess, Nu Kua can show you the way out. She can help you to put things in order and heal the things that have been broken. She does this with a gentle nature and a warriors heart,

~Pachamama (Incan) - Pachamama is more than a Goddess or energy that has been anthropomorphized into human form. She is the literal earth. She is the plants, the earthquakes, the land, the animals, and humans as well. Her children are the sun and the moon and she is self-sustaining, as she is the earth, she feeds herself of herself. Pachamama requires balance because she is the living earth. Once upon a time she was considered cruel and even violent, most don't hold her that way any longer, but it is believed that if she is treated poorly it will lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and failed crops. Some think of her as the energy of Mother Earth, but she is bigger than that, she is the World Mother; not a guardian spirit, but the actual energy of the planet. Why you should know her: Pachamama is the earth and she is the creatures that walk the earth, therefore, she is you. There is no better way to recognize and remember that we are all connected than through communion with Pachamama. The foods that you eat, the animals you care for, the people that you love are all emanations of this Goddess and of yourself. It is hard to treat others poorly when you remember that we are all one.

~Cessair (Irish) - Many lands have a matronesses; in England it is Brigantia, in the United States it is Lady Liberty, and so on. Ireland's matroness is considered to be Eire (or Erin), and she is the Goddess of the Land, but there is an older tale of the founder of Ireland, whose name was Cessair (pronounced KAH-seer). When the world was flooding the grand-daughter of Noah was not invited on to boat. Instead of allowing her people to die in the waters, Cessair lead her people by boat to the Irish islands in order to escape Yahweh's wrath. Through this process she decided to no longer worship Him, who would so angrily destroy all his creations. In one of the oldest books of Irish tales, the Book of Invasions, she is described as the first inhabitant of the land. She turned her back on what she had been told was her lot in life and fought for something more, even creating a new god for her people to worship and call upon for help. Why you should know her: Cessair did what, for many, would be impossible she stood up and turned away from the life she was told she had to have. In order to make this leap she had to find the courage to do something different no matter what. This bravery and risk taking energy is something that many of us need. Cessair can be called on when you need to take a risk that feels scary, impossible, or too much to hold. She can show you the way to your future, bravely and boldly.

~Nepthys (Egyptian) - Last, but most certainly not least, we come to the Egyptian Goddess Nepthys (pronounced NEP this) (or Nebet Het in hieroglyphs) who is the twin sister of Isis. The sky goddess Nut gave birth to four children; Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nepthys. These four had their lives mixed together in twisted fate, but Nepthys became the dark side of Isis, the hidden one, the dark of the moon. She often got lost in the shadow of her bright sister and because of this, she often forgot that her own light shone just as brightly. Where Isis holds rebirth, Nepthys holds death. These two sisters need each other, and yet, Nepthys often finds herself in the supporting role instead of the star. She helped Isis to resurrect her sister's dead husband Orisis, she was nursemaid to their son Horus, she gave birth to Osiris's son Anubis guardian of the underworld, but often was forgotten.  Why you should know her: Nepthys is the dark Goddess to the light of Isis. She sometimes struggles to see her own worth and value because she is lost in her envy of her sister. When you struggle to find your own value, when you feel like you have nothing to offer, when you are only seeing the accomplishments of others and not your own, Nepthys can help you to connect back to your own light. She can help you to step out of the shadows and remember to shine like the star that you are.

Well, this is a good start. There are hundreds of others that could be on this list. No doubt you could name a few. As I've often been heard to say; what is remembered lives, therefore it is our responsibility to remember these Goddesses and keep them alive.

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