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Onatah [08 Feb 2007|12:04pm]

matka_ziemia
Area or people: Iroquois
Location : North America
Gender : Female
Category : Deity


ONATAH: Corn Goddess; daughter of EITHINOHA who is Mother Earth.

Legend: In Iroquois mythology, Onatah was the corn goddess. She was the daughter of Eithinoha. She was kidnapped by the ruler of the underworld. her mother searched everywhere for her, grieving and while she grieved no crops grew. Finally the sun realised where she was, split open the ground and rescued her. However, the spirits of the underworld missed Onatah, and whenever the sun sleeps they snatch her back, and then a vast human effort in ceremonies and offerings are needed to waken the sun and rescue her.


Myth: THE SPIRIT OF THE CORN

AN IROQUOIS LEGEND

BY HARRIET MAXWELL CONVERSE (ADAPTED)

There was a time, says the Iroquois grandmother, when it was not needful to plant the corn-
seed nor to hoe the fields, for the corn sprang up of itself, and filled the broad meadows. Its stalks
grew strong and tall, and were covered with leaves like waving banners, and filled with ears of pearly
grain wrapped in silken green husks.

In those days Onatah, the Spirit of the Corn, walked upon the earth. The sun lovingly touched
her dusky face with the blush of the morning, and her eyes grew soft as the gleam of the stars on
dark streams. Her night-black hair was spread before the breeze like a wind-driven cloud.
As she walked through the fields, the corn, the Indian maize, sprang up of itself from the earth
and filled the air with its fringed tassels and whispering leaves. With Onatah walked her two
sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and the Bean. As they passed by, squash-vines and bean-plants
grew from the corn-hills.

One day Onatah wandered away alone in search of early dew. Then the Evil One of the earth,
Hahgwehdaetgah, followed swiftly after. He grasped her by the hair and dragged her beneath
the ground down to his gloomy cave. Then, sending out his fire-breathing monsters, he blighted
Onatah's grain. And when her sisters, the Spirits of the Squash and the Bean, saw the flame-
monsters raging through the fields, they flew far away in terror.

As for poor Onatah, she lay a trembling captive in the dark prison-cave of the Evil One. She
mourned the blight of her cornfields, and sorrowed over her runaway sisters.

``O warm, bright sun!'' she cried, ``if I may walk once more upon the earth, never again will I
leave my corn!''

And the little birds of the air heard her cry, and winging their way upward they carried her vow
and gave it to the sun as he wandered through the blue heavens.

The sun, who loved Onatah, sent out many searching beams of light. They pierced through
the damp earth, and entering the prison-cave, guided her back again to her fields.

And ever after that she watched her fields alone, for no more did her sisters, the Spirits of the
Squash and Bean, watch with her. If her fields thirsted, no longer could she seek the early dew.
If the flame-monsters burned her corn, she could not search the skies for cooling winds. And when
the great rains fell and injured her harvest, her voice grew so faint that the friendly sun could not hear it.

But ever Onatah tenderly watched her fields and the little birds of the air flocked to her service.
They followed her through the rows of corn, andmade war on the tiny enemies that gnawed at the roots of the grain.

And at harvest-time the grateful Onatah scattered the first gathered corn over her broad lands,
and the little birds, fluttering and singing, joyfully partook of the feast spread for them on the meadow-ground.


Ritual: Onatah is the perfect Goddess to call upon during Lammas Rituals.


Sources:
Image: Reeda Peel
Info: http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/D_ONATAH.HTM
http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/native_american-mythology.php?deity=ONATAH
http://www.angelfire.com/biz6/gtbaskets/holidaystories.html


have you had any experiences with Onatah?
Please share if you feel comfortable :)
(1) leap into the fallen leaves

Erzulie (also: Ezili, Erzilie) [10 Jan 2005|06:03am]

chianagirl
Erzulie is a Haitian goddess of love; the personification of love, beauty, and sensuality. Feared as much as she is adored, she is also a goddess of jealousy, vengeance, and discord. She is renowned for her generosity. She is also a patroness of the arts, especially dance. Streams, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls belong to her, and her cool waters are said to cure problems relating to the female reproductive system.

She has three husbands- Agwe (god of the sea), Damballa (a serpent god), and Ogoun (a warrior hero).


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[06 Dec 2004|05:29am]

chianagirl
the_goddesses community will be on hiatus until January 9th, due to the chaos of the holiday season.

In other words, when all the visiting relatives go away and leave me alone posts will start up again, beginning with Erzulie. ;)
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Eris [22 Nov 2004|05:55am]

chianagirl
Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife. Her favourite weapon is the Apple of Discord, which she throws among humans to end friendships and cause wars. It is said that she brought about the Trojan War by tossing the apple into the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. Her eternal and unforgiving rage was the cause of fear and reverence on Olympus, and although she was despised by them, they didn’t dare to confront her.

She is the twin sister of Ares’, and his constant companion. Though she rose into battle with him, she was better known for less deadly forms of conflict; political strife, rivalry, personal dissension, and spitefulness. Her genealogy is slightly confused- she is alternately known as the daughter of Zeus and Hera, or of Nyx and Erebus. There is also a legend of Hera conceiving the twins by herself, after touching a may-blossom.

The most well known legend involving Eris is that of her incitation of the Trojan War. Eris was not invited to the wedding of the sea goddess Thetis and the hero Peleus. In revenge, she carved the word ‘kallisti’ (‘for the fairest’) into one of the golden apples from the Hesperides’ tree and threw it among the crowd. Three very powerful goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, laid claim to it. Zeus was asked to settle the dispute, but knowing the nature of the three goddesses, he declined and gave a Trojan prince named Paris the task of judging. All three women attempted to bribe him; Hera with power, Athena with wisdom, and Aphrodite with the love of the most beautiful mortal in the world. He awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who in turn cast a spell to make the fairest mortal his wife. This mortal turned out to be none other than the Spartan queen, Helen. Menelaus, the king of Sparta, did not take kindly to having his wife abducted, and raised an army to sail against Troy.


