Thursday, April 28, 2016

Airmid, Celtic Goddess of Healing, Plants and Herbs

Since the Spring season is upon us and the snow is melting away (for some) I wanted to write about a Goddess associated with plants and herbs.  

Just in time for your Spring/Summer gardening! Airmid was a Celtic Goddess of the healing arts especially dealing with herbs and plants. She was the daughter of Dian Cecht who was the God of Medicine and chief physician to the Tuatha de Danann, the Gods of Ireland. Airmid had four brothers Miach, Cian, Cu and Cethe who also followed the path of healing and medicine.

The Tuatha de Danann went to war with the Fir Bolgs when they invaded Ireland. 

The king of the Tuatha de Danann, Nuada, was injured in battle and his arm had been severed. According to the laws it was said that no man could be king whose body was not whole, so Nuada immediately called on his physician, Dian Cecht. The physician brought his daughter Airmid and his son Miach with him since they were both skilled healers.

Dian Cecht had planned to reconstruct a new arm for Nuada made of silver but since Airmid was known for her regenerative skills she was able to create an arm made of human flesh.

Miach was known for his surgical skills and he was able to attach the new arm to Nuadas body so that it looked like he had never lost an arm in the first place. So great was Miachs surgical skills that his father became jealous and in a fit of envious rage he grabbed a sword and cut off Miachs head.

Airmid was beside herself with grief after losing her brother. 

She buried him and made a cairn of stones over his grave. She visited his grave to mourn his loss everyday for a year. Than one day when she went to sit at his grave she came upon 365 different herbs growing on top and all around his burial site. She laid out her cloak to gather all the herbs and as she gently plucked them from the fertile earth they whispered their unique healing properties to her. There was an herb for each joint, organ and bone in the body.

Her father Dian Cecht, still jealous of his sons vast knowledge, found Airmid and overturned her cloak scattering the herbs to the wind so that no one but she would know of the healing herbs secrets. 

Thankfully, Airmid had already committed everything to memory and could regrow all the herbs to continue her and her brothers healing work. Airmid was called upon when men and women were hurt during battle. She was also said to be a healer for the fairies and other magical creatures of the forests and mountains of Ireland. 

Airmid can be called upon today for any healing work you are doing. 

Or any herbal medicine preparations. She can also be called on while you're gardening and planting as she will watch over the plants and lend them her healing powers and magic.

So, have you ever worked with Airmid? 

Beautiful art courtesy of Cheryl Yambrach

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goddess of the Mountains

There are many deities associated with mountains all over the world. 

From Europe, Tibet and the America's, mountain deities have their place in mythology. Mountains are very ancient and primal earth structures. They're beautiful and awe-inspiring and at the same time they can also be terrifying especially for those who are afraid of heights. They were considered to be sacred by many different ancient (and modern) cultures.

In Tibet the goddess Miyolangsangma was a Goddess of mountains. 

She lived at the top of Mount Everest and gave protection to those who climbed her mountain. She had five sisters and each of them had a mountain. She is often depicted riding a tiger and holding a sacred flower. Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt, was also associated with mountains. She was a protector of nature and a huntress and would run through the forests of the mountains hunting game.

Aitna, daughter of Gaia and Uranus, was also a Greek Goddess of mountains. 

She was the Goddess of the volcanic Mt. Etna in Sicily. Pachamama, Incan Goddess of the earth, was a Goddess of mountains. She was said to live in the Andes mountains in the form of a dragon. When she moved she is reported to have caused earthquakes. The Cailleach, Celtic Crone Goddess of Winter, was known as the Mother of Mountains. She had white hair the color of a snow covered mountain.

Skadi, a Norse Goddess, is said to live in the highest regions of the mountains where the snow never melts. 

She is often depicted with her snow shoes, skis and bow and arrow. She was known as a giantess and huntress Goddess. Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest believed that evil spirits inhabited the mountains. They believed that the mountains were Gods but before they were Gods they believed they were people.

Mount Rainier in modern day Washington state was said to be a large woman at one point who lived west of Puget Sound in the Olympic Mountains. 

She lived there with her husband who had two wives. They fought with each other constantly so the woman left the Olympic Mountains with her son and went to the open plains out east. There they settled and she became Mount Rainier and her son became Little Tahoma Peak.

There is much myth and magic surrounding mountains. 

