Category Archives: Goddess Resources

Here is where you will them

This is the perfect place to slowly wander through all of my decks of tarot cards, share the imagery with everyone that is interested, and we can share our personal interpretations.

So, I might as well start right now, and start as close to the beginning as I can.  I can’t share my first deck, they were lost in an unfortunate swimming pool incident.

After their untimely death, my grandmother gave me a deck for Christmas, with three different books on their meanings.  It was the classic Rider-Waite deck.

Everything begins at the beginning, and the beginning in a Tarot deck is the Fool.

The first card of the Major Arcana, which represent milestones in your life, positive and seemingly negative.

Yes Vi – Warrior Maiden

In many cultures women have fought beside their menfolk,
and some say the prowess of Alani and Scythian women
gave rise to the Amozon Legends — certainly, those who
killed a man in battle had the right to chose a mate …

Here is a ballad of a Warrior woman
that you might enjoy — even if WordPress
messes up its form

faucon
…………………………………………………………………..
Crone Warrior

The call was for able men to train defend the gate,
in case the Tartar sweep should continue west.
Many youths did gather there, inspired by chivalry,
each knowing that in courage they could evil best.

With a whomp and clang and whirling dance,
four-square-defense does teamwork guide,
back protect and parry sure in trusted stance.

Most stalwart knights and worthy squires had gone ahead
to challenge the fast advancing horse bound throng,
into whose Mongol hands cities fell like dropping fruit
from those un-pruned limbs that had suffered long.

Now it was left to children tall, and a few old men
of questioned worth, and breath and strength of arm.
But, in respect, the cadre looked for a leader sure
whose silent skill might protect from harm.

With a whomp and clang and whirling dance,
four-square-defense does teamwork guide,
back protect and parry sure in trusted stance.

The crone rose from her cooking pots and herbal bench
to be met by laughter and loud pointed jeers,
for her twisted form stood but five and two, one eye gone
from fall, ’tis said, after many ales and beers.

In response she said not a word, but in practiced flare
there sprang forth a sword from cape hid hold
that drew gasps of awe and fear that cold steel does command,
to whirl in the sky, so the story is told.

With a whomp and clang and whirling dance,
four-square-defense does teamwork guide,
back protect and parry sure in trusted stance.

The blade was sharpened from broken Bastard length,
with protected forward grasp and breaking bands.
The hilt was cross of iron, formed from a Saracen spear
that allowed backward thrust in her sure blooded hands.

She thrust it into the earth to stand near tall as self,
where shadow cast, a Bishop’s staff did recall.
Thereon the old lady nocked four arrows in a steady blur
that shaped in yonder oak a ring as apple small.

She tumbled to the sword looming fierce above the grass
and sailed its double points in fine balance
to within the target there defined by ancient aim
and seasoned will that left not much to chance.

“In Trace, we did win, by fighting ‘long with our men.
By guile and invention we did prevail,
but ’twas by companioned trust and courage charged
that drove victory through chest protecting mail.”

With a whomp and clang and whirling prance,
four-square-defense does teamwork guide,
back protect and parry, beneath our leader’s glance.

Myth of the Goddess – Wise Resource

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Confidently sharing a great resource which has provided much wisdom over the past ten or so years for me, “The Myth of the Goddess” by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, which inspired the article below I wrote last year:

Sofia – The Black Madonna.