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Elen [15 Nov 2004|06:00am]

chianagirl
Elen is a Welsh goddess of roads and crossroads, woodlands, wild animals, and revered as a protectress of travellers and star goddess. Being female, she was associated with water sites such as waterfalls and holy wells. She built roads across her country so that soldiers could more easily defend it against attackers. She is sometimes known by the moniker ‘Elen of the Ways’, which once referred to the roads and highways, but is now symbolic of the ley lines which form the land’s layout of energy. Powerfully allied with the strength of the land, she was considered the mother of elemental forces and supernatural beings, who were knows at ‘the Elle folk’, as well as ‘the little people’. Her imagined representation ranges from fair and radiant blonde, to earthy and auburn haired.

Elen is thought to have been a forerunner of many other Celtic goddesses, including Brighid and Helen of the Hosts. She has also been linked to Sheila-na-gig statues (carvings of a nude woman holding her legs open to expose her genitals), which were sometimes incorporated into medieval church architecture. These statues seem likely to be a reference to Elen or Brighid’s role as healer, source of wisdom and inspiration, and her role as fertility goddess of the land. A particular statue residing in Colchester Castle Museum has the word ‘Elen’ extolled on one of its legs, which is all the more significant because Saint Helen, her Christianised aspect, is associated with Colchester.

In the Welsh medieval romances known collectively as The Mabinogen, she can be found in a story named ‘The Dream of Macsen Wledig’. In this story, she rules over the country of dreams and builds the highways from one fortress to another, across the length and width of Britain. Macsen, a legendary Roman emperor, dreams of her sitting on a chair made of red gold, wearing white silk shifts with red fastenings across the breast, and a gold brocade surcoat with a mantle pinned by a brooch. Her hairband was made of rubies and gems, and her belt of red gold. Macsen sent out envoys to find her. Eventually, she was discovered at the fortress of Segontium, near Caernarvon. He met her, and soon afterward she became Empress of Rome. She claimed Britain from her father as a wedding gift, and supervised the roads throughout the realm.


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Tlazolteotl [08 Nov 2004|05:36am]

chianagirl
Tlazolteotl (also: Tlaelquani, Tlazoltéotl, Tlazolteotli, Tlazolteotl Ixcuiname) (pronounced: tlaz-ol-te’-otl)

Tlazolteotl is the Aztec Earth and mother goddess, also ruling over sex, human fertility, and childbirth. At the same time, she is portrayed as a disease-bringing goddess of insanity. She is often referred to as ‘the eater of filth’. This came from the legend saying that she would come to a person at the end of their life, cleansing their soul as they confessed on their deathbed. No defilement or impurity is too great. In one hand she holds cobs of maize as a symbol of life, while in the other is a rattle, a ritual instrument for the dance of fertility, but also a symbol of the blight of illness. In her incarnation as Teteoinnan, she is a protector of midwives, female doctors, and those who tell fortune. Her son is Centeocihuatl, the maize god (who was previously a goddess- it is unknown when she became he) she is often portrayed giving birth to.

There is some evidence that Tlazolteotl was originally a Toltec goddess who was absorbed into the Aztec pantheon after they invaded the Toltec empire in the 12th century.


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Styx [25 Oct 2004|05:58am]

chianagirl
Styx is the Greek goddess of the river of death in the Underworld. She is the wife of Pallas, the daughter of Erebus and Nyx, and the mother of Bia, Cratos, Nike, and Zelus. Her name is derived from the Greek word 'stugein', meaning 'hate'. Her river is known by the same name. It is the river of hate, just as she is the personified spirit of hatred.

In the war against the Titans, Styx was the first to go to Olympus when Zeus called for all those who would fight on his side. He guaranteed her immortality and the rule over the river that bears her name, established her to take the oaths of the gods, and told her that her children would always have a home in his household.

If a god gave their oath upon her river and failed to keep their word, Zeus forced them to drink from its waters. The water was said to be so foul that the god would lose their voice for nine years (another legend says the god would lose their immortality). It was also said to freeze the blood of any mortals who drank it. According to other stories, the Styx had miraculous powers and could turn a human into an immortal. Achilles was dipped in it as a child, which gave him his invulnerability- the exception was his heel, which his mother held him by to dip him into it.

The river itself separates the world of the living from the Underworld, along with four other rivers; Acheron, the river of woe; Cocytus, the river of lamentation; Phlegethon, the river of fire; and Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. The river Styx winds nine times around the Underworld.


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Boann (also Boand, Boyne, Boannan) [18 Oct 2004|06:04am]

chianagirl
Boann is a Celtic goddess of bounty, fertility, and healing. She is also the goddess of the river Boyne, which is named for her. Her husband is the water god Nechtan, and she is a consort of Dagda, by whom she became the mother of the god of love, Angus Mac Og. To hide their union from Nechtan, Boann and Dagda made the sun stand still for nine months, so that Angus was conceived and born on the same day.

The most well known legend of Boann says that there was a sacred well containing the source of knowledge. All were forbidden to approach this well, with the exception of Nechtan and his servants. Boann ignored this ban and approached the sacred well and lifted the cover, violating the purity of the area. For her disobedience, she was punished. The waters of the well rose, transformed into a raging river that pursued her. In some versions of the legend, she drowned- in others, she outran the waters. In either case, the water became the river known from that time forth as the Boyne, and Boann became the presiding deity.

Another legend recounts an instance of Boann’s kindness and vengeance... cut for lengthCollapse )
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Brighid [11 Oct 2004|06:04am]

chianagirl
(also: Brid, Brigid, Bride, Brigantia, Brigindo, Breo-Saighit, Brigit, Briga, Briginda, Brigdu, Breo Saighead, Brigindo, Brigandu, Brigan, Brigantis, Bridget, Brittania, Berecynthia)

Brighid is the Celtic goddess of fire (both of the hearth and the sun), poetry, inspiration, smithcraft, and healing. She is identified with the earth herself and with the soil's fertility. It is said that everywhere she walks, flowers spring up in her steps, in her shrine it is always springtime, and her herds never run dry of milk. She is able to divine information about things lost, things to come, and things happening afar by looking into her own hands. According to legend, she brought humans a number of useful things, these including whistling, which she invented one night when she wished to call her friends to her. When her beloved son, Ruadan, was killed, she invented keening.