Some natural settings and events stop me in my tracks because of their sheer beauty. Mountains are one of these structures.

So, what's your favorite natural setting?

~ Beautiful artwork courtesy of Frances Green

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honoring the Goddess the Creative Way

The Goddess Mandala Coloring Book is finished and available for purchase!  

This project was definitely a labor of love and a beautiful journey. It's been so great to be able to connect with each Goddess through each mandala that was created. Many of the Goddess mandalas were inspired by the Goddesses you asked for, so I also feel connected to all of you throughout this journey as well. Thank you for your continued support along the way!

I wanted to color in one of the mandalas from the book to give you some inspiration. 

To follow along head over to Amazon to get your copy of the coloring book. The Goddess I chose to color is the Sumerian Goddess Inanna. The colors I chose for this mandala are shades of blue, green, purple, yellow and hints of red. I wanted to use rich gemstone colors to represent Inanna because to me those colors signify her deep beauty. Some of the shades of blue and yellow I chose are also the same colors of blue and yellow that can be found on Ishtar's Gate. This was once the eighth gate to the inner city of ancient Babylon. 

I started with the wings and I used three shades of blue.  

Starting with a dark violet blue on top, cerulean blue in the middle and a light aqua on the bottom. I chose yellow for her crown and for the stars and decided to use a violet color to go around her. This makes the yellows and light blues really pop! The seven pointed stars that surround her are known as Inanna's Star or the Evening Star which symbolizes the planet Venus. For these I chose to color the same shades of blue that are in her wings.

For the next color around her I chose the bright, light aqua and to go around that color I chose the violet again to help make the aqua pop.

I try to stay with the same color themes throughout. It's best to use complementary colors (or shades of complementary colors) to go around each other. These make the individual colors pop. For example the violet and light aqua can be seen as complementary because they are both variations from the green and red family which are complementary colors. For the Sumerian style owls and lions I chose yellows, browns and blues. The owls wings are the exact same colors as Inanna's wings.

To finish off the outside part of the mandala I chose yellow which is a complementary color of purple. 

I really wanted the Goddess figure in the middle to pop so I chose that brilliant, light aqua again. And a crimson red to color the border around her. Staying with the complementary color families of green and red. I also used hints of grass green to color the outside border of her as well as the snakes.

For the mandalas in this book I recommend using colored pencils.  

You may use marker but make sure to put something thick like a piece of cardboard between each page so the marker doesn't bleed through. There are 28 mandalas total in this book with several Goddesses from around the globe. Many of the mandalas in this book can be found in my etsy shop but not all of them. Some of them are made specially for this book like this Inanna mandala. 

So, what colors would you choose for this mandala? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Women of History, Artemisia of Caria

Statue of Artemisia in Turkey

Today is the last day of Women's History month and to honor that I wanted to write a post about a powerful female figure from history, Queen Artemisia of Caria.

Artemisia was Queen of Halicarnassus and was a known warrior and ally to King Xerxes of Persia. Born sometime around the 5th century BCE, Artemisia was daughter to Lygdamis, King of Halicarnassus and her mother is unknown but said to have been of Cretan descent.

Artemisia commanded her own naval fleet at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. 

It is said that Xerxes asked all of his naval commanders if he should attack the Greeks in a naval war. All but Artemisia agreed that he should attack. Artemisia did not agree and advised Xerxes not to attack the Greeks. According to Herodotus, Xerxes appreciated her advice and admired her for her opinion although he decided against it and attacked the Greeks anyway.

Xerxes was defeated at the Battle of Salamis and feeling disheartened at his loss he once again seeks the advice of Artemisia.  

Which of course if he had taken her advice initially things might have turned out differently. She advises him to return home and abandon his campaign. This time he relents, takes her advice and returns home.

Artemisia was renowned for her cunning tactics and craftiness on the battlefield. 

She was known to fly the enemy's flag on her ship to confuse them into thinking that her ship was on their side. Most of Artemisia's story comes to us from Herodotus although still not much is known about her life. We do know that she did not die in battle, although there are a few different stories about her death. One in particular say that she flung herself off a cliff into the sea because of a broken heart. This seems unlikely for a conquering warrior woman but alas this is one of the stories.

Artemisia was known as a warrior, conqueror and commander. 

One of the many inspiring warrior women from history.

Do you have a warrior woman from history that inspires you?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Honoring the Goddess as Mother

The Goddess can act as a mother to those of us priestesses who crave a mother figure in our lives.  

