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Goddesses (Love & Fertility)



"I am the sovereign queen, the treasury of all treasures, whose breathing forth gives birth to all the worlds and yet extends beyond them—so vast am I in greatness." Devi Sukta (Praise Hymn of the Goddess) from the Rg Veda


The divine feminine has a thousand names and a thousand moods, but when she chooses to show up for you, she very often shows up as ecstasy. Ecstasy is a feeling that is hard to convey and impossible to ignore.


Connecting to the Archetypes and their stories

There is a form of myth that is subversive. The stores of the Goddesses speak for a hidden voice within every woman: the voice of primal feminine energy & divinity. Such powerful archetypes and stories interact with the psyche and connect us to the deep structures of the universe.


The Separation from the divine feminine...why we must reconnect

  • Separation at birth

  • Mothering Trauma

  • Patriarchal Religion

  • Sexual Objectification

  • Sexual Shaming

  • Puritant view of female sexuality


The Goddess of Everything

Tantra has long taught that a subtle vibratory energy is the substratum of everything we know. Yogic seers experienced this energy not simply as an abstract vibration but as the expression of the divine feminine power, called Shakti. The word shakti means “power.” Shakti, the innate power in reality, has five “faces.” It manifests as the power to be conscious, the power to feel ecstasy, the power of will or desire, the power to know, and the power to act. Shakti is the formless source of everything. She is understood to take form as gods and goddesses, personifications of the different energies that make up the multiple dimensions of existence and of our own consciousness.


Scared Feminism

As we strive to embody and connect with these goddesses, we practice a form of sacred feminism—not political feminism, but feminism of the soul. Within this understanding we strive to answer the question, “ what is true feminine power?”. It takes us beyond the association of femininity with gender, and it shows us that the very life-force of the universe is the feminine face of spirit. To be a sacred feminist is to be a lover of the feminine face of God as she appears in the world, in culture, and also in our own psyche and soul—while also recognizing that the feminine can never be separated from her masculine counterpart. The Tantric traditions of India and Tibet, especially, understood the divine feminine as the force within life that can act creatively or destructively with equal facility. The sacred feminine can be nurturing but also appropriately ruthless, chaotic, and orderly. Goddess powers endlessly weave the strands of our personal and planetary destiny through space and time, and into the timeless and spaceless. Sacred feminism sees and loves the world as a sacred dance. Sacred feminism wants to embrace everything that is beautiful in the feminine, as well as everything that is terrifying. It wants you, whether you’re a man or a woman, to learn to see and embody all these qualities in yourself.


Feminine as Power

Goddess traditions offer a uniquely insightful window on the dynamic aspect of the divine feminine. To recognize power as feminine is game-changing. In the West, we are used to regarding the feminine as essentially receptive, even passive. The Tantric sages took the opposite view. Looking deeply into the energies at play in the world, they intuited the feminine as pure creative Eros, the life-force behind all evolution and all change, whether physical or psychological. In fact—and this is a big insight—the Tantric traditions tell us that all power comes from an essentially feminine inner source. The masculine in its purest, most essential form is the source of consciousness, of awareness. So when the masculine wants power, it must draw it from the feminine, just as when the feminine wants to be conscious, to reflect, she must draw that capacity from her inner masculine source. The goddesses represent aspects of our fundamental life-energy that we need to get to know. In other words, they aren’t just related to their native culture or women in that particular society. Their energies are at play in every one of us, men as well as women, and also in cultures, in politics, and in the natural world. When we engage with the personal aspects of these energies—with their mythic, symbolic forms—we activate hidden powers in our own psyche. Then, these powers transform us. Some of these goddesses are warriors. Others are lovers. Some have maternal energy, others are dedicated to opening you to mystical realms. Each one 11 a crown of feminine design of them can be a guide into the deepest realms of the soul and a teacher of the skills of living as an empowered feminine lover of life.