She was such a popular goddess among the people that the coming of Christianity could not wipe out her worship. The Church took her image and transformed it into St. Brigit. They allowed the saint a curious list of attributes identical to those of the goddess. For instance, she had the power to appoint the bishops of her area. This was an odd role for an abbess, and made more odd by the requirement that her bishops also be practicing goldsmiths.

There were three Brighids, not seen as separate goddesses, but as aspects of one divinity. Unlike other triple goddesses, they were identical and did not age through the typical maiden mother crone cycle. Nearly into modern day, the ancient worship of the fire goddess Brighid continued at her sacred shrine in Kildare, where 19 priestesses tended the perpetual fire, each taking it to tend for a day and a night. On the 20th day of each cycle, Brighid herself miraculously tended the fire. Her fire was extinguished at the time of the Reformation of Henry VIII, but since Candlemas of 1993, it burns again. Ritual preserved her name and symbols for more than 1,000 years after she was no longer acknowledged as a goddess. Little is left of the legends told of one of the greatest of all Celtic deities, a goddess so high that her brass shoe was the most sacred object that could be imagined- a divinity so intensely related to the feminine force that no man was allowed to pass beyond the hedge surrounding her sanctuary.

Brighid is also the Lady of the Mantle. One story told is of how Brighid asked a local lord for land, so that she could found her shrine at Kildare. At first, he refused. Brighid convinced him by saying that she would ask for no more land than her mantle could cover. Obviously, the lord was not a generous man, but he thought he could spare as much land as a lady’s mantle could be stretched over. He agreed, and Brighid returned to Kildare to spread her mantle on the earth. When she tried to stretch it as far as it would go, it kept stretching until it covered so much land that her community could live off it.

The legend of her birth says that was born at sunrise. Her mother stood in the doorway, with one foot inside the house and one foot outside, her head haloed by fire. The circumstances surrounding her birth foretold that she would be a goddess of the threshold- of the gates between this world and the Otherworld. Brighid slipped into the hands of the nine sisters, who swayed and crooned in a circle around her. When Brighid emerged, a tower of flame reached from the top of her head and into the heavens, and the house shone so brightly that it appeared to be on fire. She reached up and broke away the plume of flame, dropping it to the ground inside her mother’s house, where it created the hearth. From the fire of the hearth, Brighid drew out a leaping tongue of flame and swallowed it, feeling the fire burn straight to her heart. She stood, fire crowing her head, licking inside her heart, glowing from her hands, and dancing on the hearth before her.


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Hecate (also Hekate) [04 Oct 2004|07:39am]

chianagirl
Hecate is a Greek goddess, ruling the cycle of life and that which is outside understanding- death, intuition, prophecy, and forms of second-sight. She guides passed souls into the Underworld, to rest before their next incarnation, and attends all transitions in the cycle. It is the light of her torch that calls souls to her- those who are confused or cannot see it, she finds herself. It is said that she wanders graveyards and areas where violent deaths have occurred, in order to assist these souls. In modern times, she is often labelled as a goddess of witches and witchcraft, as her talent for sorcery was second to none. Symbols commonly associated with Hecate are torches, crossroads, keys, gateways, hounds, snakes, graveyards, black ewe lambs, and all phases of the moon.

She is a triple goddess, with maiden, mother, and crone faces. She also symbolises other threefolds- mind, body, and spirit; birth, life and death; new, full, and dark moons; and rules heaven, the underworld, and the Earth. She is not a tender, coddling, or overly compassionate goddess, but she is very protective of her followers, and her wrath is swift upon those who harm them. When called upon, her actions are often swift, although they may not be the actions that are expected.

She was originally a Thracian and Pre-Olympic goddess. Her wisdom and antiquity were honoured even by Zeus, who held her importance above all other goddesses. She has been popular and ever-present since at least 700 BC. In Pre-Classical Ancient Greece, she was represented as a young woman clad in a long robe and carrying burning torches. Later, she appears in her triple goddess form, with three bodies standing back to back, so that she could look in all directions from the crossroads. It has been only in the last few hundred years that she was portrayed as ‘evil’ and horrific- a distorted image that seems to have come from fear. Her darker side was gradually emphasised, so that by medieval times, she was little more than a parody of her original power.


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[30 Sep 2004|12:36am]

chianagirl
My apologies for being unable to post an entry this past Monday morning. All of my computers chose the weekend to die in different ways, and I just managed to obtain an alternate way to get online. Barring apocalypse, the upcoming Monday's entry will be posted as planned.
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Ceridwen [20 Sep 2004|06:03am]

chianagirl
(also Cerridwen, Cereduin, Caridwen, Ceridwen, Kerridwen, Keridwen)

Ceridwen is a Welsh goddess of dark prophetic powers, patroness of Celtic shamanism, and keeper of the cauldron of the Underworld, in which divine knowledge and inspiration are brewed. She also rules over death, fertility, regeneration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, and poetry, and is sometimes portrayed as a white sow, representing the moon. Welsh Bards called themselves Cerddorion- 'sons of Ceridwen'. She lived on the shores of Lake Bala, with her husband, the giant Tegid, and their three children.

Her daughter, Creirwy, was the fairest girl that anyone could ever have hoped for. She had two sons also, Avagdu and Morfran. Avagdu was so ugly, ill favoured and stupid that he disgusted all who saw him. Ceridwen was grieved that her son was so horrid, and resolved to use her magic to turn him into such a gifted bard that no one would care about his worst qualities. She began a great spell in her cauldron- a potion known as 'greal'. She included plants for inspiration and knowledge, and spoke a great many charms over it. An old blind man named Morda was set to keep the fires beneath it hot, assisted by the young man Gwion, for the cauldron had to be kept boiling for a year and a day. The first three drops from the potion would impart ultimate knowledge to the one who drank them, but the rest of the liquid would be poison.