When I first came to Goddess spirituality it felt like a home coming, a long time in the making. I started working with Goddess energy and found that She would guide me in all aspects of my life. She acted as a mother would or should act as far as teaching her daughter how to deal with the world at large.

It wasn't long after I dedicated myself to my Goddess (Hekate) that I started to think and refer to Her as Mother. 

As hard as it may be to admit or for society to talk about, not every earthly mother is such a great mother figure for her children. It's taboo to talk about "bad mothers" because the typical image of a mother figure is the all nurturing, caring and compassionate woman who loves all of her children unconditionally. Although some of us were not so lucky to have had this type of stereotypical mother. For me, my Goddess is my true mother and I go to Her whenever I need any guidance or advice.

Coming to Goddess spirituality made a huge impact on my life. 

And I think for many women with emotionally absent or uncaring mothers it would do the same. Over the years I've read stories from other women who have also had less than stellar mothers and it's sad but it's also nice to have that connection. To know that you are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with you. But at the same time we need that mother connection. We crave love and acceptance and there are times when we need guidance. The Goddess has acted as Mother to me for some time now and it's helped me more than I can say.

Working with the Goddess as Mother has given me a chance to have a profound connection with Her. 

Whenever something has gone awry in my life I go to my Goddess for support. Or when I need help making a decision or just need to get something off my chest I also to go Her. As a priestess I believe that it's imperative to have a close connection to your Goddess. Honoring the Goddess as Mother can help you to get that close motherly connection we so desperately crave. 

The Goddess does not judge you or expect you to be a perfect reflection of Her. 

She wants you to be you. She accepts you for who you are and by honoring yourself as you are you are also honoring Her. If you would like to start working with your Goddess as Mother all you need to do is dedicate yourself to Her. Tell her that you feel blessed to be Her priestess and earthly daughter. For some of us this is not the first life in which we have been a priestess of our Goddess. So some of this may come naturally.

What about you? Do you view the Goddess as Mother? If not, how do you view Her?

Art courtesy of These Little Joys

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Giveaway! Ostara Goddess Coloring Page!

Since Ostara is right around the corner I decided to have a giveaway for my Spring Goddess mandala coloring page.  

This mandala is all about Spring with rabbits, decorated eggs, flowers, leaves and shining suns. Coloring is a great meditative tool to use to clear your mind and connect with your inner self. You can color this mandala and place it on your Ostara altar or you can choose to color the mandala on the day of Ostara in order to connect with the energy of Spring.

To enter the giveaway please check out my shop on etsy and come back here and comment on your favorite mandala. 

The winner will receive one pdf download of the Spring Goddess mandala which you can then print out and color. Regular computer paper works fine for these but if you'd like something a little more substantial get a thicker card-stock paper from your local office supply store. The best kind of paper that I love to use is called Vellum Bristol paper 67lb. 

Good luck and thank you to all who enter the giveaway! 

Make sure you leave your email address or some way for me to contact you if you win. The winner will be announced on Saturday.

Ostara blessings!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vesna, Slavic Goddess of Spring

Vesna is the Slavic goddess of Spring and fertility

The name Vesna in the Slovene language translates to literally mean "Spring". Vesna is known as a beautiful and youthful goddess with flowers in her hair and long flowing locks that reach down to her knees. Sometimes she is portrayed scantily covered in leaves while holding an apple in one hand and grapes in the other.

She was honored at Spring and was a Goddess much loved and respected by her people. 

She was said to be a happy and cheerful Goddess and people would name their daughters after her in the hopes that they would live a happy and cheerful life. She was also seen as a Goddess of victory as the Spring season represents a victory over the cold of winter. Because of this Vesna was a very popular Goddess with her people. She represents the coming of life after winter and the return of the light after the darkness so it's no wonder that she was adored by her people.

It is said that Vesna carries the scent of Spring flowers with her wherever she goes.

She was portrayed as always smiling and full of life. Vesna was celebrated up until very recently at the Spring equinox in March. People would carry clay figures of birds decorated with flowers out to the fields and sing and dance in her honor. Vesna was said to reside in the mountains and could only come out in the month of February which was named for her.

Since we are quickly approaching Spring (in the northern hemisphere) now is the perfect time to honor Vesna.  