Goddesses of Fertility & Love


Africa

(Egyptian) Bastet or Bast was an Egyptian lioness/cat goddess (2890 BCE) who protected mothers and their newborn children. A woman suffering from infertility might make an offering to Bast in hopes that this would help her conceive. In later years, Bastet became strongly connected with Sekhmet and eventually Bastet and Sekhmet were characterized as two aspects of the same goddess. Sekhmet representing the powerful lioness and protector aspect and Bastet, who increasingly was depicted as a cat, representing a gentler aspect.


Legend: In this story young Prince Setna steals a book from a tomb, even after the inhabitants of the tomb beg him not to. Shortly afterwards he is in Memphis, near the Temple of Ptah, when he sees a beautiful woman accompanied by her servants and lusts after her. He asks about her and learns her name is Taboubu, daughter of a priest of Bastet. He has never seen any woman more beautiful in his life and sends her a note asking her to come to his bed for ten gold pieces but she returns a counter-offer telling him to meet her at the Temple of Bastet in Saqqara where she lives and he will then have all he desires.

Setna travels to her villa where he is eager to get to the business at hand but Taboubu has some stipulations. First, she tells him, he must sign over all his property and possessions to her. He is so consumed with lust that he agrees to this and moves to embrace her. She holds him off, however, and tells him that his children must be sent for and must also sign the documents agreeing to this so that there will be no problems with the legal transference. Setna agrees to this also and sends for his children. While they are signing the papers Taboubu disappears into another room and returns wearing a linen dress so sheer that he can see "every part of her body through it" and his desire for her grows almost uncontrollable. With the documents signed he again moves toward her but, no, she has a third demand: his children must be killed so that they will not try to renege on the agreement and embroil her in a long, drawn-out court battle.

Setna instantly agrees to this; his children are murdered and their bodies thrown into the street. Setna then pulls off his clothes, takes Taboubu, and leads her quickly to the bedroom. As he is embracing her she suddenly screams and vanishes - as does the room and villa around them - and Setna is standing naked in the street with his penis thrust into a clay pot.

The pharaoh comes by at this time and Prince Setna is completely humiliated. Pharaoh informs him that his children still live and that everything he has experienced has been an illusion. Setna then understands he has been punished for his transgression in the tomb and quickly returns the book. He further makes restitution to the inhabitants of the tomb by traveling to another city and retrieving mummies buried there who were part of the tomb inhabitant's family so they can all be reunited in one place.

Taboubu is a "manifestation of Bastet herself, playing her traditional role of punisher of humans who have offended the gods". In this story, Bastet takes on the form of a beautiful woman to punish a wrong-doer who had violated a tomb but the story would also have been cautionary to men who viewed women only as sexual objects in that they could never know whether they were actually in the presence of a goddess and what might happen should they offend her.




Nigeria, Benin, Togo

(Ifa/Yoruba) Oshun- is the deity of the river and fresh water (sweet waters), luxury and pleasure, sexuality and fertility, and beauty and love. She is connected to destiny and divination. Her color is yellow, her number is 5 and her day of the week is Friday. She is shown with honey pot around her waist as a sign of sensuality.


Legend: Oshun has also been described as the maintainer of spiritual balance or mother of sweet things. One myth highlights Oshun as the central figure in the creation of human beings. The Yoruba people believe that the orishas were sent by Olodumare, who is considered the Supreme God, to populate the Earth.

Oshun, being one of the original 17 sent to Earth, was the only female deity. The other gods, all male, failed at their attempts to revive and populate the Earth. When they realized they were unable to complete the task given to them by Olodumare, they tried to persuade Oshun to help them. Oshun agreed and brought forth her sweet and powerful waters, bringing life back to Earth and humanity and other species into existence. As that Yoruba myth suggests, humanity would not exist if Oshun, the goddess of life and fertility, had not acted.