Ceridwen laboured long and hard, roaming the Earth to find the herbs she required. On the last day before the potion was to be finished, she was so exhausted that she fell asleep. While the boy Gwion was stirring the potion, three scalding drops flew out onto his hand. To stop the burning, he put the hand to his mouth. Instantly, he had the inspiration and wisdom of the ages, and the first thing occurring to him was that Ceridwen would be enraged. Gwion ran away from the house, but he very soon heard her in pursuit. Using his new magical knowledge, he turned himself into a hare. Ceridwen turned herself into a greyhound and gained on him. When he came to a river, he turned into a fish, and she an otter. He leapt from the river, and in midair became a bird. She turned into a hawk. In desperation, he looked down and saw a pile of wheat. He dived, and as the wheat scattered, he turned into a single grain. Ceridwen landed and became a hen, pecking at the grain until she had swallowed Gwion.

Soon after eating the grain of wheat, she found herself with child, though she hadn’t lain with her husband. When the child was born, Avagdu wanted to kill it in revenge for not being allowed to become a bard. Ceridwen would not allow it, as the child was the most beautiful she had ever laid eyes on. She put the baby into a tiny coracle, covered it, and set it adrift on the sea.

Elphin, a man who had been deemed the unluckiest alive, had taken two of his father’s men out to fish on the weir that was on his father’s land, which was said to always have a huge catch of salmon in it on May Eve. He pulled net after net, but he couldn’t catch any of the fish. His father’s men grew angry, accusing him of turning the luck of the weir. Elphin refused to give up, though. Just as they were finally about to leave, he saw something caught on a pole. Wading out, he retrieved it while the other two men swore about more bad luck. Elphin carefully slit open the top, declaring that there may be treasure inside. To his surprise, he found Ceridwen’s infant son, so white and beautiful that he seemed to shine. He named the child Taliesin ('white brow' in Welsh) and rejoiced that his luck had turned for the better. He gave Taliesin to his wife, who loved the baby very much. Some legends say that Taliesin eventually went to the court of Arthur, where he was chief harpist and adviser to the king.


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Athena (also: Athene, Pallas Athene, Parthenos, Minerva (Roman)) [13 Sep 2004|06:59am]

chianagirl
Athena is a Greek goddess of wisdom, practical reason, skill, war, weaving, and other arts. Her companion is Nike, goddess of victory, and the owl is usually associated with her. As a war goddess, Athena could not be dominated by other goddesses, and as a palace goddess, she could not be violated.

Her father is Zeus, and her mother Metis, a previous goddess of wisdom. When Zeus found that Metis was pregnant, he swallowed her in fear that she would bear a son who would be stronger than he. She began to make a robe and helmet for her daughter, causing Zeus agony with her hammering of the metal. Hephaestus ran to his father and split his head open with an axe in an attempt to relieve the pain. From Zeus’ open skull, Athena emerged, fully grown and wearing the clothing her mother had created. Athena became his favourite child and advisor, entrusted with the aegis and the location of his thunderbolts.

She was thought to have had neither sexual consort nor offspring. She did have a foster son, though. Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, and was unsuccessful. His seed fell to the earth, from which Erichthonius grew. Gaia did not like the situation, and did not want the child. She put the child in a basket and gave it to Herse, Pandrosus, and Aglaulus (sisters and Athenian priestesses), demanding that they never open it. Herse and Aglaulus went against her wishes, opened the basket, went mad at the sight, and threw themselves off the Acropolis. A crow saw this and flew to tell Athena, who had gone to bring a mountain for use in the Acropolis. In a rage, she dropped the mountain, which is now called Mount Lykabettos. Athena took the child to raise and educated him well. He eventually became the King of Athens.

A woman named Arachne once inadvertently challenged Athena to a weaving contest while bragging to other women. At the end of the contest, Athena deemed Arachne as skilled as herself. Then she saw the subject of the mortal’s tapestry- the failings of the gods. She ripped the work to pieces, then touched the woman’s forehead, making her feel shame. Arachne hung herself. Athena took pity on her and sprinkled her with the juices of aconite, causing her ears, nose, and hair to fall off, her form to shrink up, and her fingers to cleave to her sides as legs; thus creating the first spider.

In another legend, Athena and Poseidon were both enamoured of a city in Greece. Both claimed the city, and it was decided that it would be given to whoever could give it finest gift. Among a crowd of the citizens, the goddess and god mounted the Acropolis. Poseidon raised his trident and struck the side of the cliff, where a spring welled up. The people marvelled at this, but the water turned out as salty as the sea, so it was not very useful. Athena stamped her foot on the ground and an olive tree sprang forth, giving the people food, oil, and wood. They awarded the city to her, and she named it Athens.


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(1) leap into the fallen leaves

[23 Aug 2004|06:25am]

chianagirl
Since the fall semester begins this week, I'm going to skip a few Mondays of goddess entries, just until things get in full swing class-wise again. Three Mondays, at most.

The list of goddess entry requests has gone down to three, so if you have any more requests, now is the time to post them. If you don't know whether or not an entry has been made for your goddess/es yet, please check the past entries archive here.
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Tara [16 Aug 2004|06:00am]

chianagirl
Tara originated as a Hindu goddess, a Mother Creatrix, representing the eternal force that fuels all life. She is considered the mother of all Buddhas, past, present, and future. In Sanskrit, her name means ‘star’. Adopted by Buddhism, she became one of the most widely revered deities. In Buddhist tradition, she is actually much greater than a goddess- she is a female Buddha, an enlightened one who has attained the highest wisdom, capabilities, and compassion, one who is able to take human form and remain in oneness with every living thing. In legend, she was born of a lotus blossom that had grown in the lake that had formed from Avalokitesvara’s tears, which had fallen when he first beheld the suffering in the world. Because of her goodness, she was granted the right to assume her human form as a male, but Tara vowed to always incarnate as a woman.

She is usually represented as a beautiful, light-skinned, elegant woman. Many symbols of her allude to her all-seeing attribute, showing eyes painted on her forehead, palms, and feet, implying that all her acts are performed with awareness and wisdom. She often holds a lotus flower, symbolising her miraculous birth. In her role as saviouress, she is shown with one hand facing out to offer peace, longevity, and good wishes.