Decorate your altar with flowers and sing and dance in her honor. Now is the time to be cheerful and grateful for the coming of Spring after the long winter. This is a time to celebrate life and rebirth. In doing this you will be honoring the spirit of Vesna. 

Art courtesy of JankaLart on etsy

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Goddess Mandala Coloring Ritual

Engaging in a creative act is a great way to honor your deity.  

Being in tune with your creative self is a wonderful form of self expression. Creativity expresses us as who we are at our core. The Goddess loves to have us connecting with our creative selves because that is when we are at our most truest form. And as priestesses we are always on a mission to not only know our Goddesses but to also know ourselves. 

The Goddess mandala coloring ritual is something you can use to honor your deity creatively and give her a unique offering. 

For my personal ritual I chose to honor the Goddess Hekate because as many of you know, I am her priestess. To begin your ritual first choose a Goddess you would like to honor. Or if you just want to honor the divine feminine in a general sense that is fine too. Now choose a mandala from my shop that you want to color and give as an offering to your Goddess.  You can choose to get a mandala of your particular Goddess or you can choose from some of the more general goddesses as well. If you do not see your particular Goddess please contact me and I can create a custom one for you. I am always adding new Goddesses but I don't have all of them quite yet. 

Now that you have chosen your mandala, print it out, choose your colors and set up everything at your altar. 

Light some candles, incense and a smudge stick to cleanse your area. Also cleanse the mandala and infuse it with your energies. Make sure to ground and center yourself and then call on your Goddess. Ask her to lend you some of her energy to help you create this offering in her honor. Meditate with her energy for a few minutes. Absorb yourself in the moment and take your time. Really feel and connect with her energy. Once you feel ready, thank her for her assistance and come out of your meditation with a few deep cleansing breaths. 

Now you can start to color in your mandala!

You can choose to stay at your altar and color or you can set up wherever you feel comfortable. Take your time coloring. It's ok if you don't finish coloring it that same day. Take a few days or longer if you need. When you are done with her, offer it to your Goddess and place it on your altar. These mandalas look great in a frame and placed on your altar with some flowers and candles. You can perform this ritual anytime you color a new mandala as well. 

Please send me pictures of your mandalas once you've colored them! 

I would love to see them! I also like to share them in the Facebook page to inspire others.  

So, which Goddess did you choose to do your ritual for?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What it is to be a Priestess

A Priestess of Sekhat - St. George Hare

The word priestess carries much weight behind it. Being a priestess today is much different than it was a couple of thousand years ago. In the ancient world being a priestess meant that you lived your life in service to the deity you worshiped. Many times a priestess would reside at the temple and her sole purpose was to be of service to the deity and the temple. And this meant living with other priestesses and interacting with them on a daily basis. Their whole lives were dedicated to their deity and their spirituality.

Today as a modern priestess we don't live at temples and most of us can't devote our whole lives to our deity. We are career-minded usually working forty hours a week or more. We are mothers, grandmothers and wives. We are caretakers of our families and our households. We hold many responsibilities and wear many hats. And we try to carve out some time to honor our deities and immerse ourselves in our spirituality. Maybe a few hours at night a couple times a month on the different lunar phases. Or maybe just at seasonal festivals. We try to make the time to fit it in our already jam-packed schedules. But when we finally do fit it in we feel so much better and more connected. 

To be a priestess in today's world holds a much different meaning than it did in the ancient world. In this modern era as a priestess we are not only living our lives in service to our deities, but also to ourselves. In my opinion part of being a modern priestess is knowing yourself. To truly know your spirit is also akin to knowing your deity. To honor yourself is to honor your goddess. Whatever "honoring yourself" means to you. It could be taking time out of your day to connect with your creative side. It could mean pursuing your dreams. It could mean creating a family with the person you love. Whatever feeds your soul will also feed your relationship with your goddess. She wants us to be true to ourselves. For if we understand ourselves then we will better understand Her.

Now I'm not saying that the only job an ancient priestess had was to wake up and pray all day. They also held other responsibilities like healing, performing mid-wife duties, organizing temple celebrations, cleaning, cooking and many other such tasks. The difference is that all of that was in service to their deity and contributing to living a spiritual life. In our modern world we have to partake in things that sometimes take us away from our spiritual selves so we must learn how to create the proper balance. Today as a priestess we are not organizing temple festivals for the city. We are organizing family vacations or work-related presentations. 