“The Black Madonna. You know her, I know her, we all know her in memory, she is hidden behind a sacred black veil, and when we call to her that veil is immediately parted and she sits in silent acknowledgement of our (male or female) deepest being. She is the dark aspect of the goddess, the one that accompanies the white and the red. Wise, benevolent and unthinkably strong and wise, she is also known as “Sophia”, the one who sees all, is shocked by nothing, knows all.  She is our Bear mother, the one who embraces us in silence when our concerns are too difficult for common understanding. Never judging, never questioning, she is the one who hears, then knows, and unflinchingly provides answers though her vast reserves of wisdom. She is the one who pushes us forward and provides strength, lending hers to ours, and being part of our body so we can do what we must.  In Spain, during the Crusade periods, the Black Madonna of Montserrat became well known. Pilgrims would come to her for forgiveness, healing, advice, love, and wisdom.  She was an idolised image, and from what my resources say (these will be noted at the end of this blog for further reference if of interest), there was such a feverish love of her that churches, caves and grottoes had trouble keeping her inside. That is, people wanted to have her with them, so there was often theft of her statues and images. There are old wizened wooden images of her that survive, cool dark marble ones, perhaps embellished with gold. Indeed, I had no idea until later in life, that in our Catholic household, we had a beautiful smooth grey stone Madonna done by an artist, that we all adored but didn’t really understand why. There is a passion for her that defies description. As I said, nothing is ever lost, only waiting to be rediscovered. She is our connection to the earth. There is a striking statue of her in Chartres Cathedral. Many of these were brought back from the Holy Land after the crusades to be put in European churches, shrines, and groves. A quote of interest from the resource below: “From the tenth century onwards there is a veritable explosion of veneration for the Black Virgin, and the places sacred to her began to draw more devotees than the cult of either the father god or his son. Now, suddenly, kings, saints, and pilgrims flocked to bow their heads before the Black Virgin at Le Puy, Rocamadour, Mont St Michel and Montserrat in Spain, beseeching her favour and endowing her shrines with immense wealth and treasure.” Then another: “Miraculous cures proliferated at her shrines. In particular, women prayed to her for safe delivery in childbirth, pilgrims for a safe journey, criminals for release from their sins. The people worshipped Mary as they always had, (…) but for some the statues of the Black Virgin symbolised Sophia-Sapientia, the symbol of the secret Wisdom tradition studied in many places in Christian Europe, offering a sign to the pilgrim that said: “If you are in search of Wisdom, you may pursue your quest here in safety.” For everywhere at that time the breath of heresy trembled before the zeal of orthodoxy and whatever could not be taught openly as part of Church doctrine, had to be taught in the utmost secrecy, under fear of torture or death by fire.” There is further information following this that links the Black Virgin to the “Song of Songs” that is good reading.

Beloved

So, there is another aspect to The Beloved. Perhaps the ladies in the background represent the sacred wisdom she has, in her darker aspects, the sense of being surrounded by protectors at a moment’s notice, supported inside and outside by knowing, of the light and dark aspects, ready and able for anything. Most of all to support herself in any union, indeed, her impending union. So “Dark and Comely” in reference to the poetic imagery of “Song of Songs” relates nicely here, and in some texts it says Rossetti intended it to be so. Perhaps Rossetti intended us to see that everything in the painting is a part of The Beloved? Are these images part of the same woman, all women, tested and trialled by life in so many ways? The black I speak of is hardy yet soft, earthy rich, absolutely protective, enveloping like a mothering cloak, wise, forgiving and nurturing. There are links to her with the original earth goddesses, so there is sustenance in going to her, sitting in front of her in some shrouded grotto, wooded hill slope, or carved out tree. Or she can appear to us out of a void, just when we need her most. She knows all and understands all, when we don’t.”

Resources: Baring, Anne & Cashford, Jules “The Myth of the Goddess” Viking Books — George, Demetra “Mysteries of the Dark Moon” (The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess.) Harper Collins

copyright Monika Roleff 2005

Images: “Rossetti’s Beloved” — taken from own picture, and “She Oak by the Sea” copyright Imogen Crest 2005.

Planting my Dream Seeds

I found a rich. fecund corner of the Gardens, ready for my Dream Seeds from Mme. La Enchanteur. I opened the packet of seeds and was not surprised to see that every seed had the miraculous, innocent face of a newborn babe.

There was a tiny girl, dimples popping in and out as she nurses at a loving breast. She has silken waves of deepest chestnut, and dark eyelashes fanning on her rosy cheeks. Tiny pink fingers curl in utter trust around a loving, tender finger.

A little boy, mischief already writ on his sweet face. He is smiling and laughing as he is fed warm baby food. He is chubby enough to be endearing, but not so heavy as to be overweight. His blonde hair stands up in spikes full of food, and deep blue eyes watch in anticipation as a spoon full of food swoops into his waiting mouth. His arms wave and feet kick energetically and he bounces in the high chair.

Another girl with brown black masses of hair and moss green eyes reaches for loving arms as she babbles happy nonsense syllables up at her father’s adoring face.