There are many embodiments of Tara, though the best known are the White Tara and the Green Tara. The peaceful and compassionate White Tara protects, bringing long life and peace. The more dynamic Green Tara is ‘Mother Earth’- a fierce goddess who overcomes obstacles and saves us from spiritual and physical danger. Refugees fleeing the horrors of the occupation of Tibet by Chinese armies told many stories of the Green Tara protecting them during their torture and guiding them to freedom.

A version of Tara exists in nearly every culture. It is said that she will assume as many forms on Earth as people have need for. The Celts called their Great Goddess Tara. Her name is thought to the root of the word ‘Tor’, which is a mound of earth imbued with spiritual energy or connection to other worlds. In South America, she was known as the ancient mother goddess Tarahumara. The Cheyenne people revered a Star Woman who fell from the heavens, and whose body became the earth that provided them with food. The ancient Egyptian goddess Ishtar, who in her myths came to earth from the heavens and instructed her people to intermarry with humans so that they would share their learning and wisdom, seems to be yet another incarnation of the goddess Tara.

In Buddhist Tibet, there are twenty-one forms of Tara: Click to view list.Collapse )


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Themis (also: Justicia, Iustitia, Lady Justice) [09 Aug 2004|06:19am]

chianagirl
Themis is a Titanid goddess of custom, assemblies, and right order, also presiding over the feasts of the gods on Olympia. She was one of Zeus’ most trusted advisors, sitting by his side and whispering her prophetic words of wisdom to him. She is one of the daughters of Gaia and Uranus, also the mother or the Horae (Thallo, Auxo and Carpo- Greek goddesses of the three seasons) and the Moirae (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos- goddesses who controlled the destiny of everyone from the time they were born to the time they died), all of whom were fathered by Zeus. She has oracular powers, and it is said that she built the oracle at Delphi.

She is often depicted as a stern looking woman, blindfolded and holding a pair of scales. Justicia, her Roman counterpart, was portrayed blindfolded, with balanced scales and holding a sword, or sometimes shown holding the fasces (a bundle of rods around an axe- symbolising judicial authority) in one hand and a flame (symbolising truth) in the other. Classical representations of Themis did not show her blindfolded- as she had the gift of prophecy, there was no need for her to be blinded. Nor did she hold a sword, because she represented consent, not coercion. In modern times, she is often referred to as Lady Justice.


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Mielikki (pronounced: MY-ay-likki) [02 Aug 2004|06:00am]

chianagirl
Mielikki is the Finnish goddess of the hunt and the faerie folk, protectress of all that lives and walks within the forests. She guards the forests from harmful intruders and metes out game as she sees fit. Hunters prayed to her before their hunt, asking for her blessings to find their prey. She rules over Metsänhaltija (the Thousand Daughters of Creation- the wood spirits of Finnish legend), and the shadows of the otherworld radiate in her eyes. She is the mother of Nyyrikki and Tuulikki, the god of cattle and the goddess of the woods, respectively.

In one legend, Mielikki sat down under a tree near a stream, letting the babbling water ease her mind. She felt the need for something new. She couldn’t decide what to do, so she pulled out her sewing pouch and found a thick length of brown wool. Her beloved, Tapio, needed a new cap. Every year, she made him a cloak of velvet moss, then knitted him a brown cap to go with it. As she played with the wool, twisting it in her hands, she had a vision. She saw a new animal, and decided to create it from the wool. The animal was huge and furry, both fierce and lovable. Excited, she stretched the wool and examined it. She began working immediately, as the vision was so powerful that she could think of nothing else.

The animal would be large, for Mielikki loved the large animals. Its coat would be dense, so that it could withstand the icy winters blanketing the forest with snow. She stopped while creating its stomach, deciding that this creature would be omnivorous, so it wouldn’t starve if a lack of game came upon the land, or if a drought choked off the vegetation. She gave it a strong sense of smell, so strong in fact that there was not enough creation energy left to give it good eyesight as well. The animal’s eyes became weak, but with its ability to sniff out food, this handicap seemed very small. She decided that it would hibernate during winters, as too many animals died during the harsh storms when they could not find food, and this new creature had already touched Mielikki’s heart in such a way that she wanted very much for it to live. While she wove the ears, a drop of honey fell from the tree above her, landing on the animal’s snout. With a cry of laughter, she smeared some of the honey on its lips, declaring that it would share her love of the food. At last, Mielikki came to the teeth and claws. She couldn’t create these herself, because only Ukko-Jumala, the Ancient Father Who Rules the Heavens, could give a creature such potentially dangerous weapons.

Mielikki took her creation with her and travelled on the north wind, going to the high peaks where Ukko-Jumala lived. There, she knelt before him and presenting her new animal. He circled the creature, peered into its eyes, and stroked the soft fur covering the huge beast. He played with its ears and tickled the fat belly that would help it survive through the long winters. Finally, he turned to the goddess and praised her work highly, agreeing to give the animal claws to climb trees and catch fish, and teeth with which to grind its food- but only on the condition that it promise to never use these gifts for evil. Mielikki bowed her head and agreed to this, telling him that she would destroy the creature if it would not promise these things, even as a tremor ran through her heart. She already loved the animal, and to have to destroy it would hurt her deeply.

Ukko-Jumala bent near the animal and took its paw, asking if it pledges to never use its fangs or claws for the sake of evil, and if it would abide under Mielikki’s rule. The creature squinted at them, so that it could see them. When it spoke, its voice was gruff but clear, and all of the goddess’s fear left her. He promised what they asked of him. Ukko-Jumala took a sliver of Mielikki’s fingernail, and from it he fashioned the animal’s claws and teeth. When he finished, he asked her what she would name the creature.

The goddess thought for a while before declaring him her darling ‘Otso’, and that he would wander freely to eat honey, fish, and berries. She took Otso home and introduced him to the forest. After she had created a mate for him, she left them alone to multiply and thrive. In time, she introduced the bears to Suomi, where they grew in numbers and spread to other lands.


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Skadi (also Skaoi) [26 Jul 2004|06:02am]

chianagirl
Skadi is a Norse goddess and giantess, also the embodiment of winter who dwells high in Scandinavia’s snow-covered mountains. She is a huntress and dark magician, ruling particularly over damage, independence, justice, knowledge, mountains, revenge, and wilderness. It’s said that she gave hunters the gift of the bow, as well as the skill to use it. Sacred to her are the scythe, wolves, and venomous snakes.