One thing for me that has been invaluable on my personal priestess path is to have a journal. A place where I can write down my thoughts and clear up some head-space. A place where I also won't be judged for my thoughts or my writing skills. Keeping a journal is a great way to get to know yourself better. Some people will tell you that you must write in your journal everyday. For me personally once I start putting rules and restrictions on something, I tend to immediately rebel against it. Crazy I know. But that's how you find out what works for you. If you know that you aren't the type of person to write in a journal everyday or meditate everyday or do anything else everyday, that's ok. Then you do it every couple of days or whenever the mood strikes you. 

Part of being a priestess in today's world is finding a way of life that works best for you. We all serve a different purpose. And we are all created with different personalities. And by serving ourselves we are also serving our goddess. We make better priestesses when we are confident in who we are and what we stand for. And the only way to do that is to get to know yourself. 

So, what does it mean to be a priestess to you? 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tlazolteotl, Aztec Goddess of Filth

Tlazolteotl by Veronica Perez

Tlazolteotl (pronounced tla sol TE otl) is the Aztec goddess of filth, decomposition, fertility, the earth and the moon. 

She is known as the eater of sin and the eater of filth as she is said to absorb the sins of her followers into herself. She is also seen as a goddess of purification since she devours your misdeeds, you are therefore purified. Tlazolteotl is also strongly associated with sexuality and sexual misdeeds such as adultery.

She is often depicted with black around her mouth, in a squatting position giving birth or wearing a conical hat and riding a broom much like the traditional version of the witch. 

The black around her mouth symbolizes the filth or dirt she eats. She is thought to have originated with the Huastec people in the Gulf of Mexico. This was a very fertile area and the earth there was said to be filled with rich, dark black soil. Cotton was grown in these regions and as such Tlazolteotl also became associated with cotton weaving. 

Tlazolteotl was also said to pardon those who have committed sins such as adultery. 

People would come to her to confess their wrong-doings and she would purify them by ingesting their misdeeds. A confession to Tlazolteotl was said to happen only once throughout a person's lifetime. It has also been said that Tlazolteotl would inflict disease in those who partook in forbidden love. If someone was accused of sexual misconduct they would be considered "unclean". This term was used to represent the moral and physical aspects of being dirty. They could be cured by a steam-bath and a rite of purification. 

Tlazolteotl is a goddess of regeneration since she is associated with the rich, fertile and decomposing earth.  

She recycles the decaying earth and brings forth new life. This is symbolic for when we turn something dark and dreary in our lives into something new, bright and full of life. When we are submerged in our darkest moments we think there is no end in site. We think the agony of despair will last forever. But nothing ever stays the same. Everything always changes and life keeps us balanced. Remember the next time you are in a dark moment in your life that after the darkness will always come light, and after the light will always come the dark. It is the cycle and that which keeps our lives balanced with both lessons and achievements. 

Call on Tlazolteotl during these times to help you to be purified of the filth and prepared to allow the new, bright and clean to enter you life. 

Image courtesy of the beautiful art of Veronica Perez

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Honoring Brigid the Creative Way

In honor of Imbolc I wanted to color in the Brigid goddess mandala and give you inspiration to do the same. 

When I think of Imbolc I envision new shoots of green grass, melting snow and budding yellow flowers. Imbolc marks the beginning of the coming of Spring so I imagine soft pastels and bright greens would be a good representation of this time. Although sometimes the snow stays until past Imbolc, it's still a symbolic time that Spring is right around the corner. 

If you haven't already downloaded the Brigid goddess mandala you may do so at my etsy shop here.  

After you've gotten the mandala, grab some colored pencils or markers and some tea and get comfy in your favorite spot. If you plan to frame the mandala after you've colored it, think about what room you will be hanging it in. And think about the colors in that room. You want to make sure that the colors in the mandala will match with the colors of the room. Use complementary colors for this. For example red complements green, yellow complements purple and blue complements orange. And variations of each color as well like pink with green. 

I chose to use three main colors with different shades of each one for my mandala

The colors I used are violet, light violet, canary yellow, Spanish orange, apple green, grass green and hints of sienna brown. Use your lighter colors in the places you want to stand out more. Using a darker color behind a light color will make that light color pop. Especially if they complement each other. I usually like to start in the middle of the mandala and work my way out. I color in the goddess herself last. I do this so that I can see what color suits her best and which one will make her stand out the most. 