Other myths hold that Oshun is one of the wives of Shango, the god of thunder. She is commonly described as the favourite of all orishas by Olodumare, because of her beauty and sensuality. In yet another Yoruba story, Oshun is depicted as the goddess who not only gives life but also takes it. When angered, Oshun may flood Earth or destroy crops by withholding her waters, thereby causing massive droughts. In one myth, Oshun is incensed by her devotees and sends down rain, nearly flooding the world. Yet once she has been appeased, Oshun saves Earth from destruction by calling back the waters.




Middle East

(Sumeria) Inanna- the ancient goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, procreation, and also of war. She later became identified by the Akkadians and Assyrians as the goddess Ishtar, and further with the Hittite Sauska, the Phoenician Astarte and the Greek Aphrodite, among many others. She is often shown in the company of a lion, denoting courage, and sometimes even riding the lion as a sign of her supremacy over the 'king of beasts'.


Legend: In the famous Sumerian/Babylonian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2700 - 1400 BCE) Inanna appears as Ishtar and, in Phoenician mythology, as Astarte. In the Greek myth The Judgment of Paris, but also in other tales of the ancient Greeks, the goddess Aphrodite is traditionally associated with Inanna through her great beauty and sensuality. Inanna is always depicted as a young woman, never as mother or faithful wife, who is fully aware of her feminine power and confronts life boldly without fear of how she will be perceived by others, especially by men.

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, as Ishtar, she is seen as promiscuous, jealous, and spiteful. When she tries to seduce Gilgamesh, he lists her many other lovers who have all met with bad ends at her hands. Enraged at his rejection, she sends the husband of her sister Ereshkigal, Gugulana (the Bull of Heaven) to destroy Gilgamesh's realm. Gugulana is then killed by Enkidu, the best friend and comrade-in-arms of Gilgamesh, for which he is condemned by the gods to die. Enkidu's death is the catalyst for the famous quest Gilgamesh undertakes to discover the meaning of life. Inanna, then, is central to the story of one of the greatest ancient epics.




India/ Asia

(Hindu) Parvati- goddess of fertility, love, beauty, harmony, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Parvati alongside Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati are the group of three known as Tridevi which is the feminine adaptation of Trimurti (triad exemplified by Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma).


Legend: Parvati can embody many forms, each of which is worshipped as an individual goddess in her own right. One of her forms, Durga, is the warrior and protector goddess. She rides astride a ferocious tiger, charging into battle and destroying evil. Her many arms hold weapons like a trident and a discus, as well as the lotus blossom and a conch shell.

Another form, Kali, is the creator and destroyer goddess. Her blood-soaked sword cuts the bonds of ignorance and ego, which are represented by the severed head she holds in one of her many hands. In the stories, she’s called forth when Durga goes into battle and she emerges from the goddess’ head. Though she looks fearsome and full of bloodlust, she is also Mother Nature herself. Kali represents the time before this world existed, when all was blackness. She is often depicted with black or blue skin, black to reflect the time from before and blue for the oceans and sky. Her unbraided mane speaks to freedom from society’s bondage.

Other popular forms Parvati takes include Kamakshi, a love goddess, and Annapurna, the goddess of abundance. And there are many more faces to the goddess, all of which are worshipped and beloved in states across South and Southeast Asia. Iterations of her goddess forms have become part of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and tantric traditions. Parvati is everywhere at once—an omnipresent mother watching over her children.


(Chinese)- Guanyin or Kwun Yum- is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion. She was first given the appellation of "Goddess of Mercy" or the Mercy Goddess by Jesuit missionaries in China. On the 19th day of the 6th lunar month Guan Shi Yin's attainment of Buddhahood is celebrated. She is associated with white robes, carrying a vase of water in the left hand, and a thousand arms.


Legend: One Buddhist legend presents Guan Yin as vowing to never rest until she had freed all sentient beings from samsara, reincarnation. Despite strenuous effort, she realized that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, her head split into eleven pieces. Amitabha Buddha, seeing her plight, gave her eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Guan Yin attempted to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that her two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitabha came to her aid and appointed her a thousand arms with which to aid the many.