In one legend, Skadi’s father, the giant Thiazi, kidnapped the goddess of youth. He was killed by the Aesir (the collective name for the the principal race of Norse gods) when came to rescue her. When she found that her father had been slain, she wanted revenge and went after the Aesir at Asgard. Even alone, she was more than a match for them, and the gods decided that it was wiser to reconciliate, offering her marriage as appeasement. She was free to marry any god. However, none wanted her. Odin declared that she must choose a husband anyway, but was only allowed to make her choice by looking at their feet. Skadi was secretly in love with the most handsome of all the gods- Baldur. Thinking that he would have the most beautiful feet, she chose a very elegant pair, convinced that they belonged to the fair Baldur. Unfortunately for Skadi, these were the feet of the older Njord, the homely god of the sea. Their marriage was not a happy one. She desired to live where her father had lived- in Thrymheim, in the mountains. Njord, however, wanted to live in Noatun, his seaside palace. They agreed to spend the first nine days in the mountains, and the following hine days by the sea. Their arrangement didn’t work out very well, and they parted ways.

After the separation, Skadi had several sons with Odin. She also had close ties with the trickster god, Loki. As part of her agreement with the Aesir, they promised to make her laugh, as she had not laughed since her father’s death. They charged Loki with this task. In an effort to amuse her, Loki tied one end of a rope to the beard of a goat, and the other end to his own testicles. As the goat attempted to escape this predicament, both he and Loki shrieked in pain, making Skadi laugh. The still bleeding Loki fell onto Skadi’s lap, his blood fertilised her. She eventually paired with Ull, the god of justice and agriculture.

When Loki aided in the murder of Baldur, Skadi was sent to punish him. Thor bound Loki to a rock, and Skadi placed a poisonous snake on his head. The snake’s venom dripped onto Loki’s face, forever torturing and burning him.

In the more negative legends of Skadi, she was called Mornir- the troll woman. She castrated and collected the penises of heroes. It is said that offerings of the blood of men were made to Skadi, symbolising the blood of Loki that had fertilised her. Priestesses of Skadi were also said to have bathed in blood, in preparation for rituals.


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Pele [19 Jul 2004|02:19pm]

chianagirl
Pele, the Hawai’ian volcano fire goddess, also controls lightning. She is tempestuous, jealous, vindictive, and volatile- yet she can also be gentle, loving, and as serene as her forests of fern and flowering trees. Pele appears in many forms, including a young child, a ravishing young maiden, and a crone.

Even in present-day, Hawai’ians report seeing Pele in her crone guise asking for a cigarette, then lighting it with a snap of her fingers before vanishing. Others see her as a red-clothed woman dancing on volcano rims, though it’s uncertain as to whether this is an incarnation of her, or one of her worshippers. Of all the world’s goddesses, Pele is one of few who still thrives in the beliefs of her people- not as a metaphor, but as a metaphysical reality, to whom offerings are still made when volcanoes threaten Hawai’ian towns.

She was born of the Earth goddess Haumea and spent her childhood watching fires and learning how to make them. Her experiments greatly displeased her sister, Na-maka-o-kaha’i, goddess of the sea. Their mother, seeing that Na-maka-o-kaha’i was mistreating her sister, suggested to Pele that she find a home of her own. Pele set out in a canoe, taking several of her siblings with her. Furious with the damage her sister had caused, Na-maka-o-kaha’i pursued Pele from Tahiti to Hawai’i. Pele first landed on Kaua’i, but every time she tried to use her digging stick to dig a pit for her home, the sea goddess would flood the pits. The pits she dug can still be seen as immense craters on the islands. Pele moved down the chain of islands in their order, eventually making her home on Kilauea. Even Na-maka-o-kaha’i was unable to send waves high enough then, to drown Pele’s fires, so she made her home on its slopes and welcomed her brothers there. A cliff on Kilauea is sacred to her eldest brother, Ka-moho-ali’i, ruler of sharks and keeper of the gourd holding the water of life, which gave him the power to restore the dead. Out of respect for her brother, Pele never allows her clouds of volcanic steam to touch his cliff. Of all her siblings, Pele’s favourite was her youngest sister, Hi’iaka. Hi’iaka hatched from an egg that Pele kept warm during her initial canoe ride to Hawai’i.

Pele sometimes slept in her crater and sent her spirit wandering over the islands. One night as her spirit wandered, she heard the sweet melodies of flutes and followed it until she came upon a group of sacred hula dancers. Among them was the handsome chief, Lohi’au. Pele fell in love immediately. She manifested herself as a young maiden and seduced him. She and Lohi’au spent three days making love for several days before her spirit had to return to her slumbering body on the Big Island. Before she left, she promised to send for him. When she awoke, she sent Hi’iaka to bring Lohi’au to her. The sisters made vows to each other- Hi’iaka promised to not encourage Lohi’au if he became attracted to her, and Pele promised to keep her fires and lava from burning a grove of flowering trees where Hi’iaka danced with her friend Hopoe, the goddess of poetry. When Hi’iaka found Lohi’au, she discovered that he had died of heartbreak after Pele disappeared. She was able to catch his spirit and push it back into his body to bring him back to life. They began their journey to the Kilauea. On their way back, a sorceress challenged Hi’iaka for possession of the man, but she refused. Lohi’au told her that he loved her even more than he loved Pele, but still Hi’iaka kept her promise to her sister. Pele’s suspicious nature had gotten the best of her. Forty days had passed since she’d sent her sister to retrieve Lohi’au, and she came to the conclusion that she had been betrayed. She flooded Hi’iaka’s flowering grove with lava, killing Hopoe as well. When Hi’iaka saw the smouldering trees and her friend entombed in lava, she flung herself into Lohi’au’s arms, making love to him on the rim of Pele’s volcano. In further vengeance, Pele set another stream of lava upon them, killing Lohi’au. Hi’iaka, being immortal, was not destroyed. Hi’iaka, not about to be defeated by her sister’s fury, descended to the underworld to free Lohi’au’s soul. When she had revived him once more, they returned to Kaua’i to live. Meanwhile, Pele had found another lover- the aggressive god of agriculture, Kamapua’a. His idea of seducing Pele included attempting to douse her flames with torrential rains and having his boars dig through her hardened lava. Their turbulent courtship continues still.