Purple is one of my favorite colors so I'm thrilled with the way this came out!  

So, what colors will you be using for the Brigid mandala?

Please feel free to post pictures of your goddess mandalas once they're colored in! I would love to see them and share them in the Facebook page for inspiration!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why it's Important to find your Creative Purpose

Saraswati, Goddess of the Arts and Creativity

We are all creative in some form or another. Some forms of creativity are not as obvious as others but it's still creativity. When we are in touch with our creative selves we are also inadvertently in touch with our feminine selves. As women we are the great creators of life (whether we have actually created life or not). We have the creative power within us. And birthing something new and creative can also be a painful and drawn out process.

When we are creating something we are essentially reaching into the depths of our souls to bring about something inside of us. We must get it out into the world and out of ourselves. When we are in the process of creating we are in a trance-like state and laser focused on what we are birthing. We can include creativity into our spirituality by calling on our deities to assist us or guide us in our creative endeavors. We can ask our goddess for help if the creation process becomes to much for us to handle.

Creativity comes in many forms. The obvious ones would be artistry of any kind, writing, painting, drawing, crafting, sewing, music, cooking, acting. But if we think about it there is creativity in many things. Cleaning, organizing, planning and finding creative ways to work and live. Over the years, since I am a very creative person myself, I've had various people say things to me like "I don't have a creative or artistic bone in my body." And I guess that depends on what you personally consider to be creative or artistic. But if we really think about it, almost everything we do can be construed as being creative.

To be in touch with our creative side is to be connected to our soul. We all have this thing inside of us that needs to get out. We all have our own special creative juices flowing inside of us. If you are not sure what your special blend of creativity is then I suggest asking your deity to show it to you. Sit down in front of your altar, light some candles and incense and meditate for a few minutes. Then call on your goddess and ask her to show you what your creative purpose is. Thank her, leave a small offering and move on with your day.

You can also grab a notebook and a pen and think about the things you've experienced and accomplished so far in your life. Write them all down and then go back over then and try to find the creativity behind each event. Maybe your creativity came about after something tragic happened like losing your job. Maybe you had to scramble to come up with a way to find work. And maybe you did find a new job or other way to make ends meet. Try to think about how you made that happen. What happens in your mind or in your body that helped you to get through it?

Sometimes our creativity comes out during certain circumstances in our lives and that's when it works best for us. For example, if you did have to come up with a new way to make money quickly and you accomplished that then maybe it means your creativity comes out when you are under pressure. Or maybe you've noticed that when you're stressed out your creativity is blocked. Although after you meditate and take a day off you feel more creative then ever. We are all different and our minds and bodies all work differently so we need to find out how these things uniquely work for us. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are not creative if you are not an artist or a poet, it means that you have a different creative purpose and a different way of bringing that to fruition.

So, do you know what your creative purpose is?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nimue, Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake by Emily Balivet

Nimue, better known as the Lady of the Lake, is the High Priestess of Avalon in the Arthurian tales. Nimue (pronounced NIM-OO-WAY) has also been called Vivienne in certain myths. She ruled over Avalon which was called Ynes Affalon or Land of Apples and as such Nimue is associated with apples, especially the golden apple. She was known as a Faery Queen who gave birth to Lancelot, the famous knight of Camelot, and conjured Excalibur, the magical sword, for King Arthur. Morgan le Fay, who was also a priestess of Avalon and half sister to King Arthur, tutored under Nimue at Avalon.

There are many different versions of the myths surrounding Avalon and King Arthur. Nimue was a pupil of Merlin, Arthur's powerful wizard, and he taught her all of his magickal knowledge. Some say that Nimue seduced Merlin in order to learn all of his magickal tricks. Clearly this is a patriarchal view point of this story. Others describe Nimue as a healer and compassionate goddess. Nimue gifted Excalibur to King Arthur which she conjured from the depths of the lake in Avalon. It is said that Excalibur was so powerful that Arthur's sister Morgan le Fay wanted it for herself. She stole the sword from him, took it back to the lake and threw it in with the hope that Arthur would be killed. Of course in other stories Morgan le Fay is also said to be a kind and caring sorceress who loves her brother Arthur.