Greco-Roman

(Greek) Aphrodite ancient Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty, identified with Venus by the (Romans).


Legend: The Greek word aphros means “foam,” and Hesiod relates in his Theogony that Aphrodite was born from the white foam produced by the severed genitals of Uranus (Heaven), after his son Cronus threw them into the sea. Aphrodite was, in fact, widely worshipped as a goddess of the sea and of seafaring; she was also honored as a goddess of war, especially at Sparta, Thebes, Cyprus, and other places. However, she was known primarily as a goddess of love and fertility and even occasionally presided over marriage.

Like all the Greek Olympic gods, Aphrodite was immortal and very powerful. Her special powers were those of love and desire. She had a belt that had the power to cause others to fall in love with the wearer. Some of the other Greek goddesses, such as Hera, would borrow the belt from time to time. Aphrodite had the ability to cause fighting couples to fall in love again.

Venus - Goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory, fertility, and even prostitution.



Native Indigenous Americas

(Pawnee Nation) Atira- The Corn Mother: Responsible for the fertility of the land and people.


Legend: In the first version (the “immolation version”), the Corn Mother is depicted as an old woman who succors a hungry tribe, frequently adopting an orphan as a foster child. She secretly produces grains of corn by rubbing her body. When her secret is discovered, the people, disgusted by her means of producing the food, accuse her of witchcraft. Before being killed—by some accounts with her consent—she gives careful instructions on how to treat her corpse. Corn sprouts from the places over which her body is dragged or, by other accounts, from her corpse or burial site.

In the second version (the “flight version”), she is depicted as a young, beautiful woman who marries a man whose tribe is suffering from hunger. She secretly produces corn, also, in this version, by means that are considered to be disgusting; she is discovered and insulted by her in-laws. Fleeing the tribe, she returns to her divine home; her husband follows her, and she gives him seed corn and detailed instructions for its cultivation.



(South America, Indes) Pachamama- is a goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother.


Legend: In Incan mythology, Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes. She is also an ever-present and independent deity who has her own creative power to sustain life on this earth. Her shrines are hallowed rocks, or the boles of legendary trees, and artists envision her as an adult female bearing harvests of potatoes and coca leaves.

The four cosmological Quechua principles – Water, Earth, Sun, and Moon – claim Pachamama as their prime origin. Rituals to honor Pachamama take place all year, but are especially abundant in August, right before the sowing season. Because August is the coldest month of the winter in the southern Andes, people feel more vulnerable to illness. August is therefore regarded as a "tricky month." During this time of mischief, Andeans believe that they must be on very good terms with nature to keep themselves and their crops and livestock healthy and protected. In order to do this, families perform cleansing rituals by burning plants, wood, and other items in order to scare evil spirits, who are thought to be more abundant at this time. People also drink mate (a South American hot beverage), which is thought to give good luck.

On the night before August 1, families prepare to honor Pachamama by cooking all night. The host of the gathering then makes a hole in the ground. If the soil comes out nicely, this means that it will be a good year; if not, the year will not be bountiful. Before any of the guests are allowed to eat, the host must first give a plate of food to Pachamama.











Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fertility_deities

https://www.ancient.eu/Inanna/#:~:text=Inanna%20is%20the%20ancient%20Sumerian,Greek%20Aphrodite%2C%20among%20many%20others.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3016496/many-legends-guanyin-or-kwun-yum-goddess-mercy-revered-hong

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Oshun

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Aphrodite-Greek-mythology

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qv7dex/hindu-goddess-parvati-history

https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_greece/aphrodite.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachamama

https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/Guan_Yin.htm#:~:text=Chinese%20Bodhisattva%2F%20Goddess%20of%20Compassion,the%20(human)%20World%22.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Corn-Mother