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Lilith (also Baalat, Lillake, Lilitu) [12 Jul 2004|06:06am]

chianagirl
Lilith is a goddess of desolation. She is the embodiment of loneliness, emptiness, and the wildness of nature. She often appears as a tall and intensely beautiful woman with long black or red hair, often seen completely naked or with only a few adornments. Sometimes, she is shown winged, with the feet of an owl or lower body of a snake. She demands no sort of sacrifice, and expects no worship. In return, she is unpredictable with her attentions, though she deems any act or sacrifice that disturbs her from her vacant state worth her notice, and often receives it. The concepts of good and evil mean nothing to her.

She has been noted from earlier than 2000 BC. Lilith was a Sumerian, Hebrew, and pre-Islam goddess, and referred to as the 'Hand of Inanna' in ancient times. As a Sumerian goddess, she held the rods and rings of Sumerian royal authority, wore a stepped crown, and was guarded by the bird of wisdom (the owl) and the king of beasts (the lion).

In Judeo-Christian tradition, she was the original wife of Adam. She was offended when he attempted to have her lie beneath him during sexual intercourse, and would not meet his request. She demanded equality with Adam, because they were created together in the image of Elohim. When equality was refused her, she left in anger and made her home in caves on the shores of the Red Sea, taking demons as lovers. Adam complained to Elohim, who sent three angels, Sanvi, Sansanvi, and Semangelaf, to bring her back to Eden. The angels ordered her to return, threatening that they would kill one hundred of her children every day that she did not go back. Exclaiming that even this was better than returning to submission, she refused. The angels carried out their threat, and Lilith swore her revenge- that all infants would be in danger of her (different versions are that she kills or steals them), and she would steal the seed of men to produce more demon children. Elohim created a second wife for Adam- the docile Eve. She is sometimes shown as the serpent who tempted Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge.

Lilith is mentioned in the Bible, in Isaiah. It is the only remaining reference to her in the Bible. Lilith is the 'screech owl' that is spoken of - the word translated from Hebrew is 'liyliyth'.

Isaiah 34:14 - "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest."


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Amaterasu (also Amaterasu Omikami) [05 Jul 2004|06:04am]

chianagirl
Amaterasu is a Japanese sun goddess. She is the supreme deity of the Shinto religion, and ruler of all the kami (the gods). She is also honoured as the guardian of Japan’s people and the symbol of Japanese cultural unity. Her symbol, the rising sun, still flies on Japan’s flag. Amaterasu’s sacred site is the Grand Shrine of Ise. Her simple shrines are notable for their architectural purity, unpretentiousness, and the central mirror representing the goddess.

There is one central myth surrounding her. Amaterasu did not trust her brother, the storm god Susano-o, because of his excesses and constant shouting. He came to heaven to see her one day, claiming that he meant her no harm. She was suspicious, but he promised that he would undergo a ritual test to prove his good will. He said that he would give birth, and if his intentions were peaceful, the children would all be male. Amaterasu took Susano-o’s sword and broke it with her teeth, then spit out three pieces. These pieces struck the ground and became goddesses. Susano-o asked her for some of her jewels. She gave him five jewels, which he cracked open and made into gods. He grew wild with excitement at his feat of creation and tore through the world, destroying everything in his path. He even piled feces under Amaterasu’s throne. He crept into her quarters and threw a flayed horse’s corpse through the roof over her weaving room, startling one of the goddess’ companions so badly that she pricked herself and died.

This madness proved too much for the sun goddess. She left the world and shut herself up in a cave. Without her light and warmth, the entire world was plunged into unending darkness. The gods of rice and all living things began to wither and die. The eight million goddesses and gods, desperate for Amaterasu’s light, gathered together to call out pleas for her return. But the goddess remained unmoved in her cave. Uzume, the voluptuous young goddess of merriment, finally took matters into her own hands. She overturned a washtub, stepped on top and began stamping out a rhythm. She began to dance, sing, and scream out bawdy remarks, eventually exposing her breasts and lifting her skirts. Uzume was dancing so wildly and obscenely that the eight million deities began to shout with delight. Inside the cave, Amaterasu heard this noise. She called out to ask what was going on. Someone paused to answer that they had found a better goddess than the sun.

Curious and annoyed by the commotion, Amaterasu cracked open the door of her cave to peek out. Behind Uzume, there was hidden a mirror. When Amaterasu looked out of the cave, the dancing goddess moved aside, and the sun goddess was staring directing into the great mirror. Never having seen her own beauty before, she was dazzled and delighted. She was surprised at the bright face she saw. Tajikara-o ('He of Powerful Arms') rolled away the stone door. Amaterasu returned to her throne in heaven, to warm the winter-weary Earth. She punished Susano-o by having his fingernails and toenails pulled out, and threw him out of her heaven. All the kami rejoiced in her warmth and light as life stirred and the world turned green once again.


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Bastet (also Bast, Pasht) [28 Jun 2004|06:10am]

chianagirl
Bastet is the Egyptian cat-headed goddess. She was admired for her agility and strength. She was strictly a solar goddess until the arrival of Greek influence on Egypt, when she became a lunar goddess, as the Greeks associated her with Artemis. She is depicted most commonly as a woman with the head of a domesticated or wild cat or lion, or as a cat itself. She was originally portrayed as either a lioness or a wild desert cat, and was only associated with domesticated felines as late as 1000 BC. She was also sometimes shown holding a sistrum. It was common for her to be paired with Sekhmet (the lion-headed goddess of Memphis), Wadjet, and Hathor. She is also the goddess of fire and cats, and ruled over pleasure, dancing, music and joy. She was also called 'Lady of the East' (Sekhmet was 'Lady of the West'). Bastet was the daughter and wife of Ra, and mother of Khensu and Maahes. She was also one of the 'Eyes of Ra'- the title of avenger gods who were sent out to lay waste to enemies of Egypt and her gods. She has two sides to her personality- docile and aggressive. Her gentle, docile side is displayed in her role as protector of the home and pregnant women. Her vicious, aggressive nature was exposed in accounts of the battles in which the Pharaoh slaughtered the enemy as Bastet slaughtered her victims.