When Arthur was mortally wounded in battle, Nimue is said to have helped him get to Avalon to be healed. Nimue stands in her magical boat which sails the waters of Avalon and grants passage to her enchanted world. She parts the mists, or the veils between worlds, to allow others to enter. She breaks down the barriers of illusion allowing you to actually see reality. Nimue can be called on for emotional healing. She helps us get to the depths of our wounds and helps us to heal. She can also be called on for matters involving your intuition. She helps us to trust our gut and harness our own inner magical power.

Picture courtesy of Emily Balivet

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Highly Sensitive Priestess

The Oracle at Delphi ~ Heinrich Leutemann  

A highly sensitive person or HSP is defined as someone who has an innate, sensitive processing system who is aware of subtle changes in their environment. This person can also become easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment. Being highly sensitive does not just refer to ones emotional sensitivity but literally a sensitivity to everything. We feel things deeper and sometimes before they come. We notice subtle changes in behavior and mood. Usually an HSP is also an empath and intuitive and we can use these things to our advantage during our work as priestesses.

The ability to notice and feel slight changes of energy can be something for us to tap into while we are in ritual or trance. Since we are naturally more in tune to the energies around us this is a great tool to use during meditations or spell work. We should theoretically be able to pick up on energies of things before they happen so therefore this is a great tool for divination. This, I believe, is the empathetic part of being highly sensitive. We get a feeling that something is about to happen but we don't know what. We do know that we've just experienced a shift in energy, we're just not sure how to use this information.

When we experience this the best thing to do is sit with this energy in meditation. Allow your body to feel it fully. Let your sensitive mind work out the energies to try and decipher what this new energy means. Many times if we listen to our intuitive mind it will tell us what is about to happen. We just have to trust it. Our sensitivity is like a built in warning system. For example, let's say that you've recently noticed a shift of energy at your job. You feel like something big is about to happen, you just can't figure out what. When you have time sit with this energy in a meditation and try to determine if this is a positive shift or a negative shift.

This could mean preparing yourself to find new work or maybe preparing yourself for a big promotion at your current job. Allow your intuitive mind to naturally come to a conclusion. Being a sensitive empath can be a beautiful thing during ritual. We tend to connect more easily and sometimes more quickly with the energy of our deities. We can also become deeply infused in trance work. I've always thought that the sensitives of the ancient world would have been the oracles of classical culture or the volva of the Norse culture. They acted as connectors of the spiritual and mundane worlds. They could sense things before they happened and they could reach high levels in trance. This is most likely why they were oracles.

While I believe that sensitivity is a gift, it also comes with its own set of special problems. When we are overwhelmed or over-stimulated we can get worn out rather quickly. And we need time to recover from that. Sometimes because we are usually also empathetic we can unintentionally take on the energy of those around us. Especially because we are naturally good at listening to others and helping them. We are in a sense natural born healers and other people can sense this on a subconscious level. So sometimes people will bring us their problems because they feel that we are easy to talk to. Have you ever noticed that complete strangers will come up to you and tell you their whole life story? It's because of your empathetic and sensitive nature.

So it's important to have boundaries in place so that you are not drained by the energy of others. I'm not suggesting that you shrug people off when they try to talk to you about their problems. But if you notice a sudden drop in your energy, it's because you are giving it away too freely.  The best thing to do is to find a polite way of excusing yourself from the conversation. A great way to recharge your batteries is to spend some time in nature preferably alone. Being in nature is incredibly soothing for a sensitive. Because we feel everything more deeply. A birds call is music to our ears. Watching a family of deer is calming to our soul. Listening to the waves crash against the shore, feeling the wind blow through our bodies or feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin can all be very cleansing and renewing.

One of my favorite things about being a sensitive empath is feeling the shift of energy with the seasons. I can sense when the energy of a particular season has shifted not by the date on the calendar but by the change of the energy in the world around me. Even days of the week have certain energies to them. Moon and star gazing are also intensified when you're sensitive. In order to truly love our gift of sensitivity we need to accept it into our lives and learn to work with it properly. It also helps to become a little educated on the subject. To help you with this you may want to have a "sensitivity journal" where you jot down things that trigger your sensitivity. You might not notice all your triggers right away but slowly you will start to pick up on it.

The best way to know yourself is to know how to use your gifts. To find out what works and what doesn't. This way you can tailor your life to work with you instead of against you. And don't just write down the things that negatively affect your sensitivity. Also write down the positive like being able to connect with nature more deeply or whatever your special set of rewards is.

So, what is your favorite thing about being sensitive?

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