Twin boys, two sides of the same coin sleep in their crib, with their hands intertwined as they were in the womb. One small form stirs restlessly and the other’s hand tightens in reassurance, and both of them slide into the deep sleep of a baby that knows it is welcome, and wanted.

A solemn-faced little girl, snuggled in her mother’s lap, rapt in the sound of her ‘Goddess’s’ voice as she reads a story slowly. Both of them are lost in this moment of oneness, forging even deeper bonds than were created in the womb.

I plant each seed with love, and bless all of them with the Goddess’ protection. When I am finished I leave the dream seeds behind me, and never look back.

I will leave these dreams for another woman who yearns for a child. The Goddess has other plans for me, I am now Crone, the third face of womanhood. The giver of knowledge and healing, I am comfortable in this role, and almost relieved that I am become thus.

The word ‘Menopause’ holds no fear, only a bit of surprise, I do not feel old enough to be in menopause, all the same, I accept this with calm, and finding a deep peace, freed of a gnawing want that would not lie quiet.

Gwenguin

Goddess Booklist–recommended reading

What follows is a short list of books and web sites that I found most useful so far, on my quest for the Goddess.Carol C. Christ, LAUGHTER OF APHRODITE

———-, ODYSSEY WITH THE GODDESS (Continuum, 1995)

———-, REBIRTH OF THE GODDESS

———-, SHE WHO CHANGES (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003)

—Carol C. Christ has written a series of books charting her growth and experiences with Goddess spirituality. While the first 2 show her move from God to Goddess, Rebirth of the Goddess is the first systematic feminist theology of the Goddess. She Who Changes outlines the intellectual underpinnings upon which her theology is based. Obviously the first 2 titles above are the easiest to read, although the latter are not difficult given Carol’s wonderful ability to make a difficult subject accessible. I would highly recommend any and all of these books as a way into the whole area of Goddess spirituality and theology.

Tikva Frymer-Kensky, IN THE WAKE OF THE GODDESS (Fawcett Columbine, 1992)

—This is a book of feminist scholarship on the subject of ancient pagan goddesses and how they were gradually overthrown by male gods, and ultimately by the biblical god. Not your average bedtime reading, but worth it all the same!

Caitlin Matthews, SOPHIA, GODDESS OF WISDOM, BRIDE OF GOD (Quest Books, 2001)

—A book written by a well known teacher of Celtic spirituality about the many faces of the Goddess as She has been manifested in the Western tradition as Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom. One such manifestation looked at is the Black Madonna.

Rosemary Radford Ruether, GODDESSES AND THE DIVINE FEMININE (University of California Press, 2005)

—This would be an essential book as far as I am concerned! Rosemary is a feminist theologian long engaged in theological enquiry in feminist, environmental and related issues. Here she presents the definitive account of goddesses from prehistoric times to contemporary interpretations. However be warned–she examines the mythology carefully resulting in the rejection of certain premises that would be considered almost sacrosanct in some goddess circles, eg the myth of a peaceful matriarchal society that predated patriarchy. Personally I would consider that while such myths are very consoling, it is always better to be open to the truth whatever the ‘truth’ is understood to be at a particular point in time.

China Galland, LONGING FOR DARKNESS: TARA AND THE BLACK MADONNA (Penguin, 1991)

——–, THE BOND BETWEEN WOMEN (Riverhead Books, 1998)

—One woman’s search for the Sacred Feminine and where the search brought her, including the goddesses she ‘met‘ on her journey. Both books very easy to read as well as being informative. Recommended.

Sue Monk Kidd, THE DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER (Harper Collins, 2002)

—Absolutely essential reading for anyone either on the journey, or about to embark on the quest for the Sacred Feminine. Refers to goddesses in the context of her personal search.

GODDESS WEBSITES

http://spiralgoddess.com—A wonderful site with enough to keep you entertained and amused for a long time! Pour yourself a cup of coffee or herbal tea, pull up your seat and enjoy!!

http://www.imagesofdivinity.org—This is China Galland’s web site. Wonderful images of the Black Madonna.

http://sagewoman.com—A goddess based magazine. Interesting reading.