This goddess originated in the Nile Delta, but by 930 BC, she was acknowledged by all Egyptians. She dates from the 2nd Dynasty (around 2890-2686 BC). The cult of Bastet was located in Bubastis (also called Per-Bast, Pa-Bast, Pibeseth, or Tell-Basta), in the eastern Delta, from at least the 4th Dynasty. Bubastis was the capital of Egypt for a dynasty, said to possess the land's greatest temple, and a few kings took her name into their royal titles. Excavations of the city have yielded many discoveries, including a cemetery with mummified holy cats. In her temple, there were kept sacred cats who were thought to be incarnations of the goddess. When they died, they were carefully mummified.

Bastet's chief festivals were celebrated in April and May. Great celebrations were held, and flower-laden barges of worshippers- hundreds of thousands of them- were greeted by flute melodies as they disembarked for a worship service and vast trade fair. Her followers believed that in return for this enormous and orgiastic celebration, Bastet bestowed both mental and physical well being.


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Requests Post [22 Jun 2004|05:11am]

chianagirl
[ mood | okay ]

This post is specifically for users to comment on with requests for goddesses they wish to see posts about. Before making a request, please check the archives here thoroughly to make sure there hasn't been information posted on her before.

All requested goddesses will be gotten to, as I have a list and go down it in the order I recieve them (keep in mind, though, that not all people request in the same place- looking back at the comments here isn't a very reliable way to know which will come next).

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Cybele [14 Jun 2004|06:01am]

chianagirl
(also Kybele, Magna Mater, Great Mother, Mater Deum Magna Idaea (Great Idaean Mother of the Gods)

Cybele is a Greek goddess of nature, fertility, and wild beasts. She was originally a Phrygian goddess of the Earth in its primitive state, and worshipped on mountaintops. She was known throughout Greece from the 6th to 4th century, and was introduced to Rome in 205 BC. She was both a Crone and Mother goddess. According to some legends, she was both the grandmother and lover of Attis, god of growth and fertility. Her festival came first on the Roman calendar, and she was worshipped in wild, emotional, orgiastic, cathartic ceremonies. The cult of Cybele was directed by eunuch priests called Corybantes. They led the faithful in her rites, accompanied by wild cries and the frenzied music of flutes, drums, and cymbals.

Cybele also presided over mountains and fortresses- because of this, her crown is in the form of a city wall. She is often pictured with lions, or a lion and lioness, on either side of her. A figurine found at Çatal Hüyük, dating around 4000 BC, depicts the Mother Goddess squatting in the process of birthing while flanked by two leopards. In later centuries, the leopards would be changed to lions (the metamorphosed Atalanta and Hippomenes).

In one version of the legend of Cybele and Attis, Zeus desired Cybele and made advances toward her. She rejected them. One night, he approached her while she slept and masturbated at her feet. As a result, she gave birth to Agdistis, who was androgynous and immensely strong. Because Agdistis was uncontrollable, Dionysus somehow tricked him into emasculating himself. A great river of blood poured forth from the wound and was absorbed into the Earth, causing all manners of flowers to spring up from the ground. Nana, seeing the flowers and how beautiful they were, plucked one and placed it in her bosom. Cybele changed this flower into a seed, from which Nana became pregnant. Nana’s father, accusing her of being promiscuous, locked her away without food or water, attempting to starve her to death, but Cybele gave her food and drink.

Upon the birth of the child, Nana’s father ordered it taken to the river and left to die. However, a shepherd found the child and took him home, naming him Attis. Attis grew into a remarkable beautiful young man. Cybele, observing that this man was more beautiful than any of the gods, loved Attis above all others and showered him with gifts and favours. Attis returned her love. Agdistis also loved Attis, and seduced him. Midas, the king of Phrygia, arranged for Attis to marry his own daughter. Cybele and Agdistis disrupted the ceremony, though. Cybele told Attis of the agony he caused her when he left with Agdistis. When Attis heard of Cybele’s suffering, he took a knife and emasculated himself beneath a pine tree. As he lay dying, he called out to Cybele and begged for her forgiveness, professing his anguish at causing her grief, and vowing to never hurt her again. Violets sprang up from drops of his blood, weaving themselves into the boughs of the tree, and the spirit of Attis entered into it.

When Cybele heard her grandson’s repentance, and saw that he was emasculated and dead, she carried the pine tree with all its flowers to her cave. For three days, Attis was dead, living in the Underworld. On the third day, Cybele brought him back to life. She provided Attis with her most glorious clothing and proclaimed the reborn one to be her granddaughter and lover, bestowing upon Attis gifts of mystery equal to her own. Cybele declared, “Rejoice, my son is gone and in his place my daughter has arisen. All beauty, strength, power, compassion, honour, mirth, and reverence is at her service. Let all who would do her harm pay grievous penalty, and all who do her tribute accrue fitting reward.”


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Iris (by request) [07 Jun 2004|06:01am]

chianagirl
Iris is a Greek goddess, and the personification of the rainbow. She is the daughter of the Oceanid Electra and the Titan Thaumas, and sister to the Harpies. She is considered a messenger of the gods to humans- particularly of the goddess Hera, whose orders she delivered to mankind. She travelled from one end of the Earth to the other with the speed of the wind, or to the depths of the ocean, or to the chasms of the underworld. Iris is portrayed as a beautiful maiden with wings, often with a herald’s staff and water pitcher. She wears a crown of light upon her head, and encircled by a rainbow of brilliant colours and shapes that embrace the creatures of Earth, connecting it to the heavens. She is also sometimes shown with winged shoes, and holding a caduceus.

Other versions of her mode of transportation suggest that she rode the rainbow to and from Olympus. Iris also separated the soul from the body after death. It is said that, since the soul exists through the eyes, the coloured part of the eye was named for this goddess.


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